Requirements for teaching Dhamma according to suttas

I hope this letter finds you happy and healthy.

What are the conditions for teaching Dhamma according to the suttas? How much dhamma should be taught at one time, how is appropriate to teach dhamma, how to do it, and what are other instructions related to dhamma teaching.

I’m only looking for sutta-based information.

The aim of teaching must be development of right view, and since RV has two levels (MN 117), it is appropriate to start with mundane RV, the knowledge of the action of kamma. That explains how the practitioner can be empowered to act in a profitable way to remove the three unwholesome roots. Right Thought and the rest of the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path are further developments on that task, and so the NEP can be explained. The NEP is of course part of the Four Noble Truths whose development is identical with RV:

“And what is the manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is a learner, standing at the level of a learner, can discern that ‘I am a learner’? There is the case where a monk is a learner. He discerns, as it actually is, that ‘This is stress… This is the origination of stress… This is the cessation of stress… This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.’ This is a manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is a learner, standing at the level of a learner, can discern that ‘I am a learner.’”—SN 48.53


These discussions may be relevant for your question:

You may find more here.


Thank you Paul1 and Sabbamitta!

If anyone still has sutta-based information about teaching Dhamma, they can kindly share it :slight_smile:

Here’s a little tidbit from the Dhammapada, verse 158 and 159:

First one should establish oneself in what is suitable,
then one can advise another, the wise one should not have any defilement.

He should do himself as he would advise another to do,
being well-trained, he could surely train another, for it is said the self is difficult to train.


For future researchers:

Udāyī Sutta AN 5.159

You should establish five things in yourself before teaching Dhamma to others.

Paṭhamaugga Sutta AN 8.21

The Buddha taught me step by step, with a talk on giving, ethical conduct, and heaven. He explained the drawbacks of sensual pleasures, so sordid and corrupt, and the benefit of renunciation. And when he knew that my mind was ready, pliable, rid of hindrances, joyful, and confident he explained the special teaching of the Buddhas: suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the path.

Araṇavibhaṅga Sutta MN 139 – The Buddha explains how to avoid conflicts/confrontations and how to teach Dhamma.


This corresponds to the two levels of right view.

1 Like

Minimum standard. The emphasis here is on impermanence, which is the most significant knowledge underlying stream-entry (SN 25 1-10).

"If, monk, anyone teaches a doctrine of disenchantment[1] with decay-and-death, of dispassion[2] [leading to] its cessation, that suffices for him to be called a monk who teaches Dhamma.[3]

Note 3. “This gives a clear indication of the minimum standard required for anyone (today, in the West, often a lay person) setting up as a teacher of Buddhism. It denotes a “worldling” (puthujjana, i.e., one who has not “entered the stream”) who has the basic intellectual knowledge mentioned here.”—-SN 12.16, Walshe

This is a step up from what was said above:

“One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.”—SN 25.1