Set Rolling the Wheel of Truth

The Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta is said to be the first teaching given by the Buddha to the 5 ascetics. It lays out the whole of the teaching in the clearest possible way.

This is the Truth of Suffering:
birth is suffering,
old age is suffering,
sickness is suffering,
death is suffering,
being with what you despise is suffering,
separation from what you hold dear is suffering,
failing to satisfy your desires is suffering,
the things that we mistakenly take to be our true selves are suffering.

This is the Truth of the Cause of Suffering:
craving leads to rebirth,
lust, the neverending search for pleasure,
desire for the enjoyment of the senses,
desire for being, desire for destruction.

This is the Truth of the End of Suffering:
the withering of craving,
the freedom from lust.
the letting go of desire.

And this is the Truth of the Path to the End of Suffering, the Eightfold Path:
wise understanding,
wise motivation,
wise speech,
wise behavior,
wise livelihood,
wise states of mind,
wise mindfulness,
wise unification.

The Truth of Suffering was my own insight and understanding. I knew that it must be penetrated, and I knew that I had penetrated this Truth.

The Truth of the Cause of Suffering was my own insight and understanding. I knew that craving must be let go, and I knew that that I had let it go.

The Truth of the End of Suffering was my own insight and understanding. I knew that it must be internalized, and that I had internalized it.

The Truth of the Path to the End of Suffering was my own insight and understanding. I knew that it must be followed, and that I had followed it.

As long as I did not know these Four Truths,
as long as I had not embodied them in every phase,
as long as I was not completely pure,
then in this world of gods, demons, and priests,
in this world of spiritual seekers, angels, and people,
I did not claim full liberation.

But when I not know these Four Truths,
when I had embodied them in every phase,
when I was completely pure,
then in this world of gods, demons, and priests,
in this world of spiritual seekers, angels, and people,
I did indeed claim full liberation.
At that moment I knew:
Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done.
There is nothing more for this world.

-SN 56.11

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