Medin full moon Poya Day (March)
Buddha visits Kapilavasthu with 20,000 Arahats
Medin Poya Day is a day that reunited the Enlightened One with his family and relatives and the inhabitants of Kapilavasthu. In return proclaimed their love, the Buddha offered them the invaluable Dhamma and guided on them towards a righteous path. Hence the Poya Day will be a day to focus on practising the Dhamma while ridding ourselves of self-conceit and becoming more humble and generous.
By Ganga RATNAYAKE
@ SO / Sunday, 4 March 2012
Medin full moon Poya Day falls on March 7. It was on a Medin Poya day that Gautama Buddha returned to Kapilavasthu (Kimbulwathpura) seven years after the great renunciation.
From the moment King Suddhodana heard that his beloved son has attained the supreme state of Enlightenment, the king strongly wished to see him.
And soon he sent a emissary along with 1,000 men to invite the Buddha to Kapilavasthu.
Days passed without any news from his emissary. The King did not give up but sent yet another batch of emissaries. And this repeated until he sent over 9,000 emissaries. None returned from their mission.
The disheartened king sought advice from the Ministers and Minister Kaludai agreed to take over the mission, but on one condition.
Kaludai was born on the same day as Prince Siddhartha. The two children grew up together and so he knew the prince very well.
At the same time Kaludai also knew that all the previous emissaries sent by the king had become disciples of the Buddha.
Minister Kaludai requested the king to grant him permission to become a disciple of the Buddha. The King gave his consent and Kaludai pledged to return with the Buddha to Kapilavasthu.
Kaludai arrived at Veluwanaramaya in Rajagriha (Rajagaha) and met the Enlightened One. After listening to the Dhamma discourse of the Buddha, Kaludai became an Arahant.
A week later Arahant Kaludai invited the Buddha to Kapilavasthu, expressing that King Suddhodana was eagerly awaiting his arrival.
The Buddha accepted the invitation. Ten months since the Enlightenment and seven years after leaving his hometown, Gautama Buddha set off to Kapilavasthu followed by 20,000 Arahants.When King Suddhodana – the leader of the Sakya clan - received the news of the return of his son, the Buddha, he was elated. The entire city got ready to welcome the Enlightened One.
The proud Sakya clan too was busy with arrangements, but only the young ones were sent to pay homage to the Buddha. The elders of the Sakya clan were a highly conceited lot and did not wish to pay reverence to someone younger than them. As he entered the city of Kapilavasthu, Gautama Buddha knew about the self-conceit of the elders and decided to defeat their pride.
At once the Enlightened One rose to the sky and performed the Twin-fold Miracle (Yamamaha Pelahara). It is one of the highest forms of levitating miracles (Irdhi Prathiharya) which could be performed only by the Samma-sam-Buddha (a Buddha who attained full Enlightenment completely through his own effort).
As the inhabitants of Kapilavasthu gazed at the sky in awe, the Buddha was streaming fire from one side of his body and water from the other side simultaneously. Fire and water were streaming from the Buddha’s eyes and the nostrils as well.
Witnessing such an amazing spectacle King Suddhodana worshipped his son with utmost reverence for the third time in his life. All the inhabitants of Kapilavasthu including the conceited Sakyan elders paid their highest reverence to the Buddha.The Buddha descended from the sky and delivered a Dhamma discourse and related Vessanthara Jataka. Thereafter, along with his 20,000 disciples, the Buddha trod along the streets of Kapilavasthu from house to house seeking alms. The news of a Sakyan prince begging for food in the street spread far and wide and reached the ears of King Suddhodana. He couldn’t bear to watch his son, seeking alms in the street. The King said it would tarnish the image of their great Sakya clan.
The Buddha calmly responded that the king belonged to the royal descent while the Buddha belonged to the Buddha descent. Thus as a ritual of the Buddha descent, the Buddha and his disciples are to seek alms in the street. After the Buddha preached him Dhamma, King Suddhodana became a stream-winner by attaining the first state of the Enlightenment, Sotapanna.
The Buddha and his 20,000 disciples were then invited for an alms giving at the palace. Following the preaching of Dhamma, King Suddhodana attained the second State of Enlightenment, Sakadagami.
Later Princess Yasodhara lamented at the feet of the Enlightened One, releasing the agony she bore for many years since the great renunciation of her husband, Prince Siddhartha. The Buddha let her release the grief and then preached Dhamma and elaborated the Chanda Kinnara Jataka. The Enlightened One stated that Princess Yasodhara had been a faithful and affectionate partner not just in this birth but in many previous births of the Bodhisatva.
On the seventh day another fateful encounter occurred. Prince Rahula was sent by Princess Yasodhara to meet his father for the first time. Prince Rahula was not fortunate to see his father as Prince Siddhartha left the palace on the very day Rahula was born.The little prince followed the Enlightened One and asked for his inheritance. The highest inheritance the Buddha could offer was the truth he found. And so the Buddha summoned Arahat Sariputta and the seven-year-old Rahula was ordained on the same day.On another occasion after returning from an almsgiving, the Buddha gave his alms bowl to young Prince Nanda - Prince Siddhartha’s half brother.
Nanda was getting ready for his wedding on the very next day to the most attractive maiden in the kingdom – Janapada Kalyani. But he too was ordained by the Buddha, though Nanda was not quite happy and couldn’t concentrate on practising Dhamma.To make Nanda realise the impermanence of life, Gautama Buddha took Nanda to Tavatimsa Heaven. En route they passed a burnt down forest where a female monkey was clinging to a scorched stump for life. She was badly burnt and appeared hideous. Later when they entered the Tavatimsa Heaven, Nanda saw celestial maidens with enthralling beauty. The Buddha then asked Nanda, ‘If you compare Janapada Kalyani with a celestial maiden, who is more beautiful?’ Nanda at once replied that Janapada Kalyani would look more like the hideous female monkey they just met!
Once they returned, Nanda put forth all his effort to obtain Arahathood, in the hope of winning the divine beauty. But as he progressed and realised the impermanence of life, he was ashamed of his foolish motive. Nanda strived earnestly and soon became an Arahant.
King Suddhodana was again on the receiving end of more disheartening news. He endured the agony of losing the heir, when Prince Siddhartha left the palace and went in search of the truth seven years ago. Now his only grandson, Prince Rahula and the prospective heir to the throne, Prince Nanda both had left the palace and had been ordained. The king was left with no successors and was worried about the future of his kingdom.
He met the Enlightened One and pleaded not to ordain the young ones anymore without the consent of their parents or guardians. The Buddha accepted the king’s request and entered a new rule for ordination; hereinafter young children could be ordained only if they had the consent of their parents.
The rule has been passed down for generations and is practised to-date. Medin Poya Day is a day that reunited the Enlightened One with his family and relatives and the inhabitants of Kapilavasthu. In return proclaimed their love, the Buddha offered them the invaluable Dhamma and guided on them towards a righteous path. Hence the Poya Day will be a day to focus on practising the Dhamma while ridding ourselves of self-conceit and becoming more humble and generous.