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Reflections on a splendid Poson Festival

24 June 2021 02:45 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Mihintale

Thus, the revelation of the sublime truth by the introduction of Buddha Dhamma brought about and overall national renaissance

Buddhism is not a religion, but a way of life to be self realised and is not meant for the unwise

 

On a resplendent Moon Shine Poson Poya Day, Maha Samana Arahant Maha Mahendra and his seven member Jambhudeepa delegation first set foot on “Missaka Pawwa” (Ambastala, the Rock of Invitation) 2329 years ago. It was during the reign of King Devanam Piyatissa. Since the arrival of Prince Wijeya (483BC), in Sri Lanka, the then Tambapanni, as a free nation had progressed economically as well as in foreign diplomatic dealings. As a result of this Great Emperor Dharmasoka had a cordial relationship with our King Devanam Piyatissa.Owing to their friendship his son Arahant Maha Mahendra was entrusted to establish the Sri Sadh Dharma of Tatagatha Gautama Samma Sambuddha in the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”. 


However, at the time social, cultural and spiritual standards had not reached refine standards. The religious aspects were at a low ebb. Even animal torture (Dear Hunting) was a practice of Royal pleasure. Thus, the revelation of the sublime truth by the introduction of Buddha Dhamma brought about and overall national renaissance. On the blessed Poson Poya Day as the King and his men were chasing after the life of innocent deer “Tissa, Tissa,Stop.” The clarion command of the Maha Samana, addressing the King by his name became the ‘destiny of fortune’of our nation. As the King stood stunned, Maha Samana declared, “Samana Mayam Maha Raja-Dhammarajassa Savaka Thameva Anukampaya - Jambhudeepa Idagatha” “Oh,Great King-Samanas are we, The disciples of the King of Truth”.With compassion towards thee are we come from Jambhudeepa (Country of Red Apple)”. By such magnificent words, the King became relieved and recollected King Dharmasoka’s offer. He threw the bow and arrow aside and approved the Maha Samana paying obeisance at his feet. Buddhism is not a religion, but a way of life to be self realised and is not meant for the unwise. Accordingly,the Maha Samana had a brief dialog to clarify the King’s intelligence. There was rapid intimacy between all and the King and his men to refuge in Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. The King invited the sacred group to the Royal Palace the next day. It is noteworthy to record the early episode of the Buddhist affairs in SriLanka. The Buddha himself visited Sri Lanka on several occasions. 

The Buddha gifted them with a handful of his sacred hair relics. The two brothers upon their safe arrival in Sri Lanka enshrined the hair relics and constructed the first ever Stupa at Thiriyaya. The following day the Arahant was accorded a grand welcome at the palace by the members of the Royal family


Arahant Maha Mahendra is engraved in the hearts of Buddhist devotees for his immeasurable benevolence in permanently establishing Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Historically the two merchant brothers Tapassu and Balluka, who offered the Maiden Buddha Pooja to Tathagata Gautama Buddha, upon his enlightenment were the first and foremost Buddhist devotees who landed in Sri Lanka. The duo were also the first two devotes to embrace Buddha Dhamma by taking refuge in Buddha and Dhamma. Thereby they became the “Devasika Upasakas”. The Order of the Maha Sangha was not established at the time. Prior to taking their leave they pleaded for the Buddha’s protection. The Buddha gifted them with a handful of his sacred hair relics. The two brothers upon their safe arrival in Sri Lanka enshrined the hair relics and constructed the first ever Stupa at Thiriyaya. The following day the Arahant was accorded a grand welcome at the palace by the members of the Royal family. Knowing that the existing spiritual practices were worshipping of the sun, trees and the deceased and heretical practices Maha Samana’s first discourse was an appropriate sermon. It was “Vimana Vattu” and “Peta Vattu” the disclosures were of suffering of spirits and of Divine beings. History records that Prince Aritta and 50 members of the Royal family entered the Order of Maha Sangha within four weeks. Simultaneously,Queen Anoma supported by a large group of females expressed their earnest desire to enter the “Bhikkhuni Sasana”. On the advice of Maha Samana the King sent a Royal Mission to King Dharmasoka to resolve the issue. Opening a radiant chapter Emperor Asoka sent us his only daughter, Arahant Bhikkhuni Sanghamitta. Arahant Bhikkhuni Sanghamitta not only came to establish “Bhikkhuni Sasana”, for females, but also brought with her the Golden sapling of the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. This revered eternal blessing remains ever green not only as a worshipping treasure, but also as the oldest living monument of the World Heritage. To venerate and commemorate these significant events, thousands of pilgrims gather to Mihintalawa annually on Poson Poya Day. Devotees from all walks of life climb up 1840 steps which make up the grandest Universal Rock Stair Way. “Advocating Dhamma without practice is like a flower without fragrance.”May all beings be happy and peaceful!

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi

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