The Maha Parinibbana Sutta stated that several relics were left following the Buddha’s cremation. These were divided among the eight kingdoms in India. In 251 BC, King Asoka recovered the relics and built stupas to enshrine them.
When Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka by Arahant Mahinda Thera, many of the relics were brought there. Buddhists regard these sacred relics as supreme objects of reverence and worship.
Arahant Sivali was a pre-eminent disciple of the Buddha who was in his mother’s womb for seven years, and was born after his mother went through seven days of labour. The child came forth following blessings by the Buddha. A dana was given to the Buddha and Sangha for seven days, at the end of which, Sivali was ordained as a monk with his mother’s permission. The Buddha declared that Sivali was chief among those who received gifts. Some relics of Buddha and Ven. Sivali are kept in Mangala Vihara and these are brought out for public viewing once a year on Vesak Day.
Venerating Buddha’s sacred relics brings us close to the Great Teacher, transcending time and space (being in the present although He lived more than 2,550 years ago), as well as bestow blessings and wisdom.
The benefits for venerating Sivalis relics, includes driving away ill-fate, bringing good luck, protection from danger, harm and sufferings, as well as be guided to beneficial opportunities.
Buddha and Sivalis’s relics are on display at MV only once a year, during Vesak day.