Sanghamitta

Few disciples were as important as Sanghamitta in the early history of Buddhism. As a young nun, Sanghamitta fearlessly set sail from India to Sri Lanka, where she helped establish Theravada Buddhism.Barbara Crossette

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Motionless in the midday heat, the old nuns sat watching a stranger cross the dusty courtyard toward a small temple. The altar was heaped with flowers. They were lay women who had donned robes and found refuge at this holy place as they neared the end of their lives. They showed no expression until asked about the platform that rises in stages behind the temple, capped by a golden fence that guards the holiest of trees.

“Sanghamitta’s tree!” they said, breaking into smiles. Sanghamitta was their patron saint, and though she may be forgotten elsewhere, this place—the ancient Sri Lankan city of Anuradhapura—remembers her.

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