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Laṅkā

v.l. Laṅkādīpa, Laṅkātala.– Pāḷi names for Sri Lanka, found in the Chronicles — e.g., Dīpavaṃsa, Mahāvaṃsa, and the Commentaries.

An ancient tradition recorded in the Mahāvaṃsa (Mhv.xv. 57 ff), and in the Samantapāsādikā (Sp.i.86 ff), gives the names of the Island in the times of the three previous Buddhas, the names of the capital cities, the different names of Mahāmeghavana, and of the kings contemporary with these Buddhas.

Besides Mahāmeghavana, the other physical feature of Sri Lanka, mentioned in these accounts, is the mountain known in the present age as Samantakūṭa, whereon the Buddha Gotama placed his footprint. During the ages of the three previous Buddhas, it was known, respectively, as Devakūṭa, Sumanakūṭaka, and Subhakūṭa. Gotama Buddha paid three visits to Sri Lanka, while the other three Buddhas came only once. During their visits they consecrated various spots by spending there a short time wrapt in meditation.

Laṅkā was once inhabited by yakkhas. Gotama Buddha obliged them to leave the Island and seek shelter in the neighbouring Giridīpa. Laṅkādīpa was later colonised by Vijaya and his three hundred companions. Two cities of the yakkhas are mentioned: Sirīsavatthu and Laṅkāpura.

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