I have seen how some Sutras / Suttas start with an open invitation to many beings to come and hear the words of the Lord.

Now this makes sense as it was a teaching given by Lord Buddha to his followers.But now the times have changed "Pali" as a language is dead. It gave birth to many new languages and died in the process. So today we say the same suttas and some keep it original and some use their own translation.

  • So how does the translation happen?

Is there any mentioning on how beings in different realms understand a single language, I mean even we don't use "Pali" now so how does it happen?

  • And there is another side to this too.

There are some really bad realms, like "Pretha" beings. They have only suffering with the exception of few having some comforts like clothes and food.These beings have no way of learning, So how does it happen,

how do they understand the teaching when they come to hear it?

If you can,provide any Sutta / Sutra referance

2 Answers 2


But now the times have changed "Pali" as a language is dead.

Depends on how you define what "dead" means or, the language is dead to whom. To many Pali scholars like Ven. Bodhi, Ven. Thanissaro, Ven. Analayo, etc. Pali is very much alive and they constantly use it as the source reference to their sutta translation works. Thanks to the effort of many venerable scholars, the suttas have been translated to many different languages in the world. As we speak, there're monks and lay people around the world who are reciting the Tipitaka in Pali, English, French, German, etc. right now.

Is there any mentioning on how beings in different realms understand a single language, I mean even we don't use "Pali" now so how does it happen?

Depends on which realm it is. To the devas in the heavenly worlds, due to the great merits they've generated, many would possess supernatural powers to be able to communicate with humans (Ex: the conversation of the householder Citta with many devas in SN 41.10). If it's the lower realms, then it obviously much tougher due to the tremendous suffering and ignorance throughout these realms. The Buddha in MN 129 used a very famous simile to make the point:

The Buddha: Suppose a man threw into the sea a yoke with one hole in it, and the east wind carried it to the west, and the west wind carried it to the east, and the north wind carried it to the south, and the south wind carried it to the north. Suppose there were a blind turtle that came up once at the end of each century. What do you think, bhikkhus? Would that blind turtle put his neck into that yoke with one hole in it?”

The Bhikkhus:“He might, venerable sir, sometime or other at the end of a long period.”

The Buddha:“Bhikkhus, the blind turtle would sooner put his neck into that yoke with a single hole in it than a fool, once gone to perdition, would take to regain the human state, I say. Why is that? Because there is no practising of the Dhamma there, no practising of what is righteous, no doing of what is wholesome, no performance of merit. There mutual devouring prevails, and the slaughter of the weak.

  • Yes a good answer indeed, nice example too.
    – Theravada
    Dec 7, 2015 at 16:37

Je Tsongkhapa. Middle-Length Lam Rim:

You should think about the very marvelous way in which any number of sentient beings in the world realms ask different questions all at once, yet he still apprehends them with the wisdom that possesses a single instant of mind and answers all the questions with a single utterance understood in their respective languages. In Chapter of the Truthful One it says:

"If thus all beings, in one single moment, Ask a question in many definitive words, His mind comprehends them in a single moment And answers them all with one melodious statement. Thus know that the melodious Brahma voice Of him who gives instructions rings forth in this world. He thoroughly set in motion the wheel of Dharma, Eradicating the suffering of gods and men."

The Chapter of the Truthful One (Skt. Satyaka-parivarta, Tib. bDen pa po'i le'u), is the fourth chapter of the 'Arya-bodhisattva-gocaropaya-visaya-vikurvana-nirdesa-nama-mahayana-sûtra', 'The Noble Teaching through Manifestations on the Subject of Skillful Means in the Bodhisattva's Field of Activity'. This is a Mahayana Sutra consisting of a dialogue between the king and the wise Caṇḍapradyota Nirgrantha Satyaka, comprehending 12 chapters.

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