This may be surprising for some because the Buddhism we know of, talks about compassion and equanimity towards all. Then why do we choose not to share the Buddha’s message with everyone equally?
It can be difficult to accept if we view this topic from an overly simplistic perspective based on our experience of public education or other religious education.
To appreciate better, we need to remind ourselves that
1. Situations in Samsara are impermanent. Someone who is not able to receive Dharma now, may be ready in future. Remember there is no eternal damnation in Buddhism. Just right timing and conditions.
2. Dharma is profound because our mind is complex. Some topic or spiritual practice may not be suitable for some.
3. Dharma is not book knowledge. To be a dharma teacher, one is like a doctor working with a patient. Responsible for altering their mentality.
The first type of people that we do not teach, are people with no Dharma connection. （无缘者）To put it simply, these are people who do not have an ounce of interest in the Dharma and will not learn. We leave them alone.
Buddhism does not force the message of Buddha down people’s throat. We do not encircle someone and start applying pressure tactic to convince them that Buddha’s message is the only Truth. Nor do we hold pretentious children party to bring kids into the faith. The objective of sharing Dharma is not to increase “Buddhist membership”
Dharma is intended to cure the mental afflictions of people. If they don’t acknowledge their afflictions, have no intention of curing their afflictions, will not take the medicine (Dharma) or have no aptitude or karma to receive dharma;
Then it is not productive to teach the Dharma to them.
On the other hand, the Buddha would go all out to teach Dharma when someone is ready. For example, Buddha went to a forested area (alone) to meet the serial killer Angulimala. Buddha walked the entire night to reach the next city so that he can teach someone in the morning.
Fickle minded person
This refers to a person who does not possess consistency in upholding beliefs or tenets of teaching. They lack conviction. Without discernment, they will hunt for different philosophies and tenets from different spiritual systems / religion. They mix everything up without the wisdom to see contradictions. Such people will distort the Buddha Dharma and spread false views / confusion. Claiming that their “new doctrine” is a more complete form of Buddha Dharma. Many infamous cult leaders belong to this category.
Teaching dharma to such people will cause more harm than good. So we do not teach them.
People who will likely commit false claim
This refer to people who pretentiously claim to be enlightened.
They have this inflated sense of self achievement and importance. It is as if everything in the world run for them. Without them, nothing works, not even the dharma.
We do not teach them because they will misrepresent enlightenment and spread false views. Teaching them the Dharma will harm them and indirectly harm others who are influenced by them. Such people will turn Buddhism into a cult.
While it is good and meritorious to share Dharma, sometimes it is better not to do so.
Teaching requires skills and wisdom.
A wise and compassionate teacher will observe their students to determine if they are ready for a specific teachings. Sometimes, a master may just assign wordly task to a disciple without teaching any Buddhist text or practice. This is because the disciple is not ready to receive the teaching yet. (This reminds me of a personal story. I will share it in the next post)
May all be well and happy.