The Importance of Il Poya


The Il Poya falls on November full moon. It is the last Poya of the “Wassana” Rainy Season and a number of important incidents occurred on this day. Therefore, it is a significant day in the Buddhist calender.

The announcement of the future Buddhahood of Maitriya Bodhisatva, the first Buddhist Missionary activity by the Sixty Arahath, Jatila Brothers entering the Buddhist Order, Festival of “Devaharohana” or Ascend to heaven by Gautama Buddha, accepting a Robe from the future Buddha Maitriya, who was a disciple of the Buddha.

Passing away of the Chief Disciple Sariputta and laying of Gautama Buddha’s Dakunu Aku Datuwa tooth in the right jaw, in the first Dagoba Thuparama Chaitya, constructed by ‘King Devanampiyatissa, are some of the noteworthy events that took place on Il Poya day.

Further, Buddhist in Sri Lanka Commemorate Il Poya as the “Cheevara Masaya.” The offering of “Katina Cheevaraya” is considered as a highly meritorious act, which take place in most of the Temples during the month of Il. The Katina Cheevara is brought to their respective temples in processions and offered to the resident Upasampada monks, who observed Vas. (Rainy Retreat) for nearly three months.

Sariputra was one of the ten major disciples of the Buddha. Born in a village to the North of Rajagraha in Magadha, India he became a follower of the famous ascetic Samjaya, along with Moggallana. Each had one hundred disciplines, and all of them became followers of the Enlightened One, after the conversion of their masters. Sariputra was regarded as the most brilliant of the Buddha’s disciples. He passed away while Buddha was alive.

Arahat Sariputra, on divining that his death was drawing near, made up his mind to end his Sansara Journey at the house in which he was born, after converting his mother Rupasari, from Brahmin Faith to Buddhism, informed the Enlightened One, accordingly and obtained permission to go with a Retinue of Bhikkhus to his native village named Nalaka seven days prior to attainment of Nibbana which occurred on an Il Full Moon Poya Day.

Another important landmark event that took place on Il Full Moon Poya Day was the receipt of pemission (Niyatha Vivarana) by Bodhisatra Maitriya to be the next Enlightened One or the Future Buddha Maitriya. Siriwaddana had entered the Buddhist Order as Bhikku Maitriya. The Buddhas with his divine vision and insight, predicted that in Benares there will be a kingdom known as “Kethumathi” and a king called Sanka whose advisor Subrahamme and his wife Brahamawathi will be parents of Future Buddha Maitriya and that he will attain enlightenment under Banyan Tree. The prediction of emergence of the future Buddha was announced on Il Full Poya Poya Day.