One of the monasteries at Anurādhapura. It was built by Devānampiyatissa on the spot where the prince Arittha dwelt with his five hundred followers after having received their ordination from Mahinda (Mhv.xx.14; xix.66). The building of this monastery was the seventh of the great tasks performed by Devānampiyatissa (Mhv.xx.20).
One of the eight saplings from the Bodhi-tree at Anurādhapura was planted at Issarasamanārāma (Mhv.xix.61; Mbv.162).
Candamukha Siva built a tank near Manikāragāmaka and gave it for the use of the vihāra (Mhv.xxxv.47), while Vasabha built in the monastery an uposatha-hall (Mhv.xxxv.87) and Vohāraka Tissa constructed a wall round it (Mhv.xxxvi.36). Kassapa I. restored the buildings and enlarged the grounds. He also bought villages which he presented to the monastery for its maintenance. He had two daughters, Bodhī and Uppalavannā, and he gave their names and his own to the vihāra. When the king wished to hand over the vihāra to the Theravāda monks they refused to accept it, fearing the reproach of the people that it was the work of a parricide. Then the king dedicated it to the image of the Buddha and the monks accepted it saying that it belonged to their Master (Cv.xxxix.10-14; see also below).
According to the Mahāvamsa Tīkā (pp. 407 and 652), the vihāra was also called Kassapagiri, probably after its restoration by Kassapa I., mentioned above.' See also Kassapagiri. See also Cv. Trs.i.43, n.7, and Ep. Zeyl. i.31ff., where the vihāra is called "Isuramenu-.Bo-Upulvan-Kasubgiri" in an inscription of Mahinda IV.
It had originally been called Issarasamana because of its association with the five hundred noblemen (issaradārakā) who joined the Order with Arittha (MT.416). The Tīkā adds (607) that Sāliya, son of Dutthagāmani, enlarged the vihāra out of the tribute brought to him by the men of his tributary villages to the south of Anurādhapura. He used to observe the uposatha on fast days at the vihāra and spend the day in the Mahindaguhā there.
In the Samantapāsādikā (i.100) the vihāra is called Issaranimmāna.