(12)First Turning of the Dharma Wheel at Sarnath - Buddha's First Preaching! The Buddhist Order began here!

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The life of Buddha (Shakyamuni Buddha) as seen through local photographs] ⑿
 First Turning of the Wheel at Sarnath - Buddha's first preaching! The Buddhist Order began here! And the stunning Buddha statue at the Sarnath Museum!

Previous Article(11)TheBuddha's Meditation Days and Brahman's Encouragement - Did Buddha Hesitate to Preach to the People? What is Persuasion by the Indian God Brahman?"In the previous section, I talked about Buddha's hesitation to preach to people immediately after his enlightenment.

However, Brahman, the supreme deity of India, finally persuaded him to preach to the people.

In this article, I will talk about that first Buddha sermon. It is from this very sermon that the history of the Buddhist Order began.

So let's get started.

Rising from Meditation to Preaching

Brahman

Buddha's intention to preach after being persuaded by Brahman.

The time has come for me to speak my enlightened truth. But from whom should I begin? This teaching is so profound that the people of the world cannot possibly understand it. If I were to preach it first, it would be to a wise man who is close to the state of enlightenment.

If it is, then this is the only person. My first teacher, Arara Kalama."

However, through divine news, Buddha learns that Arara Kalama has already passed away.

I see...Arara Kalama has passed away...sad.

If so, I shall visit my second teacher, Uddaka Ramaputta."

But even here, we learn that Uddaka Ramaputta has passed away through divine news.

Six years of practice had passed, and the two masters of Buddha's meditation practice had already ended their lives.

And now that the two sages have passed away, the next people Buddha wanted to meet were his five former fellow practitioners.⑹The Buddha finally attains enlightenment after renouncing suffering. There are anecdotes of his confrontation with Mara (the demon) and of Sujata's milk gruel."As I told you in the article "The Buddha's Life", these five fellow practitioners were upset when they saw Buddha accepting milk porridge from Sujata and had left him.

Buddha knew by divine power that they were now in Sarnath, near Varanasi. So Buddha started walking toward Sarnath where they were.

Buddha's first Dharma wheel at Sarnath

It is about 250 km from Bouddh Gaya to Sarnath. Even today, it takes more than 6 hours by car. Buddha walked this distance alone.

At the Ganges River in Varanasi

Sarnath is located on the outskirts of Varanasi, famous for the Ganges River. Varanasi was famous as a holy place in India even before the time of the Buddha, and was a gathering place for many religious figures. It is no coincidence that the Buddha came to Varanasi. It was a mecca for religious people and a gateway to success for spreading new ideas. It is because of such a place that Buddha's friends also came here.

Then Buddha finally comes to this place. Sarnath isThe Deer Park.It used to be a field with deer, as it is called.

Upon discovering his former companions, Buddha approaches them.

The five companions immediately recognized Buddha, but they had not yet forgiven him.

"Hey, here comes the man who abandoned his fasting practice. He is a man who has abandoned his practice and taken the easy way out. He may have been my friend once, but now he is not worth coming for. You don't even have to say hello. But if he comes here and wants to sit with us, we will say hello. It is not fitting for us of noble birth to ignore our guests for so long.

They tried to ignore the Buddha for a while, but when they saw him approaching step by step, they could not help but stand up. The sight of the Buddha's divine presence completely shook them up. Some greeted him and received his robe, some worshipped him and received his bowl, one offered him a seat, and two others gave him water to wash his feet. Now there was something about Buddha that compelled him to do this.

What in the world was going on? Wasn't this man supposed to have stopped fasting and become corrupt? And yet, how could he have so stirred our hearts and minds?

Buddha then answers their questions and begins to speak.

This is..a first preaching

Sarnath Buddha, depicting the first turning of the wheel of the Law.

This "Sarnath Buddha" is a representation of what it looked like at that time. It is regarded as a masterpiece of Indian Buddhist sculpture, and I was instantly captivated by its appearance.

I was simply speechless before this Buddha image, so graceful, so serene, so perfect, that I could not leave.

The shock of this Buddha image continued long after I left the museum and returned to my lodgings, where I remained enthralled by this perfect sculpture.

The actual Buddha would have looked even more divine and unspeakable than this. I am sure that if such a person appeared in front of us, we would all be like the five practitioners, the one charismatic person in 2,500 years. If such a person appeared in front of me, I would be so shocked that I would want to throw myself into the air immediately. This is not a metaphor, but my true feelings. I believe that this is what it means to meet an unimaginably overwhelming person.

Today, a stupa called Dhamek Stupa, commemorating this first turning of the wheel, stands as a symbol of the site. The stupa is believed to have been built in the 5th or 6th century A.D., and has been remodeled and enlarged many times over the years,

And this Sarnath, like other Buddhist sites, was buried in the ground until it was excavated by the British in the 19th century.

The lion statue of King Ashoka's Pillar, now India's national emblem, was also discovered in the early 1900s at this Sarnath. It is hard to believe that such a magnificent sculpture was buried in the ground.

Nearby the Dhamek Stupa, there was a display of photographs of former excavations. It was amazing that the Buddha image was found lying on its side in the ground. The Buddhist sites in India have a history of destruction and ruin due to Islamic invasions of temples and statues of Buddha.

At any rate, Buddha gave his first sermon to his five fellow practitioners, and they instantly became devotees of his teachings.

This is how the Order of Buddha will be started.

In the following article, we will take a brief look at what Buddha taught at this time. Again, I will not go into a strictly academic discussion, but rather give you a concise and intentional account, so I hope you will read it with an open mind.

Next Article.

Click here to read the previous article.

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