Sep 2015
Sri Lanka
Buddhism in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka was narrated by Dr. Shu Hikosake, The fascinating story by the Director and Professor of Buddhism, Institute of Asian Studies in Madras in his book 1989 Buddhism in Tamil Nadu: "A New Perspective".
Today, the Palk Strait and Hinduism which lie between India and Sri Lankan land masses, is seen as a divider, separating two different Distinct Ethnicities, Religions, Cultures and Political Entities but there was a Phase in history when Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka enjoyed very close ties, thanks to a shared interest in Buddhism.
Buddhism might have gone to Sri Lanka from Tamil Nadu by Sea-Route, . There existed very close Cultural affinities between Sri Lanka and India from time immemorial,--- the Buddhist activities in South- India could have easily influenced in some way or other the Buddhism of Sri Lanka, says Dr. Hikosaka!.
Although Buddhism has become almost extinct from India, It has contributed a great deal to the enrichment of South Indian cultures and has exerted a significant influence, both directly and indirectly, on the South Indian Religious and Spiritual consciousness, present as well as past.According to Historians, Buddhism began to make an impact on South I ndia only in the 3rd century AD. During the period from 3rd Century AD to 6th Century AD, Buddhism had spread widely and won the patronage of the South Indiarulers. The remains of a Buddhist monastery excavated at Kaveripattinum which could be assigned to the 4th century, are believed to be the earliest Archaeological relics of Buddhism in Tamil Nadu. The major urban centers of Kanchi, Kaveripattinam, Uraiyur, and Madurai were not only Centers of Buddhism, but these were also important centers of Pali Language Learning.
The Tamil Buddhist monks of South India used Pali languages in preference to Tamil in their writings. This is because the Buddha spoke in "Magadi Prakrit" and Pali was considered to be the Sacred Language of the "Theravada Buddhism".
It was at this time that Tamil Nadu gave some of its Greatest Scholars of the Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism to Like the contribution they made to Sanskritic Hinduism :)
Tamil Nadu boasted of outstanding Buddhist monks, who had made remarkable contributions to Buddhist thought and learning. Three of the greatest Pali scholars of this period were Buddhaghosa, Buddhadatta, and Dhammapala and all three of them were associated with Buddhist establishments in the Tamil kingdoms.
Buddhadatta or Thera Buddhaatta as he is called lived during the time of Accyutarikkanta, the dark ages of "Kalabarah Period" of the Tamilagam. He was a senior contemporary of Buddhaghosa. He was born in the Chola kingdom and lived in the 5th Century AD. Under the patronage of this ruler, Buddhadatta wrote many books. Among his best known Pali writings are the VINAYA-VINICCHAYA, the UTTARA-VINICCHAYA and the JINALANKARA-KAVYA. Among the commentaries written by him are the MADHURATTHA-VILASINI and the ABHIDHAMMAVATARA. In the Abhidhammaratara he gives a glowing account at Kaveripattinum, Uragapuram, Bhutamangalam and Kanchipuram and the "Maha-vihara in Anurathapura"-- in the ancient capital of Sri Lanka., He composed many Buddhist works such as Uttara-viniccaya Ruparupa Vibhaga. Jinalankara etc. Buddhaghosha, contemporary of Buddhadatta also composed many Buddhist commentaries.
Buddhaghosha is a Tamil monk, who made a remarkable contribution to Buddhism in Sri Lanka. He stayed and studied Buddhist precepts at Mahavihara in Anuradhapura. The Visuddhimagga was the first work of Buddhaghosha which was written while he was in Ceylon.
After Buddhaghosha, the important Theravada monk from the Tamil country was Dhammapala. Dhammapala lived in the Mahavihara at Anuradhapura. He composed Paramathadipani which was a commentary on Buddhaghosha s work on Khuddaka Nikaya and Paramathamanjusa, which was a commentary on Buddhaghosha's Visuddhimagga. A close study of the three Buddhist monks viz Buddhadatta, Buddhaghosha and Dhammapala shows that Tamil Buddhists were closely associated with the Sri Lankan Buddhists around the 5th century AD.
The author of NETTIPAKARANA is another Dhammapala who was a resident of a monastery in Nagapattinam. One more example is the Chola monk Kassapa, in his Pali work, VIMATTI-VINODANI, this Tamil monk provides interesting information about the rise of heretical views in the Chola Sangha and the consequent purification that took place.
There are so many other Tamil monks who are attributed to the Pali works some of them were resident at "Mayura-rupa-pattana" (Mylapore, Madras) along with Buddhagosha. The well known Tamil Buddhist Epics, on the other hand, were MANIMEKALAI and KUNDALAKESI.
The 6th century Tamil Buddhist work Manimekali by Sattanar, is perhaps the most famous of the work done in Tamil Nadu. It is a work expounding the Doctrines and propagating the values of Buddhism. The interaction between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan monks finds mention in Manimekalai, which is set in the Tamil towns of Kaveipumpattinam, Kanchi, and Vanchi.
