Thanks for leaving this 'open.'
retrofuturist wrote:Open are the doors to the Deathless
to those with ears.
Let them show their conviction.
Perceiving trouble, O Brahma,
I did not tell people the refined,
just a side note, This was used by Ajahn Sumedho for Amaravatis opening, and was sometimes mentioned by those who were unlocking the gate, temple & other buildings.
Then Brahma Sahampati, thinking, "The Blessed One has given his consent to teach of Dhamma," bowed down to the Blessed One and, circling him on the right, disappeared right there.[/b]
I have bolded the aspects of this sutta that represent the challenge that faced the Buddha in communicating the "the refined, sublime Dhamma", which "is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise."[/quote]
the chant used to request a talk on Dhamma although not from here (not 100% sure where the reference indicates) expresses what happened
Requesting a Dhamma Talk(BV,v.1) wrote:“Brahmā ca lokādhipatī sahampatī, Kat’añjalī adhivaraṃ ayācatha; Santīdha sattāpparajakkha-jātikā, Desetu dhammaṃ anukamp’imaṃ pajaṃ.”
“The Brahma-god Sahampatī, Lord of the cosmos, with palms joined in reverence, Requested a favour: Some beings here have little dust in their eyes, please teach the Dhamma out of compassion for them.”
Firstly, is the challenge itself even real, or is it simply an opportunity for Brahma Sahampati to make great merit? Is it an apocryphal text? Hagiography? etc.
I personally feel that when The Lord Buddha looked over the World, the mass of people who wouldn't understand, or would understand with great difficulty were so prevalent that the Lord Buddha may of felt that meeting those who would understand would be quite rare and the task of talking to those who would not understand would of been so burdensome it could take up to much time, and not give an opportunity to those who would of understood to hear the True Dhamma, or be a distraction for them?
The Lord Buddha may of been looking in general, like at a pie chart, or at a colour coded pin location of all people, and it wasn't until the Brahma Sahampati mentioned to The Lord Buddha that there are those who can see, that they were the ones given sole attention.
I have heard that past Sammasambuddhas who didn't teach or lay down many much in the way of Dhammavinaya used their psychic powers to teach, they looked at a beings mind and knowing what was the most effective teaching for them, gave it! so less situational teachings would of happened where a group would have things explained to them in a way they could all understand, such as the Fire Sermon, or teachings explaining the uses/ins & outs of the practical/philosophical aspects of the teachings were less common so plenty of Arahants but few people who were like or close to Sariputta.
Secondly, assuming it is real, how do you think the fact he was dealing with a great diversity of "beings with little dust in their eyes and those with much, those with keen faculties and those with dull, those with good attributes and those with bad, those easy to teach and those hard, some of them seeing disgrace and danger in the other world" impacted the form of his teaching?
see above also.
He taught as the situation arose, when something presented itself which could be used as a teaching he used it, so there was a wide veriety of means to understand the truth or simply improve oneself in order to gain a foothold in the True Dhamma and progress from there, there was no distinction between the maps people used and everyone could see where they were on them, or how to get to the goal, like the difference between a tomtom device and a street map, people were given basic tools needed for the journey and needed to think, they could navigate with a 2004 road map and the road signs in 2012, not being completely reliant upon specific instructions given by one who knows.
A builder and a handyman is another example, a builder has all the information/tools to do something, and may only need advise over a phone, where as a handyman has may need to hire or buy more tools/experts, or undergo a more comprehensive training to do the same job, and the Builder can also anticipate better what needs to be done for better more lasting results.
Thirdly, in terms of stating what would be difficult for others to see, the Buddha says that "For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and if others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me." Do you believe there is there any reason why he specifically mentioned aspects of the teaching directly connected with "this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising*", and omitted reference to other key teachings such as the five aggregates, six senses, four elements, kamma, jhana, the Noble Eightfold Path, rebirth etc.? Sure, he couldn't mention everything, but was the choice of subject matter that appears in the sutta intentional and of significance? Is all the Dhamma "hard to see", or just some aspects of it?
* - Including in cessation mode, as indicated by the sutta portion immediately following.
the not mentioning everything could of been a person specific instruction, like asking for directions when you know your lost, the basic tools where already there, or accessible, it was simply a case of nudging in the right direction.
just to note these are my own Ideas and I am being general not
Feel free also to discuss any other specific issues that interest you under the broad heading of "The Buddha's Challenge in Teaching the Dhamma".