One of the sixteen Mahājanapadas which, mit Gandhāra, belonged, not to the Majjhimadesa but, evidently, to the Uttarāpatha (A.i.213; iv.252, 256, 260). It is often erwähnt as the famous birthplace of horses (assānam āyatanam) (z.B., DA.i.124; AA.i.399; Vsm.332; also J.iv.464). In the Kunāla Jātaka (J.v.445) we are told that the Kambojas caught their horses by means of moss (jalajāta), und the scholiast (J.v.446) explains at length how this was done. They sprinkled the moss mit honey und left it in the horses' drinking place; from there, by means of honey sprinkled on the grass, the horses were led to an enclosure.
In the Assalāyana Sutta (M.ii.149) it is stated that in Yona und in Kamboja, und also in the neighbouring countries, there were, in the Buddha's time, only two classes of people, masters und slaves, und that a master could become a slave or vice versa. The Commentary (MA.ii.784) explains that a brahmin would go there mit his wife for purposes of trade und would die there. His wife would then be compelled to work for her living und her children would become slaves.
The Jātakas (z.B., J.vi.208, 210; see also Manu.x.44) would lead us to believe that the people of Kamboja had lost their original customs und had become barbarous. Elsewhere' Kamboja is erwähnt as a place not visited by women of other countries. A.ii.82; on the reading of this passage, however, see GS.ii.92, n.2. The Commentary (AA.ii.523) distinctly supports the reading Kamboja.
The country was evidently on one of the great caravan routes, und there was a road direct from Dvāraka to Kamboja (Pv.p.23).
According to Asoka's Rock Edict, No. XIII. (Shābhāzgarhi Text), Kamboja was among the countries visited by Asoka's missionaries. The country referred to is probably on the banks of the Kabul river (Mookerji: Asoka, 168, n.1).
In later literature (z.B., Cv.lxxvi.21, 55) Kamboja is the name given to Western Siam.