The present treatise, Buddhism in Sri Lanka: A Short History deals with the history of Buddhism in this island from the time of its introduction in 250 BCE in the reign of King Devaanampiya Tissa, up to the present time (1966). The work is the outcome of an attempt to revise Dr. W. A. de Silva's monograph entitled "History of Buddhism in Ceylon" appearing in Buddhistic Studies of Dr. B. C. Law (Calcutta, 1931). It should be mentioned, with due respect to the great scholar and national leader, that several of the chapters of his monograph have been reproduced here while many have been revised and enlarged. A few new chapters too have been added where it was deemed necessary.
The author's and the publishers' thanks are due to Messrs. Thacker, Spink & Co., Calcutta, the publishers of Buddhistic Studies, for their kind permission to make use of Dr. W. A. de Silva's article.
The writer of the present work has made use of a large number of other works, both ancient and modern, in its compilation. The chronicles of Sri Lanka, mainly the Mahaava.msa and the Diipava.msa, The History of Ceylon (University Press), Vol. I, Parts I & II, and the article on "Mahayanism in Ceylon" by Dr. S. Paranavitana, Early History of Buddhism in Ceylon by Dr. E. W. Adikaram, History of Buddhism in Ceylon by the Ven. W. Rahula, The Pali Literature of Ceylon by Dr. G. P. Malalasekera, Bauddha Toraturu Prakaasaka Sabhaave Vaartaava (Sinhalese), the Buddhist Commission Report (Sinhalese) and the Diamond Jubilee Souvenir of the Maha Bodhi Society of India, should be especially mentioned among them, with gratitude to their authors and editors.
The relevant material from these numerous works has been synthetised to give the reader a basic knowledge of the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka from the earliest time up to the present. It is hoped that this book will serve this purpose, especially to those who wish to gain this knowledge by reading a single short treatise.
— H. R. Perera
Publisher's Note: In accordance with the official change of the island's name in 1972, throughout the text the word "Ceylon" has been changed to "Sri Lanka" or "Lanka," except in a few cases where it was thought necessary or desirable to retain "Ceylon."