Thursday, June 27, 2013

Buddhism arrives in Sri Lanka (Poson)

Sri Lanka has long been important as a repository of the Buddha's teaching.

Today is the Poson (June) full moon observance day commemorating when the Arhat Mahinda together with his enlightened sister, Ven. Sanghamitta, children of the Indian Buddhist Emperor Asoka, brought the Dharma from India to the island of Sri Lanka.

They arrived in what is now the hamlet of Mihintale (Ambastala) with the monastics Ittiya Uttiya, Sambala, Bhaddasala, and the novice Sumana and the lay disciple Bhanduka.
The Buddhist Chronicles, the Mahavamsa, state that following the first Buddhist Council held under the patronage of King Dharmashoka, Buddhist missionaries were sent to sent countries. They were most successful in Sri Lanka as the then King Devanampiyatissa and the local people were very receptive. A revival took place in the religious, social, cultural, and economic aspects of the country with the spread of Buddhism. It was through the light provided by Buddhism that Sri Lankans could stand independently.

The full moon observance day Dharma sermon (bana) regularly organized at the Temple Trees was held at the President's House in Anuradhapura. The Chief Abbot (Sangha Nayaka) of the Ramanna school in the north-central province, Ven. Pothane Dhammananda Thera, delivered the sermon. 

Pres. Mahinda Rajapaksa, First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, ministers, and parliamentarians were present. A gold plated Buddha statue donated by the Sri Lanka-Korea Friendship Foundation for World Peace was presented to the President. The special observance day program of ITN's "Savanak Ras" was broadcast from the great royal Situl Pawwa Raja monastery today. Various religious program were organized under the patronage of Ven. Mataramba Hemaratana Thera. Meanwhile, the Sasanaloka ["Dharma-in-this-world"] program organized by Lakhanda Radio was held at Situl Pawwa monastery. Dharma books were offered to novices, while lay devotees were given white cloth and Buddha statues. ITN staff also participated in the religious program. (Source)

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