According to legends Buddha achieved enlightenment but was not interested to preach. However, on Brahma Sahampati's insistence Buddha agreed to preach and he delivered his first sermon in Varanasi. At the end of his sermons one of his friends Kondanna, urged Buddha to accept him as his disciple. Buddha complied and it was done by a simple ceremony. Buddha's band of followers kept on going and thus the order of the monks was formed. The day is observed by donating offerings to temples and listening to sermons. The preaching delivered by Buddha is quiet often referred to as "setting into motion the wheel of Dhamma".
This first sermon is not only the first structured discourse given by the Buddha after his enlightenment; it also contains the essence of all his subsequent teaching. The gist of the sermon is as follows:
1. The middle way, which is right method, human beings should put into practice in their life. The middle way is between two extremes which are hedonism (loose practice) and asceticism (tight or tough practice) and the Buddha tried out the two and knew that they were not right. Later on he found out the middle which is also called Noble Eightfold Path. Here it is:
2. The Four Noble Truths which are as follows:
All the various schools and traditions of Buddhism revolve around the central doctrine of the four noble truths.
Another importance of the Asalha is that it was during this month that the Buddha's son Rahula was born. It was after this that Buddha gave up all His royal worldly pleasures to attain spiritual enlightenment and the truth of life.
|More Articles in Indian Buddhist Festivals (11)|