Religion in Sri Lanka

Religion in Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka’s population practices a
variety of religions. As of the 2011 census 70.19% of Sri Lankans were
Theravada Buddhists, 12.6% were Hindus, 9.7% were Muslims and 7.4% Christians.
In 2008 Sri Lanka was the third most religious country in the world according
to a Gallup poll, with 99% of Sri Lankans saying religion is an important
part of their daily life. Distribution of main religious groups in
the country Data from the 1981 and 2001 census
The census carried out on 2001 covered 18 districts only. The district
percentages shown are from 2001 census except where the numbers are italic,
which are from 1981 census. Population movements have occurred after 1981, and
accurate statistics did not exist for districts which were not covered in 2001
census until the 2011 census. Data from the 2011 census
Buddhism Theravada Buddhism is the major religion
in Sri Lanka, with about 70% of the country’s population as followers.
Arahath Mahinda son of Indian Buddhist emperor Ashoka, led the mission to Sri
Lanka in 246 BC where he converted the Sri Lankan king of that time Devanampiya
Tissa to Buddhism. Arahath Sanghamitra, daughter of King Ashoka, brought a
sapling of the Bodhi tree in Buddha Gaya to Sri Lanka. She also established the
Order of Nuns in Sri Lanka. The Sapling of the Bodhi tree, known as Jaya Sri
Maha Bodhi was planted in the Mahameghavana Park in Anuradhapura by
the King Devanampiya Tissa. From then on, the royal families had
helped to encourage the spread of Buddhism, aiding Buddhist missionaries
and building monasteries. Around 200 BC, Buddhism became the official religion of
Sri Lanka. The Sacred Tooth Relic was brought to Sri Lanka in 4th century by
Prince Danta and Princess Hemamala. Sri Lanka has the longest continuous history
of Buddhism of any Buddhist nation. During the periods of decline, the Sri
Lankan monastic lineage was revived through contacts with Myanmar and
Thailand. Later on, however, Hindu and European colonial influences contributed
to the decline of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The religion of Buddhism originally
started in India, which is now the home to most of the Hinduism.
In the mid 18th century the higher ordination of Buddhist monks known as
Upasampada, which was defunct at the time, was revived with the help of
Siamese Buddhist monks on the initiatives taken by Weliwita Sri
Saranankara Thero during the reign of king Kirti Sri Rajasinha of Kandy. By
the mid-19th century, Buddhist leaders such as Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera,
Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thero, Colonel Henry Steel Olcott and Anagarika
Dharmapala started a successful national Buddhist movement for the revival of
Buddhism in Sri Lanka. This became the reason sri lanka became
a social and an artful nation Hinduism
Hindus make up 12.6% of Sri Lanka’s population. The origins of the religion
are linked to early Tamil immigration into the island since the Chola
conquests in the 10th century or even earlier with the Saivite devotional
movement that swept South India. Hinduism in Sri Lanka is largely
identified with the Tamil population and is concentrated in the Northern, Eastern
and Central Provinces. The population declined since the 1981 census on
account of Sri Lankan Tamil immigration overseas and the repatriation of
‘Indian’ Tamils. A significant Hindu religious figure in
Sri Lankan modern history is Satguru Siva Yogaswami of Jaffna. One of the
mystics of the 20th century, Yogaswami was the official satguru and counseling
sage of Lanka’s several million Tamil Hindu population. The Ramakrishna
Mission is somewhat active in the Amparai and Batticaloa districts while
the Saiva Siddhanta school of philosophy is prevalent in the North.
Islam By the 15th century, Arab traders had
controlled much of the trade on the Indian Ocean, including that of Sri
Lanka’s. Many of these traders settled down in Sri Lanka, encouraging the
spread of Islam. However, when the Portuguese arrived at Sri Lanka during
the 16th century, many of the Arabs’ Muslim descendants were persecuted, thus
forcing them to migrate to the Central Highlands and to the east coast.
In modern times, Muslims in Sri Lanka have the Muslim Religious and Cultural
Affairs Department, which was established in the 1980s to prevent the
continual isolation of the Muslim community from the rest of Sri Lanka.
Today, about 9.7% of Sri Lankans adhere to Islam; mostly from the Moor and Malay
ethnic communities on the island. Christianity
According to Christian traditions, Christianity introduced by Thomas the
Apostle in Sri Lanka during the 1st century. After his arrival, small
Christian settlements were recorded to have been established on Sri Lanka’s
coastline. However, the population of Christians in Sri Lanka didn’t
dramatically increase until the arrival of Portuguese missionaries during the
15th century. In the 17th century, the Dutch took over Sri Lanka and Dutch
missionaries were able to convert 21% of Sri Lanka’s population to Christianity
by 1722. In 1796 the Dutch were displaced by the
British and in 1802 Ceylon became a Crown colony. Anglican and other
Protestant missionaries arrived at Sri Lanka during the early 19th century,
when the British took control of Sri Lanka from the Dutch. Under British rule
missionary work was undertaken by English societies: Baptist, Wesleyan
Methodist, the CMS and SPG. The Salvation Army and Jehovah’s Witnesses
are also strong in Sri Lanka. Even so, Christianity has heavily
declined in Sri Lanka ever since the end of colonial rule. By the 1980s, the
population of Christians reached 1,283,600, 8% of Sri Lanka’s population.
Of these Christians, about 88% are Roman Catholics and the rest are Anglican and
Protestant. See also
History of Sri Lanka References
External links The Buddhist World
About.com-Religion in Sri Lanka

9 thoughts on “Religion in Sri Lanka

  1. ( Hindu, Buddha, jain, Sikh .. based on principal of self purification and complete perfect purification= Moksha .. PURE SOULS eligible to reach God… God is parama athma= eternal Pure soul and complete perfect good )

  2. ( in hindu God text : God Shiva says MOKSHA means by keeping the mind peaceful by conquering all bads evils and bad evil thoughts and owning complete perfect purification eligible to reach God and God forgives all past sins ) ( God Shiva says complete perfect purification enlightens complete knowledge ) ( pure soul Vishnu 8 avatar is Krishna and 9 avatar is Buddha and 10 avatar KALKI is destroyer of ceython ) ( Buddha destroyed daughter of ceython MaRA ) ( Buddha arya marga teaches about self purification and NIRVANA means complete perfect purification and complete knowledge ) ( Buddha says perfect morality and perfect knowledge interdependent )

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