The First Sermon

The Buddha’s first sermon is called Dharma Chakra Pravartana or the Turning of the Wheel of Law. In the beginning he spoke of his search for the reasons of human sorrow or ‘dukkha’ as he called it. Why do we suffer pain and are filled with dissatisfaction? He said the cause of our sorrow was our cravings and desires. He called them ‘tanha’ and explained the Four Noble Truths:
“The world is full of misery and suffering.
The cause of this sorrow is desire and attachment.
This suffering will cease when we extinguish desire.
The path to end sorrow is through following the Noble Eightfold Path.”

The Noble Eight Fold Path, as the Buddha explained it, was a simple, ethical way of life that we could all follow. As the Buddha explained it:
“What is the Noble Eight Fold Path which leads to the end of suffering?
Right View. Right Thought. Right Speech. Right Action. Right Livelihood. Right Effort. Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.”

At its heart the path is about leading a humane and moral life. The Buddha did not talk of magic or miracles. He did not ask his followers to perform expensive religious rituals or obey the priesthood. He did not claim to have any supernatural powers or to have heard the message of a supreme being. He said simply, our salvation is in our own actions and that we will gain peace if we live the right way.

The Eight Fold Path is easy to understand but not that easy to follow in our daily lives. It is a spiritual challenge that can take a lifetime of meditation and thought. You learn something new every time you think about it.