DN 23 Payasi sutta

Do you suppose that when Payasi (DN 23) was referring to ‘friends and colleagues with right view’ he just meant that the they believed in rebirth and kamma (mundane right view) and not supramundane? It’s at the beginning of the sutta under ‘The Simile of the Bandit’.

Because it seems a bit strange that he can say the they have right view and he clearly has wrong view at this point. Anyway just curious.


I’d say mundane. But mundane right view is not limited to belief in rebirth and kamma (see pp. 15—21).

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Hey Adrian,

The list you’ve cited is the pericope (stock text) of the 10 kusala dhammas- ten wholesome actions. As it’s a standard doctrinal exposition it’s probably not something we can take to be a verbatim account of Payasi’s actual words.

The entire sutta is about holding on to views and giving them up, eventually arriving at right view- so even if it was a mistaken version of right view, or a view from another religious sect, that could be a plot device, to highlight the doctrinal point and make more apparent the narrative arc of the sutta: from holding on to wrong views to letting them go and embracing right view.

Payasi is actually a scientific thinker, (if a bit of a brutal and quite sadistic scientist…) and he has attempted to prove those things that he hears ascetics say, but has never been satisfied with their truths. So he tests the theories using his own idiosyncratic methods and still has not seen any sign of the things that are claimed.

None of us have likely gone to such efforts to prove the many things we often take for granted in Buddhism- something to ponder in itself! Do we just accept things blindly? Or really test them out?

He is challenging various sect’s version of truth or right view in this sutta, based on his own observations. However, despite wanting to know the truth, his own clinging to views prevents him from accepting what is spoken by Venerable Kassapa. Even when he actually agrees, he says he will never say so, because his views are well known, and he wont give in, saying: " I shall carry on with this view out of anger, contempt, and spite!”

But the plot twist is that we eventually find out that he was toying with Ven Kassapa all along! Gotcha!

“I was delighted and satisfied with your very first simile, Master Kassapa!
Nevertheless, I wanted to hear your various solutions to the problem, so I thought I’d oppose you in this way.

He obviously enjoys playing with people, like a cat toying with a mouse…


Thanks Bhante for replying to my little question, it was totally unexpected :grinning:

Right I see, good to know.

Bhante! What happened to ‘SPOILER ALERT:joy:
Just kidding!

Thanks again, much appreciated :anjal:

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Sorry to be pedantic, but a pericope is not a stock passage. It is a smallest meaningful piece of text.

Wikipedia: A pericope (/pəˈrɪkəpiː/; Greek περικοπή, “a cutting-out”) in rhetoric is a set of verses that forms one coherent unit or thought, suitable for public reading from a text, now usually of sacred scripture. Also can be used as a way to identify certain themes in a chapter of sacred text. Its importance is mainly felt in, but not limited to, narrative portions of Sacred Scripture (as well as poetic sections).

Of course a stock passage could potentially be a pericope, but for sure not all are.