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Religious Realties in Sri Lanka

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Apart from being one of the most interesting and fascinating places to be at in the world, Sri Lanka is also one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. One of the elements that contribute to this cultural diversity is the different religions in Sri Lanka. In general, when people are asked about the importance of religion in their lives then over 90 percent of them have admitted that they are spiritually rooted. They say that religion takes a primary place in their day to day lives. The statistics say that about 70 percent of people there are Buddhists and about 15 percent are Hindus. Muslims make up about 7.5 percent and Christians also comprise of about 7.5 percent of the population. Every year there is a poll taken by the Gallup poll which measures the religious countries of the world by rank and Sri Lanka figures 3rd according to the latest polls.

Interestingly, the sects of Buddhists that are the Theravada Buddhists are the most prominent in Sri Lanka. They make up for the 70 percent that follow Buddhism in the country. One of the biggest milestones in the story of Buddhism in the country was when Arahath Mahinda who was the Indian Buddhist emperor, Asoka the great, went to Sri Lanka around 240 BC and began the process of proselytization from other religions and from indigenous religions to Buddhism. He also converted the king who led the country at the time to Buddhism. It was slowly gaining prominence in the country and pretty soon, plenty of stupas were beginning to crop up. Today, they comprise of some of the most magnificent structures in the country.

The other significant religious group of people in the country includes the Hindus. They comprise for about close to 16 percent of the nation’s population. Before Buddhism was brought to the country, Hinduism was one of the major religions that people had faith it. Hinduism is more a way of life than a religion. Even though the popularity of Buddhism over shadowed the presence of the Hindus and Hindu scriptures, Hinduism has continued to survive and live in the hearts of millions of people.

The Muslims and the Christians make up for about the remaining 14 percent or so. Specifically, they are about 7 percent each. Islam made its way to Sri Lanka in a very interesting way. The traders who had travelled there from the Arabian countries had taken the religion with them and those that settled there had spread the message of Islam. Therefore, you would find a lot of the Muslim population concentrated in the coastal areas. But then later on, a lot of them had migrated to the central areas of the country. On the other hand, Christianity was brought to the country by Thomas who was the first apostle according to the Bible. But it was only much later when the Portuguese had arrived there and settled that Christianity began to spread rapidly. Most of the Christians today are also found in the coastal areas of the country.

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