The First Disclosure - The Wheel of Truth
Today is Asala Full Moon Poya Day. It was on the Esala Poya Day, seven weeks after the attainment of Buddhahood, the Buddha delivered His first discourse, the Dhammachakkapavattna Sutta (the wheel of truth) to the five Ascetics, Kondanna, Vappa, Bhaddiya, Mahanama and Assaji at Isipathanaya in Benares (Baranasi).
The sermon consisted of the central teachings of the Buddha – the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. At the end of the Sutta the eldest Kondangna Thera attained sotapatti, the first stage of sainthood.
“What, O Bhikkus, is that middle path the Thathagatha has discovered which promotes sight, knowledge, peace, higher wisdom, Enlightenment and Nibbana? It is this Noble Eightfold Path”.
Read more on Noble Eightfold Path: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_Eightfold_Path
Society and Values
Values: In a society, we have values. Values allow us to work as community and improve further. Individuals have values themselves. Groups and societies share common values.
Example of a Value: Treating parents in their Elderhood.
Upon birth humans are one of the most vulnerable animals to external threats. Parents protects us from the external and feed us. They gave us education and other required things for our life. This is a good behavior. How do we reinforce this pattern? Parents should be rewarded for what they are doing. Looking at the current generation, next generation of parents will treat their children even better. By retaining this value in our group or society, we’ll be able to develop our societies better and faster.
Another Example of a Value: Respecting our teachers.
Teachers are paid for their service. Do we need to respect them or worship them? Well, according to Abraham Maslow, Money isn’t enough. We all have self-esteem needs. By helping teachers to satisfy their self-esteem needs, we can make sure the next generation of teachers teach their children even better. Yes, one can argue, society should pay more for teachers so that they can purchase self-esteem. I agree, that’s possible. But that leads to another side effect which I don’t need to discuss in this article.
“the study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy.”
- Abraham Maslow
(Maslow studied the healthiest 1% of the college student population)
Read More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Maslow
Now we understand how the values aid the development of a society and how we can make the development faster by carefully choosing what our values should be.
Religion as a Medium of Communication
Values are concepts, more specifically abstract concepts. We can use values within ourselves but cannot communicate. We need symbols to represent values.
Values and Symbols: In binary digital electronics, binary means we have only two values i.e. being or not-being. Digital means we map numbers into these two values. 1 as being and 0 as not-being. Now how do we communicate this? We have the utility of electronics. We symbolize a voltage difference of 5V as 1 or being. Otherwise 0 or not-being.
We use voltage level to symbolize binary digital value. We can communicate digital values through Voltage Symbols. The critical point to understand is a random variation of voltage across a conducting medium is of no use. The value lies within the symbols and only the society that encodes the value into a symbol can decode it.
Religions can be thought as a set of symbols that communicate values across the time and generation aiding societies to increase their rate of development.
Jesus and the doctors of the Faith, a painting by a follower of Giuseppe Ribera.
Professions tend to be autonomous, which means they have a high degree of control of their own affairs: “professionals are autonomous insofar as they can make independent judgments about their work”. This usually means “the freedom to exercise their professional judgment.”
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profession
Religious leaders in the society should maintain a professional status. In fact, they are more important than other professionals such as medical doctors, accountants, teachers, engineers, etc.
In a complex world or society, it’s hard to be philosophically independent, even if you have high intellectual capacity. The best option is to choose someone good to depend on. I chose Gauthama Buddha as my teacher of life. I happy shaping my life according to Buddhism.
Please allocate some of your precious time for religious and spiritual activities.
Wheel of Life
In Buddhism, according to the Pali Canon (Vinayapitaka, Khandhaka, Mahavagga, and Dhammacakkappavattanasutta), eight spokes represent the Noble Eightfold Path.
I am practicing Noble Eightfold Path as the way leading to the cessation of suffering (dukkha) and the achievement of self-awakening.