Buddha’s First Sermon on Esala Full Moon

16 July 2019 12:10 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Wheel of Dhamma was set in Motion at Deer Park Valley of Isipatana

 

 

  • Buddha never taught his disciples to get attached to his teachings with blind faith
  •  Politicians are dragging the Buddha and his Dhamma into politics misinterpreting the Sutras

 

‘If a person foolishly does me wrong, I will return to him the protection of my boundless love. The more evil that comes from him the better will go from me. I will always give off only the fragrance of goodness.’ -Buddha.


As an eventful three months end with Esala Poya the strong sense of indecision that loomed large over the nation is fading away.


Prince Siddhartha was not pleased with these pleasures provided to him by King Suddhodana, the father. At 29, on realising that he would fall seriously ill become aged and that one day he would breathe his last, an urge to discover the truth emerged— he arrived at a decision. It was exactly, 2615 years ago, that he undertook this Great Renunciation, on Esala Full Moon day in search of the truth. Siddhartha discarded the worldly possessions to become an ascetic.


.The significance of Esala


The other significant events associated with Esala Full Moon include:


The conception of the Bodhisatta in Queen Maya’s womb; Renunciation by Siduhath; The performance of the [yamaka-patihariya] Twin Miracles; laying the foundation for Ruwanweli dagoba in Anuradhapura; Preaching Abhidhamma in the Tavatimsa heaven for Maathru-Divya [mother] and. Inauguration of the Siam Maha Nikaya.


Inauguration of the Siam Nikaya In 1753, exactly 265 years ago, on Esala Poya, the great restoration or Theravada Buddhist Reformation of the Maha Sangha took place at Malwatte Temple [Pushparama Maha Vihare], in Kandy. The Most Venerable UpalI Maha Thero, on receiving an invitation from King Kirthi Sri Rajasinghe, along with his junior pupil came to Kandy from Siam, [now Thailand] and administered Higher Ordination [Upasampada] in a Seemamalaka built at the lake for the purpose. Ecclesiastical title of Sangharaja was conferred on Ven. Welivita Saranankara by The Royal Court who initiated this grand occurrence. The Shyampoli [Siyam] Maha Nikaya was born on 17th July 1753, at this historic occasion.


Dhammachakka Pavattana Sutta, the First Sermon


“Some of his recorded words would come like a distant echo through two thousand five hundred years ago.”- Jawaharlal Nehru in The Discovery of India
That was how Independent India’s First Prime Minister comprehended the Buddha preaching his first sermon at Saranath near Varanasi, in the Game Refuge at Isipatana.
Dhammachakka Pavattana Sutta was preached at Isipatanaramaya in Benares to the five ascetics, Kondanna, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama and Assaji, at the deer park. The Sangha Sasana that was established on this day spread over South-East Asia during King Dharmasoka.


“There are these two outermost that are not to be revelled in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is attached to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, ignoble, vulgar, common, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extreme ends, the middle way realized by the Buddha — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding”. -Buddha


Dhamma and Politics


Worldly political anxieties have superseded religion’s morals and just principles.


Those who make an effort to combine or interact Dhamma with politics, an inborn problem with some politicians, should appreciate that the basis of Dhamma is ethics, purity and morality, while that of politics is greed for power. 


Politics is Greed and Power, whereas Dhamma is Morality and Purity. Cosmic Law of Cause and Effect or Karma is the law of moral causation. There is sufficient evidence in world political history, where religion has as a practice been used or misused to justify the exercise of authority by those in possession of it, particularly for the destruction of culture and demolition of religious places of worship, atrocities, waging wars, rebellions, Religion had been ‘employed’ to pander to political needs.


Creation of new political establishments has nothing to do with The Buddha Dhamma; Political institutions have a sacred duty in improving equitable sharing of resources, the welfare of the society, and guiding the people towards superior humanism.


Though it appears to be complete with perfect policies and principles and an ideal system, they cannot bring about contentment and harmony as long as the people are subject to hatred, greed and illusion. There is a limit to which a political system can safeguard the happiness and prosperity of its people. Promises on basic human rights and checks and balances to the use of power are characters of a good and just political system.


Politics in Temples


Quite a few temples have become central propaganda offices of political interests. Recognised political organizations persuade Sangha units within party machinery while a few saffron-robed extremists’ elements have formed political units to assist politicians contest elections.


Buddha, never chose to influence political power to introduce his dhamma, although the Blessed One closely associated with kings, ministers and princes; nor did he allow the teachings to be misused or abused for gaining benefit for aspiring political power. 


Only in the minds which are conflict-free, can one find total freedom; it cannot be established in any political structure like democracy, communism or socialism. To be free, we have to look within our own minds and work towards freeing ourselves from the chains of unawareness, ignorance and craving. 


Many politicians of competing factions today, are dragging The Buddha and his Dhamma into politics by quoting and misinterpreting the Sutras.


“Let us live happily, not hating those who hate us. Among those who hate us, let us live free from hatred. Let us live happily and free from ailment. Let us live happily and be free from greed; among those who are greedy.” -Dhammapada- Stanza -197-


Peaceful co-existence among fellow countrymen has become an extremely difficult task in this time of confusion, disorder and crisis. People today are restless, fear and unhappiness reign. They are intoxicated with the craving to gain power, wealth and fame. They are forever under doubt and insecurity.


Buddhist view on tolerance


The Buddha never taught his disciples to get attached to his teachings with blind faith. He persuaded those who believed in faith not to attach with blind faith, but with wisdom.[Kalama Sutta]. 


The expression tolerance here includes open-mindedness in the sympathetic understanding of other religions without prejudices, judgment, or bias. The open-minded person will have more liberty in his mind for other races, religions and cultures: on the contrary, for a narrow-minded person, it is impossible to respect any other religions and cultures. 


According to Dhamma, attachment to views, beliefs and opinions are defilements that cause narrow mindedness.


-Monks, if anyone should speak in praise of me, of the Teaching or of the Order, you should not on that account be pleased, happy or elated. If you were to be pleased, happy or elated at such praise, that would only be a hindrance to you. If others praise me, the Teaching or the Order, and you are, you should acknowledge the truth of what is true… 


-Monks, if anyone should speak in the blame of me, of the Teaching …. you should acknowledge the truth of what is true…


-Monks, if anyone should speak in the blame of me, of the Teaching or of the Order, you should not be angry, resentful or upset on that account. If you were to be angry or displeased at such blame, that would only be a hindrance to you. For if others blame me, the Teaching or the Order, and you are angry or displeased, can you recognize whether what they say is right or wrong?....--The Buddha
May all beings be happy!

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