The Dawn of the DhammaSucitto Bhikkhu

The Sutta

Thus have I heard. Once the Blessed One was staying in the Deer Park at Isipatana, near Varanasi. There he addressed the bhikkhus of the Group of Five thus:

“There are two extremes which should not be followed, bhikkhus, by someone who had gone forth. Devotion to pursuing sense pleasure, which is low, vulgar, worldly, ignoble and produced no useful result; and devotion to self-denial, which is painful, ignoble and produces no useful result. Avoiding both these extremes, bhikkhus, the Middle Way that a Tathagata has Awakened to gives vision and insight knowledge, and leads to peace, profound understanding, full realization and to Nibbana. And what is the Middle Way that a Tathagata has Awakened to, which gives vision and insight knowledge, and leads to peace, profound understanding, full realization and to Nibbana? It is the Noble Eightfold Path—that is to say: Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Collectedness. This is the Middle Way that a Tathagata has Awakened to.

“Bhikkhus, there is this Noble Truth about dissatisfaction. Birth is problematic; aging is hard; dying is also hard to bear. Sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are all painful. Association with what you dislike is unpleasant; being apart from what you like is unpleasant; not getting what you want is unpleasant. In brief, the five grasped aggregates are unsatisfactory.

“Bhikkhus, there is the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering. It is desire, which gives rise to fresh birth, bound up with relish and passion, running here and there, delighting in this and in that; in other words, sense desire, desire for existing and desire for extinction.

“Bhikkhus, there is the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering. It is the complete fading away and cessation of this desire; its abandonment and relinquishment; the freedom from, and discarding of it.

“Bhikkhus, there is the Noble Truth of the Way leading to the Cessation of Suffering. It is the Noble Eightfold Path: namely, Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Collectedness.

“There is this Noble Truth of Suffering: such was the vision, insight, wisdom, knowing and light that arose in me about things not heard before. This Noble Truth must be penetrated to by fully understanding Suffering: such was the vision, insight, wisdom, knowing and light that arose in me about things not heard before. This Noble Truth has been penetrated to by fully understanding Suffering: such was the vision, insight, wisdom, knowing and light that arose in me about things not heard before.

“There is this Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering: such was the vision, insight, wisdom, knowing and light that arose in me about things not heard before. This Noble Truth must be penetrated to by abandoning the Origin of Suffering … This Noble Truth has been penetrated to by abandoning the Origin of Suffering: such was the vision, insight, wisdom, knowing and light that arose in me about things not heard before.

“There is this Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering: such was the vision, insight, wisdom, knowing and light that arose in me about things not heard before. This Noble Truth must be penetrated to by realizing the Cessation of Suffering … This Noble Truth has been penetrated to by realizing the Cessation of Suffering: such was the vision, insight, wisdom, knowing and light that arose in me about things not heard before.

“There is this Noble Truth of the Path leading to the Cessation of Suffering: such was the vision, insight, wisdom, knowing and light that arose in me about things not heard before. This Noble Truth must be penetrated to by cultivating the Path … This Noble Truth has been penetrated to by cultivating the Path: such was the vision, insight, wisdom, knowing and light that arose in me about things not heard before.

“As long, bhikkhus, as these Four Noble Truths in their twelve aspects were not seen clearly as they are, I did not declare to the world—with its devas, maras and brahmas, with its samanas and brahmins, its monarchs and ordinary folk—that I had realized the complete and perfect Awakening. But as soon as these Four Noble Truths in their twelve aspects were seen clearly as they are, then I taught the world—with its devas, maras and brahmas, its samanas and brahmins, its monarchs and ordinary folk—that I had realized the complete and perfect Awakening. The knowledge and the vision arose in me: ‘Unshakeable is my deliverance. This is the last birth. There is no further becoming.’”

Thus spoke the Blessed One, and the Group of Five bhikkhus were gladdened and they approved of his words. Now while this discourse was being delivered, the untarnished and clear insight into Dhamma arose in Venerable Kondañña thus: “Whatever had the nature to arise, has the nature to cease.”

“When the Wheel of Dhamma had been set rolling by the Blessed One, the devas of the earth raised the cry: “At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the matchless Wheel of Dhamma has been set rolling by the Blessed One, not to be stopped by any samana, or brahmin, or deva, or mara, or brahma, or anyone in the world.” When they heard what the Earth devas had said, the devas of the realm of the Four Great Kings cried out with one voice: “At Varanasi. …” When they heard the cry of the devas of the realm of the Four Great Kings, then the devas of the realm of the Thirty-Three cried out with one voice … When they heard the cry of the Thirty-Three devas, the Yama devas cried out with one voice … When they heard the cry of the Yama devas, the Tusita devas cried out with one voice … When they heard the cry of the Tusita devas, the Nimmanarati devas cried out with one voice … When they heard the cry of the Nimmanarati devas, the Paranimmitavasavatti devas cried out with one voice … When they heard the cry of the Paranimmitavasavatti devas, the devas of the retinue of the Brahma deities took up the cry: “At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the matchless Wheel of Dhamma has been set rolling by the Blessed One, not to be stopped by any samana, or brahmin, or deva, or mara, or brahma, or anyone in the world.” So indeed in that hour, at that moment, the word travelled up to the realm of the highest divinities. And this ten-thousandfold world-system shook and rocked and quaked. And a great measureless radiance, surpassing the very nature of the devas, was displayed in the world.

Then the Blessed One uttered the great exclamation: “Truly, it is the good Kondañña who has understood, it is the good Kondañña who has understood.” Thus it was that the name of Venerable Kondañña became: Añña-Kondañña—”Kondañña who understands.”

This concludes the Discourse on the Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Truth.