Your Ad Here

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Significance of Vap Full Moon Poya

Significance of Vap Full Moon Poya

The rainy season commenced three months ago with Esala – ‘Vassana Kalo’. It comes to an end with the Vap Poya. The ‘Katina’ season ushers in the Buddhist calendar with Vap, which is popularly known as ‘Cheevara Masaya’.

This year, Vap Full Moon Poya falls on Saturday, October 3 (today).

Vap Poya marks the offering of the ‘Katina Cheevara’ or new robes to Buddhist monks, who observed ‘Vas’ – Rainy Retreat, beginning from Esala to Vap.

‘Katina’ – ‘Cheevara Pooja’, the noble meritorious deed is considered the most sacred wholesome act a Buddhist can perform. It is known as the Great Eight Merits or ‘Ata Kusal’. The word ‘Katina’ means unbreakable. It is believed that those who participate in ‘Katina’ religious activities obtain much merit and they live a happy life in this world as well as in the other world once they depart.

It was on Vap Full Moon Poya Day that the Buddha visited the heavenly abode of Tavatimsa. In this heavenly abode, He preached ‘Abidhamma’ to the Devas of that celestial plane, which resulted in the elevation of ‘Matru Deva’ (Mother Diety) to attain ‘Sotapanna’ and 80 crores of Devas to various stages of Sainthood. Eventually, He terminated his retreat in order to descend to the city gate of Sankassapura. He informed Arahat Moggallana about his arrival. Moggallana had paid him a visit seven days before.

Vap Poya is of great significance for yet another reason. Throughout our cherished history, Buddhists have celebrated Vap on a grand scale. Temples in Sri Lanka will be filled to capacity. They will be involved in ‘Dana’, ‘Seela’, ‘Bhavana’ and thereby they accumulate merit.

Buddhist history reveals another important landmark which is connected to Vap Full Moon Poya Day; for it was on such a day that the future Buddha, Maitriya Bodhisatva, entered the order with a retinue of 500 followers.

Furthermore, Vap Poya paved the way for the arrival of Sangamitta Theri. The advent of Buddhism took place with the advent of ‘Dhammarajassa Savaka’ Arahat Mahinda Thera. King Devanampiyatissa’s sister-in-law Anula, was very keen to enter the Order of Bhikkunis. Therefore, the King made a request to Emperor Asoka to send Sanghamitta Theri.

It is clear as crystal that Sri Lanka and India had a very cordial diplomatic relationship, even at that time. It was on Vap Poya Full Moon Day that Devanampiyatissa sent Minister Maha Aritta, a close relation of Devanampiyatissa to India, for this mission. This resulted in the arrival of Sangamitta during Unduvap Poya, which is in the month of December. It records the establishment of a ‘Bhikkuni Sasanaya’ in Sri Lanka. Sangamitta brought a Bo–Sapling from the Jayasri Maha Bodhiya to Sri Lanka.

The Great King Devanapiyatissa, who propagated Buddhism, questioned Arahat Mahinda whether Buddhism was firmly rooted in Sri Lanka. Arahat Mahinda stated; "Dear King, until such time a person born and bred in Sri Lanka enters the order, holds a ‘Dhamma Sangayanawa’ and after a complete and thorough study of ‘Vinaya’ rules relating to Dhamma, then only will Buddhism be firmly established throughout Sri Lanka."

According to chronicles, this was fulfilled by Minister Aritta, who entered the order. Therefore, the establishment of Buddhism on a firm footing took place on Vap Full Moon Poya Day.

On this Vap Poya Day, Let us follow firmly the five precepts (Pancha Seela), abstain from destroying living beings, abstain from taking things not given, abstain from sexual misconduct, abstain from false speech and abstain from taking anything that causes intoxication.

May the blessings of the Noble Triple Gem and the protection of the devas be with you!



By Shalika Ranaweera

The future of this country are the school children and their well being is very important to the society. Some incidents taking place in the schools already shows a bad signal and our school children are not really in a position to handle some of the problems on their own.

It is a pathetic situation that the students see the best option available as committing suicide for small issues.

To get the opinion regarding this situation the Daily Mirror contacted some professionals in the field of education yesterday.

Pix by Pradeep Dilrukshana

Dhanapala Wijesinghe, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Sri Jayawardanepura

The socialization of children is the main reason for this problem. Socialization is the way how we train a child to behave in an accepted manner in society and direct them to a good life style.

It is a life long process and through the socialization we develop the personality. Socialization trains the people to integrate with society. Integration is an important fact because it is the pathway to learn how to live in society and adopt the conditions prevailing in society.

There are different levels of integration. If the student’s level of integration is low he or she would not interact properly in society and try to lead a solitary life. They prefer being alone than in a company.

If the level of integration is high they tend to lead highly committed social lives abiding by norms and customs. High levels of integration help them to build their personalities and they are capable of sharing their good and bad. As they have enough people around them they have the chance of sharing all their problems. Even before taking a critical decision like committing suicide they would discuss their problems with friends.

But solitary confined children take unto themselves and develop an egoism. To avoid this type of incidents, parents must develop a strong relationship with their children. Weak integration reflects the weakness prevailing within the family.

Family should be one entity and share everything within the family. Then children develop confidence in their parents and they would divulge all their problems to the parents. Other than this the idea of freedom has been misused in society. Earlier in our traditional society parents had a control over the children and allowed them certain freedom. Society had been able to make an impact on the children’s behaviour as well.

But the Western concept on freedom is controversial to this. Children are given much more freedom and parents think that they should not intervene into children’s problem.

I personally believe that the parents should be more inquisitive and look into what their children are up to. If not, the children would enjoy their freedom in a wrong manner.

It is a fact that the weaker integration with the family and society would persuade them to make their own decisions. Their solitary life would lead to several psychological problems and breaks the psychological equilibrium. That also disturbs the tolerance levels of the students.

When it escalates into higher level, students tend to get various ideas. Some retrieve, some commit suicide, that depends on the level of experience they have received.

To solve these type of problems, the best option is that we as adults should not allow children to become solitary in their lives. Parents must be watchful about their children’s behaviour and should be aware of their associates.

Parents and teachers should observe the children carefully and assist them to solve their problems in an appropriate way. There should not be any secrets in the family and the children would not fear to come up with their problems.

A highly integrated child would never commit suicide because when he/she takes the decision all the relationships, loving and affectionate people in the child’s surrounding would come to their mind. That would definitely avoid those hasty decisions taken by them.

Deputy Principal, Royal College, Colombo

Students took those hasty decisions because they did not have the strength to solve their own problems.

The media is responsible for the repetition of these incidents. They highlight those incidents and figures as if those who committed suicide are heroines. That sets a bad example for those weaker students. Sometimes the TV channels narrate the story while performing suicide. But it is not the proper thing that they should do. Media must correct the wrong in it.

Teachers are there to correct students and they should point out their mistakes.

All students do not have the same capability to bear problems. That might be due to the way they were brought up in the family. Any way the schools are there to leverage those shortcomings.

At the same time parents should be helpful in solving the problems of the children and they must not exert pressure on them. Parents must not try to achieve what they could not through their children.

Through counselling there is a possibility of solving the student’s problem. Parents should develop a friendly environment at home as well.

Ajith Liyanage – Businessman

Now both the students and the parents are busy and they live in their own world. Earlier the situation in our families was different and the parents had enough time to listen to their children. Parents were willing to sacrifice anything for the sake of their children. Now the children live away from their parents and they see each other rarely. So the child has no way of sharing their problems with the parents, thereby the children are isolated in their own world and there is nobody to direct them in the correct path.

Chaminda Dandeniya – A graduate

Now the society is more complicated and the students have more exposure to the world, they have to spend more time out of the family in a tuition class or in a boarding house, thereby the students build up unnecessary relationships that puts them in the wrong path.

Vindya Wickramanayake – Teacher

Students are weak in their thinking and they should develop their advance thinking. They should share their problems with the parents. It is definite that the school supports us in building our personality but the most important fact is family bond between parents and children. If that bond is high children would have courage to solve the problems in a better way.

Roshini Perera – Audit Trainee

Students must develop good relationship with their families. Now the competition is high and students have no time to communicate with their parents. The parents are also busy and they let their children grow in their own way, thereby parents do not know the friends of their children and this leads to many of these problems.

Mayasiri Dias – Driver

These incidents occurred due to the inborn weakness of the students.

They are not in a position to think far and get their own decisions correctly. These types of incidents are common in the city.

In rural areas the family bond is high and children do not take decisions haphazardly.

