Origins of Buddhist diplomacy
What is the significance of this Duruthu Purapasalosvaka Poya Day? It was on this Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day, over 2500 years ago, after the Buddha attained Enlightenment that the Blessed one, visited Sri Lanka for the first time. According to the chronicle, it states, Buddha arrived in Sri Lanka, "To free the beautiful, resplendent island from the evil doing Yakkas, who were its masters at that time." Therefore, we pay our homage to the Buddha, in memory of his first visit to Sri Lanka. On Buddhas first visit, the Enlightened One, arrived at a spot, where now stands Mahiyangana Stupa.
His mission was to restore peace, to create a state of freedom from war or violence. After a successful mission, before the Buddha departed, Sumana an incumbent Deity of Siripada or Adams Peak, who is a titular deity, who possess a certain title or position, but, no authority of the region - Bintenna-Mahiyangana area, requested the Blessed one to give him a souvenir, to remember him, and so that he could pay his offerings and homage to it.
Thereupon, Goutama Buddha, through compassion towards the Deity Sumana, offered him some locks of his hair. He placed it in an urn as a valuable relic in the Mahiyangana stupa.
The Buddhists in Sri Lanka, consider 16 important places of Buddhist worship. Today 19th of January, the center of attraction will be Mahiyangana Stupa, the place where Buddha placed his footprints, in the island of Sri Lanka for the first time. From time immemorial, we Buddhists humbly pay our homage to 16 very important places of worship by reciting the following stanza. Here the the first place of our worship is Mahiyangana stupa.
For the benefit of readers I give below the important stanza which will be recited by Buddhist devotees, today, specially at Mahiyangana. Out of the 16 holy places for Buddhists in Sri Lanka, number one is Mahiyangana.
Sonnamali Maha Chettiyan
Thattha Kachara Gamakam
Ethe Solasa attani
Ahan Vandanami Sabbada
Further, in later years, the learned Bhikkhus composed a special stanza to worship the Mahiyangana stupa.
Lankayam Yattha Pataman
Yakkhe Dhamesi Nija
Tine Thahi Nihithi
Vandami Sadhu Mahiyangan Thuparaja
The devotees who flock to Mahiyangana to worship the Chetiya recite this particular verse or stanza.
These stanzas clearly indicate the importance of Mahiyangana stupa. Out of the 16 most important places of Buddhist worship, Mahiyangana stupa occupies number one position.
The chronicle Mahavamsa records that when Buddha Passed away, a disciple of Sariputta named Sarabhu, by his miraculous powers, received from the funeral pyre of Buddha, with honour and respect collected the Collar Bone, and brought it to Sri Lanka, and enshrined it in the Mahiyangana Chetiya. Later, the son of Devanampiyatissa's brother prince Uddhachulabhaya, improved the height of the Mahiyangana chetiya. Later, the son of Devanampiyatissa's brother prince Uddhachulabhaya, improved the height of the Mahiyangana chetiya. After about 100 years the great king Dutugemunu, improved the Mahiyangana chaitya.
During the reign of Sirisangabo, the pious king, planted a sapling from the Jayasri Maha Bodhi, and there is evidence in history that to safeguard the Chaitya, a Devala was constructed in the name of deity Sumana and a procession was held annually. The Buddha made his second visit to Nagadipa in the Jaffna District to settle a dispute between Mahodhara and Chulodara uncle and nephew.
In his third visit, blessed one arrived in Kelaniya. The king of Kelaniya Maniakkha, met Buddha in Nagadipa in his second visit.
He invited the Buddha to visit his kingdom. Therefor, later, Buddha love and through compassion to all Sri Lankans, Buddha supposed to have arrived at Kelaniya on a Vesak Full Moon Purapasalosvaka Poya Day. Subsequently on an invitation extended by God Sumana, Buddha visited the Siripada.
The King Voharikatissa (204-225 AD) built a Parasol over Mahiyangana stupa. The chronicles record the holy place Mahiyangana, Buddha visited in the Month of Duruthu Poya Day was venerated so much by Sri Lankan kings that Sena II (885-896 AD) Kassapa IV (896-918 AD), Vijayabahu I (1059-1114 AD), Parakramabahu I (1410-1468 AD) were some of the kings who gave the Royal Patronage to improve the development of Mahiyangana Mahaseya.
Du-rithu connotes a change of a season
With cooling breezes, climatic passions
Lush greenery with blossoming flowers
Commencing an year ushering
The world over a fresh year begins
With religious rites, bells, crackers din
School-goers move gaily pleased
Spick and span, smart clean.
On a bright Duruthu full moon day
Three Jatila Kashyapa brothers
with believes sway
Comprehending the Buddha's
Attained the Supreme Bliss
King Brinsara of Rajagaha with
thousands of citizens
Pleased with the Exalted One and
the kashyapa disciples
Seeking refuge in the Noble Triple Gem
Offered Veluwana as the foremost
In Mahiyangana close to the
Two factions of Yakkhas, were to
fight each other
The Buddha reached the spot using
His psychic powers
Extolled peace settling their rift
as a tranquilliser.
From the hills the Devas came
there to share
Headed by faithful God Sumana
just and fair
With devotion receiving a strand of
Constructed the Mahiyangana
stupa enshrining it with care.
We the Sri Lankans of all clans and creeds.
Flock to Kelaniya to behold the
Duruthu Perahera spree
A glittering pageant showcasing our
Let Duruthu blessings shower on all
Sunethra Wijemanne Bandaragama
A number of scholarships were granted for students of low income to celebrate the 90th birthday of Most Ven Seiyu Kiriyama Thera recently. Representing Most Ven Kiriyama Thera, Ven Fukada Seia Thera participated in the event as the Chief Guest.