Dhammacakka Pavattana Sutta

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Saṁyutta 5, Mahā Vagga 12, Sacca Saṁyutta 2, Dhammacakkappavattana Vagga 1


Dhamma,cakka Pavattana Sutta

Traditional: Dhamma,cakka-p,pavattana Sutta The Discourse on the Turning of the Wheel of Truth S 56.11 = Mv 1.6.16-31
Short name: Dhamma,cakka Sutta, The Dharma-wheel Discourse
Theme: The Buddha’s first discourse
Translated by Piya Tan ©2002, rev 2010

1 The 5 monks and the first discourse
After the 49 day-retreat in the vicinity of the Bodhi tree,1 the Buddha leaves to look for the group of 5 monks. On the way, he meets Upaka, who has the honour of hearing the Buddha’s first declaration of awakening, but fails to fathom its significance. The Buddha continues his journey to the deer park at Benares (Bārāasī) in stages and finally reaches Isi,patana (modern Sarnath), about 7 km north of Benares.2 As is the custom, he rests in the outskirts of Vārāas and waits until morning to enter the city. Having collected his almsfood, taken his wash and eaten his meal, he heads straight for the hermitage where the 5 monks are.

It is said that the Buddha gives his first discourse on the night of the full moon day of sāha (June3 July), a festival still celebrated today amongst south-east Asian Buddhists as sāha Pjā. The first sangha that arises from this momentous discourse comprises Koaa, Vappa, Bhaddiya, Mahānāma and


On these 7 weeks, see Dhamma & Abhidhamma, SD 26.1 (5).
The distance the Buddha travels here should be noted: it is some 200 km from Gayā to Benares, and by road the distance is about 250-300 km, which will take some 10 days by foot (Nakamura, 2000:241). It would not be surprising if the Buddha has taught many others along the way, but what records we have of this must have been lost. 3

V 1:10 ff; S 5:420 ff.; Mvst 3:330 f; Lalv 540(416) f. The Pali names of the ancient Indian calendar follow Vism 621 and its kā (based on āamoli’s A Pali-English Glossary of Buddhist Technical Terms, 1994), with the Skt...
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