FQ17 Buddhism Week 2

Hello All,

This week, we will discuss the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, or the Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion. This is the first sermon that Buddha gave to the five ascetics after reaching enlightenment, and contain one of the most fundamental thoughts in Buddhism.

We will look at one primary text and two discourses: 

You may find the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta herehttp://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.harv.html — Thanissaro Bhikkhu is a big figure in Pali translations, but I liked the Peter Harvey version better. There are different translations on that site, so browse around! If you want a more word-by-word translation, please go to http://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/samyutta/maha/sn56-011.html.

We will also look at A Discourse on the Wheel of Dhamma by The Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw, and  Setting in Motion the Dharma Wheel: Talks on the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism by Venerable Master Sheng Yen. Ven. Sayādaw was a notable figure in Theravada Buddhism, and Ven. Sheng Yen was a dharma heir and key figure in Chan Buddhism. 

For the Sayādaw text, we will read sections from Part 4 to 7 which explicate The Four Noble Truths, from the 1st truth (p. 84 – 113: or p. 87 – 113), 2nd truth (p. 114 – 150: or p. 114 – 124, 145 – 150), 3rd and 4th truth (p. 151 – 197: or p. 151 – 159, 169 – 171, 172, 195 – 197). We will also read Part 3 which explains the Noble Eightfold Path (p. 58 – 84: or p. 58 – 64, 70 – 71, 74 – 76, 82 – 84). I know it looks like a lot of reading, but if you look at the book, its pages are quite small, so hopefully it won’t be too much.

For the Sheng Yen text, feel free to read all of it. 

You don’t have to read both of the texts — they are slightly different perspectives on the same topic. We are only reading to have a better understanding of the Sutta, not to discuss the texts academically. However, I do highly advise reading all of the Sayādaw text if possible.

A Discourse on the Wheel of Dhamma – Sayadaw

A Discourse on Setting the Wheel of Dharma – Sheng Yen

Starting [The Bookshop]

April of 2017, I visited my grandparents who were recently baptized into the Catholic church. Although I was genuinely happy for them, talking about religion made me frustrated for some reason– and I realized this was a condition I’ve been having for some time. It was certainly not out of any “political” viewpoint per se, as in my potentially differing opinions on what certain religions might hold as their main beliefs (e.g. stance on abortion, LGBTQ rights, etc). Instead, I realized it was because I longed for such a community of my own, just not as an established institution with set doctrines and commitment. I wanted a community of goodwill, where people would gather, let down their guards, and together strive to understand what they truly want out of this world. So I created The Bookshop, where we would study a plumage of religious and philosophical ideas; essentially, we are shopping for different books. Through The Bookshop, some will discover their affinity to a certain religion and leave to explore more of that faith, and others will stay on to cultivate their minds and learn what it means to be fully human. Both outcomes, I believe, are favorable. With enough people, I hope to visit local religious institutions, and invite figures of those faith to come and talk about what it means to be part of their religion. Welcome to The Bookshop!