The time for the offering of Katina cheevara – a thick robe for the rainy season to Buddhist priests who observed “Vas” or the rainy season sojourn ends on Il Full Moon Poya Day. Hence a series of meritorious activities come to an end. Apart from this Il Full Moon Poya Day is of special significance for Buddhists due to numerous religious events taken place on this day and during the month of November.
Sending missionaries for the first time to propagate Buddhism, conversion of three Kassapa brothers, ”Devarohanaya” or descending from the celestial world and attainment of Arahant Sriputta’s parinibbana are the significant events that took place on this Full Moon Poya Day and during the month of November. It was also on an Il Full Moon Poya Day that Gauthama Buddha gave the positive explanation or assurance to Maithri Bodhisattva of becoming a Buddha.
A period full of religious events comes to an end
The previous month had been a very busy one for Buddhist monks who had to participate in Katina Pinkama ceremonies. They had to attend to Pirith chanting ceremonies and Katina perahera celebrations in addition to organizing religious events in their own temples. Gautama Buddha told the followers that Maithri Bodhisattva would be born as the son of “Sakwithi Raja”- the Universal King Sanka in the Kethumathi Kingdom during this Maha Badra Kalpa.Maithri Bodhisattva worshipped the Buddha and accepted “Niyatha Vivarana”. This happened on an Il Full Moon Poya Day.
By the first Il Full Moon Poya Day after the Buddha’s enlightenment there were sixty one Arahants including the Buddha Himself. There were the five Brahmin ascetics, Kondagnna, Baddhiya, Wappa, Mahanama and Assaji. Kandagnna was the youngest of the eight Brahmins who were invited for prince Siddhartha’s naming ceremony. He foretold that prince Siddhartha would certainly become the Buddha. Together with Baddhiya, Wappa, Mahanama and Assaji who were the sons of four other Brahmins, he retired to the forest in anticipation of prince Siddhartha’s renunciation. They attended to ascetic Siddhartha when he was striving to attain Buddha hood. Kondagnna was the first to realize the four Noble Truths and the eight fold path to Nirvana.
Conversion of Yasa and his followers
Next to be converted was Yasa, son of a millionaire in Benaris who met Buddha while going away from home. When Buddha expounded Dharma, Yasa attained Arahantship. Venerable Yasa’s father who came across the Buddha while going in search his missing son became the first lay disciple of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Venerable Yasa Thera’s mother and the former wife were the first two female lay disciples of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
Sixty Arahants to propagate Buddhism
By the first Il Full Moon Poya Day after the enlightenment of the exalted one there were sixty Arahants excluding the Buddha.
“Charatha Bhikkhawe Carikan….”
Buddha requested the first sixty Arahants to go forth for the good and happiness of the many. He told them that no two should go in a single direction so that they could be of assistance to as many as possible. He Himself went to Uruwela in Senanigama.
It is better to seek one-self than to seek a missing woman
On His way to Uruwela Buddha met thirty young men. Twenty nine of them were with their wives. They had gone to a grove for amusement. The thirtieth prince who was a bachelor had taken a courtesan and that woman had fled with the valuables of the others. When the princes were going in search of that woman they met Buddha and He explained to them that it was better to seek one-self than to seek a missing woman. They realized the truth and all entered the Order and received the Higher Ordination.
Aditta Pariyaya Sutta – All in flames
Kassapa brothers and their followers had developed their own spiritual attainments and they could understand Buddha’s doctrine without much difficulty.
Buddha accomplished them to Gayasisa and preached the “Aditta Pariyaya Sutta” – All in flames – hearing which all of them attained Arahantship.
Offering of Veluwanaramaya – the Bamboo Grove
Having understood the Dharma, king Bimbisara attained Sowan, the first of the four paths to Nirvana.
He invited the Buddha and his followers to his palace for Dana and after offering Dana he also offered the Bamboo grove – Veluwanaramaya for the use of the Buddha and His disciples.
Attainment of Arahant Sariputta’s Parinibbana
It was on a subsequent Il Full Moon Poya Day that Dharma Senadhipathi and one of the Buddha’s chief disciples, Arahant Sariputta Thera had attained the highest position in wisdom was a very intelligent youth named Upatissa in the village of Upatissa. Youth Upatissa renounced his ancestral religion, Brahamanism and followed the teachings of Gautama Buddha. All his brothers and sisters followed his example but his father, Vangantha adhered to Brahmanism.
Arahant Sariputta’s assistance to his mother
His mother, Brahmini Rupasari did not believe in the three-fold refuge and remained heretic even during her old age. Arahant Sariputra contemplated as to whether she possessed the virtues of attaining Nirvana by the cessation of all desires and of re-existence and realized that she could attain Sowan, the first stage or path to Nirvana. Hence after obtaining permission from the Buddha to attain Parinibbana, Arahant Sariputta made an opportune visit to his mother followed by hundreds of thousands of weeping people who had heard about Maha Thera’s Parinibbana. Arahant Sariputta preached to his mother the virtuous properties of the Buddha to convince her that Buddha was a peerless teacher and the unique one.
After listening to her son patiently Brahamini Rupasari gave up her beliefs in heathenism and attained Sowan. Arahant Sariputta Maha Thera was happy that he could repay his mother for bringing him up. After being of service to many Arahant Sariputta Maha Thera attained Parinibbana on an Il Full Moon Poya day.