Help finding particular text(s)

I wonder if anyone can assist me?

In Paul Carus’ “The gospel of the Buddha”, chapter 53, he provides an outstanding text illuminating the insights of Conditional Arising, Rebirth, and the non-self nature of formations. The chapter is entitled : “Identity and non-identity”, and is ascribed to a meeting with the Buddha by a brahman named Kutadanta.
Here is the text:

Yet I am unable to find this text anywhere in the classic scriptures. To my mind, it is a text of immense importance, as it illuminates exceedingly clearly the Buddha’s insight into rebirth.

Can anyone point me to the original text? Or provide any insight as to the origin of Paul Carus’ representation here?

I would be most grateful.

With love,

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Sure it isn’t DN 5? Thats the only mention of a Kūṭadanta I can find here, with my poor internet skills.

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Hi Muchi,

I don’t know anything about the Carus text - but you will find the brahman Kutadanta here:

This is precisely what’s confusing me.

DN5, which appears to be the only mention in the canon of Kutadanta, is a text about wrong and right sacrifice. It makes no mention of the far deeper teaching which Paul Carus includes, likening identity and rebirth to a flame subsisting on fuel - which may be extinguished but re-lit when conditions admit.

I feel that this is a text of immense importance, yet I am unable to find the original source…

Any insight, anyone?

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Exactly, it looks like a collage of possible sayings. I certainly can’t find a “full” dialogue between the Buddha and Kūṭadanta that contains the dialogue given in your source.

It is easy to find this passage in multiple places online, whatever it is, almost all of them in interfaith ecumenical texts (for instance, this passage is copied verbatim in The Bible, The Hallowed Book of Man). Where I can’t find it is in critical editions of Buddhist scripture.

Very interesting passage you have brought up.

Thanks for the reference, this is a fascinating historical document! As suggested by some other respondents, this isn’t a discourse per se, but has been assembled from various passages, mostly paraphrased, and set within the context of a dialogue with Kutadanta that is loosely modeled after DN 5. Perhaps it should be considered as “religious historical fiction”.


The “Gospel of Buddha” was one of the first books on Buddhism I ever read (picked it up as a more modern reprint in a second-hand bookshop). It has been quite a few years since I leafed through it though! :slight_smile: Quite a nice book, so nice to be reminded of it, and certainly made an impression at the time. Just took it down from the bookcase now, and I see there is actually a list of sources at the back of the printed version (that doesn’t seem to exist in your web version). Just ran the reference page for the chapter you mention (LIII) through my scanner:

There’s a long list of acronyms for the sources a few pages later. “US” stands for “The Udana by Major General D. M. Strong” and “W” is for “Buddhism in Translations by Henry Clarke Warren” and the rest of them, I think, are given by the scan of this page:

So it seems to be quite a mix of stuff, but the majority from “The Questions of King Milinda”. Translations of that as the “Milindapañha”, which I have not read, exist on this site in the KN. Maybe you can track down most of the passages for this chapter there.


Wow, thank you so much! That is remarkably useful. At least I now have some avenues for research.

Much gratitude to you for taking the time to scan and upload.

I will report back with any interesting findings.

Happiness and best wishes, Muchi

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No worries! :slight_smile: It’s not surprising, given that Carus’ book was published in 1915, that the sources are pretty old. He also uses physical page numbers, which makes things difficult to find unless one has the original books. However, most of these sources must surely be out of copyright and there’s a good chance someone has put them up on the internet (I think some of them are).

You are perfectly right - I have already seen that many of those sources are now available online in the public domain, including most of the 50 volumes of the ‘Classics of the East’ anthologies!

I have begun by browsing through 'The questions of King Milinda" in KN, and already I am satisfied that - for the most part - the text I queried is taken predominantly (albeit loosely) from this source. Once again, Suaimhneas, thank you most kindly!

I must say that I am happy to have now come across the Milindapañha. I have seen it referenced before, but for some reason have not taken the time to read it. It is indeed a very illuminating text, and most worthy of one’s attention. It is written in a very straightforward style, with excellent similes. It also gives lucid insights into the correct understanding of egolessness, rebirth, and kama in a way that I have not seen treated in the major parts of the canon. I look forward to spending some time with it (though I confess that at this stage I am weaning myself away from intellectual diversions - grasping? - and rather wanting to spend time in quiet meditation of the miraculous suchness of this life).

I bid you a very good day. Every day.

With love and kindness,


It is indeed a very interesting text. Have you checked the Chinese version of the account, also available here in SC?

In case not, here’s the link:


Many thanks :slight_smile: