(27) Visit Mihintale, the sacred place where Buddhism was introduced in Sri Lanka - A mythical world worthy of the name of a sacred place!

Mihintalay Buddhist Columns & Dharma Talks

Travels to Buddhist sites in India and Sri Lanka (27)
スリランカ仏教伝来の聖地ミヒンタレーを訪ねて~聖地の名にふさわしい神話的な世界!

After visiting the fish market in Negombo, Sasselwa Big Buddha, and Aukana Big Buddha, I finally headed to Mihintale, the final destination of the day.

Gautama Buddha

Previous Article(26) Sasserwa Buddha and Awkana Buddha: A visit to Sri Lanka's masterpieces in the mountains by those in the know.After seeing the Aukana Buddha described in Section 2.1, I had a late lunch at a hotel restaurant along the way.

I did not eat any local food in India, but what about Sri Lanka? After all, I had a traumatic experience in India. *(8) Indian baptism finally arrived. Down with severe vomiting and diarrhea. So much for the trip..."(See also.)

I am not a fan of spices, so Southeast Asia is a devil's gate for me. According to previous information, Sri Lanka is also a spice-intensive country. However, at the same time, I had heard that the sanitation in Sri Lanka is much better than that in India. In fact, the streets and roads leading to Sri Lanka are quite different from those in India in terms of hygiene.

I was also surprised when I looked at the menu. Not only Indian-style dishes, but they also have "fried rice," which is not spicy. I was so grateful! I chose it without hesitation.

It was cooked well, so it was safe for my stomach. In India, I didn't trust anything. I was terrified of the water used to wash dishes at street stalls and restaurants. Even the rags used to wipe the dishes have their own pitfalls.

But in Sri Lanka, strangely enough, there is no such fear. Seeing the city streets without litter, I felt that I could trust this place to some extent.

And the taste was outstanding. It was delicious. I was very happy! Sri Lanka is good! You can eat rice!

After all, food is important. It heals our exhausted bodies. I was back on my feet and on my way to Mihintaleh.

But Sri Lanka is not so sweet. On this day, it rained and rained again and again, but finally we encountered a full-blown squall.

It was not that surprising since guerrilla downpours are common in Japan these days, but going to see the Buddha statues in this rain was quite a heartbreaking experience. We could only hope that it would stop.

Well, we arrived at Mihintaleh. The squalls have stopped, but the rain is still strong.

The squalls that had just come down had turned the stairs almost into a waterfall, but I managed to reach the top. My shoes and pants were soaking wet.

Now, from this point on, take off your shoes and go barefoot. It is good manners to visit the sanctuary without shoes and barefoot. It does not matter if the ground is soaking wet from the rain.

But what do you think? I was in for a fresh surprise here.

Being barefoot does not bother him at all.

You may wonder what is so great about this. But for me, this was a big deal. You may remember the Mansa Devi temple in Haridwar.(5) Feel the theme park of the gods at the Mansa Devi Temple in Haridwar - an immersive experience into the Hindu worldview."It is that Hindu temple I talked about in my article on

I went barefoot in this Hindu temple and was horrified by the feel of it. India is just so dirty. This experience made me strongly resist walking barefoot in the outdoors.

But here in Mihintaleh, where is that dislike?

In this rain, it is pleasant to walk on wet and muddy ground!

What is wrong with this? Something is different in Sri Lanka!

The feeling of the rocky hill I climbed carefully so as not to slip and fall. If this had been in India, I would have looked extremely uncomfortable.

However, the feeling of the soles of my feet as I took each step was a pleasant sensation. This may have been the result of the holy place called Mihintaleh, or perhaps I was comforted by the cleanliness of Sri Lanka.

In any case, the fact that it is pleasant to walk barefoot is a major characteristic of Sri Lanka.

We climbed the stairs to the top of the mountain where the chedi is located.

It is a chedi peculiar to Sri Lanka with a thin spire protruding from a bun-shaped base.

It is a magnificent chedi, too large to be captured in a photograph from close up.

And around this chedi, you can see the surrounding scenery like an observatory.

All around us is a world of green as far as the eye can see, with deep trees, mountains, and rice paddies.

And it was to see this view that I came here to Mihintaleh. Note the rocky hill in front.

This mountain, with its brightly colored blue, yellow, and red Buddhist flags, is Invitation Rock, the most sacred of all the sacred sites of Sri Lankan Buddhism.

I came all this way to see this rocky mountain.

This mountain became a sacred place for no other reason than it was here that Buddhism in Sri Lanka began. This is where Buddhism in Sri Lanka began. This is the place where Sri Lankan Buddhism began.

It is believed that Buddhism began in Sri Lanka in the middle of the 3rd century BC. Considering that Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, established his Buddhist cult in the middle of the 5th century B.C., there seems to be a slight time gap. As it is, the Buddha was active in the interior of India, which is known as Middle India. From there, Buddhism did not spread to Sri Lanka, which is located at the southern tip of India on the sea. One should not underestimate the vastness and cultural complexity of India.

Such a situation was changed by a great Indian king named King Ashoka (reigned 268-232 BCE).

King Ashoka was a king of the Mauryan dynasty who ruled almost all of India.

Territory of the Maurya Dynasty during the reign of King AshokaWikipedia.

As you can see from this chart, the entire area of India fits perfectly into the chart of power. The southern tip of India and Sri Lanka were "tributaries," or tributary states. It is an amazing feat for ancient India, which did not have the communication facilities of today, to rule such a large area.

And the most famous of King Asoka's achievements is the historical fact that he spread Buddhism throughout India. As mentioned earlier, the area of Buddha's activity was only in Central India. Even after the Buddha's death, the Buddhist cult was still centered in these areas, but it was King Ashoka who spread it throughout India and continued to build monuments to it.

King Ashoka Pillar in Vaishali. It was erected around 250 BC.Wikipedia.

The monument to King Asoka, called the "King Asoka Pillar," was an important clue to the existence of Buddhist monuments. In ancient India, the culture of keeping written records was thin. Moreover.(16) Why have India's Buddhist sites been buried in the ground and forgotten?As I discussed in my article in the "The Buddhist Monuments in India" section, Buddhist monuments have literally been forgotten in India.

The excavation of the King Asoka Pillar was the first discovery that the remains buried there belonged to a Buddhist cult. The pillar had inscriptions on it, which proved the origin of the site. If not for this pillar, the remains might have been abandoned without being known what they were.

Thus, while King Asoka did much to spread Buddhism throughout India, his son was also great.

His son Mahinda is the one who introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka.

Mahinda was not the eldest son of King Ashoka and therefore did not have to succeed to the throne. Therefore, he chose to become an ordained priest, where his talents blossomed. He eventually became an elder and crossed the ocean to Sri Lanka to spread Buddhism. According to Sri Lankan legend, he flew to Sri Lanka, but we will take that as a legend.

Now, the stage is finally set.

It was at this Invitation Rock that Elder Mahinda and the then King Tissa of Sri Lanka met.

King Tissa was visiting Mihintaleh on a deer hunting trip when he was lured to this mountain by the mountain god Deva. There he met Mahinda the Elder, and is said to have taken deep refuge in the teachings of Buddhism. This is how Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka.

Mihintaleh is a place that truly lives up to these legends. A rocky mountain standing alone in the jungle spread out before your eyes. I was impressed by the presence of this rock! I was also impressed by this view. What a mythical world! There is no other place in the world where the mythical scene of the beginning of Buddhism in Sri Lanka fits so well! It is truly dramatic! I can understand why this place is considered sacred.

I am now going up to that holy place.

However, as you can see in this picture, it is raining. This rocky mountain in the rain is really dangerous. We waited until the rain stopped.

There were people coming down the stairs with umbrellas, but I was watching them with trepidation.

Fortunately, after a few minutes, the rain stopped and we were able to climb using both hands. There was no way I was going to miss this opportunity. I cautiously broke through the first barrier.

No - it's still tough! It was wet and smooth from the rain. There was a ditch made in front of us so that we could put our feet on it, but it was not there until recently. Of course, there must have been no handrails in ancient times. It must have been a difficult place for a legend to be born.

But the summit was just around the corner. One more step.

We arrived at the top. Although there is a fence, it is on a small rock. It was quite scary for me, as I am afraid of heights.

Just a few moments ago, I was looking at this rock from this chedi.

From this rock we could look down on the precincts of Mihintaleh.

This is where that legendary meeting took place. If Elder Mahinda and King Tissa were here, they must have looked like heavenly beings from below. The top of this rocky peak could be seen from the stupa in front of us and from below. In such a place, there was a decisive encounter that determined the history of Sri Lanka. What a romantic setting!

However, I personally prefer looking at this rocky hill from the chedi rather than looking out over the world from this rock. The mythical stage is enjoyable only because it is a place to watch. It is not something you should stand there.

Now, let's start going down. It is more difficult to descend than to ascend, and this is true all over the world. We descended cautiously from the dizzying heights.

We made it to the bottom safely. Walking barefoot on the gravel road, I looked at the Invitation Rock that I had just stood on. This rock is more interesting when viewed from a distance.

Thus I left the sanctuary of Mihintaleh.

The setting for the beginnings of Sri Lankan Buddhism was truly mythical and fascinating. The setting was perfectly suited to the legend. It was a wonderful view that one could not help but think that something had to happen here.

A pleasant sense of satisfaction despite being soggy in the rain. The long, long day is now over.

By the time we arrived at the inn, it was dark. As expected, I was at my wits' end. But it was a fulfilling day. After all, I love myths. I love the setting of legends. Perhaps I am drawn to stories that move people. Mihintaleh was truly a world of myth.

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