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The Buddha's first sermon to Arahaths

The three-month Vassana period ended on Vap Full Moon Poya Day. Bhikkhus who were in their temples during the rainy season have started their daily activities.

According to the Roman calendar, the Il Full Moon Poya falls on November 27.

The annual Katina Pinkams are also conducted at temples during the period between Vap Full Moon Poya and Il Full Moon Poya. Accordingly, no temples conduct Katina Pinkams after the Il Full Moon Poya Day.

The Il Full Moon Poya is also important in the Buddhist calendar as a number of significant events in connection with the Buddha's life occurred on this day.

It was on Il Full Moon Poya Day , the Sakyamuni Gautama Buddha sat under the bo-tree and determined to find the eternal truth. Sixty Arahaths including Yasa, his fifty four friends and also the five ascetics were there to listen to the Dhamma sermon. The Buddha delivered His first sermon – the Dhamma Chakka Pawaththana Sutta to the five ascetics Condangna, Vappa, Bhaddiya, Assaji and Mahanama.


The dhamma sermon contained the essentials of His teachings- the Four Noble Truths, the Dukkha, Samudaya, Niroga, Marga and the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Buddha addressed the sixty Arahaths thus: “Charatha Bhikkawe Charikang. Bahujana Hithaya , Bahujana Sukaya , Lokanukampaya Aththaya, Hithaya Sukhaya Devamanussanang”.

After addressing the Arahaths , the Buddha said, “Go forth, O, Bhikkhus, for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, benefit and happiness of gods and men, and preach the doctrine of Dhamma to all for their well-being,”.

The Buddha sent the 60 disciples in different directions and He himself went towards Senanigama in Uruvela to meet the Jatila brothers, Uruvel Kassapa, Nadee Kassapa and Gaya Kassapa . The Buddha's intention of visiting the brothers was to make them shed their petty prejudices and direct them towards the path of Dhamma.

According to the history of Buddhism, the three-brothers who are also known as Thun Bae Jatilayo lived in three separate hermitages on the bank of the river Neranjana with 1,000 disciples. It was on the bank of river Neranjana that Prince Siddhartha arrived on the back of Kantaka after leaving his wife Yasodara and son Rahula with the intention of attaining Buddhahood.


When the Buddha arrived at the hermitage of Uruwela Kassapa to spend that night, he warned the Buddha of a poisonous cobra that dwelt there. It

indicated Uruwela Kassapa's refusal for the Buddha to spend the night at the hermitage. The Buddha realised it with His divine eye and did not take notice of his warning. He saw with his divine vision how furious the cobra was to see the Buddha in the room. The following morning Uruwela Kassapa was surprised to see how the Buddha had tamed the cobra with His miraculous powers.

The Uruwela Kassapa told himself that the Buddha's power was subdued by his power. Uruwela Kassapa highly valued the powers of the Buddha and became a disciple. This was followed by his two brothers and their disciples.

It was on Il Full Moon Poya day that all the Jatila Brothers had been miraculously won over by the Buddha and also the Yama Maha Pelahara (Duel psychic power) was performed.

Greatest duty

The demise of the Buddha's great disciple Sariyuth Thera also took place in the month of IL. The Thera knew that his life time was limited only to one more week and decided to visit his hometown to preach Dhamma to his mother as he wanted to see her as a follower of the Buddha. But, she was reluctant to accept the teachings of the Buddha through her son. At the end, the Thera could fulfil his duty as his mother entered the first path of Nibbana after listening to his sermons.

The following day Sariyuth Thera passed away with great satisfaction as he was able to perform the greatest duty that a son could ever do to a mother. It was also on the Il Full Moon Poya day that a team of Bhaddavaggiya princes were going in search of a courtesan who had run away with their valuables of their womenfolk in a nearby jungle. Suddenly, they came upon the Buddha who was resting under a tree on His way to Uruwela to propagate His teachings.

The group of princes inquired from the Buddha whether he saw a woman passing that way. The Buddha in reply pacified them, explained the futility of their search and delivered to them a discourse based on the Four Noble Truths.

It was during the month of Il that the Buddha visited Sankassapura from Thavathimsa after preaching Aditta Pariyaya Sutta to His mother Queen Mahamaya who was in ‘Thavuthisa’ heaven. Maithree Bodisatta was born as the son of the wealthy land owner in Sankassapura and entered the order during the Buddha's visit to Sankasspura.

According to Buddhist History, the Buddha gave Mithree Bodisatta permission to become the next Buddha. History reveals that in Baranasi, there will be a kingdom called Kethumathi and a king called Sanka whose advisor Subrahima, a Brahmin will be the father of Maithree Buddha and Brahmawathi will be the mother of Maithree Buddha. The Bodisatta will attain enlightenment under a Banyan tree.

It is with great reverence that Buddhists worldwide commemorate the Il Full Moon Poya day as it mainly marks the commencement of the sublime mission of the Buddha is dissemination of the Dhamma.

During this period Buddhist devotees are largely engaged in Katina pinkams. In most temples, the pinkams are generally held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in order to give elders and children a chance to participate in the peraharas. Children have to play a major role in the peraharas as they are not only carrying Buddhist flags, but also act as whip crackers and stilt walkers when the perahara parades the streets.


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