Choekhor Duchen honors the day that the Buddha Shakyamuni first taught the four noble truths in Sarnath, India, and first turned the wheel of the dharma. (In Tibetan, choe refers to the dharma, khor means circle, and duchen means a special day. ) It is also called drukpa tse shi, which means the 4th day of the 6th month of the Tibetan calendar. On this day, Tibetan monasteries and nunneries commonly hold major prayers. Lay Tibetans visit the monasteries, donate to the sangha, make prostrations, light butter lamp offerings, and take similar wholesome actions to honor the day with making good karma. (To know the date of Choekhor Duchen on the western calendar for particular years, see our post: Know Your Tibetan Holidays.)
The Four Noble Truths taught by the Buddha are:
- The truth of suffering
- The truth of the cause of suffering
- The truth of the cessation of suffering
- The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering
While we could spend a lifetime, or many lifetimes, studying these truths, here are a few very fine introductory teachings, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Samdhong Rinpoche:
His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Teaching on the Four Noble Truths (2012)
This video, from His Holiness’ website, is the first day of His Holiness’ two-day teaching on the four noble truths given in New Delhi, India, on March 23-24, 2012. You can find the second part here.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Teaching on The Four Noble Truths (1981)
Samdhong Rinpoche’s Teaching on the Four Noble Truths
Here are four excerpts from Samdhong Rinpoche’s teaching on the Four Noble Truth at the Gyuto Foundation in April 2015. Samdhong Rinpoche, a leading scholar of Buddhism and of Ganchi, was the first elected Kalon Tripa of the Tibetan government in exile, in 2001. He spoke on The Four Noble Truths on April 28 and 30, 2015. (Sorry the video quality is not the greatest. We were hand holding on an iPhone :-)
Book or Audio Cassette His Holiness on the Four Noble Truths (1996)
On Amazon, you can get either a book or audio cassette of His Holiness’ teachings from 1996, with an introduction by Robert Thurman of Columbia University. (Click on the image to go to Amazon.)
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