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I've seen in plenty of discussions and threads that there are some criteria to keep in mind while trying to separate the "real Dhamma" from the "fake" one.

For example, in AN 11:13 there is a fragment which tell us that:

The teaching is well explained by the Buddha—visible in this very life, immediately effective, inviting inspection, relevant, so that sensible people can know it for themselves.

A few questions:

1) When differentiating between teachings, should we consider all these quatities at the same time? Or should we pick one over the others?

2) If some teaching is not inmediately effective, but the results (as described in the suttas) are seen after a long, dedicated practice, should we discard that teaching?

3) If a practicant is not able to perceive something described in the suttas inmediately, should we discard such suttas a priori, or should he/she consider the possibility of not being "sensible" enough (i.e. not having reached the minimum level of spiritual maturity for perceiving such X aspect of the Teaching)?

4) How can we know if some alleged result is not perceived due to my own current lack of experience, or if it's because the teaching is false?

Thanks in advance for your time and patience. Kind regards!

  • Commercial Dhamma is no refuge: "The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves" – Samana Johann Jun 28 at 10:55
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If some teaching is not inmediately effective, but the results (as described in the suttas) are seen after a long, dedicated practice, should we discard that teaching?

I'm not sure that "immediately effective" is a good translation -- may be misleading.

The Pali word is akaliko i.e. "without time" which I'd guess might have a range of meanings ...

  • "Timeless" -- i.e. not limited to a specific time ... maybe "eternally" true
  • "Immediate" (not "immediately effective") -- i.e. "relevant to" or "applicable" or "practicable" now
  • Continual or continuous

... as well as "without delay". When you translate you have to pick to pick one translation (e.g. "immediately effective"), which may not convey the whole range.

See also What is Sat-Dharma?

Also he translated -- and I don't mean to criticise, but I don't know why he did it -- as "immediately effective" something that's maybe two (separate) adjectives in the original: i.e. "immediate" and "effective".

For example, see here ...

Svākkhāto bhagavatā dhammo:
The Dhamma is well declared by the Bhagavā:

sandiṭṭhiko akāliko
visible here and now, immediate,

ehipassiko opaneyyiko
inviting to come and see, effective,

paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhī ti.
to be individually ascertained by the wise.

... where "immediate" and "effective" are two separate words (akāliko and opaneyyiko), though the dictionary also gives "immediate result" as one of the meanings of akāliko.

Also maybe "immediately effective" is correct -- if it's understand as, "successful practice has a present effect".

That might lead to a "No true Scotsman" argument (e.g. "If it's not immediately effective then you're not practising it correctly"), but anyway.

If a practicant is not able to perceive something described in the suttas inmediately, should we discard such suttas a priori?

Perhaps not.

For example I read The Radio Amateur's Handbook when I was child -- that book explains how to build various radios, and starts with the "basics" -- an explanation of electronic components and the behaviours of electromagnetic radiation. I think the lessons in the book were "true", but I didn't/couldn't understand most of it when I read it -- I understood a bit more when I read it the second time, and a bit more again the third time.

So I don't think it's sensible to "discard" lessons, which we're told are true and useful, just because we don't understand them immediately.

That said I do tend to classify lessons into "useful" and "not useful", and a lesson that I don't [yet] understand might be not [yet] useful for me -- not that it's false, just that I'm not yet sure how to use it.

So bits of Dhamma which I don't understand, I tend to put "on the shelf" -- perhaps I don't understand how to use it, but I don't want to discard it either.

Also I think that a lot of the doctrine is meant to be practised, practical. If it's like other "practices", it's something that people ("students") become better or more skilled at, as a result of practice. If you view it like that, then you might prefer not to say, "If I can't practice it immediately -- do it perfectly without effort, without practice, without mistakes -- then it isn't 'timeless' and I can discard it."

How can we know if some alleged result is not perceived due to my own current lack of experience, or if it's because the teaching is false?

I think we were supposed to use the four great references to determine whether something is the Buddha's doctrine.

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