A Mahayana-sounding verse in the Pali suttas?

I don’t know where this is in the suttas or if it’s a misattribution:

“A Tathagata is born in the world to make his knowledge available to others.”

I appreciate your help.

Did you write this or are you paraphrasing this?

with metta

The Ten Qualities of the Buddha is not something exclusive to Mahayana. It’s widely recognized by all schools:

(1) “Here, the Tathāgata understands as it actually is the possible as possible and the impossible as impossible. And that is a Tathāgata’s power that the Tathāgata has, by virtue of which he claims the herd-leader’s place, roars his lion’s roar in the assemblies, and sets rolling the Wheel of Brahmā.

(2) “Again, the Tathāgata understands as it actually is the results of actions undertaken, past, future, and present, by way of possibilities and causes. That too is a Tathāgata’s power… ~~ MN 12 ~~

I heard it in a Buddhist lecture on Youtube. I can go back to it later to hear which Nikaya it’s from. Supposedly, it’s a Mahayana-sounding idea that a Buddha appears in the world specifically to lead others to enlightenment.


The results will be very interesting to hear about.

It might just be a slightly incorrect wording of something that does appear in the suttas.

Actually, the opposite is what occurs:

1 Like

Since the Jataka tales show the Buddha’s past lives as a Bodhisattva, in which he provided selfless service, would it be at all surprising if he was born in this world in his final birth specifically to attain Buddhahood for the sake of all beings, rather than just attaining it for himself?

And from the Buddha’s own words:

In the same way, the Tathagata isn’t concerned with whether all the cosmos or half of it or a third of it will be led to release by means of that [Dhamma]. But he does know this: ‘All those who have been led, are being led, or will be led [to release] from the cosmos have done so, are doing so, or will do so after having abandoned the five hindrances—those defilements of awareness that weaken discernment—having well-established their minds in the four frames of reference, and having developed, as they have come to be, the seven factors for Awakening. ~~ AN 10.95 ~~


Could it be a paraphrase of Iti 84?

1 Like

Thank you. Can someone please tell me how this is different from what Mahayana Buddhism says about why the Buddha appeared in the world?

1 Like



The Paccayasutta is the closest I can imagine to the OP, directly, but I am poorly exposed to the Pāli Canon.

I am thinking particularly of this passage, if my Pāli-correspondence is correct.

Abhisam­bujjhitvā abhisametvā ācikkhati deseti paññāpeti paṭṭhapeti vivarati vibhajati uttānīkaroti.
A Tathagata awakens to this and breaks through to it. Having done so, he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyses it, elucidates it.

The Chinese parallel has

These Tathāgatāṇi themselves become awake to knowing, attain complete and perfect awakening, to people disseminate their speech, they open, reveal, show, and issue (the dharma), saying “dependent origination” resolutely,

Why does the Buddha not immidiately pass into parinirvāṇa? Why does the arahant need to join the sangha? If Mahāyāna teachings concerning ‘Great Compassion’ have any precedence in the activities and sayings of/about the Tathāgata, it is in when Mahābrahmā extolls the Buddha to teach, and other related discourses of the like.

Why? That the dharma may be taught. To liberate beings.

IMO, of course.

1 Like

But that can’t be right because the Buddha almost didn’t teach at all. He couldn’t have come to the world specifically to become awakened and bring others to awakening because he spent a good amount of time deliberating on the fence about it. He eventually had to be convinced by either a literal god, which at the very least was a satirical metaphor for his conscience and compassion. If he really came specifically to teach, he wouldn’t have rather just chilled out the rest of his life before he decided to teach.