Wednesday, May 11, 2011
The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta [Part one]
The full title is the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, but it is widely known as the Dhammacakka Sutta.
After attaining Enlightenment the Buddha was at first reluctant to teach the Dhamma that he had realised. He considered, "This Dhamma is profound and goes against the flow of sensual desire; most people are strongly attached to and immersed in sensual pleasures." However, he reasoned that some were not too strongly attached, and were already searching for truth. They would be able to understand it.
First he thought to teach it to Ālāra Kālāma, who had taught him meditation to attain the realm of infinite consciousness, but devas told him that Ālāra had passed away only last week; and he realised this was true by his own direct knowledge.
Next he thought about teaching Uddaka Rāmaputta, who had taught him meditation to attain the realm of neither perception nor non-perception, but devas told him that Uddaka had passed away the previous night; and he realised this was true by his own direct knowledge.
So he decided to teach the Dhamma first to the five ascetics who accompanied him while he was practising self-mortification. So he went to the deer park at the Sages' Grove near Benares, where they were staying.
The Buddha was alone after his enlightenment. There was no one to tell him where the ascetics were staying, but on the night of his enlightenment he had attained the divine eye by means of which one can see things at a great distance. The Dhammacakka Sutta begins as follows: