Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby Annapurna » Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:32 am

1. Wind, of course a Supreme Buddha has faculties a normal being doesn't have, he said so himself.

2. After Buddha reached enlightenment, he initially refused to share or spread his insights, because he thought people would not be interested.
Only after he was convinced by a deva, that he should do it for the few who would be interested, he finally agreed to. And waited for those to come to him.

Because that is the difference between a teacher and a preacher, there is a fine difference between the two...a really good teacher waits until he gets asked, but doesn't have a strong agenda to lecture and convince. A preacher has.

3. The Buddha also warned of the disadvantages of traveling, of dangers and so forth, but I don't recall in which suttha. So why would he do what he warned others of?

(I'm almost sure Cooran might know...)

4. Also, why would he need to travel, when he was already very busy with the people that came to him?

As others said before, traveling back then was not as comfortable as it is today.

Was my reply helpful?

With metta,

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby Wind » Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:54 am

Annapurna wrote:Was my reply helpful?

With metta,

Anna


Very helpful. Thanks for taking the time to address my question. :twothumbsup:

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby Wind » Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:04 pm

Rui Sousa wrote:Those beings with the appropriate Kamma were born in a place and time were they could learn the Dhamma directly from the Buddha.

After the Buddha's enlightenment he was pondering not teaching the Dhamma, it was at Brahma Sahampati's request that Buddha surveyed the world and saw that there were beings who could learn the Dhamma:

From "Ayacana Sutta: The Request" (SN 6.1): http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn06/sn06.001.than.html

As the Blessed One reflected thus, his mind inclined to dwelling at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma.

Then Brahma Sahampati, having known with his own awareness the line of thinking in the Blessed One's awareness, thought: "The world is lost! The world is destroyed! The mind of the Tathagata, the Arahant, the Rightly Self-awakened One inclines to dwelling at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma!" Then, just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm, Brahma Sahampati disappeared from the Brahma-world and reappeared in front of the Blessed One. Arranging his upper robe over one shoulder, he knelt down with his right knee on the ground, saluted the Blessed One with his hands before his heart, and said to him: "Lord, let the Blessed One teach the Dhamma! Let the One-Well-Gone teach the Dhamma! There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma."


Since Kamma had lead those with the best conditions to learn the Dhamma to be born near the Buddha's location, it was not necessary to travel beyond India.


Interesting point Rui Sousa. :smile:

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby altar » Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:09 pm

Hi Wind,
Several reasons. First, India was, as I am told, a much more fertile continent at the time spiritually speaking and in terms of mental development and the grounds for practice.
Second, and mostly, that imagine if you were to start your own cult, and you had 60 years to do it. If you got a following of 5 people here, and 5 people there, in 60 different locations, what would be odds that it would survive 10 generations? Whereas if you had a following of 300 in a single village, the odds might be quite significant that it would last.
Thirdly, the Buddha was content with not going overseas and teaching.
This is all logical speculation.
Zack

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby Terasi » Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:45 pm

Probably because traveling was not convenient that time, and he had a lot in his hand already.
If he had wanted to overcome distance and traveling problem, he would had to use "magic". The use of magic would attract people who were interested only in being magicians, and might even distract those who actually had only a bit of dust in their eyes. I mean, too much bells and whistles can't be good. :tongue:

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby Anicca » Wed Jul 14, 2010 12:52 pm

Howdy Wind - ya ol' air head - ;)

He was/is teaching around the world:
"For a long time, Lord, I have wanted to ... set eyes on the Blessed One ...
"Enough, Vakkali! What is there to see in this vile body? He who sees Dhamma, Vakkali, sees me ...


SN 22.87 Vakkali Sutta: Vakkali

Metta

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby grasshopper » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:51 pm

Hi Wind,

If you have no trouble accepting that he had the ability to visit other realms, if they so exist i.e., then I assume you are comfortable in accepting he had supernatural powers as well.

According to Buddhist literature, Buddha is said to have worked according to a timetable and he is said to have devoted a special time to look around the world - with his Divine eye - for beings who had little dust and would benefit from his teachings. If he had the capability to visit other realms, how hard is it to visit Europe or Latin America? I don't see any reason why we should think that he did NOT visit other parts of the world. Besides, who keeps track of these things? The last people to boast about such events would be the Buddha himself and individiuals who benefitted from such private visits of Buddha.

