I have difficulty in understanding this SN35.28

Āditta-pariyāya Sutta
“Monks, the All is aflame. Which All is aflame? The eye is aflame. Forms are aflame. Eye-consciousness is aflame. Eye-contact is aflame. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on eye-contact—experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain—that too is aflame. Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.

I understand that greed and aversion burn the eye, sight,etc but I don’t understand how delusion burn the eye,etc ,what does delusion even mean here ?

Could you give me a pointer ?


Hi Ratana,

Good post and it’s a deep sutta that’s worth taking time to explore. I’m sure you could spend a lifetime penetrating it’s deeper meaning. It is one of the ‘cardinal suttas’ for a reason.

The way I read this sutta is that all of the six sense bases are ‘fired’ up by greed, hatred, and delusion. So the eye is burning with delusion as we are deluded by the things we see and it produces the heat of agitation and furthers greed and hatred also.

The same applies to all the other senses and is meant to, I believe, show us the perils of living in the world of the senses.

I’m sure this is just the most coarse interpretation of the sutta and others will be able to shed more light on it.

With Metta :pray:


It is not fit to take delight in is what is meant.
It ought not be relished, is impermanent, it disintegrares, it is not self and is therefore dukkha.

The burning can be explained in analogical terms as a burning house, you shouldn’t enter and make it your residence.

The human state has been relished much and is entered upon by one with craving but this human state and existence in general, is a truth of suffering, it is only intended upon due to ignorance of not knowing better or not knowing a better.

If there was no escape from that which is impermanent then the highest conditioned pleasure would be a pleasure in a definitive sense; but because there is an escape from the conditioned, because there is a truth of extinguishment, therefore the highest conditioned pleasure is classified as a suffering & a calamity. It is burning, don’t wish for it.

Therefore eye and all is unpleasant, is burning & not fit to take delight, not fit for taking up as a hot iron ball and only the extinguishment of the conditioned is pleasant in a definitive sense.

It’s similar to this

Magandiya, suppose that there was a leper covered with sores and infections, devoured by worms, picking the scabs off the openings of his wounds with his nails, cauterizing his body over a pit of glowing embers. His friends, companions, & relatives would take him to a doctor. The doctor would concoct medicine for him, and thanks to the medicine he would be cured of his leprosy: well & happy, free, master of himself, going wherever he liked. Then suppose two strong men, having grabbed him with their arms, were to drag him to a pit of glowing embers. What do you think? Wouldn’t he twist his body this way & that?"

“Yes, master Gotama. Why is that? The fire is painful to the touch, very hot & scorching.”

“Now what do you think, Magandiya? Is the fire painful to the touch, very hot & scorching, only now, or was it also that way before?”

“Both now & before is it painful to the touch, very hot & scorching, master Gotama. It’s just that when the man was a leper covered with sores and infections, devoured by worms, picking the scabs off the openings of his wounds with his nails, his faculties were impaired, which was why, even though the fire was actually painful to the touch, he had the skewed perception of ‘pleasant.’”

The eye is a sign and a product of greed, anger & delusion, it is born of it and doesn’t originate without these. One can say delusion fuels the burning in this sense.

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Thanks, so are we deluded each time we delight in having eye ?

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Whatever we give frequent attention becomes the inclination of the mind. When we perceive the eye to be pleasant, we therein cultivate the perverse perception of attractiveness in regards to the unpleasantness.

Answered categorically, yes we are deluded each time we take delight.

It is important to cultivate both wisdom and samadhi so we don’t get distracted, as to avoid habitually grasping with wrong view.


The fire of delusion is because the mind thinks confused. What was I in the past? What am I in the present? What will I be in the future? So not knowing self as it is. It’s on fire because it’s burning with many thoughts that makes it worst to get out of not-knowing


The opposite is also true. When the practitioner penetrates impermanence they experience insight:

“When those with discernment listen,
they regain their senses,
seeing the inconstant as inconstant,
the stressful as stressful,
what’s not-self as not-self,
the unattractive as unattractive.
Undertaking right view,
they transcend all stress & suffering.”—AN 4.49

Perceptions occur as a result of views, and changing views alters perceptions. The way to cause right view to arise is internally through appropriate attention, and externally through reading/studying dhamma.

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For everyone’s benefit and reference, this is the link to SN35.28:



So restless and doubted mind are similar to deluded mind,aren’t they ?