There is mention about the presence of wondering monks of Sri Lanka in Vanchi, which was the capital of the Chera Kings of Tamilagam. The Chinese traveller, Tsuan Tsang, wrote that there were around 300 Sri Lankan monks in the Buddhist monastery at the Southern sector of Kanchipuram.
As Buddhism was one of the dominant religions in both Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, naturally there were very close relations between the two regions. The monks from Sri Lanka, too, went across to the Tamil kingdom and stayed in the monasteries.
As Dr. Leslie Gunawardana says, `The co-operation between the Buddhist Sangha of South India and Sri Lanka produced important results which are evident in the Pali works of this period`. He also says that the Tamil Buddhist monks were more orthodox than their counterparts in Sri Lanka.Indeed, the relations between the Tamil and Sinhala Buddhist monks were so close that the latter sought the assistance of the former in political turmoil.
In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Buddhists who followed Theravada Buddhism shared the common places of worship with the Sinhalese, but there were also Tamil Buddhists who were following the" Mahayana Buddhism" and they had there own Mahayana temples.
There are still some Tamil Mahayana Buddhist establishments (Palli) in the East and possibly in the Jaffna peninsula. The best known was Velgam Vehera , which was renamed Rajaraja-Perumpalli after the Chola emperor. Another was the Vikkirama-Calamekan-Perumpalli.
Some ten miles northwest of Trincomalee off the Trincomalee there is an ancient Buddhist shrine with its origins dating back to the years before the second century. It is a historical fact that among the many ancient Buddhist shrines in Sri Lanka Velgam Vehera which was renamed Rajaraja-perumpalli, also called Natanar Kovil by the present day Tamils stands out as the only known example of a `Tamil Vihare or Buddhist Palli` as the late Dr. Senerath Paranavithana described it in his book `"Glimpses of Ceylon"`s`. Some of the Tamil Inscriptions found at the site record donations to this shrine and are dated in the reigns of the Chola Kings, Rajaraja and Rajendra Chola. It was his view that the date of the original foundation of the vihare was no doubt considerably earlier than the reign of King Bhatika Tissa.
The situation in Tamil Nadu, however, began to change towards the beginning of the 7th Century AD when the rise of Vaishnavism and Saivism posed a serious challenge to Buddhism and Jainism. There was a significant increase in Brahmanical influence and soon the worshiping of Siva and Visnu began to gain prominence.
The Buddhist and Jaina institutions in Tamil Nadu came under attack when they began to loose popular support and the patronage from the rulers.
One result of this was the Migration of Buddhist and Jaina monks and devoted lay members to kingdoms where they could find refuge. While the Jainas were able to go to Kannada and Telugu regions, the Buddhists turned to Sri Lanka and assimilated with the local Buddhist population.
The majority of the early Tamils of Sri Lanka (before the 10th century Chola invasion) were Buddhists. The Archaelogical Buddhist remains in the North and EasternProvinces are the remnants left by the Tamil Buddhists and not anybody else.
Now, let us ask why is Sri Lanka`s Past Hidden from its Own People? Why does the Sinhalese believe that the Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka belong only to -Sinhala heritage and not to the Tamils??? Why are the Sinhalese ignorant about the early Tamil Buddhists of Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu Why do the Sinhalese think, in Sri Lanka if you are a Buddhist then you should be a Sinhalese and if you are a Hindu then you should the early Tamil from Tamil Nadu or kerala??
Unfortunately, today there is neither Tamil Buddhists nor true Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The "Sinhala-Buddhist Maha Sangha" will not accept any Tamil Buddhist monks. Buddhism in Sri Lanka is monopolized by the Sinhala Political Elites and Priests and they call it "Sinhala-Buddhism" which is Theravada Buddhism (Tripitaka) mixed up with the The great chronicle of " Mahavamsa" written around 6 AD about the origin and the the History of Sinhala Lion Race and Sri-Lanka. It is actually a violent form of Buddhist poems in pali, in which killing people of other Ethnicity and Religions [Hindu and Islam]who dont belong to Buddhism is encoranged as there are infidel as Buddha Chosen Srilanka exclusive land for Sinhalese and Buddhism and no one else --Not knowing they all were Dravidians from Andra[Hence all the Presidents and PMs has been visiting "Thirupathi Temple" annually becase it was a "Buddist Shrine originally !!]. Mostly from Kerala [ Chera- Nadu hence "Serenpity" and TN ----But speaking an Indo--Aryan Language Becase it was only created with Prakit /Sanscrit and Tamil around 7th Centry --there was a shread of evidence of Sinhala Language anywhere in the world before that time --Elu i guess was used by Veddahs and some group of people in Papua new Guinea !!
That is what Power Politics is all about :) :)
Sep 2015
Sri Lanka
Singalese Are Mainly Of Tamil Anscestry !!

