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History of Mihintalava


History of Mihintalava

The Sinhala civilisation dawned at Mihintalava known as Mihintalava today. As reported in our Chronicles it was 2311 years ago or say two hundred and thirty six years after the passing away or parinirvana of the Buddha on a bright full-moon day of the month of Poson, that Arahant Mahinda with his companions visited this island.

He appeared on the Missaka mountain at Mihintalava bringing with him the sublime teachings of Gautama Buddha. It was after this event that the Sinhalese people who lived in this island of Sri Lanka received a way of life and a philosophy for life.

The long and proud journey of the civilisation of the Sinhalese people thus began on the summit of the Missaka mountain which is now called Mihintalava. This is in fact a unique incident in the annals of mankind.

It was due to this unique event that Sri Lanka became the centre of Theravada Buddhism and Buddhist civilisation.

The story of the advent of Elder Mahinda and his companions to Sri Lanka is chronicled in the Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa and also in Samantapasadika, the commentary on Vinaya.

After the Third Great Council held at Pataliputra under the distinguished patronage of Asoka the Venerable Moggaliputtatissa Mahathera having observed that the noble teachings of Buddha would take root in the neighbouring kingdoms, sent missionaries to those countries in the month of Kattika (October-November).

Accordingly Mahinda and his companions Istiya, Uttiya, Sambala and Bhadrasala were sent to Sri Lanka with the request that they should go to this island and establish the Buddhist dispensation there.

Having spent a month in the city of Vedisa the Thera of great miraculous power on the Uposatha day of the month of Jettha (May-June) rose to the air from the monastery with the four Theras Sumana and Bhanduka the two laymen also came along with the Theras and stood on the Sila-peak in the noble and lovely Ambastala of the beautiful Missaka mountain.

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