56. KING VATTAGAMANT ABHAYA BEING ACCOMPANIED BY MONKS IN MARCHING OUT WITH HIS ARMY TO THE BATTLE-FRONT
King Vattagamani Abhaya was a staunch supporter and defender of the Buddhist religion in the island of Lanka (Ceylon). One day when he was about to go out to fight the Tamil Kings, the King went to the monastery and said to the Mahatheras, "Venerable Sirs, I shall have to go across the Ganga (the river) to promote the cause of Buddhism, and wish the Theras to accompany me on my journeys so that I can pay my respects to them at all times."
The Mahatheras selected 500 monks who were in their prime of life and sent them to accompany the King. King Vattagamani carried on battle while at the same time attending to the personal needs of the Theras in his company with regard to their food, medicine, etc. The spear used by the King contained a sacred relic of the Buddha embedded in it at its end. His motto runs thus:-"I have been doing my best to make Buddhism last long and not for my own personal gain".