A Burmese manuscript of Dhammacakkappattana Sutta in Pāli (Burmese script).
What is the manuscript like?
This manuscript is written in Pāli text on silvered palm leaves. The script is Burmese round script in black, and there are black lacquered decoration margins. The marginal and outer cover decorations on the manuscript show the earliest iconographic representations of the First Sermon, the Wheel of the Doctrine (Dhammacakka).
What is shown here?
At the age of thiry-five, Siddhattha Gotama attained enlightenment and became a supreme Buddha on the full moon day of the month of Vesakha (May) at Bodh Gaya. After his enlightenment the Buddha preached his First Sermon Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta or ‘Turning the Wheel of Dhamma’ to five ascetics, who had previously been his companions, in the deer park near Varanasi on the eve of Saturday, the full moon day of July. The sermon contains the fundamental principles of his teaching expressed in the Four Noble Truths: life is suffering, the cause of suffering, cessation of ends suffering, and the way to end suffering is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path of right views, right aims, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. While listening to his discourse, the ascetics became the disciples of the Buddha. The original Teachings are found in the ‘Pāli Canon’, the ancient scriptures of Theravāda Buddhism written in the Pāli language.
View images of the entire manuscripts via our Digitised Manuscripts website.
- Article by:
- Peter Harvey
- Buddhism, Sacred texts
Professor Peter Harvey recounts the life and teachings of the Buddha, as well as considering the role that the Buddha plays in the different branches of Buddhism and how his teachings have been collected.