In the book The Buddha's Teachings to Laypeople: Practical Advice for Prosperity and Lasting Happiness the author Bhikkhu Rahula Basnagoda claims that the Buddha actually had a lot of advice for the lay follower but that advice was most likely lost. A possible reason was that the first council emphasised the monastic content of the Buddha's teaching as this was of greatest concern to the council.

From the bhikkus point of view such a partial preservation is understandable. [...] senior bhikkus found that the most urgent need was to retain unity and discipline amongst themselves

(quoted from pp 10 of The Buddha's Teachings to Laypeople)

I'm intrigued by this claim and I would like it to be true. I like the idea that the Buddha had a lot of teachings for the lay community that perhaps we don't have now. But is this a common opinion. Is this claim made elsewhere by anyone or is it just a really way out opinion put forward by this author. Is there even any evidence of any kind for it - admittedly I find it difficult to see what kind of evidence there could be but you never know.

I guess I'm after an indication of the validity of this claim either by other reputable teachers or academics making the claim or by some kind of evidence.

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


I've seen this listing of The Buddha's Daily Routine where it is said the Buddha slept only one hour each night. He divided his days into a morning session and an afternoon session and his nights into 3 "watches".

It's said the monks would usually go to the Buddha to ask him questions during the afternoon session. The followers (which I assume means lay followers) would go to listen or ask questions in the first watch of the night (6 pm - 10 pm) and then the angels would do the same in the middle watch of the night from 10 pm - 2 am.

I don't know the origin of this information, but I can't help but be inspired by both the orderliness of it and the kindness of it, for the Buddha to devote so much time to helping beings find their wisdom. We've had a good question here on the site about asking questions. It's interesting that we here are still asking questions in this same spirit of seeking support for finding our own wisdom.

So with all that time devoted to answering the lay followers questions, one can imagine that there was plenty of advice given over the 45 years that the Buddha taught. How could there not have been? I think the monks who had to recite all the suttas orally for those many years before they were written down must have had their hands full. It seems logical that they would have focused on that which would bring the most benefit to those most dedicated to the goal of enlightenment.


One sutta from the Pali Canon which is full of advice to lay people is

Sigalovada Sutta: The Discourse to Sigala.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .