PELMADULLA ANCIENT RAJAMAHA VIHARA

The historical Pelmadulla Rajamaha Vihara is a great glim that brought the light of wisdom to modern era illuminating the whole Sri Lanka. The esteemed historical incident (the third dharma convocation) that has happened 144 years ago is the very foundation of modern educational and religious renaissance. It is convinced without a second thought that full respect and honor of this great subversion must go to this sanctuary.

 

The fame and the firm social and religious ground that Sri Lanka was once replete with, shattered due to continuous foreign invasions. Indigenous education fell into the careless hands of missionaries, thus monasteries were inhabited only by wilderness. Monks have become helpless and hopeless as Buddhist places of worship were destroyed and property and treasure in them were looted. There was no place for monks and, thereby, no place for religion in an era that gradually religion came to the verge of extinction and monks of higher ordination in Buddhist dispensation were eradicated.

A virtuous person locally called ‘Kapugankade Silvatha’ from Giruvapaththuva has cleared the barren crumbled woody of a Rajamaha Vihara named Kota Vehera and turned it into a livable holly place with the kind permission of rulers. After sometime he has accompanied his brother and guided him to enter priesthood in name “Pelmadulla Silvatha”. By so doing he turned his place into a Buddhist sanctuary. King Rajasingha appreciating his devotion to Buddhism granted Pelmadulla village-grant to this temple.

 

Rev. Valivitiye Pindapathika Asarana Sarana Saranankara thero, who has specially emerged to evoke the extinguished Buddhist awakening that was no longer alight at that time in Sri Lanka, has lit the first lamp of Buddhist illumination at uplands. People have been queuing themselves on behalf of this uprising. Appreciating this awakening, Pelmadulla Silvatha has offered his temple, Pelmadulla Vihara to which he has attended for years, as he did not have any probationers and, as a help to Saranangkara thero, to attend to his religious services. Meanwhile Saranangkara thero has brought the lost higher ordination of Buddhist monks to Sri Lanka from Thailand (Siam) and has built a “Simamalakaya” in Pelmadulla Rajamaha Vihara in 1754. Whip hand of  Sri Pada, that was assigned to officiating Hindu priests called “Andy Pakeer” for 174 years by King Seethawaka Rajasinha has taken back again into Buddhists’ hands with royal support by Asarana Sarana Saranankara thero. After Pelmadulla Rajamaha Vihara, Kuttapitiya store-village which was rendered by King Kirthi Sri Rajasinhe as well as a possession of Sri Pada were assigned to Wehalle Dhammadinna thero by Saranankara thero. Thus, as an official sign a pair of elephant trunks belonging to Sri Pada and to the incumbency of low country and Sabaragamuwa was entrusted over King’s grace.

 

The most important and exquisite incident in days bygone, which was the very foundation of modern educational and religious renaissance in Sri Lanka, is the third Dharma congregation held in this vihara in 1867 AD. Doloswala adigar , Variyagama nilame and Iddamalgoda ratemahaththaya (chief officer of a District in the Sinhalese kingdom), who held the Basnayake Nilame rank of Sabaragamuwa Saman Devale, have sponsored to build Dharma stage and a building complex with lodgings that were erected only for the third Dharma congregation.

 

During this process priority was given to ultimate targets for evocating dharma vinaya’ (discipline) and refurbishing older written records of Dharma by clearing all the irregular records in Buddhist canon locally called Thripitakaya’. In this congregation, Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala thero has stood for Valane Sri Siddhartha thero who represented chieftainship of the group of monks from Siam sect, Lankagoda Sri Dhirananda thero who hold leadership of the group of monks who represented Amarapura sect and the leadership of the lay group was held by Pundit Batuvanthudava. Induruva Sri Sumangala thero who was educated at Pelmadulla ancient vihara education premises became the chief incumbent of both Pelmadulla Rajamaha Vihara and Sri Pada. Enhancing the illumination brought into Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka by Induruva Sri Sumangala thero, Valane Siddhartha thero has erected Parama Dharma Chethiya Pirivena premises at Rathmalana. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala thero and Rathmalane Dhammaloka thero, who were educated from Paramadhamma Chethiya Pirivena at Rathmalana and who also did a great service in upgrading Buddhism headed to opening of both Vidyalankara Maha Pirivena and Vidyodaya which escalated the education sector during the last century. Thus it is obvious that the grounds of intellectuality and knowledge like Sri Jayawardanapura University and Kelaniya University were sub-structured by the educational center named Pelmadulla Aithihasika Rajamaha Vihara.

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