The Buddha’s sermon that starts with dāna-kathā, sīla-kathā and sagga-kathā is called “progressive talk” (anupubbi-kathā) in the narrow sense. It appears often in the Sūtras and Vinayas.
In our country, the progressive talk (anupubbi-kathā) has been defined in various ways. For instance, “dāna-kathā, sīla-kathā and sagga-kathā are the Buddha’s instruction delivered to the lay community” or “the progressive talk is the Buddha’s instruction, which is delivered to the non-believers, beginning with common sense conventional views, then gradually guiding them to Buddhistic teachings, and culminating with the discourse unique to Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths, in order to lead them to work toward the first of the four stages of enlightenment.” The remarkable disagreement in the definitions is due to the question as to whom the Buddha was delivering the progressive talk: to the lay community or to the non-believers?
This paper aims at the analysis of the formula, the determination of the audience of the anupubbi-kathā, and the investigation into the reasons for the disagreement in the definitions.