Buddhism in the Maldives

Buddhism in the Maldives was the predominant religion at least until the 12th century CE. It is not clear how Buddhism was introduced into the islands.

Buddhist statue from Maldives
Historic Buddhist statue from Maldives, on display in Sri Lanka National Museum in Colombo 2011.
Maldivian Tara1
Ink on paper drawing of a 30 cm high etching on Porites coral stone from the 9th century kept at the museum in Malè. It represents Green Tara, a Vajrayana Buddhist female deity representing enlightened activity and fearlessness.

Archaeology

Western interest in the archaeological remains of early cultures on the Maldives began with the work of H. C. P. Bell, a British commissioner of the Ceylon Civil Service. Bell was shipwrecked on the islands in 1879, and returned several times to investigate ancient Buddhist ruins. He studied the ancient mounds, called havitta or ustubu (these names are derived from chaitiya or stupa) (Dhivehi: ހަވިއްތަ) by the Maldivians, which are found on many of the atolls.[1]

Although Bell claimed that the ancient Maldivians followed Theravada Buddhism in the same manner as the Sinhalese people from neighboring Sri Lanka,[1] Maldivian Buddhist archaeological remains that were preserved in the Malé Museum display in fact Mahayana and Vajrayana iconography.[2]

According to a legend of the Maldivian Folklore, a prince named Koimala from India or Sri Lanka entered the Maldives from the North (Ihavandhu) and became the first king from the House of Theemuge. Prior to that the Maldives had been settled by people of Dravidian origin from the nearest coasts, like the group today known as the Giravaaru who claim ancestry from ancient Tamils. It is unlikely that the Giraavaru islanders were the only early settlers in the Maldives. The importance they have been given is because they are mentioned in the legend about the establishment of the capital and kingly rule in Malé. The Giraavaru people were just one of the island communities predating Buddhism and the arrival of a Northern Kingly dynasty and the establishment of centralized political and administrative institutions.

The ancient Maldivian Kings promoted Buddhism and the first Maldive writings and artistic achievements in the form of highly developed sculpture and architecture are from that period. The conversion to Islam is mentioned in the ancient edicts written in copper plates from the end of the 12th century AD. There is also a locally well-known legend about a foreign saint (Persian or Moroccan according to the versions) who subdued a demon known as Rannamaari.

Over the centuries, the islands have been visited and their development influenced by sailors and traders from countries on the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Until relatively recent times, Mappila pirates from the Malabar Coast harassed the islands.

Destruction of Buddhist sculptures in 2012

In February 2012, a group of Islamic extremists forced their way into the National Museum in Malé and attacked the museum's collection of pre-Islamic sculptures, destroying or severely damaging nearly the entire collection about thirty Buddhist sculptures dating from the 6th to 12th centuries.[3] Museum staff indicated that as the sculptures were made from very brittle coral or limestone it would be impossible to repair most of them, and only two or three pieces were in a repairable condition.[4]

Harry Charles Purvis Bell, Ruins of a Dagaba on Fua Mulaku island, 1922
The Fua Mulaku Havitta, by H.C.P. Bell, in 1922.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b HCP Bell, The Máldive Islands: An account of the Physical Features, History, Inhabitants, Productions and Trade. Colombo 1883
  2. ^ Xavier Romero-Frias, The Maldive Islanders, A Study of the Popular Culture of an Ancient Ocean Kingdom. ISBN 84-7254-801-5
  3. ^ Bajas, Vikas (13 February 2012). "Vandalism at Maldives Museum Stirs Fears of Extremism". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "35 Invaluable Hindu and Buddhist Statues Destroyed in Maldives by Extremist Islamic Group". The Chakra. 23 February 2012.

External links

Freedom of religion in the Maldives

The 2008 constitution of the Maldives designates Islam as the state religion. Only Muslims are allowed to hold citizenship in the country and are barred from practicing any faith other than Islam. Non,-Muslim citizens of other nations can only practice their faith in private and are barred from propagation of other faiths. It is required for any resident to teach their child in the Muslim faith. The president, ministers, parliamentarians and chiefs of the atolls are required to be Sunni Muslims. Government regulations are based on Islamic law. Only certified Muslim scholars can give fatawa.As of 2007, freedom of religion remained severely restricted, with some individual societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice. According to many officials and interlocutors, most citizens regarded Islam as one of their society's most distinctive characteristics and believed that it promotes harmony and national identity. Since 2014, apostasy from Islam has been punishable with capital penalty.

