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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Exploring Buddha in Shrilanka

About Sri Lanka 

 




Sri Lanka officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island Surrounded by the Indian Ocean . It is a part of South asia.It is located in th parth of major sea routes and in ancient time too. It was an important stop on the ' Silk Route.
Sri Lanka has been the center of Buddhist religion and Culture from ancient times. The sinhalese community forms the majority f the population and Tamils the largest ethnic minority. Other community include Muslims, Burghers, Malays and theaboririginal Adi vasi (Veddah) people. Sri lanka is a republic and a unitary state governed by a Presidential system.
The country is famous for Tea, Rubber and coconut. Sri Lanka tea is acclaimed the world's best. Coffee, Cinnamon, Cardamoms and Cloves also are produced as export crops. Rich in mineral resources, Sri Lanka is a major exporter of precious and semi-precious stones.
The country has one of the longest and colorful histories of over 3000 thousand years, in the world. The rich culture can be attributed to it is ethnic diversity.
Within the boundaries of this one small island you find more than 1000 miles of sunny, palm fringed beaches, breathtaking scenery up in the hills covered with lush tea plantation, cascading water falls, wonderful architecture of the ancient past, brooding jungles and wild life and the fascinating art and culture.
Sri Lanka is a founding member of SAARC and a member of the United Nation, Commonwealth of Nations, G77 and Non Alignment Movement.

Introduction of Buddhism

According to traditional Sri Lankan chronicles (such as the Dipavamsa), Buddhism was introduced into Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BCE by Venerable Mahinda, the son of the Emperor Ashoka, during the reign of Sri Lanka's King Devanampiya Tissa. During this time, a sapling of the Bodhi Tree was brought to Sri Lanka and the first monasteries and Buddhist monuments were established. Among these, the Isurumuni-vihaara and the Vessagiri-vihaara remain important centers of worship. He is also credited with the construction of the Pathamaka-cetiya, the Jambukola-vihaara and the Hatthaalhaka-vihaara, and the refectory. The Pali Canon, having previously been preserved as an oral tradition, was first committed to writing in Sri Lanka around 30 BCE.

The Stuga


According to the Sri Lankan chronicles, the Mahavamsa, one of Ashoka's sons, the monk Mahinda, supervised construction of monastic buildings nearAnuradhapura. Simultaneously, he sent to India for relics. These, say the histories, included the Buddha's alms bowl andhis right collarbone. Later a hair relic, and in the 4th century AD, the Buddha's tooth would be taken to Sri Lanka. The tooth is still preserved in Kandy where daily rituals venerate the Buddha's tooth relic in Temple of the Tooth Relic, Kandy 16th Century.
To house the relics, stupas were built. Standing at 300 feet, Ruwanweliseya, or the "Great Stupa" is regarded as one of the most important stupas at Anuradhapura in north-central Sri Lanka: Much restored, the great dome, circled with old columns, is still to be seen in Anuradhapura, now a great park. During major festivals it is crowded with hundreds of thousands of devotees in family groups, who picnic happily among the ruins and offer puja at the Bodhi tree. There are other important monuments nearby at Mihintale, the site of Mahinda's first sermon to King Devanampiya-Tissa. The ruins of the later capital at Polonnaruwa (9th century AD onwards), showing Hindu and Mahayana cultic influence, are yet more elaborate.
The stupa in Sri Lanka is a circular drum on a square base with a long succession of compressed umbrellas forming a conical top over a box-shaped harmika, of which the Ruwanweliseya stupa, (above right) at Anuradhapura (3rd century BC) is a fine example.

 

The Dambulla cave Temple

 
This temple complex dates back to the 1st century BC. It has five caves under a vast overhanging rock, carved with a drip line to keep the interiors dry. In 1938 the architecture was embellished with arched colonnades and gabled entrances. Inside the caves, the ceilings are painted with intricate patterns of religious images following the contours of the rock. There are images of the Lord Buddha and bodhisattvas, as well as various gods and goddesses.

The Dambulla cave monastery is still functional and remains the best-preserved ancient edifice in Sri Lanka. This complex dates from the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, when it was already established as one of the largest and most important monasteries. King Valagambahu is traditionally thought to have converted the caves into a temple in the 1st century BC. Exiled from Anuradhapura, he sought refuge here from South Indian usurpers for 15 years. After reclaiming his capital, the King built a temple in thankful worship. Many other kings added to it later and by the 11th century, the caves had become a major religious centre and still are. King Nissanka Malla gilded the caves and added about 70 Buddha statues in 1190. During the 18th century, the caves were restored and painted by the Kandyan Kings.

This Temple composed of Five Caves....

 Photos of Caves Temple

 

 

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