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Home History General The Buddha's Life

The Buddha's Life

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Article Index
The Buddha's Life
Noble and Ignoble Quests
Renunciation of Worldly Life
Meeting Alara, the Great Ascetic
Meeting the Sage Udaka
Practising Extreme Austerities
Mara's Persuasion
Right Reasoning
The Enlightenment
Giving First Sermon
Meeting with Upaka
Group of Five Monks
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The Buddha's Life - A TRUE CONTEMPLATIVE

The source of the Buddha's life here is drawn from the Dhammacakkappavattna Sutta explained by Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw. It is the first discourse the Buddha gave to the group of five monk. If you wish to read the account for the Buddha's life in simple illustrations, you may want to visit here.


These were the introductory words uttered by the Venerable Ananda when interrogated by the Venerable Mahakassapa at the First Council held just over three months after the passing away of the Blessed One. The Venerable Mahakassapa said to the Venerable Ananda:

"Friend Ananda, where was the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta delivered? By whom was it delivered and on whose account? And how was it delivered?"

The Venerable Ananda answered,

"My Lord, Venerable Mahakassapa. Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One was staying at the Sage's Resort, the Pleasance of Isipatana (where Pacceka Buddhas and Enlightened Ones alighted from the sky), in the deer sanctuary, in the township of Benares. Then the Blessed One addressed the group of five bhikkhus, 'These two extremes, Bhikkhus, should not be followed by one who has gone forth from the worldly life.'"

The Introduction to the Sutta says the Blessed One preached the First Sermon to the group of five bhikkhus while he was staying in the pleasance of the deer sanctuary in the township of Benares. That is all the information that could be obtained from the introductory statement, which is bare and inadequate. It needs some elaboration and we propose to provide one by drawing materials from other Suttas , also.

The introduction to a Sutta explains on whose or what account the Sutta was taught by the Buddha. Introductions are of three kinds:

(a) The introduction which gives the background story of the remote distant past. This provides an account of how the Bodhisatta, the future Buddha, fulfilled the perfections required of an aspirant Buddha - beginning from the time of prophecy proclaimed by Dipankara Buddha to the time when he was reborn in the Tusita Heaven as a king of the devas named Setaketu. There is no need nor time to deal more with this background story of the distant past.

(b) The introduction touching on the background story of the intermediate period. This deals with the account of what passed from the time of existence in the Tusita Heaven to the attainment of full enlightenment on the Throne of Wisdom. We shall give attention to this introduction to a considerable extent.

(c) The introduction which tells of the recent past, just preceding the teaching of the Dhammacakka Sutta . This is what is learnt from the statement "Thus have I heard. At one time . . ." quoted above.

We shall now deal with relevant extracts from the second category of introductions, drawing our materials from Sukhumala Sutta of Tika Nipata, Anguttara Nikaya, Pasarasi or Ariyapariyesana Sutta and Mahasaccaka Sutta of Mulapannasa, Bodhirajakumara Sutta and Sangarava Sutta of Majjhimapannasa, Pabbajja Sutta, Padhana Sutta of Suttanipata , and many other Suttas.



 

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" In this world, one may make sacrificial offerings, great and small, all the year round, in order to gain merit; all these offerings are not worth a quarter of the merit gained by worshipping the Noble Ones (ariyas) who walk the right path. "

The Dhammapada


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