Mind and Brain

Mind and Brain

There are generally two approaches to understanding the relationship between the mind and the brain. By mind we mean the subjective side of things, the full range of lived experience, both conscious and unconscious, including such things as thought, cognition, memory, desire, emotional states, and even perhaps the sense of transcendence.

By brain we refer to the objective side, the physical stuff between our ears, with its complex architecture of inter-related neurons and the electro-chemical processes activating and connecting them.

One approach regards the two as basically identical. In this view all subjective experience not only depends upon but also consists of brain activity, and when we have fully mapped out the functions of the brain we will have explained the mind.

The other approach considers the mind to be much more than the brain, extending far beyond the merely physical in both scope and capability in ways that the current scientific models either have not yet conceived or a just beginning to glimpse.

In this view there are of course parallels between brain activity and subjective states, but the one does not entirely explain the other. Traditionally (both east and west) this non-physical perspective on consciousness that are outside the matrix of physical cause and effect.

This view has been steadily retreating before the advances of neuroscience, but recent iterations of it are looking to the new physics for ways of articulating a deeper and more fundamental relationship between mind and matter than formerly imagined.

In Buddhist terms the question comes down to whether all consciousness is conditioned, as the consciousness of the grasping aggregates surely is, or whether consciousness might also be conceived in larger, even unconditioned, terms.

Such is the case in some of the later forms of Buddhism, like the Mahayana and Vajrayana, but there are many in the Theravada who see it this ways as well. The issue turns on how we construe the word “unconditioned” (asankkhata), which is regularly employed as a synonym for nibbana.

If everything is conditioned and nibbana is the one state that is unconditioned, then surely awakening consists of at least glimpsing if not deeply experiencing a form of consciousness well beyond conditioned phenomena and thus beyond the mere brain.

On the other hand, the term “unconditioned” is most plainly defined only as the absence of greed, hatred, and delusion (as in the Asankhata Samyutta, 343), consciousness is specifically declared to be conditioned (Majjhima 38) and nowhere, at least in the Pali texts, do we find the (oxymoronic) phrase “unconditioned consciousness.”

Either some are making too much of consciousness, or others are making too little of it. As I understand the early teachings, the Buddha was trying to steer us to a middle way of approaching this issue, a way between what he called eternalism and annihilationism.

It is tempting, both in ancient and contemporary tradition, to essentilize consciousness or ascribe to it a status well beyond “that which appears” in experience when a sense object or a mental object is cognized by means of its corresponding organ.

Significance of Katina

Significance of Katina

The rainy season commenced three months ago with Esala - “Vassana Kalo”. It comes to an end, with the Vap Poya. Katina season ushers in the Buddhist Calendar with Vap, which is popularly known as Cheevara Masaya.

Vap poya marks the offering of the Katina Cheevara or new robes to Buddhist monks, who observed “Vas” - Rainy Retreat, beginning from Esala to Vap.

Meritorious deed

Katina - Cheevara Pooja, the noble meritorious deed is considered as the most sacred wholesome act a Buddhist can perform. It is known as the ‘Great Eight Merits or Ata - Kusal. The word Katina means unbreakable. It is believed that those who participate in Katina Religious Activities obtain much merit and they live a happy life in this world as well as in the other world once you depart.

It was on Vap Full Moon Poya Day the Buddha visited the heavenly abode of TAVATIMSA. He spend seventh rainy season since HIS enlightenment. In this heavenly abode He preached Abidhamma to the Devas of that celestial plane, which resulted in the elevation of Matru Deva (Mother Deity) to the attain Sotapanna and Eighty crores of Devas to various stage of Sainthood. Eventually, HE terminated his retreat in order to descend near the city gate of Sankassapura. He informed his arrival through Arahat Moggallana who paid him visit seven days before.

Grand scale

Vap poya is of great significance for yet another reason. Throughout in our cherished history, Buddhist celebrated Vap in a grand scale. Temples in Sri Lanka will be filled to the capacity. They are involved in Dana, Seela, Bhavana and thereby they accumulate Merit.

Buddhist history reveals another important landmark which was woven with Vap Full Moon Poya Day.

This sacred event occurred during the following month, November - IL. The future Buddha, Maitriya Bodhisatva, entered the order with a retinue of 500 followers on the Vap Full Moon Poya Day.

Order of Bhikkunis

Further, Vap, Poya paved way for the arrival of Sangamitta Theri. The advent of Buddhism, took place with advent of. “Dhammarajassa Savaka” Arahat Mahinda Thera.

King Devanampiyatissa’s sister in law Anula, was very keen to enter the Order of Bhikkunis. Therefore The King made a request to Emperor Asoka to send Sanghamitta Theri.

It is clear as crystal, Sri Lanka and India had very cordial friendly Diplomatic Relationships, even at that time.

It was on Vap Poya Full Moon Day Devanampiyatissa, send Minister Maha Aritta, a close relation of the Devanampiyatissa to India, for this mission.

This resulted in the arrival of Sangamitta during the Unduvap Poya which fell on the month of December.

It records the establishment of Bhikkuni Sasanaya in Sri Lanka. Sangamittas brought a token of gift the Bo - Sapling of Jayasri Maha Bodhiya to Sri Lanka.

Buddhism questioned

The Great King Devanapiyatissa who propagated Buddhism questioned Arahat Mahinda whether Buddhism firmly rooted in Sri Lanka.

Arahat Mahinda stated “Dear King, until such time a person born and bred in Sri Lanka enter the order, holds a Dhamma Sangayanawa, and after complete a thorough study of Vinaya Rules relating to Dhamma, then only Buddhism will be firmly established throughout Sri Lanka”.

According to chronicles, this was fulfilled by Minister Aritta, who entered the order. Therefore, the establishment of Buddhism on a solid firm footing took place on Vap Full Moon Poya Day.

Buddhism is a plan for living in such a way as to derive higher benefit from Life. It is a religion of wisdom, where knowledge and intelligence predominate. The Buddha did not preach to win converts but to enlighten listners.

Solace in wilderness > Buddhist prose

Buddhist prose:

Solace in wilderness

Siddhartha was about to give it up. It was sore in every way.

Wilderness was dark, yet he could hear and feel rustle of soft leaves. He looked up to watch clouds leaving the moon alone. Moon was skeletal a tad with a few days and nights to reach its ripe plane.

He had to look downcast in an instant, because what pierced through his neck and eyes was painful. His body was aching all over. He shifted body on terrain, a bed of leaves, and leaves of course gave out a little shriek as if it hurt them a lot. Ruins of these woods fitted Siddhartha enough, only if he could get wise to right muse.

He knew he could touch his spines from the front, he dared not. He was feeble, he dared not to contemplate on it. He has been with this tough mission now for six odd years.

It is but a chain in retrospect: renunciation, encounter with teachers Alara Kalama and Uddaka Rama Putta, outsmart them, penance and Siddhartha is now an ascetic through with absolutely nothing, save disappointment caked all over his face.

Is truth something that cannot be dug out? Or is there a thing called truth that exists actually?

Siddhartha rested his back against the tree. He set eyes on his mind's reel. His princely life at the palace. Soft-spoken father Suddhodana, seven days of infancy with mother Maha Maya, tender stepmother Prajapathi Gothami, caring wife Yasodhara, stubborn cousin Devadatta and friends faded in and out. He did not regret leaving them behind, that happiness would not last. But memories kept on stirring Siddhartha's peaceful mind.

A moment passed on. The rustle of soft leaves ceased inch by inch. It was uneventful, Siddhartha did not notice as yet - until the dark crept away too.

Siddhartha has never seen such a stony footpath before. It was dazzlingly lit, soothing Siddhartha's strained eyes. He could see a figure walk that footpath. Is it a hallucination, or just an offshoot of a tired mind, Siddhartha was at a loss.

That figure turned out to be a heavenly spirit. Her face betrayed her middle-age, but it was adorned with splendid features. She got closer and placed her divine hand on his head.

Maha Maya spoke up. Siddhartha closed his eyes to concentrate.

"Siddhartha my son. I fought many a time in this cycle of births to own the womb that bears the greatest being of this eon.

"I ached many a time to hear saints prophesy my son would conquer the cycle of births. It is no simple thing, my son, O the Greatest One. Prove them right. Be firm and solid, make me worthy to have borne you."

When he opened his eyes at length, he noticed she was gone. The woods were dark once again, with the rustle of soft leaves reigning the woods. Whether the footpath existed or not, Siddhartha was not sure in this dark.

He contemplated about holy life. He tried out everything. He cannot return to lay life. He doesn't want to. He knew penance would not help him discover the true meaning of this life. He was feeling tired again, and in a little while a tired Siddhartha dozed off.

