Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun May 16, 2010 4:07 am

Greetings,

I believe there is some debate about whether or not the Buddha went to Sri Lanka.

What evidence is there for and against the statement that the Buddha went to Sri Lanka?

:buddha2:

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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby alan » Sun May 16, 2010 4:47 am

Sure would have been a long walk!
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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby Anicca » Sun May 16, 2010 4:56 am

This is obscure.
In the solitary instance of a trading journey to Babylon (averu) we are told that it was by sea, but the port of departure is not mentioned.[13 There is one story, the world-wide story of the Sirens, who are located in Tambapa¼¼i-d¨pa, a sort of fairy land, which is probably meant for Ceylon.[14 Lank¤ does not occur. Traffic with China is first mentioned in the Milinda (pp. 127, 327, 359), which is some centuries later.
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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun May 16, 2010 5:35 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

I believe there is some debate about whether or not the Buddha went to Sri Lanka.

What evidence is there for and against the statement that the Buddha went to Sri Lanka?


It seems very unlikely considering the distance and that Buddhism is supposed to have been introduced there the 2nd century BC by Venerable Mahinda King Asoka's son.
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"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun May 16, 2010 5:54 am

Greetings,

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dipavamsa

A few interesting parts bolded.

The Dipavamsa, or "Deepavamsa", (i.e., Chronicle of the Island, in Pali) is the oldest historical record of Sri Lanka. The chronicle is believe to be compiled from Atthakatha and other sources around the 3-4th century. Together with Mahavamsa, it is the source of many accounts of ancient history of Sri Lanka and India. Its importance resides not only as a source of history and legend, but also as an important early work in Buddhist and Pali literature.
The work has been translated into English by B. C. Law. It is probably authored by several buddhist monks of the Mahavihara tradition of Anuradhapura in the 3- 4 century CE. The preamble begins with "Listen ! I shall relate the chronicle of the Buddha's visits to the island, the arrival of the Tooth Relic and the Bodhi tree, the advent of the Buddha's doctrine, the rise of the teachers, the spread of Buddhism in the island and the coming of Vijaya the Chief of Men". King Dhatusena (4th century CE) had orderd that the Dipavamsa be recited at the Mahinda (son to Asoka )festival held annually in Anuradhapura.
The Dipavamsa refers to three visits to the Island by the Buddha, the places being: Kelaniya, Dighavapi, the place where the Bo-sapling was later planted within the Maha Mewna-uyana (Park) of Anuradhapura. It does not make any mention of the Buddha visiting the Samanalakanda (Adam's Peak).
Regarding the Vijaya legend, Dipavamsa has tried to be less super-natural than the later work, Mahavamsa in referring to the husband of the Kalinga-Vanga princess, ancestor of Vijya, as a man named Sinha who was an outlaw that attacked caravans en route. In the meantime, Sinha-bahu and Sinhasivali, as king and queen of the kingdom of Lala (Lata), "gave birth to twin sons, sixteen times." The eldest was Vijaya and the second was Sumitta. As Vijaya was of cruel and unseemly conduct, the enraged people requested the king to kill his son. But the king caused him and his seven hundred followers to leave the kingdom, and they landed in Sri Lanka, at a place called Tamba-panni, on the exact day when the Buddha passed into Maha Parinibbana.
The Dipavamsa gives a fuller account of the arrival of Theri Sangamitta(daughter to Asoka), but the epic story of Dutugamunu is treated only briefly, in ten Pali stanzas, while the Mahavamsa devoted ten chapters to it.
The Dipavamsa is considered "source material" to the Mahavamsa, The latter is more coherently organized, and is probably the greatest religious and historical Epic work in the Pali language. The historiography (i.e., the chronology of kings, battles etc.) given in the Mahavamsa, and to that extent in the Dipavasma, are believed to be largely correct from about the time of the death of Asoka.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby mythree » Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:54 pm

but i think there is a special significance in buddha and Sri lanka. beacuse lot of buddha's realtives came to sri lanka ( including princess Bhaddha kachchana).
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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby Sekha » Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:02 pm

well I will highlight other parts of the same document:

