Nagasena Bhiksu Sutra 2.61

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T 1670B Nāgasena Bhikṣu Sūtra

Part 2: Dialogues 2.61. All-knowing of the Buddha

The king asked Nāgasena again, “Does the Buddha know the things in the past, present and future?”

“Yes, the Buddha knows all.”

“If the Buddha knows everything, then why does he not teach all he knows to his disciples? Why does he teach them little by little?”

Then Nāgasena asked the king, “Are there physicians in the country?”

“Yes, there are.”

“Do they know all medicines in the world?”

“Yes, they know all the medicines in the world.”

“But when they treat a patient, do they give him the medicine all at once or little by little?”

“If a man is not sick, the physician cannot give him the medicine in advance. It is only when there is sickness, then the physician gives him the appropriate medicine.”

Nāgasena said, “Although the Buddha knows things in the past, present and future, he cannot teach all that he knows to people in the world. So he taught his disciples the Dharma and precepts little by little and asked them to follow and practice accordingly.”

“Excellent, Nāgasena.”