Saturday, December 14, 2013

'Magic Pinsala' - 'The magic brush', A Sinhalese Children's play.

I made this video from a performance at the Town Hall, Avissawella, Sri Lanka. The performance was by the children of Sumedha Vidyalaya, Kosgama. The title of the play was 'Magic Pinsala' -- 'The Magic Brush'.  It tells the story of a child having a magic brush which brings to life everything that she paints with it. A feudal Lord forces her to paint a mountain of gems.  The child paints an island with a mountain of gems. On request she paints a boat for the Lord to cross across the waters to reach the island of gems. While the Lord and his retinue are in the boat, the child paints a severe tempest. The cruel Lord and his accomplices drown when the boat buffeted by the storm, breaks up.  I filmed this from the front row with no floodlights. The camera was a Nikon D90 in video mode.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Abhayagiri, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

Abhayagiri Vihāra was a major monastery site of Theravada Buddhism that was situated in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. It is one of the most extensive ruins in the world and one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage cities in the nation. Historically it was a great monastic centre as well as a royal capital, with magnificentmonasteries rising to many stories, roofed with gilt bronze or tiles of burnt clay glazed in brilliant colors. To the north of the city, encircled by great walls and containing elaborate bathing ponds, carved balustrades and moonstones, stood "Abhayagiri", one of seventeen such religious units in Anuradhapura and the largest of its five major viharas. One of the focal points of the complex is an ancient stupa, the Abhayagiri Dagaba. Surrounding the humped dagaba, Abhayagiri Vihara was a seat of the Northern Monastery, or Uttara Vihara.
The term "Abhayagiri Vihara" means not only a complex of monastic buildings, but also a fraternity of Buddhist monks, or Sangha, which maintains its own historical records, traditions and way of life. Founded in the 2nd century BC, it had grown into an international institution by the 1st century AD, attracting scholars from all over the world and encompassing all shades of Buddhist philosophy. Its influence can be traced to other parts of the world, through branches established elsewhere. Thus, the Abhayagiri Vihara developed as a great institution vis‑a‑vis the Mahavihara and the Jetavana Buddhist monastic sects in the ancient Sri Lankan capital of Anuradhapura.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lankarama, Elephant bath, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

The Lankarama Chaithya.

A boundary wall of bricks.

Underground water outlet into a pool.

The Elephant Pond ('Aeth pokuna' S)

'Eth pokuna (Elephant pond) is an ancient man made pond situated close to Lankaramaya. It is 159 meters in length 52.7 meters across and 9.5 meters in depth with the holding capacity of 75,000 cubic meters of water.

The water to this pond has been supplied from the Periyamkulama Tank through a network of underground canals. These underground canals still work after so many hundreds years. This tank probably has been used by the monks in the Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery who amounted over five thousand priests'. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

'Lankaramaya', Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

'The last of the holy sites of Atamasthana (Eight Holy Places) is the little known stupa, Lankaramaya. It is believed this stupa was built by King Vattagamini Abaya (Valagamba) in the 1st century BC.
According to some sources, the ancient name of the stupa and the surrounding temple complex was 'Silasobbha Khandaka Cetiya.' The legend says King Valagamba was hiding in a place called Silasobbha Khandaka during South Indian Chola invasions. After defeating the invaders and regaining power in Anuradhapura, the King had built a stupa at the place where he was hiding and named it 'Silasobbha Khandaka Cetiya.'
However, very little is known about the original form or how it came to be known as Lankarama Stupa. According to archaeological evidence, the stupa had undergone a series of renovations and the present day stupa is quite similar in form and structure to Thuparama, the first stupa built in Sri Lanka after Buddhism was introduced here.
Lankarama too has evidence of a magnificent vatadage (house built encircling the stupa) and there are indications that there were 88 stone pillars supporting the roof of the vatadage. However, today, only a few of those pillars are remaining.
The stupa is quite small in size when compared to giants in Anuradhapura such as Jetavanaramaya, Abhayagiriya or Ruwanvelisaya, with only a diameter of 45 feet (14 metres).
The stupa is standing on a circular courtyard, raised 10 feet (3 metres) above ground, and with a diameter of 1,332 feet (406 metres).'

Sunday, December 8, 2013

'Thuparamaya', Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.

A stone water cistern.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thuparamaya dagoba in Anuradhapura.
Thuparamaya is a dagoba in AnuradhapuraSri Lanka. It is a Buddhist sacred place of veneration.
Mahinda Thera, an envoy sent by King Ashoka himself introduced Theravada Buddhism and also chetiya worship to Sri Lanka. At his request King Devanampiyatissa built Thuparamaya in which was enshrined the collarbone of the Buddha. It is considered to be the first dagaba built in Sri Lanka following the introduction of Buddhism. This is considered the earliest monument, the construction of which was chronicled Sri Lanka. The name Thuparamaya comes from "stupa" and "aramaya" which is a residential complex for monks.
Thuparamaya dagoba has been built in the shape of a heap of paddy. This dagoba was destroyed from time to time. During the reign of King Agbo II it was completely destroyed and the King restored it. What is seen presently is the construction of the dagoba, done in 1862 AD. As of today, after several renovations, in the course of the centuries, the monument has a diameter of 59 ft (18 m), at the base. The dome is 11 feet 4 inches (3.45 m) in height from the ground, 164½ ft (50.1 m) in diameter. The compound is paved with granite and there are 2 rows of stone pillars round the dagaba. During the early period vatadage was built round the dagoba.