Arahant Mahinda and the Buddhapujava

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Arhant Mahinda CoverSuwanda Sugunasiri’s investigation into the origins of the Buddhapujava, one of the key texts of Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhism, identifying Arahant Mahinda as the author, is now available as a book, published by Nalanda Publishing Canada, 3 Ardmore Rd, Toronto, ON M5P 1V4. Telephone: 416-487-2777.

Arahant Mahinda – Redactor of the Buddhapujava in Sinhala Buddhism

ISBN 978-0-9867198-4-4
264 pages, 6×9 paperback

This study seeks to establish that Arahant Mahinda, who introduced the Buddhadhamma to Sri Lanka, is the Redactor of the Buddhapujàva in Sinhala Buddhism. The Sila Trio – Panca-, Atthangika– and Dasa-Sila, is also found to emerge in the same process. The launch date has been determined to be the full moon day of Kattika in the year 247 BCE, i.e., 2260 years ago (current year: Oct. 1, 2012), or even more likely, 42 days prior to that (parallel: Aug. 18, 2012).

The book is constituted of two essays, “Buddhapujava in Sinhala Buddhism: Text and Critical Analysis” (PART I) and “Arahant Mahinda as Redactor of the Buddhapujava and the Panca-, Atthanghika- and Dasa-silas” (PART II), the second an unexpected outgrowth of the first.

The Buddhapujava is a ritual ceremony of Sinhala Buddhism, although ironically, it is not in Sinhala but Pali. While it is performed collectively, it can be equally performed at the individual level. First listing, by way of an outline, the discrete items covering distinct functions entailed in the ritual, it is followed by an introduction to the ‘spiritual context’ as well as the ‘practical context’ of the ritual. Giving the full text in English, from the opening Homage (namaskaraya) to Homage to Parents and the optional Paritta and Meditation (bhavana), a critical study is made, seeking to understand the deeper underlying spiritual intent. Attention is paid as well to the effective use of both verbal communication (vaci vinnatti) and bodily communication (kaya vinnatti) in making a success of the ritual. This is followed by an analytical schema made up of four incremental stages: Faith (saddha), Discipline (sila), Social good (atthacariya) and Liberation (mokkha). A cetiya is seen as symbolically representing the four level structure. The analysis shows the Buddhapujava to be no mere haphazard listing, but a well-thought out, sophisticated spiritual tool.

One is bound to learn a great deal of the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and the devotional aspect of the ritual Buddhapåjàva. Sugunasiri’s treatment of the subject objectively enhances the value of this book. …

– Prof. Ananda W. P. Guruge,
Dean Emeritus of Academic Affairs,
University of the West,
California, USA

Prof. Sugunasiri has herein pioneered a novel and effective methodology for uncovering and bringing to light the authors behind Buddhist (and religious) texts, scriptures and rituals.

– Prof. Michael P. Berman
Brock University, St Catharines,
Ontario, Canada

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