Revisiting Buddha's first sermon on 'Guru Purnima'
The first sermon that Gautama Buddha gave his first five disciples is called the 'first turn of the wheel of Dharma'. In this sermon, the Buddha taught four noble truths.
Today, July 16, happens to be Guru Purnima. Indians celebrate the full moon in July as Guru Purnima. On this day, it is tradition that teachers and gurus are remembered. It is also considered an auspicious day to begin children’s education.
Guru Purnima is celebrated in different countries under different names, in accordance with local culture and tradition. Sri Lanka celebrates Guru Pournami tomorrow as Dharma Day. It is an auspicious day in Thailand.
This is the day when Buddha began teaching. As soon as the Buddha attained enlightenment, he went to find his disciples and tell them about his experience. It is believed that the first sermon of the Buddha took place at the deer park in Sarnath. This event is generally regarded as the beginning of Buddhism.
In the 'first turn of the wheel of Dharma', the Buddha taught the following four noble truths.
They are, in life:
1) suffering (dukkha)
2) the suffering caused by longing (Tanha).
3) a state (nirvana) beyond suffering and longing;
4) There are number of ways to achieve nirvana, namely correct vision – seeing the nature of things, a precise understanding of them; right purpose - avoiding attachment, hate and harmful thoughts; correct speech - refrain from verbal abuse, lying, harsh words, and senseless speech; correct action - abstaining from physical wrongdoing such as murder, theft, and sexual abuse; proper livelihoods- trades that directly or indirectly harm, such as slaughtering animals, selling drugs or poison.; proper effort - abandoning negative thinking that has arisen, preventing the negativity that has not yet arisen, and maintaining the positives already there; perfect memory - awareness of the body, emotions, thoughts and events; and perfect concentration, single-mindedness.
Traditionally, Buddhist monks stopped their nomadic lifestyle for three months. They stay put until the rainy season, and use this time as a time of meditation and reflection. At the end of this period, they send the Buddha's teachings to those who are interested, and resume their journey.
Dharma Day is seen as an opportunity to thank the Buddha and other enlightened teachers for sharing their knowledge with others.
[Autotranslated from Tamil]