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February 06, 2017
SRI SADDHATISSA MONTHLY DHAMMA SERMONS
VEN. DEEGALLE MAHINDA, PROFESSOR OF RELIGIONS, PHILOSOPHIES AND ETHICS
BATH SPA UNIVERSITY, BATH
Aggamahapandita Ven. Galayaye Piyadassi Sangha Nayaka Thero has arranged for a series of monthly Dhamma Sermons at the Sri Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre beginning this year. The first sermon was delivered by Venerable Deegalle Mahinda Thero, Professor of Religions, Philosophies and Ethics at Bath Spa University, Bath BA2 9BN.

The Topic chosen was "SRI PADA PILGRIMAGE: BUDDHIST DEVOTION IN ANCIENT AND CONTEMPORARY TIMES". The Venerable is doing research on the origins of the Sri Pada Pilgrimage and its history, and delivered a very interesting and educational talk. Sri Pada is now more associated with Saman Deiyo (God Saman).

When the Laxapana hydroelectric reservoir was being built, the construction ran into problems and they prayed to Saman Deiyo to assist them. After the successful construction, they built a Devale for Saman Deiyo, on the way to the Samanala Kanda and the Ceylon Electricity Board is still maintaining it. Sri Pada is now more easily accessible from Maskeliya or Ratnapura.

Though Saman Deiyo is considered to be the reigning deity, earliest inscriptios, from the third century B.C., at Samanala Kanda indicate its connections with Buddhism. Also during the Polonnaruwa period King Nissankamalla had made some inscriptions with Sinhala letters clearly visible. In the 14th Century a Buddhist monk produced SAMANALAKUTA VANNAM in Pali.

During the British times at least two books, in English, have been published which are authoritative. They confirmed that Sri Pada was a place of Buddhist Worship. During this time, Sri Pada had come under the administration of the Malwatte Chapter. The British once again handed Sri Pada to the Sabaragamuwa monks and also laid down rules for the collection and administration of the donations and revenue.

Ven. Deegalle Mahinda Thero will be grateful for anyone with any further information to contact him.

Photos Tissa Madawala.
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