How would you define "Buddhism"?


As I have been informed, at the time and in the regions of Gautama Buddha, there was a culture sophisticated in debate, with community debating halls in ?every? community. There were also apparently customs of experienced spiritual practitioners challenging each other to debate. These encounters were vigorous, apparently of great public interest, and greatly affected reputation in these communities. I think DN16 is directed towards these activities.

But now we don’t have such culture, and it’s actually illegal in many places to challenge people’s religious beliefs in public; it is defined as harrassment, prejudice, blasphemy, hate speech, etc. So it might be inappropriate in general public now. Breaking laws or breaching customs of civility is not AFAIK something the Buddha allowed, as it endangered the existence of the Sangha, and the preservation of the Dhamma; nor is it required or even perhaps congruent with the Noble 8 Fold Path.

Right Speech

“And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.”
— [SN 45.8]

"Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

“It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will.”
— [AN 5.198]

"One should speak only that word by which one would not torment oneself nor harm others. That word is indeed well spoken.

“One should speak only pleasant words, words which are acceptable (to others). What one speaks without bringing evils to others is pleasant.”
— [Thag 21]

"Abandoning divisive speech he abstains from divisive speech. What he has heard here he does not tell there to break those people apart from these people here. What he has heard there he does not tell here to break these people apart from those people there. Thus reconciling those who have broken apart or cementing those who are united, he loves concord, delights in concord, enjoys concord, speaks things that create concord.

"Abandoning abusive speech, he abstains from abusive speech. He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing & pleasing to people at large.

"Whenever you want to perform a verbal act, you should reflect on it: ‘This verbal act I want to perform — would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Is it an unskillful verbal act, with painful consequences, painful results?’ If, on reflection, you know that it would lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful verbal act with painful consequences, painful results, then any verbal act of that sort is absolutely unfit for you to do.

There’s more on this topic at


I don’t have any sutta quotes if that is what you mean. However, the basic message of delusion and wrong view is enough to make one seriously/fundamentally question ones ability to see things as they are. Only with enlightenment,(including the complete eradication of delusion) can one see things as they truly are. Up until that point one is relying on ones own opinion and the views/opinions of others. So to put oneself in the position of ‘Arbiter of Truth’ is not a very wise course of action - in my opinion. :slight_smile:

Besides all of this is just an exercise of fantasy about the future, and one of the areas of proliferation of thought. The effort spent here could be put to far better use by practicing the path.

metta and karuna


Not all his disciples, Only those Noble ones who were to continue teaching and preserving the Dhamma.


Only those who have attained first stage of Nibbana or above?
Do you have any references from the Dhamma-Vinaya to support the claim that only the Noble Ones who attained first stage of Nibbana or higher are to thoroughly refute Adhamma-Avinaya that arises?

But didn’t the Buddha advise to avoid such public debates and disputes and such?
Perhaps thorough refutation might be most suitably done through means aside from such public debate and arguments?
But my main question and inquiry is how?

How is one instructed to most suitably refute Adhamma thoroughly and well?
What does that look like in real life?


Here is one

Cunda, if you’re sinking down in the mud you can’t pull out someone else who is also sinking down in the mud. But if you’re not sinking down in the mud you can pull out someone else who is sinking down in the mud. Truly, if you’re not tamed, trained, and extinguished you can’t tame, train, and extinguish someone else. But if you’re tamed, trained, and extinguished you can tame, train, and extinguish someone else (MN8).


My personal attitude to questions such as this is to ignore. Then to trust that those wiser than I am may be able to skillfully rebut if they consider it necessary to do so.

To take up on the quote from MN8 immediately above, I realise that I’m not yet “tamed, trained and extinguished”. Just because I’m in training for extinguishment isn’t sufficient. It’s better for me to step back and continue with my training, taming those energies that provide the impetus to rush out and correct others. Those energies are just another expression of the self which I hope to one day extinguish.


Thank you :pray: for the reference.

By extinguished, does it mean having attained at least first stage of Nibbana?


As I recall, in suttas the Buddha on occasion directed his monks to visit those debating halls; that was in accord with local custom at the time. He was informed of Sangha mendicants meeting and conversing with other sects, and would ask how they had or would answer questions, correcting or praising their answers as appropriate; sometimes after talking with followers of other teachings, he or senior monks would continue discussion after the visitors had left, so as to ensure the mendicants understood the questions, the answers, the related Dhamma. There are suttas in which many possible case alternatives were explored; see SN12.24 for one example in which in every alternative, the dhamma of harmlessness is shown to be the actual “safe bet” regardless of beliefs.

This was for benefit of many then, and also for us, thanks to preservation of the Dhamma by the Sangha.

There are many suttas in which the follower of other sects was very pleased and delighted with the Buddha’s responses to questions, so much so that they asked to be remembered from then on as a lay follower for life.

And on occasion he directed his monks not to dispute with each other; see AN5.212; AFAIK that remains a rule within Sanghas, though Dhamma discussion is commended and correction/admonishment is required in situations from time to time.

Note those are all very different circumstances and relationships and situations; the Buddha’s words varied to these, flawlessly.

But at the foundation of all are the Four Noble Truths, and the Noble 8 Fold Path, of which Right Speech is a profound part. Without that, I think that nothing that might be said can be said in a Buddhist way. It is skillful, benefiting the speaker and any hearers in many ways.

How? This:

“And what is the noble eightfold path? It is right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion.

And what is right view? Knowing about suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering. This is called right view.

And what is right thought? It is the thought of renunciation, good will, and harmlessness. This is called right thought.

And what is right speech? Avoiding speech that’s false, divisive, harsh, or nonsensical. This is called right speech.

I think extinguished = arahant; all defilements have been cut off at the root.


So vata, cunda, attanā adanto avinīto aparinibbuto paraṃ damessati vinessati parinibbāpessatīti netaṃ ṭhānaṃ vijjati. So vata, cunda, attanā danto vinīto parinibbuto paraṃ damessati vinessati parinibbāpessatīti ṭhānametaṃ vijjati.

danto - one who is disciplined, tamed, restrained
vinīto - one who is trained, educated
parinibbuto - one who attained nibbāna


If one wants to refute others’ opinions about the noble truth, there is no need to do more than point to a secure source of the teachings, and that means a quick search on google, or maybe directly to this site. If that’s not enough, - let go! there is to much dust and so on.


(Do you mean like a reliable/credible source?)
How would you define “secure source of the teachings”?


I did a search on google with these words:

a reliable/credible source for buddha’s teachings


And personally I would direct people to this site because I know by my own reason and practice that this place is not just safe and factual, but also friendly and peaceful, - and therefore in accordance with what one seeks out in the teachings of Lord Buddha.

If I were to define what is reliable/credible, then it would be that it’s transparent and open for questioning.


I took this as a reference to the supposed 500 arhats, a suspiciously “clean” nice even number, a sacred number conveniently lining up with mathematical systems based on 10, rather than 12 or 60.


:slight_smile: Results of searches, no matter how carefully composed, vary. I understand (but am not an expert!) that Influences include algorithms in search engines, possibly the individual 's behavior, keywords in possible page results designed to promote the page, and limitations or promotions from ISPs, goverments,…

It is what it is, just maybe it is worth explicit recognition. But all external sources of information (libraries; teachers; books) have analogous influences.

(edit: and of course, so do all “internal sources”!)



What is your basis for thinking this?
So only the Arahats were encouraged to refute Adhamma-Avinaya when and where it arose?

Agreed, good point.