On July 21st, Bhutan celebrates the First Sermon of Lord Buddha, also known as 'Drukpa Tshe Zhi.' This holiday marks the 2,500th anniversary of Lord Buddha's first preaching in the Deer Park in Isipatana, India. The sermon led to the establishment of the Buddhist 'sangha' or monkhood. Bhutan observes this day as a non-working holiday to honour Lord Buddha's teachings.
Siddhartha Gautama, a member of the elite Shakya line, was born in Lumbini, India, during the reign of Bimbisara, the ruler of the Magadha empire. As the legend goes, he was a sheltered young man who ventured beyond the castle gates and witnessed the harsh reality of suffering beyond the aristocratic splendour. After this experience, he resigned from society and adopted an austere lifestle. He then began to travel across the Gangetic plain to spread his message of a 'Middle Path.' After many years of meditation and a simple way of life, he is said to have achieved enlightenment and gained knowledge and awareness of the cycle of life and death and how to live a 'good life' of moderation.
Almost 2,500 years ago, Gautama gave his inaugural speech, "Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion", at India's Deer Park in Isipatana. In this sermon, he outlined the 'Four Noble Truths', which include the existence and cause of suffering, the possibility of ending suffering, and the path to achieving this end. Gautama also introduced the 'Noble Eightfold Path', which consists of the right view, thought, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. Following this path could lead one to attain freedom from suffering and reach 'nirvana'.
After his death, Gautama became known as Buddha, which translates to "The Enlightened One."
Timeline of Lord Buddha's First Sermon
Gautama lived during the fifth century B.C. Buddha Siddhartha Gautama founds Buddhism.
Buddhism Arrives in Sri Lanka 269–231 B.C.
Buddhist practitioners are sent from India to Sri Lanka.
Buddhism in China in the First Century A.D.
Buddhism makes its way to China.
Buddhism Arrives in Central Asia in the Second Century A.D.
During the time of King Kanishka, Buddhism makes its way to Central Asia
What was the location of the Buddha's first sermon?: Buddha gave his first sermon in Deer Park in Sarnath, now an archaeological complex.
When was Buddha's first sermon delivered?: In the sixth century B.C., Buddha gave his first sermon to the five men attending him.
In what language did Lord Buddha preach?: He preached in Pali, a Middle Indic dialect that evolved into one of the primary languages of Buddhist scriptures and literature.
How to attend Lord Buddha's First sermon
Number 1: Discover Buddhist philosophy. Spend the day researching Lord Buddha's First Sermon. It commemorates the establishment of Buddhist First Sermon.
Number 2: Learn about Gautam Buddha's life.
Gautum Buddha lived an amazing life. Please take advantage of the day to learn more about it.
Number 3: Pay a visit to a Buddhist temple.
On that day, visit a Buddhist temple. Offer your prayers and reflect on life. You may notice a shift in consciousness.
Interesting Facts About Buddhism
Buddhists are vegetarians because they adhere to the principle of nonviolence.
Mahayana Buddhism is the most widely practised type of Buddhism.
Monks and nuns in Buddhism shave their heads.
There is no single holy book in Buddhism, although there are multiple significant writings.
The name 'Buddhism' was coined by Western scholars in the 1830s.
Why is Lord Buddha's First sermon important?
It is a religiously significant day.
For Buddhists, the First Sermon of Lord Buddha is a significant day. Did you realise that there are over 500 million Buddhists worldwide?
It's a chance to learn more about Buddhism.
Many individuals are unaware of Buddhism. The day is ideal for them to learn about its beliefs and practices.
It conveys a vital message.
The Middle Path is a critical philosophy to comprehend. The day provides a time for reflection.