To the Learner

Reality Arises with Clear Vision

The Buddha said to Magandiya, ‘It is like a man born blind who cannot see either colour or shape, the even or the uneven, the stars, the sun or the moon. He might hear someone speaking of the pleasure of a lovely, unstained, pure white cloth, and start searching to get one. But someone might deceive him by giving him a greasy, grimy coarse robe and by saying, ‘My good man, this is a lovely, unstained, pure white cloth.’

He might take it and put it on. Then his friends and relations might get a physician and surgeon to make medicine for him, potions, purgatives, ointments and treatment for his eyes. Because of this he might regain his sight and clarify his vision. Then the desire and attachment he had for that greasy robe would go, he would no longer consider the man who gave it to him a friend. He might even consider him an enemy, thinking:

“For a long time I have been defrauded, deceived and cheated by this man.”

‘Even so, if I were to teach you Dharma saying: ‘This is that health, this is that Nirvana,’ you might know health, might see Nirvana With the arising of your vision, you might get rid of that desire and attachment to the five groups of grasping, and this might even occur to you: ‘For a long time indeed I have been defrauded, deceived and cheated by this mind. – M.I: 511; M.L.S. II: 190

Consider the Following Advice Before Accepting a Religion

‘Do not accept anything on mere reports, traditions or hearsay;
Nor upon the authority of religious texts;
Nor upon mere reasons and logic;
Nor upon one’s own inference;
Nor upon anything which appears to be true;
Nor upon one’s speculative opinions;
Nor upon another’s seeming ability;
Nor upon the consideration, ‘This is our Teacher’.

But, 0 Kalamas, when you know for yourselves that certain things are unwholesome (akusala), wrong and bad, then give them up … And when you know for yourselves that certain things are wholesome (kusala) and good, then accept them and follow them.’ – AL 187

Is it Advisable to Reveal Everything that one has Seen?

‘Good Gautama, for my part I say this, I hold this view. If anyone speaks of what he has seen, heard or sensed, there is no harm in him saying: ‘This is what I saw, this is what I heard, and this is what I sensed.’ There is no harm resulting from that.’

‘For my part, Brahmin, I do not say that everything one has seen, heard or sensed should be spoken of, and I do not say it should not be spoken of. If one speaks and unprofitable states grow, one should not speak. If one speaks and profitable states grow, one should speak of what one has seen, heard, sensed and understood.’ – AX: 172

Praising or Criticising Must Be Done at the Proper Time

‘There are these four persons found in the world,’ said the Buddha to Potaliya, the wanderer.

‘One criticises that which deserves criticism at the right time, but he does not praise that which deserves praise. Again, one speaks in praise of the praiseworthy at the right time. And finally, one criticises that which deserves criticism and praises the praiseworthy, at the right time. Now, of these four persons, which do you think is the most admirable and rare?’

‘In my view, Venerable Sir, he who neither criticises that which deserves criticism nor praises the praiseworthy is the most admirable and rare. Because his indifference is admirable.’

Replied the Buddha, ‘Well, I maintain that he who criticises that which deserves criticism and praises the praiseworthy, at the right time, saying what is factual and true — he is the best. Because his timing is admirable.’ – A.II: 97

The Buddha’s Way of Convincing People

On one occasion a millionaire named Upali, a fervent follower of Nigantha Nataputta (i.e. Mahavira, the founder of Jainism), approached the Buddha, and thoughtfully listened to his teaching; confidence (Saddha) arose in him and forthwith he expressed his willingness to become a follower of the Buddha. But the Buddha said: ‘Of a truth, Upali, make a thorough investigation.’ Then in his great delight Upali said:

‘Had I manifested my readiness to become a follower of another creed they would have taken me around the city in procession and proclaimed that such and such a millionaire had embraced their faith. But, sir, your reverence counsels me to make further investigation. I feel the more delighted at this saying of yours.’

Upali then sought refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. – MI: 371f