Siri Sambudhu, Siri Sath Dharma and Sirilak Derana

Gautama Buddha was born and attended to the Enlightenment in this Sirilaka. He preached the sacred Dhamma, Siri Sath Dhamma, in this Sirilaka. The people, the kings and the Counts who lived in this Helabima  in the time that Gautama Buddha lived used an honorable and very distinctive term. That is the name called Siri.

Siri Dalada Sammidu (the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha), Siri Dantha Dhaathun Wahanse (the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha), Siri Dalada (the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha), Siri Maha Bo Sammidu (the sacred Bodhi tree), Siri Maha Bo Ankura (the sacred offshoot of the Bodhi tree), Siri Maha Bo Dakshina Shakaawa (the right branch of the sacred Bodhi tree), Budu Siri Pathula (the sacred footprint of the Buddha), Siri Paa Samanola (the Samanala Peak where the sacred footprint of the Buddha was placed), Siri Paa (the sacred footprint of the Buddha), Budu Siripaa (the sacred footprint of the Buddha), Siridesma (the teachings of the Buddha), Siri Sath Darmaya (the teachings of the Buddha), Siri Waruna (the commendation of the Buddha), Siri Maluwa (the terrace or the compound where homage was paid to Buddha), Maha Siri Sanga Gana (the great Order of the Sanga of Buddha), Siri Lak Bima ( the  land of Lanka or the Lankan land of the Buddha), Sirilak Deshaya (the land, the country called Sirilaka or the Lankan land of the Buddha), Siri Deshaya (the land of Siri), Siri Lanka ( the Lanka of Siri or Sri Lanka i.e the country), Siri Saga Mok (the emancipation of Sanga of the Buddha), Siri Nivan (the Siri Nibbana or the Nibbana preached by the Buddha), Siri Sepa ( the blissful happiness)”.

In this way, this very distinctive term called Sirifound frequently in the vocabulary of the ancient Hela people was used in the place of Gautama Buddha, Buddha Dhamma of Gautama Buddha, the body relics of the Gautama Buddha, the Uddesika and Saririka objects of Buddha and also in the place of this island where Gautama Buddha lived.

It a well known thing that the Buddhist who lived in the past and living in the present day pilgrim to Samanala Peak and sing songs such as, “Gautama Siri Paada Wadimi Samanala Kande” – “May I worship the sacred footprint of Gautama Buddha which is placed in the Samanala Peak” and pay their homage to Siripaa (the sacred footprint of the Buddha).[1]

The Buddhists lived in the ancient Helabima  used terms such as Budu Siri Pathula (the sacred footprints of the Buddha), Budu Siri Paa (the sacred footprints of the Buddha), Samonala Siri Paa (the Samanala Peak where the sacred footprint of the Buddha was placed), Siri Paa kanda (the mountain of the sacred footprint) etc with a distinctive term called Siriand this term was used for Gautama Buddha.

They composed stanzas such as “Chakkawarankitha Rathna Supado”, praised the special symbols found in the sacred SiriPaa (the sacred footprints of the Buddha) and paid their homage to it. They were the sacred Siri Paa (the sacred footprints of the Buddha) of the Gautama Buddha who lived in this country.

The sacred Buddha Dhamma, Siri Saddharma, which was preached by Buddha for a period of forty five years, was termed as “Siri Desma” in the ancient Hela texts. Even to this date, the Hela Buddhists use the distinctive term Siriin connection with Buddha Dhamma –  Siri Sadaham Maga.

Siri Maha Bo Sammidu, Siri Maha Bo Ankura, Jaya Siri Maha Bodhiya and Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura are the some terms used in the place of the sacred Bodhi tree. Even today, the distinctive term “Siri” has been used in the introduction of the Asathu[2] Bodhi tree. The Asathu tree which gave shelter for the Buddha to attend to his sacred Enlightenment, later, was known as Siri Maha Bodhin Wahanse (the most sacred Bodhi) by the people in Helabima . They used this honorable, distinctive term for this Asathu tree to commemorate Gautama Buddha. For all these times this tree was known by the world as Asathu tree and later it was termed as Jaya Siri Maha Bodin Wahanse[3].

In the same way, the name of the village where the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi tree was situated too was changed, this tree gave shelter for Gautama Buddha to attend to his Enlightenment 2600 years ago.

 “SiriWadaunna Gama” (the village where Siri resided) was the new name received by this village. Today, based on the easy pronunciation, this “Siri Wadaunna Gama” had changed in to Hiriwadunna Gama (the village of Hiriwadunna). The real, genuine name of this village is “Siri Wadaunna Gama” (the village where Siri resided).

Even to this, the Buddhists in Helabima  use the term Siri in connection with all the Dathu Madiras (the chambers used to place the sacred relics of the Buddha),the Viharas and monasteries built enshrining the body relics and hair relics of the Buddha were called Siri Daladaa Madura (the chamber of the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha), Siri Dantha Dhatun Mandira (the chamber of the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha), Siri Daladaa Karaduwa (the sacred casket of the tooth relic of the Buddha), Siri Lalaata Dhatuwa ( the sacred forehead relic of the Buddha).

Just after few dates of the Enlightenment of Gautama Buddha, the merchant brothers called Thapassu Balluka received the sacred hair relics of the Buddha. The Chaitya built by them enshrining those sacred hair relics is called “Girihandu Seya”. Today the place where it was built is called Thiriyaaya.

Originally, this Seya was known as “Siri Handu Seya”.  This Seya was called “ Siri Handu Seya” as the sacred hair relics of the Buddha was called “Siri Handu” in the ancient times. The place where these Siri Handu was placed was called “Siri Yaaya” (Yaaya – the field, the vast area). Siri Handu Seya was changed in to Giri Handu Seya. Siri Yaaya was changed in to Thiriyaaya in the use. In the most ancient times, the Buddhists who lived in Helabima  used to call “Siri Waruna” for the commendations or praises used for Buddha,Siri Maluwa” was the term used for the place or the compound where the relevant offerings for Buddha were made and those customs practiced were called “Budu Sirith.

Accordingly, the words such as Siri Lakbima, Siri Deshaya were used for the country where Gautama Buddha lived, the country, the island where Gautama Buddha preached his Buddha Dhamma. It was only because of Gautama Buddha that we got the distinctive tern Siriagainst the name of our country, Siri Lanka. Me Sirilaka (this Siri Lanka), Esirilaka, Esiribara, Sirilak Derana (the island of Siri Lanka) were some of such specialized terms used for our country. It was because Gautama Buddha was born in this Deepa, the island. It was because Gautama Buddha attended to his Enlightenment in this country. In the ancient times this name “Siri Deshaya” (the island of Siri) was used purely to denote that this is the Deepa, island of Buddha. There is an old Hela poem “Siri Deshe Wasiyo Kipee” i.e. ….. the people in the island of Siri is in anger. Hence, after the great incident of the Enlightenment of Gautama Buddha, a distinctive term called Siri was added in to the name of our Helabima  and the world started to use special names such as Siri Deshaya, Siri Lak Derana, Siri Lanka for this country and entered them in their books.

Later, this sacred name Siri was influenced by the effect of Srungara Rasa, the erotic feelings found in Sanskrit, got it confused with the Sanskrit term (word) “Sri” and finally Siri Lanka, Siri Deshaya was named as Sri Lanka. This country is Siri Lakbima, Siri Deshaya, Siri Lak Derana but not Sri Lanka. The people in Siri Lak Bima (the Lankan land of Siri) should know, should seriously keep in mind that naming this country with a special term such as “Siri was not an accident. In the past this country has been offered to Gautama Buddha for seven times. The whole idea of using this term is to show this relationship that it has Gautama Buddha.

The real pronunciation is Siri, but not Sri. Hence the name “Siri Dammalankara”, received by the effects of Darmatha, is a special distinctive name with Artha and Dharma. Disclosing the Siri Saddharma, preaching it to the world by quenching the thirst of Dhamma of the ordinary world, preaching Buddha Dhamma to show the direction(s) to the world to find a solution for the burning issue called Samsara are the Dhamma meanings of the name “Siri Dhammalankara”. This effort made for the betterment of the mankind is to preach the Siri Sath Dhamma and to open the path for Siri Saga Mok. There isn’t any other worldly objective in this effort.

What is explained in this manner is the way how this term Siri was used in the ancient world by the Buddhists lived in this Helabima for Gautama Buddha, the teaching of Gautama Buddha and the sacred relics of Uddesika, Paribogika and Saririka objects of Buddha. Accordingly, the name Sirilak Bima too was used for this Helabima. And also this term Siri is not used for any county in the world in this manner d suggesting this said meaning.

Next Chapter…

[1] This is a custom of climbing the Samanala Peak practiced by the Buddhists in Sri Lanka every year. They do sing special stanzas, verses and songs in climbing and coming down from the Peak. Most of these songs are based on the virtues of Buddha.

[2] Asathu – The name used for the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi prior to the Enlightenment of Buddha.

[3]Jaya SiriMaha Bodin WahanseJaya (the victory), Maha (great, grand), Bodhi (Bodi – the wisdom), Wahanse (reverend).

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The concept of Atamasthana

Even during the time that Buddha lived in this Helabima, the people in the Buddhist world had a practice of worshipping Atamasthana. The most ancient text called Hasthasalieni written in Lanka says that following the eight-fold path found in Buddha Dhamma it was the practice of worshipping the Atamasthana in this Helabima from the very ancient times. The historical texts say that the kings such as Walagambha, Bahathiya, Dutugamunu, Vijayaba, Maha Parakramabahu and also Nissankamalla had tried to visit at least some of these eight great places situated in this Helabima, had visited these places in royal parades. It is not mentioned in the history that any of these kings of Heladiva had gone on pilgrimage to Atamasthna in India or Barath Desha. In the Parinibbana Sutta, Buddha recommended four places to be visited and that would have been the basis for this Buddhist concept of Atamasthana. Hence there are no any doubts over the fact that worshipping of eight numbers of sacred footprints and eight numbers of offshoots of Bo tree would have been the basis for the Buddhist concepts such as Atamasthana and Ashtapala Bodhi[1].

It is this original practice of worshipping Atamasthana was the basis for worshipping Atamasthana situated in Anuradhapura which is followed by Buddhist world even to this date. Even King Asoka who introduced Buddhism to India wanted to establish this practices, he built eight places, i.e. models and trained his people to honor and respect them.

The book called Lalithavisthara written in India says that the concept of worshipping Atamasthana had gone later in to the Hinduism and Vedic religions. In order to wash away their sins, the Hindus and the Brahmins in India had named and gone on pilgrimages to eight ferries, Theerthas, the Indian King Shiladithya too had gone in to these places on pilgrimages, says the Sanskrit book “Divyavadana”. This concept of worshipping Atamasthna is very clearly mentioned in the Indian history book written by the great Indian historian Professor A L Basham.

It’s a fact that there had been eight places built for the Buddhists to worship in this Helabima, Janbudveepa, even in many eras prior to Anuradhapura. These Atamasthna had been changed from time to time. The Sinhala Pirith Potha [2]what is currently used by us very clearly says that these places were changed from time to time. The “Vihara Asna found in this Pirith Potha highlights these Atamasthana situated in different eras and in different regions, they are mentioned separately and written in lines. It is not possible to decide the period of the beginning of the writing of these Atamasthana, but the names of the places which were worshipped in the respective eras are taken into paragraphs and are written them down.

Now, carefully look in to the names of the sacred places, the Viharas worshipped in the ancient times, mentioned in the Vihara Asana. These names are taken in to one category, one line. The Atamasthana such as “Jethavana Vihara,Kapila Vihara, Isipathanaarama monastery, Kusinara monastery, Poorvarama monastery,  Dakshinarama monastery & Uththararama monastery and  Silumini Seya are taken in to the list of Viharas worshipped in particular one ear which is prior to the Anuradhapura era (i.e. the era of Buddha). The Kapila Vihara, the monastery called Kapila, mentioned here is the ancient Buddhist Centre which was situated near Veluvanarama monastery in Rajagala.

