Early Days of Sanghamitta
Sanghamitta was a famous Buddhist monk. She was born in Ujjain present day Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, India,, in 285 BC. She was the second child of Ashoka the Great. Her mother was Devi,,, Ashoka’s first wife and Mahindra’s younger sister. She married Agribrahmi, a nephew of Emperor Ashoka the great. From childhood, 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 Buddhism. She had a son Saamanera, who was also a follower of Buddhism, and later became an Arhant. He went to Sri Lanka to preach Buddhism with his uncle Mahindra.
At 18, she was encouraged by Dhammapala to ordain Theravada Buddhism. Her great enthusiasm made her Arhant Theri, and she lived in Patalliputra, the present day Patna.
I went to Sri Lanka
With the request of Emperor Devanampiya Tissa, the contemporary of Ashoka, the great, Sanghamitra and her brother Mahindra went to Sri Lanka to spread the teaching of Lord Buddha. She accompanied by 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 be ordained as nun. Later Mahindra performed Buddhist rituals to convert them to Buddhism. After she propagated Buddhism in Sri Lanka in various places and established the Bikhhuni Sangha, she became a famous Buddhist Female Monastic Order of Theravada Buddhism. These Sanghas were also found later in Burma, China and Thailand.
Bodhi Tree To Sri Lanka
She brought a part of the Bodhi Tree to Sri Lanka and planted it in Anuradhapura. The Bodhi tree surviving till now, and the devotees are celebrating the Uduvapa Poya festival on the Full Moon day of December. The Theravada Buddhists call this festival 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 during the reign of King Uttiya at her residence. With great respect, King Uttiya performed her last rites. Her Body was 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 performed throughout Sri Lanka for a week to keep her services to spreading Buddhism in Sri Lanka. In memory of her, King Uttiya erected a stupa over her ashes.