A few days back, a morning daily carried news
that a set of 50 stamps depicting Buddhist historical and
cultural events and shrines was issued on May 5, 2006, in
celebration of the 2550 the Vesak festival. Writing on the May
13, Francis Gunesekera refers to the 24th stamp which depicts.
"Writing Dhamma on Ola Leafs and the Aluviharaya at Matale".
There is no problem of selecting places like Mahiyangana,
Nagadeepa, Deeghavapiya, Thuparamaya, Ruwanwaliseya, Mihintale
and so on except Aluvihare, near Matale.
Recent research has revealed that writing down
Dhamma on ola leaves during the reign of King Vattagamini Abaya
took place not at Aluvihare, near Matale, but at the ancient
Alulena Cave Temple at Kegalle in Dakkhinadesa. Since the
publication of the Introduction to Sidath Sangarawa by James de
Alwis (a Christian) in 1852, there had been a tradition and
wrong belief that the Tripitake was committed to writing at
Aluvihare. This unsubstantiated tradition was spread throughout
world for nearly one and half centuries, that is up to 2000 A.D.
In 1880, Lawrie in his Gazetteer referred to
Western scholars like Turn our and Olderberg leaning on the
traditional "Aluvihare belief", which was not true and had been
rejected as a myth (Lawrie's Gazzeteer — Vol II-Page 32).
Prof. S. Paranavitane, the great historian and
archaeologist of Sri Lanka, has explicitly and categorically
shown that Aluvihare has no connection to the event of writing
the Tripitaka. It is pertinent to cull out his own words from
the University of Ceylon, History of Ceylon (Vol. 1-Part I-Page
"Later tradition asserts that this was done at
Aluvihare in the Matale District, but the earlier historical
writings do not connect Aluvihare with this event". (University
History Ceylon-Vol 1-Part-1 Page 172).
So are we to believe in the study and teaching
of history, the earlier sources or later traditions? Why do
these so-called learned scholars (Advisory Board to the Minister
of Post and Telecommunication) reject Prof. Senarath
Present historians and archaeologists like Prof.
Nandasena Mudiyanse, Prof. Malini Eandagama. Prof. M. U. de
Silva, Prof. R. H. R. Gunawardana and Ven. Puravidya
Chakravarthi Ellawale Medhananda Thero, too, accept that the
Tripataka was committed to writing at Alulena in Matule (Attanagoda)
settlement near Kegalle.
Matule and Matale are two different places.
Matale is located in Uttara Malayadesa. Pali sources like
Manorathapurani, Sarasangaha, Jinakalamali confirm that
Mandalarama (present-Wattarama) and Alokalena (present-Alulena
at Attanagoda) were in Dakkhina Malayadesa and they are
connected with the writing of Dhamma on ola leaves.
Prof. Malani Eanadagama of the History and
Archaeology Department, Sri Jayawardanapura, University, has
explicitly clarified in Sabaragamuwa Vamsakatha that
Alulena at Kegalle is the acceptable place where the Tripitaka
was written down.
Ven. Valamitiyawe Kusaladhamma Nayaka Thero,
Chancellor of the University of Kelaniya, Ven. Prof. Dewalegama
Medhananda Thero of the same University had confirmed that
Alulena view is true and correct. (Source of Literature,
Historic Alulena at Kegalle by G. R. Gunawardana Banda).
Therefore, the actual place connected with this
event is Alulena. As facts are, why didn't the members of the
Advisory Board to the Ministry of Post select Alulena shrine and
why did they want to give priority to Aluvihare at Matale?
Is the Stamp Selection Advisory Board not aware
of the latest researches in history? For what reason did they
select Aluvihare? And why did they
Did they attempt to undermine or subdue the
heritage of ancient Four Korales in Kegalle district?
G. G. Gunawardana