Did I dream up this sutta about monks on bodhisattva path?

Can someone help me figure out which sutta it was where Buddha chastised the monks who wanted to follow the bodhisattva path? I can’t find it now and Bikkhu Bodhi indicates there is no such sutta so I am wondering if i am crazy or it may be the Mandela Effect (lol)? I also searched this forum and found nothing close.

In the sutta he said something like “you are all stupid to follow that path of suffering but you will succeed eventually.”

Perhaps it was a Mahayana sutra? Doesn’t really have the Mahayana flavor tho…

Thanks :slight_smile:

This topic discussion may help to answer your question:


1 Like

made me think of this passage…

“Reverends, suppose there was a person in need of heartwood. And while wandering in search of heartwood he’d come across a large tree standing with heartwood. But he’d pass over the roots and trunk, imagining that the heartwood should be sought in the branches and leaves. Such is the consequence for the venerables. Though you were face to face with the Buddha, you overlooked him, imagining that you should ask me about this matter. For he is the Buddha, who knows and sees. He is vision, he is knowledge, he is the truth, he is supreme. He is the teacher, the proclaimer, the elucidator of meaning, the bestower of the deathless, the lord of truth, the Realized One. That was the time to approach the Buddha and ask about this matter. You should have remembered it in line with the Buddha’s answer.”

Of course Bhante Bodhi is not the Buddha, but if he says it doesn’t exist, there really isn’t any need to ask here. :wink:

But breaking it down, what exactly would the monks have been telling the Buddha that they wanted to do? Become Buddhas? Because that doesn’t happen in the suttas.

But it’s interesting because the commentaries have this concept that in order to become a Buddha in the future you have to make that wish at the feet of a Buddha. Famously we have our Buddha Gotama making that wish at the feet of Dipankara. However I can’t remember a case where someone makes that wish at the feet of our Buddha Gotama. But I’d love to know if the case exists.

The other thing that seems off about what you are seeking is having the Buddha criticize the wish. Certainly he criticizes even the smallest amount of rebirth. But the case you propose would go against the commentarial idea of making the wish at the foot of a Buddha.


I don’t think there are any EBT’s among the agamas / nikayas that have monastics practicing the bodhisattva path. That idea is a somewhat later historical development. In the agamas and nikayas, I think the only bodhisattvas represented are Gautama and Maitreya.

It wouldn’t surprise me if you are remembering some passage from a Mahayana sutra, but maybe misremembering some details?

In the Mahayana Lotus Sutra (Saddharma Pundarika Sutra), Sariputra attempts to dissuade the naga princess from pursuing the bodhisattva path by saying that it takes too long. He also cites the old bit that only men can become cakravartin kings, buddhas, etc. But the naga princess transforms into a male bodhisattva and then goes to a different world-realm and attains enlightenment as a buddha there.

In another case, on a Mahayana sutra on Nagadatta Bodhisattva, Mara tries to dissuade Nagadatta from the bodhisattva path, and also criticizes her aspiration because she is a woman. Then Nagadatta mentions that basically bodhisattvas can steadily work toward buddhahood over many eons. This passage appears in a few academic books, but the sutra itself is otherwise relatively unknown.

There are some other Mahayana sutras with similar passages as well.


Untraceable sutta

“How many qualities are there, Lord, issuing in Buddhahood?”

“There are, Såriputta, ten qualities issuing in Buddhahood. What are the ten? Giving, Såriputta, is a quality issuing in Buddhahood. Virtue, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, truthfulness, determination, loving-kindness, and equanimity are qualities issuing in Buddhahood

You might find the book I posted interesting.

The Poetic Dhamma of Zao Amat Long’s Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta and The Place of Traditional Literature in Shan Theravada Buddhism(Buddhayana)

Thanks yes one other person told me i must be remembering an early Mahayana sutra. I was unaware that early Mahayana was not as fervent about promoting the bodhisattva path.

Btw, you all probably already appreciate this but I was shocked when I found out all these sutras I was reading were made up stuff. I think most people come to Buddhism having no clue the difference between a sutta and a sutra. So sometimes I still wonder whether something I “know from the suttas” was really something I read in a sutra before I knew the difference.

1 Like

Yeah, that’s the closest quote I could think of too

1 Like

It looks like you’re using sutra (sanskrit) v/s sutta (pali) to make a distiction between early and late Buddhist texts here, but they have the same meaning in the 2 different languages, sanskrit and Pali.

It is probably worth your while to read some of the introductions to Early Buddhist Texts, to start to get your head around it. Early Buddhists text is generally the name given to texts (suttas and sutras) that existed at or close to the time of the Buddha.

Here are a few links to get you started - the beginning of a whole new chapter in your understanding of Buddhism :smiley: :pray:


Thank you, Viveka. I appreciate the links.
I do already know that sutta and suttra technically have the same meaning. But in practical terms, I have never seen a Mahayana sutra called a sutta. So when I see someone mention a sutta, I can be pretty sure without even looking that they are not speaking of something Mahayana. Again, basic stuff, but I just wanted to make the point that most people probably start off with a very warped understanding of Buddhism, partly as a result of the popularity of the Mahayana sutras.

No worries. I did appreciate your point (it’s an important one), and posted just in case you weren’t aware of the materials, as well as making the background clear to all those others who may read this thread, now and in the future.

Best wishes :slight_smile: :pray: :dharmawheel:

1 Like

I believe @Viveka’s point is that the reverse is not true. The word sutra can refer to the pre-Mahayana texts found in the Āgamas. However, outside of places like SC, those texts are fairly unknown.


That’s a good point, thanks Snowbird.

If you were shocked that texts in Buddhism include mythical settings and events, you may have had some unrealistic expectations about the nature of Indian Buddhism.

No, i was shocked that entire teachings that were totally contradictory to Buddha’s actual teaching were being promoted in his name.

1 Like

I find this to be magical thinking. But the truth is that the suttas reveal that it takes a lot rebirths to have reached Nirvana. Magical thinking that you will get it in this birth only is attachment. So rebirth will mostly happen. Especially in this age

Let alone a fortnight, anyone who develops these four kinds of mindfulness meditation in this way for seven days can expect one of two results: enlightenment in the present life, or if there’s something left over, non-return.
~ MN 10

But to reach Enlightenment or even non-returner you have to have everything with you to make it happen. I won’t show this verse to someone that obviously can’t live the holy life. Buddha also said what is needed to be able live the holy life.

Reading verses of the Elders. You see them saying about many rebirths. That was always the case. Mind mastery is not easy

Now the Realised One is venerated, respected, revered, honoured, esteemed, and in receipt of robes, almsfood, dwellings, and medicinal requisites to help when sick, and so is the Community of monks.
~ Ud 6.10

Come, stay with the Saṅgha. If you stay with the Saṅgha you’ll be comfortable.
~ AN 10.99

I understand you Bhante. But going through samsara is necessary. Because it’s going to take lessons after lessons to mastery. Until you can join Sangha at right moment