Lord Gautama Buddha is considered as the Greatest Human Being appeared on earth. The esteemed one achieved the eternal bliss of Samma Sambodhi or the Enlightenment, ending the continuous circle of Samsara, the existence. This wonderful event took place 2600 years ago seated with his back against under an Esathu tree by the river Neranjana in the Buddhagaya, India. As the ascetic Siddhartha attained the Sambodhi Gnana under the shade of the Esathu tree, this highly venerated tree came to be known as the 'Bodhi'.
The southern branch of this sacred tree in Buddhagaya was ceremoniously brought to Sri Lanka by Arahant Sangamitra Maha Theri in 236 BC, with the patronage of Emperor Dharmashoka. King Devanampiyatissa planted this Bodhi tree in his royal park 'Maha Meghavana Udyanaya' in Anuradhapura, under the guidance of Arahant Mahendra Maha Thero. Since then, this highly sacred Bodhi comparable to the living Buddha dwells there shining with glory. The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi of Anuradhapura is the oldest living tree of the whole world with a written history.
A world Heritage of Tranquility
The 'Mahaviharaya' of Anuradhapura where the 'Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi' dwells, is a highly venerated and historical place of worship esteemed world over as the centre for the Theravada Buddhism of the world for 23 centuries.
Including the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, the Mahaviharaya consists of eight sacred places of worship called 'Atamasthana'. The great stupa of 'Ruwanweli' Maha Dagaba and the other stupas of Mirisawetiya, Thuparamaya, Lankaramaya, Abhayagiriya and Jethavanaramaya and the 'Loha Maha Prasadaya' (Great Brazen Palace) where thousands of Arahant and other venerable bhikkhus dwelt, belong to the Atamasthana. Only the Loha Maha Prasadaya is in ruins now, where 1,600 stone pillars which supported the nine story building with 1,000 rooms, still remain. All the other stupas which had been in ruins were restored and preserved by the devotees and are open to the world.
Fulfilling the traditional practices and preaching the world beings with Gautama Buddha's doctrine, the venerable bhikkhus of the Mahaviharaya have been continuously dwelling in the Bomaluwa Temple for 23 centuries. They protected the sacred living relic of Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi facing all kinds of difficulties, without even having the four basic requisites, when the city of Anuradhapura was abandoned due to enemy invasions and covered with thick jungle. The Mahaviharaya together with the Atamsthanaya including the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is still preserved owing to the great sacrifices of the venerable bhikkhus of the Mahaviharaya.
Protecting this world heritage of Mahaviharaya, which distributes the immortal doctrine and the immense tranquility of pure Buddhism towards the world beings, and contains an invaluable collection of ancients relics and artifacts of the world, is the responsibility of all, including the Buddhists.
I invite all devotees of the world to come and see the highly sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi comparable to the living Buddha and the historical Mahaviharaya of Anuradhapura through your own eyes and worship, bringing a serene tranquility to your life.
Ven. Dr. Pallegama Sirinivasa Nayaka Thero
Chief Sanghanayaka - Northcentral Province