On Il Full moon day, the first 60 Arhants were sent on Buddhist Missionary activity by the Buddha.
‘Charata Bhikkave, Charikan, Bahujana Hitaya, Bahujana Sukhaya, Lokanukampaya Attaya Hitana Sukhaya Devamanussanam, Ma Ekena Deva Agamitta Desetha Bhikkave Dhamman Adikarayanam Puriyosana, Kalyanam Pariyosana Kayanan Satthan Sakyanjawan Kevala Paripunnan Parisudaan Brahamachariyam Pakasetha.’
Oh! Bhikkus, For the Welfare of the many for the contentment of the Many, through sympathy and kindness to the folk, go forth, and spread Buddha Dhamma for the benefit of Deities and Human Beings.
Significance of Il Poya
The other significant happenings on Il Poya day are the announcement of Maithree Bodhisatta, who received Niyatha Vivarana to be the next enlightened one or the Future Buddha. The three Jatila brothers, Uruwela, Nadi and Gaya Kasyapa, who lived in an hermitage by the side of River Neranja entering the Buddhist Sangha. Ascend to heaven by the Buddha known as Festival of “Devaharohana” . Agasaw [Chief Disciple] arhant Sariputta visited the mother in his home to town and Passed away on this day. The laying of the foundation to construct the first stupa, Thuparama Dagoba in Sri Lanka in Anuradhapura, where the right canine tooth, [the Dakunu Aku Datuwa] relic was treasured on an Il Poya day. The month is also known as the “Cheevara Masaya.” The offering of “Katina Cheevaraya”, which is considered a highly meritorious act, takes place during the month of Il. The end and the climax of the Rainy Season, and of the Retreat Period or “Vassana”, is marked on Il Full Moon day. Buddhist Monks who performed “Pasuvas” terminate the retreat period of “Vassana” on this Il Full Moon Poya Day.
Why didn’t the Buddha Say …
Why didn’t the Buddha say, ‘Oh Bikkhus, go to the king’s assembly and help them run the country; get paid by royal treasury and seek Disapamokships in Thakshilas , obtain duty-free horse carriage permits and sell them to the rich; run occult shops in temples…etc,
“Do not go ahead on what has been acquired by repetitive hearing; nor upon custom; nor upon gossip; nor upon what is in chronicle or scripture; nor upon guess or deduce; nor upon a maxim or adage; nor upon specious logic or reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a view or notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another’s seeming capability or competence; nor upon the reflection, ‘The monk is our tutor.’ Kalamas, when you yourselves be acquainted with: ‘These things are of good quality, excellent; these things are not blamable; these things are admired and commended by the wise; embarked on and observed, these things guide to benefit and contentment,’ enter on and stand for, in them.” - Kalama Sutta
Chief disciple Sariputta
The passing away of Sariputta, Senior Disciple occurred on Il Poya day. A week before the occurrence, he visited his beloved mother, in the village Nalaka, in the Magadha Province. She did not believe in the Triple Gem, but in another faith called Brahminism.
With a determination to make his mother realize Dhamma he preached relevant portions. After listening to the son’s sermon, she attained Sotapanna or the first stage towards liberation. Regarded as the chief disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha who leads in Wisdom, Arhant Sariputta passed away after the successful mission. Ven. Sariputta Thera died while the Buddha was still alive. Sariputta Thera’s modesty was another exceptional feature of his character. When Rahula the seven-year-old novice Bhikkhu warned him noticing his robe touching the ground, Ven. Sariputta stood before the little Samanera, and turned towards the Buddha’s monastery and with linked palms, said: “Sadhu, Sadhu” in recognition of the little one’s deed.
Responding to the request for ending his life, the Buddha said: “Please do what is opportune, Sariputta”. He left Jethavanaramaya following a long journey arrived at his home in Nalake, where he fell gravely il lying on the same place where he was born. He delivered a sermon on the merits of the Buddha, to the mother named Sari who was instantly converted; she found fault with the son and blamed him for not enlightening her earlier on such an ‘amazing command and magnificence!’ Ven. Sariputta gathered his robe around his body, covered his face, lying on the right side he attained Parinibbana on Il full moon day.
Wasteful, Noisy extravagant Katina Peraheras
How blinding a belief can be was the idea that sprung to me when I was compelled to witness a Katina Perahera at 4.00 am when it paraded the streets zigzagging through a network of byie roads and mains on its way to the temple? It covered a good three Kilo metres, though the actual distance from the Dayake’s house to its destination was only a couple of hundred metres. Professional borukakulkarayas, fire-ball acrobats, drummers, dancers, whip crackers, numerous other showmen and elephants hired at Rs. 75,000 per animal/day are being engaged for the purpose of carrying the Katina Robe to the temple. It is time we stop all wasteful extravagant items conducted in the name of the enlightened one. A famous temple in my area according to reliable sources had spent four and a half million rupees for this year’s event. Surely these funds collected from devotees could be put to better use. The hospitals are without medicine, children’s homes neglected for want of funds for upkeep. Basic facilities are deprived to senior citizens living at Elders’ Homes. Clearly, the noise we create is beyond tolerable limits and in complete violation of noise pollution norms of Buddha Dhamma apart from local bye-laws.
The Buddha says in Bhayabherava Sutta, that even the crackle of foliage by a falling stem in the forest shivers the heart. The sound pollution caused by Perahera and all night pirith chanting over public address systems are a real menace. It was during King Devanampiyatissa’s rule that they ‘imported’ drummers from South India, under the influence of Hindu priests, for presenting thevawa to sacred Bodhi tree, the Sri Mahabodhiya. The bad habit of whipping and thumping the skins extracted from goats, monkeys and monitors, especially slaughtered for the purpose, has become a Buddhist tradition coined, Shabda Pooja[noise offerings?] of which neither the Buddha nor his pristine Dhamma has anything to do with.
One specific characteristic of the Dhamma is the invitation to all, not to believe the ‘doctrine or philosophy’ in it, but to come and examine, scrutinize the validity of the analysis and cure of the circumstance offered to. Acknowledgment should come if and only when one is convinced and realised for oneself that the healing is wholesome and exceptional. Buddha taught us how to be impartial and balanced observers; the practice of awareness and mindfulness of the moment. We have a never-ending longing to satisfy our sense organs. That is why man is always biased and suffers in this never-ending Sansara.
May all beings be Happy!