The absolute truth suggested from this is that, once the sacred places carrying these names had been placed in this ancient Helabima and they had been blessed by Buddha. Someone is taking unsuccessful attempts to suppress out our Hela history claiming that these Viharas, monasteries belong to India or to Maha Barath. We as genuine Buddhists living in our Helabima should understand this. Why were these written in our Pirith Potha?

When time goes on, based on the easy pronunciation the names such as Isipathanaarama monastery, the city of Rajagaha, Jethavanarama monastery, Kusinararama monastery were changed in to Isinbassagala, Rajagala, Ritigala and Budugala respectively and people used these names in common. Discovering all these places for the use of the Buddhist world, letting them to pay their homage to these sacred places with Saddha[3] in mind, introducing these places and being united with the Buddha Shakthi are the objectives of writing this book.

When the time that Gautama Buddha was living in this Helabima, in Janbudveepa, he recommended eight great places for the followers of Dhamma to go and pay their homage. For a very long period of 600 years and more, even prior to the growth of the kingdom of Anuradhapura, the rulers of the country, members of the royal families and also the people in the country paid their homage to these eight great places. For easy identification and easy access, these most sacred Atamasthana are explained as follows.

1. The place where the Gautama Buddha attended in to his Enlightenment, the most sacred  Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi and its location.

This sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi which is commonly known as the sacred Siri Maha Bodhi in Hiriwadunna is situated in the very center in this Helabima, in this Lankadeepa. Or in other words it is situated in the Madya Mandala. If we consider the latitudes and the longitudes where Lanka is fitting in to, join the four corners of an imagined four-sided square with intercrossing two lines and take the very center point of it. This point is exactly where the sacred Bodhi tree of Hiriwadunna is resided. Anyone can reach this place of serene beauty by turning to the left from the 110 km post of DambullaHabara road and walking for another one kilo meter on the gravel road. It should be mentioned here that it is from the very ancient times that this sacred Bodhi tree is called Sudu Bodhiya[4].

“ Jayo munindassa – subodhi mule
Ahosi maarassa – parajayohee”

In this stanza which is used in worshipping the Bodhis “subodhi” was a special name used in the past for this white Bodhi. No any Bodhi tree in Lanka or in any place in the world is called Sudu Bodhi (the white Bodhi). Even to this date, annually, this Sudu Bodhi tree shows its presence to the world as a white offshoot of a Bodhi tree from the very root of the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi for every Wesak Poya Day or a day closer to that.


The sacred footprints of Gautama Buddha were originally placed near the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Hiriwadunna. Today they are placed in front yard of the museum in Anuradhapura. Here both sacred footprints of the Buddha and also the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi are engraved and presented.

King Muchalinda in the tribe of Naaga made a Vajrasana at the Bodhi tree which is to be used by the Buddha for his Enlightenment. This Vajrasana is still there, permanently fixed to the very base of the Bodhi tree. You too can go there and get it verified that this Vajrasana is permanently fixed to the root base of the Bodhi tree in a way that no one can shake out, change or destroy it.

The Vihara Asna says that this place is none other than the most sacred monastic ground called Uththaraaraama which was visited and honored by kings and queens. Thousand of Bhikkus had lived in this place, including the Bhikku called Jatila Kashyapa. Today this place is well protected as an archeological reserve and also as an Aaranya Senasana owned by a particular forest-dwelled Order.

This is the first place found in the list of Atamasthana and in order to know more details about this place please read the first book as well.

2. The Lumbini where Prince Bosath was born.

The kings who lived in Heladiva in the ancient times arranged the caves found in this sacred place with Kataram[5]and offered them to Gautama Buddha. This sacred place which is very significant among the other places in Atamasthana is situated in the Bambaragala Raja Maha Vihara, Wewagama Raja Maha Vihara, as we call it now, in Theldeniya Secretarial Division in Mahanuwara district.

Even to this date there are more than 50 caves with Kataram in this Raja Maha Vihara grounds, including the Indasaala Cave, and out of them there are 14 caves with 14 inscriptions written in the Hela language which was used in the very ancient time. Gautama Buddha lived in this Indasaala Cave situated in Bambaragala Raja Maha Vihara in the 16th year of his Enlightenment. This was identified as the Indasaala cave with the help of a rock-cut inscription found in this cave. Based on the available ruins of the paintings it is proved even to this date that this cave had been adorned in a way then Buddha could spend his rainy season there.

Gautama Buddha preached the Sakka Pannha Sutta found in the Deega Nikaya in the Tripitaka Canon when he was resided in this Indasaala Cave. This is mentioned very clearly in the Tripitaka Canon. Professor Paranavithana also had identified and declared this place as Indasaala Cave. It was to a  king lived in the city of Vedeha who was a descendent of the Chakravarti Dynasty or Sakkassa Deva or a king descendent from the ancient Chakravarti Dynasty in Heladiva who was also addressed by the people as “Devayan Wahanse” i.e. your majesty, that Gautama Buddha preached this Sakka Pannha Sutta in this Indasaala Cave. Even though the Panith Sutta had been preached in this same Indasaala Cave to another king from the same Chakravarti Dynasty called Panith, today it is not available in the Tripitaka Canon. Later, the God Sakra[6] was also called Sakkassa Deva.

There are Sal trees in the grounds of this Raja Maha Vihara even to this date and there is one special Sal tree which is older than 3000 years. It was under this Sal tree that the birth of Prince Gautama Siddhartha was occurred. It is very clear that the kings of the Sakkassa Dynasty who reigned that area in the past had built a special Vihara in memory of the birth of Sidduhath and had paid their homage to that Vihara. There is one ancient book in this Bambaragala Raja Maha Vihara, it contains an illustration which depicts a sacred footprint of Buddha placed in one Vihara built in the grounds of this Raja Maha Vihara and the kings in the past and also the people of the country had come there to pay their homage to this sacred footprint which was blessed by Gautama Buddha himself.


The rock temple engraved with Kataram still stands over at the birth place of Prince Sidduhath at Lumbini.

It should be highlighted that this Vihara had been revered by the people in Heladiva as one of Atamasthana until the period of Mahanuwara kingdom. One of the places of Atamasthana called Silumina Seya mentioned in the Pirith Potha was no anywhere else but this place. It can be seen that there had been a Seya of that nature in the past, later it had been destroyed and disappeared.

The route direction to this place and some more information about that had been mentioned in the first place and please read that as well.


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The birth place of Prince Sidduhath, the cave Indasaala in Bambaragala Raja Maha Vihara.

3. The Migadaya in Isipathana where the very first sermon of the Buddha was held

The sacred ground where the Damsak Pawathum Sutta was preached is known today as Isin Bassagala Raja Maha Vihara and it is situated near Madawachchiya in the district of Anuradhapura. During the time that Gautama Buddha was living, this place was popular among the Buddhists in Helabima  as Isipathanaarama monastery. A very long period like eight hundred years, the ancient Buddhist kings and the people had used this place as one significant place among other Atamasthana to go and pay their homage

Thought this rock plane is not having a great height, hundreds of thousands of people can gather there at once. The natural cave called Arahant Guha[7] is situated in the east slope of this rock and it was the meditating and dwelling place for the great five disciples of the Buddha. This can be seen even to this date. A well with everlasting supply of water is also situated there. There is a very peculiar line of banyan trees stretching to the east side of the Arahant Guha, it is actually a massive banyan tree which has covered a large area. Next to the banyan tree is a deer forest stretching over an area of 100 acres. Even to this date that one can notice the visits of animals like deer and peacocks to the deer forest. This is natural scenery for wild life.

When the time that Gautama Buddha preached his very first teaching of Dhamma, this place was ruled by a king called Saathaagira of the Yakkha tribe. King Hemawatha was a friend of King Saathaagira. And also it is necessary to mention here that in the past this place was coming under the kingdom called Kasi.

This regional King Saathaagira built a small Dagaba in the very middle of this rock plane where Gautama Buddha held his very first sermon and used it for his worshipping activities. Later, an offshoot of the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi tree in Hiriwadunna was taken and planted in this place. This most ancient sacred Bodhi tree is well protected and still surviving there for anyone to go and pay the due respect and honor. Somewhere closer to that period, a pair of sacred footprints of Buddha which was blessed by the Gautama Buddha is enshrined and built a Vihara.


The sacred footprint of the Buddha still stands over at the Isinbassagala Raja Maha Vihara.

This Vihara was used for worshipping and this place was popular as one of the places of Atamasthna in the past. This place is named as Isipathanaarama monastery in the Vihara Asna in the Pirith Potha.

This place had been worshipped by the kings of the Naaga tribe as well. This is proved by a rock slate which is engraved with figures of cobras and cobra heads.

After the Enlightenment of the Buddha, it was this sacred place gave the birth to the very first Sanga[8] and the sixty disciples of the Buddha Sasana[9] of this Buddha who listened to the very first sermon of Gautama Buddha. Hence the origination of this Buddha Sasana was occurred in this sacred place. Later, all the kings, the Counts and the people in Helabima  considered this place also as one place of Atamasthana and paid their homage for a long period of time.            

4. Kusinara, where the Gautama Buddha attended in to his Parinibbana.

The Kusinara monastery (Budugala) of charming beauty is situated in the upper bank of the river Walawe in the vicinity of the Kalthota Divisional Secretariat, near Balangoda, in the Rathnapura district. In the past, this region was reigned by the kings of the Malla Dynasty, Gautama Buddha attended in to his Parinibbana in this small city which was popular as the city of Kusinara and today it is known as Budugala.

The area called Rajawaka today situated near Budugala was the capital city of the kingdom of Malla. That day, the areas coming under the kingdom of Malla were stretching from Ambilipitiya to the richest upper region of river Walawe.

Anyone going to the city of Kusinara in Budugala today and the environment what he experiences there will remind him, even to this date, the phrases in the Maha Parinibbana Sutta. This Kusinara is a small city protected by nature. Even though Ananada Thero invited Gautama Buddha not to attend to his Parinibbana in this city but in a place like the city of Rajagaha, city of Champa, city of Shrawasthi or any other main city, Buddha did not accept it and passed away in this same city.


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The ruins of Raja Maha Vihara in Budugala.

In this manner, Gautama Buddha attended to his Parinibbana in the Sal grow called Upawarthana of kings of Malla and the crematorium made to cremate the body of  Buddha can still be seen there. Today this can be observed in the land which is very closer to the Budugala Vihara, or in other words, in the archeological reserve situated next to the Budugala Vihara. At the cremation of the Buddha, these kings of Malla received the most sacred tooth relic and some other relics of the Buddha. For the first time in this Helabima , the kings of Malla built a chamber for the most sacred toot relic and for other relics in this city of Kusinara in the kingdom of Malla and made arrangements for the people to come and pay their homage to these relics of the Buddha. Even to this date the ruins of this chamber of the sacred tooth relic can be seen there in Budugala. An offshoot of the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Hiriwadunna was planted at a particular place closer to this, five Stupas called Panchawaasa too were built in this place and made arrangements for people to come and pay their homage to them. Hence this place too was considered as a place of Atamasthana.

Gautama Buddha attended in to his Parinibbana in a cave which was engraved with Kataram. In this same cave a pair of sacred footprints of Buddha which were blessed by Buddha himself was placed and worshipping of them were started in that period itself. Because of this, the city of Kusinara too came under the Atamasthana in Helabima. Prince Dantha and princess Hemamala, the last members of the Malla Dynasty, did not have the strength to give the required protection further to the sacred tooth relic of Buddha, they were not in a position to continue with the custom of offerings & other religious activities conducted for the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha. By this time the kingdom of Anuradhapura was well developed and ruled by the powerful kings. They secretly brought the sacred tooth relic of Buddha to Anuradhapura and handed over it to the ruler of Anuradhapura, King Kithsiri Mewan. Until such time it was not written in the history that the custom of worshipping the sacred tooth relic of Buddha was conducted in the kingdom of Anuradhapura.

