Il Poya – A peaceful holiday

Buddhist Monk Statues

Il Full Moon Poya day, the penultimate Poya of the year, usually falls in the week of November and is a holiday in Sri Lanka. Followers of the Buddhist faith visit the temple with family members and offer flowers. Many observe Sil and engage in meditation on this day. The strains of Dhammapreachings by Buddhist monks can be heard from the Temples from morning till dusk.

Significance of IlPoya

Historically, an important event occurred during the lifetime of Lord Buddha, which was the passing away of one of His chief disciples, Sariputta. Born in a village called Nalaka, in Magadha, India, Sariputta was regarded as the most brilliant of the Buddha’s disciples, but passed away during the lifetime of the Enlightened One. ArahantSariputta realized that he was close to attaining Nirvana and with the Buddha’s permission travelled with a retinue of bhikkhusto the house of his birth. This was so that he could end his journey of Sansara there. While he was there he succeeded in converting his mother Rupasari who was of the Brahmin faith to Buddhism. He entered Nirvana on an Il Full Moon Poya day.

It was also on an Il Poya day that the Buddha sent out his first contingent of missionaries with the instructions, ‘O! Monks set forth to preach this pristine Dhamma which is sweet in the beginning, sweet in the middle and sweet in the end to all men and Gods out of compassion and love towards one and all ‘Bahujanahityaya, Bahujanasukkaya,…!” Sixty disciples were sent to four corners of the country and that signaled the first missionary and the initial step towards begetting happiness. He also said “Monks, I am now free from all shackles be they human or divine. You are also free from all these shackles. Therefore, I preach unto you, go now from this moment and wander for the welfare and happiness of many, out of compassion for the world. Let not two of you go in the same direction. Preach the Dhamma that is pristine.” This was how the message of Dhamma came to be preached in neighbouring countries as well as around the globe.

Furthermore, the Buddha, during his lifetime, made a very significant prediction on an Il Full Moon Poya day. It was a prediction about the next Buddha Metteya (Maitreya), the last of the five Buddhas to walk this earth. He predicted that the kingdom called ‘Kethumathi’ in Benares would be the birthplace of this future Buddha. His parents would be Subrahamme (advisor to King Sanka) and Brahamawathi. He would live a life of opulence and luxury, but renounce everything and search for Enlightenment at the age of 18. He would attain Enlightenment under a Banyan Tree after searching for the truth for a period of seven days.

In the present day…

In Sri Lanka Il Poya day also signals the end of the ‘Vas’ retreat where Buddhist monks remain indoors and spend their days preaching and giving advice to devotees.

The perfect time to visit Sri Lanka

When the year draws to a close and the climate in most foreign lands turns chilly, come to Sri Lanka and enjoy year-round tropical sunshine. Our packages will take you around this beautiful land, including any destinations that particularly interest you. Contact us today and we will make you an irresistible offer for your next vacation.

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