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Bhutua

Bhuvan Mohan Roy

Bhuvana Natarajan

Bhuvanagiri (state assembly constituency)

Bhuvanaikabahu I of Dambadeniya

Bhuvanaikabahu II of Dambadeniya

Bhuvanaikabahu III of Dambadeniya

Bhuvanaikabahu IV of Gampola

Bhuvanaikabahu V of Gampola

Bhuvanaikabahu VI of Kotte

Bhuvanaikabahu VII of Kotte

Bhuvaneshwar Prasad Sinha

Biancaea sappan

Bibi Russell

Bibiladeniye Mahanama

Bibile

Bibile Divisional Secretariat

Bibile Electoral District

Bibilegama Maha Vidyalaya

Bibir Hat

Bible Rock

Bible translations into Kannada

Bible translations into Sinhala

Bible translations into Tamil

Bible translations into Telugu

Bibliography of Ganges

Bibliography of Sri Lanka

Bicycle Bride

Bicycle Hora

Bicycle Thieves (2013 film)

Biddyakut Union

Bidugade

Bidya Sinha Saha Mim

Bifiditermes pintoi

Big B (film)

Big Match

Bihar Museum

Bihar National College

Bihar State Road Transport Corporation

Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation

Bihari cuisine

Bihta

Bijibal

Bijou Thaangjam

Bijoy Giri

Bijoy Smarani University College

Bijoya Ray

Bijoynagar Upazila

Biju Narayanan

Bikaneri bhujia

Bikanervala

Bilawal Bhatti

Bili Hendthi

Biligiriya Banadalli

Bilin Township

Bilin, Mon State

Bilkees I. Latif

Bilu Island

Bimal Guha

Bimal Jayakody

Bimal Jayasekera

Bimal Rathnayake

Bimba Devi Alias Yashodhara

Bina Das

Bindeshwar Pathak

Bindeshwari Dubey

Bindi (decoration)

Bindu (2009 film)

Bindunuwewa massacre

Bingiriya Divisional Secretariat

Bingiriya Electoral District

Binoy Bashi Joldas

Binura Fernando

Biological Weapons Convention

Bioscope (film)

Birugaali

Biryani

Biscomaun Bhawan

Bishop of Colombo

Bishop of Kurunegala

Bishop's College (Sri Lanka)

Bisi Bele Bath

Bismil Azimabadi

Biswa Ranjan Nag

Biththi Hathara

Bithugalgama

Biyagama

Biyagama Divisional Secretariat

Biyagama Electoral District

Blachia umbellata

Black (2004 film)

Black Butterfly (2013 film)

Black Cat (2007 film)

Black Dog Scotch Whisky

Black July

Black Market (film)

Black Stallion (film)

Black Tigers

Black cardamom

Black pepper

Black-bearded tomb bat

Black-capped bulbul

Black-headed ibis

Black-throated munia

Blackfin gulper shark

Blackshirts (India)

Blake executive council of Ceylon

Blanaid Salkeld

Blanford's rat

Blenders Pride

Bloemendhal

Blood transfusion in Sri Lanka

Bloodsport III

Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club

Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club Ground

Blue Star SC

Blue Water Hotel

Blue-eared kingfisher

Blue-faced malkoha

Bluff Island (Andaman and Nicobar Islands)

Boake Gates

Boalkhali Municipality

Boalkhali Upazila

Board of Investment of Sri Lanka

Boat Mail

Bob Harvie

Bob Tisdall

Boban and Molly

Bobella

Boddepalli Rajagopala Rao

Bodhi Vamsa

Bodhiraja Buddhist Society

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Bodhivansha caste

Bodikotuwa

Bodinayakkanur (state assembly constituency)

Bodu Bala Sena

Bodyguard (2010 film)

Bodyguard (2011 Kannada film)

Boeing Boeing (1985 film)

Bogahakumbura

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Bogambara

Bogambara Prison

Bogambara Stadium

Bogamuwa

Bogawantalawa

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Boggut labeo

Bogibeel Bridge

Bogoda Premaratne

Bogoda Seelawimala Thera

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Boiga barnesii

Boiga beddomei

Boiga ceylonensis

Bojja Bixamaiah

Bojjala Gopala Krishna Reddy

Bokalawela

Bokkawala

Bokpyin

Bokpyin Township

Bola Chittaranjan Das Shetty

Bolagandawela

Bolani

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Bolepe

Boli Khela

Boliscus decipiens

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Bollywood Queen

Bollywood/Hollywood

Bolshevik Samasamaja Party

Bolshevik–Leninist Party of India, Ceylon and Burma

Bomba Saha Rosa

Bombaat

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Bombay Boys

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Bombay Dada

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Bombay March 12

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Bombay mix

Bombay potato

Bombay rava

Bombure

Bomburu Ella

Bomiriya National School

Bompuka

Bomure

Bonda

Bonda Meedum (Teledrama)

Bonda Umamaheswara Rao

Bone Island

Bonikka (2015 film)

Boning Island

Boodee Keerthisena

Boom (film)

Boomi Malayalam

Boondi

Boossa

Bopana

Bopath Ella Falls

Bope-Poddala Divisional Secretariat

Bopegammedda

Bopitiya

Bora Diya Pokuna

Bora saul

Boragahamaditta

Boragodawaththa

Boralanda

Boralesgamuwa

Borassus flabellifer

Borboropactus asper

Borella

Borella Electoral District

Bori (food)

Boring Road

Born into Brothels

Boruwagama

Bosara maior

Boss (2006 film)

Boss (2011 film)

