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Turning The Wheel Of Dhamma Discourse

Dharmacharya Andrew. J. Williams

TURNING THE WHEEL OF DHAMMA DISCOURSE

(DHAMMACAKKAPAVATANA SUTTA)

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Thus have I heard, at one time the Buddha was staying at Isipatana, near Varanasi. At that time, the Blessed One expounded the supreme knowledge he had realised to the group of five ascetics.

“There are two extremes that one who has gone forth from worldly life should not practise. Which two? 1) That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sense objects, which is lowly, common, vulgar, unworthy and unprofitable; and 2) That which is devoted to self-affliction, which is painful, unworthy and unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the Middle Path realised by the Tathagata produces vision and knowledge, and leads to tranquillity, to direct insight, to the extinction of defilements, to enlightenment, to Nibbana.

And what is the Middle Path realised by the Tathagata that produces vision and knowledge, and leads to tranquillity, to direct insight, to the extinction of defilements, to enlightenment, to Nibbana? It is the Noble Eightfold Path of right understanding, right thoughts, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. This is the Middle Path realised by the Tathagata that produces vision and knowledge, and leads to tranquillity, to direct insight, to the extinction of defilements, to enlightenment, to Nibbana.

Now this, monks, is the Noble Truth of Suffering. Birth is suffering, ageing is suffering, death is suffering; sorrow, grief, lamentation, pain and despair are suffering; association with those who are unpleasant is suffering, separation from those who are pleasant is suffering, not getting what one wants is suffering. In short, the five clinging aggregates of form, feelings, thoughts, impulsive reactions and consciousness are suffering.

Now this, monks, is the Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering. The craving that makes for further becoming, accompanied by passion and delight, relishing here and there, i.e. craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming.

Now this, monks, is the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering. The complete cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release and letting go of that very craving.

Now this, monks, is the Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering. It is the Noble Eightfold Path of right understanding, right thoughts, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.

Vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, knowledge arose, light arose within me with regard to things never heard before. ‘This is the Noble Truth of Suffering.’ Vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, knowledge arose, light arose within me with regard to things never heard before. ‘This Noble Truth must be penetrated by fully understanding suffering.’ Vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, knowledge arose, light arose within me with regard to things never heard before. ‘This Noble Truth has been penetrated by fully understanding suffering.’

Vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, knowledge arose, light arose within me with regard to things never heard before. ‘This is the Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering.’ Vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, knowledge arose, light arose within me with regard to things never heard before. ‘This Noble Truth must be penetrated by abandoning the cause of suffering.’ Vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, knowledge arose, light arose within me with regard to things never heard before. ‘This Noble Truth has been penetrated by abandoning the cause of suffering.’

Vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, knowledge arose, light arose within me with regard to things never heard before. ‘This is the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering.’ Vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, knowledge arose, light arose within me with regard to things never heard before. ‘This Noble Truth must be penetrated by realising the cessation of suffering.’ Vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, knowledge arose, light arose within me with regard to things never heard before. ‘This Noble Truth has been penetrated by realising the cessation of suffering.’

Vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, knowledge arose, light arose within me with regard to things never heard before. ‘This is the Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Suffering.’ Vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, knowledge arose, light arose within me with regard to things never heard before.  ‘This Noble Truth must be penetrated by cultivating the path leading to the cessation of suffering.’ Vision arose, insight arose, wisdom arose, knowledge arose, light arose within me with regard to things never heard before. ‘This Noble Truth has been penetrated by cultivating the path leading to the cessation of suffering.’

And, monks, as long as my knowledge and vision concerning these Four Noble Truths, in three phases and twelve aspects, was not pure and complete, I did not claim to have attained incomparable perfect enlightenment, which is unsurpassed and supreme in the cosmos, with its deities, maras and brahmas, with its contemplatives and brahmans, its royalty and commonfolk. But as soon as my knowledge and vision concerning these Four Noble Truths, in three phases and twelve aspects, was truly pure and complete, then I did claim to have attained incomparable perfect enlightenment, which is unsurpassed and supreme in the cosmos, with its deities, maras and brahmas, with its contemplatives and brahmans, its royalty and commonfolk. Knowledge and vision arose in me, ‘Unprovoked, firm and indestructible is my release, this is my last birth, there is now no more rebirth or becoming for me.'”

That is what the Buddha said. Gratified, the group of five monks were delighted and greatly rejoiced in the profound wisdom of the Blessed One. After this discourse on these Noble Truths was expounded by the Blessed One, there arose in Venerable Kondanna, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye, vision of truth. ‘Whatever is subject to origination, is also subject to cessation.’

And when the Blessed One had set the Wheel of Dhamma in motion, the earth devas cried out: “At Isipatana, near Varanasi, the Blessed One has set in motion the unsurpassed Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be hindered or stopped by brahman or contemplative, deva, mara or brahma, or anyone at all in the cosmos.” After hearing these agreeable words spoken by the earth devas, the devas of the Four Kings Heaven, the devas of the Thirty-three, the Yama devas, the Tusita devas, the Nimmanarati devas, the Paranimmita-vasavatti devas, the devas of Brahma’s retinue took up the cry, “At Isipatana, near Varanasi, the Blessed One has set in motion the unsurpassed Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be hindered or stopped by brahman or contemplative, deva, mara or brahma, or anyone at all in the cosmos.”

At that moment, that instant, the cry shot right up to the Brahma worlds. And the ten-thousand fold cosmos, shook, quivered and trembled, while a great, measureless sublime radiance appeared in all directions, surpassing the effulgence and powers of all celestial beings.

Then the Blessed One exclaimed: “So you truly understand, Kondanna. You truly understand.” Thus, the name ‘Kondanna who knows’, was given.

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~Compiled and edited by Dharmacharya Andrew. J. Williams~

 

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