Over the footprint at the north of the city the king built a large tope, four hundred cubits high, grandly adorned with gold and silver, and finished with a combination of all the precious substances. By the side of the tope he further built a monastery, called the Abhayagiri, where there are now five thousand monks.

They received this latter about 20 B.C., as the result of a dispute between two monasteries . The controversy is obscure but it appears that the ancient foundation called Mahâvihâra accepted as canonical the fifth book of the Vinaya called Parivâra, whereas it was rejected by the new monastery called Abhayagiri.

There is still the Abhayagiri tope, the highest in Ceylon, according to Davids, 250 feet in height, and built about B.C. 90, by Watta Gamini, in whose reign, about 160 years after the Council of Patna, and 330 years after the death of Sakyamuni, the Tripitaka was first reduced to writing in Ceylon; "Buddhism," p. 234.

Since that event, for one thousand four hundred and ninety-seven years, the light of the world has gone out, and all living things have had long-continued sadness. Behold! ten days after this, Buddha's tooth will be brought forth, and taken to the Abhayagiri -vihâra.

He thinks that the original was the text used by the Abhayagiri monastery and brought to China by Fa Hsien. The Sinhalese ecclesiastical history, Nikâya-Sangrahawa, relates that 235 years after the Buddha's death nine heretical fraternities were formed who proceeded to compose scriptures of their own such as the Varṇapiṭaka and Angulimâla-Piṭaka.