The island of Sri Lanka has a remarkable culture and heritage. For many centuries the country’s traditions and customs were shaped by the peaceful teachings of Buddha. Theravada Buddhism is the state religion in the country.
Starting of Buddhist Culture in Sri Lanka
Buddhism was introduced to the country back in the third century BCE. It is believed that Mahinda Thero, the son of Emperor Ashoka of India introduced Buddhism to the island. The fateful encounter between Mahinda Thero and King Devanampiyatissa took place in Mihintale. The site is an important place of worship in the country.
Sanghamitta Thera, the sister of Mahinda Thero, brought a sapling of the Bodhi tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment, to Sri Lanka. This precious sapling was planted in the sacred soils of the ancient city of Anuradhapura. This majestic bo tree, which is named Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, is one of the most prominent sites of worship among the Buddhists in the land. And also it is the oldest tree in the world with a known planting date.
A sacred relic of a tooth of Buddha was brought to the island by Princess Hemamali and Prince Dantha, during the reign of Sirimeghavanna (301-328). This relic is indeed one of the priceless treasures that the island has. The relic of the tooth of Buddha is enshrined in the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. The annual procession of the temple, which is known as Kandy Esala Perahera is one of the grandest Buddhist culture festivals in the world.
Throughout the history of Sri Lanka, many kings did their share to strengthen Buddhism in the country. Remarkable temples, stupas and statues were built to honor Lord Buddha. Among these, Ruwanweliseya, Abhayagiriya, Dambulla Cave Temple, Polonnaruwa Gal Viharaya and Samadhi Buddha statue are quite prominent.
Get in touch with Green Holiday Centre if you want to enjoy insightful buddhist culture and religious tours in the paradise island of Sri Lanka.