Explain how the Sermon at Sarnath contains the key teaching of Buddhism.
The Buddha’s first sermon is imperative as it outlines the major teachings of Buddhism; he explains what he has discovered in terms of the four truths. His sermon began by explaining to the ascetics that he has found through his personal experiences that both a life of pleasure seeking and of denial of pleasure was harmful and furthermore was enlightened to see a new way of life, which was that of moderation, the middle path. This discovery enabled him to see clearly the four truths. The middle path is the concept which all Buddhist must both learn bust also become intuitive, it is the concept of avoiding extremes, this is outlined in the sermon
“ To indulgence of pleasure in the objects of sensual desire… and there is devotion of self torment to discover nibbana… one avoids both extremes.”
This belief is fundamental to Buddhism as it provides a basis of all moral and ethical decisions.
The first Nobel truth is a statement that there is something fundamentally wrong with how humans see life and existence. The word used to explain the Buddhist teaching of dukka is ‘suffering’ yet the understanding of this is far beyond the limitations of the English word. Buddha describes it in his first sermon in Benares as
“Birth is suffering, ageing is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering, sorrow and lamentation, pain grief and despair suffering”
It is seen that there is 3 types of dukka, firstly the ordinary suffering such as pain, poverty and death. Secondly, inherent suffering due to the impermanent of life, meaning humans have a desire for all objects to be permanent. The truth shows that the outside environment inherently is unstable, as well as our “self” through the concept of samsara. Nothing in the phenomenal universe is stable thus the problem lies we desire the security of permanence and thus without it we feel deprived of inner nourishment...