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Sinhala Buddhist culture a model of Mauryan culture

The culture of Sri Lanka generally described as Sinhala Buddhist culture. Even though that there are three other minor cultures that originated in the latter period. Other minority cultures being identified as Tamil Hindu Culture, Christian Culture, and Muslim Culture. Sinhalese are the dominating ethnic group on the island while Buddhism being the most widely practised religion in the country. These two domination factors (Sinhala and Buddhist) have created a separate identity to the country and its culture. These two factors have evolved together for the last two and half millennium, they are interdependent and inseparable. Due to their influence, today the religion and culture of the country are known as Sinhala Buddhist or Sinhala Buddhism.

Sinhalese considered being the first ethnic group that established a settlement in the island. These migrants came from North Indian Aryavarta, hence they belonged to Aryan stock. Historian is in the opinion of that they could be a band of the seafaring merchant, who sailed southward direction searching for a destination with luxurious merchandise such as gems, pearls etc, which had a ready demand from the upper strata of the Aryavarta society.

It is believed they settled in Sri Lanka, due to the tradition of creating new colonies in the countries they reach. According to the Sinhalavatthu, an ancient Pali chronicle originated in 3rd century AD and the records of Fa-hien, the Chinese monk who travelled in Sri Lanka and lived for three years in 5th Century AD, there had been bands of occasional sea traders in the island and finally settled down.

The most well known and systematically narrated legend is found in the Mahawamsa, the ancient chronicle originated in 5th century AD. According to the chronicle, Vjaya and his followers of 700 people are recognized as the foundation of Sinhalese in the country.

According to Prof. S Paranawithana the original home of Sinhalese was the upper Indus Valley. The same theory was put forward by Hsuan-tsung, Chinese traveller who visited India in 7th century AD. The Sinhapura from which Wijaya and his follower sat sail, according to Chinese traveller, was on the River Indus, and the city was located about 117 miles on south-east direction from Taxila. The location of the original Sinhalese is in this region is supported by many archaeological findings and chronicles such as kharosthi and Lorian Tangai inscriptions. The first inscription mentions about a Stupa that built covering the large surface in honour of all Buddhists. It was built by two brothers namely Sihila and Simharaksita.

After the union of Vijaya and his 700 followers with 700 brides and their retinue of one thousand families from Madurai, the capital of the Pandya kingdom, is the third wave of migrants, who settled in the island.

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Sanjeewa Padmal (Seerendipity tours)

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