Then it came to pass again. The dark crept away and the rustle stopped. He made out the figure this time: Prajapathi Gothami treading soft toward him.

She virtually followed her sister Maya, place the hand on Siddhartha's head.

"Siddhartha, my son. I fought many a time in this cycle of births to mother the greatest being of this eon. So rare O the Holy Being, is your birth in this world. Oh the Greatest Man of the earth do not turn back. Make me worthy to have mothered you. O Great Being make me worthy."

Then he watched Gothami walk back into the darkness slow and solemn, the footpath shrinking away.

It was the third watch of that night. Siddhartha was feeling like waiting for another guest.

He witnessed the footpath for a third time. He had a keen eye on the figure. He knew it should be no one else but Yasodhara, at length.

His memories raced back to those days of sweet-nothings. They aroused no emotions. They flared up no fires of lust. It was a long looked-forward-to meeting. He was amazed about his determination not to look back at her and their kid in the renunciation.

He was strong, and Yasodhara's presence made him feel even stronger. It now wove a spiritual link between them, anyone could hardly analyze this bond. He listened attentively to her soft voice seemingly frail but teemed with inspiration.

"Siddhartha, you are precious. You have that legacy buried deep beneath your soul. Exhume that and pass me down that legacy.

"O great being, I need you, this whole world needs you. Do not give up, do not turn back. Do not come back to me empty handed. Do not let evil hang over you. Be brave Siddhartha, for you can."

Siddhartha watched her make way back. The three most important women in his life, come at the darkest hour to rekindle the drained-down hopes of a great sage.

He knew it will be his strength to curve and bend his mind as he wishes. He knew it will be the strength to be the shield against the three tempting daughters of Mara.

He watched the sun rise - which he would liken to the wisdom later on - and invade the woods,. He was blessed feeling the sunrays touch the ground..

That dawn was a moment of solace in wilderness. Because wisdom was about to dawn upon him. He took a decision. It is a steady journey from the dark into the light; that footpath he was certain he would never turn back.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sacred Tooth Relic and the Esala Perahera

Sacred Tooth Relic and the Esala Perahera

The most spectacular Buddhist festival of the year, the historic Kandy Esala Perahera of the Sri Dalada Maligawa commenced on 27th July 09, with the Kumbal Perahera and comes to a conclusion on the August 05th with the final Randoli Perahera. The day Perahera will be on the 6th with the water cutting ceremony (Diya Kepeeme Mangalya) at the Gatembe ferry.

This year, the route of the Kumbal Perahera was extended. It started from the Maligawa Square and proceeded along Dalada Veediya. D. S. Senanayake Veediya (Trincomalee street), Pansala Para, Deva Veediya, Srimath Bennet Soysa Veediya, Kotugodella Veediya, Raja Veediya and back to Maligawa Square.

With the planting of the Kap, the inner Perahera commenced on the 22nd by parading within the Sri Dalada Maligawa Complex and continued till 26th before it took to the streets with the Kumbal Perahera.

The perahera festival - an event of great historical and cultural significance - takes place annually in the charming hill capital of the country in the month of July/August. This event, known the world over as the Kandy Esala perahera, is not only a religious ritual but also a folk festival which provides an occasion for local artistes and multi-racial populace to exhibit their reverence and devotion to the Buddha and Gods and Goddesses such as Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Pattini who with their divine blessings protect this country.

The Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha was brought to this island in the reign of King Kirthi Sri Meghavanna (303-331), as an invaluable gift of the King of Kalinga (Orissa in India). Since the day it was brought here, it has been the custom of the devotees to celebrate this great event with the highest esteem and reverence.

However, the Sacred Tooth Relic was never enshrined in a Dagaba, unlike other relics, but always remained a movable revered object devoutly venerated by the Buddhists all over the world. Whatever it is, it had to be buried in the earth once at Kotmale to save it from the enemies.

The King enshrined the Sacred Tooth Relic in a pure crystal bowl and placed it at Abhayagiriya Viharaya in Anuradhapura, the Kingdom of King Kirthi Sri Moghawanna, embellished with costal jewels for public worship. It is recorded in the history that the Dalada Perahera came into being during this King in his kingdom. Furthermore, the Abhayagiri Viharaya undertook to conduct annually the Perahera.

The Maha Viharaya, Abhayagiri Viharaya and Jethavanarama Maha Viharaya were the three main places of worship when King Kirthi Sri Megavanna was reigning Anuradhapura. The three places were known as thun nikaya (three nikayas).

Fa Hien, the Chinese traveller who visited Anuradhapura, in his writings has described the ceremony of the Sacred Tooth Relic which was conducted with great splendour.

When Cholians conquered Anuradhapura in 1017 the devout Buddhist Bhikkus had to shift the Sacred Tooth Relic to Rahula for safety. Again it was brought to Polonnaruwa. However, the Sacred Tooth Relic was shifted to so many places like Beligala, Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Kurunegala, Kotte, Kuruwitha, Kothmale, and after seventeen centuries to Senkadagala - Kandy.

When once the loaders of the Uva Rebellion were captured in 1818, Rev. Wariyapola Sumangala Thera hid the Sacred Dhantha Dhatuwa in a bubble of robes, but the Britishs soldiers captured him and the Sacred Tooth Relic fell into the hands of the British for the second time and their rule was firmly established.

The Sacred Tooth Relic is now under the three custodians - two Maha Nayake Theras of Asgiri and Malwathu socets of Siam Maha Nikaya and Diyawadana Nilame of the Kandy Dalada Maligawa safely secured under the Sri Lankan government.

Whatever the reasons attributed to the origin of the Kandy Esala Perahera are, the general belief is that the pageant in Kandy commenced during the reign of Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe (1747 - 1781). This belief has probably come about because it was during the reign of Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe that the Perahera, as it exists today took form, with the amalgamation of the four Devale Peraheras with the Dalada Perahera. There is sufficient evidence, both historical and literary, to effect that the annual celebrations in connection with the Sacred Tooth Relic originated since its arrival.

Fa-Hien describes that this annual festival has been performed every year in the middle of the third month, and the Sacred Tooth Relic was taken in procession from the shrine in the centre of the city to the Abhayagiri monastery. It was kept there for three months and the exposition of the Tooth Relic held, after which the Relic was brought back to the city. The doors of the Relic house were kept open for the devotees to pay their reverence to the Relic on every Uposatha (Poya) day. Fa-Hsien further observes that as a result of the regular performance of these rites in honour of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the Kingdom suffered neither from famine, calamity nor revolution.

Formerly the King himself in person used to ride on horseback with all his train before him in this solemnity, but now he delights not in these shows.

Three very interesting points emerge from Robert Knox’s observations:

1. In earlier times the King himself participated in the procession.

2. The Natha Devala Perahera which is seen today as an integral part of the procession was absent earlier.

3. Instead of the present Vishnu Devala Perahera, there was the Aluthnuwara Devala Perahera which is no longer held.

The next account of the Perahera belongs to the era of King Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe. It was during his reign that the Dalada Perahera amalgamated with the four Devala Peraheras, thereby making the whole pageant more Buddhistic.

As per the contents in the book ‘The Kandy Esala Perahera’ authored by Anuradha Seneviratne:

John Davy who spent four years in Sri Lanka from 1816 - 1820 has given in this work an Account of the interior of Ceylon (1969: 128-130) a graphic description of the Perahera. Davy’s description though lengthy is very fascinating. His account reveals the following features:

1. The High officials who performed administrative functions in the temples and the government participated in the procession.

2. The Perahera was held twice a day, in the afternoon and night.

3. The Natha Devala Perahera was incorporated into the Kandy Esala Pageant.

4. The Vishnu Devale Perahera took the place of the Aluthnuwara Devala Perahera.

5. The Dalada Perahera for the first time was associated with the Devale Perahera, thereby giving the whole pageant a Buddhist complexion.

6. The ruling king participated personally in the grand procession.

7. On the final night of this pageant the relic casket of the Buddha was taken in procession to Asgiri Vharaya where it was deposited until the conclusion of the Perahera. Records reveal that this is done to honour the mother of Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe who was cremated there.

In respect of the reliability, the account of the perahera held on the August 19, 1817 given to the British Governor of Ceylon by Millawa Disawe (chieftain) of Vellassa region and appearing in the Government Gazette of the September 13, 1817 is more authentic. This account begins with reference to the preliminary ritualistic practice-erection of sacred poles (Kap) - and is followed by a description of the whole procession.