The Dipavamsa, or "Deepavamsa", (i.e., Chronicle of the Island, in Pali) is the oldest historical record of Sri Lanka. The chronicle is believe to be compiled from Atthakatha and other sources around the 3-4th century. Together with Mahavamsa, it is the source of many accounts of ancient history of Sri Lanka and India. Its importance resides not only as a source of history and legend, but also as an important early work in Buddhist and Pali literature.
The work has been translated into English by B. C. Law. It is probably authored by several buddhist monks of the Mahavihara tradition of Anuradhapura in the 3- 4 century CE. The preamble begins with "Listen ! I shall relate the chronicle of the Buddha's visits to the island, the arrival of the Tooth Relic and the Bodhi tree, the advent of the Buddha's doctrine, the rise of the teachers, the spread of Buddhism in the island and the coming of Vijaya the Chief of Men". King Dhatusena (4th century CE) had orderd that the Dipavamsa be recited at the Mahinda (son to Asoka )festival held annually in Anuradhapura.
The Dipavamsa refers to three visits to the Island by the Buddha, the places being: Kelaniya, Dighavapi, the place where the Bo-sapling was later planted within the Maha Mewna-uyana (Park) of Anuradhapura. It does not make any mention of the Buddha visiting the Samanalakanda (Adam's Peak).
Regarding the Vijaya legend, Dipavamsa has tried to be less super-natural than the later work, Mahavamsa in referring to the husband of the Kalinga-Vanga princess, ancestor of Vijya, as a man named Sinha who was an outlaw that attacked caravans en route. In the meantime, Sinha-bahu and Sinhasivali, as king and queen of the kingdom of Lala (Lata), "gave birth to twin sons, sixteen times." The eldest was Vijaya and the second was Sumitta. As Vijaya was of cruel and unseemly conduct, the enraged people requested the king to kill his son. But the king caused him and his seven hundred followers to leave the kingdom, and they landed in Sri Lanka, at a place called Tamba-panni, on the exact day when the Buddha passed into Maha Parinibbana.
The Dipavamsa gives a fuller account of the arrival of Theri Sangamitta(daughter to Asoka), but the epic story of Dutugamunu is treated only briefly, in ten Pali stanzas, while the Mahavamsa devoted ten chapters to it.
The Dipavamsa is considered "source material" to the Mahavamsa, The latter is more coherently organized, and is probably the greatest religious and historical Epic work in the Pali language. The historiography (i.e., the chronology of kings, battles etc.) given in the Mahavamsa, and to that extent in the Dipavasma, are believed to be largely correct from about the time of the death of Asoka.


about the green-highlihted statement: believed by whom? This is not accurate enough to draw any conclusion.

I am not certain that the whole of Theravada buddhism is free from creation of legends. If you listen to the Burmese, they will also have the same kind of claims:

There are many instances in the history of Southeast Asian tribes in which a conquering people incorporates into its own traditions not only the civilization of the conquered, but also their clan gods, royal lineage, and thereby their history. This fact would explain the visits of the Buddha to Thaton and Shwesettaw in the Mon and Myanmar oral tradition, and the belief of the Arakanese that the Buddha visited their king and left behind an image of himself for them to worship. Modern historiography will, of course, dismiss these stories as fabrications made out of national pride, as the Myanmar had not even arrived in the region at the time of the Buddha. However, it is possible that the Myanmar and Arakanese integrated into their own lore the oral historical tradition of their Indian predecessors. This does not prove that the visits really took place, but it seems a more palatable explanation of the existence of these accounts than simply putting them down to historical afterthought of a Buddhist people eager to connect itself with the origins of their religion.

The Sasanavamsa mentions several visits of the Buddha to Myanmar and one other important event: the arrival of the hair relics in Ukkala (Yangon) soon after the Buddha's enlightenment.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 9.html#ch1


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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby cooran » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:25 pm

Hello all,

I believe it is highly likely. The Buddha could see into the future and would have realised just how important Sri Lanka would be in the preservation and proclamation of the true dhamma, vinaya and abhidhamma.

It wouldn't have been a difficult feat - for the Buddha or his realised great disciples. No more difficult than walking into another room.

"Again, Udayin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to wield the various kinds of supernormal power: Having been one, they become many; having been many, they become one; they appear and vanish; they go unhindered through walls, through enclosures, through mountains, as though through space; they dive inand out of the earth as though it were water; they walk on water without sinking as though it were earth; seated cross-legged, they travel in space like birds; with their hands they touch and stroke the moon and sun so powerful and mighter; they wield bodily mastery even as far as the Brahma-world; ....." MN 77.14 Mahasakuludayi Sutta The Greater Discourse to Sakuludayin

I know there was mention of disappearing from one place and appearing in others to talk to disciples in some suttas - one of whom was killed by a cow shortly afterwards - can't think of the exact one at the moment.
with metta
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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby Sekha » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:50 pm

cooran wrote:I know there was mention of disappearing from one place and appearing in others to talk to disciples in some suttas - one of whom was killed by a cow shortly afterwards - can't think of the exact one at the moment.

The part about the cow sounds like the story of Pukkusati : http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

But there is no disappearing/reappearing in this one.

