Ba Sein (Religious Affairs)
The Significant and Noble Day of Abhidhamma (the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut, Mahapavarana Day) falls on 5th October, 2017.
In the fourth week, after attaining the enlightenment, the Omniscient Buddha began to contemplate and review the Dhamma (the truth). He had realized near the Bodhi tree. On His seventh Vassa (Seven Years) of enlightenment, the Omniscient Buddha, out of compassion for the Devas and Brahmas, went to the Tavatimsa Devaloka (Celestial abode) where he prached the Abhidhamma Pitaka (Basket of Ultimate things) for a full three months to His deceased mother who was reborn as Santusita Deva, and also to the other Devas and Brahmas assembled there, hoping to make them realize the four ultimate things for which a Knowledge of Abhidhamma is absolutely necessary because it deals with the highest and ultimate sense of things springing into being as facts as distinct from mere names.
After preaching Abhidhamma (Ultimate Truth) to His deceased mother, Santusita Deva and other Devas and Brahmas for a full three months, the Omniscient Buddha returned to the human abode on the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut. According to the Pali Text, three decorated stairways of silver, gold and ruby beginning from the top of the great Mount Meru to the gate of Sankassa town on earth were created as a token of paying deep homage to the Omniscient Buddha who returned to the human abode. The Omniscient Buddha took the middle stairway accompanied by Devas and Brahmas who took right stairway and left stairway. All Devas and Brahmas from the Tavatimsa Devaloka (Celestial abode) paid deep homage to the Omniscient Buddha for a full three months from 1st Waning of Waso to Full Moon of Thadingyut. According to the Vinaya rules of the Omniscient Buddha, the period of a full three months from 1st Waning of Waso to Full Moon of Thadingyut (round about from mid-July to mid-October) is retreat-period of Buddhists. During retreat-period, all Buddhist monks must not have to go away from their residence (monasteries, temples) not more than seven days. Especially, they have to fulfill their religious duties (Ganthadhura and Vipassanadhura) during the retreat-period more than before. All Buddhist monks have followed and practiced the said Vinaya rules since over 2560 years ago.
When the Omniscient Buddha descended from Tavatimsa (Celestial abode), the Devas and Brahmas accompanied Him putting up white sacred umbrellas and fanning Him. At that time, because of unlimited miraculous powers, supernormal powers and glory of the Buddha, the whole earthlings could see the magnificent celestial abode, and also the Devas and Brahmas could see hundreds of thousands of millions of people greeting and paying deep homage to the Omniscient Buddha who descended at the gate of Sankassa Town of the human abode on the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut (Mahapavarana Day).
The Full Moon Day of Thadingyut (Mahapavarana Day) has been marked by Buddhists as the significant and noble day of Abhidhamma since then (over 2559 years ago). On the auspicious occasion of the Abhidhamma (Mahapavarana Day), in remembrance of the Omniscient Buddha, members of the Sangha recite Abhidhamma discourses, and multifarious Buddhist devotees offer lights, water, flowers, incense, fragrant scents, fruits and other offertories. And also, Dhamma talks about Abhidhamma (Mahapavarana) Day are held. On this noble day, most Buddhists keep nine-precepts for their meritorious deeds dedicating to the attainment of noble stage of Nibbana (supreme bliss).
The Pali term Abhidhamma is composed of Abhi which means subtle or ultimate, and Dhamma which means truth or doctrine. The Abhidhamma, therefore, means subtle or ultimate truth or doctrine. The Abhidhamma Pitaka consists of the four ultimate things, Mind (Citta), Psychicfactor (Cetasikas), Matter (Rupa) and Nibbana. It is the most important and most interesting to a deep thinker. It is subdivided into seven books.
When the Omniscient Buddha had preached Abhidhamma for a full three months to His deceased mother who was reborn as Santusita Deva and to other Devas and Brahmas at the celestial abode, He said to the king of the celestials that He would return to the human abode. Therefore, the king of the celestial created and arranged three stairways of silver, gold and ruby beginning from the top of the great Mount Meru to the gate of Sankassa Town of the human abode.
Sending forth the six coloured rays emanated from His body, the Omniscient Buddha descended by the middle stairway of ruby to the gate of Sankassa Town of the human abode (on earth). The Devas (Celestial beings) accompanied the Buddha from the right side stairway of gold playing musical instruments and fanning the Omniscient Buddha. The Brahmas (higher celestial beings) accompanied the Omniscient Buddha from the left side stairway of silver putting up white umbrellas.
At the time, when the Omniscient Buddha returned from the celestial abode to the human abode, the highest Brahma realm, Ekamanta, the lowest Aviji (Apaya planes of miserable existences), the four cardinal points, the ten directions and thousands of worlds were clearly visible without any blockage and barrier because of unlimited miraculous powers, supernormal powers and glory of the Omniscient Buddha.
People could see the whole celestial abode, Devas and Brahmas, and all celestial beings in turn viewed more than hundreds of thousands of millions of people who were welcoming and paying deep homage to the Omniscient Buddha. There was no one that did not wish and pray to become a Buddha, the most noble wish after witnessing the most surpassing splendour.
Up to this day, we can visualize the most surpassing splendour and significant event of the Omniscient Buddha descending to the earth from the great Mount Meru accompanied by Devas and Brahmas to the gate of Sankassa, Town of the human abode.
On the full Moon Day of Thadingyut, we all Buddhists generously offer lights, water, flowers, scents, fruits, food and other various kinds of offertories to pagodas and monasteries and also pay respect to teachers, parents and elders.
These meritorious deeds dedicate to the attainment of the noble stage of Nibbana through the most surpassing splendour and significant event of the Omniscient Buddha descending to the human abode from the celestial abode on the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut.