Maha Samaya Day, a milestone of Buddhism in restoring peace

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Buddhist devotees celebrate Maha Samaya Day at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. PHOTO: Zaw Min Latt- MNA/File

By aung Kyaw Thant

The full moon day of Nayon in the Myanmar lunar calendar which generally falls in May or June was set for the Buddhist people to pay attributes in dedicating a significant religious day to the Lord Buddha. In this regard, Maha Samaya in Pali means a great occasion. It is a day when the Lord Buddha preached Maha Samaya Sutta to a gigantic number of His disciples such as members of the Sangha, laypersons, celestial beings, Brahmas and the others from various abodes.
In the fourth vasa of the Lord Buddha, a conflict based on competitively taking water from Rohani River for the farmlands located between Kapilavattu and Koliya states happened in Majjima Region which is now called the Indian continent. Such conflict was led by princes of both states. Rohani River was a great water source for both states. At that time, local people from both states suffered from the impacts of shortages of water based on the drought with lack of water consumption and cultivation. Water scarcity proved cracks of soil in the croplands. Hence, shortages in various sectors headed to starvation due to deficiency of foods. Gradually, the situation changed to almost sparking the war as both states were in severe tension.
The Lord Buddha rushed to the scene and preached the Dhamma sermon leading to restoring peace to the peoples from both states. When the Lord Buddha preached Dhamma, they respectfully took the Dhamma sermon by setting aside their anger from the conflict based on the water problem. Consequently, those from both sides saw their wrongdoings and improved their minds themselves with correct thoughts in order to cease their almost-blast conflict. Hence, they understood they needed to calm down their tension.
As part of efforts to be grateful to the Lord Buddha, kings of both states ordered their 250 princes each to receive the ordination in the order of Buddhism.
However, spouses who were left alone at the royal palaces wished to regain their husband princes. Hence, they made acts designed to disturb their past husband princes who were already ordained as monks, with the use of luxurious facilities such as singing sweet songs, dancing, spreading fragrance, display of delicious meals, and showing off their physical beauties and so on. That was why those monks did not be happy in the order of Buddhism with the thoughts of attachment to their spouses at all time. Hence, most of them were in deformation of mental and physical appearances.
As such, the Lord Buddha took them to Kundala Lake, which was very pleasant for all in the jungle of Himalaya where the Lord Buddha preached the story of Kundala bird illustrated with the use of 300 verses to the monks. At the end of preaching, those 500 monks attained the first stage of enlightenment called Sotapatti. Afterwards, the Lord Buddha accompanied by those 500 monks proceeded to Mahavuna jungle near Kapilavattu state. On arrival at the jungle, the Lord Buddha gave guidance of meditation to the Sangha who had already attained the Arahatta enlightenment for a few days. On the evening of the full moon day of Nayon, those Ariya members of the Sangha went to the Lord Buddha so as to supplicate their progress in attaining Arahatta enlightenment.
The gathering of members of the Ariya Sangha was the most admirable and magnificent. Hence, celestial beings, Brahmas and other kinds of creatures from various abodes wishing to pay homage to those members of the Sangha arrived at Mahavuna jungle on that day.
On the occasion, the Lord Buddha extended greetings to celestial beings, Brahmas and other creatures based on their lineages wishing to listen to the preaching of the Lord Buddha. They were very pleased with the greetings of the Lord Buddha. They thanked the Lord Buddha for recognizing them for their attendance. Finally, the Lord Buddha administered Maha Samaya Sutta to all.
In this regard, the Lord Buddha preached the Suttas depending on the characters of the Sangha—Samma Paribbabaniya Sutta to those with strong lust, Kalaha Vivada Sutta to those with strong anger, Maha Bharuha Sutta to those with strong delusion, Cula Bharuha Sutta to those with strong critical thinking, Tuvattaka Sutta to those with strong generosity and Purabheda Sutta to those with strong knowledge respectively.
At the end of the preaching, one lakh crores of celestial beings and Brahmans each attained the Arahtta Magga enlightenment. The numbers of celestial beings and Brahmans who attained the first, second and third stages of enlightenment were uncountable.
That is why on the day of the great significant occasion called Maha Samaya Day, all the global people need to forge the good spirit with the intention to serve the interests of others as part of doing meritorious deeds. At this juncture, the meritorious deed is not only to donate cash and kindness to any others but also to show good mental and physical behaviours in relating to others by giving a helping hand for solving the various problems of others.
The above-mentioned event highlighted the compassion of the Lord Buddha in solving the water crisis of humans. Such an event was great evidence of restoring the peace. Likewise, everybody can serve others by ceasing flames in the mind of the later ones. It may be identified as meritorious deeds.
In studying the occurrence of Maha Samaya Day, the attributes of the Lord Buddha can be vividly seen in solving the water crisis of people from both city-states. But, the compassion of the Lord Buddha helped them overcome the crisis successfully. Just the event to cause the good deeds which happened on the ground can be identified as the great significant occasion. Likewise, the celestial beings, Brahmans and many others from various abodes gathered at the scene where the Lord Buddha preached Dhamma sermon to all the congregations at that time that can also be dubbed as the great significant occasion.
In fact, the day on which Maha Samaya Day emerged was full of meritorious deeds and good things performed by the Buddhist people in honouring the day of milestone in Buddhism. All events comprised in the main episode of Maha Samaya Day did not have any faults.
But, we all have a lesson that just meritorious deeds are not enough for our lives. The primary theme of the event is to try hard to attain enlightenment so as to cut the route of the life cycle (Samsara). We all have to restore the peace of mind for the whole life circle. Actually, the Lord Buddha negotiated the restoration of peace for both states. By taking the lesson from the story, we all need to keep peace of mind in our souls. It is the best theme of Maha Samaya Day.
We can review the lesson taken from the event of Maha Samaya Day. In this regard, everybody should avoid evil acts in their lives. They all should not manipulate others in all issues. Everybody needs to hold up righteousness and honest in relating to others. They should understand why should not encroach on others and assault anyone. They know why they don’t disturb any others even they cannot lend a helping hand to each other.
The act of obedience that the people led by princes from both city-states abided by the words of advice of the Lord Buddha not to continue their conflicts proved the climax of the whole episode. If they did not obey the words of advice of the Lord Buddha, the Maha Samaya occasion would be amended. As the people who were involved in the episode had a wide range of scope, the process of emerging the Maha Samaya Day successfully came out. If not, we all have to amend the Buddhology.
The event on Maha Samaya Day highlighted that peace is of great importance for the life of the people. Whenever peace cannot be restored, worries and plights may become the flames in the hearts of people. So, they may suffer from the impacts of conflicts till their final days. Maha Samaya Sutta cannot directly contribute to the people in seeking the best way for overcoming the challenges of the life circle (Samsara). As soon as they stop the worries and anxieties in the life circle, they can get the best chance for restoring peace. Consequently, they can see the Nibbana through the enlightenment.
Now, Buddhism is flourishing across the world. Likewise, the occurrence of Maha Samaya Day polished the image of Buddhism. On the other hand, the day of Maha Samaya was a milestone of Buddhism in its history for restoring peace avoiding the exaggeration of the event on crisis based on the water sharing problem.
That is why we all should restore perpetual peace for all living beings across the world. It needs to take an example from the event of Maha Samaya Day. In fact, Maha Samaya Day proved the Lord Buddha as the great peace negotiator in the past. By understanding the great importance of peace throughout the world, all global countries need to focus on ceasing the conflicts. Let’s save the world! Let’s protect Buddhism!

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