Teaching an individual to achieve Lberation and creating a Sasana at a specific place are two different things IMO. The latter needs tremendous amount of support - monetary and otherwise, both - to sustain and propagate itself in addition to people who have the ability to gain Enlightenment. As far as I know, at that time, India was the only country on Earth where people who inhabited that place were ready for such a system and had the wealth to sustain it. Even before Buddha arrived, many Indians were leaving lay life and going forth into homelessness in search of Truth/ Moksha/ Nibbana. Begging for alms, living a celibate life and meditating in forests were one facet of normal life. I am yet to encounter any other culture, at that time, who have had a similar system. Indians were perhaps lucky and ready. Unfortunately it has become a minority religion now in India.

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/bud ... 26lbud.htm

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:06 am

Language barrier? :shrug:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:18 am

Greetings,

Modus.Ponens wrote:Language barrier? :shrug:

It's always nice to see Occam's Razor come out when there's a risk of too much conceptual proliferation.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby grasshopper » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:21 am

If language barrier was ever an issue, then Buddha couldn't have taught Dhamma in Sri lanka. How strong is the evidence that says Buddha visited Sri lanka thrice and taught there? As far as I know, the Suttas don't hold any evidence for it.

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:02 am

Greetings Grasshopper,

See this topic...

Did the Buddha go to Sri Lanka?
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=4374

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby Goedert » Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:04 am

Wind wrote:It seems the Buddha concentrated his teaching in India and other realms. I wonder why he didn't use his ability to teach in every parts of the world? Just imagine how Buddhism would have evolve to modern time if every part of the world had met the Buddha. Or did he?

Thoughts?


Hello friend,

It is possible that in the time of the buddha:

American Continent: There were only native Indians, nude, possible they had too much dust in theyre eyes to understand the teachings.
Africa: The same, except Egypt.
Europe: Greek, possible.
Asia: China, possible. India the most suitable place, culture, costumes, etc.

The dhamma that the Buddha discovered could only be understood in Asia Continent and near empires, due to phylosophical and relegious cultures.

If the Buddha teached the dhamma in native american tribes, he probabily would be know as a god among them. Same in Africa and primitive tribes.

Living in Brazil and had contact with the lack of native-tribes that still exist, you would know what it mean.

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby Wind » Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:58 am

Goedert wrote:
Wind wrote:It seems the Buddha concentrated his teaching in India and other realms. I wonder why he didn't use his ability to teach in every parts of the world? Just imagine how Buddhism would have evolve to modern time if every part of the world had met the Buddha. Or did he?

Thoughts?


Hello friend,

It is possible that in the time of the buddha:

American Continent: There were only native Indians, nude, possible they had too much dust in theyre eyes to understand the teachings.
Africa: The same, except Egypt.
Europe: Greek, possible.
Asia: China, possible. India the most suitable place, culture, costumes, etc.

The dhamma that the Buddha discovered could only be understood in Asia Continent and near empires, due to phylosophical and relegious cultures.

If the Buddha teached the dhamma in native american tribes, he probabily would be know as a god among them. Same in Africa and primitive tribes.

Living in Brazil and had contact with the lack of native-tribes that still exist, you would know what it mean.


Good point. I had forgotten how long ago the Buddha came to this world. 2500 yrs ago, the world was ancient and people were sorta primitive and I could see why it would be difficult for them to understand the Buddha's teaching. I mean even in Modern time, his teaching is still very difficult to grasp. The Buddha is truly an amazing person.

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:21 am

If you consider how much misunderstanding of the dhamma there is today surely it would have been worse if he had spread himself thinly and tried to travel longer distances and tried to teach different cultures, better to embed a more thorough understanding in one culture and leave it to them to pass itfrom generation to generation and spread it.

Every other religious founder did much the same.
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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby Shonin » Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:40 am

Wind wrote:Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?


Probably because it takes to long to walk around the world. If we want to get into the realm of speculation about supernatural powers, then why stop with flight and telportation? Why not simply give him the power to communicate without misunderstanding to every being in the universe at every moment? Who gets to define what powers he does and does not have? There is a simpler explanation: that he was a biologically human spiritual teacher, not a magical being.

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby Wind » Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:12 am

Shonin wrote:Who gets to define what powers he does and does not have? There is a simpler explanation: that he was a biologically human spiritual teacher, not a magical being.


The Buddha defines some of the powers in the suttas. He not only demonstrated them but he also listed the type of psychic powers that are available through jhanas. I can't recall which suttas so can't provide the links. You'll gonna have to search it and read it for yourself.

