Caodemarte wrote: The historic presence of Tantric or Vajrayana Buddhism (most obvious today in Tibetan Buddhism and Japan's Shingon) in Sri Lanka is pretty obvious and easily seen. Any good comprehensive history will briefly discuss it. I am a fan of A History of Sri Lanka by de Silva.
Interestingly, after it lost royal support and the subsequent suppression, archeological and literary evidence shows that it continued to have a presence until the 12th century and small groups of people continued to practice it, probably in secret, well into the 15th century.
Works composed by Sri Lankan Tantric masters are included in the Tibetan canon, including a commentary on the Sadharmapundarika Sutra by Prithibandhu and Jayabanda’s Cakrasamvara Tantra. The most important of these works, Manjusrimitra’s Bodhicittabhavana, is one of the seminal texts on Dzong chen. This may represent a branch of that school which evolved in Sri Lanka independently of India and Tibet. The Indian Tantric siddha Vanaratana (1384-1468) went to Sri Lanka about 1404 and studied meditation for six years under Dharmakirti. As India was no longer a congenial place for a Buddhist by the time he left Sri Lanka he went to Nepal and from there made several trips to Tibet where he taught what he had learned from Dharmakirti. The Nalanda Gedage is the only major Tantric monument still existing in Sri Lanka and was built in about the 9th century.
I would like to add a few examples.
There are historic Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna sites in Sri Lanka surviving as remains.
The famous Buddha of Gal Vihara is actually surrounded by the four other smaller Buddhas. Some say this could be depiction of the five Wisdom Buddhas (Pañca-Tathāgata) of Vajrayāna.
- I recollect somebody pointing out that on the lion throne of the Buddha in the Vidhyādhara Guha there is something that resembles a Vajra. I'm not able to locate the source. I looked at a zoomed image, between the two lions on the base, indeed there is something depicted and it looks like a Vajra but I'm not sure.
HD Image : https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... 8js%29.jpg
- This presentation PDF by Osmund Bopearachchi has many interesting images of various ancient sites,apart from Avalokiteśvara,it also has images of Tārā and others : Sri Lanka and the Maritime Trade : Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara as the Protector of Mariners
Link : http://www.academia.edu/33243708/Sri_La ... f_Mariners
On page 101, there are images of some pillars with Vajra carved on the top. Unique if they are Vajra pillars!
- Seven images at Buduruvagala of Buddha and Bodhisattvas Metteyya ,Avalokiteśvara, Tārā and Vajrapāṇi etc.
- It seems that people still venerate the Kustarajagala Bodhisattva :
http://archives.sundayobserver.lk/2016/ ... tra-01.asp
- Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva at Maligawila
In the book some functioning temples are mentioned (from later times) but a lot of changes have taken place since the traditions ceased. ( Buddha in the Crown: Avalokiteśvara in the Buddhist Traditions of Sri Lanka by John Clifford Holt)