Facing COVID-19 Why Bhikkhus recite Ratana Sutta

7 May 2020 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Even in the past the Maha Sangha has resolved to chant the most powerful Ratana Sutta when laymen have faced challenging times (AFP)

The above ninefold recital comprises briefly the supremacy of Tathagata

On his visit to Vaisalapura, the Buddha visualised that due to the plague the territory was affected by the evil influences

 

At present the whole world is experiencing a period of fear, suspicion and tension owing to the deadly COVID-19.


As a remedy against this virus, the Siyamopalika Maha Sangha resolved to chant the most powerful Ratana Sutta for one full week, day and night. 


The seven-day pirith ceremony was conducted at the historic Royal Audience in the Hill Capital, in the precincts of the Sri Dalada Maligawa recently.


In a dramatic significance, in order to evade psychological, medical and economic disaster, the devotees throughout the world, through the electronic media involved themselves with this golden event.


The Ratana Sutta is upheld and venerated due to its unique legendary episode in ancient India during the reign of King Bimbisara, a triple disaster befell upon the township of Vaisalapura. 


Drought, epidemic and famine simultaneously gripped the entire community network of Vaisalapura. The people fell sick and desperate. Death dominated the township with putrefied dead bodies scattered and unattended.
In the face of such misfortune wild beasts, evil forces including the inhumane devil spirits took charge of the territory. 


The King himself was puzzled while the rest of the people became more bewildered.  At an emergency meeting, it was resolved to seek the advice of the Sakyamuni Tathagata Gautama.


An emissary comprising Lichchavi Royals met Gautama Buddha. Having paid their obeisance, they pleaded the Buddha’s intervention.


The Buddha acknowledged the Kings request and visited Vaisalapura with his chief attendant Ananda Maha Thera and a group of five hundred bhikkhus.


“Itipi So Bhagava (1) Arahan (2) Samma-Sambuddho (3) Vijja-Charana-Sampanno (4) Sugatho (5) Lokavidu (6) Anuttaro Purisa Dhamma Sarathi (7) Satta Deva Manussanam (8) 
Buddho (9) Bhagava ti”.


The above ninefold recital comprises briefly the supremacy of Tathagata. The aspect of “Lokavidu” is applied to Buddha being the one with exquisite knowledge of the world. The Buddha had experienced, known and penetrated all aspects of worldly life, both physical and spiritual. 


The Buddha had the unique gift of insight power of performing super-normal feats, divine ear, power of reading other’s thoughts, numerous physical powers, ability to recollect past births, divine eye and exquisite knowledge pertaining to a life of serene holiness.


Buddha means an embodiment of virtues and morality (Sila) of supreme state. Therefore, a Buddha possess unsurpassed and unparallel qualities regarding Sila, Samadhi (high degree of concentration) and Panna (penetrative wisdom). Thus, in times of happiness, sorrow and when in fear Buddhist seek power and protection of the Triple Gem.


On his visit to Vaisalapura, the Buddha visualised that due to the plague the territory was affected by the evil influences. Accordingly, he chanted the Discourse of Jewels, 
Ratana Sutta.


Thereafter, the Buddha visited the main entrance of the town and instructed Ananda Maha Thera to advice the Lichchavis to organise a seven-day chanting ceremony and to sprinkle sacred water covering all boundaries. Accordingly, under the Royal patronage, when the ritual was completed by sprinkling Holy Water carrying in Buddha’s alms bowl, torrential rains began causing floods to wash out putrid dirt and purify the town.

 
The township returned to its original glory and the people lived in peace and harmony and involving themselves in meritorious acts. 


May the world today gain health, wealth and happiness by the grace of sacred Triple Gem!

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