The First Sermon of Buddha
After attaining perfect enlightenment, the Buddha remained in solitary retreat for seven weeks relishing the bliss of his enlightenment because he thought the ordinary world occupied by sensual pleasures would not understand his message of enlightenment which is profound, peaceful, subtle and ineffable.
he Buddha, journeyed from Bodh Gaya to Banaras and delivered the first sermon on the Four Noble Truths to his five former colleagues in Deer Park on Drugpai Tshezhi.
In the sermon, which is known as ‘Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion’, the Buddha first spelt out the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.
In his first sermon, the Buddha said, “I teach one thing and one thing only: suffering and the end of suffering,” which is the ultimate goal of Buddhism.
“Now this, Bhikkhus, is the noble truth of suffering (Dukkha): birth is suffering, ageing is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates are suffering.
Now this, Bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there; that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination.
Now this, Bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainder less fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, non-reliance on it.
Now this, Bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.”
(Bhikkhu Bodhi (tr.), The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Samyutta Nikāya), p. 1844.)
When the Buddha finished his sermon, all five ascetic audiences are said to have got enlightened and some 84,000 celestial beings are believed to have seen the truth.
Drugpai Tshezhi gives the Buddhists a special opportunity to reflect on the Buddha and his fundamental teachings of the Four Noble Truths and Right Eightfold Path.