"The survival of Buddhism and the survival of the Dhamma are two different things. The success of a Buddhist organization should never be measured in conventional commercial terms but by how well it embodies the Buddha's teachings."
31 May 2015
What is Vesak day?
Vesak Day is the most
significant day of the year in the Buddhist calendar and is
celebrated by Buddhists the world over. The day commemorates the
birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha and is a day of immense
joy, peace and reflection.
Some important Dates to know
623 BCE 3rd week Full Moon day of May-
Birth of Buddha in the famous gardens of Lumbini, which soon became a
place of pilgrimage.
He was enlightened on the full moon,3rd
week and Fifth month of the year
After the Enlightenment
After the Enlightenment, the Buddha
remained seated in deep meditation under the Bodhi tree for seven days,
experiencing the bliss of freedom. For the next seven days, He stood gazing at
the Bodhi tree and reflected upon the usefulness of the tree during the crucial
period before the Enlightenment.
Then the Buddha was approached by a
proud youth of the priestly class who wanted to know the qualities that made a
man worthy of respect. In answer, the Buddha explained that a man’s worthiness
does not depend upon the class in which he is born. Rather, the man worthy of
respect is the one who has rid himself of all evil, is humble, pure and has
self-control and is perfect in knowledge. The youth left the Buddha feeling
humbled and satisfied with the answer.
On another occasion, a young man
approached the Buddha, wishing to know the meaning of happiness. So the Buddha
“ Solitude is happiness for one who is
Has learnt the Teaching and has seen the
In the world, happiness is goodwill And
restraint towards living creatures.
The overcoming of desire, Detachment in
the world is happiness.
But to be free of conceit Is the
greatest happiness of all ”
One day, two merchants came by. Seeing
the Buddha seated under the Bodhi tree, they approached and greeted Him. Then
they offered Him a meal of rice cakes and honey. As they offered it, they
expressed the desire that they might be blessed for this act. In response, the
Buddha bestowed a blessing upon them so that they might enjoy happiness and
prosperity in the future. After having served the Buddha, they formally
requested Him to accept them as His followers. The Buddha agreed and so they
took refuge in the Buddha and His Teaching.
The Decision to Teach
Out of compassion for mankind, the
Buddha was then ready to spread His Teaching to all who could benefit from it.
First, He had to find out who were the wise and learned ones who would most
quickly understand His Teaching. He recalled His former teachers, Arada and
Udraka, but both men were no longer alive. Then he thought about the five
ascetics who had, earlier on, been practising extreme asceticism together with
him. They were staying at the Deer Park near Varanasi, about 100 miles away,
and He set out to meet them.
On His way, He met an ascetic called
Upaka, who greeted Him respectfully and said, “You look serene and radiant. Who
is your teacher? Whose teaching do you follow?”
With great assurance, the Buddha replied
that He had attained Enlightenment by His own efforts, and that He was going to
Varanasi to set the Wheel of Truth in motion. After that they parted company.
The First Sermon — The Four Noble Truths
In His first sermon to the five ascetics
in the Deer Park near Varanasi, the Buddha spoke of the Four Noble Truths. The
Four Noble Truths sum up, in a systematic formula, the central teachings of the
They are: (1) The Truth of Suffering;
(2) The Truth of the Cause of Suffering; (3) The Truth of the End of Suffering;
(4) The Truth of the Path leading to the End of Suffering.
1) The Truth of Suffering
The Buddha’s discovery of the solution
to the problem of suffering began with the recognition that life is suffering.
This is the first of the Four Noble Truths. If people examine their own
experiences or look at the world around them, they will see that life is full
of suffering. Suffering may be physical or mental.
i) The Cause of Suffering
The Buddha had observed that life is
suffering. Before He could find a solution to the problem of suffering in
life, He had first to look for the cause of suffering. The Buddha was just like
a good doctor who first observes a patient’s symptoms and identifies the cause
of the illness before prescribing a cure. The Buddha discovered that the direct
causes of suffering are desire or craving, and ignorance. This is the truth of
the cause of suffering, which is the Second Noble Truth.
ii) End of Suffering
The Buddha’s realisation of the end of
suffering and His attainment of Nirvana at the age of thirty-five, crowned His
search for Truth with success. For six years, the Bodhisattva had spared no
effort to find a solution to the problems of suffering. He had tried the
principal methods of ending suffering and had found them wanting. Eventually He
found His own solution to the problems of life.
iii) The End of Suffering
The end of suffering is the final goal
of the Buddha’s Teaching. It can be experienced by anyone here and now. For
example, when greed and anger arise in one’s mind, one experiences unhappiness,
and when thoughts of greed and anger cease, one’s mind becomes happy and
peaceful. To end suffering completely, one must remove desire, ill will and
ignorance. This is the Third Noble Truth, that is, the End of Suffering.
The Buddha taught that the end of
suffering is supreme happiness. Every step towards the end of suffering is
accompanied by ever-increasing joy. The Buddha said,
2) The Noble Eightfold Path
Like a wise and experienced doctor, the
Buddha recognised the sickness of suffering. He identified its causes and
discovered its cure. Then for the benefit of mankind, the Buddha put His
discovery into a systematic formula which one can easily follow in order to get
rid of one’s suffering. The formula includes both physical and mental
treatment, and is called the Noble Eightfold Path. This is the Fourth Noble
The steps of this Noble Eightfold Path
(1) Right Understanding;
Right understanding means to understand the Law of Cause and Effect and the
Four Noble Truths.
(2) Right Thought;
Right thought means not to harbour thoughts of greed and anger.
(3) Right Speech; Right
speech means to avoid lying, tale-bearing, harsh speech and idle talk.
(4) Right Action; Right
action means not to destroy any life, not to steal and not to commit adultery.
(5) Right Livelihood; Right livelihood
means to avoid any occupation that brings harm to oneself and others.
(6) Right Effort; Right
effort means to earnestly do one’s best in the right direction.
The Four Noble Truths: (IV) Path Leading
to the End of Suffering 59
(7) Right Mindfulness;
Right mindfulness means always to be aware and attentive.
(8) Right Concentration;
Right concentration means to train the mind to be steady and calm in order to
realise the true nature of things.
: Taken from
For Beginners. 3rd ed.
Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, 2015. Print.
and Barbara O'Brien. 'Do You Know The Legend Of The Birth Of The Buddha?'.About.com Religion &
Spirituality. N.p., 2015. Web. 31 May 2015.
'LIFE OF BUDDHA'. N.p., 2015. Web. 31 May 2015.