Botanical Garden and Eco-Park, Sitakunda

Bothale Ihalagama

Bothriochloa bladhii

Botota

Boulenger's keelback

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Bovonto

Bowala (7°10'N 80°34'E)

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Bowala (7°9'N 80°43'E)

Bowatenna Dam

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Boxer (2015 film)

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Breaking News (2012 film)

Breaking News Live

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Brendon McCullum

Brett Lee

Brettus adonis

Brian Rajadurai

Brian V. Jegasothy

Brick Lane (2006 film)

Brick Lane (2007 film)

Bride and Prejudice

Bridelia moonii

Brigadier (Sri Lanka)

Brignolia ambigua

Brignolia ratnapura

Brignolia sinharaja

Brignolia trichinalis

Brignoliella ratnapura

Brignoliella scrobiculata

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Brindavana

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British Garrison Cemetery

British International School, Phuket

British Market

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Broadlands Dam

Broche Varevaru Ra

Broken rice

Broker Bheeshmachari

Brooke Bond Taj Mahal

Brookside, Sri Lanka

Brother Andre High School

Brown-backed needletail

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Bruce Burnside

Bruce Yardley

Brucea javanica

Brussels Agreement (1924)

Brussels Collision Convention

Brussels Convention on Assistance and Salvage at Sea

Buchanania lanzan

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Buddhanum Chaplinum Chirikkunnu

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Buddhika

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Buddhism amongst Tamils

Buddhism in Libya

Buddhism in Saudi Arabia

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Buddhism in the Maldives

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Buddhist Republican Party

Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka

Buddhist flag

Buddhivantha

Buddika Janith

Buddika Sandaruwan

Buddika Sanjeewa

Buddy (2013 film)

Buddy Reid

Budhichandhiran

Buduruvagala

Buduruwagala Museum

Buff striped keelback

Buffalo curd

Buguri

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Bukhari Sadaat

Buknu

Bulandi Bagh

Bulathgama

Bulathkohupitiya Divisional Secretariat

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Bulatwelkandura

Bulbul (film)

Bulbul Chowdhury

Bulgur

Bullet (2008 film)

Bullet Basya

Bulugahapitiya

Bulugolla

Bulukohotenna

Bulumulla

Bulusu Sambamurti

Bun kebab

Bundala National Park

Bungarus

Bunium persicum

Buona Vista College

Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs

Burgher Recreation Club

Burgher people

Burgs (fast-food chain)

Burichang Upazila

Buriganga River

Burkhard Pape

Burmese monarchs' family tree

Burning Birds

Burning of Jaffna Public Library

Bus Conductor (2005 film)

Businessman (film)

Butalanda

Butawatta

Butta Renuka

Buttala

Buttala Divisional Secretariat

Buttala Electoral District

Butter chicken

Butterflies (1993 film)

Butterflies of Sri Lanka

Butterfly (2018 film)

Button Islands (Andaman and Nicobar Islands)

Buwaneka Aluwihare

Buwelikada (7°13'N 80°34'E)

Buwelikada (7°17'N 80°39'E)

By the People

Byadagi chilli

Byreddy Rajasekhar Reddy

Byrsophyllum

Byrsophyllum ellipticum

Maamigili (Raa Atoll)

Maamigili is one of the inhabited islands of Raa Atoll in Maldives.

The island measures 750 meters in length and 500 meters in width for 100 hectares of pristine coral reef.

Maamigili can be reached via a scenic 45-minute seaplane ride from the capital Malé and through the new Irufu domestic airport which is 15 minutes away from the island by speed boat.

Loama Resort Maldives at Maamigili is a resort situated on the island. The resort maintains a collection of historical artifacts at Loama Museum, a nation’s heritage site with ancient baths and wells, and the Loama Art Gallery with contemporary local art.

National Museum (Maldives)

Established on the National Day of the Maldives, the first national museum of the country was opened on November 11, 1952, by the Prime Minister at the time, Mohamed Amin Didi.

Vajrayana

Vajrayāna (वज्रयान), Mantrayāna, Tantrayāna, Tantric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism are terms referring to the various Buddhist traditions of Tantra and "Secret Mantra", which developed in medieval India and spread to Tibet, Bhutan, and East Asia. In Tibet, Buddhist Tantra is termed Vajrayāna, while in China it is generally known as Tángmì Hanmi 漢密 (唐密, "Chinese Esotericism") or Mìzōng (密宗, "Esoteric Sect"), in Pali it is known as Pyitsayãna (ပစ္စယာန) , and in Japan it is known as Mikkyō (密教, "secret teachings").

Vajrayāna is usually translated as Diamond Vehicle or Thunderbolt Vehicle, referring to the Vajra, a mythical weapon which is also used as a ritual implement.

Founded by medieval Indian Mahāsiddhas, Vajrayāna subscribes to the literature known as the Buddhist Tantras. It includes practices that make use of mantras, dharanis, mudras, mandalas and the visualization of deities and Buddhas. According to Vajrayāna scriptures, the term Vajrayāna refers to one of three vehicles or routes to enlightenment, the other two being the Śrāvakayāna (also known as the Hīnayāna) and Mahāyāna.

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