What Does “Turning the Wheel of Dhamma” Mean?

发布日期:2016-07-27   字体大小:   

Cakka (wheel) was a wheel-like weapon used in ancient India. There was an old legend in India that the raja (king) that conquered the world would be the Rajacakkavattin, i.e.”The wheel-turning king”. At the time of his birth, a wheel appeared in the sky, prophesying that he would be unconquerable in the future. In Buddhism the wheel is used as a metaphor of the Dhamma preached by the Buddha. Once the Buddha’s Dhammacakka emerged, all the wrong thinking and evil things would be smashed and vanish. Hence the preaching of Dhamma is called Dhammacakkappavattana (turning the wheel of Dhamma). The Buddha’s initial turning of the wheel of Dhamma took place at Sarnath Mrgadava (Deer Park) in present-day Benares. Through the recent excavations, quite a few valuable relics have been discovered at Sarnath, including the King Asoka stone pillar, stone-engraved images of the Buddha’s first turning of the wheel of Dhamma dating from the 4thcentury AD etc. Even the ruins of the ancient thupa temple were unearthed. Buddhist temples, museums and a library now standing there were built over the last few decades. There are four places regarded as the holy places of Buddhism:


(1)    Sarnath, where the Buddha initially turned the wheel of Dhamma,


(2)    Lumbini Grove, where the Buddha was born,


(3)    Buddhagaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment, and


(4)    Kusinara, where the Buddha passed away.


It is worthy of note that modern scholars excavated and repaired the holy places and other historical sites mainly on the basis of the records of the ancient Chinese pilgrims like Fa Xian (Fa Hsien) and Xuan Zang (Hsuan Tsang).(From Essentials of Buddhism: Questions and Answers)


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