- Maha Saddhamma Jotikadhaja,
Sithu Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt
Time and date were Maha Sakarit year 103, in the waning moon of the month of Pyatho [January], in the eighth month of the Enlightenment of Lord Buddha. Six years had passed since Prince Siddhatha the son and crown Prince of the King Sudhodana of Kapilavasu Kingdom renounced his mundane life at the age of 29, leaving behind his beloved wife Yasodaya and baby son Rahula to enter into the forest of Uruvala to become a recluse in quest of Truth [Dhamma].
His royal father, family, relatives and all Sakya clans were longing for him. Lord Buddha was very busy with his Dhamma duta journeys, to other places to give his teachings, and had no plan yet to return to his father’s kingdom. Impatient to wait for so long, the royal father sent a minister leading the delegation of one thousand followers to Lord Buddha to request him to return to Kapilavasa Kingdom. But all of them after hearing the teachings of Lord Buddha became Saint monks who never fulfilled their assignment nor returned home. Eight more similar delegations were sent one after another with the same results. They also became saint moths after receiving Lord Buddha’s Dhamma.
King Sudhodana became very much dejected. Kaludayi, the youngest minister at the court who was a birth-mate and play mate of Prince Siddhatha promised to carry out the assignment of inviting Lord Buddha to Kapilavasu at all cost if he were sent for that mission. So Kaludayi led the 10th delegation to Lord Buddha.
Upon receiving the Dhamma teachings of Lord Buddha they also became Saint monks. But Saint Monk Kaludayi never forgot his primary assignment and his promise to his King. He knew that Lord Buddha was very busy with his dhamma duta, teaching missions. He should wait for favourable time, place and circumstances. In the month of Tabaung, spring time arrived. The entire natural environment was aglow with all its natural beauties. Lord Buddha was resting after months of his teachings.
Saint monk Kaludayi composed the epic poem of 64 stanzas, which described the landscapes, waterscapes, skyscapes of the Himalayan Forests, riots of colours and fragrance of flora, the dancing movements and musical calls of fauna, the graceful falls of withering leaves and peepings of green buds on the branches, the fluttering of bees, and birds reminding the viewers the Law of change, the Law of impermanence.
It was the most opportune time to return to the kingdom of Kapilavasu by land on foot through the glades of the Himalayan forests. Saint monk Kaludayi after composing that 64 Gathar or poetic Stanzas in Pali, chanted them within the hearing of Lord Buddha.
Lord Buddha praised his birth mate and play mate Kaludayi who now became his disciple saint monk but faithfully carried out the assignment given him by King Sudhodana.
Lord Buddha, with ten thousands of Saint monks from Magadha Kingdom and ten thousands of Saint monks from Kapilavasu kingdom totally 20000 saint monks began his home bound journey by land on foot through the glades of the Himalaya Forest on the 1st waning day of Tabaung.
They covered the distance of one yuza a day. Finally they arrived in Kapilavasa Kingdom [which was 60 yuzanas away] on the 1st waning day of the month of Kasone [May].
At the capital of his royal father, was a big gathering to welcome and see long separated “Prince Siddhatha [now Lord Buddha].
They did not understand what Buddha was. They thought that he was a Rishi [Hermit] whom they expected to show miracles, which Lord Buddha did only to subdue them.
Then he gave his truth the dhamma, teachings, telling them to give up the caste system. The impermance of life and the way to escape from the Samsara — the whirlpool of endless sufferings till they attained Nivirna.
Another religiously important event which took place while Lord Buddha was in Kapilavathu was the establishment of Buddha Sasana by forming a group of inheritors of Buddha Sasana. At the food offering to Lord Buddha and his saint monk disciples, his ex-wife Princess Yasodhaya and Son Rahula were also present.
The mother told the son pointing to Lord Buddha. “That is your father who had left us. So you must succeed the throne of your grandfather. Go and ask him to give you patri-mony-several posts of gold. The young boy son did as he was told.
When Lord Buddha and his saint monks returned to their Vihara residing monastery Rahula and all his playmates followed Lord Buddha repeated asking for patrimony of
gold pots. Lord Buddha said “I have nothing of that sort to give you.
The only patrimony I can give you is my Sasana Dhamma inheritance”. So saying he novitiated his son and all his accompanying frieds of his age into Samenes young novitiate monks.
The great precedent of “Inheritance of Buddha Sasana was repeated by Emperor Asoka who after becoming a Buddhist was generously supporting Buddha Sasana by building 84000 stupas, temples, monasteries, rest-houses, water tanks, hospitals throughout his kingdom and sending out Buddhist mission to 9 Kingdoms and 9 states to propagate and establish Buddha Sasana.
One day he asked his guru saint monk Mogaliputa if he deserved the status of title of “Inheritor of Buddha Sasana”. The garu saint monk replied “No, your Imperial majesty. You are of course most generous in promoting Buddha Sasana. You are only supporter of Buddha Sasana, not interitor of Buddha Sasana. Either you yourself became monk and preach Dhamma or you make your own offsprings monks to preach Dhamma you are rightly entitled to be Inheritor of Buddha Sasana.
Asoka’s son Maheinda and daughter Sangamitre hearing the guru saint monk’s reply, offered themselves up to become monks. Later Bhikkhu Maheinda and Bhikkhuni Sangamitre went to Lankadipa [Srilanka] bringing with them a branch of Maha Bodhi Tree in Gaya India inclining to the direction of Lankadipa, and introduced and propagated Buddhism there.
Since then 1st waning moon day in the month of Tabaung has been commemorated ceremonially as the Day of Lord Buddha’s Return to his royal father’s kingdom by Myanmar Buddhists till today.
Besides, Saint monk Kaludayi’s epic poem of 64 stanzas is one of the most valued and appreciated literary pieces in Myanmar literature. This epic poem was translated into Myanmar and English by many writers of repute.
In the golden age of Myanmar literary history that was the first Inwa dynasty two monk poets of high erudition Shin Uttamakyaw and Shin Ohn Nyo composed Pyo-poems. Tawla [Journey through the glades of Forest] by Shin Uttamakyaw and “Gatha Chauk se Pyo by Shin Ohn Nyo are literary pieces par excellence. Dr. Ba Han one eminent scholar in the British Colonial Days literally translated into English of Tawla. The late Saya Gyi U Ko Lay [pen named Zeyya Maung] Professor of Chemistry, Principal of Mandalay University and Instructor of Abhidhamma at the International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, Mayangone Township Yangon had laboriously translated into English the original Ashin Kaludayi’s Epic Poems of 64 stanzas. In the prose and verse literature of later time, the style and influence of Kaludayi’s epic poem of 64 stanzas are evident. To cite but a few are lay
writer Taungdwingyi Saya Kyaw’s Verse “Sone Natha Myaing Shar Ponedaw Gyi and Minbu Sayadaw monk U Awbatha’s prose work “Vessandara Zat Taw Gyi”.
We learn from these works not only the Dhamma but also literary skill and style and knowledges of flora, fauna, minerals, astronomy, astrology,
geology, archaeology and anthropology of our country.