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Mahinda was the son of King Ashoka, the greatest of all Buddhist rulers. After the Third Council, held in Pañalãputra, missionary monks were sent to the different regions of India and beyond.

Mahinda was selected to lead a group of monks to the island of Sri Lanka. Tradition says he flew to the Island, although evidence shows that he did missionary work in south India before going to Sri Lanka in about 246 BCE.

After his arrival, he met and converted the king and his court and gradually the whole country became Buddhist. Mahinda died in 202 BCE and after his cremation his ashes were enshrined in several stupas erected around the Island. Mahinda’s arrival in Sri Lanka is celebrated with much enthusiasm in that country on the full-moon of June-July.


  • Buddhism A to Z. Ven. Dhammika, 2007.