Saturday, June 14, 2014

Buddhism arrives in Sri Lanka! (Poson)

Bhante, Dhr. Seven, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly;
While the ruler was hunting, Buddhism arrived in Sri Lanka with enlightened brother and sister missionaries, Mahinda and Sanghamitta, scions of India's Buddhist Emperor Asoka (
The full moon (poornima) Buddhist observance day (uposatha) is being celebrated in Pasadena today at the Los Angeles Buddhist Vihara under the brilliant "honey" moon.

Long ago the island of Sri Lanka -- Ceylon and Serendib -- was disputed territory, a Yakkha Kingdom, with frequent incursions by Hindu kings and the Tamil nation just miles away across the straits in India.
The Great Epic mentions the exploits of Rama and Sita being spirited away to its pleasant shores. Eventually Buddhist kings arose who settled the island claiming it for their own. More
Vedda people, indigenous jungle aboriginals still hunting in Sri Lanka (
(W) According to the Mahavamsa, the "Great Chronicle," Prince Vijaya encountered the royalty of the Yakkhas. Great King Kalasena and Queen Gonda on the celebration of the marriage of their daughter, Princess Polamitta, in the Yakkha capital of Lankapura, conquered and subjugated them. Lankapura may have been in Arithra or Vijithapura (a fortress-city in ancient Sri Lanka). The Yakkhas thereafter served as loyal subjects with the Vijiyan Dynasty, and the Yakkha chieftain sat at an equal height to the Sri Lankan leaders on festival days. Today Yakkha refers to a vanishing and rarely seen aboriginal people dwelling in the jungle. See History of Sri Lanka
An island at war is no place for Dharma
(This history is disputed, and the longest civil war in Asia was fought over it, or in any case used as the pretext for a conflict that profited a few political and military leaders in spite of the fact that it killed so many and impoverished even more islanders. Tamil Hindu separatists were saying, "We've been here all along" or even "We were here first." And the Sinhalese Buddhist majority, many of them nationalists, said: "This is a Buddhist land with no room for separatists!" There would have been no need for a dispute had the majority not so poorly treated the large ethnic minority, pushing it to seek its own self-determined way. We saw the abuse with our own eyes, and while our sympathies lie with the Sinhalese nationalists, the Hindu Tamils have a legitimate gripe, and reparations need to be made for war crimes and atrocities by the state. Strangely, the same tension was playing out more than a thousand miles north in formerly Buddhist Kashmir, where Pakistan-inspired and very cruelly-mistreated Muslim separatists want only independence. India will not hear of it, nor will Pakistan. Both seek to usurp the Muslim-majority territory, like the other Kashmir to the west, and China looks on ready to pounce if either should fail: fertile ground for endless conflict).

The spiritual Plymouth Rock of Sri Lanka, Mahintale, where Buddhism landed, now the main focus of celebrations on the island (

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