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Failue, disappeared, they say: "Right time, right time. It wasn't the proper time!", but:

What's the right time to ask?

What's the right time to advise?

What's the right time to speak?

What's the right time to stay silent?

What's the right time for delay?

May one answer when ever thought being the right time.

[Not given for trade, exchange, stacks or whatever binds to this wheel but for gaining release from it.]

  • For context this question might be asking about the phrase, "the Tathagata knows the time to use such speech", in MN28 (quoted in this answer in reply to the question, Don't teach Dhamma to those who can't appreciate it or aren't interested). – ChrisW Sep 10 '19 at 8:32
  • The question is tagged abhidhamma -- are you only looking for answers which are based on the Abhidhamma (and not e.g. the Suttas or the Vinaya)? – ChrisW Sep 10 '19 at 10:19
  • There is no real Sila without Abhidhamma, Nyom Chris. – Samana Johann Sep 10 '19 at 12:05
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In the sutta (MN 28), the phrase "right time" is in the translation of kālaññū which is defined in dictionaries here ("one who knows the proper time"), and here.

Kālaññū knowing the proper time for ... (c. Dat. or Loc.) Sn. 325; described at A. IV, 113 sq.; as one of the five qualities of a rājā cakkavattī (viz. atthaññū, dhamma°, matta°, k°, parisa°) A. III, 148; one of the seven qual. of a sappurisa, a good man (=prec. +atta°, puggala°) D. III, 252, 283; as quality of the Tathāgata D. III, 134=Nd2 276; Pug. 50.


The most complete explanation of kālaññū that I found in the suttas is in Dhammaññūsutta (AN 7.68).

The definition in that context is:

And how are they one who knows the right time? It’s when a mendicant knows the right time: ‘This is the time for recitation; this is the time for questioning; this is the time for meditation; this is the time for retreat.’

In that sutta it's one of seven qualities:

A mendicant with seven qualities is worthy of offerings dedicated to the gods, worthy of hospitality, worthy of a religious donation, worthy of veneration with joined palms, and is the supreme field of merit for the world. What seven? It’s when a mendicant knows the teachings, knows the meaning, has self-knowledge, knows moderation, knows the right time, knows assemblies, and knows people high and low.

Of these seven, the quality with the longest description is the last (I abbreviate slightly in the quote below):

And how are they one who knows people high and low? It’s when a mendicant understands people in terms of pairs. Two people:

  • one likes to see the noble ones, one does not.
  • one likes to hear the true teaching, one does not
  • one lends an ear to the teaching, one does not
  • one remembers the teaching they’ve heard, one does not
  • one reflects on the meaning of the teachings they have remembered, one does not
  • one understands the meaning and the teaching and practices accordingly, one understands the meaning and the teaching but does not practice accordingly
  • one practices to benefit themselves but not others, and one practices to benefit both themselves and others

That’s how a mendicant understands people in terms of pairs.

The definition of "one who knows assemblies" might be relevant too:

And how are they one who knows assemblies? It’s when a mendicant knows assemblies: ‘This is an assembly of aristocrats, of brahmins, of householders, or of ascetics. This one should be approached in this way. This is how to stand, to act, to sit, to speak, or to stay silent when there.’ If a mendicant did not know assemblies, they would not be called ‘one who knows assemblies’. But because they do know assemblies, they are called ‘one who knows assemblies’. Such is the one who knows the teachings, the one who knows the meaning, the one who has self-knowledge, the one who knows moderation, the one who knows the right time, and the one who knows assemblies.


There's a discussion on SuttaCentral at the moment, ‘Qualifications’ neccesary to teach Dhamma? There someone said that the situation e.g. relationship with a teacher is different within the Sangha: I recommend this answer (which I won't quote here) and the answer immediately following that.

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  • There is no real explaining on what is the right time, Nyom. There are of course indications that right time may be different in dependency of outward condition. – Samana Johann Sep 10 '19 at 12:09
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    It seems to me that the sutta mentions mostly "inward" conditions (e.g. several types of knowledge), as well as "outward" conditions (e.g. the time and the people in the audience). From other suttas a "proper time" also seems to depend on inter-personal relationships, for example "after being asked". – ChrisW Sep 10 '19 at 13:30
  • You're right this answer isn't very specific; but the question is very broad. I made the question narrower by relating it to this comment, where the topic seems to be asking what the suttas say about the "right time" for a monk (and/or the Tathagata) to teach dhamma. – ChrisW Sep 10 '19 at 19:18
  • "In and of itself", Nyom Chris. 1 Topic/question. And in the right time. – Samana Johann Sep 10 '19 at 23:23
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What's the right time to ask?

When one feels the person is willing to give.

What's the right time to advise?

When one feels the person is willing to take the advice.

What's the right time to speak?

When one feels the person is willing to listen and what one says will have the best impact.

What's the right time to stay silent?

When one feels the person is not willing to listen or will take it the wrong way or what one says will not have and impact.

What's the right time for delay?

When one feels the person is not willing to listen or take advice but this may change for the better. E.g. There are times when the Buddha has delays teaching the Dhamma when one is hungry as one will not be attentive.

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  • Suttas apart, sometimes it's about knowing/understanding the other person. – Erik Sep 10 '19 at 8:23
  • Mind readers? Or ego-manics? Is there any case that one whould not ask, speak... if he would "feel" it's not of benefit? So what, so how, should feel here be understood, if useful. (don't forget the other 37 who just read and wait on householders answer. – Samana Johann Sep 10 '19 at 12:13
  • @ Samana Johann feel is only a real time reference of information based on it the action is taken.Its combination of real-time information and memory ,there is no other reference for information on the basis of which to act. – Omar Boshra Sep 10 '19 at 12:43

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