Esala Poya Day Message
Ven. Dr. Mirisse Dhammika thero
Esalafull moon Poya day is regarded by Buddhists all over the world as a day of
great significance. This is because the first Dhamma sermon, the Dhammachakka
Pavaththana Sutta of the Tathagata Buddha, was preached on this day.
After attaining enlightenment, the Buddha remained near the Asethu Bo Tree for
seven weeks to show his gratitude and respect towards the tree that had given
him shelter during the process of his enlightenment. Thereafter, he pondered
about whom to first preach the Dhamma to. Finally, he decided to preach the
Dhamma first to the five ascetics who had assisted him during his six-year
period of self-mortification. They were called; Kondanna, Wappa, Baddhiya,
Mahanama and Assaji. Thus, the Buddha set off towards the Isipathana Deer Park
in Benaris where the five ascetics resided at the time. The first Dhamma
Discourse was held on that fateful Asala Poya Day.
Moreover, in the contents of that discourse, the Buddha preached that one should
follow the Middle Path (Majjhimapatipada) but not the two extreme paths of
Self-Indulgence (Kamasukallikanuyogaya) and Self-Mortification (Aththakilamathanuyogaya).
The Middle Path includes; the right understanding, the right concepts, the right
speech, the right action, the right livelihood, the right effort, the right
mindfulness, the right concentration. When following the Middle Path, one would
be able to realize the four Noble Truths; “the truth of suffering, the truth of
the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the
path that leads to the end of suffering.”
Within this Dhamma, the core teachings of Buddhism, being the Karma, Rebirth and
Introspection/Dependent Origination, is enshrined. This path leads to the end of
suffering. These Noble teachings should not only be listened to but also
followed as diligently as possible. When following this, one’s defilements would
Even during this uncertain period of the pandemic, it is important to understand
and follow this path as Buddhists. In this manner, the theory of the Noble
Truths should be followed in order to end suffering and not to prolong it.
Hence, we as Buddhists must understand the impermanence of life and try not to
grasp at materialistic things and emotions. Instead, we must try to be mindful
and work towards ending the suffering of the samsara journey.
Another important event starts from Esala Poya day, that is the Rainy Season
Retreat ( WasKalaya) which will prevail for three months. All the high ordained
Monks (UpasampadaBikkhus) are supposed to observe Rainey Retreat in order to the
improve themselves to reach the enlightenment. Simultaneously, during the Rainy
Retreat period lay persons continue good practices towards the path of
enlightenment, whilst supporting the Venerable Monks with four requisites.