The Buddhas First Sermon Essay Research Paper

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The Buddhas First Sermon Essay, Research Paper Expound the Contents of the Buddha s First Sermon. Buddhism is a large and complex subject, and we should be wary of generalizations made on the basis of familiarity with any single part. In particular, statements which begin Buddhists believe or Buddhism teaches must be treated with circumspection quote from (Keown 1996: 2) (Few sentences here referring to what generally buddhism is. Need a reference for it. Use quote that 28% of British believe in reincarnation to emphasise the spread of the teaching of Buddhism) Siddharta Gautama (563-483 BCE) was born into a wealthy family. His father, Suddhodana, owned many palaces. His birth was surrounded by mysterious events, records state that he was conceived when his mother, Maya,

dreamed that a white elephant had entered her side (From The Nidanakatha, a biography of The Buddha) This was later translated to mean that the child would become either a great emperor or religious leader. In the Buddha s early life his father was so afraid that his son would leave him to pursue his destiny, made him try to protect him from unpleasantness. He used to make sure the streets by the palace were filled with happy people and free from illness, disease and old age when the Buddha would roam the area. However, many believe that, due to divine intervention on four separate outings from the palace, the Buddha encountered an old man, a sick man, a corpse being taken to the cremation ground and finally a religious mendicant. These events shocked the Buddha, he thought how

not even the palace walls could protect him from suffering. Buddha was to recognise the basis of change and becoming. Through meditation he came to the great realisation: All is passing, all is sorrow, all is unreal. Everything is impermanent, subject to change, decay and ultimate annihilation. His belief was that there is no lasting satisfaction to be found in clinging to sensory pleasures, for they are bound to pass; they have no basis in reality. But he recognised too that behind this change there was something permanent, an unchanging reality that gives rise to all forms, all thoughts. This he called nirvana. In this state of enlightenment, the pangs of desire, of regret and sorrow dissolve, and the selfless qualities of kindness, compassion, love and serenity blossom forth.

This was a profound psychological insight with a spiritual purpose, to come to understand, and to conquer, suffering; to make peace with the way things are. Thus, the Buddha is venerated not as a god, nor as an emissary of god, but as a man who has unlocked a fundamental truth of human existence, and in doing so given other men the teaching by which they can free themselves from suffering and unhappiness. Buddha was unsure if he should become a religious teacher, he didn t think it was possible to explain to others the profound realisation he had discovered. He changed his mind when one of the gods appealed for him to teach to others his discovery. The Buddha s first sermon was called Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta which means the establishment of wisdom, or the Turning of the Wheel

of Truth. It was preached on the full-moon day of July, called Asalha. The sermon is extremely important within Buddhism as it states the main teachings of Buddhism. The symbol of the wheel became very important within Buddhism, it represented the Dharma (Buddha s teachings) and his first sermon started the wheel in motion (Keown 1996) . This sermon was preached to the five ascetics who were his former companions at the Deer Park in Isipatana (now called Sarnath), near Benares, India. Many devas and Brahmas (angels and gods) were present to listen to the discourse. The five ascetics who he taught to were previous companions of the Buddha. The six of them together had tried to find enlightenment through ascetic self-mortification. They undertook meditation without breathing and