Sri Lanka, Malvatha Maha Viharaya

Sri Lanka, Malvatha Maha Viharaya

Malvatha Maha Viharaya is one of the oldest Buddhist sangha (communities) of the monastic order of Siam Nikaya. Located on the lake, where the Temple of the Tooth of the Buddha is located in Kandy, Malvatha Maha Viharaya consists of two buildings made for the residence of monks. The first – Uposatha Viharaya – is also called the Viharaya Raimala, and the second is Pusparam Viharaya – called Malvatha Viharaya and is a newly built octagonal building. The more ancient Poemalu Viharaya is said to have been built in the late 15th or early 16th century by King Senasammat Vikramabahu.

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Historians suggest that Vikramabahu built another 86 monasteries for monks from the brotherhoods of Malvatha and Asgiri Viharayas. Malvatha Maha Viharaya was originally built for housing only three people. Sangaraha Pansala was intended for the great monk Velivith Sarankar Tepo, Sibotuvav Pansal and Poemalu Viharaya were built for the chief monk Sibotuvave Tepo, and Meda Pansala for the king’s teacher, Raja Guru.

Today, as the number of monks is steadily growing, the whole executive council of the monks Karake Maha Sangha Sabha lives in Malvatha Maha Viharaya. Maha Nayak lives there, as the chief priest of the monastery, as well as one of the defenders of the Tooth of the Buddha. The other two custodians also live here. There are other religious figures living in the monastery, such as the guardian of the laity Jiyadan Nilame.

The meeting room, where the meetings and ceremonies of the Sangha Sabha are held, is called Poyage. Inside this hall is a powerful Buddha statue. Functioning as a venue for sangha meetings, Malvatha Maha Viharaya attracts a large number of tourists every year.

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