Buddhism in Sri Lanka
in Sri Lanka harks back to 2nd century BC. The religion was introduced in
Sri Lanka in 2nd century BC by Mahendra, the son of renowned Indian Emperor
Ashoka.. He visited Sri Lanka during the reign of Sri Lanka's King
Devanampiyatissa. A sapling of the Bodhi Tree, under which Buddha achieved
enlightenment, was also brought to the country. It was planted at
Anuradhapura, today placed as the most sacred town in the island. It is held
in high regard by the Buddhists.
Contribution of Sri Lankan Monks
During the 1st century AD, the Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka penned down the
Tripitaka or the , the three baskets of the Teachings, known as the Pali
scriptures. They also contributed significantly in spreading Buddhism to
Arrival of the Europeans caused the decline of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
However the monks showed spectacular resilience. The monks and lay community
brought about a major revival. Movement of Buddhist revival progressed with
growing feeling of nationalism.
Branches of Buddhism in Sri Lanka
Buddhism in Sri Lanka has two major sects - Theravada and Hinyana.
However most Sri Lankans are the followers of Theravada school. Theravada
itself can be segregated into three different sects.
official line of monastic line broke in the
18th century since the monks were unaware of the Pali tradition. For
ordaining Sinhalese novice monks, the Kandyan ruler invited the Theravada
monks from Thailand. The reformed sect later came to be known as Siyam
Upper castes in Sri Lankan society
dominated the monastic community. As a reaction people of rising low-country
castes initiated this sect.
There were disputes among the Lankan
Buddhists regarding the doctrine and the practice of meditation.