‘É the Buddhist priests of the Maligawa bring to the gate of their temple the dhatukaranduwa and place it in the ranhilige on the back of an elephant, who remains at the gate. In the meantime the procession moves from the gate of the Maligawa, where the Relic of the Buddha is waiting.

The procession is as follows:

1. The King’s elephants with gajanayake.

2. Gingals with Kodituwakku Lekam.

3. The people of the Four Korales, Disavane, carrying gingals, muskets and flags with the disava and petty chiefs of that Disavane.

4. The people of the Seven Korales.

5. These of Uva.

6. Of Matale.

7. Of Sabaragamuwa.

8. Of Valapane.

9. Of Udapalatha.

10. The bamboos or images representing devils covered with cloths.

11. The elephant of the Maligawa bearing the shrine followed by other elephants and the people of the Maligawa who precede the Diyavadana Nilame and Nanayakkara Lekam With umbrellas, talipat, flags, fans, shields, tom-toms, drums, flutes, etc. accompanied by dancers.

12. The elephant of the Natha Devale bearing the bow and arrow of the God, attended by the women of the temple, and followed by the Basnayake Nilame with the same pomp of attendants as the former.

13. The elephants, bow and arrows, and people of the maha Vishnu Devala.

14. Of the Katharagama Devala.

15. Of the Pattini Devala.

16. the people of the Maha Lekam Departments carrying muskets and flags and proceeding their chiefs.

17. The people of the Atapattu department, similarly equipped, followed by the Atapattu Lekam, and the Ratemahatmayas of Udunuwara, yatinuwara, Tumpane, Harispattu, Dumbara, Hewaheta.

18. The people of Vedikkara Department, followed by their Lekam.

19. The people of the Vadanatuvakku department with their Lekam.

20. The people of the Padikara department and their Lekam.

The procession was very grand.

1. Maha Lekam Mahatmaya with the Lekam mitiya and writing style.

2. Gajanayake Nilame with the Hastiya (elephant) Maha Kodiya (flag).

3. Kodituwakku Nilame with the Kodituvakku (gun flag) Maha Kodiya.

4. Ketara Korale Disave with the Ira-sanda (sun and moon) Maha Kodiya.

5. Sat Korale Disave with the Sinha (lion) Maha Kodiya.

6. Uva Disave with the Hansaya (sacred goose) Maha Kodiya.

7. Matale Disave with the Sudu (White) Maha Kodiya.

8. Sabaragamuwa Disave with the Pataredi (Yellow Silk) Maha Kodiya.

9. Tun Korale disave with the Bheru (Double headed eagle) Maha Kodiya.

10. Valapane Disave with the Mayura (Peacock) Maha Kodiya.

11. Uda Palata Disave with the Nelum Mal (Lotus flower) Maha Kodiya.

12. Nuwara Kalaviya Disave with the Gajasinghe (elephant trunk lion) Maha Kodiya.

13. Vellasse Disave with the Kotiya (Leopard) Maha Kodiya.

14. Bintenne Disave with the Girava (Parrot) Maha Kodya.

15. Tamankaduwe Disave with the Valaha (Bear) Maha Kodiya.

16. Elephant of the Maligawa, bearing the shrine and Tooth Relic attended by other elephants and the people of the Maligawa.

17. - 20 Elephant and people of the four devales:

Natha, Vishnu, Kataragama and Pattini.

21. Ratemahatemayas and their flags.

22. Maha Lekam Department - Atkanda Lihiniya Kodiya.

23. Nanayakkara Lekam - Nil pata (blue silk) Kodiya.

24. Atapattu Lakam.

25. Vedikkara Lekam - Ratu pata (Red silk) Kodiya.

26. Vadana Ruvakkukara Lekam - Sudu pata (White silk) Kodiya.

27. Panidakara Lekam - Ratu pata (Red silk) Kodiya. The two Adigars brought up the rear.

Walter Wijenayake.

**********The Island

The Significance of Nikini Poya Day

The Significance of Nikini Poya Day

Nikini is the eighth Full Moon Poya of the year. In ancient India, even before the time of Buddha, all Poya Days had been kept as holy. The Buddhist adopted all religious activities and observances that were there earlier and followed on Poya Days. The Nikini Full Moon Poya Day is important as far as the Buddhist Order is concerned. Buddhist Monks and lay devotees perform an act, according to certain rules and regulations laid down by Gautama Buddha the "Great Mahapurisha". The close association and the link that bind the Devotees and the Sangha, can be clearly seen on Poya Days.

After the Enlightened One preached his first sermon, DHAMMA CHAKKA PAVATTANA SUTRA the Wheel of Dhamma, to the five disciples, Kondanna, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama, Assaji, in the Deer Park , Isipathana, in Banares, he advised his disciples to spread the Buddhist Doctrine and the Message of Noble Dhamma to Mankind. Nikini Poya is connected with VAS- Rainy Season - which commence from Esala Poya. During the "VAS" season, Buddhist monks are assigned themselves to be stationed in one place, under one roof during.

According to the principles and rules laid down by the Blessed One, Buddhist monks are not expected to live outdoors, under the trees, in cemetries or open - air, commencing from Esala Poya, for four months.

VAS can be divided into two segments. "PERA – VAS" and "PASU – VAS" – namely Pre – Retreat and Post - Retreat. The period beginning with VASSANA is a colourful and eventful period. The dawn of the VAS season in the month of Nikini records a religious awakening among the lay devotees and it has a tremendous impact on their moral thinking.

After delivering the "Dhamma chaka pavattana sutta", Gautama Buddha, observed the first recorded VAS – Rainy Retreat at Migadaya Deer Park Isipathanaramaya.

According to the climatic and weather conditions globally, there are four recorded seasons. The first season of the year, Autumn, when plants begin to grow, coming between Winter and Summer, is from March to May in the Northern Hemisphere. The Summer, the warmer season of the year outside topic comes between Spring and Autumn from June to August in the Northern Hemisphere. The third season of the year, coming between Summer and Winter, falls between September to November in the Northern Hemisphere. The last and the coldest season of the year, winter comes between Autumn and Spring, is from December to February in the Northern Hemisphere.

The month of Nikini comes with the South West Monsoon. If you analyze the seasonal wind in South Asia, especially in the Indian Ocean, blowing from South West from April to October and from North East from October to April, brings Rainfall.

The Thathagatha Gautama Buddha always appreciated constructive criticism. As the Buddhist Monks were earlier involved in religious activities and missionary during Rainy Season, there was a public cry against them in some quarters. The Thirthakas, followers of Jainism, protested, stating that the Buddhist Monks are not assigned to indoors during the Rainy Season and violating the age old rule. Buddha, then advised the Buddhist Monks to assign themselves to indoors. With this began the Vas season or period of Rainy Retreat.

Another important significant event that took palace on Nikini Full Moon Day was the holding of the First Sanga Council, led by Maha Kassapa, under the patronage of Ajasatta, at Rajagaha.

This important council was a landmark in history of Buddhism. Buddha in HIS eightieth year, on a Veask Full Moon Poya Day, attained Parinibbana. After the passing away of Buddha there were a large number of Bhikkus in the Sasana. There were some undesirable Monks, too, who joined the Buddhist Order, for worldly gains. With the exception of Arahats and those who achieved the state of Anagami, all others wept, cried in grief. There was one Bhikku by the name of Subaddha, a monk who joined the order in his old age. Bhikku Subaddha requested the mourners not to weep, but, be happy and rejoice, because, they are now free to do anything they want as the Master is not there. Further, this Bhikku Subhadda stated that Buddha had been an obstacle for their freedom.

It was Maha Kassapa Thera , who boldly took steps of conducting the First Sangha Council. Maha Theras such as Upali, Ananda, and Anurudda provided the fullest support to Venerable Maha Kassapa, the "Dharmabhandagarika" – (The Treasurer of Dhamma).

Ananda Maha Thero, who possessed a powerful retentive memory, played a leading part in the First Council. He attained Arahatship free from postures of sitting, standing walking or sleeping. Ananda Thero attained Arahatship at the night on the day before the First Dhamma Sangayanawa or Council. This council was held to arrest the deterioration of the Sasanaya and to discipline the Buddhist Order.

The lay devotees or Dayakas, invite the Maha Sangha to observe "Vas", which can be considered as one of the most sacred events, (it is known as "Vas Aradhana Pinkama"), which ends with Katina Puja Pinkama. The lay devotees see to the comfort of the Buddhist monks with great respect and care. The Maha Sangha in return, shower their Blessings. The sight of Dhamma, undoubtedly excels all other sights. (Sabbha Dhanam Dhamma Dhanam Jinathi). They live indoors for nearly four months.

