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Ambatthala

A little tableland immediately below the Silakūṭa of the Missaka Mountain in Sri Lanka. It was near here that Mahinda and his companions alighted after their aerial journey from Jambudīpa (Mhv.xiii.20). There King Mahādāṭhika-Mahānāga built the Ambatthala Thūpa, risking his own life in order to make the building secure. He made a cover for the whole thūpa and, at its dedication, held the great Giribhandapūjā (Mhv.xxiv.68‑81). Kaṇiṭṭhatissaka built a monastery attached to the thūpa (Mhv.xxxvi.9), which Goṭthābhaya renovated (Mhv.xxxvi.106).

The vihāra was rebuilt or enlarged by Dhātusena. He intended to give it into the charge of the Theravādins, but ultimately gave it to the Dhammarucikas at the latters’ request (Cv.xxxviii.76). Sirimeghavaṇṇa had a life-size golden image of Mahinda placed in the Ambatthala-cetiya (Cv.xxxvii.69).

It is said that the place was so called after the riddle of the mango tree (Mhv.xiv.17 ff.) with which Mahinda put Devānampiyatissa’s discernment to the test. Even now mango trees are planted near the cetiya in memory of the event (Cv.trans. i.4. n.5).

Other names for the place are Cetiyambatthala (Cv.xxxvii.69) and Therambatthalaka (Mhv.xxxvi.106).

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