Hence, by the time of King Kithsiri Mewan the kingdom of Anuradhapura turned in to the full fledged Buddhist capital city in Helabima. The offshoot of the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi tree, the pair of the sacred footprint of the Buddha, the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha and also all the Hela Atuwa texts were taken down to Anuradhapura from Ruhuna. This was by the time of 303 AD.

5. The Jethavanarama Monastery in the city of Savath

The area covered with the mountain range and filled with the historical ruins called Ritigala today in the Anuradhapura district was known as the Jethavanarama monastery in the past and was considered as one of the places in Atamasthana.

In his initial stage, after his Enlightenment, the Gautama Buddha spent his life in Veluvanarama monastery in the city of Rajagaha. Later, the Count Anepidu spent his great wealth and built the magnificent Jethavanarama monastery in the Naa forest in the Ritigala Peak. After that, near 20 years of the latter part of his life, Gautama Buddha lived and preached his Dhamma in this centre in the Jethavanarama monastery in the Ritigala Peak.

In the ancient times, the kingdom called Kosol was coming under Devahela in Helabima  and the city of Savath was the capital city there. Today there is a thick jungle in the eastern region next to Ritigala and in the ancient times it was the capital city of the city of Savath in the kingdom of Kosol. The city of Savath was disappeared from the trails of the history as this region was fully covered by the thick jungles for a period 1000 years and more.

Even to this date the ruins found in the grounds of Jethavanarama monastery in the city of Savath clearly prove that thousands of Bhikkus who had experienced the fruitions in the supermundane path had lived there. What is significant in this sacred ground which was built by the Count Sudaththa is that all the Viharas and monasteries found there are made with solid rocks.

Now, the buildings which date back to this era are discovered from many areas in Helabima in Lanka. What can be seen in all these places is that all these most exclusive creations of solid rocks are made using one common technology and they had spread well across Helabima in the ancient times. In connection to the story of Ritigala, everybody talks about someone lived in Ritigala called Ritigala Jayasena. This Ritigala Jayasena is no one else but the chief technician who was in-charge of building of Jethavanarama monastery of the Count Sudaththa. The elders in Ritigala remind this name Jayasena even to this date with all the due respects and honor.

Following the same way that the Count Sudaththa built and offered the Jethavanarama monastery for the use of Gautama Buddha, another wealthy Count lived in the city of Savath also built and offered a similar magnificent monastery for Arahant Therani Yashodara as well. It was located in the place called “Maanaawa Kanda[10] today and is situated to the west side of Ritigala Peak. In the past this peak was known as “Meheni Aaraama Kanda”.[11] The “Maanaawa Kanda” is situated 1 km away from the Maradankadawala town. This town is situated very closer to Ritigala. It can be seen that an attempt had been made to build Viharas and monasteries as much as similar to the ones in Ritigala in this Maanawa Kanda monastery as well. Very large ponds filled with water, the caves, Viharas & monasteries and also other required facilities, chambers for the use of 500 Bhikkunis can be observed here in this place. As it was in Ritigala, it’s a very significant feature that all these too are built using solid rocks. It is very obvious that both these places are built in the same period using the identical technology. This historical sacred place called Jethavanarama monastery found in the Tripitaka Canon, Pirith Potha and also in Mahavamsa is known as Ritigala today and it was one of the Atamasthana that the Buddhists visited and paid their homage in the eras prior to Anuradhapura period. It is mentioned in the history that following the guidance of Gautama Buddha an offshoot of the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi tree in Hiriwadunna was grown here, it was named as Ananda Bodhi[12], a pair of sacred footprint of Buddha too was placed there and people had paid their homage to them. This Ananda Bodhi was grown in the Naa forest which is situated to the north of the Gandakili[13] built for the use of Gautama Buddha which is known as the archeological site of Ritigala. Today this sacred Bodhi tree cannot be identified as it was covered and disappeared by the great jungle. The Ritigala Peak is surrounded by a mountain range and the history says that there had been another 8 sacred lands in these mountains.

6. Veluvanarama monastery – The city of Rajagaha.

In the ancient times, the city of Rajagaha was situated in a large area which is known today as the Rajagala Archeological ruins in Ampara – Maha Oya road in the district of Ampara. In this mother earth, the biggest Buddhist heritage of this Buddha Kalpa[14] was situated here in this place. That is in Rajagala in Ampara. The Veluvanarama monastery in the city of Rajagaha was the main center of the Buddhist world in the past and it was stretching over more than 1600 acres of land area and had all the facilities such as Aaramas, monasteries, Chaityas, large tanks, wild parks, Pirivenas[15], academies, hospitals, alms-giving halls etc. Most of the Eighty Great Disciples of Buddha entered in to the Order and spent the rest of their life in this wild park of Rajagala. Both Agrasrawakas[16]Arahant Sariyuth & Mugalan and also one of the wisest disciples of Buddha, Maha Arahant Maha Kachchaayana, spent most of their life and entered in to Parinibbana here at this city of Rajagala.

After the Enlightenment of Gautama Buddha, he has spent his first year at the Isipathanaarama monastery (near Madawachchiya) and after that, a very long period like 25 years, then and there, he had resided at the Veluvanarama monastery in the city of Rajagaha, the Tripitaka Canon says.

The kingdom of Magadha which was reigned by King Bimbisara was situated in this region. In the ancient times a very large area like Ampara district, a large area like Bibila and Madagama in Monaragala district, also another large area in the Badulla district were coming under the kingdom of Magadha. The Tripitaka is an incident occurred in this Helabima, but not in India. Even before the beginning of the kingdom of Anuradhapura, for thousand years, this kingdom of Magadha was the most developed kingdom in this Helabima. Canon written in this Helabima says that the ruler of Magadha, King Bimbisara, built the Veluvanarama monastery in the city of Rajagaha and offered it to Gautama Buddha by pouring water with a pitcher.[17] This The kingdom of Magadha did not experience any external invasions or any external cultural influences as it was situated far away from India and also as it was surrounded by a range of mountains & natural Lagoons in Madakalapuwa i.e. Baticcaloa. Because of this, from the time of the Sasana of Kashyapa Buddha, the Maghadi language was well secured and protected in this region of Magadha, this is the effect of the Darmatha. Today, the Veluvanarama monastery in Rajagala is covered by the thick jungles. But, the thousands of legendry ruins discovered from this area prove that it had been so rich and glorious in the ancient times.

When King Ashoka in India was searching the members of the royal families and assassinating them in total, Prince Mihindu and his three sisters escaped from there, came to Helabima  and saved their lives at the city of Rajagaha in the kingdom of Magadha. In today’s context that is in Rajagala in Ampar. That is a good example to prove that this sacred place had been a very safe place in the past. The Prince Mihindu, Princess Sangamiththaa and princesses such as Sumanaa & Sunandha came to the city of Rajagaha, learnt the Magadhi language, and learnt the Buddha Dhamma too from the academy in the Veluwanaramaya monastery in Rajagala. This is a solid proof that even after 280 years of the Parinibbana of Gautama Buddha that thousands of Arahants who had experienced the fruitions in the supermundane path had lived in this academy.

The Great Arahant Mahinda Thero who entered in to the Order and learnt Dhamma in the city of Rajagaha, who experienced the fruition of the supermundane path was a member in a royal family in India. He was a very close relation of King Ashoka. But, he was not a son of King Ashoka, clearly says the great Indian historian Professor A L Basham.

Arahant Mahinda Thero came to the kingdom of Lankapura situated in Anuradhapura to introduce Buddha Dhamma when he was living in the city of Rajagaha in Ampara. In other words it was from Rajagala to Anuradhapura. Until this time period, it was not even possible to see a single disciple of Buddha in the north India as it was filled with riots, fear of war, disputes and confusions etc. Even King Ashoka was able to see a disciple of Buddha for the first time near river Kaveri after the war of Kalinga. By this time, driven by the influence made by Helabima, Buddha Dhamma had spread out to the regions in south India till river Kaveri. As the power of Dharmma Chakra[18] held in Isinbassagala had gone even up to the regions which were boarded by river Kaveri, by this period, the disciples of Buddha lived even in regions in India up to river Kaveri.

It a fact that Arahant Mahinda too had gone to India when King Ashoka gave up the war and became a devotee of Buddha Dhamma. But it is proved by the inscriptions in Rajagala in Ampara that Arahant Mahinda Thero had come to Helabima  again, spent the rest of his life in the city of Rajagaha where he entered in to the Order, attended in to Parinibbana there and his ashes had been deposited in that place itself. Presently 48 inscriptions had been discovered from the archeological site in Rajagala and one inscription out of them, which is  engraved in a solid rock, says very clearly that ashes of Arahant Mahinda Thero had been deposited in that place. This inscription engraved in a solid rock is placed next to a Chaitya. Now this Chaitya had been destroyed by the treasure hunters and even to this date it can be seen some ruins of it. It is also proved that this Seya is nothing but the Seya of Arahant Mahinda.

Writing of Hela commentaries for the sacred Buddha Dhamma and also storing of the Hela commentary texts were done in the Buddhist academy situated in the sacred grounds of Veluvanarama monastery in Rajagaha. These Hela commentaries were written in ancient Hela language. These were written during a time period which was hundred years in advance to the writing of Tripitaka Canon. In the same period that Gautama Buddha was living, the Hela commentary called Budukeli Atuwa had been written. The Mahavamsa also says that the most intellectual Arahant Maha Kachchaayana Thero had initiated the writing of Budukeli Atuwa commentary and Arahant Mahinda Thero had brought it with him when he came to Anuradhapura.

Meheni Sangamiththaa too entered in to the Order at one monastery established for nuns which was situated near the sacred grounds of Veluvanarama monastery in Rajagala. Her two sisters, Sumanaa and Sunandaa too entered in to the Order at this same place. Later, they disrobed and got married to a prince called Bodhigupptha, says the Bodhi Vamsa. Meheni Sangamiththaa started her journey of taking in procession an offshoot of the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi of Hiriwadunna by the pageant to Anuradhapura from Veluvanarama monastery in Rajagala in Ampara. Hiriwadunna is situated in between Rajagala and Anuradhapura.

Some of the Eighty Great Disciple of Buddha, such as Arahants Sariyuth and Mugalan, had entered in to Parinibbana even before the Parinibbana of Gautama Buddha. Following the instructions given by the Gautama Buddha, some Chaityas were built at the grounds of Veluvanarama monastery in the city of Rajagaha in Rajagala to deposit the sacred relics of the great Arahants. After the Parinibbana of these great Arahants, their sacred relics were deposited in these Chaityas. By now, more than ten Chaityas of this type had been discovered from the archeological site in Rajagala. All these Chaityas are burrowed and destroyed by the treasure hunters. It is because these sacred relics were enshrined in golden caskets. Treasure hunters had destroyed the Chaityas in order to steal the gold..

As it was practiced in other Atamasthana, a pair of sacred footprints of Buddha blessed by Gautama Buddha was enshrined in a Vihara in the city of Rajagaha (Rajagala) as well and the Buddhists lived there used to pay their homage to this Vihara. Even to this present day, this pair of sacred footprint of the Buddha is still placed at the archeological site of Rajagala. One can compare this pair of sacred footprint of Buddha with others placed in the museum in Anuradhapura, Salapathala Maluwa in Ruwanweli Maha Seya & Isinbassagala and can identify the similar features of them. In the past, the kings, the Counts & the people in the kingdom of Magadha also took an offshoot of Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi tree of Hiriwadunna, planted it in the city of Rajagaha and used to pay their homage for it. This particular sacred Bodhi tree must be living still somewhere in the great jungle in Rajagala.

