Bhodhirajarama Maha Viharaya
Negombo known as “Little Rome” is a Catholic stronghold in Sri Lanka. Over 90 per cent of the population of Negombo are Catholics. There are over 50 churches and shrines within the Negombo municipality. The majority of Catholic Bishops and the only Cardinal in Sri Lanka have hailed from this Catholic fortress.
Although there are comparatively few Buddhists in Negombo - less than ten percent – their religious fervour is remarkable. The renowned Buddhist leader and patriot Brahmachari Walisingha Harischandra was born in Thimbirigaskatuwa, Negombo. A leading school in Negombo, Harischandra Vidyalaya is named after him.
Bhodhirajarama Maha Vihare, the well-known Buddhist temple in Negombo is a popular religious centre.
The beautiful Budu Ge there contains fine sculptural works and paintings on the life of Buddha and Jathaka stories. Its Pilima Ge contains important Buddhist events in Sri Lanka as well as the life size images of all the Sinhala kings from Vijaya to Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe.
Bhodhirajarama Vihare attracts devotees from all over the country. Popularly known as “Angurukaramulla Temple” it is a must for all the Buddhist pilgrims who pass through Negombo.
Abhayasekeraramaya Temple situated within a few fathoms from the Bhodhirajarama Vihare is a well-known centre of learning. Buddha Mandiraya in the heart of Negombo is a social and cultural centre of both the Buddhists and non-Buddhists in the area.
In 1961, when Madampe Aggawamsa Tissa Nayaka Thera passed away, Meegomuwe Jinwamsa Thera succeeded him as the incumbent of Abhayasekeraramaya Temple in Negombo. It was Jinwamsa Thera who built the beautiful Chaithya at Abhayasekeraramaya. He converted it to a seat of higher studies. Many Buddhists and non-Buddhists including Catholic Clergy came to study Pali and Sanskrit for higher examinations under Meegomuwe Jinawamsa Thera.
This writer too studied Sinhala for University Entrance at the feet of Meegomuwe Jinawamsa Thera.
Extracted from a article by W.T.A. Leslie Fernando
Updated August 25, 2007