The Arrival of
Arahat Maha Mahinda Thero and The Dawn of Poson
Dr. Ven. Dodamgoda SumanasaraThero
University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
All Sri Lankan Buddhists grandly celebrate Poson Full Moon Day which falls in
June every year. This is the day on which Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka
by Arahat Maha Mahinda Thero.
236 years since after the passing away of the Buddha, Arahat Maha Mahinda Thero
accompanied by five Arahats namely Itthiya, Uththiya, Sambala, Bhaddasala,
Sumana Samanera and a layman Bhanduka arrived at Mihintale in Anuradhapura. On
this particular day, king Devanampiyatissa was out on a hunting expedition with
his retinue. Then, Mahinda MahaThero saw the king and addressed by the king’s
name “Tissa.” Then the king was astonished and looked around to see who was
addressing him by his name. He saw Arahat Mahinda Thero accompanied by several
monks and Bhandukaupasaka on a high rock, MissakaPawwa. He was so surprised and
respectfully kept his bow and arrows down and questioned Arahat Mahinda Thero
about his arrival to Sri Lanka. Then, Arahat Mahinda Thero replied to king Tissa
that they were the disciples of the Buddha and had arrived from India out of
compassion for the king and the people of Sri Lanka.
“Samanamayam maharaja - dhammarajassasavaka
Tavewaanukampaya - jambudeepaidhagata.”
Further, he described that he was the son of Emperor Ashoka and arrived from
India to preach the doctrines of the Buddha to the people of the country. After
this explanation, Arahat Mahinda Thero asked the following questions from the
king to assess his wisdom.
Arahat Mahinda Thero: Oh King, what is this tree?
King: Most Venerable Sir, it is a mango tree.
Arahat Mahinda Thero: Are there any mongo trees here?
King: Yes, Most Venerable Sir, there are a lot of mango trees here.
Arahat Mahinda Thero: Are there trees other than this mango tree and those other
King: Yes, Most Venerable Sir, there are. But those are not mango trees.
Arahat Mahinda Thero: Are there any trees other than those mango trees and the
King: Yes, Most Venerable Sir, it is this mango tree.
Then, the Arahat Mahinda Thero asked another questions from the king regarding
the king’s relatives to further observe his intelligence.
Arahat Mahinda Thero: Oh King, have you any relatives?
King: Yes, Most Venerable Sir, I have a lot of relatives.
Arahat Mahinda Thero: Are there any others who are not your relatives?
King: Yes, Most Venerable Sir. There are.
Arahat Mahinda Thero: Is there anyone else other than your relatives and those
who are not related to you?
King: Yes, Most Venerable Sir, there is. It is me.
At the end of this friendly discussion, Arahat Mahinda Thero was so pleased with
king Tissa’s intelligence, and he understood that the king was wise enough to
embrace and follow the Buddhist doctrines of the Buddha. Eventually, Arahat
Mahinda Thero preached the Dhamma to king Tissa and his retinue. Hearing this
great Dhamma discourse the king and the retinue took refuge in the Buddha,
Dhamma, and Maha Sangha (The Noble Triple Gem). From this noble day onwards,
Buddhism gradually spread across the country and the people of this country
embraced the Dhamma and became Buddhists.