Before instructing others, one has to know the subject thoroughly. It is very important for one to undergo religious practice. Without having experienced for oneself, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for one to instruct others properly.
‘It cannot be, Cunda, that one who is sunk in mud can
pull out another who is sunk in mud.’
– M.I: 45
One day the Buddha said, ‘Truly, Ananda, it is not easy to teach Dharma to others. In teaching Dharma to others, establish well five things, and then teach. What five? Teach Dharma to others thinking:
• ‘I will speak Dharma in a gradual way;
• I will speak with the goal in mind;
• I will speak with kindliness;
• I will not speak as a means of gain;
• I will speak not to harm anybody.’
For truly, Ananda, it is not easy to teach Dharma to others. So, in teaching Dharma to others, establish well these five things.’ – MIL 183; G.S.III: 136
• One with little learning who does not profit from his learning. • One of little learning who does profit from his learning. • One of great learning who does not profit from his learning, and • One of great learning who does profit from his learning. – A.II: 5
• Ugghatitañña – One who learns by taking hints.
• Vipacitañña – One who understands after learning the full details.
• Neyya – One who has to be led on by systematic instructions.
• Padaparama – One who just learns by rote. – AM: 135
• One who comprehends the meaning but is unable to explain it clearly. • One who is slow to comprehend the meaning but is able to explain it clearly. • One who has both of the above qualities. • One who has neither of them. – A.II: 135
According to the Buddha, there are four ways of treating questions:
• Some should be answered directly in brief.
• Others should be answered by way of analysing them.
• Yet others should be answered by counter-questions.
• And lastly, there are questions which should be put aside because there are no answers to certain questions,
or because the questioners are not in a position yet to understand the answers. – A.II: 45
The Venerable Sariputta said, ‘When one who teaches wishes to teach another, let him establish five good qualities and then teach. Let him think:
• I will speak at the right time, not at the wrong time.
• I will speak about what reality is, not about what is not.
• I will speak with gentleness, not with harshness.
• I will speak about the goal, not about what is not the goal.
• I will speak with a mind filled with love, not with a mind filled with ill-will. – A.III: 195
‘You yourself should make the effort for your salvation, The Buddha teaches you how to gain it. Those who enter this Path and who are meditative Are delivered from suffering.’ – Dh: 276
‘Do not depend on others for your salvation; Develop your self-confidence to gain it.’ – D.II: 100