Iti 107 Bahukārasutta: Very Helpful

This was said by the Lord, said by the Arahant, so I heard:

“Bhikkhus, brahmins and householders are very helpful to you. They provide you with the requisites of robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicine in time of sickness. And you, bhikkhus, are very helpful to brahmins and householders, as you teach them the Dhamma that is good at the outset, good in the middle, and good at the end, with its correct meaning and wording, and you proclaim the holy life in its fulfilment and complete purity. Thus, bhikkhus, this holy life is lived with mutual support for the purpose of crossing the flood and making a complete end of suffering.”

This is the meaning of what the Lord said. So in regard to this it was said:

Householders and homeless alike,
Each a support for the other,
Both accomplish the true Dhamma—
The unsurpassed security from bondage.

From householders the homeless receive
These basic necessities of life,
Robes to wear and a place to dwell
Dispelling the hardships of the seasons.

And by relying on one of good conduct,
Home-loving layfolk dwelling in a house
Place faith in those worthy ones
Of noble wisdom and meditative.

Practising the Dhamma in this life,
The path leading to a good bourn,
Those wishing for pleasure rejoice
In the delights of the deva world.

This too is the meaning of what was said by the Lord, so I heard.


Read this translation of Itivuttaka 107 Bahukārasutta: Very Helpful by John D. Ireland on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

AN 10.83 Puṇṇiyasutta: With Puṇṇiya

Then Venerable Puṇṇiya went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Sir, what is the cause, what is the reason why sometimes the Realized One feels inspired to teach, and other times not?”

“Puṇṇiya, when a mendicant has faith but doesn’t approach, the Realized One doesn’t feel inspired to teach. But when a mendicant has faith and approaches, the Realized One feels inspired to teach.

When a mendicant has faith and approaches, but doesn’t pay homage … they pay homage, but don’t ask questions … they ask questions, but don’t lend an ear … they lend an ear, but don’t remember the teaching they’ve heard … they remember the teaching they’ve heard, but don’t reflect on the meaning of the teachings they’ve remembered … they reflect on the meaning of the teachings they’ve remembered, but, having understood the meaning and the teaching, they don’t practice accordingly … they practice accordingly, but they’re not a good speaker. Their voice is not polished, clear, articulate, and doesn’t express the meaning … They’re a good speaker, but they don’t educate, encourage, fire up, and inspire their spiritual companions. The Realized One doesn’t feel inspired to teach.

But when a mendicant

  1. has faith,
  2. approaches,
  3. pays homage,
  4. asks questions,
  5. lends an ear,
  6. remembers the teachings,
  7. reflects on the meaning,
  8. practices accordingly,
  9. has a good voice, and
  10. encourages their spiritual companions,

the Realized One feels inspired to teach. When someone has these ten qualities, the Realized One feels totally inspired to teach.”



Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 10.83 Puṇṇiyasutta: With Puṇṇiya by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

SN 42.7 Khettūpamasutta: The Simile of the Field

At one time the Buddha was staying near Nālandā in Pāvārika’s mango grove. Then Asibandhaka’s son the chief went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Sir, doesn’t the Buddha live full of compassion for all living beings?”

“Yes, chief.”

“Well, sir, why exactly do you teach some people thoroughly and others less thoroughly?”

“Well then, chief, I’ll ask you about this in return, and you can answer as you like. What do you think? Suppose a farmer has three fields: one’s good, one’s average, and one’s poor—bad ground of sand and salt. What do you think? When that farmer wants to plant seeds, where would he plant them first: the good field, the average one, or the poor one?”

Sir, he’d plant them first in the good field, then the average, then he may or may not plant seed in the poor field. Why is that? Because at least it can be fodder for the cattle.”

To me, the monks and nuns are like the good field. I teach them the Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And I reveal a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. Why is that? Because they live with me as their island, protection, shelter, and refuge.

To me, the laymen and laywomen are like the average field. I also teach them the Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And I reveal a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. Why is that? Because they live with me as their island, protection, shelter, and refuge.

To me, the ascetics, brahmins, and wanderers who follow other paths are like the poor field, the bad ground of sand and salt. I also teach them the Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And I reveal a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. Why is that? Hopefully they might understand even a single sentence, which would be for their lasting welfare and happiness.

Suppose a person had three water jars: one that’s uncracked and nonporous; one that’s uncracked but porous; and one that’s cracked and porous. What do you think? When that person wants to store water, where would they store it first: in the jar that’s uncracked and nonporous, the one that’s uncracked but porous, or the one that’s cracked and porous?”

Sir, they’d store water first in the jar that’s uncracked and nonporous, then the one that’s uncracked but porous, then they may or may not store water in the one that’s cracked and porous. Why is that? Because at least it can be used for washing the dishes.”

“To me, the monks and nuns are like the water jar that’s uncracked and nonporous. I teach them the Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And I reveal a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. Why is that? Because they live with me as their island, protection, shelter, and refuge.

To me, the laymen and laywomen are like the water jar that’s uncracked but porous. I teach them the Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And I reveal a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. Why is that? Because they live with me as their island, protection, shelter, and refuge.

