Saṃyutta Nikāya 16

Connected Discourses with Kassapa

3. Like the Moon

At Savatthī. “Bhikkhus, you should approach families like the moon— drawing back the body and mind, always acting like newcomers, without impudence towards families. Just as a man looking down an old well, a precipice, or a steep riverbank would draw back the body and mind, so too, bhikkhus, should you approach families.

“Bhikkhus, Kassapa approaches families like the moon—drawing back the body and mind, always acting like a newcomer, without impudence towards families. What do you think, bhikkhus, what kind of bhikkhu is worthy to approach families?”

“Venerable sir, our teachings are rooted in the Blessed One, guided by the Blessed One, take recourse in the Blessed One. It would be good if the Blessed One would clear up the meaning of this statement. Having heard it from him, the bhikkhus will remember it.”

Then the Blessed One waved his hand in space and said: “Bhikkhus, just as this hand does not get caught in space, is not held fast by it, is not bound by it, so when a bhikkhu approaches families his mind does not get caught, held fast, and bound amidst families, thinking: ‘May those desiring gains acquire gains, may those desiring merits make merits!’ He is as elated and happy over the gains of others as he is over his own gains. Such a bhikkhu is worthy to approach families.

“Bhikkhus, when Kassapa approaches families his mind does not get caught, held fast, or bound amidst families, thinking: ‘May those desiring gains acquire gains, may those desiring merits make merits!’ He is as elated and happy over the gains of others as he is over his own gains.

“What do you think, bhikkhus, how is a bhikkhu’s teaching of the Dhamma impure, and how is his teaching of the Dhamma pure?”

“Venerable sir, our teachings are rooted in the Blessed One….”

“Then listen and attend closely, bhikkhus, I will speak.”

“Yes, venerable sir,” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

“A bhikkhu teaches the Dhamma to others with the thought: ‘Oh, may they listen to the Dhamma from me! Having listened, may they gain confidence in the Dhamma! Being confident, may they show their confidence to me!’ Such a bhikkhu’s teaching of the Dhamma is impure.

“But a bhikkhu teaches the Dhamma to others with the thought: ‘The Dhamma is well expounded by the Blessed One, directly visible, immediate, inviting one to come and see, applicable, to be personally experienced by the wise. Oh, may they listen to the Dhamma from me! Having listened, may they understand the Dhamma! Having understood, may they practise accordingly!’ Thus he teaches the Dhamma to others because of the intrinsic excellence of the Dhamma; he teaches the Dhamma to others from compassion and sympathy, out of tender concern. Such a bhikkhu’s teaching of the Dhamma is pure.

“Bhikkhus, Kassapa teaches the Dhamma to others with the thought: ‘The Dhamma is well expounded by the Blessed One…. Oh, may they listen to the Dhamma from me! Having listened, may they understand the Dhamma! Having understood, may they practise accordingly!’ He teaches the Dhamma to others because of the intrinsic excellence of the Dhamma; he teaches the Dhamma to others from compassion and sympathy, out of tender concern.

“Bhikkhus, I will exhort you by the example of Kassapa or one who is similar to Kassapa. Being exhorted, you should practise accordingly.”