At the First Turn of the Dharma Wheel,
the Five Former Attendants were Converted.
In order to fulfill his promise, the Buddha set out to
the Deer Park (8) at Sarnath to convert his five former
attendants, among them was Ajnata-Kaundinya and the rest.
When they saw the Buddha from a distance, they concurred
to ignore the Buddha. As the Buddha approached, they could
not help but be moved by the Buddha’s sublimities. Together
they knelt down and listened to Buddha’s teaching on the
Four Noble Truths, that “of pain, of coming together,
of extinguishing of pain, and of the way to such extinction.”
Thus began the first turning of the Dharma wheel (9),
and the five attendants attained arhatship and became
known as the five bhiksus. This marked the establishment
of the Triple Gems (10).
(8)The Deer Park (Mrgadava) in Sarnath located on the
outskirts of Benares, AKA Varanasi. It was here where
Buddha Sakyamuni first taught the contents of his enlightenment
to the original five disciples. It was also one of the
six major locations where the Buddha later gave lectures
to the public.
(9)Dharma Wheel symbolizes the preaching of a Buddha.
A Dharma wheel is likened to a wheel because it crushes
all illusions. It also symbolizes that the Dharma passes
on to infinite generations like a wheel keeps turning
and reaches unlimited distance. (Excerpted
from The Seeker’s Glossary of Buddhism.)
(10)Triple Gem represents the Buddha, which is the supremelyenlightened
being, the Dharma, which is the teaching imparted by Buddha,
and the Sangha, which is the congregation of monks and
nuns, or of genuine Dharma followers. In Buddhism, these
three fundamental aspects that form a basis for belief
and practice are extremely precious, thus the name of
Three Jewels, or Triple Gem. (Excerpted from The Seeker’s
Glossary of Buddhism.)
Thirty-Two lmages in a Glance