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by Tathālokā Bhikkhunī

Last stop before the final leg of the long journey.

This year's pilgrimage of the heart, following the great journey of the venerable arahant bhikkhunī Sanghamittā Therī with the Bhikkhunī Sangha and venerable Sri Mahā Bodhi tree, comes to its final resting place, before reaching their destination.

A side view of the temple building at Thanthirimale (Tantirimale) by Bhante Saddhajeewa. You can see Sanghamittā Therī on the lintel at the left.

This is Thanthirimale along the Malwattu Oya river.

From there they will follow the great ancient road (now lost other than remnants of the stone bridges) south and east into the capitol of what is now called the "sacred city," Anuradhapura.

Story telling.

I used to get chills when i heard the words "Anuradhapura," "Rohana," "Mihintale."

Not in a bad way, just a feeling of something very special.

When i finally had a chance to visit Sri Lanka for this first time in this life, I was already 20 years as a bhikkhunī and 30 in monastic life.

Our very kind hosts arranged for a pilgrimage to Anuradhapura, and on the second visit there, for a trip up north, to Dambukolapatuna (Jambukola-patthanu), the place of Sanghamittā Therī's arrival.

Along the drive there, suddenly a strange and compelling feeling called my eyes to the right, and i just caught a glimpse through the trees of a shining white stupa in the sunshine up on rock hill on an wide open expanse.

"What is that? - What is that place?"

Then i learned for the first time of Tantirimale, and it's legendary connection to Sanghamittā Therī and her journey.

Still living there, planting on the top of a high rocky escarpment, a shining Bodhi tree, said to be the first Bodhi fruit of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Sanghamittā Therī came bearing.

There was no time for a stop then, as we were on a tight schedule to be able to come and go on our day trip to the north.

But next time, my very kind hosts, brought us back here, to Sanghamittā's rest.

A few of the photos here are from that special day.

Others are from the respective photographers on the Tantrimale and Thanthirimale Raja Maha Viharaya pages tagged here. Please click through the photos to get a sense of the awesome environs of this very special and ancient place.

I hope you enjoy them.

I feel happy to have one of our great ancient female arahantas on the lintel in the photo diary of this heart journey.

Who would i rather place up on the lintel then such as she? - together with the Buddha, the arahant Sangha, and a leaf from the Sri Mahā Bodhi.

Pic 1 Saṅghamittā Mahātherī holding bowl with Bodhi tree sapling on the lintel of the temple at Tantrimale, "Sanghamittā's Rest".

. . .

This photo is a closeup from the following photo of Nanda Wanninayaka's on the Tantirimale page.

Pic 2 Great arahat bhikkhunī Saṅghamittā Mahātherī holding bowl with Bodhi tree sapling on the lintel of the temple building at Tantrimale, "Sanghamittā's Rest".

. . .

This photo is cropped from a photo of Nanda Wanninayaka's on the Tantirimale page.

Pic 3 Painting depicting Sanghamittā Therī's arrival by ship, journey, and arrival to the village of the Brahmin Tivanka at Thanthirimale (Tantrimale), where the first fruit of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree was planted. The painting depicts the planting. This painting is inside the temple building at Tantirimale.
Photo thanks to Nanda Wanninayaka's on the Tantirimale page.

Closeup of the painting from inside the temple at Tantrimale, showing Sanghamitta's journey, and the planting of the first fruit of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree southern branch sapling on the rocky escarpment at Tantirimale (Thanthirimale).

The title line of the caption says:

ජය ශ්‍රී මහ බෝධිය බුද්ධද්ධ විද්ධ සහ ශිවන්ට බහු හට අෂ්ඨ ඵල බෝධිය සෞත්තය කිරීම.

Jaya śrī mahā bōdhiya buddhaddha viddha sahā śivanṭa bāhu hāṭa aṣṭha phala bōdhiya sauttāya kirīma.

With statue of Sanghamittā Therī at Tantirimale, "Sanghamittā's Rest."
Photo probably by Ayyā Adhi or Heather (2019).

