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Sunday, March 20, 2011

the Buddha’s visit to Kapilavastu marks Medin Poya

the Buddha’s visit to Kapilavastu marks Medin Poya

By Gamini Jayasinghe

Medin Full Moon Poya Day and the month of Medin is of special significance because of a number of incidents have taken place on this day and those taking place at present during the month of Medin.

It was nine months after the Enlightenment or on the first Medin Full moon day after the Enlightenment that Gauthama Buddha visited the “Sakya Desha” in Kimbulwath Pura or Kapilavastu Pura - the kingdom of King Suddhodhana. For Sri Lankans this day is important also because it is the climax in the peak period of Sri Pada pilgrims.

King Suddhodhana
invites Buddha

King Suddhodhana’s kingdom was Kapilavastu which is the place known as Bihar; Piprahwa today. The King did not believe anyone who brought the news that his son had died on the contention that Sakyans do not die before the maximum span of life. After six long years the king heard the news that his son had attained Buddhahood and was preaching His doctrine at Rajagaha Nuwara, Veluvanaramaya.

King Suddhodhana who was longing to see his son sent one of his ministers as an envoy to invite the Buddha to proceed to Kapilavastu. The king got his people to construct Nigrodharamaya at the garden of Sakyan named Nigrodha in Kapilavastu Pura for the Buddha and His disciples. The King was waiting anxiously to see his son but to his disappointment the messengers had entered priesthood having heard Dharma and had not conveyed the message. On nine occasions the king sent nine ministers each with one thousand followers to invite Buddha to visit Kapilavastupura but all efforts made were of no avail because all of them had followed suit and the message had not been conveyed to the Buddha by any one of them.

At last the king summoned his most trustworthy minister, Kaludai and requested him to appease his anxiety some how or other.

Minister Kaludai undertook to invite Buddha to visit Kapilavastupura on condition that the king would allow him to become an ascetic under the Great Being who had conquered the world. The king granted him permission to enter the priesthood and Minister Kaludai has gone to Veluwaramaya, entered priesthood with his followers exactly as his predecessors did and attained Arahantship before long having listened to Dharma from Buddha.

‘Elder Sakyans’ reluctance and ‘Yama Maha Pelahara’

Sakyans who went forward to receive the Enlightened One took Him in a procession. Young Sakyans worshipped the Omniscient One but elders who walked behind did not venerate Him as they thought it was not proper when taking the age factor into consideration.

In order to dispel the arrogance of Sakyans Buddha performed the ‘Yama Maha Pelahara’ - the twin miracle, the power said to have been possessed by the Buddha to cause a stream of fire to issue from one part of His body and a stream of water from another at the same time, which is a power to issue such streams together from eyes, ears and nostrils which was the result of His having accomplished ‘Thejokasina’ and ‘Apokasina’.

This is the second occasion when the Buddha performed ‘Yama Maha Pelahara’. All the Sakyans including King Suddhodhana worshipped the Enlightened One having been astonished and took refuge in ‘Thun Sarana’ - Buddha, His doctrine ‘Dharma’ and His priests ‘Sangha’.

Buddha preached ‘Wessanthara Jathakaya’ to show how He had renounced worldly pleasures and possessions in His previous births too.

Buddha goes begging

for food

Since no one had invited Him for Dana on the following morning Buddha went from house to house in the streets of Kapilavastupura with His disciples begging for food.

King Suddhodhana being deeply moved by what had happened rushed to Buddha and having bowed down before Him inquired why He was insulting him in such a manner.

King Suddhodhana attains Sowan and Sakurdhagami
“Members of Royal families never beg for food,” the king said. The Buddha said that begging for food was the custom of the ‘Buddha Wansaya’ - Buddha lineage and standing in the street the Buddha advised the King, “Be alert, be not heedless, and lead a righteous life. The righteous live happily both in this world and in the next.”

The king realized the Truth and attained Sowan, the first stage of Sainthood.

He took the Buddha’s bowl and conducted Him and His disciples to the palace and served them all with food.

After the meal the Buddha preached the Dharma thus:-

“Lead a righteous life, and not one that is corrupt. The righteous live happily both in this world and in the next”

Thereupon the King attained Sakadagami – once returner, the second stage of Sainthood, and Maha Prajapathi Gothami attained “Sowan” the first stage of Sainthood. On a later occasion the Buddha preached Maha Dharmapala Jathakaya to explain matters.

The king attained Anagami – Never returner, the third stage of Sainthood. On his death bed the king heard Dharma from the Buddha for the last time and attained Arahantship.


reverence to the Buddha
When the Buddha visited King Sudddhodhana’s palace all the members in the royal family except princes Yasodhara came to pay reverence to the Enlightened One. Princess Yasodhara remained in her compartment thinking that the Blessed One would visit her if there was any virtue in her.

The Buddha handed His bowl to the King and entered the apartment of princess Yasodhara accompanied by His chief disciples.

The Enlightened One and the two chief disciples sat on the seats already prepared for them by princess Yasodhara. The Enlightened One said that the King’s daughter could pay reverence to the Buddha in a manner she wished. Thereupon princess Yasodhara bent down, clasped the feet of the Enlightened One, placed her head on His feet and reverenced Him in the manner she liked.

The King told the Buddha that princess Yasodhara responded when she heard that Bodhisatva was leading a rough life. He said that the princess had started wearing yellow robes and resorted to a single meal a day.

“She had given up lofty couches, garlands and scents and did not respond to the message sent inviting her to her parental relatives,” the King said. Buddha cited the Candakinnara Jataka to explain how she protected the Bodhisatva in a previous birth.

Queen Prajapathi
After the passing away of King Suddhodhana Queen Prajapathi Gothami became a Bhikkhuni. Princess Yasodhara too entered the Order and later attained Arahantship.

Prince Nanda

The second day after Buddha’s visit to Kapilavastupura was an auspicious day for Queen Maha Prajapathi Gothami’s son, Prince Nanda. It was his wedding day, the house warming day.

Prince Nanda received Him most respectfully and offered Him Dana. After Dana the Enlightened One gave His bowl to Nanda and proceeded to the Viharaya. On the way Buddha made prince Nanda to realize that all worldly pleasures are temporary.

Buddha inquired from him whether he was agreeable to enter the priesthood. The affection and devotion he had towards Buddha were such that his obedience to Buddha superseded all his other needs and expectations. Prince Nanda gave his consent to enter the priesthood.

Esahi Tuyha Pita Nara Siho
“Esahi Tuyha Pita Nara Siho” There goes your father, “Nara Siho” hero, the eminent person. Go and ask for your share of inheritance” She said. Seven year old prince Rahula went after the Enlightened One, begging for endowment. The Omniscient One gave prince Rahula the greatest wealth, the clerical or religious endowment.

Prince Rahula was ordained by Arahant Sariputta. Arahant Moggalyana shaved his hair and enrobed him. Arahant Maha Kassapa was his preceptor.

When prince Siddhartha left the palace and went in search of the Truth King Suddhodhana was moved but he consoled himself thinking that his second son, Prince Nanda and his grand son, prince Rahula were with him.

However, when both of them left he could not bear the pain although he had already attained Sakurdagami. He did not want any other person to suffer that pain and made a request from Buddha not to ordain young ones without the consent of parents or guardians.

The Buddha accepted the fair and reasonable request of King Suddhodhana and instituted a precept not to ordain a young person without the consent of parents or guardians.

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