Help Finding a Sutta About Not Sharing With Skeptics

Is there a sutta where the Buddha says not to share your beliefs with people who will trample on them? It reminded me of a NT quote:

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Matthew 7:6 KJV

I probably can’t find it because of my search for the word “trample” which the sutta might not contain. If anybody can help me with this it would sure be appreciated. I’m trying to keep track of Buddha’s words that predate the NT.

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Everything has a context. As well as the specific, develop the broad approach in all things.

The direction of Buddhist teaching is always toward the wider perspective:

[7] “There are these four perceptions. Which four? One perceives the limited [ordinary perceptions]. One perceives the enlarged [the mind in jhana].”—Anguttara Nikaya 10.29

The Emperor Ashoka sent missionaries, not only to elsewhere in India and to Sri Lanka, but to Syria, Egypt and Greece, first speculated in the 1930s that they may have helped prepare the ground for Christian teaching.[13]"—Wikipedia

Since the Greek Golden Age and the Buddha’s life were contemporaneous, some of his principles are based on Greek ideas such as the middle way, the breath (‘pneuma’ in Greek meaning spirit), the beautiful ( Samyutta Nikaya 46.54) " Socrates : But now we notice that the force of the good has taken up refuge in an alliance with the nature of the beautiful. For measure and proportion manifest themselves in all areas of beauty and virtue."

" It was a cultural consequence of a long chain of interactions begun by Greek forays into India from the time of Alexander the Great. A few years after Alexander’s death, the Easternmost fringes of the empire of his general Seleucus were lost in a war with the Mauryan Empire, under the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. The Mauryan Emperor Ashoka would convert to Buddhism and spread the religious philosophy throughout his domain, as recorded in the Edicts of Ashoka."—Wikipedia

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This is what came to mind for me: AN 5.157: Dukkathāsutta. It’s not exactly what you are asking about, but it could support your intention.


That’s probably as close as it will get, I was just beginning reading the suttas and was very susceptible to seeming correlations between the Greek and Pali scriptures. :star_struck:

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Sure, there are lots of similar things. Kind of in the way football (soccer) and hockey are similar. Teams, goals, thing you fight for control over, etc. But they are very different games. One glorifies violence and the other glorifies pretending to be the victim of violence.

I believe there are a couple books out there that compare passages between the two traditions. But personally I find that line of investigation highly problematic unless one has a deep grounding in how the two traditions are radically different.

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There’s also this one: Kesisutta (AN 4.111)

Not the imagery or context you were seeking, but for others drawn to the title, here’s one.

Among the monks, if a monk wants to offer constructive criticism to a resistant offender, the Buddha advised to just let it go:

“Then it may occur to you, bhikkhus: ‘I shall be troubled and the other person will be hurt; for the other person is given to anger and resentment, and he is firmly attached to his view and he relinquishes with difficulty; and I cannot make that person emerge from the unwholesome and establish him in the wholesome.’ One should not underrate equanimity towards such a person." MN 103

I found that one while looking for similar advice to Ven Sariputta after he had been pushing random lay people into taking the 5 precepts, yet, unsurprisingly, the people hadn’t kept them. Anyone know that sutta? Somewhere in SN I believe.


One book I started to read was The Influence of Buddhism on Primitive Christianity by by Arthur Lillie but it was written in the Late 19th century, and uses science that is out of date, so that it’s hard to reference as a correct source. It is a very interesting book if that sort of thing appeals to you.

Are you thinking of MN 97, with Dhanañjāni?

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Is there a specific quote from the sutta you could point me to? My eyesight has grown less and less cooperative as I’ve grown older. I’m sorry.

I like that one! Reminds me of the Zen koan, a bit vulgar one that goes: if you run across the Buddha, kill him. I think that’s what initially turned me away from Zen. I’m sure it’s just a turn of phrase that is explained in one of the commentaries, though I haven’t found a justification yet that suits me.

My apologies for the confusion—I was replying to Ayya Sudhamma’s question. I edited my post to make that more clear.

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No problem. Makes sense now.

Thanks so much for trying! Not the same sutta, but it’s a good one. I had forgotten most of that sutta, glad to be reminded of it.

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It’s probably the key thing that they “lose their temper”, not just that they are lacking in those qualities. There are suttas like AN 9.5 or AN 2.32-41 which point to that it is exactly those who lack in those qualities that are the people who should be established in them.

As in the earlier part of the sutta mentioned by Ayya Sudhamma, even if they are angry & hold fast to their views - if it is a minor thing and it’s possible to establish the skilful, then it should be done. If not, equanimity is the Most Efficient Tactic Available:

“But suppose you think this: ‘I will be troubled and the other individual will be hurt, for they’re irritable and hostile. And they hold fast to their views, refusing to let go. Nevertheless, I can draw them away from the unskillful and establish them in the skillful. But for me to be troubled and the other individual to get hurt is a minor matter. It’s more important that I can draw them away from the unskillful and establish them in the skillful.’ If that’s what you think, then it’s appropriate to speak to them.” MN 103

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The most direct sutta about teaching outsiders or not is probably SN 42.7:

he may or may not plant seed in the poor field