Uduwap Poya day is considered by Sri Lankan Buddhists to be of special significance because emperor Dharmasoka’s daughter, Theri Sanghamitta brought with her and her retinue a Bo-Sapling to Anuradhapura, from Buddha Gaya.
It was on this day that the Bo-Sapling was ceremoniously planted at the Mahamegha Udyanaya and also the Sri Lanka Bhikkuni Sasana was established when Queen Anula (reigned 47 BC – 42 BC) became a Bhikkuni.
Another noteworthy event that took place on the day was that Prince Arittha, the King’s nephew entered the Order of monks along with 500 other men. They all became Arahats. This was the beginning of the Buddha Sasana in Sri Lanka.
As the Vinaya rules did not permit a man to confer ‘pabbajja’ (ordination) on a woman, the Thera asked the King to send an envoy to Paataliputra, (modern Patna) the capital of Emperor Asoka to invite Sanghamitta Therani, the Emperor’s daughter and his sister herself an erudite Bhikkhuni, to Lanka. The Thera also told the King to request Emperor Asoka to send a branch of the Maha Bodhi, under which the Buddha had sat at the time of his Enlightenment.
The Bhikkhuni Sasana which Sanghamitta Therani inaugurated with the ordination of Anula Devi, grew in strength, of numbers and of erudition. Such was the recognition abroad that in the 5th century AD, two groups of Bhikkhuni’s went to China and established a Bhikkhuni Sasana in Nanking, the capital of the Sung dynasty.
But with the fall of Anuradhapura in 1017 AD the Bhikkhuni Sasana disappeared, leaving no trace of its existence anywhere in the island or any clue to its demise.
However, the Bo sapling which the Therani brought from India and which was planted in the Maha Megha Garden in Anuradhapura, has survived 2238 years of droughts and disasters, some natural, some man-made.