The Importance of Meditation in Dhammacakkappavattanasutta by Sayalay Dīpaṅkara


Today, October 4th, 2017, is an Uposatha Day. Today is the launching day of this website (www.dhamma.tv). I feel excited and it would feel just right if my first post on this website would be something related to the Four Noble Truths. Therefore, I embedded a video from YouTube, which of course I had selected it beforehand. In the video, you can see that Venerable Sayalay Dīpaṅkara Therī gave talk on the importance of meditation in Dhammacakkappavattanasutta. You can read the whole sutta in:
This sutta was actually the first sermon gave by Lord Buddha Gotama. As you can read there in the sutta, one of the amazing facts was after Lord Buddha preached the sutta, Venerable Koṇḍañña attained the fist stage of sainthood. Only after Lord Buddha preached Anattalakkhaṇasutta, all the first five bhikkhus including Venerable Koṇḍañña attained the highest stage of sainthood. Hopefully, I will come across a video explaining about Anattalakkhaṇasutta and so -again, hopefully- I will be able to post it in this web site. However, if by any means you want to read the sutta right away, you can visit this web page: https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.59.

In this talk, Sayalay emphasized that meditation is important for our lives even if you are a lay follower of Lord Buddha. To support meditation practice, Sayalay also emphasized how important for lay followers to keep their five precepts (pañcasīla). As stated in this web page (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sila/pancasila.html), the five precepts are:
  1. I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
  2. I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
  3. I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
  4. I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
  5. I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
Lord Buddha taught about the Four Noble Truths for the first time in Dhammacakkappavattanasutta. The Four Noble Truths are:
  1. the noble truth of suffering, 
  2. the noble truth of the origin of suffering, 
  3. the noble truth of the cessation of suffering, and
  4. the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.
When Lord Buddha spoke about the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering, what Lord Buddha actually meant was no other than the Noble Eightfold Path, which are: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. Please note that some people may use the term "right resolve" or "right thought" when referring to "right intention".

This Noble Eightfold Path can be divided into three groups, namely the morality group, concentration group and insight group. The morality group consists of right speech, right action and right livelihood. The concentration group consists of right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. Lastly, the insight group consists of right view and right intention. Fortunately for us, we can see how these three groups neatly presented in a table format by visiting this web page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_Eightfold_Path#Threefold_division. Regarding this division -which some people name it as "threefold division"- we can refer to the answer given by Venerable Dhammadinnā Therī when asked by his former husband Visākha as follows:
"Whatever is right speech, friend Visākha, and whatever is right action, and whatever is right livelihood, these things are comprised within the virtue constituent. 
Whatever is right endeavour, and whatever is right mindfulness, and whatever is right concentration, these things are comprised within the concentration constituent. 
Whatever is right view, and whatever is right thought, these things are comprised within the wisdom constituent."
You can read about it and other questions asked by  Visākha in the Cūḷavedallasutta (https://suttacentral.net/en/mn44).

From there, I can see that meditation somewhat belongs in two of those three groups, which are concentration group and insight/wisdom group. Therefore, as we can see there, meditation has an important role within the Noble Eightfold Path. For practicing the way of concentrating the mind, in this talk, Sayalay elaborated on how we can practice meditation by using the breath as the object.

Concluding this post, we now have seen that meditation has an important role within the teaching of Lord Buddha, namely the Dhamma. Last but not least, allow me to suggest you that if you want to practice meditation, do so under the guidance of a prominent meditation teacher. That way -hopefully- you will be able to progress faster and in the right way.

Video courtesy of:
  1. Venerable Sayalay Dīpaṅkara Therī, 
  2. YouTube, and 
  3. The people involved in the making of and uploading the video.
May you find all the guidance you need for attaining Nibbana.

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Sabbadānaṃ dhammadānaṃ jināti
(The gift of Dhamma excels all gifts)
Dhammapada Verse 354

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