Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Theri Sanghamitta is the first woman mentioned in Buddhist records after the Buddha's direct female disciples. Although there are many legends about Saaher at all in any Indian records. The only information we have about her are a few brief references in the Sri Lankan chronicles, the DipavaĆ¼sa and the MahavaĆ¼sa (3rd-4th cent. CE), some 600 years after she lived. According to these works, Sanghamitta was the daughter of King Asoka and a nun. After her brother Mahinda introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka and ordained the first native monks, some woman of the royal court asked to be ordained too.

As the ordination of woman requires a quorum of both monks and nuns, Mahinda sent a message back to India requesting Sanghamitta to lead a group of nuns to Sri Lanka. She arrived with a branch of the Bodhi Tree from Bodh Gaya and later ordained some woman, thus establishing the nuns Sangha outside India for the first time. In the 5th century the nuns Sangha was established in China by nuns from Sri Lanka and thus nuns in that country, in Korea and in Taiwan, now look to Sanghamitta as their founder, although she was unknown in these countries until the 20th century In Sri Lanka the anniversary Sanghamitta's arrival in the island is celebrated every year on the full-moon in December.


Blogger said...

Dear Venerable,

The image is beautiful,are there others by the same artist?Could you provide a link?


Shravasti Dhammika said...

Dear Blogger, the painting is from the Belanvilla Maha Vihara in Colombo in Sri Lanka. I do not know where there are reproductions of the others.