Exposure to spiritual subtlety

by Rupa Banduwardena

(November 12, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Il Poya is well known for the most significant events in the history of Buddhism. Sakyamuni Gautama Buddha who sat under the Bodhi tree determined to find the eternal truth, succeeded in his intellectual struggle with the enlightenment that dawned upon him.

The Buddha the world teacher is believed to have appeared in this world for the good of all mankind, for their happiness and emancipation from evil and sorrow. Thathagatha, the Perfect One proceeded to Saranath and preached his first sermon to the five ascetics. The first Vassana was observed at Isipathana in Benares.

Later Yasakula Putra and his 55 disciples listened to his discourses with utmost faith and attained Arahathship. The Buddha addressed the sixty Arahants thus “Charatha Bhikkawe Charikang.

Bahujana Hithaya, Bahujana Sukhaya, Lokanukampaya Aththaya Hithaya Sukhaya Devamanussanang” Buddha said go forth Bhikkus into the world taking the message to them, explain to them what I have explained, for the wellbeing of the majority, show them how one could be of service by going to meet those in distress and in pain out of compassion to all divine and human beings, indulge in this sasanic tour.

The message proclaimed was spread everywhere. It was on Il Full Moon Day that the 60 disciples were sent in different directions on this great mission of preaching his doctrine of Dhamma, the Buddha’s way of life, the code of conduct, taught in Buddhism based on Vinaya the discipline.

Having sent them on this great mission, the Buddha Himself set out for the city of Rajagaha where on his way he met the hermit monks, Uruwela Kashyapa, Nadi Kashyapa and Gaya Kashyapa the three brothers, with their retinue at Uruwela Grama.

It was on Il Full Moon Day that they had all been miraculously won over by the Buddha and also amazing Yama Maha Pelahera (Dual psychic power) too had been performed, helping the, to attain Arahantship, with his absolute knowledge of Dhamma. This celebrated religious event too occurred this full moon day.

Another major event of this Poya is the receipt of permission (Niyatha Vivarana) by Bosat Maitriya, to be the next Enlightened One. A wealthy Buddhist in Sankassapura known as Siriwardena had entered the order as Bhikku Ariya Maitriya leading a life of piety.

It is with utmost faith that he had offered his robes to Thathagatha on his arrival of Sankassapura from Thavathimsa after preaching Aditta Pariyaya Sutta to his mother. The Buddha with his divine vision and insight predicted that in Baranasi there will be a kingdom called Kethumathi and a king called Sanka whose advisor Subrahima and Brahmawathi will be his parents and that he will attain enlightenment under a Banyan tree. Hence Il Poya has a special significance regarding the emergence of the future Buddha giving the signal for the Buddhists to await the great occasion.

This day is also related to the attainment of Sothapanna by Rupasara Matha, the mother of Venerable Sariputta. It was really astonishing to hear of the attainment of Arahathship by all his brothers and sisters except the mother totally due to her being unaware of the Buddhist doctrine.

Venerable Sariputta who had perfect confidence in the Dhamma. learning that his life span is going to be over, sought the permission of the Buddha to visit his native place. Ven. Sariputta, an erudite scholar, foreseeing the good fate of the mother was determined to come to her rescue and put her on the correct path, which he did before his Parinibbana. Consequently she attained the state of Sovan purely due to his efforts.

Thus, the foremost disciple of the Buddha fulfilled his duty by her and finally he passed away. His Parinibbana too happened on this full moon day.

The Il Full moon day marks the end of the Vassana season. It is rather the climax of this season, the three months retreat the Bhikkus observe.

Those who observe Pasu Vas (the period after the observance of Pera Vas) the Vassana season is terminated by this full moon day. All these sacred religious events highlight the importance of this day to the Buddhist world. Thus it is with great reverence and piety that the Buddhists worldwide commemorate the Il Full moon poya day.
- Sri Lanka Guardian