The Parinibbana Sutta clearly says that Bhikkus and Bhikkunis who had experienced the fruition of the supermandane path had lived in 28 Aaramas situated in the city of Rajagaha. The Parinibbana Sutta in the Tripitaka Canon says that in prior to the final journey from the city of Rajagaha to the city of Kusinara for the Parinibbana, Gautama Buddha had assembled all the Bhikkus & Sangas resided in 28 Aaramas in Rajagala, had informed about it and had started the journey to Kusinara.

Our attention should be given to one special thing in Tripitaka Canon written in Lanka – Helabima  – and also in Mahavamsa (paragraph 3) written in Lanka.

That story is about the arrangements of first Dharma Sangayana.[19] The Mahavamsa says that first Dharma Sangayana was held in the city of Rajagaha after the completion of three months of the Parinibbana of the Buddha. It was written in Mahavamsa in this manner as it was the history of this Helabima. Anything happened in India was written in Mahavamsa. Anyone who has a clear mind and can think with a balanced mind can understand this well. If a Dharma Sangayana of this nature had been scheduled in India that day, there shouldn’t be any valid reason for them to be recorded in the texts and documents written in India, but in the texts written in Lanka. The Sapthaparni Cave situated in the grounds of Veluvanarama monastery arranged by King Ajaasath for the first Dharma Sangayana can still be seen at the archeological site in Rajagala. The Mahavamsa and Tripitaka Canon say that this main cave and six more caves around it were the residing places for the 500 Arahants who came there to participate in the first Dharma Sangayana. The umbrella shaped cave, known as Kudagala[20] cave today, situated among the other caves in Rajagala is an extraordinary creation to be seen at Rajagala. Any one goes to Rajagala today can observe this Sapthaparni cave with his own eyes, compare it with the description given in the Mahavamsa and understand the truth. All these information are found in Mahavamsa written in Lanka. It is because all these incidents were relevant to this Helabima. It is only the hard core followers of false ideas, Michaa Drushtika, would still try to pass these true incidents occurred in this Helabima to India. A huge rock stretched over 500 acres is situated to the eastern border of the archeological site of Rajagala. Any one goes there can observe this even to this date. This huge rock situated at the rear side of the Piyangala Aaranya Senasana is nothing but the Gijjakoota Parvatha mentioned in the Tripitaka. There are numerous caves engraved with Kataram, in and around the base of this Gijjakoota Parvatha. The Tripitaka says that this Gijjakoota Parvatha is situated near the border of Veluvanarama monastery in the city of Rajagaha. Anyone wishing to go there today, all the information stated in the Tripitaka over the Gijjakoota Parvatha and the city of Rajagaha can be seen with his own eyes and get them confirmed.

A water spring with a continuous flow of crystal clear water, ideal for drinking, can still be seen at a place called Seetha Wanaya[21] in the base of Gijjakoota Parvatha. A massive solid rock – made water tank with a shape of a begging bowl which dates back to the same period can be seen even to this date at the grounds of Veluvanarama monastery. This tank had been used to store the pure drinking water for the use of the monks lived there. It should be mentioned that in this rock-made begging bowl can stored more than hundred gallons of water.

Nearly 28 no of ancient inscriptions written in Hela letters which were used even prior to the Anuradhapura period are discovered from the archeological site in Rajagala. The Department of Archeology had failed to analyze and decide the exact time period of these rock letters. The scholars think that these are the letters in Hela language which had been used in one particular ear which is older that the Anuradhapura era.

All the constructions (all these archeological ruins) in the city of Rajagaha found during the reign of kingdom of Magadha in prior to the Anuradhapura era, i.e. the ear that Gautama Buddha was living, had been made using hundred percent solid rocks. In that ancient ear where Gautama Buddha was living, the foundations of all the sacred places in this Helabima  had been made using solid rocks. As it was in Rajagala, we can observe a set of constructions with a similar pattern in all the places such as Budugala, Ritigala, Hiriwadunna, Thiriyaaya, Maanawa Kanda, Isinbassagala and Maaligaavila as well. These creations are not made with bricks.  All the models made in India were constructed with bricks. It should be highlighted that the foundations of all the sacred placed in the ancient Helabima were made with solid rocks.

The archeological ruins in Rajagala which became solitude later were destroyed by the treasure hunters and they robbed all the precious gold and jewels enshrined in them. This archeological site in Rajagala was never ever destroyed by the Indian invasions. These were not destroyed by the Dutch, Portuguese or the British. The old historians such as Codrington and H C P Bell did not know any information about them. Even Professor Paranavithana did not see all the ruins in the city of Rajagaha which were stretched over a very large area like 1600 acres.

The large area in Ampara district covered by a circle of mountains such as Rajagala, Nilgala, Buddangala, Samangala and Nuwaragala is not colonized yet and it was the city of Rajagaha, the capital city of the kingdom of Magadha. Now, it can be confirmed that this is the location of Veluvanarama monastery, offered to Gautama Buddha, and 28 surrounding other Viharas & monasteries. After the destruction of the original Hela kingdoms in Ruhuna & the east, when the city of Anuradhapura became the capital city, this region in Rajagala too was covered by the jungle. All the kingdoms such as the kingdom of Magadha, the kingdom of Lichchavi, the kingdom of Vajji and the kingdom of Sakya were suppressed by the thick jungles and disappeared even without leaving any trace of them. Even though the Mahavamsa and the Tripitaka Canon carried clear information about these places, later, all these places were considered as of the places situated in India. It is because the scholars who wrote books later did not have any source to imagine about them and by this time the medieval Buddhists knew about the model places built by King Ashoka in India. Because of the effects of the Darmatha these archeological sites were secured in this manner and that helped the Hela Buddhists living today to go and see these sacred places.

In the ancient past, people from foreign lands came to the city of Rajagaha to learn the sacred Buddha Dhamma of Gautama Buddha which helped to direct them on the path of Nibbana. This city of Rajagala in Helabima, what is known as Rajagala today, was the headquarters, the main centre for Buddha Dhamma in the ancient Buddhist world. Even after the Parinibbana of Gautama Buddha, this centre was in progress for another long period of thousand years. Later, it got destroyed, bereaved and became desolate and no one could guess a positive reason for that. Even to this date this area is not occupied by people.

7. The most sacred footprint of Buddha placed in Samanala Peak.

When the time Gautama Buddha was living the regions such as the Samanala Peak and the kingdom of Kururata were ruled by the regional king called “Samana”. King “Samana” invited Buddha to the kingdom of Kururata and Gautama Buddha spent one Vas Season[22] there. In this Vas Season, Gautama Buddha spent the time in the cave called Divaa Guhava in the kingdom of Kururata. This temple of rock cave known as Divaa Guhava today is the place arranged by King Samana for the Buddha to spend the Vas Season.

In the past, this kingdom of King Samana was filled with mountains stretched from Mahiyangana to Kuruvita. In this kingdom, Samanala Peak was one of the highest and the charming places. It was this King Samana who engraved a sacred footprint of Buddha on the top of this peak, got the blessings of the Buddha and let the people to come and pay their homage to this sacred footprint of the Buddha. King Samana learnt Dhamma from Gautama Buddha, attended to Sothapanna stage, the very first stage in the fruitions in the supermundane path, and later was elevated to the status of god by the people in Lanka.

It is clearly mentioned in our history that our ancient kings had worshipped the sacred footprint of Buddha placed in the Samanala Peak in their pilgrimages to Atamasthana even in the eras such as Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. King Nissankamalla who reigned the kingdom of Polonnaruwa had gone a pilgrimage to the Samanala Peak to pay his homage to the sacred footprint of Buddha. He had observed that the sacred footprint of the Buddha was not secured enough, he had made a shelter for the protection of the sacred footprint of the Buddha and enhanced it to the present day condition. Today we worship the rocky slate made by King Nissankamalla in protection of the sacred footprint of the Buddha. The sacred footprint of the Buddha which was blessed by the Gautama Buddha is placed safely eight feet under that rocky slate.

8. The most sacred footprint of Buddha in Mokkema

This eighth sacred footprint of Buddha is situated at the end of the Kalpitiya costal line. Kalpitiya was a region which was coming under the kingdom of Naaga in the ancient Heladiva. When Buddha visited to the kingdom of NaagaNaagadeepa – the people lived in the kingdom of Naaga, engraved a sacred footprint of Buddha on a fixed rock situated at the corner of the Kalpitiya costal line, got the blessings for it from Gautama Buddha and used to offer their worshipping for it. The Arabian traders who came to Lanka purely for the trading, noticed that the Naaga kings and the people in the kingdom of Naaga have built a Vihara on the widely spread rocky slate in the shore, had engraved a sacred footprint of Buddha there and pay their homage to it. They too started to pay their homage to this sacred footprint of Buddha.

When Portuguese came to Lanka, they converted the Muhudu Maha Vihara[23] in Mokkema in Kalpitiya in to a fortress and destroyed the stones and the Vihara. In the present day, this Mokkema in Kalpitiya is used as a naval base by the Sri Lanka Navy.  Even to this date the sacred footprint which was blessed by the Gautama Buddha is well secured in this place.

In the most ancient times, even before the dawn of Anuradhapura era, the Buddhist kings and people lived in this Helabima  paid their homage to the sacred footprint of Buddha and the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi. A custom of worshipping the statues of Buddha was not practiced by the people in the ancient Helabima.  The sole objective of the Buddhist community lived in this Helabima was to follow Buddha Dhamma (to follow and live in the principles of Dhamma) and to realizing Nibbana. Even up to a period of 900 years of the Parinibbana of Gautama Buddha, they followed this custom of worshipping Atamasthana. Later, AtamasthanaAta Maha Sthana, The Eight Great Places – were built in the kingdom of Anuradhapura as well and started to worship them. This is because these ancient Atamasthana were located at very faraway places to Anuradhapura. It can be seen that another collection of Atamasthana had been built in Polonnaruwa as well. The Vihara Asna in the Pirith Potha says that the concept of Atamasthana was changed from time to time along with the shifting of kingdoms from place to place.

The worshipping of the statue of the Buddha was started in Lanka by the third or the fourth centuries. In the Mahayana Buddhism originated in India, worshipping the statues of Buddha was a very popular aspect. Since this custom was taken in to Helabima  as well, the Buddhists who live today had given the priority for worshipping the statues of Buddha. Many more ritualistic aspects, offerings and sacrifices of this nature found in the Buddhist culture were imported to Lanka from India. That created the back ground for the establishment of the idea that Buddhism was taken to Lanka from India. Based on this argument, it has to be accepted that many aspects practiced by the Buddhism in Lanka today had been brought down to Lanka from India.

The Mahayana Buddhism in India was in its peak in the reign of Guptha and also in the era of the Kushan Dynasty. The ritualistic performances, customs, the methodologies of recitations, organizing the pageants, offerings made using different sounds, beating of different drums and many more popular aspects in the god-based religions which enhance the faith of the general public gradually embraced by Helabima  and closed up Buddha Dhamma and the virtual path of realizing Nibbana. The ultimate result of this is the birth of a group of people in this Helabima  who believes in Buddhism which plays the role of just satisfying the social welfare and the basic mental needs of the general public and also considers Buddhism just as another aspect in the culture.

In this manner this sacred land where Gautama Buddha was born, which was eulogized with many different titles such as The Land of the Buddha, The Land of Dhamma, The Most Sacred Land in the World and The Island of Jewels was driven to its end.

