The history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka after Mahasena in the fourth Century AD.

King Mahasena destroyed the Mahavhihara on the advice of Ven. Sanghamita and
built Jetavannavihara in the premise of the Mahavhihara. From this time onward, the
life and the attitude of Buddhism began to change because the bhihus of the
!bhayagirivihara and Jetavanna were receiving the Mahayanist ideas that came from
"ndia. #uring the time of Srimeghavanna in the $
th
century %&'()&*+ B,-, the .ooth
/elic was brought to Sri 0ana. 1p to this time there was no .ooth)/elic worship
system in Sri 0ana. But with the arrival of the .ooth)/elic a large number of
festivals and ceremonies began to appear around the .ooth)/elic. .herefore, festivals
are more inclined towards the Mahayana than .heravada Buddhism. "t is said that
"ndian King Samudra 2upta had relationship with Sri 0anan King and Sri 0anan
ing wanted to build accommodating hall in "ndia for the Sinhalese devotees who
were visiting "ndia. .hen with the close connection with between Sri 0ana and "ndia,
"ndian philosophy lie Madhyavada and 3ogacaravada ideas came to Sri 0ana.
4hen Ven. Fa)hein came to Sri 0ana in his boo he describes that !bhayagirivihara
was more advanced than the Mahavihara. 5ven during the reign of ing Sri
Meghavanna he organi6ed the ceremony called Mahinda ceremony which is done
with the intention of remembering Ven. Mahinda. 7owever, there are three ma8or
monasteries that were in progress more and more in order to overcome the enemy .
during the reign of King Mahanama %$'9)$*+ B,-, Ven. Buddhaghosa came to Sri
0ana. 7ow he came to Sri 0ana and for what purpose is not nown to us. 7owever,
in the Buddhaghosaupatti, it is said that he came to Sri 0ana to learn the pure
Buddhism that was e:isting in ;ali version. But the Mahavihara was the place where
the origin of Buddhism was preserved and the Bhihus of the Mahavihara invited
Ven. Buddhaghosa with the idea of preserving pure Buddhism which had been done
by the Mahavihara Bhihus. .he Mahavihara bhihus feared that the rites and
rituals of Mahayanists as well as the worship of the Bodhisattva would increase in this
island if they did not tae any action against it.
Ven. Buddhaghosa began to translate all the Sinhala !tthaatha into ;ali. 7owever,
Ven. Fa)hein in his boo said that !bhayagirivihara had <''' bhihus whereas
Mahavihara had only &''' bhihus. !part from this the concept of Bodhisattva
began to spread in Sri 0ana very rapidly. 5ven ings began to e:press that they were
Bodhisattvas. For instance, King Sri Sanghabo claimed that he was Bodhisattva.
Bodhisattava worship was related to the Mahayana. "n the 9
th
century !#, in the reign
of Sri 0aaa, it is said in the Mahavamsa that a certain merchant ;urallam brought a
boo called #hammadhatu and that boo was taen to Jetavannarama. .he Bhihus
in the Jetavannarama held a festival to venerate the #hammadhatu. So #hammadhatu
was considered as one of the doctrines of Mahayana. 7owever, by the beginning of
the 9
th
century !#, one can see that Mahayana ideas had entered Sri 0ana so
considerably that the Bhihus of !bhayagirivihara and Jetavanavihara were actually
following them. 4e have discovered inscriptions issued during that period which
contain the Mahayanist teachings. "n Sri 0ana, the inscription found from
Mahindale contains the concepts of the three Bodhi systems and .riyana. !nother
inscription has been found referring to the worship of Bodhisattva !valoitesrana and
Munche. !nother inscription of Mahintale contains the stan6a belonging to
Sadhammapundaraia. 7ence it is clear that by the end of !nuradhapura period the
Mahayana was prevailing in Sri 0ana. !part from this, we have evidence to say
during the reign of Sena " .rantrism was in Sri 0ana in =
th
century. "n the monastery
called Viranurarama, the !bhayagirivihara bhihus were following .rantrism. .hey
were called Va8iriyavadins and according to the >iayasangaha it is said that Mila
;atat darsharma was in Sri 0ana. By the second half of !nuradhapura period, there
came up another two sects of monasteries? ;abbatavihara and ;adhanagara Vihara.
.hese monasteries were built not in the capital of !nuradhapura, but in the urban area
of !nuradhapura. .he Bhihus who went to reside in these two monasteries were
either called ;ansuulia or !ranGGavadins. .he coming up of these two types of
monasteries indicate that the Bhihus living the monasteries of city were irreligious
and immoral. .hus the bhihus who decided to be moral and religious went to these
monasteries. .hey had a system of begging alms. .he decline of the moral conduct of
bhihus led to the decline of the order and which has immense influence on the
people and the ing. !nd it is said that one reason for the fall of !nuradhapura is the
decline of morality of bhihus.