June 2019


Poson: In Reverence of Dhamma
June 2019




Mihintale Maha Seya is built in the site where Arahant Mahinda arrived in the country.

On a Poson Poya day over two millennia ago, Arahant Mahinda and his disciples arrived in Mihintale, bringing the word of the Buddha to the nation of Sri Lanka, thus changing the course of the history of the island. Anuradhapura the sacred city, enlivens with spirituality during this special time.

Words: Roomini Wijayarathne
Photography: BT Images

Every year on the full moon day in June, Buddhist devotees flock to Mihintale, tracing the steps to the summit where Arahant Mahinda first preached the wisdom of the Dhamma to King Devanampiyatissa. The king became the first follower of Buddha's philosophy in Sri Lanka, and transformed the entire area to a Buddhist monastery, consecrating the site as a religious landmark. It was where, across hundreds of years, Bhikkus lived, meditated, and provided the spiritual teaching of the Buddha to the people.

Commemorating the great advent of Buddhism to the island in the month of Poson, Anuradhapura, the ancient capital becomes a centre of religious and spiritual activity; white-clad pilgrims visit the sacred sites, offer Pooja, observe Sil and listen to sermons. Dansal line the streets as Buddhists practise the act of giving. Pleasant fragrance of flowers and incense permeate the air as religious chants reverberate through. Oil lamps are lit row upon row, symbolising the light of wisdom that the Great Teacher bestowed upon the world.

Bhikkuni Sanghamiththa brought to Sri Lanka a sapling of the sacred Bodhi under which the Buddha attained Enlightenment, and it flourishes as the oldest living tree in the world, at the historical Maha Megha Vana Royal Park in Anuradhapura.

In reverence, devotees pay homage to the sacred Atamasthana (the eight great places of worship) in the Anuradhapura city.

Bhikkuni Sanghamiththa brought to Sri Lanka a sapling of the sacred Bodhi under which the Buddha attained Enlightenment, and it flourishes as the oldest living tree in the world, at the historical Maha Megha Vana Royal Park in Anuradhapura. Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is venerated by hundreds of devotees, and on the Poya day, thousands more make pilgrimage to offer Pooja to the sacred Bodhi.

Thuparamaya is the first Chaitya that was built in Sri Lanka by King Devanampiyatissa. It receives homage from devotees as it is said to contain relics from the Buddha. Thuparamaya is consecrated by the Buddha's presence, when he visited the island for the third time.

Mirisawetiya is the first Chaitya built by King Dutugemunu, as an offering to the Sangha. It has been built on a site consecrated by the Buddha's presence and therefore it is venerated by countless devotees that piously worship the Dagoba.

Commemorating the great advent of Buddhism to the island in the month of Poson, Anuradhapura, the ancient capital becomes a centre of religious and spiritual activity...

Lovamahapaya is a structure that is said to have been of nine storeys, and was built by King Dutugemunu for the use of the Bhikkus who lived in the Maha Vihara. It is hailed as an ancient architectural marvel.

Ruwanweli Maha Seya, built by King Dutugemunu remains a site of great veneration, evoking spirituality in the hearts of visitors. Abhayagiri Chaitya was built by King Walagamba and the premises has housed the sacred Tooth Relic during the Kingdom of Anuradhapura. Lankaramaya is situated away from the Maha Megha Vana Royal Park where many religious sites can be seen, but is no less venerated. Built by King Walagamba, the Dagoba is said to enshrine precious jewels within. Jethawanaramaya by King Mahasen is hailed as the largest stupa in the ancient world. Its sheer immensity is inspiring, and the visitors worship in wondrous silence at the Dagoba.

Mihintale and Atamasthana are venerated and treasured for the sacred heritage they are blessed with. This Poson, devotees will pay homage, reverently remembering the Dhamma these sites helped preserve.

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    Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is venerated by thousands of devotees.

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    Thuparamaya is the first Chaitya built in the country after the advent of Buddhism.

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    Mirisawetiya is built on a site sanctified by the Buddha's presence.

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    Lovamahapaya has been a nine-storey structure built for the Bhikkus.

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    An iconic place of worship, Ruwanweli Maha Seya receives homage from devotees every day.

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    Abhayagiri site is sacred because it has housed the Tooth Relic during the Anuradhapura Kingdom.

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    Lankaramaya is said to enshrine precious jewels within.

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    Jethawanaramaya is the largest ancient stupa in the world.

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