srilankaview logo SriLankaView__by srilankaview.com The Virtual Traveller

home     contact about

  

architecture, history and travel of Sri Lanka

Arahat Maha Kassapa Thera Tooth Relic Temple, Galapatha


Arhath Maha Kassapa  Relic Temple

 

The world's only relic of Arahant Maha Kassapa Thera

 

Arahant Maha Kassapa Thera ( Arhat Maha Kashyapa) is considered to be a most respected and reverenced disciple of the Lord Buddha almost as chief disciples Arahant Sariputta and Maha Moggallana Theras. Pipphali Kassapa was the earlier name of the Maha Kassapa Thera. It was only with Arahant Maha Kassapa, that the Lord Buddha has exchanged his robes which shows the high regard the Lord Buddha had on Maha Kassapa Thera. He was born in Mahatittha of Maghada to a wealthy Brahmin Family whom were almost as wealthy as a King's family. His parent's names were Brahmin Kapila and Sumanadevi. He married Bhadda Kapilani of Sagala , just to please his parents as it was their wish to see him married. Bhadda Kapilani in turn married Pipphali Kassapa just to please her own parents. With the mutual consent Pipphali and Bhadda agreed to lead a Brahmachari or to be celibacy. Thus they lived for almost twelve years until both agreed to renounce the worldly life to seek the truth by becoming ascetics. Later Bhadda Kapilani also became an Arahanti once the Bhikkuni ordination was established in the Buddhist Order.

Arahant Maha Kassapa Thera observed the thirteen 'Dhutanga ' (austere vows ) through out his Bhikku life and was pronounced by the Lord Buddha as the disciple excelled in Dhutangas in the Order. The Gauthama Buddha had compared his abilities of Dhayanas (eight meditative absorptions and the six supernormal knowledges (abhinna), which include Arahantship) that with of Maha Kassapa Thera. This is a very special instant as the Lord Buddha has not bestowed this honour on any other disciples. Maha Kassapa Thera had seven of the thirty two ' Marks of a Great Man ' which the Lord Buddha possessed so there had been a similarity to Lord Buddha in his physical form also.

Three months after the Parinirvana of the Lord Buddha, Arahant Maha Kassapa Thera presided over the First Council with five hundred Arahants comprising Arahants Ananda, Anuruddha, Upali and Purna Theras as main participant disciples of the Lord Buddha which securely established Dhamma and Vinaya of the Gauthama Buddha Order [ sasanaya]. Chief disciples Arahant Sariputta and Maha Moggallana Theras passed away before the Parinibbana of the Gauthama Buddha on the same year. It is said that 30 years after the First Council, at the age of 120 years, Arahant Maha Kassapa Thera entered Nibbana at Kukkutapada Mountain at Rajgir.

The tooth relic ( the canine tooth - 'Dantha Dhatu') of Arahant Maha Kassapa Thera which is now at Bentara Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara Chetiya had been fallen off while the Thera was alive and the Maha Sangha at that time had venerably cared and protected it. Later it was brought to Sri Lanka during the Anuradhapura era and had been there for some time. Due to the invasions from enemy forces it had been brought to the present temple at Galapatha, Bentara.

The Bentara Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara has a well established history dating back to the time of King Dutugemunu. His brother King Saddhatissa (137- 119 BC) had built this temple and presented to the Maha Sangha. This was called Galaturumula Temple at earlier times and many Arahants had dwelled in this location at the time. King Parakramabahu the Second, getting to know that a tooth relic of Arahant Maha Kassapa Thera is there at Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara, had visited the temple and for three days, venerated the Relic holding meritorious festivals at the temple. The present Chetiya was first constructed by him and the Relic was enshrined inside the Chetiya to protect it for the future from possible foreign invasions which were frequent at the time.

The Chronicle Mahavamsa states that King Sri Nissanka Malla had planted coconut trees at a land and donated the coconut estate to the temple. King Parakramabahu II also had established a coconut estate between Bentota river and Kalu Ganga river and donated to the Maha Sangha. This temple had been in a ruined status for several centuries due to invasions and Devaduwa Sri Saddhabinanda Thera, a pupil of the great Weliwita Asarana Sarana Saranankara Sangharaja Thera, re established the ruined relic chetiya with the help of the nearby village people. The last major renovation work at the present Vihara had been done in 1959 according to the Description Plaque at the Viharaya.

 

Maha Kassapa Thera "Maha Kassapa: Father of the Sangha", by Hellmuth Hecker

"Maha Kassapa: Father of the Sangha", by Hellmuth Hecker, revised and enlarged translation from the German by Nyanaponika Thera. Access to Insight, 7 June 2010,

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/hecker/wheel345.html.

 

 

The Galapatha Raja Maha Vihara approach and Rock Inscriptions

 

Click on Thumbnail Photos to see full size image and the photo description.

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

 

Situated in the Galle District, one can easily find the Galapatha Rajamaha Viharaya by travelling along the Galle Road towards Galle, then passing Bentota railway bridge and proceeding upto Kahabiliyakanda Junction. Turning left and travelling along Elpitiya road [Bentara Raja Mawatha] for about two miles will take you to this historical sacred temple. The meaning of Raja Maha Vihara is ' The temple built by the King'. The Galapatha Vihara Rock Inscription is situated at the front approach of the temple lower terrace.

 

The Courtyard, Stone Water Filter and Doorway carvings

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

 

The ancient stone worked Doorway is a fine architectural feat and the Granite water filter is a novel water engineering system of that day. The stone steps are carved in the living rock and so does the granite water filter.

 

The Relic Stupa of Arahant Maha Kassapa Thera

 

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple

 

The Relic Stupa of Maha Kassapa Thera was first built during the rein of King Parakramabahu II (1236-1270 AD) of Dambadeniya Kingdom. Prior to that the relic was safe kept at the Temple. The last time this stupa has undergone renovation is about 250 years back. Near the Stupa terrace there is a huge stone slab used for offering flowers and oil lamp lighting to the Relic stupa by buddhist devotees. There is a fine Moonstone at the Temple entrance doorway from the stupa terrace and a stone slab on stands for placing offerings to the stupa.

 

 

The Main Temple with Buddha Images

 

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple

 

The Image house of the Gauthama Buddha has a large recumbent Buddha statue and a seated Buddha statue with decorative wall and ceiling paintings.

 

The Temple with Miniature Relic Stupa and Image House

 

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple Galapatha Temple

This temple also has a Image house of the Gauthama Buddha with a large recumbent Buddha statue, a seated Buddha image and also a standing Buddha image. A Makara torana with guardian deva statues are flanked at the entrance doorway of the image house. There are two plaques with the history of the temple inscribed in sinhala. A miniature stupa enshrined with Lord Buddha relics found at a Buddha image's 'Siraspatha' is placed inside this temple.

 

 

 


icon

more places of interest in Sri Lanka

 

Arahant Maha Kassapa Relic Temple

Nillakgama

Tonigala

 



icon cultural sites srilanka

Anuradhapura

Degaldoruwa

Haththikuchchi Temple

Kandy

Kelaniya Temple

Mihintale

Polonnaruwa

Ridi Vihara

Sigiriya

 


icon nature travel srilanka

Knuckles Mountain Range

Ritigala

Sinharaja Rain Forest

 

 

 


icon weather now srilanka

icon wallpaper collection srilanka

icon flora species srilanka


icon Sri Lanka Home Page


keyword search


 

 

 

 

 

 

 




©2010-2013 www.srilankaview.com
pageup homeaboutmail