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,
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.”