The Samadhi Buddha is a statue situated at Mahamevnāwa Park in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. The Buddha is depicted in the position of the Dhyana Mudra, the posture of meditation associated with his first Enlightenment, also called Nirvana. In the Dhyana Mudra the Buddha sits cross – legged with his upturned palms placed one over the other on his lap. This position is universally known throughout the Buddhist world, and this statue is therefore one of the most typical pieces of Buddhist sculpture. This statue is 8 feet in height and carved from granite.
Nelson Mandela kept a well worn photo of the Samadhi Buddha in his prison cell and his meditations on it are credited by some who knew him with tempering the fiery spirit of his early years before imprisonment..
Between 2003 and 2009, I made 6 trips to Sri Lanka. The first was a month long trip to visit the ancient Buddhist sites and included a 1 week meditation retreat. The other 5, beginning a few weeks after December 26, 2004 were to help rebuild a village on the southwest coast that had been leveled by the deluge.
I spent most of my residence living in the Sangapala (monks’ quarters) of the small temple, Sri Wewekarama, in the village of Godagama. If you want to know where that is, Copy and paste these coordinates into the “Search” box of Google Earth. 6°10’52.00″N, 80° 4’45.41″E. You’ll be directly in the center of the temple complex.
As the sun continues to rise it bathes the temple complex in warming light. In the left background is the main image hall. The frescoes in this one, painted by Somabandu Vidyapathyare, are extraordinary. To the right is the stupa or chetiya, as they are called in Sri Lanka. The building in the left foreground is part of the monks quarters.
Across the road from the main entrance the flower stalls have started to open and prepare offerings for devotees to purchase. The first worshipers begin to arrive and circumambulate the Bodhi tree making offerings of flowers, incense and water before departing for work or school.
After making an offering of light using coconut oil lamps, some will set beneath the Bodhi tree and mediate, recite puja, and ask for help with a work promotion, better grades, the birth of a child, etc. Many will repeat this every day.
On Sundays, many hundreds of children in their white garments set in neat rows under the Bodhi to listen to teachings and practice meditation. On holy days, grandmothers will remain on the temple grounds all day.