The Bringer of Light

from Discourses from the Pali Canon

edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Featured in Mountain Record 24.3, Spring 2006


 

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The Decision to Teach

"I considered: ‘This Dhamma that I have attained is profound, hard to see and hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, unattainable by mere reasoning, subtle, to be experienced by the wise. But this population delights in attachment, takes delight in attachment, rejoices in attachment. It is hard for such a population to see this truth, namely, specific conditionality, dependent origination. And it is hard to see this truth, namely, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbana. If I were to teach the Dhamma, others would not understand me, and that would be wearying and troublesome for me.’ Thereupon there came to me spontaneously these stanzas never heard before:

Enough with teaching the Dhamma
That even I found hard to reach;
For it will never be perceived
By those who live in lust and hate.

Those dyed in lust, wrapped in darkness
Will never discern this abstruse Dhamma
Which goes against the worldly stream,
Subtle, deep, and difficult to see.

“Considering thus, my mind inclined to inaction rather than to teaching the Dhamma.