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History of Buddhism in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) - Under English Administration In The Mid-1800s

From 1849 the tolerance of the English administration was "more than praiseworthy" in that it was perfectly aware of the bad influence exercised on the people by the Buddhist priests.

Temple of The Tooth, Kandy, Sri Lanka - History of Buddhism in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) - Under English Administration In The Mid-1800s

Continued from << Highway Tax Protests of 1848

Buddhist priests had aided and abetted all the insurrections which had broken out since 1815, as indeed they again did in that of 1848, which was caused by the false rumour spread throughout the island that France and England were at war, and that French troops were about to land in the port of Trincomalee. In the trial after the insurrection, when the principal offenders were punished, a Buddhist priest was implicated, found guilty, and condemned to death by court-martial, with eighteen other insurgents, and was executed in his priestly vestments and all the insignia of his office. This example, which had only had one precedent, was considered necessary in order to deter future imitators. The Sinhalese are extremely fanatical; if they fancy their relics run any danger, more especially the Buddha's famous tooth, which endows its proprietor with sovereign rights, they are at once roused and ready to take up arms, if only they can find a leader. In 1848 the English Resident at Kandy deemed it advisable to lock up the precious relic, in order to prevent its falling into the hands of the rebels. Later, when all danger was over, he restored it to the priests for the worship of the faithful.

Temple of The Tooth, Kandy, Sri Lanka - History of Buddhism in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) - Under English Administration In The Mid-1800s

Throughout the whole country, and particularly in the northern and central provinces, there are a large number of temples, assiduously frequented and richly endowed by the magnificence of the faithful. The most important - to which convents are attached - are found in the Dombera district, north-west of Kandy; and in 1841 the pretender, Gongalagodda Banda, had himself crowned in the Temple of Dombula, one of the most venerated and ancient temples, said to have been built one century before Christ.

These facts would in themselves prove the power that Buddhism still possessed in Ceylon (at that time), and it is an interesting study to see what its actual condition is after a rule of more than two thousand years.

As you can see when this was written, the British Empire was at its height!


Text adapted from 'The Buddha and His Religion'
by Jules Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire (19 Aug 1805 – 24 Nov 1895)

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The Buddhist Flag
First hoisted in 1885 in Sri Lanka, is a symbol of faith and peace used throughout the world to represent the Buddhist faith.

Buddhist Flag Picture - Buddhist Flag Colours - The Buddhist Flag Sri Lanka 1885

Buddhist Flag Meanings
Blue: Universal Compassion
Yellow: The Middle Path
Red: Blessings
White: Purity and Liberation
Orange: Wisdom

 History of Buddhism in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) - Under English Administration In The Mid-1800s

The Dharma Wheel

Spokes of the Dharmachakra - "The Dharma Wheel" Meaning - The Dharma Wheel Symbol - The Dharma Wheel Image - 8 spokes representing the Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya magga)

In Buddhism—according to the Pali Canon, Vinayapitaka, Khandhaka, Mahavagga, the number of spokes of the Dharmachakra represent various meanings:

8 spokes representing the Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya magga).
12 spokes representing the Twelve Laws of Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada).
24 spokes representing the Twelve Laws of Dependent Origination and the Twelve Laws of Dependent Termination (Paticcasamuppada).
31 spokes representing 31 realms of existence (11 realms of desire, 16 realms of form and 4 realms of formlessness).

Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is a Japanese Buddhist chant based upon the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren Daishonin (Feb 16, 1222 – Oct 13, 1282) a Buddhist monk who lived during the Kamakura period (1185–1333) in Japan. Nichiren taught devotion to the Lotus Sutra, entitled Myōhō-Renge-Kyō in Japanese, as the exclusive means to attain enlightenment and the chanting of Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō as the essential practice of the teaching. Various schools with diverging interpretations of Nichiren's teachings comprise Nichiren Buddhism.
Nam - To devote one's life
Myoho - Myo is the mystic nature of life and Ho, its manifestation
Renge - "Lotus Flower"; which symolises the ballance of cause and effect
Kyo - Sutra, the voice or teachings of Buddha (The sound or vibration that connects everything in the ubiverse)

As the Buddha had never claimed to be a god, it is evident that he never prescribed the form of worship that was to be rendered to him. A legend, however, attributes to him the institution of this form of worship

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