In any of our history book, the Mahavamsa, Deepavamsa, Bodhivamsa, Thoopa Vamsa or any other text of this nature do not mention any name of any king in Helabima who had gone to India to worship Atamasthana.  A book called “ Arthasaalinie” written in this land, Lanka, says (very clearly) that the kings lived in Helabima  in the ancient times had organized royal pageants and gone to worship these Atamasthana which were situated within the vicinity of this Helabima.

It can be mentioned very clearly that the King Ashoka in India too followed this ancient tradition of worshipping Atamasthana prevailed in Helabima, built Atamasthana in India as well and organized pilgrimages to them. What is highlighted in the inscription of Ashoka are the details of these pilgrimages made by King Ashoka. The Sanskrit texts such as Divyavadana[24] and Lalitavistara clearly say that these common Atamasthana built by King Ashoka for the use of all the religions, had become the Atamasthana of the religions such as Shiva, Vedic and Hinduism by the time of reign of King Shiladithya.

Next Chapter…

[1]The eight offshoots of sacred Jaya Sri Mah Bodhi. These were distributed, planted in different places, monasteries in Helabima.

[2] Pirith is the Sinhala word for Paritta (in Pali), which means protection. “It protects one from all directions”, is the traditional definition. This is the recitation or chanting of the words of the Buddha. Pirith Potha in Sinhala language is the book which contains Pirith.

[3] Saddha – the confidence. Based on the theological religious back grounds this term is interpreted as ‘Faith’ and it is totally wrong.

“Almost all religions are built on faith – rather ‘blind’ faith it would seem. But in Buddhism emphasis is laid on ‘seeing’, knowing, understanding, and not on faith, or belief. In Buddhist texts there is a word Saddha (Skt.sraddha) which is usually translated as ‘faith’ or ‘belief’. But Saddha is not ‘faith’ as such, but rather ‘confidence’ bone out of conviction. In popular Buddhism and also in ordinary usage in the texts the word Saddha, it must be admitted, has an element of ‘faith’ in the sense that it signifies devotion to the Buddha, the Dhamma (Teaching) and the Sangha (The Order).”

Chapter 1 ‘The attitude of mind’ – “What the Buddha taught” Professor Venerable Walpola Rahula.

[4]The white Bodhi tree.

[5]Methodology of carving the drip ledges of the rock as a mean to block the waters flowing on the rock surface and dripping inside the cave. A roof is made under the Kataram, so the waters will flow on to the roof and would not go inside the cave.

[6] He is considered to be the king of deities.

[7]The cave for Arahants or the cave of Arahants.

[8]Sanga – The non-lay disciples of the Buddha. Here in this case it was the one who first entered in to the Sasana, the Order.

[9] Śāsana (Sanskrit), (Pali: sāsana) is a term used by Buddhists and Shaivites to refer to their religion or non-religion. It has a range of possible translations, including teaching, practice, doctrine and Buddha Śãsana, which means “the teaching of the Buddha” (of which there have been several).Since in Buddhism there is no divine god…..(Read more in Appendix).

[10] The mountain or the peak called Maanaawa.

[11]The peak of Meheni Aaramas or the peak where the monastery(s) of Meheni are situated. Meheni are the female Bhikkus or Buddhist nun.

[12]Ananda Bodhi – it was called so as it was Ananda Thero who initiated this task of planting this offshoot of the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Jethawanarama monastery. It says in the history that people who come to see Buddha to Jethwanarama monastery had disappointed as Buddha had gone out by the time of their visit. They made a request from Ananda Thero, as he was the main attendant of Buddha, to set up any object of Buddha in Jethawanarama monastery to pay their homage especially in the absence of the Buddha. Ananda Thero discussed this matter with the Buddha and following the guidance of the Enlightenment One, this offshoot was planted in this manner in the grounds of Jethavanarama monastery.

[13]The personal chamber of the Buddha (also known as Gandhakutiya).

[14]A world-period. An inconceivably long space of time. An eon.

[15] Pirivena – A Pirivena (plural: Piriven) is a monastic college (similar to a seminary) for the education of Buddhist priests in Sri Lanka. These have been the centers of secondary and higher education in ancient times for lay people as well. Today 561 Piriven are founded and maintained by the Ministry of Education. Young priests undergo training at these pirivenas prior to being their Ordination. (Source-Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

[16] Agrasrawakas – The chief disciples of the Buddha, Arahant  Sariyuth  Maha  Thero and Arahant  Mugalan Maha Thero.

[17] This is a custom practiced in the ancient times where donor give away the gift, it could be a new building as in this example, to the receiver by pouring water with a jug or a pitcher over the fingers of the receiver. The custom to be seen in a traditional Sinhala wedding today where the small fingers of the bride and the groom are tied up with a white thread and pouring waters on them by an elderly person could be influenced by this tradition.

[18] i.e. the first sermon of  Gautama Buddha was held in Isinbassagala.

[19]The council of Buddha Dhamma.

[20] Kuda (the umbrella) + gala (the rock or the cave).

[21]The cold forest.

[22]  Vas Season – the rainy season. In the ancient times Bhikkus did not travel in the rainy reason. Unlike today the weather was not disturbed in this manner. It rained heavy showers in the rainy season. The lands were covered with flood and no one could travel. Because of this, the Bhikkus did not travel out of the monasteries during this period, they worked toward the spiritual purification of mind. The villagers looked after them with food, medicine and other things. Even though weather patterns are changed now, methods of travelling are different to the ones used in the past, this custom is practiced even to this present day by the member of the Order.

[23]The costal Vihara or temple.

[24] The Divyāvadāna or ‘Heavenly Deeds’ is a huge collection of 38 legendary biographies and retellings of events in the life of the Buddha. The purpose of each story is to describe the results of good and bad deeds in former and future lives, but also to explain basic Dhamma in an entertaining way. (Read more in Appendix).

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Methods of worshiping Buddha prevailed in the initial periods in Heladiva

Even in the time that Gautama Buddha lived in Janbudveepa in Helabima, the followers of Dhamma– the Buddhist – wanted to pay their homage to Buddha and for that purpose they had few objects of offerings which were allowed, recommended by Buddha himself. They can be classified in to three parts.

I               Paribogika objects.
II             Uddesika objects.
III            Saririka objects.[1]

It is very clearly mentioned in Tripitaka Canon, Mahavamsa and Deepa Vamsa that the follower of Buddha Dhamma – the Buddhist – who lived in the very initial periods in Helabima  had paid his homage to all these three parts.

It was in this Helabima  that Sidduhat Bosath was born, Gautama Buddha gained his Enlightenment and he preached his Dhamma for a period of forty five years. The followers of Buddha Dhamma – Buddhist people – who lived in the initial period in this Helabima had the custom of paying their homage to all these three parts of sacred objects in the memory of the Buddha. They had done it with utmost respect and honor.

In the very initial periods, Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi [2]which gave shelter for Buddha in his Enlightenment, what he used, Pariboga, and also the sacred offshoots of Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi were the most important object of worshipped by the people in Helabima.  It is mentioned in the history books written in our country that following the advices given to Ananda Thero by Gautama Buddha, an offshoot of Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi was taken in procession from Hiriwadunna to the grounds of Jethavanarama monastery in the city of Savath, planted it there and paid the due respects. This Jethavanarama monastery was situated in the Naa forest (in Jethwana, the forest of Jetha) in the archeological ground in Ritigala, as we call it nowadays. This Bo tree, Ananda Bodhi, was grown in Naa forest in Ritigala. It seems that it is covered by the thick jungle and extinct today.

In addition to this, the followers of Dhamma in Heladiva, i.e. the Buddhists, had worshipped the Vajrasana used by the Buddha. What is still there at the base of the Hiriwadunna Siri Maha Bodhi, what is worshipped by the Buddhist world is nothing else, but the Vajrasana used by Gautama Buddha. Though it is seen some more Vajrasanas like this at different sacred places in Helabima, today they cannot be seen in public.

The Uddesika object of offering which was used by many followers of Buddha from the time of Gautama Buddha was the sacred footprint of Buddha. These sacred footprints endowed with amazing symbols. Because of this, rock slates were carved with these special symbols and the followers of Buddha who lived in the ancient times used to worship these sacred footprints. During the time that Buddha lived, there were eight sacred footprints which were blessed by Gautama Buddha himself. People in Helabima  started to place them in eight different locations and pay their homage. There are locations where the sacred footprint has been placed as a pair and in another place it has been placed as one single sacred footprint. These places, later, were popular as Atamasthanas – The Great Eight Places – among the followers of Buddha lived in those days. And people used to go on pilgrimages to these places.  A book called “Hasthasaalinie” written in the Anuradhapura period says that even in the period of Anuradhapura, many kings in Hela kingdoms, noblemen and the Counts had gone to these places for worshipping in royal parades.

During the time of Gautama Buddha, He recommended the paying homage to Saririka objects, i.e. the relics. Gautama Buddha said to construct the Chaityas & the Dagabas and enshrine the relics of the Buddha, relics of a Pachcheka Buddha, relics of an Arahant and the relics of a Chakravarthi King and pay homage to them. Just after few days of His Enlightenment, “Thapassu Balluka”, the merchant brothers asked for something form Buddha to worship and Saririka object given to them by Buddha was some hair relics. The Dagaba built by them enshrining these hair relics was known as “Girihandu Seya”. This Dagaba was situated in a place in the kingdom of Anga near Trincomalee. All the Buddhists do not have any doubt over this. The Dagaba built by King Sumana in Mahiyangana was the second Dagaba in Helabima built in the name of Gautama Buddha. The history says that Buddha’s sacred hair relics had been enshrined and built a Dagaba there. The Tripitaka says that a Chaitya, a Dagaba had been built in the city of Rajagaha enshrining the sacred body relics of the ten Arahants of Great Eighty Disciple of Buddha, Asu Maha Sravaka, such as Arahant Sariyuth and Arahant Mugalan who passed away before Gautama Buddha and due respect had been paid for it. The ruins of all these ten Chaityas still exist at Rajagala in Ampara.  Then it’s proved that it was the custom of the ancient Buddhists, followers of Buddha, of visiting and paying their homage to the Chaityas and Dagabas which were built even many eras prior to Anuradhapura era.

When Gautama Buddha attended in to his Parinibbana in the city of Kusinara (Budugala) that day, all the sacred body relics of Gautama Buddha were divided in to eight potions and given among eight kings who reigned in this Helabima. From that day onwards these sacred relics were revered by the people in Helabima. It is not mentioned in any place, not in any historical text, not Mahavamsa either that sacred relics had been taken in procession to Lanka from India. It was from the city of Kusinara in Budugala, not from anywhere else, that the Princess Hemamala and Prince Dantha took in procession the sacred tooth relic of Gautama Buddha to Anuradhapura. The city of Kusinara too was situated in Janbudveepa. In today’s context it was Budugala in Rathnapura district.

From the day that Gautama Buddha was living, the custom of paying homage to the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi was practiced by the world of Hela Buddhists. Following this custom of growing and paying homage to the offshoots of sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi, during the time that Buddha lived itself, the very first offshoot was taken in procession to Isipathanaarama monastery in Isinbassagala. In the past this place called Isipathanaya in Madawachchiya was coming under the kingdom of Kasi. The sacred offshoot of Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi planted that day in the Raja Maha Vihara of Isinbassagala is well secured and living there. Even to this date Buddhist people in Helabima  pay their homage to this sacred Bodhi tree.

It is again in the same time that Gautama Buddha lived an offshoot of the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi was planted in the Veluvanarama monastery in the city of Rajagaha in Rajagala in Ampara and people used to pay their most respect to it. The region of Rajagala was covered by the great Jungle for more than 1000 years and because of this no any trace can be found about this sacred Bo tree.

Another branch of the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi was planted in Lumbini where the Prince Sidddhartha was born (today it is Bambaragala), it can be seen even today at the ground of Wewagama Raja Maha Vihara monastery.

