Devānaṃpiya Tissa

(247—207 bc)

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(247–207 bce).

King of Sri Lanka. His original name was simply Tissa. Considering the coronation ritual he had undergone not to be sufficient, he sent an embassy to Emperor Aśoka of India who sent him all the requisites for a second coronation and invited Tissa to embrace Buddhism. After the second coronation Tissa added the title Devānaṃpiya, meaning ‘dear to the gods’. This was a common royal title that even Aśoka had adopted. In the year of the king's second coronation Mahinda, son of Emperor Aśoka, arrived in Sri Lanka at the head of a mission and converted the king and his court to Buddhism, thus officially introducing Buddhism to the island. Following his conversion Tissa donated the Tissārama park, in his capital of Anurādhapura.to the Buddhist community and had the Mahāvihāra built on its grounds. He is also known to have sponsored the building of several other Buddhist monuments, including the stūpa enshrining the Buddha's collar bone, and the adjacent monastery. When some women of his court asked to enter the Buddhist Order, Tissa asked again for Aśoka's help. The emperor sent his daughter, the nun Saṇghamittā, together with other nuns to the island. With them the women brought a branch of the original Bodhi Tree to be planted in Anurādhapura.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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