Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

I see no reason to believe that he did.

I found this article from the Sunday Times, which refers to the account in the Mahāvaṃsa, which is not in the Tipiṭka or its Commentaries, but among the Other Books.

Sri Lankan children are taught in school about the Buddha's visit to Sri Pāda, so they take it as a fact, but I wonder what the general consensus is among learned monks and scholars?
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by confusedlayman »

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:13 pm I see no reason to believe that he did.

I found this article from the Sunday Times, which refers to the account in the Mahāvaṃsa, which is not in the Tipiṭka or its Commentaries, but among the Other Books.

Sri Lankan children are taught in school about the Buddha's visit to Sri Pāda, so they take it as a fact, but I wonder what the general consensus is among learned monks and scholars?
he didnt visit.

first buddhism spread was from ashoka missionary project... till that sri lankas were either following own religion or hindusim.

also people in srilanka were normal humans not monsters like naga king or ravana king with multi face
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dont think
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

If he went there physically I doubt so, but he certainly surveyed there and didn't find people with little dust in their eyes.
"Then, having understood Brahma's invitation, out of compassion for beings, I surveyed the world with the eye of an Awakened One. As I did so, I saw beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace & danger in the other world. Just as in a pond of blue or red or white lotuses, some lotuses — born & growing in the water — might flourish while immersed in the water, without rising up from the water; some might stand at an even level with the water; while some might rise up from the water and stand without being smeared by the water — so too, surveying the world with the eye of an Awakened One, I saw beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace & danger in the other world.
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Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by Ceisiwr »

There isn't any evidence of that. It seems more like a nationalist idea, or at least one that cements Sri Lanka as the centre of Buddhism from the beginning.
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rhinoceroshorn
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:53 pm There isn't any evidence of that. It seems more like a nationalist idea, or at least one that cements Sri Lanka as the centre of Buddhism from the beginning.
I recall watching a Dhammatalk in which Bhante Vimalaramsi says Srilankans learn more about Abhidhamma (and possibly Vissudhi magga) than the suttas.
There is indeed an element of nationalism in it all, sadly.
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Sam Vara
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by Sam Vara »

"And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills..."
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by DNS »

According to google maps, it's about a 439 hour walk from Gaya, India to the land-bridge connecting India to Sri Lanka.
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Gaya,+B ... 639356!3e2

439 / 8 hours per day = 55 days

Difficult trek, but not impossible. However, the text describes it as going by air, so probably hagiography and some Sri Lankan nationalism.
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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by Lucas Oliveira »

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. There he addressed the monks, "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said: "On one occasion recently I was staying in Ukkattha in the Subhaga forest at the root of a royal sala tree. Now on that occasion an evil viewpoint had arisen to Baka-Brahma: 'This is constant. This is permanent. This is eternal. This is total. This is not subject to falling away — for this does not take birth, does not age, does not die, does not fall away, does not reappear.[1] And there is no other, higher escape.'

"So I — having known with my awareness the train of thought in Baka Brahma's awareness — as a strong man would extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm, vanished into the root of the royal sala tree in the Subhaga forest in Ukkattha and appeared in that brahma world. Baka Brahma saw me coming in the distance and, on seeing me, said, 'Come, good sir. You are well-come, good sir. It has been long, good sir, since you arranged to come here — for this, good sir, is constant. This is permanent. This is eternal. This is total. This is not subject to falling away — for here one does not take birth, does not age, does not die, does not fall away, does not reappear. And there is no other, higher escape.'

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Then, taking Ven. Nanda by the arm — as a strong man might flex his extended arm or extend his flexed arm — the Blessed One disappeared from Jeta's Grove and reappeared among the devas of the heaven of the Thirty-three [Tāvatiṃsa]. Now on that occasion about 500 dove-footed nymphs had come to wait upon Sakka, the ruler of the devas. The Blessed One said to Ven. Nanda, "Nanda, do you see these 500 dove-footed nymphs?"

"Yes, lord."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

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form
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by form »

As absurd as if someone said the Buddha has been to China. And how did he travel there... By flying.
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by robertk »

form wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:59 am As absurd as if someone said the Buddha has been to China. And how did he travel there... By flying.
As Lucas cited, it is often noted in the suttas that the Buddha travels by his powers, even to deva worlds.
The Buddha knew that Sri lanka would be the place where the teachings would grow and be preserved and so it is not strange that he should visit this future land of Dhamma.
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

There is nothing ridiculous about the Buddha flying to distant places using his psychic powers. He used his powers whenever he needed to, which makes it hard to categorically refute the claims that he visited Sri Lanka. The only evidence that he did not, is the lack of reliable sources showing that he did.

In the Pacalāyamāna Suttaṃ for example, while the Blessed one was staying among the Bhaggā on crocodile mountain (Susumāragīri), he noticed the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna falling asleep in the village of Kallavāḷaputta in Magadha. He disappeared from Bhaggā and reappeared in Magadha to admonish him.
Majjhimadesa.jpg
This is just one example of many. However, the only source for the Buddha visiting Sri Lanka is from the Mahāvaṃsa, a later work that is not part of the Tipiṭaka, its Commentaries, or Subcommentaries.

I asked the initial question because I do not wish to make any claims that are contradicted by reliable sources. I do not regard the Mahāvaṃsa as a reliable source.
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings bhante,
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:43 am The only evidence that he did not, is the lack of reliable sources showing that he did.
This accords with my understanding.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:43 am I asked the initial question because I do not wish to make any claims that are contradicted by reliable sources. I do not regard the Mahāvaṃsa as a reliable source.
I think your claims in this case are sound.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by form »

I post about flying because I recalled my monk friend telling me once how Chinese believed Bodhidharma came to China, he said they believe by flying.

Although the Buddha can fly, why was he trying to walk back towards the direction of his birthplace during the last few months of his life? Shouldnt he just fly back?
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
form wrote: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:23 am I post about flying because I recalled my monk friend telling me once how Chinese believed Bodhidharma came to China, he said they believe by flying.
I cannot remember where I heard this (possibly in one of Ven. Sujato's books?) but in the Chinese Agamas, the Buddha does a lot more flying than he does in the Pali Sutta equivalents of those same texts, where he is far more likely to be traversing via perambulation.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Did the Buddha Ever Visit Sri Lanka?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

He took about six months to walk from Rājagaha to Kusinārā. He gave many teachings on the way.

After his Enlightenment he went out of his way to meet Upaka because it would benefit him.

After the first sixty monks became Arahants he sent them off telling them to travel alone and spread the teaching. That way the teaching would benefit as many as possible.

After every Rains Retreat, the Buddha set out on tour of the country to spread the teaching. That is eight months of the year was spent walking from village to village, from city to city.
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