The advent of Buddhism to Sri Lanka took place during the reign of Devanampiyatissa with the establishment of, the Buddhist Order in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Buddhist monk with a retinue of monks, observed the first Vas- Rainy Retreat in 68 rock caves at Mihintala Missaka Pabbhata. This took place during Nikini season.

On the Nikini Full Moon Day, lets’ recall that the Buddha, who was spending the 14th Rainy season, since His Enlightenement at "Devramvehera" in Sravastipura, giving advice on Meditation to the Reverend Rahula Thero- his son in his lay life, preached RAHULOVADA SUTTA to him and that the Reverend Thera, Rahula listening attentively attained Arahanthship at the end of the Discourse.

In the Buddhist Philosophy, transient are all conditioned things, when this, with wisdom, one discerns, then is one disgusted with ill; THIS IS THE PATH TO PURITY.

Sabbe Sankhara Anicca ti-

Yada Pannaya Passati-

Atha Nibbidati Dukkhe-

Esa Masso Visuddiya- Massa Vagga (Dhammapada- 277)

When with wisdom one discerns transience of conditioned things, one wearily from Dukkha turns Treading the Path to Purity.)

In Sri Lankan Buddhist history another important event that took place on a Nikini Full Moon Poya Day was the laying of the foundation stone for Seruwila Chaitya. Nikini Perehera at Seruwila Raja Maha Viharaya was also commenced on a Nikini Poya.

The Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya annual Perahera will be held during the month of Nikini, this year 2009. This will be one of the most important cultural pageants in Sri Lanka.

New LTTE leader KP arrested, being questioned in Colombo

New LTTE leader KP arrested

The new self appointed LTTE leader and chief arms dealer Kumaran Pathmanathan also known as KP, who was wanted by INTERPOL, has been arrested, Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona told Daily Mirror online.

The LTTE last month announced that Kumaran Pathmanathan, will lead the struggle for Eelam now that its supreme leader V Prabhakaran has died in action without realizing his dream.

The LTTE executive committee has said KP, who was made head of the international division by Prabhakaran,”will lead us into the next stage of our freedom struggle”.

KP being questioned in Colombo

Kumaran Pathmanathan also known as KP is now being questioned in Colombo. The Hindustan Times today quotes MP Basil Rajapaksa as saying KP was flown down to Colombo following his arrest although details of how arrest was conducted was not revealed.

Meanwhile respected columnist D.B.S Jeyaraj, in a posting on his blog site said that according to informed sources KP was staying in Kuala Lumpur(KL) , Malaysia when taken into custody.

Pathmanathan had met with two visitors from London, England at a hotel room in KL in the afternoon of August 5th.

He had received a call on his cellular phone. KP had then signaled to his visitors that he was going out to the corridor and walked away while conversing on the phone.

He had not returned for a long time and the when the worried visitors from Britain went out in search there was no sign of the new global tiger chief.

Meanwhile the friend who had been talking to KP on the phone had heard a sudden thud and some noise while chatting. The phone went dead and repeated calls were not successful.

The friend then alerted some assistants of KP in Malaysia who went in search of KP to the place where he was staying in KL. The place was empty but KP’s insulin and syringes and other medical stuff was still there.

The visitors from London also got alarmed and contacted circles close to KP.

Meanwhile KP seized in Malaysia was taken to Bangkok in Thailand.

Sri Lankan authorities were contacted and a team from the Police Terrorist Investigation Department flew to Bangkok in the early hours of Thurasday August 6th.

The team returned with Pathmanathan alias KP on a special flight on the same day.

KP was handcuffed and had a mask covering his head and face when disembarking from the plane at Katunayake Airport.

He was whisked away in a vehicle with tinted glasses to a high-security , secret location run by the terrorism investigation dept personnel.

KP is to be interrogated intensively by Sri Lankan anti-terrorist sleuths.

It is widely believed that the arrest was made possible through “inside information” supplied by some members of the LTTE abroad who were opposed to KP donning the tiger leadership mantle after the demise of supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Dalada Perahera concludes successfully

Dalada Perahera concludes successfully

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday extended his profound thanks on behalf of the Government and people to all those involved in the conduct of the first Dalada Perahera since the unification of the country after 30 years, in such grand splendour and it's successful conclusion.

The President was speaking after receiving the traditional scroll from the Diyawadana Nilame declaring that the Esala Perahera has been successfully concluded, at a ceremony at the President's House in Kandy yesterday.

The perahera officially ended after the handing over of the scroll to the President by the Diyawadana Nilames accompanied by the Basnayake Nilames of the sathara devales who went in a perahera to the President's House. Gifts were also handed over to artistes who performed well at the Perahera. Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela paid special tribute in the Perahera scroll to the President, Defence Secretary and the Security Forces for dedicating themselves to the unification of the country after 30 years.

Of special note was the decision taken by the Diyawadana Nilame and the Basnayake Nilames to refrain from making any requests from the President through the Perahera scroll since the President had met all the requests contained in the scroll presented last year.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Unique cultural renaissance - /

Unique cultural renaissance

Over the years, Sri Lankan Buddhists have been celebrating Poson Full Moon Poya day with much devotion and spirit. Devotees will observe sil, engage in religious activities, make Poson pandals, arrange `dansalas’ and reach out to the needy. Poson processions will parade through the streets and as usual people would line the streets to have a glimpse of it. Thousands of articles and books have been written on the significance of Poson Poya, but still there’s a lot more to say. It was on a Poson Poya day that the most crucial event in the entire history of Sri Lanka took place.

More than 2240 years ago on a Poson Full Moon Poya day, Arhat Mahinda accompanied by other theras such as Iththiya, Uththiya, Sambala, Baddasala, Sumana Samanera and lay adherent (Upasaka) Banduka appeared atop Mihintale in Anuradhapura whilst king Devanampiyatissa was engaged in hunting and preached `Chulla Haththi Padopama Sutta’ to the King. Thus the official introduction of Buddhism to the island by the missionaries of the Indian emperor Asoka marked the beginning of Sinhala Buddhist civilization. Mihintale Ambawanaya the place where the king embraced Buddhism was immediately named a santuary and to this day it continues to remain the country’s first wild life sanctuary.

Buddhism took a firm hold in the land under the patronage of the king, thus moulding the lives of all citizens. Since its advent in the 3rd Century B.C., Buddhism has helped Sri Lankan civilization ascend lofty heights. In fact Mihintale is not only the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, but also the place where our civilization and culture originated.

In fifteen out of its first twenty chapters, Mahavamsa deals with the spreading of Buddhism in the country. As Mahavamsa reveals there had been a great friendship between King Devanampiyatissa and Emperor Asoka of India and the latter had even assisted the former on the occasion of his coronation.

Third Dhamma Council

At the end of the Third Dhamma Council which was held under the Chairmanship of Moggaleeputta Tissa Thera, it was decided to send missionaries to various places - within the country and outside as well. As mentioned in `Samantha Prasadika’, at the end of the Third Dhamma Council, Moggaleeputta Tissa Thera and other bhikkhus had invited Arhat Mahinda to visit Sri Lanka and establish Buddha Sasana there. But Arhat Mahinda who was of the view that it was not the right time to visit the country decided to postpone the tour.

King Mutaseewa who ruled the country at that time was quite old and was not in a position to grasp a deep philosophy like Buddhism.As King Devanampiya Tissa succeeded to the throne, Arhat Mahinda decided to visit Sri Lanka.In fact Emperor Asoka’s mission in conducting the Council was to propagate the teachings of the Buddha around the world. Of all the most successful missionary group was the one which was sent to `Lankadeepa’ headed by Arhat Mahinda.

Mahavamsa refers to Arhat Mahinda’s visit as follows ;

“Maha Mahinda therancha, Theran Iththiya muthiiyan, sambalan Baddasalancha’ sake Saddhiviharaka.”

Buddhism is a deep philosophy and a high level of intelligence is needed to grasp the subject. So it was only after testing his level of intelligence that the Thera preached to him the Dhamma. The dialogue between the king and Arhat Mahinda is also known as an Intelligence test.

Arhat Mahinda (A.M.): O! Mighty King, What is this tree? (pointing at the Mango tree which was near by)

King (K): It is a mango tree

A.M.: Are there any other mango trees than this?

K: Yes, there are several

A.M.: Are there any trees other than this mango tree and other mango trees?

K: Yes, But those are not mango trees.

A.M.: Are there any trees other than those mango trees and the trees which are not mango?

K: Yes, It is this mango tree

A.M.: Do you have relatives?

