Colombo, February 16 (newsin.asia/Daily Mirror): Sri Lankan Buddhists celebrated the Nawam Poya organizing processions featuring richly caparisoned elephants, male and female dancers attired in colorful clothes, pipers and drummers and other entertainers. The event at the Gangaramaya temple in Colombo attracted tourists also.
Nawam Poya recalls the bringing together all monks for the first-ever Buddhst congregation in history, the appointment of Arahants Sariputta and Moggallana, by the Enlightened one as his chief disciples, the promulgation of pre-liberation or collection of precepts of Vinaya or discipline and the determination of the term of life of the enlightened one by Gautama Buddha are significant events associated with Navam Full Moon Poya Day. These events make Navam Poya a day of paramount importance for Buddhists worldwide.
FIRST-EVER BUDDHIST CONGREGATION
On the eve of the first Navam Full Moon Poya Day after the enlightenment of Gautama Buddha, there were more than one thousand two hundred and fifty disciples in the order of Maha Sangha. The enlightened one envisaged the need for principles of management to maintain the moral conduct and discipline of the followers. Although there had been no problem until then, the farsighted enlightened one would have anticipated incidents of breach of conduct and morality when the community of Sangha grew in number and variety.
DELEGATION OF POWERS BY THE ENLIGHTENED ONE
The Buddha had observed the inconvenience caused to his prospective disciples who had to come all the way to Veluvanaramaya – where the enlightened one dwelled – whenever they required his advice or wanted their doubts clarified. During the early days after enlightenment, the aspirants of asceticism or monasticism were ordained by the Buddha himself. At the first congregation, Gautama Buddha introduced the principles of delegation of powers and functions and requested the members of the Maha Sangha to ordain the aspirants of asceticism without requiring them to come all the way to see the Buddha when they wanted clarification and further advice.
APPOINTMENT OF ARAHANTS SARIPUTTA AND MOGGALLANA AS CHIEF DISCIPLES
It was on this day that ascetic Sariputta entered the Rahat path, the last and highest path to Nirvana. On the same day, the Buddha appointed Sariputta as his chief disciple “Dakkhinasavu.” Moggallana who had attained Arahantship a fortnight earlier was appointed as the other chief disciple, “Wamathsavu.” Some disciples were concerned over the fact that Arahant Sariputta, who had attained sainthood on the same day, was appointed as the chief disciple despite the fact that there were many others who had attained Arahantship earlier. The Buddha with his divine eye realised what the disciples were reflecting upon and cleared their doubts by explaining the circumstances under which these appointments were made. The Buddha pointed out that proper place had been offered to proper persons.