Posted on February 29th, 2024

Palitha Mapatuna

It is evident that a recent claim is being made by some that the Buddha was born, attained enlightenment, delivered his teaching and passed away in Sri Lanka.

However, evidence seems to strongly indicate that the Buddha was born outside Sri Lanka (most probably in Lumbini in the country known today as Nepal) and that the events of attainment of enlightenment, delivery of the teaching and passing away took place in the northern part of the country known today as India. 

Evidence in India

Of the much evidence that support this, two  pieces that pertain to India are as follows.

1. It is known that names of places, such as Kuru, Videha and Kosala and of rivers, such as Yamuna and Ganges, found in ancient Indian literature, including the Mahabharata, are found in the Buddha’s discourses (e.g. Kosala samyutta and Udana 5.5).

2. The four classes (Brahmins, downwards) in the caste system in India are indicated in relevant discourses of the Buddha (e.g. Digha Nikaya 27).

Apart from these two pieces of evidence, there is much other evidence (including the availability in India of many Buddhist stupas, sculptures and relics) to support that the aforesaid events took place in India.

However, these two pieces of evidence alone seem sufficient to establish that these events took place in India.

Evidence in Sri Lanka

Additionally, there is much evidence that pertain to Sri Lanka that dispel the claim that the events, referred to above, took place in Sri Lanka. 

Two pieces of such evidence are as follows.

1. The ancient chronicles of Sri Lanka, including the Mahawamsa, do not state that these events took place in Sri Lanka.  

2(1). None of the many Kings and other heads of state or any others in the past 2500 years and more had indicated that these events took place in Sri Lanka.  

(2). This failure on their part is indeed very strange if they had in fact taken place in Sri Lanka!

These two pieces of evidence alone seem to be sufficient to dispel this claim.


Yet, in spite of the contrary evidence in both India and Sri Lanka, there seem to be those who adhere to this claim.

Possible Consequences 

Two of the possible consequences of promoting this claim would be:

1. The division of buddhists in Sri Lanka,  resulting in a general weakening of their position in the country, and 

2. The devaluation of the  many ancient sources of the history of Sri Lanka, including the Mahawansa.

It may be appreciated that the devaluation of these sources would effectively mean the devaluation of the country as a whole, as they are an intrinsic part of it.


Thus, it seems necessary that a prudent and effective response be made by concerned citizens and authorities regarding the recent claim, taking into account evidence in both India and Sri Lanka and the indicated possible consequences. 

Palitha Mapatuna

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Copyright © 2024 All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress