Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta and the Longevity of Buddhism
The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, also known as the inaugural sutta in Buddhism, was the very first sermon given by the Lord Buddha to the Five Ascetics or Pancavaggiya (the first five disciples of the Buddha) on Asalha Puja Day. One of the ascetics named Añña Koṇḍañña became enlightened as a Sotāpanna, the first of four levels of awakening, by the end of the sermon. He was subsequently ordained as the first monk in Buddhism, thus completing the Triple Gem in Buddhism. This chant is highly revered and frequently chanted by Buddhists because each round of chanting brings tremendous blessings to one’s life. Additionally, chanting this sutta contributes to the development of a peaceful society and the longevity of Buddhism.
How does chanting the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta bring blessings, foster a peaceful society, and extend the longevity of Buddhism? How is it possible that just by reciting these verses positive changes can be brought about? These are questions that many might have pondered. The words in this chanting are based on the truth of life not stuff of superstition. There is also scientific evidence to verify the benefits that come from chanting. We can use the principles of the Four Noble Truths, which are outlined in the chanting, to explain the current conditions of the world.
Dukkha (Suffering), or problems that arise, is the first of the Four Noble Truths. In this case, the current problem is a society that is not peaceful and the decline of Buddhism. If we analyze the problems using the second truth, Samudaya (Cause), the cause of the problem, we can see that social unrest is caused by members of society who exploit and take advantage of one another. This has led to unrest, including the infliction of physical harm and the destruction of life and property, etc. This can be seen across a variety of media sources. And the decline of Buddhism is due to the Four Buddhist Communities becoming more distanced from the teachings of the Buddha, not studying nor practicing the Dhamma principles enough to see the good results that can be obtained. As a result, they are unable to defend or preserve Buddhism as the primary institution for cultivating morality in the people. But the true underlying causes of the problem are the defilements that exist in the human mind, which are greed, anger, and delusion. These things force people in society to oppress one another and to be unable to discern what is right or wrong. As a result, oppression, exploitation, and taking advantage of others become widespread.
Nirodha (Cessation) is the liberation from suffering, or in our case the goals that we want to achieve in society, which are peace and tranquility. Is there a way or Magga (Noble Eightfold Path) to promote the longevity of Buddhism? To solve the problems of the human mind, we must first eliminate defilements (greed, anger, and delusion) from the mind and instill more Hiri-Ottappa (fear and shame of wrongdoing). This can be accomplished by training ourselves to be more mindful and aware, giving us greater control of the mind so that defilements don’t overtake our virtues. Furthermore, practicing meditation makes our mind calm and stable, allowing everyone to see the truth of life and to have a clear understanding of what is good and what is bad, what is appropriate and what is not. The magga or noble way that is capable of solving these problems at the root causes can begin with the chanting of the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.
Chanting is one type of meditation practice that can help bring clarity and calmness to the mind. From start to finish, chanting one round of the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta takes about 20-30 minutes, which is enough time to allow the person to maintain their concentration. Furthermore, the sutta’s content and meaning are pure truth derived from the enlightenment of the Buddha that had never previously appeared in any other religion. This is the Middle Path, which is to steer away from indulging in the two extremes: the five sensual desires and self-mortification. This will enable the person chanting to live the right way and receive further blessings. A person who chants regularly will be determined to live their life on the Middle Path, also known as the Noble Eightfold Path or the eight noble ways of living. Simply by chanting the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, one can embark on the path to happiness and success in life according to the heart of practice in Buddhism, composed of morality, concentration, and wisdom. These are the conclusions of the Noble Eightfold Path, the truth of life in Buddhism.
If the people of the world are aware of this and follow the principles of a noble life, our society will transform into a peaceful, loving, and compassionate society. Therefore, the wise who desire happiness and success in both the worldly and non-secular life should begin by chanting the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta on a daily basis. Chant with great reverence for the meaning in each word to cultivate mental stability and to reaffirm the right way to live.
This is why chanting the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta can bring peace and prosperity to society and to our lives. By genuinely applying the Dhamma principles of the Buddha to your daily life, it can benefit the world. We will be living witnesses to the invaluables Dhamma principles of Buddhism. It will also strengthen the Four Buddhist Communities and extend Buddhism’s longevity.