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Why Buddha Taught

These are Buddha's teachings.

Johann Wilhelm Preyer: Früchte auf einer Porzellanschale, Düsseldorf 1832. Section
Helpful food may be had

"There are three types of sick people in the world.

1. There is the sick person who - regardless of food, fit medicine, and proper nursing - will not recover.

2. "There is also the sick person who - regardless of whether he does or does not receive adequate food, proper medicine, and proper nursing - will recover.

3. And there is the sick person who will recover from that illness if he receives healthy food, proper medicine, and proper nursing, but not if he doesn't.

It is because of the sick person who will recover if he receives helpful food, medicine, and proper nursing - but not if he doesn't - that food for the sick has been allowed, medicine for the sick has been allowed, nursing for the sick has been allowed.

And because there is this sort of sick person, the other sorts of sick persons are to be nursed as well on the chance that they may actually turn out to need and benefit from such nursing.

Likewise there are three types of people in the world.

1. There is one who - regardless of whether he does or doesn't get to see the Tathagata, regardless of whether he does or doesn't get to hear the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by the Tathagatha - will not settle on cultivating himself with skill according to the prescriptions I give.

2. There is also the one who - regardless of whether he does or doesn't get to see the Tathagata, regardless of whether he does or doesn't get to hear the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by the Tathagatha - will abide by the law, develop skills and oneself.

3. There also the one who will settle on being law-adjusted, skilful and develop himself if he gets to see the Tathagata and gets to hear the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by the Tathagatha, but not if he doesn't.

"Because of the latter type the teaching of the Dhamma has been allowed. Because of this sort of person [to reach and help him] the other sorts of persons are taught the Dhamma too.

- AN 3.22, retold

His Focus and Concern

Once Buddha picked up a few leaves with his hand, he asked the monks, "What do you think, monks: Which are more numerous, the few leaves in my hand or those overhead in the forest?"

"In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they do not lead to to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening.

"And what have I taught? The path of practice leading to the cessation of dukka (suffering, stress, etc).

"Your duty is to get aware of and consider what is dukka and its origins and how to make it cease. This is the path of practice."

- SN 56.31

What Buddha Taught

"In one who has right view, wrong view is purged away, and the many evil, unskilful mental qualities that come into play in dependence on wrong view are purged away as well, while the many skilful mental qualities that depend on right view go to the culmination of their development.

"In one who has right resolve, wrong resolve is purged away.

"In one who has right speech, wrong speech is purged away.

"In one who has right action, wrong action is purged away.

"In one who has right livelihood, wrong livelihood is purged away.

"In one who has right effort, wrong effort is purged away.

"In one who has right mindfulness, wrong mindfulness is purged away.

"In one who has right concentration, wrong concentration is purged away.

"In one who has right knowledge, wrong knowledge is purged away.

"In one who has right release, wrong release is purged away, and the many evil, unskilful mental qualities that come into play in dependence on wrong release are purged away as well, while the many skilful mental qualities that depend on right release go to the culmination of their development.

- AN 10.108

This is the noble Middle Way, which is explained more specifically here: [The Middle Way].

Buddha's Tact

Buddha: "Those who say that the recluse Gotama [himself] is omniscient and all-seeing and professes to have an infinite knowledge and insight that is constantly and at all times present to him when he walks or stands, sleeps or keeps awake, are not reporting him properly and misrepresent him (as claiming) what is false and untrue."

Buddha tells this is correct: "In proclaiming that the recluse Gotama has a threefold knowledge, one would report him properly and not misrepresent him." (Majjhima Nikaya I 482).

NOTE. Tevijja stands for threefold knowledge realized by the Buddha during his Awakening: (a) knowledge of and recollecting past lives and habitations; (b) knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings; also called Divine Eye knowledge; (c) being awareness-free in knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations by endurance and more.

Sources. MN 19; MN 125; Iti 99; etc.

Too: "When a fellow monk claims the highest knowledge, one should neither accept nor reject it, but without acceptance or rejection should question him." (MN III 29)

He honours me best who practises my teaching best." [Buddha, Bht 287]

Contents


Buddha teachings, Buddhist lore, Literature  

AN: Anguttara Nikaya (Collection of Discourses arranged according to numbers)

Iti: Itivuttaka - attributed to Khujjuttara's recollection of Buddha's discourses; included in the Sutta Pitaka's Khuddaka Nikaya. It consists of 112 short teachings ascribed in the text to the Buddha. Some scholars consider it one of the earliest of all Buddhist scriptures.

MN: Majjhima Nikaya (Collection of Middle-Length Discourses)

Bht: Narada. The Buddha and His Teachings. 4th ed. Kuala Lumpur: Buddhist Missionary Society, 1988.

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