Which sutta says 'no help for dead ancestors'?

Uff, again my memory is failing me!

There is a sutta where the Buddha uses afair the images of stones and oil - something like ‘no matter how much you pray, the oil always floats up, the stones always go down, and so accordingly beings fare after their death according to their actions, and your prayers and rituals cannot help them’ - something like that.

I thought it was in the MN but I can’t find it somehow… Does anyone recall which one it was?




That’s exactly the one - thanks!


So much for diis manibus’ cult and hecatomb ritual nonsenses.
“Manosick” wrought-up beings.

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@Sujith writes the following:


It’s from MN12 :


Thanks for the challenge of search. I had to use:

grep -r -e "\<oil\>" | grep sink

This yielded:

an/en/an03/an3.127.po:"It’s like when ghee or oil is poured on sand, it sinks and melts down, and "
sn/en/sn42/sn42.06.po:"“Chief, suppose a person were to sink a pot of ghee or oil into a deep lake "
sn/en/sn42/sn42.06.po:msgstr "Would that ghee or oil sink and descend because of their prayers?”"
sn/en/sn55/sn55.21.po:"Suppose a person was to sink a pot of ghee or oil into a deep lake and break "
sn/en/sn55/sn55.21.po:"Its shards and chips would sink down, while the ghee or oil in it would rise "

This search helped me understand the importance of word search since “oil” is also found in “soil”, which has more occurrences. Such searches provide guidance for the design of sc-voice search. Searching for oil sink currently returns 342 occurrences in SuttaCentral, which is too many for voice assistance.



I wish I could have parallel(s) in Agamas on hand. With same occurence in other text(s).

Problem seems to me, exagerated interpretation of upekkha in later suttas. Seeing with citta does not seem to imply such gross occurences as fundamental result.
MN 152 is better example of Lord Buddha’s mildness.

MN12 extract has political and religious subjacent bias.
Upekkha (upa īkṣ) is not about accepting ruthlessness. This is not genuine nature of upekkha.

I used grep too (rgrep inside emacs). Searched for ‘oil’ and then did a word-search for ‘sink’, after first trying ‘float’.

Having all of Ven. Sujato’s translations in a single repo for doing quick offline searches is just great.

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Bhante Sujato’s segmenting will be a great benefit to search. When we grep, it is line by line, but segments can be multi-line. Scanning segments for all search term words seems to be the key to the success of future searches. I’ve noticed that it really really winnows down the search choices. I’ll be adding segment word search to sc-voice after working on grouping and navigation.

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We have multi-line grep, but it’ll probably be a kludge compared with context-aware search - in this case, segmented text.

Great. :slight_smile:

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Related to this, a personal favorite. I have shared with friends who are funeral directors: Tirokudda Kanda: Hungry Shades Outside the Walls