Some great suttas have been cited in this thread!
I wanted to come back to a view expressed here that suggests that the right practice of Dhamma involves practice by oneself and any activity that is concerned with others is at best secondary and usually a distraction. I see this view as forming a basis of the criticism directed at Bhikkhu Bodhi and Engaged Buddhism, in general. Would this be right, Retro?
I think this view is worth exploring. To my way of seeing it holds sway to some extent in all major Buddhist traditions but I would say that it is more valid at the first stage of practice than at later stages where the conceit of the self is thoroughly seen through.
In Mahayana, there is the saying "Returning to the Marketplace with gift-bestowing hands" which comes from the Ox-herding series and is the last stage after enlightenment.
I think here too a view was expressed that the Bhikkhu, having practiced and concentrated on his individual practice for decades has perhaps the maturity to engage in this work as Dhamma practice
rather than in a worldly way, with all the concomitant formations and proliferations.
What do you folks think?
And what about the lay? How beneficial and important is such work for lay practice, you think?