manasikara wrote:When the Buddha sent out that first group of arahant disciples, he was still physically present on earth. The dhamma-vinaya had just been thoroughly expounded by him, and it would have (still) been consistently grasped amongst different (arahant) individuals. Plus it was a time in India where social and spiritual conditions were ripe for that sort of thing.
But if we just decide to send ourselves out preaching, 1). we are not arahants, and thus are not free of defilements unlike the arahants the Buddha first sent out with that exhortation, who were; 2). 2500 years or so on, the dhamma-vinaya is now understood in many different ways, there is no longer the consistency that there was back then; 3). nowdays social and spiritual conditions are not the same as back then. If you just sit in a park somewhere and invite people to come and listen, people will either think you are a charlatan, or the police or council officers will eventually move you on. And if you go from door to door, well which one of us has not been irritated by that, when it was done to us by Christian missionaries?
Different time, different place. Let's not become like Christians who 'push' their religion onto others. Rather let us be of as much assistance as possible, making as much effort as possible to make the dhamma available for people, to explain it properly if asked about it (so, let's study the suttas thoroughly), and to assist and support those that can do these things (such as the bhikkhu / bhikkhuni sangha for eg).
That's my take on it, anyway.
I don't think we can wait till we become arahants before we venture to make the Dhamma available, but I doubt that is your point. In any case, it is premature to debate what the conditions out there are and the effective techniques of propagating the Dhamma. I think at the present time, the intention itself is very much lacking. If the intention is strong, I'm sure we could be innovative enough to think of effective methods. For example, just consider how many monks or lay Buddhists have taken upon themselves to venture into India to teach the millions of Dalit converts? Other religions actively push their delusional beliefs. Here we have millions asking for the Dhamma but few among us feel they have a responsibility to provide it.