The city of Kusinara where the Gautama Buddha attended in to his Parinibbana was another place that one offshoot of the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi was taken in procession and planted. The most ancient Bodhi tree which is well known as Tampitayaya Bodhi which is located in between Budugala and Kuragala is nothing but another offshoot taken in this manner. There is a story in Bodhi Vamsa which revolves around the true story of taking in procession an offshoot of the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Hiriwadunna by Meheni Sangamiththaa to Anuradhapura after 280 years of the Parinibbana of Gautama Buddha.

Bodhi Vamsa was written in the reign of Dambadeniya and the story about this is briefly highlighted in Uththara Vamsa, Mahavamsa and Deepa Vamsa.

During the reign of King Ashoka, Prince Mahinda escaped from India with three princesses namely   Sangamiththaa, Sumana and Sunanadaa and those prince and the princesses were secretly hiding themselves in Veluvanarama monastery in Rajagala in Ampara. All these four are the princes and princesses of a royal family in the region of Kalinga. These members of the royal family who are related to King Ashoka in blood escaped from him by the fear of the war. It’s a well know fact that King Ashoka massacred his own relations, the members of the royal families of the regional kings in India. These princes and princesses escaped from there and came to Helabima  to save their life. First, all these princes and princesses entered in to the Order, became Bhikkus and Bhikkunis. It was nobody else but Mahinda Thero, who lived in Veluvanarama monastery in Rajagala in Ampara, entered in to the Order as Great Arahant Mahinda, experienced the fruitions in the supermundane path, learnt Sinhala, Maghadi and also Buddha Dhamma and later introduced Buddha Dhamma to Anuradhapura. Later, when King Ashoka converted himself in to Buddha Dhamma and known as Dharmashoka, Arahant Mahinda Thero went to India and worked for spreading out the Buddha Dhamma in India. Arahant Mahinda Thero spent the later part of his life and attended in to Parinibbana in the city of Rajagaha which was known as Rajagala in Ampara.

This is proved even to this date by an inscription written on a rock slate found in Rajagala in Ampara and also some ruins of a Chaitya located near that inscription. According to this, the Veluvanarama monastery situated in the city of Rajagaha, what is known as Rajagala in Ampara today was the World’s Centre for Buddha Dhamma where Mahinda Thero entered in to Sanga, learnt Dhamma and experienced the fruitions in the supermundane path. If Arahant Mahinda Thero had come to Anuradhapura from somewhere in India, there should be a very valid reason for him to choose Rajagala, a very faraway place from Anuradhapura, to spend his latter part of life and also to attend in to his Parinibbana. Based on this, it can be proved that Arahant Mahinda Thero came to Anuradhapura from the city of Rajagaha, went back to the city of Rajagaha and by that time there was a well developed and wealthy kingdom of Hela in Rajagala and it was popular as a Buddhist academy.

Arahant Mahinda Thero lived in Veluvanarama monastery in Rajagala and his sister Princess Sangamiththaa too entered in to the Order in one Meheni Arama[3]situated in the same grounds of Veluvanarama monastery. Later she also experienced the fruitions in the supermandane path and went to Anuradhapura with Arahant Mahinda Thero to establish the Meheni Sasna, the Order of the nuns, in Lankapura. Bodhi Vamsa says that on her way to Anuradhapura, she had taken an offshoot of Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Hiriwadunna for the Buddhist people in Anuradhapura.

When the time that Gautama Buddha gained his Enlightenment, the region of Hiriwadunna was ruled by King Muchalinda of the Naaga tribe. This King Muchalinda in the Naaga tribe built a chamber for Buddha which is to be used for the protection from the rain and a rock seat to be used for sleeping. These two can be seen even to this date at Hiriwadunna. The seat used in the Enlightenment, the Vajrasana, too was built by King Muchalinda. When the time Meheni Sangamiththaa came to Hiriwadunna to take an offshoot of the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi tree, it was reigned by the kings of the Naaga tribe. A true story to prove this is included in Bodhi Vamsa and also in Mahavamsa. That is the story of paying homage to the offshoot of the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Naalowa, the world of Naa tribe, before it was taken in procession to Anuradhapura.

“Naa lowa sathiyak puda lada bodiya – the sacred Bodhi tree which was revered in the world (the country, kingdom) of Naa (the tribe)”, this poem or stanza in the Bodhi Vandana[4] depicts this story. In the past Naa lowa was this kingdom which came under the powers of the tribe of Naa. That day there were many kingdoms of Naa tribe in Helabima .

Princess Sangamiththaa came to Hiriwadunna from the city of Rajagaha (Ampara), got the patronage from the king of the Naaga tribe and took in procession the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi along in the river Neranjana. The river called Hurulu Oya and Yaan Oya today were the river Neranjana and it was a large river in the past.  The offshoot of the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi was taken in procession in this river and handed over to King Devanampiyathissa at one ferry near Maha Kanadarawa.

The Mahavamsa says that many kings who reigned in Ruhuna & east got invitations to Anuradhapura for the ceremony of planting this offshoot of Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi, these members of the royal families who came there had gone to Hiriwadunna on their way to Ruhuna, had taken some offshoots from the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi and planted them in Ruhuna. The sacred Bodhi tree in Katharagama was one of these Bodhi trees.

Somewhere closer to this period, one offshoot taken from the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Hiriwadunna had been gifted to King Ashoka who reigned in India. The history says that King Ashoka had planted it in the artificial Buddha Gaya built by him and had paid the due respects. The illustration in the gateway of Sanchi Vihara is this ceremony of accepting the offshoot of the Bodhi tree by King Ashoka.

The history says further that during the latter stage of King Ashoka’s life, this offshoot of the sacred Bodhi tree had been destroyed by one of his queens by piercing it with poisonous thorns. It says that another attempt had been made later to take another offshoot of the Bodhi tree to India, but it had not been successful.  This Bodhi tree for which an attempt was made later to take in procession to India had been successful only up to the sacred grounds of Thanthirimale, but not beyond that, and even to this date this offshoot of the Bodhi tree still living there in the sacred grounds of Thanthirimale and people can pay their due respects for it.

Here in this Helabima, during the time period that Buddha was living, eight sacred Bodhi trees were planted at eight different places for the purpose of worshippings of Buddhist community. The Buddhists lived in the past used to place the sacred footprints of Buddha at all the places where they grew the offshoots of the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi, also at the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Hiriwadunna, got the blessings for them from Gautama Buddha and paid their homage to them. In the past, there were six places where the sacred footprints were placed as in pairs in Deva Hela in Janbudveepa in Helabima. These six sacred places are the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Hiriwadunna, Isipathnaaraamaya monastery in Isinbassagala, the birth place of Sidduhath in Bambaragala, Tampitayaaya near Budugala in the city of Kusinara, Jethavanarama monastery in Ritigala and Veluvanarama monastery in Rajagala. In addition to these, the sacred footprints were placed in Mokkema (Kalpitiya) which came under the kingdom of Naaga and on the peak of Samanala Kanda.[5] There should be a very special reason to place one single sacred footprint in Mokkema and in Samanala Kanda and to place the sacred footprints as pairs in other places.

The sacred footprint of Buddha, which was placed for the worshipping for the Buddhists at the grounds of Hiriwadunna where the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi was resided, had been taken out from that place just after Meheni Sangamiththaa took in procession a sacred offshoot of Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi to Anuradhapura and enshrined it in a newly built Vihara situated next to the royal palace in Anuradhapura. The members of the royal family and also the people in the county used to pay their homage to the newly planted offshoot of the sacred Siri Maha Bodhi tree and the Vihara built near the royal palace enshrining the sacred footprint of the Buddha. According to this, it was the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi and the sacred footprint of Buddha that people that used to pay their homage in the very early stage in Anuradhapura period.

The practice of worshipping the sacred footprint of Buddha came to an end gradually along with the constructions of the great Dagabas, the Ruwanweli Maha Chaitya and Thooparama Maha Chaitya. After the beginning of worshipping of Buddha statues, paying homage to the sacred footprint of Buddha placed in the Peak of Samanala Mountain in to being. But the practice of paying homage to the sacred footprints of the Buddha got totally extinct. The Buddhist community living today pays their respect to the sacred footprint of Buddha placed in the Peak of Samanala not as a way of paying their due respect to Gautama Buddha but does it in a way of showing their devotion and their interest in different sacrifices & offerings to God Saman.

Once, these most sacred Paribogika objects of Buddha were revered by the kings & queens and the Buddhists in the ancient Helabima. But in the later stage the fate experienced by them was very regrettable.

King Muchalinda of the Naaga tribe made a pair of sacred footprints of Buddha, placed them near the sacred Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi in Hiriwadunna and made arrangements for people to pay their homage to them. These sacred footprints had received the blessings from the Buddha himself. Later, they were removed from that place, brought them down to Anuradhapura and placed in a newly built Vihara which was situated closer to the royal palace in Mahamewna Uyana. People used to pay their homage to them. From the time of King Devanampiyathissa, the kings of Heladeepa who reigned in Anuradhapura paid their homage to these sacred footprints of the Buddha for a very long period of time. But, this sacred custom of worshipping the sacred footprints of the Buddha practiced by the ancient Buddhists in the Helabima  got totally extinct along with the beginning of building and worshipping great Dagabas and Buddha statues.

The most brutal incident than this is that the sacred pair of the footprints of the Buddha found from the Jethavanarama monastery in Ritigala, which was revered by the kings and the people in Heladiva, and some few such pairs of the sacred footprints of the Buddha found from different sacred places had been fixed in to the Salapathala Maluwa[6] in Ruwanweli Maha Seya and today people step on and walk on them. Professor Paranavithana says that Mr. HCP Bell had stated in his diary that this pair of sacred footprints of the Buddha which was considered as relics found from Ritigala was fixed in to the grounds of Salapathala Maluwa in Ruwanweli Maha Seya for the protection.

And also the pair of the sacred footprints of the Buddha which was taken in procession from Hiriwadunna to Anuradhapura with all royal respect & honor is just thrown now on the ground in front of the old museum in Anuradhapura and they do not get any protection from the rain and burning sun heat. Today it is considered only as an object with some antique values.

The sacred footprint of the Buddha placed at Isinbassagala monastery is not used now for any worshipping and used just as a base to place a statue of Buddha. The Buddha statue which is situated near the sacred Siri Maha Bodhi in Isinbassagala is placed now on these sacred footprints of Buddha.

The worshipping of the sacred footprint of Buddha was practiced even in Budugala in the past, but today this pair of sacred footprint of the Buddha is covered with cement and a statue of a sleeping Buddha is built on them.

It was during the reign of Portuguese that a naval base had been built on the sacred footprints of Buddha which were placed in Mokkema in Kalpitiya.

The pair of sacred footprints of Buddha which was placed in the Veluvanarama Vihara in the city of Rajagaha was discovered recently and today they are just exhibits for public and kept on the ground of the Archaeological Office (Rajagala).

Accordingly, the most sacred footprints of Buddha which were blessed once by Gautama Buddha, respected, honored & worshipped by the ancient Buddhist world, kings & queens, later became some objects of antique values and the practice of paying homage to them got extinct. The Buddhists living in Heladiva today who just hold that title, the Buddhist who are not aware of Buddha’s teachings, the Buddhists who have the faith in religions pay their homage not to the most sacred objects which were blessed by Buddha but only to the statues of Buddha.

Next Chapter…

[1] Or named as Cetiyas. Paribogika Cetiyas, Uddesika Cetiyas, Saririka Cetiyas. (Read more in Appendix).

[2]  The sacred fig tree (Ficus religiosa) under which The Buddha attended in to his Enlightenment.

[3]A monastery for Bhikunis.

