Significance of Esala Poya
The Esala Full Moon Poya Day is also one of the greatest significance Poya day out of all Poya days. Therefore it marks several important events in the Lord Buddha’s life. The conception of Prince Siddhartha in the womb of Mahamaya, Birth of Prince Rahula, Prince Siddhartha gave up his lay life, Buddha delivered the first sermo, Preaching the Abhidharmaya, beginning of the Vas Kalaya and The Sacred Tooth Relic took place on this Poya day.
Conception of Siddhartha in the womb of Mahamaya
The conception of Prince Siddhartha in the womb of goddess Mahamaya occurred on this Esala Poya day. Our great Bodhisattva, who was born in Thusitha heaven after the of Wessanthara life became conception in the womb of Goddess Mahamaya.
Birth of Prince Rahula and Prince Siddhartha gave up his lay life
Prince, Siddhartha and Princess Yasodhara’s son, Prince Rahula was born on this Poya day. However, on this same day at the age of twenty-nine, Prince Siddhartha saw the four omens and gave up his lay life.
Meanwhile, Prince, Siddhartha donned the robes of an ascetic and went in search of Enlightenment or Buddhahood as he became disillusioned with lay life after encountering an old man, a sick man, and a corpse.
Siddhartha realized everyone including himself a prince must go through old age, sickness, and death. Six years after the Lord Buddha became the attained enlightenment in Vesak Poya day.
The four omens
- An old man
- A sick man
- A corpse
- A holy man
The Supreme Buddha delivered the first sermon
Firstly, the Supreme Buddha preached the first Dhamma sermon to five ascetics at the Deer Park in Isipatana in India. There he heard the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta and obtained the Kondañña Rahath. The were five ascetics, who had been Buddha’s former companions.
The five ascetics
Preaching the Abhidharmaya
The Supreme Buddha ascended to the Tauvthisa heaven and preached the Abhidharmaya to the gods, including the Maathru Divya Rajaya (Goddess Mahamaya).
Performed the Yamaka Maha Prathiharya
The Supreme Buddha attempts to break the ego of the Sakya clansmen at the base of the Gandhambha tree.
Buddha rise into the air and walked over and Buddha made flames come out of the upper part of his body and water from the lower part. Secondly, Buddha reversed the process. After that, the Lord Buddha created fire to come out of the right side of his body and water from the left side of his body. Buddha also emitted six resplendent rays of light from his body.
The first segment boundary in the Maha Vihara boundary
Adoption of the first segment boundary in the Maha Vihara Simava passed by Arahant Mahinda the Great.
56 Sinhalese received the Upasampada
Another important event that happened on Esala Poya day is, the first ordination of a Sri Lankan took place in Anuradhapura. Meanwhile, fifty-six Sinhalese and Prince Ariththa, nephew of King Devanampiyatissa received as a upasampada bhikkhu ordained by Arahath Mahinda.
The beginning of the Vas Kalaya
Yet another important event is the beginning of the Vas Kalaya for bhikkhus on this poya day. Vas Kalaya commences on the day after this poya day. However, Bhikkhus who were not able to start Vas Kalaya Esala Poya day will be allowed to start late Vas on the next poya day which is Nikkini Poya (August month).
The Sacred Tooth Relic
On this Esala Poya, the Sacred Tooth Relic was brought to Sri Lanka by Prince Dantha and Princess Hemamala the daughter of the Indian King of Kalinga.
The then King of Kalinga, greatly afraid that the Hindu kings may try to destroy the Sacred Tooth Relic. Therefore, the King instructed his daughter, Princess Hemamala and her husband Prince Dantha took to bring the Sacred Tooth Relic to Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan King was a good religious Buddhist and the King of Kalinga thought that the Sacred Tooth Relic where it would be safe.
Princess Hemamala dressed up as a normal woman and she hid the Sacred Tooth Relic in her hair. Both of them left the port Tamalitti, Kalinga and sailed to Sri Lanka, and landed at Lankapattana. After that, Princess Hemamala and Prince Dantha were on foot to Anuradhapura and handed over the Sacred Tooth Relic to King Kithsirimevan (AD 303-331).