Prabarana Celebration Of Indigenous Marma and Rakhain Buddhists

The New Nation, Oct 23, 2008

Dhakka, Bangladesh -- Like other Buddhists of the world indigenous Marma and Rakhain Buddhist devotees celebrate "Woyagowaipoye" to mark the event of Prabarana Purnima in a colorful mood.

For this occasion they gather largely in "Buddha Dhatu Jadi" (Golden Temple) and Raj Vihar of Bandarban. This holy day is celebrated on the full moon of the eleventh Lunar month. Theravada Buddhists marks this day after 3 month long Barsha Brata/Vassa (Rain Retreat) which starts with the Ashari Purnima.

Marmas and Rakhains of Bangladesh who are known as one of the most virtuous community of Buddhists in the world celebrate this holy and august day of the year with special prayers in monasteries. Moreover, they observe the "Eight Precepts" (Astha Shila ) on Uposatha days to support meditation practices and to re-energize commitment to the Dhamma.

According to Buddhist scriptures, the day is celebrated to mark a significant event in the life of Buddha. According to this legend, on this day Prince Shiddharta Gutama (Buddha) descended the banks of River Anoma, cut off his hair and took off all his princely attires and jewelry to assume the life of a mendicant.

His hairs went up to the sky and were collect by "Indra" King of Devas (Holy Spirits) and have been kept in "Chullyamoni Jadi" (Hair Relic Pagoda) of "Tavatimsa" heaven where homage can be paid. To mark this event Buddhists also let go of hot air balloons called "Fanush".