The place of the planting of the fruit of the Jayasri Sri Maha Bodhi sapling on top of the hill at Thathirimale. You can see the old steps carved in stone on the right. This Bodhi tree has a most wonderful ambiance.
Photo from the Tantirimale page.

The Sri Maha Bodhi Tree at Tantirimale is said to be planted from one of the first eight fruits (called "Ashtapal Bodhi") of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi sapling sent by emperor Ashoka and conveyed by Sanghamittā Therī to Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.
Photo from the Tantirimale or Thanthirimale page.

Below the wonderful old Tantirimale Sri Maha Bodhi tree which you can just see top and center, is an old stone lying down meditation image of the Buddha. Walking, standing, sitting and lying down are the four primary meditation postures taught by the Buddha. The Buddha is said to have practiced lying down meditation in the "lion's posture" which you can see here, and he recommended this posture for lying down meditation.
That's me having some time there.
Photo probably by Ayyā Adhi or her mum Heather (2019).

Tantirimale old stone Buddha in lying down meditation in the lion's posture.
Photo probably by Heather or maybe by me.

Natural ponds at Tantirimale below the Sri Maha Bodhi tree, with white lotuses.
Photo from the Tantirimale page.

Stupa shines white at Tantirimale (Thanthirimale).
Photo probably by Heather or Ayya Adhimuttī (2019)
Kind thanks and blessings to the donor of the sturdy monastic umbrella with UV lining - very helpful in such a bright (and windy) place, for someone with lattice degeneration of the retina.

Bas relief of Sri Lankan king Devānampiyatissa welcoming Sanghamittā Therī's arrival by ship, from the front outer walls of the entrance to Tantirimale (Thanthirimale), Sri Lanka.
Photo by me.

Front street entrance to Tantirimale (more commonly spelled Thanthirimale).
Photo from the Thantirimale Raja Maha Viharaya page

Stone signboard at the street entrance to Thanthirimale (Tantirimale).
Photo by me, wishing you well!

Walking pilgrimage map from Dambukolapatuna (Jambakolapatthana) southward along places with known or attributed connection to the journey of Sanghamittā Therī & the Bhikkhunī Sangha with the Sri Mahā Bodhi tree sapling.
This stop: Tantirimale Rajamaha Viharaya - තන්තිරිමලේ රජමහා විහාරය, H7F4+C8W, Thanthirimale Road, Thanthirimale, Sri Lanka.

Thank you for joining me on this photo journey.

Blessings of the noble Triple Gem!

. . .

The remainder of this year's moon calendar pilgrimage journey:

🌖 (Dec 29th-Jan 3rd) Sanghamitta and Bodhi Tree's Journey to Anuradhapura (4 days) - ✨ Jan 2nd night @Tantirimale ✨

🌗 Waning Lunar Quarter (Jan 3rd-9th) Bodhi Tree's Establishment in Anuradhapura (7 days)

🌑 New Moon (Jan 10th) Anuladevi and 1000 companions Ordination with Sanghamitta Theri & Arahantship (Fourfold Sangha is Established in Sri Lanka).

. . .

Special thanks to Nanda Wanninayaka on the Tantirimale page for the photos of Sanghamittā Therī on the lintel at the entrance to the temple, the interior painting and more, to Bhante Saddhajeewa for the lovely photo of the temple itself, to Ayyā Adhimutti Bhikkhuni for being compassionate companion on this journey and preserving photos of it, and to our very kind host for this leg of the journey, Yuki (and Co!), who was (who were) so kind and bright-minded as to arrange for this day's outing to Thanthirimale within our greater pilgrimage journey and dedicated practice time in and around the sacred city.

. . .

Does a Dhamma quotation, teaching or saying come to mind when reading this or seeing these images?

Welcome to share it in the comments. I like to include a Dhamma quote in posts, and would be happy to add one here.

For now, 🙏 ✨ wishing the peace and rest of the arahants, a sense of the nearness of the end of the journey, the great heart of love, compassion, sharing and dedication, and the brilliance of the Dhamma and Path to all. ✨ 🙏


Thanthirimale - Sanghamittā's Rest

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