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The Ashadha Purnima day, when Buddha’s Teachings proved to be Universal, and doors of enlightenment opened for all humanity.

Updated on: 03 July,2023 04:34 PM IST  |  Mumbai
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What good would Buddha’s Enlightenment be, for the humanity at large, if it meant cessation of suffering for him alone?

The Ashadha Purnima day, when Buddha’s Teachings proved to be Universal, and doors of enlightenment opened for all humanity.

Piyush Kulshreshtha, Founder & CEO, Khul Ke



Gotama, the Buddha, was born on the Vaishakha Purnima of the year 623 BC, which is the traditional date. [Govt of India celebrated 2500 years of Buddha’s Mahaparinibbana in the year 1956, as did all other nations that follow the teachings of Buddha. Historians follow a different timeline.]

After his Enlightenment on the Vaishakha Purnima in the year 588 BC, when he became the Buddha, the self-enlightened one, he spent seven weeks around the Bodhi Tree itself, reflecting on all he had learned during his enlightenment and on the fiftieth day, reflecting on the profundity of the Dhamma he had learned, he initially thought the society may not be interested in learning from him such a profound Teaching, but later, after seeing different people at various junctures of their spiritual journey, he decided to Teach. He stayed in the area of the Bodhi Tree in Bodha Gaya for nine more days and on the Ashadha Purnima day, walked to Saranath near Varanasi to Teach Dhamma to the five companions who had served him during his six years of extreme austerities before his enlightenment.

In the evening, he began to give his first discourse, aptly & symbolically called Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, Setting of Dhamma-wheel in Motion. By the end of the discourse, his disciple Kondañña became the first person after Buddha to enter the state of Nibbāna and immediately, the word spread that the Buddha has set the dhamma-wheel in motion.

The dhamma-wheel was not said to have been set in motion when Buddha attained Self-enlightenment on the Vaishakha Purnima day, just two months earlier. It was only when it was proved that what Buddha learned that day, if practiced by others, will also bring similar results, that others can attain Enlightenment by walking on this path, truly meant that the Dhamma-wheel was now set in motion and many beings are about to receive these teachings and attain Enlightenment and bring an end to their suffering. A vast humanity benefitted from his Teachings after this event.

This event, when the Teachings of Buddha led to the enlightenment of its practitioner, irrespective of his or her birth in any caste, creed, race, or religion, was symbolized by the 24-spoked wheel under the Lion Capital of Emperor Asoka in his Pillar at Sarnath.

That same Dhamma Wheel is now found a place in India’s Tricolour, quietly reminding the nation that a great person was born in this very country, who gave a universal teaching of Dhamma, that would bring salvation to anyone who practiced Vipassana, the insight meditation, as Buddha taught it.

Our cravings, aversions and delusion bring misery to us. It doesn’t matter whether one considers oneself a Hindu, or Bauddha or Jain or Sikh or Muslim or Christian or a Jew or a Zoroastrian or Indian or Foreigner, if the greed, lust, anger, jealousy, covetousness, sadness, fear, etc. arise, the person is bound to suffer. And one who is free from these defilements of the mind is automatically living in peace and harmony.

We are a fortunate generation of humanity that still has the Universal Teachings of Buddha available to us. Having understood the nature of the mind and material phenomenon, and having learned their ultimate characteristics, he has taught us how to work with our mind-matter phenomena, using Vipassana, the insight meditation and free our minds from these multitudes of defilements.

Let us take the benefit of such a precious opportunity by keeping the 24-spoked Dhamma-wheel in motion within ourselves.

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