Posted on June 22nd, 2023


The President Ranil Wickremasinghe, recently at an interview boldly made a statement which is of historical significance. He said that Thiriyaya, Muhudu Maha Vihraya and one Aloka Viharya in the south were light houses and the Ven monks who lived in these temples were the light house keepers.

Many Sri Lankan Buddhists believe that Girihandu Seya the shrine in Thiriyaya is the first temple to be constructed in Sri Lanka to pay homage to the Lord Buddha. According to Vinaya pitaka books, Nidhana katha and Maha Vagga, two Indian merchants Tapassu and Balluka who visited Sri Lanka built the temple enshrining a handful of hair relics of the Lord Buddha. This is also etched in an inscription in an 8th century epigraph found in the site stating that a shrine named Girikandicaitiya was built on the hilltop by a company of merchants led by Tapassu and Balluka. Therefore, at least from 8th century the shrine in Thiriyaya was recognized as a Buddhist temple.

The second shrine named by the President as a lighthouse is Muhudu Maha Viharya in Pottuvil district. According to the historical chronicles, the temple was built by King Kavantissa who ruled the Ruhunu kingdom in 205-161 BC to commemorate the arrival point of Princess Vihara Maha Devi, whose boat was swept ashore close to the present day Muhudu Maha Viharya. There are Buddha statues and Bodhi Sattva statues in this viharya and has been identified as a temple built by the king to pay homage to the Lord Buddha

The third temple mentioned by the President cannot be identified as the statement was not clear.

And , the President referred to the resident Ven Monks who were at Girihandu Seya and Muhudu Maha Viharaya as light house keepers.

However, the two temples, Girihanduseya in Thriiyaya and Muhudu Maha Viharya, in Pottuvil were built to pay homage by the Buddhists to the Lord Buddha and to say that these places were light houses deserves the bauble.

But, when one attempts to promote the precarious version of Ven monks as light keepers contrary to the responsible role played by the Maha Sangha in the history of our nation, is indeed irrational is like ringing the bell backwards


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