Malwathu Maha Viharaya

FEBRUARY 10, 2012

Malwathu Maha Viharaya

Malwathu Maha Viharaya is among the oldest Buddhist Sangha of the Siam Nikaya monastic order.
Situated across the lake where the Temple of the tooth lies, the Malwathu Maha Viharaya is made of two complexes made for the residence of monks. The first complex, Uposatha Viharaya is also termed the Poyamalu Viharaya, while the second is the Pushparama Viharaya commonly called the Malwathu Viharaya, featuring today of a recently built octagon.
The older Poyamalu Viharaya is said to have been constructed in either the late 15th or early 16th century by King Senasammata Vikramabahu. It had a double storey ordination Hall (Uposathagaraya) together with a Dagaba or Caitya. Historical material suggests Vikramabahu built another 86 monasteries for monks from both the Malwathu and Asgiri Viharayas fraternities.
The Malwathu Maha Viharaya was initially constructed for the living of just 3 people. The first one was the Sangaraja Pansala for the great monk Velivita Sarankara Thero. The Thibotuwawe Pansala and Poyamalu Viharaya were for the chief monk Thibbotuwawe Thero, while the Meda pansala was built for the king’s teacher, Raja Guru.
Today as the number of monks has steadily grown, the Malwathu Maha Viharaya houses all executive council monks from the, Karake Maha Sangha Sabha. The Maha Nayak lives there, as the monastery’s principal incumbent and also one of the joint protectors of Tooth Relic. Two other custodians also live here. There are also other religious figures living in the monastery such as lay custodian Diyavadana Nilame.
The meeting hall where the gatherings and Sangha Sabha ceremonies are held, is called Poya-ge. Inside this hall, there is a significant idol of Lord Buddha. The Malwathu Maha Viharaya while serving as the meeting venue for the Sangha, also attracts a large number of tourists each year.  

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