The Teacher Unknown
And the Blessed One said to Ananda:
"There are various kinds of assemblies, O Ananda; assemblies of
nobles, of Brahmans, of householders, of bhikkhus, and of other
beings. When I used to enter an assembly, I always became, before
I seated myself, in color like unto the color of my audience, and
in voice like unto their voice. I spoke to them in their language
and then with religious discourse, I instructed, quickened, and
"My doctrine is like the ocean, having the same eight wonderful
"Both the ocean and my doctrine become gradually deeper. Both
preserve their identity under all changes. Both cast out dead
bodies upon the dry land. As the great rivers, when falling into
the main, lose their names and are thenceforth reckoned as the
great ocean, so all the castes, having renounced their lineage
and entered the Sangha, become brethren and are reckoned the sons
of Sakyamuni. The ocean is the goal of all streams and of the
rain from the clouds, yet is it never overflowing and never
emptied: so the Dharma is embraced by many millions of people,
yet it neither increases nor decreases. As the great ocean has
only one taste, the taste of salt, so my doctrine has only one
flavor, the flavor of emancipation. Both the ocean and the Dharma
are full of gems and pearls and jewels, and both afford a
dwelling-place for mighty beings.
"These are the eight wonderful qualities in which my doctrine
resembles the ocean.
"My doctrine is pure and it makes no discrimination between noble
and ignoble, rich and poor.
"My doctrine is like unto water which cleanses all without
"My doctrine is like unto fire which consumes all things that
exist between heaven and earth, great and small.
"My doctrine is like unto the heavens, for there is room in it,
ample room for the reception of all, for men and women, boys and
girls, the powerful and the lowly.
"But when I spoke, they knew me not and would say, 'Who may this
be who thus speaks, a man or a god?' Then having instructed,
quickened, and gladdened them with religious discourse, I would
vanish away. But they knew me not, even when I vanished away."