Buddhist influence on local culture

Posted: March 5, 2015 at 9:47 am


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The third Buddhist council headed by Ven. Moggalipuththa Tissa was one of the most important events in the history of Buddhism. Its most significant out come was to bring Theravada Buddhism to Sri Lanka. This council was convened around 250 BCE by King Asoka, the greatest ruler of India. The third Buddhist council had a vital objective. This was to spread Buddhism beyond India by sending missionary monks to nine different countries. However the most important mission came to the island of Sri Lanka. This mission was led by none other than King Asoka's own son, Ven. Mahinda, who was to convert the King of Sri Lanka and all of his followers and subjects too. Ven. Mahinda before his passing away introduced not only the Buddha's teaching but also writing, new forms of art, architecture and literature to Sri Lankan society.

Ven. Mahinda performed a vital task to introduce a new writing tradition to Sri Lanka. He introduced a Brahmin alphabet to expand the writing methodology. So much evidence can be found out to prove that there was a writing tradition using Sinhala language (Hela Basa) after arrival of prince Vijaya in Sri Lanka. But it was developed well after Ven. Manhinda's arrival in Sri Lanka. He translated Pali commentaries in to Sinhala Commentaries. Ven. Mahinda with mission utilized Sinhalese Language to preach dhamma.

Some devotees who embraced Buddhism restored some caves and they were offered to Buddhist monks. These offerings were written on inscriptions in Sinhala Language. This Language and shape of letters had very close resemblances with the language in inscriptions of Ashoka. Accordingly Buddhism influenced to the Sinhalese Language from 3rd B.C.E. to present time not only for writing but also speaking. Sinhalese Language has borrowed so many Buddhist words to his word stock. The Buddhist influence on Sinhalese language can be seen in Orthography (letters), Etimology (words) and syntax (Sentences).

After establishment of Buddhism in the island Ven. Mahinda took various strategies to spread Dhamma with the help of king Devanampiyatissa. One was to introduce a new alphabet to expand the writing tradition and the other was to translate Pali Commentaries in to Sinhala language. This step caused to develop Sinhala language with its word stock. Buddhism was established in Sinhala as Helatuwa. This "Atuwa" influenced for the post literature. A.W. Adhikaron mentions a list of 'Helatuwa" in his book named Early History of Buddhism in Ceylon. They are:

Maha Attakata (Culattakata )

Maha pachchariya Attakata

Kurundi Attakatha.

Andhattakata.

Sankapattakata.

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Buddhist influence on local culture

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March 5th, 2015 at 9:47 am

Posted in Buddhist Concepts