Early Days of Sanghamitta
Sanghamitta was a famous Buddhist monk. She was born in Ujjain the present day Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, India in 285 BC. She was the second child of Ashoka the Great. Her mother was Devi the first wife to Ashoka and the younger sister of Mahindra. She married Agribrahmi, a nephew to Emperor Ashoka the great. From her childhood days, she had been listening to the concepts of Buddhism. Her father also became a great devotee after the Kalinga war. So he encouraged his children Sanghamitta and Mahindra to follow the Buddhism. She had a son Saamanera, he was also a follower of Buddhism, later became an Arhant. He went to Sri Lanka to preach Buddhism with his uncle Mahindra.
At the age of 18, she was encouraged by Dhammapala to ordain into Theravada Buddhism. Her great enthusiasm made her Arhant Theri and lived in Patalliputra the present day Patna.
Went to Sri Lanka
With the request of Emperor Devanampiya Tissa the contemporary of Ashoka, the great, Sanghamitra and her brother Mahindra both went to Sri Lanka to spread the teaching of Lord Buddha. She accompanied with several nuns and landed in Mathagal city in Sri Lanka, now the city is 16 km away from Jaffna town. She went to the court of King Tissa at Anuradhapura and met his wife Queen Anula to ordained as nuns. Later Mahindra performed the Buddhist rituals to convert them to Buddhism. After she propagated Buddhism in Sri Lanka in various places and established the Bikhhuni Sangha and she became a famous Buddhist Female Monastic Order of Theravada Buddhism. These Sanghas were also established later in Burma, China and Thailand.
Bodhi Tree To Sri Lanka
She brought a part of the Bodhi Tree to Sri Lanka and planted in Anuradhapura. The Bodhi tree surviving till now and the devotees are celebrating Uduvapa Poya festival on the Full Moon day of December. The Theravada Buddhists calling this festival as Sanghamitta Day.
She had spent many years in Sri Lanka at her residence Hatthaloka Upasikaramaya in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. She preached the concepts of Lord Buddha and Dhammapada in Sri Lanka. Every King in Sri Lanka respected and honoured her with the utmost respect.
At last, she died at the age of 79 in the reign of King Uttiya at her residence. With great respect, King Uttiya performed her last rites. Her Body cremated in front of the Bodhi tree near the Cittasala. The place for the cremation was already selected by herself before her death. He conducted the spiritual rituals of Buddhism to honour her. Still, the celebrations are performing throughout Sri Lanka for a week to honour her services to spread Buddhism in Sri Lanka. In the memory of her, King Uttiya erected a stupa over her ashes.