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Significance of the month of Il

Il Full Moon Poya day which falls on November 02 bears much significance in the history of Buddhism.


Isipathana in Benares

The Buddha spent seven weeks expressing his gratitude to the Bo tree which sheltered him throughout His difficult endeavour of realising the Truth- attaining the Buddhahood. Next He decided to preach the Dhamma, to his former teachers. In his divine eye he saw that his earliest teachers such as Alara Kalama and Uddakarama Putta were no more, so he headed his way towards Isipathana in Varanasi to preach the Noble Truth which He realized to his former colleagues, the five ascetics. On an Esala Full Moon Poya day, the Buddha addressed Kondangna, Vappa, Baddiya, Assaji and Mahanama and set in motion the ‘Wheel of Truth’ (Dhamma Chakkappawattana Sutta). The five ascetics thus became the first five disciples of the Buddha, establishing the Buddha Sasana.

Soon Yasa and his fifty five young men too joined the Order increasing the number of disciples to sixty. It was on an Il Full Moon Poya day that the Buddha advised his first set of disciples to deliver the message of Noble Truth to people of India (Jambudeepa). Over 2550 years ago, the Buddha addressed his first set of disciples as follows : “Go and wander for the welfare and happiness of many out of compassion for the world, and happiness of gods and men.’ Preach the Dhamma that is excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle and excellent in the end.” (Charatha Bhikkawe Charikan bahu jana hitaya, bahu jana sukaya.) On the same Il Full Moon Poya day, the Budda started his journey towards Uruvel Janapada to dispel the misconceptions of the Jatila brothers - Uruvel Kassapa, Nadee Kassapa and Gaya Kassapa. The three brothers and their thousand disciples lived on the banks of the River Neranja in separate hermitages. The Buddha who was well aware of the nature of Uruvel Kassapa asked him whether He can stay overnight in his hermitage. Uruvel Kassapa gave the Buddha the permission to stay in the kitchen, but warned him of the snake which inhabits the room.

Although He knew the evil intentions of Uruvel Kassapa, the Buddha agreed to spend the night there.

The sight of the stranger provoked the snake. But the Buddha could easily subdue its might through his psychic powers. Uruvel Kassapa who was quite certain that the Buddha would be attacked by the snake , spent the night happily. But to his utter surprise, he saw the Buddha with the well-tamed snake the following morning. “Here’s your snake, his power was subdued by me,” the Buddha told Uruvel Kassapa. Though he had no other choice but to accept that the Buddha was an extraordinary human being, yet he was not ready to concede that the Buddha was an Arhath. Anyway, Uruvel Kassapa could shed all his petty prejudices after witnessing “Yamaka Prathihara” performed by the Buddha.

Uruvel Kassapa became a disciple of the Buddha and was soon followed by his two brothers and their thousand followers. Thus the number of disciples of the Buddha increased by over one thousand all at once.

All of them attained Arhathood after listening to Aditta Pariyaya Sutta. The whole set of Arhats headed by the Buddha were welcomed by King Bimbisara who was so pleased to see Jatila brothers as the Buddha’s disciples. Referring to the incident , the Buddha narrated Maha Narada Kassapa Jathaka story which deals with the effects of Karma( Each of our acts results in either good or bad) The demise of the Buddha’s great disciple, Sariyuth Maha Thera too had taken place on an Il Poya day. The thera was known as ‘Dhamma Senadhipathi’ due to his vast knowledge of the Dhamma. He was declared by the Buddha as the foremost among those who possessed wisdom. As one of the two chief disciples of the Buddha, the care of the Sangha and the protection of its members’ integrity was Sariputta’s especial concern. His ability was such that, Sariyuth Maha Thera could bring the five hundred novice monks who had left with Devadatta Thera, back to the Buddha.

Sariyuth Maha Thera who knew that he has only one more week left to live, decided to visit his home town. In fact two main reasons inspired his decision. First was to make his mother understand the great teachings of the Buddha as up to then she had refused to accept the Buddha’s doctrine, the second was his wish to die at his hometown, Nalaka.

In the end he could fulfil his duty, as his mother entered the first stage of the path to Nibbana after listening to his sermon. The following day Sariyuth Thera passed away with great satisfaction as he could perform the greatest duty that a son can ever do to his mother.

It was on an Il Full Moon Poya day that the Buddha had given permission and approval (Niyatha Vivarana) to Maithree Bodisatta to become the next Buddha.

After preaching Aditta Pariyaya Sutta to Mathru Divya Raja (His mother)in Thavuthisa heaven, the Buddha arrived in Sankassapura.There he gave permission to Maithree Bodisatta who was born as the son of the wealthy land owner Siriwaddana in Sankassapura to become the next Buddha. He entered the Order during the Buddha’s visit to Sankassapura. This was how the Buddha foresaw the future.

“In Varanasi there will be a kingdom called Kethumathi and a king called Sankha. His advisor Subrahima, a Brahmin will be the father of Maithree Buddha. Brahmawathi will be his mother. He will attain enlightenment under a Banyan tree.”

 

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