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Home History Sects and Schism Sri Lanka Timeline

Sri Lanka Timeline

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According to the Sri Lanka timeline, the Mahayana Canon might have been burnt twice in the course of history. In China, we find that several major sutras have different versions such that they are different in words and lengths. There were various Mahayana sutras that spread to China at various times. For example, the Lotus Sutra, there are many different versions of it existing in China today, and there is no doubt that there are new chapters written by later scholars that are not the original teachings of the Buddha.

However, the Pali Canon (Theravada Canon) has always been well-preserved and re-examined in the Buddhist Councils for more than 2,500 years.

Major events before Venerable Buddhaghosa arrived Sri Lanka (Ceylon):

Kings of Ceylon Relevant Events References
Devanampiya - Tissa: B.C. 307 - 267 Arrival in Ceylon of the Arahant Mahinda bringing Pali Tipitaka with Commentaries; Commentaries translated into Sinhalese; Great Monastery founded. Mahavamsa, Ch. 13
Dutthagamani 161 -137 Many names of Gt. M. (Great Monastery) elders, noted in Commentaries for virtuous behavior traceable to this and following reign. Mv. Chs. 25-32
Vattagamani 104 - 88 Bhikkhus all disperse from Great Monastery to South and to India. Mv. 33, 33f.
  Restoration of king after 14 years and return of Bhikkhus. AA.i, 92
  Foundation of Abhayagiri Monastery by king. Mv.33, 78
  Abh. M. (Abhayagiri Monastery) secedes from Gt. M. and becomes schism .html" target="" title=""> schism .html" target="" title=""> schism .html" target="" title=""> schism .html" target="" title=""> schism .html" target="" title=""> schism .html" target="" title=""> schism .html" target="" title=""> schism atic. Mv.33, 81 & 96
  Committal by Gt. M. of Pali Tipitaka to writing for first time (away from royal capital). Mv.33, 100;
Nikaya-Sangraha (trsl.) pp.10-11
  Abh. M. adopts "Dhammaruci Nikaya of Vajjiputtaka Sect" of India Ns. p.11
  Meeting of Gt. M. Bhikkhus decides that care of texts and preaching comes before practice of their contents. AA.i, 92f
EHBC, p.78
Bhatikabhaya B.C. 20 - A.C. 9 Dispute between Gt. M. and Abh. M. over Vinaya adjudged by Brahman Dighakarayana in favor of Gt. M. Vin.A. 582;
EHBC, p.99
Khanirajani-Tissa 30 - 33 60 Bhikkhus punished for treason. Mv. 35,10
Gajabahu I 113-135 Abh. M. supported by king and enlarged. Mv. 35, 119
6 kings 135 -215 Mentions of royal support for Gt. M. and Abh. M. Mv. 35, 1, 7, 24, 33, 65
Voharika-Tissa 215-237 King supports both monasteries.  
  Abh. M. has adopted Vetulya (Mahayana?) Pitaka Ns. p.12
  King suppresses Vetulya doctrines Mv.36, 41
  Vetulya books burnt and heretic Bhikkhus disgraced. Ns. p.12
  Corruption of Bhikkhus by Vitandavadins (heretics or destructive critics). Dipavamsa Ch. 22, 23
Gothabhaya 254-267 Gt. M. supported by the king Mv.36, 102
  60 Bhikkhus in Abh. M. banished by king for upholding Vetulya doctrines Mv.36, 111
  Secession from Abh. M.; new sect formed Ns. p.13
  Indian Bhikkhu Sanghamitta supports Abh. M. Mv.36, 112
Jettha-Tissa 267-277 King favors Gt. M.; Sanghamitta flees to India Mv.36, 123
Mahasena 277-304 King protects Sanghamitta, who returns. Persecution of Gt. M.; its Bhikkhus driven from capital for 9 years. Mv.37, 1-50
  Sanghamitta was assassinated. Mv.37, 27
  Restoration of Gt. M. EHBC, p.92
  Vetulya books burnt again. EHBC, p.92
Mahanama 412-434 Bh. Buddhaghosa arrives in Ceylon. Mv.37, 215-46

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