The Discourse about the Noble Search

[7. The Story about Brahmā’s Request]

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Then, monks, this occurred to me: ‘This Dhamma I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful, excellent, beyond the sphere of logic, profound, understandable only by the wise.

But this generation delights in desire, is devoted to desire, gladdened by desire, and for this generation delighting in desire, devoted to desire, gladdened by desire, this thing is hard to see, that is to say: conditionality and conditional origination.

This thing also is hard to see, that is to say:

the tranquilising of all processes, the letting go of all bases for cleaving, the end of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna.

But if I were to teach the Dhamma and others did not understand me that would be tiring for me, that would be troublesome to me.’

Further, monks, these truly wonderful verses occurred to me, that were unheard of in the past:

‘Now is it suitable for me to explain
what was attained with difficulty?
For those overcome by passion and hatred
this Dhamma is not easily understood.
Going against the stream,
it is profound, deep, hard to see, subtle.
Those delighting in passion,
obstructed by darkness, will not see it.’

Such was my reflection, monks, and my mind inclined to inaction, not to teaching the Dhamma.

Then, monks, to Brahmā Sahampati, knowing with his mind the reflection in my mind, this thought occurred: ‘The world is surely going to destruction, the world is surely going to complete destruction, wherever the Realised One, the Worthy One, the Perfect Sambuddha’s mind inclines to inaction, not to teaching the Dhamma.’

Then, monks, Brahmā Sahampati, just as a strong man might stretch out a bent arm, or bend in an outstretched arm, so did he vanish from the Brahmā world and appear in front of me.

Then, monks, Brahmā Sahampati, after arranging his upper robe on one shoulder, and raising his hands in respectful salutation, said this to me:

“Let the Gracious One preach the Dhamma, reverend Sir, let the Fortunate One preach the Dhamma, there are beings with little dust on the eyes who are perishing through not hearing the Dhamma, there will be those who understand the Dhamma.”

Brahmā Sahampati, monks, said this, and after saying this he said something more:

“Formerly there appeared amongst the Magadhans
an impure Dhamma, invented by those still stained,
open the door to the Deathless,
let them hear the Dhamma understood by the Pure One.

As one who is standing on a rock on the top of a mountain
can see the people on all sides,
in the same way, One of Great Wisdom, having ascended
the Palace made from Dhamma, Visionary One,

look down on the people overcome by grief,
One Free of Grief, on those overcome by birth and old-age.
Caravan-Leader, Debtless One, travel through the world.
Rise up, O Hero, Victorious in Battle.

Let the Gracious One teach the Dhamma, there will be those who understand.”

Then, monks, having understood Brahmā’s request, out of kindness I looked at beings around the world with my Buddha-eye.

While looking around the world, monks, with my Buddha-eye, I saw beings having little dust on the eyes, having great dust on the eyes, having sharp faculties, having undeveloped faculties, having good conditions, having poor conditions, easy to instruct, hard to instruct, and only some who dwelt seeing danger in what is blameworthy and in the next world.

Just as with water-lilies or lotuses or white lotuses some of those water-lilies or lotuses or white lotuses, born in the water, flourishing in the water, not rising above water, are nourished from inside the depths, some of those water-lilies or lotuses or white lotuses, born in the water, flourishing in the water, surrounded by water, stand level with the water, some of those water-lilies or lotuses or white lotuses, born in the water, flourishing in the water, stand above the water, and are untouched by the water.

Even so while looking around the world, monks, with my Buddha-eye, I saw beings having little dust on the eyes, having great dust on the eyes, having sharp faculties, having undeveloped faculties, having good conditions, having poor conditions, easy to instruct, hard to instruct, and only some who dwelt seeing danger in what is blameworthy and in the next world.

Then, monks, I recited this verse to Brahmā Sahampati:

“Open for you are the doors to the Deathless,
whoever has ears let them release their faith.
Perceiving trouble, Brahmā, I did not speak amongst humans,
about what was hard-learned, the excellent Dhamma!”

Then, monks, Brahmā Sahampati, thinking: ‘I have obtained consent for the Gracious One to teach the Dhamma,’ after worshipping and circumambulating me, vanished right there.