Sending of Kapilavastu Sacred Relics, a gesture of
friendship by India:
Mass veneration of Relics
* Special consideration to
* Signal measure during Sambuddhatva
Thousand of devotees with flowers lined the roads eagerly awaiting
the arrival of the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics from India, considering
this the fifth arrival of The Buddha to Sri Lanka.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa received the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics at
the Katunayake International Airport yesterday morning.
An Exposition of the Sacred Buddha Relics will be held at five places
from August 19 to September 5 to enable the people to pay homage to the
Sacred Relics, Secretary to the President (Religious Affairs) Ven
Getamanne Gunanda Thera said.
The specially decorated vehicle carrying the Sacred Relics stopped at
Bellummahara, Kadawatha, Kiribathgoda and Bollegala Junction for crowds
of devotees to pay homage.
From the Bollegala Junction, a colourful Perahera received the Sacred
Relics. The Perehera included Kandyan dancers with Pancha Thurya Nadaya
( local drams as well as Getabera, Davlla and Thammettam).
Sacred Kapilavastu Relics arrive
in Sri Lanka
Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday received the Sacred Kapilavastu
Relics which arrived in a special Indian aircraft at Katunayake
International Airport, states a release from the President’s
Media Division, President’s Office. The President was
accompanied by Maha Nayaka Theros of three Nikayas to receive
the Sacred Relics from a special Indian delegation led by Indian
Cultural Minister Affairs Kumari Selja amid pirith chantings of
100 bhikkhus at the airport. The Sacred Kapilawastu Relics were
brought to Sri Lanka following a special request made by
President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Indian Prime Minister Dr.
Manmohan Singh to coincide with the 2,600th Sambuddhatva
Jayanthi ceremonies and to strengthen Indo-Srilanka diplomatic
The Exposition of sacred relics was organized under the
sponsorship of Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs Ministry,
Defense and Urban Development Ministry and Indian High
Commission. The Sacred Relics were transported in a special
motorcade to the Manelwatte Viharaya in Kelaniya where it will
be displayed for public veneration from today until August 21 at
the Kapilavastu Royal Palace constructed to coincide the 2600
Sambuddatva Jayanthi celebrations at the Vihara premises.
The Exposition of the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics will be held
from August 19 to September 4 at several locations. The Sacred
Kapilavastu Relics were brought to Sri Lanka from India’s
National Museum in New Delhi for the second time since their
discovery 113 years ago. The first exposition of Sacred Relics
in Sri Lanka was in 1978.
The Sacred Kapilavastu Relics are believed to contain Gautam
Buddha’s original remains and Buddhists the world over pay
homage to it with much devotion and respect. The Sacred
Kapilawatu Relics are believed to be the relic portion which
were given to relatives of the Sakya clan of Kapilavastu after
The Buddha’s cremation.
First Lady Shiranthi Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Secretary to the
President Lalith Weerathunga and President’s chief of staff
Gamini Senarath were also present.
The Sacred Relics were placed at the Manelwatta Temple under the
guidance of Chief Incumbent Ven Dr Bodagama Chandima Thera, for
veneration from August 19 to 21. A prith chanting ceremony was also held
at the place by Maha Sangha.
Anu Nayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter Ven.Niyangoda Vijitha Siri
Thera and Ven Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera conducted the Buddha Pooja
Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Economic Development Minister Basil
Rajapaksa, External Affairs Minister Prof G L Peiris, Construction,
Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal
Weerawansa, Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna and Defense Secretary
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa also participated in this event.
Indian Cultural Affairs Minister Kumari Selja who arrived in Sri
Lanka with the Sacred Relics and Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka
Ashok Kantha also participated.
A large number of members of the Maha Sangha and Dasasil Mathas too
participated. The exposition of Sacred Kapilavastu Buddha Relics is held
in Sri Lanka for the second time. The first was held in 1978, 34 years
Historical chronicles record that after the Buddha’s Parinibbana
(Passing Away), the Holy Relics were taken from the cremation site and
divided into eight portions, and handed over to separate groups for
According to the Mahaparinibbana Sutta penned in the Fifth Century
BC, a part of the Buddha’s bodily Relics was handed to the Sakyas of
Kapilavastu. These came to be known as the Kapilavastu Relics.