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Delusion (moha) is a mental character that does not understand dhamma so it is easy to be conditioned to become a greedy or hateful mind.

The word “burning” (ādittaṁ) in SN 35.28 can also be interpreted as “devoured” or “grasped” or “followed”. So contact (phasa) which is the momentum of the meeting between external objects, internal sense bases, and consciousness… is followed directly by lobha, dosa and moha. This will of course be the fuel for clinging (upadana), existence (bhava), birth (jati)… aging, sickness… death.

So “burning” here means “spreading quickly to condition each other”, becoming fuel and igniting in the form of a series of rebirths. Samsara.


It can be said so. But a restless mind thinks where will I sleep? What will I eat? What did I sleep yesterday? What did I eat yesterday? Where is there entertainment? Where can I see movie? Etc


A delusion goes against the general consensus of reality, and is maintained without regard to evidence. One example of a delusion would be a “flat Earther”. They believe the Earth is flat, while the majority of people are convinced the Earth is spherical. No evidence will convince them that the Earth is a sphere.


First thing that came up was AN 3.68

‘What is the cause, what is the reason why delusion arises, and once arisen it increases and grows?’ You should say: ‘Improper attention. When you attend improperly, delusion arises, and once arisen it increases and grows. This is the cause, this is the reason why delusion arises, and once arisen it increases and grows.’

To further define proper/improper attention SN 46.51


Of the ten fetters the destruction of ‘restlessness’ is the one that precedes the removal of ignorance. This indicates the significance ancient Buddhists gave to it related to the quality of a burning fire, and how its opposite nibbana was extinguishment. Though ignorance in a materialist context suggests immobility, in the Buddhist sense it means agitation:



I think to understand this teaching it is important to see it in the context of the time, place and people it was taught to, and for the first time.
Buddha first taught this to a group of monks, who were previously worshiping sacred fire (Vin. Mahākhandhaka Vagga, 12):

"…After staying at Uruvelā for as long as he liked, the Buddha set out for Gayāsīsa together with that large sangha of one thousand monks, all of them previously dreadlocked ascetics,
and they stayed there.

Then the Buddha addressed the monks:

“Everything is burning.
What is that everything that is burning?
The eye is burning. Sights are burning. Eye-consciousness is burning. Eye-contact is burning. Whatever feelings arise because of eye-contact—whether pleasant, painful, or neither-pleasant-nor-painful—those too are burning.
Burning with what?
Burning with the fire of sensual desire, the fire of ill will, and the fire of confusion; burning with birth, old age, and death; burning with grief, sorrow, pain, aversion, and distress, I say…"



I think these suttas help me to understand how ignorance/delusion is different from the rest of defilements and what it is

When you experience a pleasant feeling, if you approve, welcome, and keep clinging to it, the underlying tendency to greed underlies that. When you experience a painful feeling, if you sorrow and wail and lament, beating your breast and falling into confusion, the underlying tendency to repulsion underlies that. When you experience a neutral feeling, if you don’t truly understand that feeling’s origin, ending, gratification, drawback, and escape, the underlying tendency to ignorance underlies that.

When they’re touched by painful feeling, they resist it. The underlying tendency for repulsion towards painful feeling underlies that.

When touched by painful feeling they look forward to enjoying sensual pleasures. Why is that? Because an uneducated ordinary person doesn’t understand any escape from painful feeling apart from sensual pleasures. Since they look forward to enjoying sensual pleasures, the underlying tendency to greed for pleasant feeling underlies that.

They don’t truly understand feelings’ origin, ending, gratification, drawback, and escape. The underlying tendency to ignorance about neutral feeling underlies that.


This sutta will help too

At Sāvatthī.

Then a mendicant went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Sir, how does one know and see so as to give up ignorance and give rise to knowledge?”

“Mendicant, knowing and seeing the eye, sights, eye consciousness, and eye contact as impermanent, ignorance is given up and knowledge arises. And also knowing and seeing the pleasant, painful, or neutral feeling that arises conditioned by eye contact as impermanent, ignorance is given up and knowledge arises.

Knowing and seeing the ear … nose … tongue … body …

Knowing and seeing the mind, thoughts, mind consciousness, and mind contact as impermanent, ignorance is given up and knowledge arises. And also knowing and seeing the pleasant, painful, or neutral feeling that arises conditioned by mind contact as impermanent, ignorance is given up and knowledge arises.

That’s how to know and see so as to give up ignorance and give rise to knowledge.