The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Bak Poya day
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The Bak Poya day is the full-moon of April. This holy day celebrates that the Buddha visits Ceylon for the second time to reconcile two local chiefs Mahodara and Cūlodara, uncle & nephew, who had fallen into war threatening hostility about a jewel-beset throne... The story shows the Buddha as fine diplomat & is given in full below!
On such Full-Moon Uposatha Poya Observance days: Any Lay Buddhist simply joins the Three Refuges and undertakes the Five Precepts like this: Newly bathed, white-clothed, clean bare feet, one kneels at a shrine with a Buddha-statue, and bows first 3 times, so that feet, hands, elbows, knees & head touch the floor. Then, with joined palms at the heart, one recites these memorized lines in a loud, calm & steady voice:
As long as this life lasts:
I hereby take refuge in the Buddha.
I hereby take refuge in the Dhamma.
I hereby take refuge in the Sangha.
I hereby seek shelter in the Buddha for the 2nd time.
I hereby seek shelter in the Dhamma for the 2nd time.
I hereby seek shelter in the Sangha for the 2nd time.
I hereby request protection from the Buddha for the 3rd time.
I hereby request protection from the Dhamma for the 3rd time.
I hereby request protection from the Sangha for the 3rd time.
I will hereby respect these Three Jewels for the rest of my life!
I accept to respect & undertake these 5 training rules:
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Killing.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Stealing.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Sexual Abuse.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Dishonesty.
I hereby accept the training rule of avoiding all Alcohol & Drugs.
As long as this life lasts, I am thus protected by these 5 precepts...
Then, one keeps and protects these sacred vows better than one's own eyes & children!, since they protect you & all other beings much better than any army! They are the highest offer one can give in & to this world! A journey towards the deathless Nibbāna is thus started! This is the Noble Way to Peace, to Freedom, to Ease, to Happiness, initiated by Morality, developed further by Dhamma-Study and fully completed by training of Meditation...
Reuniting those who are divided, by bringing harmony:
Now the most compassionate Teacher, the Conqueror, rejoicing in the salvation of the whole world, when dwelling at Jetavana in the fifth year of his Buddhahood, saw that war, caused by a gem beset throne, was like to come to pass between the nagas Mahodara and Cūlodara, uncle & nephew and their followers! The SammaSamBuddha, then on the Uposatha day of the dark half of the month Citta, in the early morning, took his sacred alms bowl and his robes, and, out of compassion for the nagas, sought the Nagadipa. At that time the same naga Mahodara was then king, gifted with miraculous powers, in a nagas kingdom in the ocean, that covered half a 1000 yojanas. His younger sister had been given in marriage to the naga king on the Kannavaddhamana mountain; her son was Cūlodara. His mother's father had given to his mother a splendid throne of jewels, then the naga had died and therefore was this war between the nephew and his uncle threatening!
The nagas of the mountains were indeed also armed with many various miraculous powers. The deva Samiddhisumana took his rajayatana tree standing in Jetavana, his own fair habitation, holding it like a parasol over the Conqueror, he, with the Teacher's leave, attended him to that spot, where he had formerly dwelt. That very deva had been, in his latest birth, a man in Nagadipa. On the very spot where thereafter the rajayatana tree stood, he had seen PaccekaBuddhas taking their meal. And at the sight his heart was glad & he offered branches to cleanse their alms bowls. Therefore he was reborn in that very same tree in the pleasant Jetavana garden, outside of the gate rampart. The God of all gods saw in this an advantage for that deva, and, for the sake of the good, which should spring therefrom for Ceylon, he brought him there together with his tree. Hoovering there in midair above the battlefield, the Master, who drives away spiritual darkness, called forth dreadful darkness over the nagas! Then comforting those who were distressed by terror, he once again spread light abroad. When they saw the Blessed One, they joyfully did reverence to the Masters feet. Then the Vanquisher preached to them the Dhamma that makes concord, & both nagas gladly gave up the throne to the Sage. When the Master, having alighted on the earth, had taken his place on a seat there, and had been refreshed with divine food and drink served by the naga kings, he, the Lord, established in the three refuges and in the 8 moral precepts eighty kotis of snake-spirits, dwellers in the ocean and on the mainland. The naga-king Maniakkhika of Kalyāni, maternal uncle to this naga Mahodara, who had come there to take part in the battle, and who before, at the Buddhas first coming, having heard the true Dhamma preached, had become established in the 3 refuges & in the moral duties, prayed now to the Tathagata: Great is the compassion that you have shown us here, Master! Had you not appeared we had all been consumed to ashes. May your compassion yet settle also and especially on me, you who are rich in friendly loving kindness, please peerless one, come again back here to my home country. When the Lord had consented by his silence to return, then he planted the rajayatana tree on that very spot as a sacred memorial, & the Lord of the Worlds gave over the rajayatana tree & the precious throne seat to the naga kings to do homage thereto: In remembrance that I have used these, do homage to them naga kings! This, well beloved, will bring to pass many blessings & happiness for you for a long time! When the Blessed One had uttered this and other exhortations to the nagas, he, the compassionate saviour of all the worlds, returned to the Jetavana monastery.
Here ends the explanation of the Visit to Nagadipa.