3rdC BCE - The Beginning
According to the Mahavamsa – Buddhism was introduced to Suvannabhumi, (“golden land”) in 3rdC BCE under the reign of King Asoka. Venerable Sona and Uttara, were sent to propagate the doctrine in this region following the 3rd Buddhist Council held in Pataliputta, India by King Asoka.
ROYAL PATRONAGE THROUGH THE CENTURIES
The presence and influence of Buddhism continued to grow under successive kings.
9th -10thC CE
Indravarman I (877-889 CE) He created a unified Khmer Empire and began the great irrigation systems that gave rise to the authentic Angkor Empire.
King Yosavarman (889-910 CE) He succeeded Indravarman I and reigned for about 10 years. He built several temples according to Mahayana Buddhist specifications, representing Mount Meru, the mythical Buddhist axis of the world.
The largest of these temples is Phnom Kandal or “Central Mountain” which lies near the heart of the Angkor complex. He also built temples to Shiva, Vishnu and Buddha. Buddhism was having significant and growing influence at this time.
King Rajendravarman II(944-968 CE) He studied Buddhism intensely. Although he decided to remain a Shivaist, he appointed a Buddhist chief minister who built shrines dedicated to Buddha and Shiva.
Jayavarman V (968-1001 CE) Son of Rajendravarman, also remained a devotee of Shiva. He, too, permitted his own chief minister to foster Mahayana Buddhist learning and divination.
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