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The Importance of Il Poya

The Il Poya falls on November 12. It is the last Poya of the "Wassana" Rainy Season and a number of important incidents occurred on this day. Therefore, it is a significant day in the Buddhist calender.

The Il Poya falls on November 12. It is the last Poya of the "Wassana" Rainy Season and a number of important incidents occurred on this day. Therefore, it is a significant day in the Buddhist calender.

Maitriya Bodhisatva

The announcement of the future Buddhahood of Maitriya Bodhisatva, the first Buddhist Missionary activity by the Sixty Arahath, Jatila Brothers entering the Buddhist Order, Festival of "Devaharohana" or Ascend to heaven by Gautama Buddha, accepting a Robe from the future Buddha Maitriya, who was a disciple of the Buddha. Passing away of the Chief Disciple Sariputta and laying of Gautama Buddha's Dakunu Aku Datuwa tooth in the right jaw, in the first Dagoba Thuparama Chaitya, constructed by 'King Devanampiyatissa, are some of the noteworthy events that took place on Il Poya day.

Cheevara Masaya

Further, Buddhist in Sri Lanka Commemorate Il Poya as the "Cheevara Masaya." The offering of "Katina Cheevaraya" is considered as a highly meritorious act, which take place in most of the Temples during the month of Il. The Katina Cheevara is brought to their respective temples in processions and offered to the resident Upasampada monks, who observed Vas. (Rainy Retreat) for nearly three months.

The Future Buddha - Maitriya

After a lapse of Sixteen fold one hundred and thousand aeon, Maitriya Bodhisatva, will achieve Buddhahood. (Solos Asankeya Kalpa Laksaya)

Maitriya Bodhisatva was born to a high caste family in the City of Sankassa, during the time of Gautama Buddha. His father's name was Siriwaddha. Maitriya had a complete Education under the Great Teacher Disapamok. After entering the Order, and at the end of the Rainy Season, Maitriya Thera, received a very valuable pair of robes. He donated one of the robes to Gautama Buddha.

After receiving the robe the Blessed One uttered thus:-

"Dear Monks, this Bhikku will be the future Buddha. He will be born in a kingdom known as Ketumati. The Emperor of this Kingdom will bear the name Sankha. His father's name will be Brahma and he will be the Chief Consultant to the king. His mother's name will be Brahmavati. He will attain Buddhahood under a Na tree. Buddha further stated:

"He will attain Buddhahood in an inconceivably long period of time known as Badra Kalpa, in the Kingdom of Ketumathi.


In Buddhism, a Kalpa, generally indicates the length of time between the creation and re-creation of a period of a Universe. Spanning the period of a world formation, existence, destruction and non-existence.

A Kalpa in Buddhism denotes a very long period of time, similar to an aeon. According to the conventional reckoning, a small Kalpa would be equivalent to 16.8 million years. A large or great Kalpa 347 million years.

Maitriya Buddha will attain Enlightenment, which means, Liberation from Samsara, the cycle of Birth and Re-birth. This is the belief in Theravada Buddhism. Some of the leading countries that follow Theravada Buddhism are Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand.

Sakyamuni Buddha, observed Vas at Isipatanaramaya in Benares. At the end of Vas period, he addressed the sixty Arahats thus:

"Charatha Bhikkave Charikan, Bahujana Hithaya, Bahujana Sukhaya, Lokanukampaya Attaya Hitaya Sukhaya Devamanussanan Ma Ekena Deva Agamitta Desetha Bhikkave Dhamman Adikalyanam Pariyosana, Kalyanan Satthan Sakyanjanan Kevala Paripunnan Parisuddan Brahamachariyan Pakasetha."

(Oh! Bhikkus for the Welfare of the many, for the Happiness of the many, through Compassion to the World, Go Ye Forth, and spread the Doctrine of Buddha Dhamma for the benefit of Devas and Human Beings) In this manner, the first Buddhist Missionaries commenced their journey on Il Poya day to various directions.

Jatila Brothers

The three Jatila Brothers Uruwela, Nadi, Gaya, lived in Hermitages close to the River Neranjana. They had thousand disciples. The Blessed One, proceeded to the hermitage of Jatila Uruvela and performed "Pelahara" spiritual powers or super natural power and later converted all three brothers and their followers to Buddhism. The Enlightened One, delivered the "Adithya Pariyaya Sutta" on this occasion. They attained Arahatship, where they will be no longer subject to death and rebirth. These events also took place on Il Poya Day.

Passing Away of Sariputta Thera

The passing away of Sariputta, Senior Chief Disciple, occurred on Il Poya day. A week before he passed away, he visited his beloved mother Rupasari, who did not believe in the Triple Gem. She was residing in a village named Nalaka, in the Magadha Province.

Sariputta Thera's main ambition was to make his mother a follower of Buddhism. After listening to her son Sariputta's sermon, she attained Sotapanna or the first stage out of four stages towards the realisation of liberation.

After this event Sariputta, one of the ten major disciples of the Buddha passed away. He was regarded as the chief disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha, foremost in Wisdom. The Bodhisatva Manjusri was the foremost in wisdom, among the Buddha's Bodhisatva Disciples. Sariputta Thera, died while the Buddha was still alive.

The Golden Thread that binds India and Sri Lanka

Turning the pages of Sri Lanka's proud and prestigious history, from time immemorial, upto date, India and Sri Lanka maintain very cordial and friendly relations in social, political, religious, economic and cultural matters. Undoubtedly, Buddhism, was the golden thread that bound the two countries in ancient times.

Majority of Sri Lankans follow, the treasured religion - Theravada Buddhism, pronounced by the Greatest son born in the Indian soil, Siddartha Gautama Buddha.

It was another Indian, Maurayan Emperor Asoka, who sent his son Arahat Mahinda, as a religious emissary and introduced Buddhism to Sri Lanka during the reign of Devanampiyatissa. Later, this great king Asoka, sent his own daughter Sangamitta with the Bo-Sapling, Jayasiri Maha Bodhi. With her arrival, Buddhist Order of the Nuns was established.

Once, Asoka, was a conqueror. In his ruthless campaign, "The Battle of Kalinga" about 300,000 lives were lost. Later, he became a very compassionate ruler. He realised that there is no victory in causing suffering.

Today, this great country, India uses Dhamma Chakraya (Wheel of Dharma) as its official emblem. It is a symbol engraved in the Asoka Pillar.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
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LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka

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