K: Yes, several

A.M.: Are there any one who is not related to you?

K: Yes, several

A.M.: Are there anyone else other than those who are your relatives and non relatives?

K: Yes, It is me.

Satisfied with his level of intelligence, Arhat Mahinda preached *Chulla Haththipadopama Sutta to the king who soon became a follower of the Buddha. Then Arhat Mahinda ordained Banduka and preached Samachiththa Pariyaya Sutta to the gathering.

Arhat Mahinda spent the first night in Mihinthale itself where Banduka Upasaka was ordained.

The following day Arhat Mahinda arrived in Anuradhapura where he preached to the palace dwellers from Pethawaththu and Vimanawaththu. Subsequently Queen Anula with five hundred women entered the first stage of path to Nibbana.Since people from all parts of the country swelled the crowds, more space was needed to accommodate them.

As a result the grand elephant stall of the palace too had to be used as a `Dharmashala’. Later when the number of people increased even further, Nandana Uyana too had been used to accommodate the devotees to listen to Bala Panditha Sutta preached by Arhat Mahinda. More than thousand women had entered the first stage of Path to Nibbana

Pre Mahinda era

As recorded by Mahavamsa, the first event of religious significance that occurred in the country was the Buddha’s first visit to the country - to Mahiyangana in the ninth month of his Enlightenment on a Duruthu poya day. His second visit was to Nagadeepa on a Bak Amawaka Poya day in the fifth year of his enlightenment to settle a dispute between two Naga Kings - Chulodara and Mahodara over a gem-studded throne.

The Buddha’s third visit to Sri Lanka took place on the invitation of Maniakkitha Naga king of Kelaniya in the eighth year of Supreme enlightenment on a Vesak Full Moon Poya day.

Many Yakkhas and Nagas had established themselves in the three Refuges (Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha) during the Buddha’s visits to Mahiyangana and Nagadeepa respectively.

On and off, over the centuries groups of people had arrived in Sri Lanka from India. Some of them had even settled down in the country. Prince Vijaya who arrived here along with a retinue of seven hundred men, had even brought his Chief Queen from India while. several other women too had accompanied her. There could have perhaps been followers of the Buddha among them as his doctrine was said to be quite popular among Indians at that time.

Queen Baddhakachchayana, the Chief Queen of King Panduwasdevu was a niece of Prince Siddartha (She is a daughter of a cousin of the Prince Siddartha.) She arrived in the country with six of her brothers. Since the majority of the Sakyans were the followers of the Buddha, it could be assumed that this group could have been Buddhists.

As recorded in an inscription in Thiriyaya, the sacred hair relics of the Buddha which were brought in by two tradesmen - Thapassu and Balluka were enshrined in Girihadu Saya. As argued by historians, such tradesmen might have played a significant role in spreading the religion. As argued by many, sacred hair relics were brought in because there were already Buddhists in Sri Lanka at that time. Anyway, there is hardly any historical proof that Buddhism existed in the country prior to the arrival of Arhat Mahinda.

Official introduction

As firmly believed by all Sri Lankan Buddhists, it was only after the arrival of Arhat Mahinda that Buddhism was officially introduced to the country and there is enough evidence to prove that. “Buddha Sasana” was thus established. Prior to that there had been beliefs like Brahmana and Jaina.

Some had even worshipped the Nature, the Yaksas and the Nagas.

Under the patronage of Arhat Mahinda, King Devanampiyatissa established Buddha Sasana in Sri Lanka. For Buddhism to crystalize in the land, Mahinda thera had advised the king to ordain children of the country to be the future guardians of the Sasana.The country thus moved forward dramatically from pre history era into the full light of written history!

Prince Aritta, a nephew of the king was the first to be ordained under the name Maharitta Thera. Soon a lot of young ones followed him and they learned the Dhamma and Vinaya from Arhat Mahinda. Aritta Thera undertook steps to translate `Atuwa’ into Sinhala, Even today the Sri Lankan education system is largely influenced by the moral code of Buddhism. It was Arhat Mahinda who introduced Brahmi alphabet to the country. Modern Sinhalese letters are a gradual development of Brahmi letters.

Temple became the centre of Buddhist education from the 3rd century B.C upto the colonial era. The knowledge of the Pali Tripitaka that was orally handed down to the Sri Lankan Bikkhus by Arhat Mahinda was preserved by them for the posterity.

On the very first day when Arhat Mahinda arrived in Sri Lanka, King Devanampiya Tissa had offered him `Mahamegha Wanayaudyana’ (Mahamevuna uyana) as a gift. Tissaramaya was the first vihara that was offered to Arhat Mahinda.

Arhat Mahinda thera also took steps to arrange social events in order to make people’s life styles part and parcel of Buddhism. Processions, Bodhi festivals, ordination ceremonies, festivals for Vihara pooja, Chaitya pooja and Dhamma Desana are to some of such religious functions. Arhat Mahinda made it compulsory for Bikkhus to protect Buddhism.

The great thera who was said to have been 32 years old at the time he arrived in Sri Lanka, served the inhabitants of the country until his demise. His demise had caused an outpouring of heavy grief in the country and in commemoration of his service the term Anubudu is also being used when referring to him.

The arrival of Arhat Mahinda was soon followed by the bringing of a sapling of the historic Bo tree at Buddha Gaya under which the Buddha attained Enlightenment, by Arhat Mahinda’s sister, Sanghamitta therani. Her arrival paved the way for the establishment of Bhikkuni Sasana.

Being ordained by Sanghamitta Therani, Queen Anula became the first to join the Order of Nuns. People of 16 castes who arrived in Sri Lanka along with her for the protection of the Bo tree too made tremendous contributions in several spheres such as agriculture, architecture, sculpture and engineering. Religious and literary activities heralded the country on a new path. Religious legends and historical accounts relating to both India and Sri Lanka appeared on a large scale.

The introduction of Buddhism with a great civilization attached to it and the arrival of skilled labour brought about a remarkable change in the social and religious life of the country. Construction of Mahavihara, Chetiyagiri, Thuparama, Isurumuni Vessagiri Vihara, Thisa Wewa etc signify the creativity of that era even today. Buddhism and Sinhala literature are inseparable as the latter is enriched by Buddhist stories.

Arhat Mahinda and Sanghamitta Therani enacted a religious as well as a cultural renaissance in the country.

Sri Lankan Buddhists eagerly await the dawn of the Poson Poya day to commem

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thailand donates Golden Buddha Statue and relics

Thailand donates Golden Buddha Statue and relics

On a request made by Ven. Saddharma Keerthi Shree Badulle Mahanama Thera, Thailand has sent Kotikawatte Nagarukkaramaya Temple a magnificent 14ft high beautifully decorated valuable Buddha Statue with pure intention of widespread Buddhism, particularly considering the contribution Nagarukkaramaya does in spreading Buddhism.

The Buddha Statue was belonging to Wat Tarn-En Temple of Ayudhya Thailand and Mahanayake Thera - Phrakrasamu Jirayu Athichanto. Thailand's temple is also donating relics to Sri Lanka's Nagarukkaramaya Temple.

The opening ceremony of the Golden Buddha Statue is scheduled for today 6th Saturday, June 2009.

Relics will be exposed for three days from June 7 to 9. (Poson Poya day and two days following Poson Poya day) at the Kotikawatte, Agarukkaramaya Temple. These three days are given to Buddhist devotees to pay homage.

From Darkness into Light

From Darkness into Light

The kingdom established by Prince Vijaya emerged from behind a cloud of ignorance from the flash of light that shone forth from the peak at Mihintale on a Poson full moon poya day. In our long eventful history, the first ever recorded intelligence test was conducted atop that peak, and the duties of rulers and rights of man and beast were instilled upon the sovereign and for posterity. From thereon the thrice blessed isle began and continues to shine forth as the repository of the Buddha Dhamma for the well being and benefit of mankind and all other beings inhabiting land and space.

The short sermon on the mount should be engraved in the hearts of all rulers and leaders as a terse declaration of the rights of man and beast, dwelling on these noble sentiments from the starting point of the noble teachings of the Buddha, Man and Beast together with all other beings that inhabit the various spheres of the world systems, have arisen by the reason of their own Karma (Action, broadly meant). Thus, one has no right to deprive another of life or limb, unless empowered by an existing order of a community, subject however to the all pervasive law of Kamma, which is no respecter of person or position. The momentous exortation , " unsettled upon the sovereign that the animals have the right to live just as man and that the ruler is only the guardian of the resources of the land."