It does appear in AN 6.55: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
and AN 8.30: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

That said, your argument is invalid. Who are we to state what the Buddha could do or could not do with his mind?
Last edited by Sekha on Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:59 pm

Dukkhanirodha wrote:
cooran wrote:

That said, your argument is invalid. Who are we to state what the Buddha could do or could not do with his mind?


how is her argument invalid? its based on the fact that the suttas say he could just go from on place to another far off place in pretty much an instant, so why not sri lanka?
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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby Sekha » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:26 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:
Dukkhanirodha wrote:
cooran wrote:

That said, your argument is invalid. Who are we to state what the Buddha could do or could not do with his mind?


how is her argument invalid? its based on the fact that the suttas say he could just go from on place to another far off place in pretty much an instant, so why not sri lanka?


actually, I had changed my mind and had even erased these sentences when I saw your reply. Then I decided to put it back.

I totally agree that the Buddha may have gone to any place in the world. I was rather referring to that part of his post:
The Buddha could see into the future and would have realised just how important Sri Lanka would be in the preservation and proclamation of the true dhamma, vinaya and abhidhamma.

Even though the Buddha made predictions, it doesn't mean he could see everything.

I think a good example is the fact that he said that the minor rules of the vinaya could be relaxed without giving more details, which ultimately made up more confusion in the sangha than anything else. I don't pretend he did not forsee that, but it appears as probable, which does not allow, IMHO, any of us to adopt any view nor its opposite in this matter.

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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:37 pm

i think he said he could know anything he set his mind to, someone would have to find that in the suttas though
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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby Wind » Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:14 am

alan wrote:Sure would have been a long walk!


The Buddha walks pretty fast I have heard. :D
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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:03 am

Greetings,

jcsuperstar wrote:i think he said he could know anything he set his mind to, someone would have to find that in the suttas though

I think you mean...

MN 90: Kannakatthala Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby Maitri » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:59 am

cooran wrote:Hello all,

I believe it is highly likely. The Buddha could see into the future and would have realised just how important Sri Lanka would be in the preservation and proclamation of the true dhamma, vinaya and abhidhamma.

It wouldn't have been a difficult feat - for the Buddha or his realised great disciples. No more difficult than walking into another room.

...


Chris


Thanks so much for this post, Chris. I read it and have thought about what you said since then over the past few days.It really struck home with me for some reason. Perhaps the simplicity of your statement is what caught my eye. The idea you present is that the Buddha taught for benefit of living beings and that loving intention has passed down to us in very direct and palpable ways. By traveling to any area which would be so important in spreading the Dhamma doesn't seem surprising in the least.
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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby EricJ » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:45 am

If the Buddha saw fit to visit Sri Lanka, why wouldn't he have visited other places in the world, propagating the Dhamma over the entire world?
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:55 am

Hi Eric
EricJ wrote:If the Buddha saw fit to visit Sri Lanka, why wouldn't he have visited other places in the world, propagating the Dhamma over the entire world?


Legend has it that he also visited Myanmar.

Farther up near the summit [of Mandalay Hill], a gigantic standing image of the Buddha called the Shweyattaw (literally standing) or Byadeippay (prophesying) Buddha with his right hand pointing towards the city. Legend has it that the Buddha once visited the place and prophesied that in the year 2400 of the Buddhist Era a great city would be built at the foot of the hill where his teachings would flourish. One curiosity that belongs to the myth surrounding the ancient kingdom of Bagan is the so-called 'Kyanzittha's spear mark' near the top of the hill. He was supposed to have executed a miraculous pole vault using his spear across the Irrawaddy!
-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandalay_Hill


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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:13 am

went to siam quite a bit too, the northern part at least
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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby EricJ » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:25 am

Okay, I will revise my question. Why wouldn't the Buddha have visited places which are not historically Theravadin? Like the Scandinavian peninsula or the Amazon rainforest?
I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.- Gandhi

With persistence aroused for the highest goal's attainment, with mind unsmeared, not lazy in action, firm in effort, with steadfastness & strength arisen, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

Not neglecting seclusion, absorption, constantly living the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, comprehending the danger in states of becoming, wander alone like a rhinoceros.
- Snp. 1.3
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Re: Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:32 am

Greetings EricJ,

EricJ wrote:Okay, I will revise my question. Why wouldn't the Buddha have visited places which are not historically Theravadin? Like the Scandinavian peninsula or the Amazon rainforest?

Putthujanas often identify themselves with an abstract notion of nationality.

"I am Australian", "I am American", "I am Indian". "I am Thai" etc.

When one feels that the Buddha visited their home country, they feel a certain sense of pride (conceit), association and allegience with respect to the Buddha and as a result, take more ownership of the Buddha and his teachings.

Legends may therefore have some practical value, even if they have no historical basis. Have you ever seen the episode of the Simpsons where Lisa Simpson does an expose on Jebediah Springfield? At the last minute she decides against exposing the myths surrounding Jebediah Springfield, because she sees that people's beliefs, despite being historically false, produce good benefits here-and-now. That doesn't mean one should try to convince themselves to believe that which they consider false, but they should think twice about 'slashing and burning' that which may, in some indirect way, actually be a source of good for others. It's for this reason I make no effort whatsoever to convince anyone of the non-existence of God, for example.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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