Poson full-moon poya day, also known as Poson Festival or Poson Poya Day, is a Buddhist holiday that commemorates the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka in the third century B.C. Poson, which takes place on the June full moon, honors the moment when King Devanampiyatissa was converted to Buddhism almost 2,000 years ago by Arahat Mahinda, the son of Indian Emperor Asoka. The primary locations for festivities are Anuradhapura, the former capital, and Mihintale, the historic monastery complex where Mahinda, a royal missionary monk, delivered the first sermon to the reigning king. The festivities include illumination pageants and large-scale religious observances.
Only Vesak is more significant to Buddhists than this holy day of Poson. Even though Poson is observed all over the island, the main celebrations take place in Anuradhapura and Mihintale. Long rows of white-clad worshippers ascend the Mihintale hill’s numerous steps first to the temple, then to the dagobas that adorn the neighboring hillocks. Additionally, a lot of followers ascend to the very top of the rock, where Arahat Mahinda gave his first teachings.
This holy day of Poson is second only to Vesak in importance to Buddhists. Poson is observed throughout the island, although the two main rituals are at Anuradhapura and Mihintale. Long lines of white-clad worshippers ascend the steep stairs to the top of Mihintale hill, first to the temple, then to the dagobas that adorn the neighboring hillocks. A lot of devotees also climb to the very top of the rock, where Arahat Mahinda gave his first lectures, to pay their respects.
The Poson season in Sri Lanka is marked by a plethora of religious events, including Sil campaigns, Bodhi Poojas, Dansalas (where people freely provide food, coffee, and tea), Poson devotional songs, Poson pandols (thoran), and lanterns. Poson pandols and Poson lanterns are made in great quantities in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.
To commemorate this momentous occasion, Atasil devotees and pilgrims from all across Sri Lanka have descended upon Poson’s numerous temples. The devoted make their way to the temple to spend the following twenty-four hours in peaceful reflection. They are dressed entirely in white, without jewelry or make-up.
After dusk, the villagers congregate on the temple grounds to engage in less serious religious pursuits like reading sacred texts or listening to a saffron-clad monk recount old tales from Lord Buddha’s earlier incarnations. Typically, alcohol and flesh sales are outlawed during the Poson Festival, and abattoirs are shut down.
A festival of great piety and sanctity that emphasizes compassion for all living things is also one of great color and celebration, with streets, homes, and public spaces decorated with lovely and intricately decorated hand-made paper lanterns, both large and small, glittering with illuminations, pandals depicting various events in the Buddha’s life or his previous lives.
Arahant Mahinda Thera tests the king’s knowledge
The conversion of the monarch Dharmasoka’s Dig Vijaya strategy to Dharma Vijaya policy led to the dispatch of Buddhist missionaries to Sri Lanka and other nations. Arahant Mahinda Maha Thera, Emperor Dharmasoka’s own son, led the delegation. Arahant Mahinda Maha Thera was accompanied on this mission by Arahants Ittiya, Uttiya, Sambala, and Baddasala. In addition, Sumana Samanera joined them. Bhanduka Upasaka, who had attained Anagami, the third of the four paths or stages leading to Nirvana, was the only layperson involved in this mission.
It was a nice day with good weather, and King Devanampiyatissa went hunting in the royal park “Missaka Pawwa” with the help of his warriors. A strong deer moved quickly by the king’s side. The king was pressed for time. On that joyous day, the biggest deer was to be killed by none other than the king himself. He took an arrow from his quiver and shot at the buck. His arrow stayed still. The monarch was standing at the base of a mountain, and a ray of light emanated from its summit. He heard a lovely voice calling his name. The monarch was extremely worried about anyone in this realm who may dare to address him by his name.
He probably would have regretted missing his game as well. He wasn’t irritated, though, because the remarks were pleasant. The king, who was standing astonished at the base of a mango tree, glanced up and noticed a figure dressed in yellow robes with rays emanating from the spectrum. The king was unable to take his eyes off of this intriguing figure. He was astounded. The king reasoned that this “should be a supernatural being.” The king has only before seen one figure. One by one, the Samanera and the Upasaka joined the other four arahants in emerging. Arahant Mahinda confirmed that the king was willing to hear him out.
The allure of Missaka Pawwa for the great king was that it contained the riches he had been seeking to find. His hands lost control of his bow and arrow. He knelt down on the ground beneath the mango tree with his hands clasped together. By presenting the Dhamma in a conventional manner, Arahant Mahinda Maha Thera wanted to assess the king’s knowledge and intelligence and see if he could comprehend it.
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