Meanwhile, the request made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the
2,600th year of the Sambuddhatva Jayanthi received the special
consideration at the highest level of the Government of India which
decided to lend the Sacred Relics for public veneration, making an
exception to a decision that it will not be taken outside India since
its last exposition in Thailand in 1996.
Thus the Government of India decided to lend the Sacred Relics to Sri
Lanka for public veneration once again, since their first exposition in
the country in 1978, according to a statement by Sri Lanka’s High
Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam.
It said:During the landmark State Visit of President Mahinda
Rajapaksa to India in June 2010, it was decided that the 2600th year of
the attainment of enlightenment of Prince Siddharatha as Gautama Buddha
(Sambuddhatva Jayanthi) will be commemorated by India and Sri Lanka
through joint activities. Following this agreement, President Rajapaksa
personally requested the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, to afford
Sri Lankan Buddhists an opportunity to pay homage to the Sacred
Kapilavastu Relics by allowing the Relics to be taken to Sri Lanka as a
part of the commemoration of the 2,600th year of the Sambuddhatva
These Relics of the Gautama Buddha which are known to the world as
the ‘Kapilavastu Relics’ are from a site in Bihar, first discovered in
1898 which is believed to be the ancient City of Kapilavastu. This epoch
making discovery was at a stupa site, Piprahwa. The relic casket
discovered in 1898 bore the inscription ‘The shrine for relics of the
Buddha, the August One, is that of the Sakyas’.
Devotees throng the streets of Kadawatha to pay homage to the
specially decorated vehicle carrying the Sacred Kapilavastu
Relics. Pictures by Lalith C Gamage
The first Exposition of the sacred Relics of Kapilavastu outside
India was in Sri Lanka in 1978. Subsequent Expositions of the Relics
took place in Mongolia in August 1993, in Singapore in July 1994, in
South Korea in 1995 and in Thailand in 1996. Subsequently, taking into
consideration the inestimable value and delicate nature of the Relics,
the authorities in India entrusted with the care of the Relics decided
that the sacred Kapilavastu Relics will henceforth remain as a venerable
object at the National Museum of India in New Delhi and will not be
taken outside India for public veneration.
However, the request made by President Rajapaksa in the 2,600th year
of the Sambuddhatva Jayanthi received special consideration at the
highest level of the Government of India. Making an exception, the
Government of India decided to lend the Sacred Relics to Sri Lanka for
public veneration, once again. The Sacred Relics are thus being brought
to Sri Lanka after three decades since their first exposition in 1978.
Announcing the decision of the Government of India during an official
visit to Sri Lanka last year (2011), the Speaker of the Parliament of
India (Lok Sabha) Srimati Meira Kumar stated that â€?39?this sacred
expositions would have a calming and peaceful effect in the region and
spread the word of non-violence.
Authorities of both countries worked hard, with commitment and
perseverance, to make this sacred exposition a reality by making
substantial effort in terms of logistics, safety of the Sacred Relics,
facilities for devotees to pay homage, and other matters that a
monumental event of this nature involves.
In view of the importance attached by both countries to this
occasion, the Sacred Relics were brought to Sri Lanka in a special
Indian Air Force aircraft by a delegation from India led by Indian
Minister of Culture, Kumari Selja and the Director General of the
National Museum of India.
Prior to the departure of the Relics to Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan
Maha Sangha resident throughout India at several sites associated with
the life of Gautama Buddha, performed a special religious ceremony and
offer Buddha Pooja at the Indian Air Force Base in Delhi.
High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam and the staff at the Sri Lanka
High Commission in India organized and attended this important event.
The Sacred Relics were received in Sri Lanka at a state ceremony led
by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, with the participation of the Venerable
Maha Sangha and other dignitaries.
This sacred event is yet another manifestation of the close fraternal
ties that happily exist between India and Sri Lanka since time
immemorial, especially from the days of Emperor Asoka whose son and
daughter carried the message of Buddhism to Sri Lanka 2,301 years ago.
It is a matter of immense satisfaction that the noble initiative
taken by President Rajapaksa, has become a reality with the Sacred
Kapilavastu Relics of Gautama Buddha being brought to Sri Lanka for the
nation to pay tribute, and in particular for Buddhists to pay homage, in
continuation of the celebration of the Enlightenment of Prince
Siddhartha Gautama 2,600 years ago in the land of Jambudvipa.