Suttas in which arahants taught for others’ welfare


Post here suttas related to Arahants teaching to others out of compassion.

For me the first disciples goal was taking Buddha recommendation that whoever did not cross over personally first can’t help others cross over. So they help themselves first. (Edit: my understanding currently is that what Buddha meant is alteast stream-entry, to really help others cross on the spot)

Buddha said about how can someone that didn’t crossover help others crossover? So the wish to get Nirvana to reach goal in this life out of compassion to teach others as done by the Buddha was first disciples goal.


It is isn’t clear what you requested. Do you want:
(1) A list of suttas in which arahants taught for others’ welfare? (as suggested by the title)
(2) Suttas related to or mentioning arahants giving teachings? (as suggested by the 1st sentence)
(3) Suttas that analyze whether only arahants should teach? (as suggested by your 2nd & 3rd sentences)
(4) Suttas in which non-arahants gave teachings? (as suggested by your last sentence)

Or some combination, perhaps seeking any suttas advising whether non-arahants should teach and also any suttas giving examples of non-arahants teaching? Please clarify.

It’s easy to find examples of occasions in which unenlightened people gave teachings. For example, Devadatta gave teachings. The terrible Bhikkhuni Thullananda was a popular Dhamma speaker.

I don’t have these cites, but indeed the Buddha cautioned against the distraction of teaching before one’s own goal has been reached, and yet, it is also true that teaching Dhamma is one of the ways that a person may attain enlightenment.

In Khemaka Sutta a monk gained enlightenment while teaching Dhamma (and so did his listeners).


Ananda’s suttas generally deal with material for beginners. So do suttas addressed to Ananda or Rahula, and sometimes those delivered by nuns. There is a protocol within the canon where the Buddha delivers suttas addressed to the arahant level, and western Buddhists often inappropriately follow that, due to an excess in the faith faculty.

“47. However, what is particularly recommended is balancing faith with
understanding, and concentration with energy. For one strong in faith and
weak in understanding has confidence uncritically and groundlessly. One
strong in understanding and weak in faith errs on the side of cunning and is as
hard to cure as one sick of a disease caused by medicine. With the balancing of
the two a man has confidence only when there are grounds for it.”—Vism. IV, 47


One thing is teaching Dhamma but to help others to cross over to Nirvana is what I’m more interested to collect all the suttas for misunderstandings.

The example Ven Charlotte gave is not a good example since Venerable Khemaka could have been in higher training already far advanced in the Path, and the senior monk also. But my point is that to show that Arahant do teach and have compassion to teach others. I remember reading Sāriputta asking Buddha permission to go to the village to teach for welfare of beings.

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I’d like to know where is this in the Pali texts. :heart_eyes:

Well Bhante to be exactly writing truthful according to the sutta he also mention someone that learned like you to be able to let others comprehend the dharma. Which is difficult to know exactly what Buddha meant by that.

"If a man going down into a river, swollen and swiftly flowing, is carried away by the current — how can he help others across?

"Even so, he who has not comprehended the Dhamma, has not paid attention to the meaning as expounded by the learned, being himself without knowledge and unrelieved of doubt — how can he make others understand?

"But if (the man at the river) knows the method and is skilled and wise, by boarding a strong boat equipped with oars and a rudder, he can, with its help, set others across. Even so, he who is experienced and has a well-trained mind, who is learned and dependable, [2] clearly knowing, he can help others to understand who are willing to listen and ready to receive.[3]

Right as I understand this sutta today, atleast a stream-enter I think can help others crossover?

Because crossover actually is done already when you removed wrong view right?

The sutta is Nava Sutta in sutta nipata

You mean which suttas mention an Arahat teaching others Āvuso?

I can think of one scenario where its the opposite an Arahat taking their own life. MN 144, and it is indeed said to be ‘blameless’.

But I think Buddha after made a rule against that. Saying whoever promote that also is committing a offense. It’s in the vinaya.

Read vinaya also because sutta stories was actually made to make a vinaya rule more easy understandable. By having a case story

No thats recommending others take life or their life.

Read I edit my reply to you Bhante. The stories as scholars have noticed are connected to something in vinaya.

Yes Upasaka but the point still stands that is that- the exception to killing is if the individidual is khin’asava, finished with the 10 samyojana, or no longer subject to birth, agree?

As I remember any type of killing Buddha was against. That’s why he made the rule against the use of leather. To prevent killing being done just to offer monks leather. Besides the ‘smell’ of the animal. :joy:

Not so friend, not so…

‘’…Then the venerable Sāriputta went to the Blessed One, and after paying homage to him, he sat down at one side and said to the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, the venerable Channa has used the knife. What is his destination, what is his future course?”

Sāriputta, didn’t the bhikkhu Channa declare to you his blamelessness?”

Venerable sir, there is a Vajjian village called Pubbajira. There the venerable Channa had friendly families, intimate families, approachable families as his supporters.”

Indeed, Sāriputta, the bhikkhu Channa had friendly families, intimate families, approachable families as his supporters; but I do not say that to this extent he was blameworthy. Sāriputta, when one lays down this body and takes up a new body, then I say one is blameworthy. This did not happen in the case of the bhikkhu Channa; the bhikkhu Channa used the knife blamelessly.”


SN 12.22 states the Buddha encourages bhikkhus to have confidence in the Buddha as a model, and follow his teaching for the good of all.

Also, SN 55.32 teaches people to practice dana ‘charitable giving’ as ‘merit-yield, goodness-yield, happiness-nutriments’.

But my point is such stories is big problem they are mostly the ones sects had discussions about but the predecessors no matter what said in the sutta probably made it to resemble a rule in vinaya. Although the vinaya story might be different. But vinaya must stand above Suttas. The vinayas was established before suttas.

Thank you I’m hoping more people help with this so we find more suttas. There is many misconceptions about Arahants being selfish.

I remember reading even Vasubandhu saying that we should not go kill ourselves like the Bodhisattva.

Reason being he probably followed vinaya

Considering your own good, mendicants, is quite enough for you to persist with diligence. Considering the good of others is quite enough for you to persist with diligence. Considering the good of both is quite enough for you to persist with diligence.”

Beautiful sutta thanks for sharing.

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I got the suttas information from the Choong’s Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism, pp. 159, 234.

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