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Abhayagiri Monastery in Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura established in the second century B.C., by King Valagamabau, during its glorious days, was not only complex of monastic buildings, but also a great seat of learning. Unlike orthodox Mahavihara monastery, Abhayagiri Monastery accommodated the intellectual discussion on various schools of Buddhist thought in addition to Theravada Buddhism, considered as the pure words of Buddha. The center of attraction of the monastery was Abhayagiri stupa, the second tallest stupa at Anuradhapura, also built by King Valagambahu (89-77 BC).
In the 5th century, the Chinese monk Fa-hsien visited Abhayagiri, the flourishing center of Buddhist studies. The monk lived 2 years at Abhayagiri Monastery copying Buddhist texts and took all copies to China. Fa-hsien also made written records of his life and times at Abhayagiri Monastery. In his memoirs, he wrote about the Tooth Relic, monasteries, stupas and statues of Sri Lanka.
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