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definition - Buddhism_in_Sri_Lanka

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Buddhism in Sri Lanka

                   
  Avukana Buddha statue from 5th century CE
  Distribution of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Based on 2001 census data except for districts with numbers given in italics; these are from 1981 census

Theravada Buddhism is the religion of about 70% of the population of Sri Lanka.[1]

Contents

  History

  Gilded bronze statue of the Bodhisattva Tara, from the Anuradhapura period (8th century CE)

According to traditional Sri Lankan chronicles (such as the Dipavamsa), Buddhism was introduced into Sri Lanka in the 2nd century BCE by Venerable Mahinda, the son of the Emperor Ashoka, during the reign of Sri Lanka's King Devanampiya Tissa. During this time, a sapling of the Bodhi Tree was brought to Sri Lanka and the first monasteries were established under the sponsorship of the Sri Lankan king. The Pali Canon, having previously been preserved as an oral tradition, was first committed to writing in Sri Lanka around 30 BCE.

Sri Lanka has the longest continuous history of Buddhism of any Buddhist nation, with the Sangha having existed in a largely unbroken lineage since its introduction in the 2nd century. During periods of decline, the Sri Lankan monastic lineage was revived through contact with Myanmar and Thailand. Periods of Mahayana influence, as well as official neglect under colonial rule, created great challenges for Theravada Buddhist institutions in Sri Lanka, but repeated revivals and resurgences - most recently in the 19th century CE - have kept the Theravada tradition alive for over 2,000 years.

  Christian missionaries and colonialism

From the 16th century onward, Christian missionaries and Portuguese, Dutch and British colonizers of Sri Lanka have attempted to convert the local population to Christianity. In the late 19th century, a national Buddhist movement started, inspired by the American Buddhist Henry Steel Olcott, and empowered by the results of the Panadura debate between a Christian priest and the Buddhist monk Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera.

  Divisions in the Buddhist clergy

The different sects of the Sri Lankan Buddhist clergy are referred to as Nikayas, and three main Nikayas are:

  A pagoda at Dambulla golden temple

Within these three main divisions there are numerous other divisions, some of which are caste based. There are no doctrinal differences among any of them.

  See also

  Further reading

  • Tessa Bartholomeusz: First Among Equals: Buddhism and the Sri Lankan State, in: Ian Harris (ed.), Buddhism and Politics in Twentieth-Century Asia. London/New York: Continuum, 1999, pp. 173–193.
  • Mahinda Deegalle: Popularizing Buddhism: Preaching as Performance in Sri Lanka. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2006.
  • Richard Gombrich: Theravada Buddhism: a social history from ancient Benares to modern Colombo. 2nd rev. ed. London: Routledge, 2006.
  • Langer, Rita. Buddhist Rituals of Death and Rebirth: A study of contemporary Sri Lankan practice and its origins. Abingdon: Routledge, 2007. ISBN 0-415-39496-1

  Notes

  External links

Theravāda

  Asokanpillar-crop.jpg  

Countries

  India
Sri Lanka
Cambodia • Laos
Burma • Thailand • Bangladesh
 

Texts

 

Pali Canon
Commentaries
Subcommentaries

 

History

 

Pre-sectarian Buddhism
Early schools • Sthavira
Asoka • Third Council
Vibhajjavada
Mahinda • Sanghamitta
Dipavamsa • Mahavamsa
Buddhaghosa

 

Doctrine

 

Saṃsāra • Nibbāna
Middle Way
Noble Eightfold Path
Four Noble Truths
Enlightenment Stages
Precepts • Three Jewels
Outline of Buddhism

 
   
               

 

All translations of Buddhism_in_Sri_Lanka


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