On Saturday 8 July, Nalanda marked the annual ‘Dhamma Day’, which fell on the full-moon of Asalha month. Nalanda Institute Director Achariya Tan Siang Chye gave a talk on the significance of ‘Dhamma Day’. It is one of the most important observance days for Buddhists as it commemorates the first preaching of Dhamma after the Buddha’s Enlightenment.
The ‘Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta’ was given to the five ascetics who accompanied the Buddha before His Enlightenment. He taught them the Four Noble Truths to understand the realities of life and achieve Awakening. With deep insight, one can fully understand Dukkha (unsatisfactoriness), abandon the causes of Dukkha, realise the cessation of Dukkha, and fully develop the Noble Eightfold Path.
The Four Noble Truths are also found in Maha Satipatthana Sutta, where monks were taught to contemplate on their mental manifestations. A monk with wisdom knows: “This is suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path leading to cessation of suffering”. By establishing mindfulness, he lives unfettered and clings to nothing in the world.
As Dhamma practitioners, we acknowledge forms of Dukkha and their underlying causes. With proper understanding of the Four Noble Truths, we are able to let go of craving, thus overcoming Dukkha. After the talk, Bro. Tan led everyone in reciting the ‘Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta’ in Pāli, which is an endearing tradition on ‘Dhamma Day’. The congregation also dedicated merits to Sangha members at the start of their annual Rains Retreat. Sadhu!