Following on the heels of this sublime advice, the arahath Mahinda proceeded to deliver the Chula hatthipadopama Sutta (Majjima Nikaya, 27) to the sovereign, which covers all aspects of Sila (Virtue), Samadhi (Concentration), Panna (Wisdom), which would be of immense benefit to rulers and the ruled. The sutta is so comprehensive in its context, that it would require a booklet of an analysis, if it were to be attempted and hence is not proposed to be dealt with in this short article. Therefore, briefly recapitulating the matters dealt with in the sutta, it embodies the requisite virtue, concentration and wisdom, which can be practiced by householders as well as recluses in accordance with their respective mental capacities, social positions and wishes. For instance a householder not intent on renouncing the lay life, could follow the practice of Sila (virtue) and thereby be a blessing to himself and to so likely: like an honest person who doesn't defraud or injure, other members of the public or state for personal gain and earns his wealth in accordance with the principles of right livelihood. Such a person would fare well in his present life and thereafter in a blissful state after death. As for those who seek higher spiritual attainments, the necessary steps and practices are carefully set out to be followed and ultimately realized for the complete liberation of samsaric existence.

Thus, with this epoch making event the island of Lanka, underwent as it were a next birth. A virtuous people grew up in the country respecting law and order, so much so, that it is said, when the great King Dutugemunu was building the Maha Thupa a bowlful of gold coins was set down near the site for the workman to collect what they thought was due to them. That was the level of virtue then! Then our culture, architecture, literature, education blossomed forth, based on the noble principles of the Buddha Dhamma, the evidence of which could even now be seen at Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Yapahuva, Dambadeniya, Kurunegala, Kandy and in the South of the country. It is also noteworthy that, all projects were conducted in an environmentally friendly manner. The decay set in, essentially after, the advent of the Portuguese in 1505, and the introduction of alien values and practices; which ultimately resulted in a materialistic society coming up in the country, where virtue was brushed aside and Rupees and Dollars became the measure of worth.

Therefore, the present rulers by emphasizing the value of virtuous conduct and remodeling the education system on Buddhist lines, which ensures the growth of virtue and wisdom, could hope to see the emergence of a people who would be a blessing to our country and the world at large.

"May the rain gods give timely rains, so that the harvest maybe bountiful. May the world be prosperous, may the rules be righteous."

President’s Poson message >>> 2009

President’s Poson message

“We are celebrating Poson Poya with much fervour since it laid the foundation for the Buddha Sasana in the island heralding the dawn of a new society and a culture.

Arhath Mahinda Thera’s message of the Dhamma which promoted moral greatness and strengthened the existence of fauna and flora helped the Sri Lankan society to consolidate culturally, economically and politically as well.

We have surmounted challenges thrown at us during the past three decades and we find ourselves today back in the direction chartered by Arhath Mahinda Thera.

The Buddha Dhamma which showed the road to salvation transcends all differences.

It upholds love, compassion and loving kindness. Our State policy is moulded accordingly.

Guided by the Noble Dhamma exhortation, “Be upright and strive with heedfulness, one who practises Dhamma is happy in both worlds”, we may all rally round to herald a new Sri Lanka.”

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tironda Lal Egodage >> Heroes Welcome in Matara

Tironda Lal Egodage - One of the Army solder of Sri Lanka security forces has returned to the home town in Matara , Hittatiya after the Sri Lankan government victory over deadly LTTE terrorists who had killed thousands of innocent people of Tamil and Sinhala, even Rajeeve Ghandi, the Prime Minister of India, leaded by the worlds No.1 butcher Prabakaran.
Now the President of Sri Lanka Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksha is recognized as a world Hero for the entire history as he is able to end the 30 years old war in Sri Lanka.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Prabhakaran is still alive, A fake story from India !!

Some news papers in India have created a fake a story thar LTTE leader, Prabhakaran is still alive. Only to sell their news papers among the poor , idiot people in India. We've found that story is a created one to sell the news papers among the imotional people who don't have facility to reach internet or satellite TV etc.This newspaper office must be sealed and take all the people who created and sold the newspapers in to costody or killed for the charges helping to safe one time their leader in India Rajeeve's kiler and helping the world's No.1 butcher.

This video help U to undrstand how they created the fake story.

India....Seeled the news paper office as imediately !!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sri Lanka Celebrate The Victory over LTTE........Watch Matara , Sri Lanka Celebrate Nidahasa after killed Prabhakaran

Sri Lanka Celebrate The Victory over LTTE........
Hoist the National flag.............. state institutions are requested to hoist the national flag for a period of one week to celebrate the victory over terrorism.
LTTE leader dead: Sri Lanka official

The leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, Velupillai Prabhakaran, was shot dead while trying to flee government troops, a senior defence official told AFP.

Prabhakaran tried to flee the area in an ambulance along with two close aides, but was ambushed and killed, the senior defence ministry official said on condition he not be named.

"He was killed with two others inside the vehicle. There will be a formal announcement later," the official said.


Country liberated - Army Chief

'Job well done'
The commanders of each branch of the armed forces and the IGP conveyed the victory over LTTE terrorism to the President in a ceremony at Temple Trees this evening. (Pics courtesy of Government)

Army Commander Sarath Fonseka announced that the entire country has been liberated from the LTTE after more than three decades of terror with the death of LTTE Leader Vellupilai Prabhakaran.

Mr.president , Mahinda Rajapaksha will add to the world history, not only in Sri Lankan history as a hero who defeated the most deadly terrorist organization in the world , LTTE.

Un- believable !!! 30 years long deadly War in Sri Lanka is over !!! May Mahinda, The President of Sri Lanka and the Brave Security Forces Long live !!!!! The Devil-LTTE'rs may go to hell !!!

See the U-Tube videos I've uploaded Matara celebration.





May Load Buddha Bless You !!! all of you ...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wesak 2009 Special : Revivalist of Buddhist liturgy

Revivalist of Buddhist liturgy

By Srimega Wijeratne

In his short period of 20 years as a member of the Buddhist clergy, Ven. Panadure Ariyadhamma Thera brought about a virtual revolution in Buddhist worship by developing a unique Buddhist liturgy which has lasted up to date.

He was responsible for popularizing Ata Visi Buddha Puja in modern times. The puja is the expression of gratitude to the Buddha and the Pipal tree that provided shelter for the attainment of Enlightenment. Sri Lankan Buddhists inherited the purported tradition when the right Branch of the original Bodhi tree was brought to Sri Lanka and planted as the Sri Maha Bodhi at Anuradhapura.

Ven. Panadure Ariyadhamma Thera

Ven. Ariyadhamma Thera composed the new liturgy of the worship of the Buddha puja. He referred to his Buddha puja as the Ata Visi Buddha Puja following the ancient Buddhist tradition of worshipping the 28 Buddhas who appeared in the past.

His sonorous Buddha puja performed mostly in the evenings with the Gilan Pasa composed of both Pali and Sinhala renderings was often a prelude to a learned Dhamma recital. The complete religious process took two to three hours and attracted thousands of devotees.

The most significant feature of the Ariyadhamma phenomenon from the early days was that large numbers of young people flocked to listen to the new Buddhist liturgy recited in his unique mellifluous voice. Tele-preaching was not widely available at that time and Ven. Ariyadhamma Thera resorted to radio preaching only on rare occasions. However, as a contemporary scholar described, "The Ven. Ariyadhamma conducted such series of Buddha pujas successfully in Divulapitiya, Kandana, Negombo, Chilaw, Nuwara Eliya, Matale and Galle. At Matale in 1977 a crowd of between 50,000 to 60,00 gathered. At Galle in 1978, the month long series drew crowds which the police finally estimated as 100,000". Ven. Ariyadhamma Thera selected themes that brought solace to the restless minds of the youth.

Even though he was the Chief Incumbent of Sri Sangha Bodhi Vihara at Gregory's Road, he dwelt in many temples as he did not want to develop an attachment even to one temple as 'my temple'.

Ven. Ariyadhamma Thera was born on June 21, 1940 in the village of Nalluruwa, Panadura, and named Buddhadasa Fernando. As the son of Buddhist parents, W.S. Fernando and Neli Fernando, he had his primary education at Nalluruwa Sri Sivali School and later at the Cyril Jansz College, Panadura and the famous Horana Vidyartha Pirivena. His avid keenness on Buddhist thought received a fateful boost when he was selected as a clerk at the Anuradhapura Preservation Board. He spent his spare time under the shadow of the Sri Maha Bodhi and Ruwanweli Seya in Anuradhapura.

