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In which sutta Buddha said that dhamma is complete, nothing to be added, nothing to be removed?

Dear SuttaCentral D&D members,

As in title, could you please point me to the sutta in which was said that dhamma is just complete and perfect, and that there is nothing to be added there, and nothing to be removed?

I’ve already tried to find it on many sites, but failed, that’s why I’m asking for help there :slight_smile:

I’ve only found AN3.63 that says dhamma is good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, but I seek specific sutta that said there is nothing to be added nor removed from dhamma. :slight_smile:

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I’m not sure how it would be helpful but for now at least one example, maybe somewhat related comes to my mind - dn.16:

“But what could the mendicant Saṅgha expect from me, Ānanda? I’ve taught the Dhamma
without making any distinction between secret and public teachings. The Realized One doesn’t have the closed fist of a teacher when it comes to the teachings.”

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Maybe this one?

SN 56.31

“In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven’t I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.”

Or this one?

MN 63

"And why are they undeclared by me? Because they are not connected with the goal, are not fundamental to the holy life. They do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That’s why they are undeclared by me.

"And what is declared by me? ‘This is stress,’ is declared by me. ‘This is the origination of stress,’ is declared by me. ‘This is the cessation of stress,’ is declared by me. ‘This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress,’ is declared by me. And why are they declared by me? Because they are connected with the goal, are fundamental to the holy life. They lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That’s why they are declared by me.

“So, Malunkyaputta, remember what is undeclared by me as undeclared, and what is declared by me as declared.”

Or maybe this one?

DN 29

“A teacher has appeared in the world, worthy & rightly self-awakened. And the Dhamma is well-proclaimed, well-expounded, leading out, conducive to calming, expounded by one who is rightly self-awakened. And we have been instructed in the meaning/goal of the True Dhamma, and the complete holy life has been entirely disclosed to us, made plain, with all its steps collected, complete with miracles, well-proclaimed as far as human beings & devas”

[…]

“But how would one, speaking rightly, say, ‘Seeing, one doesn’t see’? One speaking rightly, would say just this: ‘Seeing, one doesn’t see.’ And what is it that, ‘seeing, one doesn’t see’? Such a well-expounded, entirely complete, well-proclaimed holy life, consummate in all its aspects, complete in all its aspects, with nothing lacking and nothing in excess: This is what one sees. One doesn’t see, ‘If this were taken away from here, it would become purer.’ One doesn’t see, ‘If this were added here, it would become more complete.’ This is called, ‘seeing, one doesn’t see.’"

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The standard pericope you mentioned has the sense of completeness,

He teaches Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And he reveals a spiritual practice that’s entirely complete and pure.

What about this one?

‘Seeing, one does not see,’ it’s of this that it should be said. Seeing what does one not see? One sees this: a spiritual path endowed with all good qualities, complete in all good qualities, neither too little nor too much, well explained, whole, full, and well propounded. One does not see this: anything that, were it to be removed, would make it purer. (DN 29)
SuttaCentral

I wonder if you are conflating the dhamma with the vinaya? That often happens to my mind! :laughing::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::laughing: There is origin story where the Buddha told the monks that they were not to add or remove any rules, as below.

…Venerable Sir, the Order at Sāvatthī will become known for this agreement. We, however, don’t lay down new rules, nor do we abolish the old ones. We practice and undertake the training rules as they are. SuttaCentral

The Buddha also criticised the monks who banned ordination during the Rains and those monks who made a vow of silence for the Rains. This idea of not adding or taking away is often spoken of.

Whilst the rules were obviously being added to and augmented at the time of the Buddha, he told Ananda before he passed into parinibbana that the minor rules could be relaxed. However, the Theras of the First Council rejected the ideas and said that the rules were complete and nothing should be added or removed, and would be maintained as they were.

Maybe it is this idea that has gotten into your head? Or some of the ones mentioned by others above might be the ticket! Good luck! It’s terribly vexing looking for a reference sometimes.

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Thank you so much Venerable Akaliko, bridif1, and nikt. All of your responses were very helpful. It is amazing cause I’ve got more help than I asked for! :smiley:

I write a chapter in my Ph.D about meditation in EBTs Buddhism and I’m laying a groundwork, trying to explain why such “conservative” approach to dhamma is so great and respected in some circles. Thats why I needed that reference as main argument, but all suttas you gave me will support this argumentantion and endevour, so thank you very much. :anjal: :heart:

It seems that sutta I was looking for was DN29, that bridif1 and Bhante Akaliko shared. Such a well-expounded, entirely complete, well-proclaimed holy life, consummate in all its aspects, complete in all its aspects, with nothing lacking and nothing in excess. I wish I could give solution to both of you. :slight_smile:

Bhante Akaliko thank you also for pointing out this Vinaya passage and explanation. It will be very useful when I will write about orthodoxical approach of Theravada tradition towards rules.

Thank you very much not just for very useful information, but for the feeling of being cared for that I felt after reading your responses. It is really amazing how many great and lovely people on this forum take their time to help find and explain things deeply. It is really a great gift both of information and metta. :anjal: It really brightened my day to feel that I’m not alone in my endevours, but that there are people who selflessly help out. :slight_smile: :anjal: :heart:

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Thanks so much for your kind response!

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