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Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Buddha visited Mahiyangana in ninth month of his enlightenment

The Buddha visited Mahiyangana in ninth month
of his enlightenment

Today is the Full Moon Poya Day of Duruthu in the year 2553 as for the Buddhist calendar and Thursday December 31, 2009 as for the Gregorian calendar.

The Poya dawns today at 4am and concludes at 00.42am tomorrow (January 1, 2010). The day set apart for the observing of sil is today.

As we have been made to clearly understand in going through our chronicles, Sakyamuni Siddhartha Gauthama Buddha has visited this country thrice - the first to Mahiyangana in the ninth month of his Enlightenment, the second to Nagadeepa in the fifth year of his enlightenment and third and last visit to Kelaniya in the eighth year of his Enlightenment.

The blessed one foreseeing dissension between two factions in Sri Lanka visited the country to settle the dispute. According to the Mahavamsa, the Buddha arrived in the Mahanaga Park on the right bank of the Mahaweli Ganga as the battle gongs were sounded and the battle drums beaten and the Yakkhas poised for combat. They seeing a stranger in yellow robes in their midst, fled to the nearby jungles.

However, later some of them returned and listened to the sermon delivered by the Buddha, paying reverence. After all they renounced evil and hatred in their minds and became followers of the tolerant rational and scientific teachings of the Buddha.

That multitude comprising teeming thousands underwent a complete volte-face and transformed themselves into followers of the Budddha’s way of life. At this occasion, the God Sumana Saman who is the guardian God of Mount Samanala or Samantha Kuta Parwathaya and who attained the State of Sothapanna after listening to the sermons of the Buddha, begged the Buddha to give something to worship on this first visit to the island. Accordingly he, the Buddha gave a handful of hair from his head which the God Sumana placed in a golden casket and later enshrined in a stupa embedded with blue stones, built to the height of seven riyanas (a measure). Mahiyangana Chetiya is given much significance and not only because it is the first dagoba built in the island, but also it is the first one built by a divine being on the spot where the Buddha made his first visit to the island.

Attainment to Sotapanna of God Sumana Saman was the other great event of this Duruthu Poya Day.

When the body of the Buddha, after his final passing away was cremated tat the sal grove in Kusinara, Sorabhu Thera retrieved a neck bone and bringing it to this island enshrined it in the Stupa built by God Sumana Saman, increasing its height to 24 feet. Uddha Chulabhya increased the height to 160 feet, a century later Prince Dutugemunu, having passed the spot on his conquering journey to Anuradhapura to vanquish the reigning King Elara, enlarged the Stupa further and we now have a very large, very ancient Dagoba further and we now have a very large, very ancient Dagoba at Mahiyangana.

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