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
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