SARNATH : TURNING THE WHEEL OF DHARMA .

BUDDHA DID NOT ATTACK CASTE DIRECTLY , YET IN HIS OWN ORDER HE DID NOT RECOGNIZE IT , AND THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT HIS WHOLE ATTITUDE AND ACTIVITY WEAKENED THE CASTE SYSTEM .

Most of the historical buildings in the world were built in the memory of monumental events.

One of the most important event in the history of India was the incarnation of Lord Buddha as a human being on Earth.

Buddha’s first teachings also came to be known as Dharmachakra Parivartan which means change of time i.e. an epochal change i.e. acceptance of new beliefs in place of old beliefs.

Buddha’s sermons, which were given two and a half thousand years ago, were based on experience and showed the middle path as the way to attain knowledge and salvation, his teachings were inspired by the spirit of public welfare, which talked about Bahujan Hitaya-Bahujan Sukhaya, “For the happiness of the many, for the welfare of the many.”

The people soon attained self-realization and a new age of knowledge was ushered in.

After attaining enlightenment under a Peepal tree on the banks of the Niranjana River (now Falgu River) in Gaya, Lord Buddha proceeded to Varanasi (Kashi)where he spent a long time, he gave his first sermon, founded the Sangha. Sarnath witnessed many important events during Buddha’s stay at Sarnath.

Years later, Emperor Ashoka(250 BC) built grand stupas, temples, pillars at places that were witness to important events. Fortunately, some of these buildings are still present even after seeing many ups and downs in history.

CHAUKHANDI STUPA

The place in Sarnath where Buddha had his first meeting with his first five disciples. In memory of this important event, a grand stupa was built here by Emperor Ashoka.(250 BC) the stupa was given a more grand form in the Gupta period (from approximately 319 to 467 CE.

TURNING THE WHEEL OF DHARMA

According to Buddhist literature:-

Assaji was sitting meditating in Sarnath, when he saw a monk coming towards him, when he came closer Assaji realized that the monk was none other than Buddha. Assaji immediately informed his four other friends about Buddha’s arrival at Sarnath.

Bhaddiya reminded all the friends that Siddhartha had left the path of enlightenment. Bhaddiya told friends that Siddhartha ate rice, drank milk and spent time with the children of the village in Bodh Gaya, he really let us down so we all should not even greet him formally. Everyone agreed with Bhaddiya.

But when Buddha came closer towards them something magical happened!!!!!
The radiance of his face and the sign of enlightenment overwhelmed everyone.

Kondanna ran and took his alms bowl from the Buddha.

Mahamana gave a vessel full of water to Buddha so that he could wash his hands and feet and get rid of the fatigue of the journey.
Bhaddiya moved a stool towards him and requested Buddha to sit on that stool.

Vappa fanned Buddha with a fan made of palm leaves.

Assaji stood to one side ,not knowing what to do .

Buddha washed his hands and feet, Assaji gave him another vessel full of cold water.

Buddha said with a slight smile on his face.

“I have found the path of liberation and I will show the path of liberation to all of you brothers”.

The five looked at each other with suspicious hearts. Assaji said Gautam you left the path of knowledge midway, like a normal human being you ate rice, drank milk and spent time with village children then how come you were able to attain knowledge? Buddha briefly narrated the incident of his enlightenment.

Soon the Buddha and his five disciples went to a flat plain of land a little further from the place they met as they found that area suitable for discussion.

On that piece of flat land Buddha gave his first sermon to his five disciples, a huge stupa was built on that piece of land by Emperor Ashoka in the memory of Lord Buddha’s first sermon, this stupa came to be known as Dhamekh Stupa and it is still present in Sarnath.

DHAMEKH STUPA

The first sermon was given by Lord Buddha to his first five disciples at this place. This Sermon is known as Dharma Chakra Pravartan. In memory of this great event, a huge stupa was built by Emperor Ashoka (250 BC)at this place, which is today known as Dhamekh Stupa.

” There are two extremes that a person on the path should avoid. One is to plunge oneself into sensual pleasures, and the other is to practice austerities which deprive the body of its needs. Both of these extremes lead to failure.”

MIDDLE PATH

The path which avoids both extremes and has the capacity to lead one to understanding, liberation, and peace is the Noble Eightfold Path.

1. right understanding

2.right thought

3.right speech

4.right action

5. right livelihood

6. right effort

7.right mindfulness

8.right concentration.

FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS

1.Existence of suffering .

2.Cause of suffering.

3.Cessation of suffering.

4.Path which leads to the cessation of suffering.

EXISTENCE OF SUFFERING

The first is the existence of suffering. Birth, old age, sickness, and death are suffering. Sadness, anger, jealousy, worry, anxiety, fear, and despair are suffering. Separation from loved ones is suffering. Association with those you hate is suffering. Desire, attachment, and clinging to the five aggregates are suffering.

CAUSE OF SUFFERING

Because of ignorance, people cannot see the truth about life, and they become caught in the flames of desire, anger, jealousy, grief, worry, fear, and despair.

CESSATION OF SUFFERING

Understanding the truth of life brings about the cessation of every grief and sorrow and gives rise to peace and joy.

PATH WHICH LEADS TO THE CESSATION OF SUFFERING .

The fourth truth is the path which leads to the cessation of suffering.

MULGANDH KUTI VIHAR

MULGANDH KUTI VIHAR (MAIN SHRIEN)

A grand temple was built by Emperor Ashoka(250BC) at the place where Lord Buddha used to meditate during his stay in Sarnath, later the Muslim invaders looted the property of the temple which was decorated with golden idols and destroyed the temple.(1194CE) Now only the remains of this temple are left.

This is the place where Buddha met Yash for the first time.
Once a young man named Yash came to meet Buddha. Introducing himself to Buddha, Yash told that he is the son of the richest businessman of the city. Yash told his problem to Buddha that till date he had spent his life in fun and enjoyment but he didn’t get mental peace.

Buddha explained to Yash that “Life is full of sorrows, both mind and body are doomed to be destroyed by being immersed in lust. If you give up lust and lead a simple life, you will attain mental piece.”

Yash was deeply impressed by the magical words of Buddha and charismatic personality, he soon became a disciple of Buddha. Soon many prominent and wealthy families of Varanasi converted to Buddhism. Impressed by the simplicity of Buddhism, from the king to the poor, from the violent bandit to the common man, everyone started accepting the teachings of Buddhism.

REFERENCE BOOKS

  1. OLD PATH WHITE CLOUDS
  2. BUDDHACHARIT

Author: nitinsingh

Postgraduate in International relations. Experience in writing in various journals, from BBC WORLD NEWS SERVICE to India's one of the oldest hindi daily. I like to write on international relations, religion, religious conflict. Social media has bridged the distance between writing and reading. Now writing is not just the expression of one's own thought, but also knowing the expression of people on various subject.

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