Sacred relics to be displayed during Vesak
The relics of Arhats Sariputta and Moggallana Maha Theras will be
kept for public display and veneration at the Kalutara Bodhi premises
for the first time after 53 years to mark the Vesak Full Moon Day from
Addressing the media at Hunupitiya Gangaramaya, Maha Bodhi Sangamaya
President and Chief Adhikarana Sangha Nayake for Japan Ven. Banagala
Upatissa Nayaka Thera said these relics are for the first time taken out
of Maligakanda Agrashravaka Maha Viharaya for Kalutara after they were
received from India in 1955.
For the past several decades, we have received number of requests for
exhibition of the relics outside Maligakanda Agrashravaka Viharaya. But
this is the first time the Maha Bodhi Sangamaya accepted such a request.
"We had no inclination but to accept the request by the Kalutara Bodhi
Trust which is committed to promote Buddhism in the area.
"These relics were found during an excavation in Sanchi Stupa in 1822
by then Bopal administrator Captain Johnson and were taken to the
Victoria Albert Museum. Having received information that these relics
had been kept in a British Museum, the Maha Bodhi Sangamaya launced a
massive protest urging Britain to release them. This protest led to
secure equal share of these relics to three Buddhist countries namely
Burma, India and Sri Lanka.
The then government made special arrangement to bring the sacred
relics allocated to Sri Lanka in a special train from India, the Thera
"These relics were kept under the care of Sri Lanka Maha Bodhi
Sangamaya at the Agrashravaka Maha Viharaya which was specially built
for this purpose. Chief Incumbent of Hunupitiya Gangaramaya Ven.
Galaboda Gnanissara Thera said the motorcade carrying the casket of
sacred relics will leave Maligakanda Agrashravaka Mahaviharaya on May 18
at 1.30 p.m. and arrive at the Kalutara Bodhi premises at 3.30 p.m.
Ven. Gnanissara Thera said the Kalutara Bodhi Trust renders an
invaluable service in promoting Buddhism, English literacy and
vocational training among the youth in the area.
Kalutara Bodhi Trust President Ajitha de Soysa said more than two
million devotees are expected to throng the Bodhi premises to witness
and venerate these relics.
"The Police assured us maximum security for the devotees visiting the
Bodhi premises during this period.