Ven. Mahanuwara Sasanawansa Thera
BUDDHIST HISTORY: The first meeting of the King Devanampiyatissa and Arahant Mahinda Thera is graphically described in the Mahavamsa, which is the beginning of the Sri Lankan Buddhist history and the culture of peace.
During this period the King of Sri Lanka was Mutasiva. His second son was Devanampiyatissa who had been a friend of emperor Asoka even before he became, King of Sri Lanka, but they had not seen each other personally.
Soon after he was enthroned as the King of Sri Lanka, he sent envoys to emperor Asoka with valuable presents. The envoys when they returned brought a particular message among other gifts from Asoka.
This particular message was that he found solace in Buddha – Dhamma at a time he was repentant over the havoc he created in his invasion to Kalinga. “Herewith I declare myself as a lay disciple in the religion of the Sakya son; Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.”
So, you too can be the best of men if you could take refuge in the best of gems, converting your mind with a believing heart. Our good actions ennobles us where in we are the sons of our deeds.
It means not to look at the expansion but just see the end result, the essence, and accommodation within you and no body can beat you if you believe in you.
On a Poson Full Moon Poya Day like today, emperor Asoka’s son Arahant Mahinda reached ‘Missaka Hill’ Mihintale in Anuradhapura. Arahant Mahinda was thirty two years old when he undertook the mission to Sri Lanka.
He had followed a Buddhist life at the age of 20 and attained Arahantship (Sainthood). On this day King Devanampiyatissa with a large party of followers went to Mihintale hills on a hunting expedition.
Arahant Mahinda addressed the King of Sri Lanka in a similar way as to one of his subordinates.
The conversation impressed the King and his retinue, they surrendered to the wisdom and calm displayed by the Arahant Mahinda. Arahant Mahinda in a reply to King’s inquiry as to who they were and whence they had come; said: “We are the disciples of the Lord of Dhamma; in compassion towards you Maharaja; We have come from India.”
No sooner he heard these words of the Arahant Mahinda the King threw away his bow and arrow and approaching Mahinda Thera exchanged greetings and sat down near him. After a brief conversation with the King, Arahant Mahinda realized that the King is not vainglorious. So he explained the importance of five precepts, in which its first precept is to abstain from destroying living things.
Accordingly to this culture of peace or Buddha – Dhamma the basis of the first precept is to cherish all life. Man’s greatest sin is the temptation to kill and eat our fellow creatures. Probably this may be the cause for the disappearance of the prehistoric times man’s herbivorous original diet.
Poson Poya reminds us a picture to purity of a deer in wildness, it tells us a vivid recollection of the scene that “in wildness in the preservation of the world.”
Its simplicity of form, in gracefulness of design and perfection of symmetry in harmony of every detail. We need animals to tame as companions and develop ‘Metta’ kindness. More over the wildlife preserve our natural balance of ecosystem.
We also undermine our humanness by destroying wildlife, and their habits. We know animals are gifted with senses and psychic powers far Keener than our ordinary human beings, and they teach us much about our animal nature in the mysterious world in which we perform our activities. Therefore the proper study of mankind is not always man. Arahant Mahinda taught us to respect the animals’ uniqueness and not to exploit or harm them, but to understand the mystery, majesty and wonder of animal kingdom. Since the gradual disappearance of herbivorous diet from man having all the richness and variety abundantly available; senseless, relentless, terror, violence, war grew out as a result of it.
Frustration and pain suffered by animals from blood-shed in slaughter houses entered into the cybernetics in our cyber-space polluting its serene atmosphere.
Men with wisdom and sagacity can better understand the rationale of the first precept of not to kill but to preserve life and allow nature to maintain its own balance. Nature possess a balance and sustains only in the absence of human sophistication, in which beauty and unperturbness intrinsically prevails.
Human beings cannot shape it, because it cannot be shaped, nor can it be insisted upon. Those who try to shape it damages it. Those who insists upon loses it. There is more in it than the sensual eye.
Should we though persists in our oppression and savage slaughtering our fellow creatures, who share a common destiny in this imperiled planet we will be adding to our already heavy burden of ‘Kamma’, retributive effect.
Hence it will be a ‘Kamma’, that one day we will have to expiate in a sea of blood and tears. For no matter whatever else we like to believe one thing is certain the law of ‘Kamma,’ cannot be out witted.
May all mankind understand about the culture of peace, where all differences vanish and the world is one. Let the radiance of this Dhamma enlighten in all that every thing belongs to every one.
The writer is from Vivekaramaya, Madawa, Pilessa, Kurunegala.