Kandy: ancient capital of Sri Lanka, center for Buddhism

BEIJING,Sept. 21 — Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in 236 BC and soon became the national religion. For 2,500 years, Sri Lanka has been the Sukhavati, or an important center for Pure Land Buddhism. And the city of Kandy, the last royal capital of Sri Lanka, lies at its core.For more than 2,500 years, every day in Kandy has begun with Buddhist chanting at temples across the city.
Every morning, noon and evening at The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, monks beat drums and blow bugles. The senior monks open the door of the inner court, allowing worshippers to pray to the Sacred Tooth of the Buddha.
When Buddhism spread beyond India, Sri Lanka was among the first nations it took root in.
In 311 AD, The Sacred Tooth Relic, which had belonged to an Indian King, was brought to Sri Lanka. Just before being defeated in battle, he entrusted the relic to his daughter. She hid it in her hair ornament and brought it to Sri Lanka’s King. The Sri Lankan King built a palace devoted to the relic.
The city of Kandy became the capital of Sri Lanka in 1591, and the sacred tooth relic was cherished in this specially built Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.
Today about 70 percent of Sri Lanka citizens are Buddhists, with over 30-thousand monks living in the country’s numerous temples. For thousands of years, Buddhism has dominated this island nation, influencing its politics, royalty, and holds a special place in people’s hearts.
20 year old Raschel is an art college student in Colombo. During his internship, he gave up his chance to earn money and became a volunteer at the International Buddhist Museum museum near the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.
As the second largest city in Sri Lanka, Kandy is not like other big cities packed with skyscrapers.
Nestled in a valley on the Kandy plateau, the whole city is embraced by the surrounding greenery.
Many roads and houses in the city are new, but residents haven’t let progress destroy the city’s beauty and color.
82 years old Bisomenike has lived in Kandy for 50 years. Everyday she brings fresh wild flowers to the temple and chants scriptures to Buddha. On her way back, she plants trees along the road and tends them.
50 years have passed and the trees flourish along the road she takes to the temple.
The island nation is in the shape of a waterdrop and some say Sri Lanka is a teardrop of the Lord Buddha. Buddism in Sri Lanka means more than just joss sticks, lotuses and temples. It’s a way of life and a belief system, which guides people to restrain excessive behaviour and to love and respect nature.