[4]These are the different poems or stanzas composed in Pali and in Sinhala language used, recited by Buddhists in paying their homage to the sacred Bodhi tree. It’s a very common scene to be observed in every temple where Buddhists offer flowers and other things to the Bo tree and recite these poems while going around or sitting beside the Bo tree. Sometimes this is done while they pour waters to the Bo tree as well.

[5] Samanala Kanda (Kanda – the mountain or the peak) or Sri Pada kanda : In the present day, after the colonial era, this mountain is called Adam’s peak which is seriously wrong. ‘Siri is a synonymous used for Buddha. ‘Sri’ is its Sanskrit formation. ‘Pada’ means the foot. The peak where the Buddha in-printed his sacred foot print is called Sripada Peak.

[6] Stone laid terrace.

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Worshipping Buddha and worshipping Buddha statues

A very long period of 650 years, the day that Gautama Buddha started to preach his Dhamma in 589 BC and until the reign of King Kanishka in India, a custom or a practice of worshipping of Buddha statues was not known by the Buddhist world. According to real Buddha Dhamma ‘the body’ is subjected to decay, something impermanent, did not praise it as something precious or suitable to be worshipped. Because of this, in the ancient time of Buddha Dhamma, no any evidence can be found over the practice of worshipping the statues of Gautama Buddha or any disciples of Buddha. Even in the model kingdom of Buddha, built artificially by Ashoka the Great in India, there wasn’t a single statue of Buddha or a disciple of Buddha, belongs to that period, used for the matter of worshipping.

A picture of Buddha had been used for the first time in the word during the reign of King “Kanishka[1] in India. That was also a picture of Buddha printed on one side of a gold coin used in the trade in the country. Hence, we need to understand that even that very original picture of Buddha known to us had not been used with the due respect or good faith, but for a worldly matter such as trading.

It is clear that the worshipping the Buddha statues was started by the Buddhists in the Mahayana Buddhism in the 3rd century BC in the Kushan Dynasty in India, after the reign of King Kanishka. Later, this was practiced in places such as Mathura, Gandhara, Amarawathi and Nagarjunakonda[2], and then by the time of 5th century it spread in places such as Nalanda and Vellore. Later, sculpturing Buddha statue and worshipping them were started in Lanka and in many other countries in the east.

Worshipping of Buddha statues is preciously a religious practice influenced by the concepts of religions based on gods and had entered in to Buddhism. When India was conquered by the Greece[3] many concepts of western theologies were spread in India. In the past, the people in Greece had a practice of sculpturing a statue of god Apollo and worshipping it.  The people of Greece started the worshipping god statues in India. Following this influence, Mahayana Buddhists in India started the worshipping of Buddha statues in the 2, 3, and 4 centuries. Many scholars say that the Buddha statue made in India in the initial stage carried the similar features of the statues of god Apollo. Buddha statue wearing necklaces, Buddha statue wearing pleated soft clothing, Buddha statues with decorated heads etc are the influences from the concepts of religions of gods.

In order to establish the opinion that Buddhism was taken to Lanka from India, Buddhist cultural aspect of this nature were strongly used. Until up to the Anuradhapura period, a religion called Buddhism based on the faith could not be seen in this Helabima. The sacred Buddha Dhamma welcomes the code of virtues and it is not a belief or a religion of worshipping, offerings or preyings. All the religious concepts of this nature were taken to Lanka from India. Hence, according to these, I agree with the idea that Buddhism was taken to Lanka from India in the past. But the sublime Buddha Dhamma which helps the beings to understand Nibbana was preached by Gautama Buddha in this Helabima for forty five years. That is the most sacred Buddha Dhamma which was originated in this Helabima.

It  should be  mentioned  that along with the start of worshipping the Buddha statue, faith of the Buddhist – Buddha Bakthi – was created and the identity for the Buddhist too was safe guarded. As long as Buddha Dhamma is pure and sacred, it will help the people more and more in realizing Nibbana. But if the intention is to take it from one generation to another, then it is only Buddhism will succeed, but not Buddha Dhamma. It is because that Buddha Dhamma is not a belief. It has to be realized by each person on personal levels following the development of the strength of his or her mind. In a way Buddhism can be considered as a vehicle. The objective Dhamma called Buddha Dhamma was taken in that same vehicle. This objective or realistic Dhamma will guide the beings for Nibbana. The sacred Buddha Dhamma preached by Gautama Buddha 2600 years ago is secured and well preserved only in the Tripitaka Canons which were written in Lanka. The elements of culture, elements of literature and many more fascinated objects which are strange and peculiar can be found in Buddhism, but not in the supermandane Buddha Dhamma. All most all Amisa Poojas, worshippings, offerings, ritualistic practices, Poojas for blessings and even methods of recitations are coming under Buddhism. Buddha Dhamma is the practice of code of virtues which will help to realize Nibbana.

In today’s context Buddhism is a belief, just a collection of conventional religious concepts. Without making any damages to Buddhism, the attempt of a real follower of Buddha Dhamma – ‘a Buddhist’ –  should be to realize the objective Dhamma, the principles of virtues of Dhamma[4] through this Buddhism and objective Dhamma would help to realize Nibbana. Objectiveness should be seen through the convention itself.

The Sanskrit books such as The Divyavadana[5] and The Lalitavistara[6] written in India after 600 years of Buddha era. These books contained and introduced the illustrations of Buddha’s life, pictures of Buddha and other concepts of that nature to the world. These books were written in the reign of King Shiladithya[7], which came even after the reign of Ashoka the Great. This is the period where the art & craft, cultural elements of Greece & Rome and also the concepts of god-based religious mostly came in to Buddhism. Since these concepts of god-based religions and cultural elements were impressively embraced by the mass, these things which were started, originated in India, had been transferred to the Anuradhapura kingdom as well. Because of this, most of the features, aspects and elements in Mahayana Buddhism were spread among the people in Lanka, especially among the high class families from India. They were popular among the mass. The consequence of this is the beginning of Abayagirivihara monastery in the period of Anuradhapura. This was the sole reason for the division of Nikayas[8].

It was in the period closer to the 3rd century that sculpturing of colossal Buddha statues such as the Buddha statue of Tholuvila, the Buddha statue of Maligavila, the Buddha statue of Awkana, the Buddha statue of Thanthirimale and the Buddha statue of Raswehera monastery was started in Lanka. But in the monasteries in Ruhunu where the sacred Buddha Dhamma was still secured there wasn’t a practice of worshipping Buddha statues of this nature.

According to the above explanation, what we can notice is that most of the cultural aspects which are considered so preciously and believed in confidently had come to Lanka from India, we call these things as Buddhism and believe in them. Based on this fact, up to some extend the statement that Buddhism was brought down to Lanka from India which is made by the Sinhalese people lived in the past and most of lay-Buddhists & nonlay-Buddhists living in this day is a fair statement. But we should understand that the sacred Buddha Dhamma was originated in Lanka and taken even to India. We should not be surprised over the arguments made by ordinary people that Buddhism was taken to Lanka from India who still hold on to the mythical concepts and mythical ideas, who cannot distinguish Buddhism and Buddha Dhamma and who consider these two as one. We should feel sorry about their unawareness.

Next Chapter…

[1] Kanishka (Kanishka the Great) was an emperor of the Kushan Dynasty (127-151) who ruled an empire extending from Turfan in the Tarim Basin to Pataliputra on the Gangetic plain and famous for his military, political, and spiritual achievements. His main capital was at Purushpura (Peshawar in present day northwestern Pakistan) with regional capitals at the location of the modern city of Taxila in Pakistan, Begram in Afghanistan and Mathura in India. (Source-Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

[2] Nagarjunakonda is a historical Buddhist town, now an island located near Nagarjuna Sagar in Nalgonda district, in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. (Read more in Appendix)

[3]The influence of Greek on India. ‘ … Buddhism flourished under the Indo-Greeks, leading to the Greco-Buddhist cultural syncretism. (Read more in Appendix).

[4]The code of Dhamma.

[5] The Divyāvadāna or ‘Heavenly Deeds’ is a huge collection of 38 legendary biographies and retellings of events in the life of the Buddha. (Read more in Appendix).

[6] Lalitavistara (Sanskrit) is a Sanskrit Buddhist text of great importance. Apart from being a biography of Buddha, originally of the Sarvastivada School of the Hinayana sect, it throws a considerable light also on the social and cultural history of India during the early centuries of the Christian era. (Read more in Appendix).

[7] Shiladitya was a ruler of Malwa. He was Jat of Virk gotra.His original name was Harshabardhan. King Harshabardhan was well noted for his kind heart and humanity. (Read more in Appendix).

[8] Division among the Nikayas – these are the conflicts between different chapters or sectors in the Order of Sanga. What is meant here is the conflicts occurred between Mahavihara monastery and Abayagiri monastery i.e. Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism.

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The glory of Helabima before the dawn of the Kingdom of Anuradhapura

In many occasions in Anuradhapura period, in the times of well advanced kingdoms in Deva Hela in prior to Pre-Vijayan period, in the well advanced kingdoms prevailed in Ruhuna & the east, well preserved and precious books, texts & documents written in Hela language & Maghadi language were used and referred by the ancient scholars and learnt persons lived in this county. The books and texts of this nature were stored in the libraries in Heladiva that day. Our history shows the facts for destruction of almost all these books on fire due to political and cultural attacks faced by our country from time to time.

These massive destruction happened several times. First, it was the war of SuraAsura, Rama-Rawana war. Then it was the attacks by King Vijaya. Precious books written in our country were destroyed by the invasions of Dravidian[1] such as Maga[2]& Pandawa[3]. Later, many other invasions also came from South India. Many books were destroyed due to the conflicts between Mahayana and Hinayana as well.

In the ancient times, in prior to the shifting of the capital city to Lankapura – to Anuradhapura – well developed towns and villages were situated in this Helabima  in the eastern coastal belt, Ruhuna and in the central regions of the country. The Kingdom of Magadha of which the city of Rajagaha was the capital city (today it is Rajagala in Ampara), the Kingdom of Lichchavi of which the city of Visala was the capital city (today this is the area covered by the Yala wildlife sanctuary), the kingdom of Rawana Dynasty which covered the areas such as Kegalle, Rathnapura and also Mahanuwara region, the kingdom situated in the city of Varanasi in Kasirata (today this is area of Mulathiv and Vavniya), the Kingdom of Kosala of which the city of Savath was the capital city (today this is the Ritigala area) were the very powerful kingdoms in the ancient Heladiva. And also the city of Kimbulwath was the capital city of the Kingdom of Sakyans and it was situated to the southern region of river Mahaveli in Dimbulagala today. Now, we need to find out the main reasons for the total destruction of this well advanced history.

Following the convention, what we know as the history of Lanka was something taught to us by the white men, the British rulers. They were written down in books as the accepted history. They created and modified the history and forced us to accept it as our history. Some white civil officers, who had the governing responsibility in India and Lanka, were engaged in the task of writing the history of Lanka. The white civil officers such as the assistant government agents of Kegalle, George Turner and James Prinsep, Strongs, Rhys Davids and specially Codrington and H C P Bell[4], based on the little knowledge that they gathered from various books, as it was understood by them, they made up, created and wrote up a particular history for Lanka and handed it over to us. The ones who came later, Sinhala scholars and professors respected the western thought and they were not bothered to have an analytical view on the history created and given to us by the British, the white men. But still, if someone had come forward and presented research based independent analytical views, they were highly busy to go against those views and opinions. Securing the view point of the white men and going against the views which are against their views, was the duty of our historians and the archeologists. This happens in this same way to this date as well.

“There were very developed kingdoms in this Helabima  even before King Vijaya” is something beyond the thinking levels of these scholars. It is very clear that they had the habit of leaving these ideas thinking that these ideas cannot happen and not possible. Even though Arisen Ahubudu[5],Sooriya Gunasekara, Professor Paranavithana and also some more persons presented some analytical views in time to time, our own so called scholars could not stand on these balanced views, they used the political and religious powers against them and suppressed all of them aggressively. No anyone genuinely made any attempt to find out the truth. That is because they were influenced by the social acceptances and also personal gains. But, in every occasion that someone attempts to disclose the truth, there were many in the front to mercilessly criticize and suppress the truth. Even to this date there are many persons of this nature.

