Sutra: The First Sermon of The Buddha

Green-BuddhaSetting in Motion the Wheel of the Dharma

And the Blessed One thus addressed the five monks (the first five to hear the Buddha’s teaching of the Dharma):

“There are two extremes, monks, which he who has given up the world ought to avoid.

“What are these two extremes? A life given to pleasures, devoted to pleasures and lusts—this is degrading, sensual, vulgar, ignoble, and profitless.

“And a life given to mortifications—this is painful, ignoble, and profitless.

“By avoiding these two extremes, monks, the Tathágata has gained the knowledge of the Middle Way which leads to insight, which leads to wisdom, which conduces to calm, to knowledge, to Supreme Enlightenment, to Nirvana.

“What, monks, is this Middle Way the knowledge of which the Tathágata has gained, which leads to insight, which leads to wisdom, which conduces to calm, to knowledge, to Supreme Enlightenment, to Nirvana?

“It is the Noble Eightfold Way, namely: right views, right intent, right speech, right conduct, right means of livelihood, right endeavor, right mindfulness, right meditation.

“This, monks, is the Middle Way the knowledge of which the Tathágata has gained, which leads to insight, which leads to wisdom, which conduces to calm, to knowledge, to perfect enlightenment to Nirvana.

“This, monks, is the Noble Truth of Suffering (dukkha): birth is suffering; aging is suffering; illness is suffering; death is suffering; presence of objects we hate is suffering; separation from objects we love is suffering; not to obtain what we desire is suffering. In short, the Five Components of Existence are suffering.

“This, monks, is the Noble Truth concerning the Origin of Suffering: verily, it originates in that craving which causes rebirth, which produced delight and passion, and seeks pleasure now here, now there; that is to say, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for continued life, craving for nonexistence.

“This, monks, is the Noble Truth concerning the Cessation of Suffering: truly, it is the complete cessation of craving so that no passion remains; the laying aside of, the giving up, the being free from, the harboring no longer of, this craving.

“This, monks, is the Noble Truth concerning the Way which leads to the Cessation of Suffering: verily, it is this Noble Eightfold Way, that is to say, right views, right intent, right speech, right conduct, right means of livelihood, right endeavor, right mindfulness, and right meditation.

“This is the Noble Truth concerning Suffering. Thus, monks, in things which formerly had not been heard of have I obtained insight, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, intuition. This Noble Truth concerning Suffering must be understood. Thus, monks, in things which formerly had not been heard of have I obtained insight, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and intuition. This Noble Truth concerning Suffering I have understood. Thus, monks, in things which formerly had not been heard of have I obtained insight, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and intuition.

“This is the Noble Truth concerning the Origin of Suffering. Thus, monks, in things which had formerly not been heard of I have obtained insight, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, intuition. This Noble Truth concerning the Cause of Suffering must be abandoned . . . has been abandoned by me. Thus, monks, in things which formerly had not been heard of have I obtained knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and intuition.

“This is the Noble Truth concerning the Cessation of Suffering Thus, monks, in things which formerly had not been heard of have I obtained insight, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, intuition. This Noble Truth concerning the Cessation of Suffering must be seen face to face . . . has been seen by me face to face. Thus, monks, in things which formerly had not been heard of have I obtained insight, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, intuition.

“This is the Noble Truth concerning the Way which leads to the Cessation of Suffering. Thus, monks, in things which formerly had not been heard of have I obtained insight, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, intuition. This Noble Truth concerning the Way which leads to the Cessation of Suffering must be realized . . . has been realized by me. Thus, monks, in things which formerly had not been heard of have I obtained insight, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, intuition.”

Taken from the larger sutra, The First Teaching