To me, the ascetics, brahmins, and wanderers who follow other paths are like the water jar that’s cracked and porous. I also teach them the Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And I reveal a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure. Why is that? Hopefully they might understand even a single sentence, which would be for their lasting welfare and happiness.”

When he said this, Asibandhaka’s son the chief said to the Buddha, “Excellent, sir! Excellent! … From this day forth, may the Buddha remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 42.7 Khettūpamasutta: The Simile of the Field by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

SN 6.1 Ayācana Sutta The Discourse on Brahmā’s Request

This is how I heard. At one time the Blessed One was staying in the province of Uruvelā on the Nerañjarā river bank at the foot of the Goatherd’s Banyan tree, just after the Blessed One had become fully enlightened. Then, while the Blessed One was alone in meditation, a thought occurred in his mind thus:

“This Dhamma that I have realized is deep, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, cannot be realized by reasoning, subtle, and to be experienced by the wise. But this generation is stuck in desire, delights in desire, and rejoices in desire. For a generation that is stuck in desire, delights in desire, and rejoices in desire, realizing this Dhamma that is about the law of causality and the law of dependent arising will be very hard to understand. Nibbāna is the state of dispassion, cessation, stilling in all formations, complete removal of all defilements, and the destruction of craving. Attaining this Nibbāna is very hard for such a generation.

“Therefore if I were to teach the Dhamma and if others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, and that would be troublesome for me.”

Thereupon these astounding verses, not heard before in the past, occurred to the Blessed One:

“I realized this Dhamma with so much hardship.
It is of no use teaching this to others.
These beings who are burdened
by lust and hate wouldn’t easily
understand this Dhamma.

“This Dhamma practice
is like going upstream.
It is deep, subtle, and hard to see.
These beings that are fired by lust
and covered by darkness of ignorance
will never see this very refined Dhamma.”

As the Blessed One reflected thus, his mind inclined to living at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma. Then Brahmā Sahampati, having known the reflection in the Blessed One’s mind, thought: “Alas, the world is lost! The world will perish! The mind of the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Supremely Enlightened One has inclined to living at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma.”

Then, just as quickly as a strong man extends his drawn-in arm or draws in his extended arm, Brahmā Sahampati disappeared from the brahmā world and reappeared in front of the Blessed One. Brahmā Sahampati arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, knelt down with his right knee on the ground, worshipping respectfully, he said to the Blessed One: “Bhante, let the Blessed One teach the Dhamma! Let the Fortunate One teach the Dhamma! There are beings with little defilement. If they do not get to hear the Dhamma they will deteriorate. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma if they get to hear it.”

Having said this, Brahmā Sahampati further said this verse:

“In the past
among the people in the province of Magadha,
many impure views appeared
that were introduced by defiled people.
Therefore please open the door
to the Deathless, Nibbāna!
Let all beings hear the Supreme Dhamma
discovered by the Supreme Buddha
who has stainless wisdom.

“Just as one standing on a mountain peak
might see below the people all around,
so too, oh wise one,
the sage who sees everything,
please, ascend the palace made of the Dhamma.
Look at the people
disturbed by sorrow
and burdened by birth and decay!

“Rise up, oh hero,
victor in battle with Māra!
Oh caravan leader, debt-free sage,
wander in the world.
Oh Blessed One,
please teach the Supreme Dhamma!
There will be those who will definitely understand.”

Then the Blessed One, having understood brahmā’s request, surveyed the world out of great compassion for beings, with the eye of a Buddha. As the Blessed One surveyed the world with the eye of a Buddha, the Blessed One saw some beings with little defilement, and some with much defilement, some with the potential for keen wisdom, some with less potential for wisdom, some with easy access for understanding things clearly, some with weak access for understanding things clearly, some easy to teach, and some difficult to teach, some live seeing fear in wrongdoing and fear about the next world, some live without fear of wrongdoing and without fear about the next world.

Just as in a pond of blue or red or white lotuses, some lotuses having been born in the water, grown in the water, and submerged in the water do not rise up from the water. Some lotuses having been born in the water and grown in the water, stand at an even level with the water. Some lotuses having been born in the water and grown in the water, rise up from the water and stand without being soiled by the water. So too, surveying the world with the eye of a Buddha, the Blessed One saw some beings with little defilement, and some with much defilement, some with the potential for keen wisdom, some with less potential for wisdom, some with easy access for understanding things clearly, some weak access for understanding things clearly, some easy to teach, and some difficult to teach, some live seeing fear in wrong doing and fear about the next world, some live without fear of wrong doing and no fear about the next world.

Having seeing the world in this way, The Blessed One answered Brahmā Sahampati in verse:

“I opened the doors to the Deathless,
Nibbāna.
Let those who have ears
come with confidence.
Oh brahmā, foreseeing trouble,
I didn’t teach people the Dhamma
which has been well realized by me.”

Then Brahmā Sahampati, thinking, “The Blessed One has accepted my request for teaching the Dhamma,” paid homage to the Blessed One and disappeared right there.

Read this translation of SN 6.1 Ayācana Sutta: The Discourse on Brahmā’s Request on ReadingFaithfully.org or on SuttaCentral.net and DhammaTalks.org.