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Buddha’s historic visit to Sri Lanka

12 January 2017 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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…Vadinu Mena Nidukaanani !:We are on the Brink of Annihilation, a fourth visit is Paramount.
When the Duruthu full moon spreads its radiant light over the island of Sri Lanka, we celebrate Buddha’s momentous first visit to the island twenty five centuries ago. Today, this beautiful land is free of Yakkas and Nagas but faces an imminent threat from one evil tribe known as Politikkas.   

 

The first Full Moon Poya Day of the year, in the month of Duruthu is the beginning of adhering to the teachings of Buddhism in the island. Nine months after his Enlightenment [528 B.C.] Buddha visited Mahiyangana in the Uva Province for a noble purpose: To restore peace by dispelling war and violence.   


 “Our thrice-blessed nation does not possess a genuine politician anymore; sadly we have come to a state where when we are casting our votes we have to see who has least robbed and done more....at times I wonder the British should’ve continued their rule over here” – courtesy-Comments by Daily Mirror readers

 


Yoma Budu netha kulunine…wadinu mena…  
 On this visit the Yakka Clan, the whole island assembled in the Mahanaga Garden. The purpose of this historic visit was to bring about unity among the two main tribes who were in constant confrontation because of the interminable quarrel for power. Some believe that Sumana Saman implored Buddha to end this strife and restore peace and it was for this purpose that the Buddha arrived at the Mahanaga Grove. The Buddha not only won the Yakkas/Raksas to the Dhamma but also succeeded in getting the Naga clan King Maniakkhika, who visited the Buddha in Mahiyangana to convert to Buddhism. A Dagoba with a few strands of hair [Kesa Dhathu] of the Buddha enshrined in it was put up at the instance of a Prince named Mahasumana of Deva Clan. This Stupa, after the passing away of the Buddha was transformed to be the Mahiyangana Chaitiya. Following Buddha’s deathin 543BC, the collar bone relic or Greeva Dhathu which was recovered from the funeral pyre was brought to Sri Lanka by Arahant Sarabha Thera. This too was enshrined in the newly enlarged Mahiyangana Raja Maha Vihara.  


 This monument enters the annals of this country’s history as the first Dagoba built in Sri Lanka. The Blessed One sermonized the message of peaceful coexistence to those who gathered to listen to him. They say Sumana attained Sovan at the end of the discourse [the first of the four stages that lead to Nibbana].   


Muwin muwata galanaa naada visha, Ununn nasalana asiri balannata, Kalayayi… …Dveepayayi… Deshayayi…, Nidukaanani…Wadinu mena…  


Merit Transfer- Mahayana or a Theravada Concept?   
 ‘Acts of merit’ bring Joy and contentment to the doer in this world and in the next.   
“ As a stream must flow and reach and fill the far-away main,  
 what is given here will reach and consecrate the spirits.  
 Water poured on mountain top would soon tumble down and fill the plain  
 like what is given here will get to and bless the feelings there.”  

 


 --Nidhikanda Sutta   
 Some Western scholars of Buddhism, believed that the transfer of merit was a Mahayana concept developed at a late period and that it was rather discordant with Buddhist perceptions of karma theory. Heinz Bechert, believes the doctrine in its developed form to an era between the 6th and 7th centuries. However, Anthony Barber differs in his views, says, ‘merit transfer was an integral part of Buddhism practised from Buddhas times in India. Buddhism teaches that the accumulated merit can be transferred, can be shared with others; it is reversible and the persons who receive can be either living or dead.’  


The mode of transfer is quite simple; the doer has merely to wish that the merit he/she has gained accumulate to somebody in particular, or to ‘all beings’, a wish purely mental or expressed by words. All actions, according to the Buddha, what really matters is thought. Transference is mainly an act of the mind. Tirokuddha Sutta – Khuddakapatha says, there is no use in weeping, lamenting, feeling sorry and bewailing; such approaches are of no consequence to the departed ones. Some simply waste on meaningless rituals and performances in remembrance of departed ones. They do not realize that it is not possible to help the dead simply by constructing graveyards, tombs, Monuments and other paraphernalia; instead doing some meritorious acts like building orphanages , schools, temples, libraries, hospitals, or distributing religious books and other numerous related charitable deeds.  

 


Milindapanha 
 In the Milindapanha the King Milinda conveys the idea that if the recipient is not mindful of a gift of merit being presented, the giver gets no advantage thereby. Naagasena quotes a few examples to prove that is wrong. The disagreement is that the act of transfer is an act of selflessness and the feedback of the action on oneself has a cleansing effect, as well as on the individual to whom the act is aimed at. Naagasena tells Milinda, “If a person transfer merit, that merit develops and grows more and more, during the act of transferring it, and the merit of that performance he is able to distribute to whomsoever he will.”  


 In the Theravada tradition rebirth is an immediate happening after a person’s death, so transfer of merit as performed, cannot rationally be of any advantage to the deceased person. He would have to shoulder the weight for the kamma that is owing to him. The transfer of merit for a deceased will though benefit the giver as it should make a sense of loving kindness in that person.  

 


Merit Transfer with Carcasses of innocent Animals brutally Slaughtered ?
 Whatever the arguments may say, in transferring merit to dead, the most popularly practised ritual is by inviting Maha Sangha to the residence of the deceased on the seventh day and on completion of the third month followed by on a yearly basis on the death anniversary, along with a large gathering of relatives, friends and neighbours. A large majority use huge quantities of carcasses of innocent animals brutally slaughtered for food in preparation of dishes for the Bikkhus and lay devotees to satisfy their palatal greed.   


How do they know, or what makes them sure that the carcass of the seer fish that they bought encouraging the slaughterer to kill more next day and make those sumptuous deep fried slices does not belong to their loved one who died a few years ago and reborn an aquatic animal? They now enjoy the flesh along with the high priest of the very temple the deceased was a Dhayake and a host of friends and relatives joining them. 


Let me conclude with an anecdote, which goes as, the fisher folk in the village invited the Village Headman and his wife for a meal at his residence. Presenting two dishes of fish of two different varieties to the virtuous man and mentioning the name of the variety, he said, “Sir, this one I caught especially for you”, and vice versa. The Headman, avaricious though realize the folly. If he eats, it becomes obvious that it is not ‘thricotica parisudda’ and as such the noble man he, would be committing a sin. Witty man rejoined, “I say, you serve this to my wife, and let me have the one which you killed especially for her.”   


Are there loop-holes in the Dhamma as discovered and preached by the Blessed one?  May all beings be happy!

 

 

 

 

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