Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is a small island of the southern tip of India where approximately 70% to 75% of the people call themselves Buddhists.

Buddhism dhammawiki was introduced into Sri Lanka in the 3rd century BCE by Mahinda dhammawiki, the son of King Ashoka dhammawiki, and has prevailed there ever since. This means that Sri Lanka has been Buddhist longer than any other country. Mahayana dhammawiki and Vajrayana dhammawiki were popular at various times but Theravada dhammawiki always predominated and since the 12th century has been the only form of Buddhism there. During the colonial period (16th century to 1947), Buddhists and Buddhism were often persecuted and always disadvantaged. In 1956 Buddhism dhammawiki became in effect the state religion. Sri Lankan monks have a long tradition of travelling widely and spreading Buddhism as they do so. The first Buddhist monks ever to go to Europe were two Sri Lankans who arrived in England in 1819.

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