The discarded thupa with the mortal relics of Ven. Panadure Ariyadhamma Thera

His total immersion in the Buddhist sites of Anuradhapura and Mihintale impacted deeply on him. Right throughout his short life, he never failed to visit the Sri Mahabodhi in Anuradhapura and the Kaludiya Pokuna in Mihintale on regular meditational retreats.

In Anuradhapura, Buddhadasa Fernando decided to join the Buddhist order and on December 22, 1966, he was ordained at Kalapaluwawa Thapovanaya by Ven Kahatapitiya Sumangala Thera. The tradition and style of Ven. Ariyadhamma Thera when conducting Buddha puja were inimitable. However, a disturbing trend of interpolating Bodhi puja (worship of Bo-tree in place of the Ata Visi Buddha Puja) started to spread among the Buddhist worshippers, thus distorting the religious liturgy of Ven. Ariyadhamma Thera. He was not happy about the development as the Bodhi puja was performed more to bring worldly merit and avoid ill luck than attaining the bliss of emancipation.

Ven. Panadure Ariyadhamma Thera’s unexpected early death on May 27, 1986 at the age of 45 deprived the Buddhists here of a great exponent of the Dhamma. His mortal relics were enshrined in a small thupa at the Sambodhi Vihara at Gregory's Road after his death. But the thupa has been removed from the original place twice and been found discarded in an inaccessible corner of the outhouse of the temple. In my view this is an insult to the life of a great young Buddhist priest born to our generation whose memory should guide present-day Buddhists.

The Sunday Times



"And what kind of meditation did the Blessed One commend? Here someone, quite secluded from sensual desires, secluded from unwholesome states, enters upon and abides in the first meditation, which is accompanied by thinking and exploring, with happiness and pleasure born of seclusion. And he enters upon and abides in the second, the third and the fourth meditations. The Blessed One commended such meditation."
Thus is it said in the Life of the Buddha by Bhikkhu Nanamoli, written with great originality and uniqueness entirely from the Pali Canon.I’ve meditated but never reached any jhana which jhanas are what is stated in the passage above. But one thing I’ve learned: never to give up, never to be disappointed and never to say "I cannot do it, I’ll never get anywhere." I will, some day, probably in another birth since in this I am too entrenched in life and living of the mundane sort.

This is the advice given by all teachers of meditation and those who guide meditators – never get discouraged nor get too obsessed with getting results. Just sitting perfectly still and relaxed and watching the breath or processes within is triumph enough, for the moment.

Vesak should mean meditation

The ambience or aura of Vesak is still around us. The white clad filling up temples and meditation centres from early dawn; the flickering light of the clay pahana and the muted radiance of the Vesak lantern; the piles of flowers whose fragrance is overpowered by that of joss sticks. And most significant of all – the emphasis now placed on meditation and not on mere worship, rites and rituals.

The mind and attention veer away from the garish pandals, the noisy dansalas, the loud music. Vesak is essentially a quiet, introspective time when one needs to sit quiet and, yes, meditate or at least try to.

Easier said than done; very much easier. One realizes how excitable, how intransigent, how utterly active the quicksilver mind is; how difficult to hold it down. It shoots this way and that with this thought and that. But of course it can be controlled. Truly happy are those who have succeeded in this.

My kalyana mithra with whom I first meditated under Ayya Khema’s instructions is able to sit for two hours at a stretch completely absorbed. This in spite of her arthritis. She gently asks me how I am progressing and is never disapproving. Maybe she hides her disappointment that I still do not always feel the breath entering me and never its exit. She is kind to me and appreciates what I have done for her – being ready to steady her with a helping hand if she decides to spend the poya day at the meditation centre. We’ve done a lot together.

Parappuduwa Nuns’ Island

When Ayya Kkema gave up the Nuns’ Island at Parappuduwa in Dodanduwa, we formed a committee and ran the island for the benefit of meditators. Ayya Khema left at the height of the JVP insurgency since she said she was not going to live once again fenced in by barbed wire. She had suffered during the Holocaust. So my kalyana mithuri and I would travel by bus to Dodanduwa, walk to the edge of the lake and get rowed across by the very dynamic head monk of the Island Hermitage, or his boatman. We had to go see to the resident domestic and later the Dutch nun who lived on the island. JVP Insurgents were suspected of using the meditation hall for a night’s sleep so when my friend and I walked to the hall early in the morning, we would shout to each other, hoping our voices would have any young intruders disappear in their boats. We arranged many retreats for women and even an all night pirit at Parappuduwa, the pirit because the Dutch nun said there definitely was a presence (read ghost) at the far end of the island where her kuti was.

It was difficult to have meditators or nuns living on the island once the head monk of the Island Hermitage died, so Nuns’ Island was transferred to the monks in the adjoining hermitage.

A nun so pure

It was on visits to Parappuduwa, invited over by Ayya Khema, that we first got to know Ayya Vayama from Australia. She was young, she was slender and tall, and very willing to lend a hand to any task. Whether strong or not, whether justified or not, she was delegated all the chopping of branches of overgrown trees and carrying of water from the well to the dormitory and nuns’ kutis when the water pump broke down.

She moved away from Parappuduwa but always kept in touch with two friends and me. She decided to spend some time in the London Vihara and as a gesture of thanks to us three women, she arranged a tour of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. I will never forget the feeling that enveloped me as we sat on the rock opposite the Gal Vihara and gazed for two hours at the statues, our admiration and piety enhanced by the wonder of the companionship we shared.

It was on this visit that early one morning we went to the Ruwanveliseya and sat in quiet reflection – me, while the others soon were absorbed in their meditation. I heard a discussion by a group of pilgrims. "Aney aluth rupayak. Langadi hadala" This was repeated by a man in a group that came later with all his nade` agreeing. Had I missed a new statue? I opened my eyes and looked around. Nothing new. I then realized they had mistaken Ayya Vayama for a statue, seated very straight in her brown robe, meditating with not a muscle moving, even when surrounded and gazed at by the curious. She gave such a guffaw when I related the incident to her. She had been totally unaware of the comments made. That was Ayya Vayama, so human and so ready to laugh and enjoy a joke but able to lose herself completely in absorbed meditation.

She was invited by Ven. Brahmavamso to start a nunnery in Perth and she did that and is now head of a well run, well populated nun’s resort in Gidgegannup She lived for months in a trailer all alone in the forest while the first building was put up. Ajahn Vayama as she is now known, is very occupied with teaching, conducting retreats and supervising Dhammasara Nuns’ Monastery.

An aside in the nature of a grouse, with annoyance strictly controlled, is that one cannot meditate either in the maha maluwa of the Sacred Bo Tree nor in the precincts of the Ruwanveliseya because of the chanting by a kapurala in the former place and the mike shouted thanks to donors of money near the Stupa. However much we grouse this will not stop - this disturbing of the peace in these most holy of places. Money collection is the root of the disturbance.

When my mother increased her sil taking from the full moon poya to the others, there still was no meditation as it is practiced now. Her meditation was moving her fingers from one bead to another on her naagunawela while repeating that stanza that starts with atti atti. Maybe she succeeded in concentrating on the asubhas of the body. Conscripted to observe sil with her when I was young, I never could master this verse. My thoughts would roam to a better-than-usual lunch and how to escape Mother’s sharp eye and go play a game or get bullied by my brother who escaped the sil sessions. My third sister went one better. All garbed in white and seated on a mat, she studied the Holy Bible because she had a scripture test the next day!


On this Sunday of the Vesak weekend, my most felt emotion is gratitude. You sit or kneel near the bo tree in the temple premises and it is total gratitude to Him who gave us this wonderful Dhamma – His so practical Teaching. He was patient and understood full well the frailty of humans.

Gratitude to parents and elders who gave us life and living so we now can fully appreciate what they did for us.

Gratitude to Ayya Khema for her almost evangelical exposition of the benefits of meditation and how to get about it; to Ayya Vayama for her humaneness and understanding. She is a living demonstration that a truly good person with much equanimity within radiates, actually radiates a sense of such calm wellbeing and joy that one feels it when in her presence. Gratitude to my friends too, particularly the one who reaches jhanas (I presume; she never tells).

Gratitude to the late Ven Ratwatte Siddhartha who in lay life almost single-handedly got built the wonderful meditation retreat in Hindagala right on top of a hill, and to those like his wife and other teachers who continue to run Dhamma Kuta excellently so we who wish to get away from ordinary life and live a couple of days in a better state, can do so.

Feeling gratitude is a lovely feeling – warm if you are cold, cool if you are hot and bothered. So it’s not to worry if you cannot forget all about you and lose yourself in meditation. One lives and improves!!

About Buddhism