Buddhist holidays in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic country in southern Asia. But nearly 75% of the population on the island is Sinhalese and they believe in the teaching of Buddha. Therefore the main culture of the island is recognized as Sinhalese Buddhist culture. Sri Lanka being a Buddhist country is one of the best places to explore the teaching of Buddha. Sri Lanka is a popular Buddhist holiday destination among Buddhist pilgrim from all over the world.
Buddhism is the most deep-rooted religion in the island of Sri Lanka and it has become a part of the life of average Sri Lankan. Buddhism was introduced in the 2nd Century B.C, during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. Since then Buddhism is the state religion of Sri Lanka. The archaeological sites such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Mihintale provides ample evidence of the dedication of ancient Sri Lankans for Buddhism. What they have done in the name of Buddhism is astounding and it has led the nation to one of the most advanced civilized nations in the early period.
There is a large number of historical Buddhist monuments on the island. There are 16 Buddhist religious sites in the island named as “Solosmastana”, they are being considered as the most important sites for Buddhist in the country. Few of these 16 places are visited by Buddha as he was on the island in the 6th Century BC. The 16 places are Mahiyangana, Nagadeepa, Kelaniya, Adams peak, Diva Guhava, Deegavapi, Muthiyangana, Tissamaharama, Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, Mirisavetiya, Ruwanweliseya, Thuparama, Abhayagiriya, Jetawanarama, Sela Cetiya, Kiri Vehera, Seruvila. Almost all Buddhist visit these places at least once in the lifetime.
Every full moon day or the Poya day is a public holiday on the island. The day is reserved for Buddhist religious activities. On the full moon day, Buddhists are gathering in the nearby Buddhist temple and engage in religious activities throughout the day.
Sri Lanka offers plenty of opportunities for people, who are interested in studying Buddhism. Sri Lanka had been a leading centre of the teaching of Buddhism since the very early days. There is a large number of Buddhist teaching centres, even today, providing the possibility of studying this religion and related subjects. Universities such as Buddhist and Pali University provides an opportunity for higher studies as well as short courses on Buddhism and related subjects. A large number of Pirivenas and Buddhist temples provides the opportunity to study the teaching of Buddha.
Meditation centres on the island provide the possibility of learning and practising the meditation. There are large numbers of meditation centres dedicated to people, who wish to practice the different types of meditations. Most of these meditation centres are managed by Buddhist monks. Duration of meditation courses may expand from several days to several months depending on the requirement and progress.
Some of the leading Buddhist temples provide the accommodation facilities for the pilgrim that coming from the remote areas. These accommodations can be obtained for a very reasonable price. Normally the temples provide only lodging and food has to be arranged elsewhere.
Publications and Language
Most of the educated monks in Sri Lanka can converse in English. There are several monks, who are also very proficient in other popular languages such as French, German, Russian and Italy. If you need to learn Buddhism in a language other than English, you have to find a proper place before arriving in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist publications can be obtained in national languages as well as English. Most of the books shops in cities such as Colombo and Kandy distribute the English version of most Buddhist publications.