Nagadeepa Purana Vihara

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Nagadeepa Purana Vihara
නාගදීප පුරාණ විහාරය
நயினாதீவு நாக விகாரை
Nainathivunakaviharai 2.jpg
The Nagadeepa Purana Viharaya, one of the 16 Solosmasthana
Basic information
LocationNagadeepa, Sri Lanka
Geographic coordinates09°36′45.9″N 79°46′26.3″E / 9.612750°N 79.773972°E / 9.612750; 79.773972Coordinates: 09°36′45.9″N 79°46′26.3″E / 9.612750°N 79.773972°E / 9.612750; 79.773972
ProvinceNorthern Province
Architectural typeBuddhist temple

Nagadeepa Purana Vihara (Sinhalese: නාගදීප පුරාණ විහාරය, Tamil: நயினாதீவு நாக விகாரை) is an ancient Buddhist temple situated in Jaffna district of Northern Province, Sri Lanka. It is among the country's sixteen or seventeen holiest Buddhist shrines (Solosmasthana).[1] According to contemporary history, the Gautama Buddha visited the site after five years of attaining Enlightenment to settle the dispute between two warring Naga kings, Chulodara and Mahodara.

Ancient history according to the Mahavamsa chronicles and the Tamil Buddhist epic Manimekalai mentions a gem-studded throne and a stone with the Buddha’s footprint at the island Nainativu, (also known as Nagadeepa) which pilgrims from India visited.[2][3]

History and development[edit]

Buddha's visit to Nagadeepa. Detail from Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara

The site is known as the place where Lord Buddha came during his second visit to Sri Lanka, after five years of attaining Enlightenment, to intervene and mediate in settling a dispute between two Naga Kings, Chulodara and Mahodara over the possession of a gem-studded throne.[1]

When Buddha arrived and saw the Naga Kings prepared for fighting, Budhha used psychic powers to appear in the sky performing miracles. This made the Nagas astonished and happy. After having listened to the Dhamma sermons displaying Buddha's masterly knowledge of unity and harmony, meththa and compassion, the Naga kings paid homage to Budhha with overwhelming faith. The throne was offered to him in unison and they became pious devotees.

A deity named Samiddhi Sumana, who had made the banyan tree his abode, accompanied him to Thathagatha while in Jetavanarama, holding the uprooted tree (Rajayathana tree) as an umbrella (parasol) to him.[4] The Naga King Maniakkitha, ruler of Kelaniya, moved by the compassion of the Buddha, thanked him profusely for settling the dispute. He further pleaded for a souvenir to worship and consequently the Buddha offered him the Rajayathana tree and the throne.[5]

The Nagadeepa Vihara has been reconstructed, and developed in the times of king Devanampiya Tissa and Dutugemunu and to convert it into a sacred place.[1]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • The first translation of Manimekalai by R. B. K. Aiyangar, was published in Maṇimekhalai in its Historical Setting.[6] Extracts of this were republished in Hisselle Dhammaratana's Buddhism in South India [7] A more recent translation of the poem was done by Alain Daniélou with the collaboration of T.V. Gopala Iyer [8]There is also a Japanese translation by Shuzo Matsunaga, published in 1991.


  1. ^ a b c "Nagadeepa Viharaya". The Nation (Sri Lanka). 22 February 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Sacred Island, Nagadipa". Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc / BuddhaNet. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  3. ^ "Historic Nagadeepa Viharaya at Nainativu, Jaffna – නාගදීප විහාරය". Amazinglanka. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  4. ^ "The original inhabitants of Lanka: Yakkas & Nagas". WWW Virtual Library Sri Lanka. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  5. ^ Malalasekera, Gunapala Piyasena (1937). Dictionary of Pāli Proper Names: A-Dh. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass publishers Pvt. Ltd. p. 805. ISBN 978-81-208-3021-9.
  6. ^ Rao Bahadur Krishnaswāmi Aiyangar, Maṇimekhalai in its Historical Setting, London, 1928. Available at [1]
  7. ^ Hisselle Dhammaratana, Buddhism in South India, Kandy, 1964. Available online at Buddhist Publication Society Online Library Buddhism in South India.
  8. ^ Alain Daniélou & Iyer, Manimekhalai: the Dancer with the Magic Bowl by Shattan, New York, 1989.