Potsherds with Early Tamil writing from the 5th century BC have been found from the North in Poonakari in Jaffna to the South in Tissamaharama. They bore several Inscriptions, including a clan name—"Vela", a name related to "Velir" from ancient Tamil country. Epigraphic evidence shows people identifying themselves as Damelas or Damedas (the Indo-Aryan Prakrit word for Tamil people) in Anuradhapura, the Capital city of Rajarata the middle kingdom, and Other areas of Sri Lanka as early as the 2nd century BC. Excavations in the area of Tissamaharama in Southern Sri Lanka have unearthed locally issued coins, produced between the 2nd century BC and the 2nd century CE, some of which carry local Tamil personal names written in early Tamil characters, which suggest that Tamils were present and actively involved in trade along the Southern coast of Sri Lanka by the late Classical period. Other ancient Inscriptions from the period-- refering to a "Tamil merchant",the " Tamil householder residing in Ilubharata" and a "Tamil sailor named Karava".
Two of the five ancient inscriptions referring to the Damedas (Tamils) are in Periya Pullyakulam in the Vavuniya District in the Nothern Province- One is in Seruvavila district in Trincomalee District, --one is in Kuduvil in Amparai District and other one is in Anuradhapura. Mention is made in literary sources of Tamil rulers bringing Horses to the island in water craft in the 2nd century BCE, most likely arriving at Kudira-malai---known as "Mount Of Horses" in Tamil[ Known as "Port city of Hipporus" to Greek]. Historical records establish that Tamil kingdoms in modern India were closely involved in the island's affairs from about the 2nd century BC.
The irrigation works in ancient Sri Lanka dated from about 300 BC during the reign of King Pandukabhaya related to Pandya Kingdom and under continuous development for the next 1000 years, were one of the most Complex Irrigation Systems of the Ancient world. In addition to Underground Canals, the they were the first to build completely Artificial Reservoirs and Dams to store water. The system was extensively restored and further extended during the reign of King Parākramabāhu.
There were no Tamil or Singalese Ehnicities in ancient time as all people came from South- India from Kalinga ,Pallava- Chola ,Chera Kannada and Pandya Dynasties at different time periods in history---After Introduction of Buddihism--The "Sinhala Language" evolved with Mainly with Pali/Sanskrit - Tamil---Which formed over a period as a Foundation for the Sinhala People hence an"Ethnicity" [eg Hindu and Islamic Punjabi People ] there was no Animosity what so ever as the process was very gradual until "Chola Invasion" and Sunsequently Arya-Chakravathy of Kalinga formed a Northern Jaffna Kingdom" since then there were seral small small kingdoms of various spread all over the country under warlords !There was no central State formation!
Under Portugese and Dutch Rule only around 16th or 17th centuary many Immigrants were brought in "Madras State" as laborers to work in Cinnamon Cultivation they were converted to Catholicism and allowed to settle down SE and South of Srilanka --their descendents belongs to the prent Lower 3-4 Castes of Singalese caste system-Not Rigid and vulgar like in India!! --They were mainly Tamils but "Singhalised" over a Period--Strictly speaking Srilanka is an overwelmingly a State of the people of "Dravida origin" just Like "North India" leaving the Foreign Invaders after 2nd BC to 6th AD:) Then British Brought several Millions of Poor Tamils in 19th Centuary from TamilNadu to work in Tea and Rubber Estatate in Central Province--More than half-of them were repatriated after Indipedence--Muslims are another big Story ---I Am pretty sure more than they came the Muslim traders of South India hence speaks a Tamil Dialect -Some would have origininated from Arabia and few from Malaysia !! Rest Burgers a Mixed Race of Natives with Europeans who ruled Srilanka eg Dutch, British Etc --Perhaps call them Indo--Europeans :):)
Apr 2019
Except from Andhra Pradesh, the glory of Amravati, I would like to know the history of Buddhism in other parts of South India.
Only people who are not aware of huge corpus of 'Hinduism' contemporary to the 'Buddhist' era would claim that there were two distinct religious identities in ancient India. Even 'Buddhist' kings used to perform Vedic rituals and we find Shaiva symbols on their coins. Like Buddhist record say king Harsha was Buddhist but his court poet Bana says he was Shaiva but he also patronized Buddhist.


Sinhalese speak an Indo-Aryan language......
Apr 2015
Only people who are not aware of huge corpus of 'Hinduism' contemporary to the 'Buddhist' era would claim that there were two distinct religious identities in ancient India. Even 'Buddhist' kings used to perform Vedic rituals and we find Shaiva symbols on their coins. Like Buddhist record say king Harsha was Buddhist but his court poet Bana says he was Shaiva but he also patronized Buddhist.

Sinhalese speak an Indo-Aryan language......
I agree with that. All these narrative are to deny the Hindu roots of South Indian culture.