Today is Vesak Full Moon Poya Day, which marks the tri-fold events in the life of the Buddha; the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and passing away which is the attainment of parinibbana.
Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born on a Vesak Full Moon Poya Day in the garden of Lumbini in present day Nepal, as the Prince of Kusinagar, to King Suddhodana and Queen Mahamaya.
Prince Siddharta Gautama’s supreme attainment as the Buddha, the “Enlightened One”, also took place on a Vesak Full Moon Poya Day, while the 3rd event which is the attainment of parinibbana – over 2500 years ago – also occurred on a similar day.
The 3rd visit of the Buddha to Sri Lanka is recorded to have taken place on a Vesak Full Moon Poya Day, when the Buddha visited Kelaniya in the 8th year of enlightenment, with 500 arahats, upon the invitation of the Naga King Mani Akkhitha.
Upon the invitation of the God Saman, the Buddha placed his sacred foot print at the peak of the Samanala Kanda on such a day. Historical records state, the Buddha visited 12 locations including Diva Guhawa and Deeghawapiya.
The Buddha’s close aid, Ananda Thera also passed away on a Vesak Poya Day.
According to the Mahawansa, Prince Vijaya and his 700 followers who left India arrived at the shores of Sri Lanka on a Vesak Poya Day, while the foundation stone for the Ruwanmeli Seya in Anuradhapura was laid by King Dutugemunu, on such a day.
President Maithripala Sirisena in his Vesak message says, “on this momentous day of Vesak, we must recollect the teachings of the Buddha to build a society with boundless peace, by shunning all attempts to destroy each other for the greed for power. He further states, for a society to blossom without fear, danger and mistrust, the Buddha has preached: “hatred will not heal hatred, but kindness will heal hatred”.