The Buddha's First Teaching
Buddha's first teaching was called the Dhammacakkappavattana
Sutta, which means the Turning of the Wheel of Truth.
It was given on the full-moon day of July, called Asalha.
discourse was given 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.
Buddha started the discourse by advising the five ascetics
to give up two extremes. These were indulgence in sensual
pleasures and the tormenting of the body (self-indulgence
advised against too much sensual pleasure because these pleasures
were base, worldly, not noble and unhelpful in spiritual development.
On the other hand, tormenting the body was painful, not noble
and also unhelpful in spiritual development. He advised them
to follow the Middle Way, which is helpful in seeing things
clearly, as they are, and in attaining knowledge, higher wisdom,
peace, and enlightenment or nirvana.
Buddha then taught the five ascetics the Four Noble Truths.
They are: the truth of suffering; its cause; its end; and
the way to its end. Everything in this world is full of suffering,
and the cause of suffering is craving. The end of suffering
is nirvana. The way to the end of suffering is via the Noble
Buddha said that he was enlightened only after he understood
these Four Noble Truths.
Noble Eightfold Path has eight parts or factors:
Right understanding means to know and understand the
Four Noble Truths.
2. Right attitude means to have three kinds of thoughts
Thoughts of renunciation or an attitude of "letting go".
(ii) Thoughts of goodwill to others, which are opposed to
(iii) Thoughts of harmlessness, as opposed to cruelty.
Right speech deals with refraining from falsehood,
such as telling lies or not telling the truth; tale-bearing
or saying bad things about other people; harsh words and frivolous
talk such as gossiping.
Right action deals with refraining from killing, stealing
and sexual misconduct.
Right livelihood deals with the five kinds of trade
which should be avoided in order to lead a noble life. They
are: trading in arms (weapons), living beings (breeding animals
for slaughter), intoxicating drinks and poison.
Right effort has four parts using meditation:
To try to stop unwholesome thoughts that have arisen
(ii) To prevent unwholesome thoughts from arising.
(iii) To try to develop good thoughts
(iv) To try to maintain good thoughts that have arisen
Right mindfulness is also fourfold. It is mindfulness
of the body, mindfulness of feelings/sensations, mindfulness
of thoughts passing through the mind and mindfulness of Dharma.
Right concentration is one-pointedness of mind as developed
eight factors can be grouped into three smaller groups, as