The True Nature of Existence
  Kamma, Nibbana and Rebirth
The Sangha
The Buddhist Sangha

The Buddha

4 of 5

The teacher

For several weeks the newly enlightened Buddha remained in the vicinity of the bodhi tree, contemplating the truths he had discovered.

Then he faced the challenge of one more decision — whether to go out and try to  teach or whether remain silent and stay the forest. When he first reflected on this question, he decided not to teach, to pass his days quietly in the forest, and to enter into nirvana silently by himself.

The Dhamma, he thought, is just too deep and people are too attached. If he tried to teach no one would be interested, no one would try to understand. But then his mind inclined in the other direction.

And in the same way, he saw, there are some people whose eyes are covered with only a little bit of dust, who need only to hear the Dhamma to open enlightenment and gain deliverance. And when he saw this he makes the decision to go forth to teach.

For his first hearers he chose the five ascetics who previously used to wait upon him but had left him. Seeing his bearing is so majestic, his faculties so pure, his expression so serene, they listened to his words

In his first discourse the Buddha explained to them the middle way. He said he has achieved the supreme goal, he has discovered the middle way, the noble eight-fold path which avoids the extremes of indulgence and luxury on one hand and the extreme of self-mortification on the other hand.  He went on the proclaim the Four Noble Truths and to tell how his discovery of the four noble truth issued in his enlightenment.

The Buddha himself then commenced his long career of wandering which was to lead him from town to town, from village to village in northern India. And so the Buddha taught for 45 years.

As he approached his 80th year, the buddha knew that he had accomplished his mission. His doctrine had become widespread and fruitful, he had established the sangha, the order of monks and nuns. There were large numbers of people, monks and nuns, laymen and lay women, who had  opened enlightenment  could see to the transmission of the Dhamma. And so he set out on his last journey accompanied by Ananda, his personal attendant, and by the order of monks. He traveled to the town of ß and there he lay down between two trees. In his final discourse he exhorted them: