There was no abstraction in his Teaching. He never opposed the ideal of mystic and transcendental life to existing reality. He stressed the reality of all existing things and conditions for the current moment. And as his activities and thoughts were concerned mostly with the circumstances of life, he drew the contents of his speeches and parables out of daily life, using the simplest images and comparisons.
Starting from the concept of the parallel between nature and human life, Hindu thinkers believe that the manifestations of nature can explain many things to us in the manifestations of life. Using this method, Buddha, fortunately for his Doctrine, retained the experience of this old tradition. “I shall show thee by comparison, because many rational people understand by comparison”—such was the usual formula of Buddha. And this simple, vital approach lent to his Teaching vividness and conviction.
His influence upon people was proportionate to his faith in himself, in his power, and in his mission. He always adapted himself to the situation of each pupil and listener, giving to them the most needed, in accordance with their understanding. He did not burden the disciples and listeners, who were unprepared to absorb the highest knowledge, with intricate intellectual processes. Nor did he encourage those who sought abstract knowledge, without applying in life his highly ethical Teaching. Once, when one such questioner, named Māluñkya, asked the Blessed One about the origin of all things, the Blessed One remained silent, because he considered the most important task lay in affirmation of the reality of our surroundings; this meant to see things as they exist around us, and try first to perfect them, to prompt their evolution and not to waste time on intellectual speculation.
In: “Foundations of Buddhism”, Helena Roerich