Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Full Moon Day of Thadingyut, the Abdidhamma Day

By the practice of middle way (Mijjhimapatipada), Gotama Buddha became the Enlightened One (Sammasambuddha) in 103 Maha Era (588 BC) on Wednesday, the full moon day of Kason. Seven years later, Buddha went into the seventh rain retreat (Vassa) in the Tavatimsa Heaven to preach Abhidhamma (Higher and subtle Dhamma) to His former mother. So, sat cross-legged nobly on the emerald throne (Pantu Kambala) of Sakka under the coral tree of Tavatimsa. Then the Buddha propounded Abhidhamma to His mother Santussita deva in the assembly of Devas and Brahmas from the ten thousands of universes. It took three months of vassa (90 days). The Abhidhamma desana consists of seven sets of voluminous works namely: 

(1) Dhamma-Sangani (Classification of Dhammas)_12 days
(2) Vibhanga (The Book of Analysis)_12 days
(3) Dhatukatha (Discourse on Elements)_6 days
(4) Puggala-Pannatti (Identification of Individuals)_7 days
(5) Katha-Vatthu (Points of Controversy) _8 days
(6) Yamaka (The Book of Pairs)_20 days
(7) Patthana (The Book of Causal Relations)_25 days = total 90 days.

The Lord Buddha expounded this Abhidhamma Pitaka in three ways as follows:
(1) Elaborate, (2) Brief, and (3) Brief nor Elaborate.

(1) Elaborate (Ati-vitthara desana)
The Blessed One preached the elaboration of Abhidhamma at Tavatimsa__to show the gratitude owed to the former mother; to let all beings know the parent's attributes; to expound the whole Abhidhamma at one sitting; and thus, the listeners will be aware of the subtle and wide dhamma, getting good benefits and as it is impossible for human deportment and life span.

(2) Brief (Ati-sankhepa desana)
For taking a bath and going on the alms round, the Buddha had to descend back to the human world. At that moment, He vowed to create His own image as a Buddha at Tavatimsa. At the Sandal forest in the Himalaya Mountain, while having a bath in the Anotatta lake, the Venerable Sariputta attended respectfully to the Buddha. And the Lord Buddha preached the daily briefing of Abhidhamma lectures to him.

(3) Brief nor Elaborate (Nati-vitthara Nati-sankhepa desana)
Every day, Ashin Sariputta Mahathera retaught the brief Dhamma from the Tathagata to his five hundred disciples of bhikkhu , who had been bats in a previous existence. It was a Dhammic form of neither too brief nor too elaborate. Next day, this indirect Abhidhamma discourses were related to the Buddha and confirmed by Him.

In the seventh vassa of 103 Maha Era (588 BC), the Abidhamma desana, the higher teaching of the Buddha became prominent and propagated simultaneously in both world of deva and human. 

On the full moon day of Thadingyut (October) i.e. the end of the seventh Rain retreat, after His Abhidhamma lectures, the Lord Buddha descended back to the city of Sankassa in the human world from Tavatimsa. In this celebration, the Sakka created three stairways. They are: 
(1) a golden one on the right for the devas,
(2) a silver one on the left for the Brahmas and

(3) a ruby one in the middle for the Lord Buddha.

Many deities accompanied the Buddha. They also held brilliant celestial regalia, making devotional offering such as:
Panca Thinkha deva on the right played the “Veluva” harp,
Matali deva on the left carried flowers and fragrance,
Suyama deva carried the yak tail fly whisk,
Santussita deva held the ruby-studded gold fan,
Sakka blew the “Vizayuttara” conch shell, and 
Brahma Sahampati on the left held the white umbrella over.

Before the Buddha set right foot upon the earth, at the gate of stairway, Ashin Sariputta Mahathera firstly paid obeisance to the Lord Buddha. After that the crowd that awaited also paid homage to the Blessed One. The spot where the Tathagata had set His right foot on the earth was later regarded as a sacred place and calledAcala Cetiya-thana”.

With reference to expounding the Great Abhidhamma, Buddhists all over the world recognized the Full Moon Day of Thadingyut (October) as Abhidhamma Day”. On that day Buddhist devotees also celebrate with recitation of the Abhidhamma. “Thadingyut Light Festival” is held in all Theravada countries as a Buddhist tradition because of offering lighting to the Buddha. It would be a good deeds of inheritance for posterity.

Posted by Nyan U

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