Importance of Vap Purapasalosvaka PoyaOctober 21, 2010,
by Premasara Epasinghe
The Sinhala Buddhist calendar begins with Duruthu (January), Purapasalosvaka and follows with Navam (February), Medin (March), Bak (April), Vesak (May), Poon (June), Esala (July), Nikini (August), Binara (September), Vap (October), Il (November), Unduvap (December).
On Friday 22, 2010 dawns a very significant and important Purapasalosvaka, known as Vap. Before the dawn of the month of Vas, during the rainy season, commencing from Esala, continues with Nikini, Binara, the Buddhist monks attend to their daily religious activities indoors, confining themselves to their abodes, performing meditation, delivering sermons, meeting their lay devotees at their respective temples. The climax of the rainy season ends with offering of Katina Cheevara and the month of Vap is also known as the month of Katina.
The word "Katina" means "unbreakable". It is considered like a solid rock, the merit you gain in offering the Katina cheevara for the Bhikkus who have received higher ordination or Upasampada," have the sole right to receive the Katina Cheevara or Katina Robe. The world Vas can be defined as the "Rainy Retreat".
In Sinhala culture, the "Maha Season", begins with the inter monsoonal rainy season considered as the cultivation search. The environment is pleasant and lively. The trees and flowers bloom. The people are happy, energetic and get involved in cultivation. For peaceful co-existence, the tank, village temple and the advise of the Buddhist monks play a vital role. Therefore, they express the gratitude for those "Upasampada Bhikkus" with the highest offer, which they consider as the higher merit they will accrue by offering the "Katina Cheevera" to the Buddhsit monks. According to the following stanza.
Patavirivana Jatu Kampate –
Na Chalani Meru Riwani Vauna –
Vajiramicha na Bhijjate Ghanan –
Tamidhamato Katinanti Vucchati.
The merit you acquire from offering the Katina Robe does not shake like the earth and it is solid like a rock that cannot be shaken by the wind, like the mount of Vajjra.
It is the firm belief of Buddhists that those who participate in Katina Pinkama or Katina Religious Act or Ceremonies, through this merit live a happy life in this world as well as in the other world, when they cross the border.
The appointment of Sariputta Maha Thera as one of the chief disciples of the Blessed One took place on this important day of Vap Purapasalosvake Poya Day. The other chief disciple was Moggalana Maha Thera.
Who is this Sariputra Maha Thera?
He is one of the ten major disciples of Gautama Buddha, the Enlightened One. Born in India in a village to the North of Rajagaha in Magadha,he and his best friend who grew up together Mugalan, become a follower of the famous ascetic Sanjaya Bellattiputra. Before joining him (Sanjaya) Sariputra and Moggalana, went to witness a Gala sports or arts festival titled "Giragga Samajja" festival. Thousands and thousands spectators watched this event. After witnessing this event, they realized, that these people who watched this Gala Event will not be in a existence after hundred years. They realized the truth impermanence. (For example, I had the proud distinction of commentating from Pakistan, the 1996 World Cup between Australia various Sri Lanka. Just imagine, for a moment, none of us, the cricketers, umpires, spectators. Match referees commentators or millions of viewers who witnessed this world cup, will not be there by the year 2096. This proves that our lives are Impermanent. Therefore we must find a path to attain the bliss of Nibbana and perform good deeds. Sariputra and Moggalana both had hundred disciples later all of them become the followers of the Blessed One.
Sariputta was regarded s the most brilliant disciple of Sakyamuni Gautama Buddha. He was foremost in Wisdom among Buddha’s Arahat disciples as the Bodhisatva Manjusri was foremost in "Wisdom" among the Buddha’s Bodhisattva disciples.
The appointment of Sariputta Maha Thera as the chief disciple of the Enlightened One, took place on this red – letter day of Vap Purapasalosvaka.
Another noteworthy significant event that took place on Vas Poya Day was that the future Buddha to be born in Khetumati Kingdom, - Maitriya Boddisatva in his long sansaric journey, entered the Bhikkusasana in a ealier birth on a Vap Purapasalosvaka Poya Day.
Tracing the proud Sri Lankan history, the great Maha Parakramabahu performed the Katina Religious Ceremony on a grand scale, with pomp and pageantry during the Vap season.
With the attack of Kalinga Maga, Polonnaruwa kingdom fell into shambles and thus began, the "Drift to the South West" and people were settled in Dambadeniya, Yapahuwa, Kurunegala, Gampola, Raigama and Kotte Kingdoms respectively. According to the history of Sri Lanka, the Buddhists centre round the Bhikkhu and the temples and continue this tradition of offering Katina Cheevara, during the end of the rainy season – Vap. The Buddhist monks were their philosophers, guides advisors and teachers.
Going back to the golden era of Anuradhapura period, during King Devanampiya Tissa’s regime, the king sent an official delegation to meet Emperor Asoka, India’s foremost patron of Buddhism and the first monarch to rule over united India – Emperor of India, founder of Maurya dynasty. A Sri Lankan delegation led by probably the Foreign Minister Prince Aritta proceeded to India. This event was supposed to have taken place on a Vap Purapasalosvaka Poya Day. This shows, that Sri Lanka and India were closely linked and bound by the golden thread of Buddhism.
Further, King Devanampiya Tissa (247-207 B.C.) who was responsible for the introduction of Buddhism to the island, inquired from Venerable Mahinda Maha Thera (son of Emperor Asoka) who introduced Buddhism, whether Buddhism bas taken deep root in Sri Lanka. The monk replied it will be properly established in Sri Lanka once a Sinhala child is ordained. This incident also happened on a Vap Purapasalosvaka Day.
Ethan Buddanu Sasanam.
To restrain from doing evil –
To indulge in doing good –
To cleanse one’s mind –
This is the teaching of Buddhism.
Jangle (Jata) within, tangle without,
Mankind is entangled in a tangle,
I ask this question, Gotama
Who disentangles this tangle.
"When the wise man well established in virtue (Sila), develops concentration (Citta Samadhi) and wisdom (Panna), then as a Bhikku ardent and prudent, he disentangles this tangle".
Follow Buddhism’s Dynamic Path
May the Triple Gem Bless You.