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The Spread of Theravada Buddhism in South India: 3rd Century B.C. upto 14th Century A.D.

Dr. Hindagala Gnanadhara (Author)

It is surprising that the chronicle Mahavamsa fails to make any reference to the son of Asoka, Arahan Mahinda and Sri Lanka Bhikkus (monks) and Bhikkhunis (nuns), who propagated Buddhism in Tamil Nadu. Scholars like I.K. Sharma and Sathian Nathan lyar stated that Atahanta Mahinda functioned as the head of Tondamandalam Vihara at Kaveri Pattinam.

Reference to the Theravada Buddhist concept paticcasamuppada (causality), four noble truths and Tilakkhana suggest the widely prevalent Theravada Buddhism in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Scholars Srinivasan and Nilakanta Sastri established the birthplace of Buddhagosa, who arrived here in the 5th Century and composed 14 Pali commentaries, at Mahavihara in Anuradhapura, from a village called Moranam in Kanchipuram.

Traveller Hiuen Tsang stated that 10000 priests were in 100 monasteries in Tamil Nadu. Thirty-five plates of Buddha statues unearthed there were included in the text.

Ilankilli, brother of Kanchipuram Chola king Killivalavam, constructed a Temple with a chetiya (pagoda). Many Chola kings had Buddhist names like Buddhavarman and Asokavarman. They extended their patronage to Buddhism. Vajrabodhi, Bodhidharma and Dhammaruci propagated Buddhism in China, translating the Mayana Buddhist text to Chinese. The text also includes information given by scholars, clergymen and laymen of the 9th century, who were witnesses to the existence of Buddhism in Tamil Nadu.

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About the author

Dr. Hindagala Gnanadhara

Dr. Hindagala Gnanadhara hails from a hamlet called Hindagla, which is in proximity to the renowned Peradeniya University of Sri Lanka.

He has an honorary degree in Comparative Religions and Buddhist Philosophy from Peradeniya University in 1986. He completed his masters at the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka in 1990.

The Indian government awarded him a scholarship under (I.C.C.R.) in 1992 in recognition of his talents. He obtained his M.Phil and PhD degrees within a short period from the University of Delhi.

The Ethicon Psychological Basis of the Concept of Gods was presented by him to the University of Delhi and was published in England in 2000. The Spread of Theravada Buddhism in South India was awarded Presidential Literary and Buddhist literary awards in 2016. He researched the origin of Pali, ancient Buddhist ruined cities and the history of Ilavas in Kerala. He published The Rise and Decline of Theravada Buddhism in Tamil Country (Kerala) in 2017.

He worked as a casual translator-cum-announcer for two years at All India Radio. He is an assistant lecturer in the University of Colombo.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Spread of Theravada Buddhism in South India: 3rd Century B.C. upto 14th Century A.D.
Format Softcover
Date published: 31.12.2018
Edition 1st. ed.
Publisher Notion Press
Language: English
isbn 9781642492149
length 358p., 43 Black and White and Color Illustrations; 11.00 X 8.00 Inch.