Even though exact times and dates cannot be presented, one particular Sinhala author wrote a historical book titled “Mahavamsa in Hela language, something of our own, in the very early stage in the Anuradhapura period, after the reign of King Duttugamunu. It was essay type panegyric writing and it contained historical information as well. Originally, based on the panegyric approach, this panegyric writing had been done with the aim of praising out the performances and capabilities of the Sinhala kings. But later it was considered as a historical text.

Today what we read as Mahavamsa is the “Pali Mahavamsa” translated and written in Pali language after 300 years of Mahavamsa written in Hela language. The personal opinions of the author, Bhikku Mahanama, are also included in to this Pali Mahavamsa. It was a book written in Pali language of which the source was the Mahavamsa which was originally written in Hela language. Long praises are given for the kings that Bhikku Mahanama was interested in and the descriptions given for some kings are limited to few stanzas.

There had been one historic Hela book called Deepavamasa[6] written in Pali language as well and this Deepavamasa (Pali) is still available for our use. This Deepavamsa too had been written in a period after the very first Sinhala (Hela) Mahavamsa. But it was the period which was prior to the writing of Pali Mahavamsa. It can be seen that the author of Deepavamsa also had referred and gathered the ideas from the very first Sinhala (Hela) Mahavamsa and had written Deepavamsa.

We have three more Chroniclers left, namely, Daathu Vamsa, Thoopa Vamsa and Bodhi Vamsa which were written after Anuradhapura period, at the end of Polonnaruwa period or the period even after that. Many people believe in that these books were written in the period of Dambadeniya. There are details for another chronicle written in Hela language in the same ancient time of Sinhala Mahavamsa, but today this important historical book is misplaced. This history book was “Uththara Vamsa and as it contained some information about the Anuradhapura period and also about Hela kingdoms existed prior to that period, we don’t have a clear idea whether it was purposely misplaced or destroyed. Uththara Vamsa was written on the history of Buddha Dhamma. “Uththara Vamsa” got its name as it contained information about the ancient Buddhist history. This book called Uththara Vamsa which carried the information about the Hela Buddhist history had been in use until the Kandyan period, says the author in his book called Raajaawaliya. Raajaawaliya was written during the Kadyan period. Today there is another opinion over this “Uththra Vamsa” that it had been misplaced purposely as it contained information which was against the history written by the white men.

However, today what is known to us as our ancient Hela history is just a story which is incomplete & created with fixings taken from here and there. Especially, the period prior to the great King Dutugamunu, history of Lanka is filled with artificially created information backed by many assumptions. Even though golden eras of our ancient Hela history is covered by the sands of time, as the ruins of them are well preserved in this Helabima for us to go and discover them out, the history of Helabima cannot be covered and closed up totally.

Today, going back to 15 months of the publishing date of volume 1 of this book i.e. the time period between today and the month of Poson in 2009 where I published the first volume of this book (අප උපන් මේ හෙළබිම බුදුන් උපන් ජන්බුද්වීපයයි – Gautama Buddha was born in this Helabima ), within this very short period of time of 15 months, many people from different parts of Helabima  had conducted many discoveries and the information flashed out from those discoveries had strongly proved the absolute truth highlighted by me in the first book.

All these ruins discovered certify and showcase the genuine information about Helabima  in the day that Gautama Buddha gained his Enlightenment. Within a very short period of 15 months, by chance or by discoveries, our own researchers, archeologists or some other persons had collected and published a large amount of historical information. Special attention should be given here for that fact that all the information gathered here dates back to the periods which are prior to the reign of King Vijaya i.e. ancient reigns which were even prior to the beginning of the kingdom of Anuradhapura. All these archeological information dates back either to the era of Buddha i.e. to the period where Gautama Buddha was born and gained his Enlightenment or to the eras even prior to that. It should be mentioned here that all these splashing out of information were scheduled on proper time by the effect of Darmatha and they had helped to disclose the truth of Helabima on time. All these things were splashed out from Janbudveepa.

  1.  November in 1999, a group of Sri Lankan archeologists conducted an excavation near the city of Anuradhapura and discovered some ruins of an old large town : it is certified that the archeological properties discovered from this place date back to the period of 600 BC, i.e. the period that Buddha was born. Gautama Buddha attended in to his Enlightenment by 589 BC and his very first sermon was held at the Isipathanaarama monastery which is situated closer to this site, the old town from where these ruins were discovered.  Rajamaha Vihara of Isinbassagala situated near Madavachchiya today was the Isipathanaarama monastery in the past. These ruins and information discovered are attached to a well developed city and date back to the post -period of the reign of King Devanampiyathissa, i.e. the era even prior to King Vijaya’s visit to Lanka. Mahavamsa says that the Anuradhapura city, which was known as Lankapura, was built by King Devamanpitathissa. But, why doesn’t it say anything about these ancient cities? What happened to these cites when the time of writing Mahavamsa?
  2. In the very recent past, Sri Lanka Army discovered the ruins of many ancient monastic grounds from the thick jungles in the Mulathiv and Vavniya districts. They were discovered from the regions which came under the ancient kingdom of Kasi and now they are identified as the ruins of Buddhist monasteries. Since these ruins were recorded in the pre history of King Vijaya’s period, they can be considered as the evidence which will guide us to re-write the history of Helabima .
  3. Recently, the most ancient archeological properties and the ruins of a large city were discovered from the place called “Ranchaamadamawhich is situated closer to Ambilipitiya: it is proved that the archeological properties found here are thousand years older than the kingdom of Anuradhapura. And, hence, this is a very strong evidence to prove that there had been very advanced villages and cities in Ruhuna & in the southern regions even before the dawn of the kingdom of Anuradhapura. Gautama Buddha attended in to his Parinibbana in 543 BC in Kusinara in Budugala which is situated closer to this Ranchamadama area.
  4. At the end of year 2009, Sri Lanka Army was busy in the construction of a road connecting the sacred grounds of Somawathi and Seruvila and they discovered some sacred feet of Buddha and also some more archeological properties: this region was spread over the city of Kimbulwath which was ruled by the Sakyan Dynasty. These sacred feet of Buddha and other ruins belong to the reign of ancient Sakyans.
  5. The ruins of a royal palace discovered in the month of June in 2010 from the eastern region which is in-between Vakarai and Verugal. The size of the site expanded to an acre: This place was known as the city of Kottiyaram, today it is called Ichchilanpaththuwa, and was the Sakyan kingdom ruled by the King Amithodana. The royal palace discovered could be the palace of King Amithodana. King Amithodana is a brother of King Suddhodana. Here it splashes out the very best evidence to prove that there had been well developed kingdoms in these areas which were coming under Deva Hela. Kottiyarama means the area where there had been “Kotiyak”[7]  of Aramas, monasteries. This is a good evidence that there had been “Kotiyak” of Buddhist Aramas, monasteries in the city of Kottiyaram which came under the birth place of the Buddha, city of Kapilawasthu. The term “Kotiya” in Maghadi language suggests the meaning such as “there is no end” or “numerous”.
  6. Somewhere in July in 2010, the Department of Archeology organized a press conference.  And in this conference an analysis over the largest archeological site in Helabima  with numerous ruins was presented: These ruins are the ruins of the city of Rajagaha where Buddha lived in his initial stage of his life and they spread over more than 1600 acres. Though this place is called “Rajagala today, it was called the city of Rajagaha in the past in the Tripitaka texts and in Mahavamsa. The ruins such as Veluvanarama monastery which was offered to Buddha by King Bimbisara and also 28 places with Buddhist ruins which are related to Veluvanarama monastery are discovered from Rajagala now. Today, the Department of Archeology has started the excavation in a very small area of ten acres and had discovered some archeological properties. Someone even can’t imagine the amount of archeological properties to be discovered in the future from a massive area like 1600 acres.
  7. The archeological ruins discovered at “Nella” (Ampara) situated to the southern part of Rajagala, the city of Rajagala:  This is nothing but another part of the monastic land of the city of Rajagaha. The ruins in Buddangala today are also situated very closer to “Nella”. Some people have the opinion that the place called Nella was known as “Deegavapiin the ancient times and it could be the very original Deegavapi.[8]In the time of Buddha, the whole of Digamadulla region was the well developed kingdom of Magadha. The archeological ruins belong the Kingdom of Magadha are excavated now in large numbers from the Ampara region. The city of Rajagaha in the kingdom of Magadha is where the Buddha attended in to his Enlightenment, lived 25 years in the initial times of his life and was the world centre for Buddha Dhamma. During the time that Buddha lived and during the reign of the kingdom of Anuradhapura, this Veluvanarama monastery was the very first Buddhist academy in the Buddhist world for a long period of 800 years. That day, the people in the world learnt Buddha Dhamma from this place called Rajagala.
  8. Many ancient tombs and some more ruins related to them were found from the mountain base of Koslanda and Haldummulla in August in 2010. This site is situated closer to the city of Kusinara in Budugala where the Buddha attended in to his Parinibbana: These tombs and other things found related to them can be considered as the tombs of members of the royal family in the kingdom of Malla.

It is greatly appreciated if our scholars pay more attention, than what they do now, on these archeological ruins which are splashing out now from the birth place of Buddha, Janbudveepa, which was known as Devahela in the ancient times, and declare their genuine & balanced opinions. Now it’s time for us to step out from the misleading historical conclusions, which were handed down to us by the British and walk on path of free thinking.

We need to draw our attention on the research information presented by different archeologists and other researchers from different countries in the west. During 1970 – 2006, these researches were conducted on Lanka and other similar countries which claimed ancient historical values. American and German researchers discovered many amazing information about this Helabima. But they did not disclose them to the world. There are certain cases where these same researchers had disclosed certain information about this matter as well. We should draw our attention on the fact that most of these information discovered dates back to an ancient reign in Helabima  which is older than Anuradhapura period, or to the very ancient period of Helabima (600-3000 BC). It’s a fact that they know very important information about our ancient Helabima than us.

Next Chapter…

[1]Dravidian people refers to a family of related ethnicities and populations that speak languages belonging to the Dravidian language family. Populations of speakers are found mostly in Southern India and Sri Lanka. (Read more in Appendix).

[2] The south Indian invader, Kalinga Maga invaded Polonnaruwa in 1214 A.D. (Read more in Appendix).

[3]Dravidian (Pandyan and Chola) invasions in Sri Lanka before and after the 9th century. (Read more in Appendix).

[4] Harry Charles Purvis Bell (1851 – 1937), more often known as HCP Bell, was a British civil servant and a commissioner in the Ceylon Civil Service. (Read more in Appendix).

[5] Kalasuri Arisen Ahubudu (Sinhala: කලාසූරි අරිසෙන් අහුබුදු) (1920–2011) was a writer, orator, scholar, playwright, teacher (Guru), Sinhala lyricist, author and poet in Sri Lanka, born in Mudiyallagahawatta in Malalaga, Koggala. (Read more in Appendix).

[6]The Dipavamsa, or Deepavamsa, (i.e., Chronicle of the Island, in Pali: Dīpavaṃsa) is the oldest historical record of Sri Lanka. It means Chronicle of the Island. (Read more in Appendix).

[7] The meaning of “Kotiyak” in Sinhala in today’s context is 10,000,000.

[8] Deegavapi or Dighavapi (දීඝවාපි in Sinhalese and Pali), or Digavapi is a Buddhist sacred shrine and an archaeological site in the Ampara District of Sri Lanka, boasting of historical records dating back to the 3rd century BCE. (Read more in Appendix).

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