Reception in Lanka

from the Extended Mahāvaṁsa, XIX. The Journey of the Great Bodhi Tree
ExtMhv 38-51 = Mhv. 23-31

Receiving the Bodhi Tree (Mural at Wat Pho, Bangkok)

Receiving the Bodhi Tree
(Mural at Wat Pho, Bangkok)

King Devānampiyatissa, who delighted in the benefit of the world, had heard from the novice Sumana about the day of the arrival of the Bodhi Tree, and from the first day that began the month of Maggasira he decorated the highway from the north gate as far as Jambukola with silver leaves of cloth strewn like sand that had been sprinkled all round on the highway.

From the day the King went out from the city he waited at the grounds of the reception-hall by the ocean, and there the Lord of the Earth, through the psychic power of the Great Elder Nun, saw the Great Bodhi Tree coming in the middle of the great ocean, decked out in all its splendour, and by the power of Mahinda, he drew as though close to it.

In that place a hall was made to display the wonders which became well-known as the Ocean Reception Hall. After leaving the Ocean Reception Hall and standing outside, while raising the pandal, he saw both of the roads strewn all round with five-coloured flowers, and various flags and clothes, together with priceless flowers, great water pitchers, all full with lilies.

The Guardian of the World, having placed them at intervals on the road, through the power of the Great Elder together with the other Elders, after leaving, in one day had reached Jambukola.

translator’s note: the text here is translated from the Extended version of the Mahāvaṁsa, for more information see the preface to this series. Where the extended version and the original differ the text is italicised.

The Lord of the Earth, driven by joy at the coming of the Great Bodhi Tree, plunged into the water up to his neck and raised the beautiful body of the Great Bodhi Tree on his head.

He emerged from the ocean, placed it aside with all offerings, and put it under the care of the sixteen families in that lovely pavilion. For three days on the shore of the ocean the Lord of Laṅkā, having adorned it, worshipped it with sovereignty over Laṅkā.


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