No visit by a foreign delegation, envoys, diplomats has created such an impact on the lives of Sri Lankans, as the visit of Emperor Asoka’s Son – Arahant Mahinda Thera, on Poson Poya Day (June) and daughter Therini Sanghamitta on Unduvap Poya Day (December). It was the dawn of the social, cultural, spiritual revolution of Sri Lanka. The arrival of these two dignitaries as Buddhist missioneries and the spread of Buddhism, helped Sri Lankans mould their character and it helped them be a Nation of Kind – hearted, compassionate men and women, who live a life according to the Buddhist principles.
Lay Buddhist devotees, the Bhikkhu, Bhikkunis, perform many Meritorious Acts on this day. Many observe the eight precepts. The temples in entire island, especially Anuradhapura are filled to the capacity.
The arrival of Arahant Bhikkuni Sanghamitta to Sri Lanka and laying of the Foundation for the Establishment of Bhikkuni Sasana (Order of Nuns), the bringing of Jayasri Maha Bodhi Sapling also took place on this important day of Unduvap Purapasalosvaka Poya Day.
The advent of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by Arahant Mahinda on Poson Poya Day and the establishment of the Bhikkuni Sasanaya by Sanghamitta, on Unduvap Poya Day (December) changed the entire course of Sri Lankan history. With this compassionate Religion, Philosophy, way of life, there sprang up a new Society, Economy, Culture, Arts, Crafts, Civilization, Literature, etc. Arahat Mahinda and his sister Sanghamitta never used any iniquitous, unjust, unfair, methods in spreading the teachings of Gautama Buddha. They never converted them by the power of sword. The only “weapon” they wielded way that of universal love, and compassion. Further, no decrying of other creeds ever existed in Buddhism.
With the advent of Sanghamitta Therani, on Unduvap Poya Day, and with the planting of Jayasrimaha Bodhi, sapling which she brought with her, Buddhism was deeply rooted in Sri Lanka and it laid the foundation of the establishment of Theravada Buddhism. Today, Sri Lanka is the Epic centre of Theravada Buddhism.
The spread of Buddhism helped Sri Lankans mould their lives character and personality. They followed the Five precepts, abstain from stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, intoxication, drugs and heedlessness. With the arrival of Sanghamitta and establishment of Bhikkuni Sasana – Order of the Num, the womenfolk of Sri Lanka guided men and children in Buddhist way of life.
Their motto, theme of philosophy was centred round this important Buddhist principle which defines Buddhism in a nut-shell:
To Retrain from doing evil
To indulga in doing good
To cleause one’s mind
This is the teaching of All Buddhas.
Not only Buddhists, all men, women, children in the world of all religious faiths, should follow this noble universal principles. This will definitely make this world a wonderful place to live.
According to the historical evidence, it states that there were eight under of Sanghamitta, Eleven Nuns, Sri Lankan Ambassador Aritta, who proceeded to India, members of various castes, crafts, arts accompanied Sanghamitta.
This delegation was headed by Bodhigupta. On Unduvap Poya Day they arrived from India and reached Dambukolapatuna, a harbour in the North.
They brought with them eight Bo-saplings – Astapala Bodhi. They distributed them through King Devanampiyatissa to various districts. This incident took place on Unduvap Poya Day which symbolised One Country – One Nation.
Renouncing a royal life as Emperor Asoka’s daughter, this pretty, charming princess Sanghamitta tied the nuptial knot. (proposed marriage arranged by Emperor Asoka) Sanghamitta married Aggibrama from Royalty.
They were blessed with a son – Sumana. The entire family were great followers of Buddhism and all three of them entered the Buddhist Order, in search of the Bliss of Deethlessness – Nibbana. This may be the first time that the entire family members entered the Buddhist order after the demise of Buddha.
At the toot of seniors Bhikkunis – Num – Ayupali and Dhammapali, beautiful princess Sanghamitta entered the Buddhist Order as a Bhikkuni. She lived in Sri Lanka and was a tower of inspiration to the women-folk of Sri Lanka. At the age of probably 61 years, she passed away during the reign of King Uttiya.
If you trace the Bhikkuni Sasana or order of the Num, it was first established by Mahaprajapati Gothami – Foster mother of Prince Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. Buddha elevated Khema and Uppalavanna as the two chief disciples. The Ten Senior Num were Patachara (Psychic Powers) Dhammadinna (Highest Preacher), Rupananda (Preacher), Sona (Great Effort) Sakula (Divine Power), Kundalakesi (Psychic Power) Kapilani (Authority on Past Births) Kisagothmi (observer of difficult precepts) Sigalaka Matha (Possessor of great faith). To the Bodhi Tree, under which the Buddha gained Enlightment, is an object of Veneration to Buddhists. Millions of Buddhist venerated the Jayasri Maha Bodhi at Anuradhapura.
Yassa Mule Nisinnova
Sabbari Vijayam Aka
Patto Sabbannu-Tam Sattha
Vande Tam Bodhi Padapam
(Seated at whose base, the Buddha over came all foes, attaining Omniscience, that very Bodhi-Tree do I venerate.)
Ime Ete Maha Bodhi
Loka Nathena Pujitha
Ahampi Te Namassami
Bodhi Raja Namatthu Te