Reflecting on the different
natures of beings, compared to the four kinds of lotuses, the Buddha accepts the
The story of Lord Sahampati
Brahma coming to invite the Buddha to spread his teaching to the world, as
explained in Picture 32, is an allegorical teaching. Translated into a factual
statement, we might interpret Sahampati Brahma as being the Buddha's own
Even though the Buddha was
inclined not to teach the Dhamma, another part of him, which was stronger,
decided to teach. Having made up his mind, the Buddha reflected on the different
natures of beings in the world and saw that they could be divided into four
levels or groups:
The first group are like lotuses
that have grown and risen above the water level. As soon as they contact
sunlight, they open out. The second group are like lotuses that are just under
the surface of the water, ready to rise above it. The third group are like
lotuses that are deeper down in the water, which will at a later time grow up
and rise above the water level. The fourth group are like lotuses that are very
deep down in the water, so deep that there is no way they will rise above the
surface because they fall food to fishes and turtles. The Buddha saw the
different levels of wisdom among people like this.
First group: Extremely
clever-merely listening to the name of a teaching they immediately understand
Second group: very clever:
after listening to an explanation of the teaching, they understand it.
Third group: moderately
clever: the "veneyya" beings. They must devote a lot of time to training their
minds before they can understand.
Fourth group: the "padaparama,"
the fools, the idiots, who are unteachable. In other words they are the people
the Buddha had nothing to do with.
Then the Buddha began to reflect
on who would be the best person to first impart his teaching to. He saw in his
mind the images of the two ascetics who he had previously studied with, but both
of them had already passed away. Then he came to know that the Group of Five
(pancavaggiya) were still alive, and so he made up his mind to first give his
teaching to them.
Copyright © 2002 Mahidol
University All rights reserved.
Mahidol University Computing Center, Rama VI Road,
Rajathewi, Bangkok 10400, THAILAND Tel. (662) 354-4333