These three things are conducted in secret, not openly. What three? Illicit affairs, sorcery, and wrong views - says Buddha. So does this mean that secret teachings of many monks like Yogis I believe are doing one of these three things?

  • please elaborate on the question...what secret teaching?...which yogis? Nov 15, 2014 at 5:24
  • Today I saw a documentary on Zen Buddhism. There the master gives his disciples koans to meditate on and these koans are highly personalised depending on the individual so that s/he may benefit most from it. So in this sense some practices can be very personalised and these can be matter of student-teacher confidentiality which should be of no concern to any other disciple. So as a whole the teaching might be open but depending on the state of mind of the disciple objects of meditation can differ from disciple to disciple which can be a secret between the master and the student Nov 16, 2014 at 6:18

2 Answers 2


Buddha said that the Dhamma he teaches is not a secret doctrine...By this he meant that the Dhamma is out in the open for everybody to know...It was there even before the times of Siddhartha Gautama. The only difference is Buddha stated it explicitly so that even lay people could understand it. Although the language of the priestly class during the times of Buddha was Sanskrit, Buddha taught in Prakrit/Pali the language of lay people so that everyone could practice it. Buddha's Dhamma is 'Svakkhato' i.e. it is well propounded and well explained by the Buddha. So in that sense it is not a secret doctrine.

And regarding secret teachings, I don't know what exactly you mean by that. But to check if something is Buddha's Dhamma or not, one yardstick would be to check if the teaching helps us to

  1. Refrain from evil doings
  2. Engage in good works
  3. Purify our mind

Also the suttas from the Pali canon are freely available these days on various sites. So the best way to capture these posers is to keep an open, rational and analytical mind and develop our own wisdom through the practice.

  • I completely agree. There are no secrets in the Dhamma because all of the teachings and realizations can be seen by anyone in life. We either have an ignorant mind or we don't!! The Dhamma will lead all ignorant minds towards wisdom and freedom from suffering!
    – user476
    Nov 15, 2014 at 7:39
  • I think s/he was talking about Vajrayana
    – fxam
    Nov 15, 2014 at 23:40
  • Vajrayana is not secret -- go buy any text on Amazon and read, good luck trying to understand it though. The teaching is taught in progression, from simple to more advanced, not the other way around -- that's all.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Nov 16, 2014 at 0:39

It's like anything else - something that's experiential based easily gets corrupted by those without the necessary context for understanding. Let's take koans for example. Someone could rattle off the "answers" to a whole slew of them. The person receiving these answers might be able to feign an understanding, but would have no experiential basis for what the koan is actually getting at. This hampers their progress immeasurably. The fall into an intellectual rut and miss the moon for the finger. What's even more dangerous is that they might try to pass their on their spurious understanding. I think the latter is the main reason why these so-called "secrets" are guarded. It protects the tradition. I'd speculate that the higher tantras are guarded for much the same reason.

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