Reference Help: How Did the Buddha Respond to His Audience Comprehension of His Teach?

In more than one place I have heard mention of a sutta in which the Buddha describes his mental states and attitudes when he teaches the Dhamma, and his audience either understands or fails to understand. Unfortunately, I am having difficulty tracking down the one Dhamma talk that mentions this sutta.

The passage that I am looking for consists of the Buddha describing to one of his disciples (I believe it might be one of his attendants, possibly Sariputta or Ananda) that when he teaches the Dhamma, and the audience does not understand, he is displeased. Conversely, when he teaches the Dhamma, and his audience does understand, he is pleased. However, in either case, the Buddha says that he is not ‘overcome’ or ‘overwhelmed’ by these mental states, rather he remains equanimous in the face of either. Does this sound familiar? Can anyone help me find this sutta?

Thank you and be well,

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You’re thinking of the end of MN 137


Khemarato Bhikkhu, thank you. This might be the passage I’m looking for, and those who described were taking liberties in recounting what was said. The way I heard it, the Buddha is described as feeling pleasure or displeasure yet remains equanimous; however, this passage says that, “Rejecting both displeasure and pleasure, he remains equanimous, mindful and aware.” It seems unlikely that the way I remembered the description of the sutta could be right, even if they were referring to a different sutta, given how clear the one you cite is about the Buddha’s relationship toward pleasure and displeasure.

So thank you, kindly, for your input. Would you mind telling me more about ‘pleasure’ and ‘displeasure’ mean in this context? I take that these are technical terms with specialized meanings, distinct from that of ordinary usage. Or, @moderators, should I do so in a separate question?

Be well.

In general I don’t impute “specialized meanings” to terms in the suttas. The Buddha (normally) taught in ordinary language, and when he was using terms in a special way, he usually defined them, e.g. “And what is ____? It is _____”

If you want to take a peak at the Pāḷi, click on “View” and “Line by line” Activate Pāḷi word lookup to click on each Pāḷi term and see the dictionary entry for it. In this case “Attamana” and “Anattamana”

In this case, I would agree with your assessment that someone misremembered the sutta slightly. That’s why we are lucky to have tools like SuttaCentral :slight_smile: No need to go on hearsay: we can see what the sutta says for ourselves