And although some powers are mention in the Suttas, it is better not to speculate the extent of his powers as it has been mentioned earlier that would be a waste of time.
Last edited by Wind on Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby grasshopper » Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:19 am

Probably because it takes to long to walk around the world. If we want to get into the realm of speculation about supernatural powers, then why stop with flight and telportation? Why not simply give him the power to communicate without misunderstanding to every being in the universe at every moment? Who gets to define what powers he does and does not have? There is a simpler explanation: that he was a biologically human spiritual teacher, not a magical being.


If supernatural skills are undigestable, then I am not sure how rebirth, moving across different realms in different lives, delayed workings of karma-vipaka and nibbana itself can be digestable. They all, at least to me, seem like from the same basket. Just for the record though, according to scripture, flying in air and through walls is not a skill unique to Buddhas. Such a skill is said to be accessible for all those who perfects the Jhanas. Someone who is said to have perfected them, in these modern times, is a lady by the name of Dipa Ma. http://www.amazon.com/Dipa-Ma-Legacy-Buddhist-Master/dp/0974240559/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279260812&sr=8-1

She is on Youtube and also a few of her talks are on as MP3s on DharmaSeed website.

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby PeterB » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:33 am

grasshopper wrote:
Probably because it takes to long to walk around the world. If we want to get into the realm of speculation about supernatural powers, then why stop with flight and telportation? Why not simply give him the power to communicate without misunderstanding to every being in the universe at every moment? Who gets to define what powers he does and does not have? There is a simpler explanation: that he was a biologically human spiritual teacher, not a magical being.


If supernatural skills are undigestable, then I am not sure how rebirth, moving across different realms in different lives, delayed workings of karma-vipaka and nibbana itself can be digestable. They all, at least to me, seem like from the same basket. Just for the record though, according to scripture, flying in air and through walls is not a skill unique to Buddhas. Such a skill is said to be accessible for all those who perfects the Jhanas. Someone who is said to have perfected them, in these modern times, is a lady by the name of Dipa Ma. http://www.amazon.com/Dipa-Ma-Legacy-Buddhist-Master/dp/0974240559/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279260812&sr=8-1

She is on Youtube and also a few of her talks are on as MP3s on DharmaSeed website.


I see no need to regard any supernatural events as literal historical facts. Neither does the Buddhas Enlightenment , his teachings on D.O , the 4NT, 8fold path etc depend in any way on a literal reading of supernatural events. Nor does the workings of karma-vipaka and the nature of nibbana.
See Ajahn Buddhadasa.

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby grasshopper » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:18 am

I see no need to regard any supernatural events as literal historical facts. Neither does the Buddhas Enlightenment , his teachings on D.O , the 4NT, 8fold path etc depend in any way on a literal reading of supernatural events. Nor does the workings of karma-vipaka and the nature of nibbana.


Paul, let me clarify; I didn't mean that acceptance of the literal meaning of supernatural events was necessary for anything. What I said was, if one was able to take on board the concept of rebirth - as explained in the Buddhist scripture - literally, then acceptance of supernatural events isn't too far-off either and vice-versa. In other words, if one can accept the fact that one gets reborn in a different realm eg: as an animal, deva etc upton death, then how hard is it to accept flying in air?

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Re: Why didn't the Buddha teach around the world?

Postby PeterB » Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:26 am

If I can reply on behalf of Paul.. :smile:

Rather than attempt a full precis of Buddhadasa on Rebirth on this thread grasshopper. You can google what Buddhadasa says about rebirth.
Basically its about the nature of time and the way that conditions arise. He sees no need to postulate the three birth idea ( past present future ) to explain Rebirth.
I take your point however. If one gives creedence to the idea that a human being can be born as a frog, then flying or for that matter walking on water, or or being born as a God with an elephants head is not too far behind.
Unless of course we are saying that only Buddhist supernatural events are literal, and those of other faiths are not. That Buddhism somehow has a monopoly of the pukka article.
It seems clear to me that the supernatural element of the Canon is drawn the common repertoire of symbolism and iconography of the Indian sub continent.
The events around the birth and Enlightenment of Mahavira the founder of Jainism are replete with the same accounts of Devas, Iddhis, celestial music, teleportation etc. So either they reflect a common source of accolades used in the Subcontinent to eulogise a spiritual teacher..or the Devas etc are fairly promiscuous and unfussy about upon whom they bestow their favour.. :smile:
Last edited by PeterB on Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.


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