Is 'clinging' to the Aggregates a sufficient condition for Self-view?

If a baby has no self view, is he/she a stream-enter?

Edit#1: May be I better ask: "If there is no such thing as self view in a baby then can we say that a baby is free from sakkayaditthi? Or if one is free from sakkayadithhi can one (re)develops sakkayadithhi?

It depends on who do you ask this question. If you ask an ordinary person, he/she will answer that “I am”. If you ask a stream enter or above, he/she will tell you that your question is invalid question.

Edit#2: If you ask a person who clings to self doctrine then he/she may tell you that it is the “self” that is reborn. If you ask a person who clings to no self doctrine then he/she may tell you that it is that (stream of) consciousness which is reborn…

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That’s true, but is this “taking” the sort of appropriation of the Aggregates as self handled by the suttas?

I think it probably comes under sense restraint, where “taking” as “mine” might perhaps be directed to the external bases as part of abhij­jhā (covetousness) manifesting.

If, on the other hand, this taking of a dwelling is equivalent to appropriation of the Bases as self, then it appears it has to be given up as well for Stream Entry - SN 35.121. Personally, I don’t think the defilement of taking one’s kuṭī as “mine” is of type of clinging discussed in SN 22. It’s probably just plain avarice. A non-avaricious monk does not necessarily imply Stream Entry.

I think MN 64 may provide the answers you seek. It asks how in an infant who does not have the notion of sakkāya (ie the 5 Aggregates), could sakkāyadiṭṭhi arise? The sutta then proposes that sakkā­ya­diṭṭhā­nusaya (the latent tendency to views on the 5 Aggregates) does indeed anuseti.

For sakkāyadiṭṭhi to arise, there must be craving as cause and condition, there must be clinging to self as cause and condition. I believe the anusayas are what eventually cause the manifold cravings to mature into clingings of various sorts. Rebirth may give you a clean slate, except from the anusayas and past kammas. I’m just not sure if our old beliefs from a past life can survive rebirth in a verbalisable form. But craving can propel one through many births - AN 3.34.


Hi again.

I hesitate to venture here, as I am not sure that you use “attachment” in the same sense as the suttas. If you mean it in the technical sense of ajjhosāna, then in some contexts such as AN 4.10, it is a synonym for craving.

But if your car example is anything like the kuṭī example above, I think that kind of attachment is just plain avarice or possessiveness. But we would never, I hope, regard the car or kuṭī as “This is mine, This I am, This is my self”.

I would saying appropriating the Aggregates as self is the basis for 3 of the 4 clingings described in SN 12.2, ie clinging to views, clinging to rules and vows, clinging to a doctrine of self. Not appropriating the Aggregates as self leads to the disappearance of these 3 kinds of clingings : the SN 24 series.


Well that very sutta, SN 12.2, lists clinging to sensual pleasures as a form of clinging. For example the clinging to the car that I gave as an example. So I don’t see any translation problems. We only see clinging = attachment in a normal sense, not clinging = appropriation.

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But that was not the issue that engendered this thread. I don’t know if you followed that previous thread regarding SN 24.2 -

SN 24.2: can a phrase 'when this happens... that happens' be used for a full-fledged modus ponens?

There, the issue was the specific type of clinging as appropriation of the Aggregates as Self. I don’t believe anyone has asserted that kāmupādāna falls into the appropriation of the Aggregates as self, at least not me.

As I mentioned in my first post to you in this thread, part of the confusion that has arisen comes from the sloppiness in which the issue has been framed. The clinging being debated was in this context -

Somehow, this thread has gone off on a tangent to discuss other forms of clinging, in this instance kāmupādāna (clinging to the kāmā).

Might it be possible to return to the original proposition being discussed, ie -

Is appropriation of the Aggregates as self a sufficient condition for the arising of Self-view?

If you wish to discuss kāmupādāna in a separate thread, we can explore -

Is kāmupādāna a sufficient condition for the arising of kāmabhava?

This will of course bring us back to the jhāna debates.

I do not know Pali and my English is not good. For me to understand you better…

When you refer to “self” what do you mean by that? permanent, impermanent, unknowable or something else?

How do you understand "sakkāyadiṭṭhi "?

Without understanding what you mean by “self”, I am afraid that you may misunderstand what I will say…However, I will try…

Since you asked “Is it possible to appropriate the Aggregates as self, and still not have Self-views?” …

Because I see “self” is just this “I, me” without worrying if it is permanent, impermanent, stable, exist,… or not. That is the “self” that I can see and experience. (That’s why I am afraid that I may refer one thing while you see other)

To me, self view (or identity view) is a view that makes us believe that form, feeling, perception, mental volition, consciousness is/are “I am, mine, myself”. Note that mine, myself implies “I” in it. (My view is unique, strange and not orthodox, so if you do not agree with this view then you can stop here. No objection)

A stream-enter no longer has self view. This means that he/she can clearly see and understand without a doubt that there is nothing that he/she can refer as “I, my”, or he/she is no longer believe that form, feeling, perception, mental volition, consciousness is “I, my”. However, he/she still has a body (form), even though he/she understands that the body he/she is using is not “his/her body”, yet he/she still need to use/appropriate that body to continue his/her holy life.

Therefore, when one no longer has self view, one could still use/take form for other purposes (like to work on other fetters…) without ever believing it as “my body”. However, if one takes/appropriates form (body) as “I, me, my” then one must have self view by my understanding of self view.

If you refer to “self” as a permanent, stable, fixed entity that does not exist (or indefinable) then you will need another answer.


For clarity, perhaps it’s better to translate attan as Soul, instead of Self. That helps us distinguish this from the other meaning of attan as the reflexive pronoun “myself” or “himself”.

The Buddha dealt with every imaginable conceiving of the Soul. The eternalists posited several varieties of a permanent Soul (DN 1). For the annihilationists, we see the suttas depict 2 types of Souls -

  1. a Soul that can finally be destroyed upon attaining the Formless attainments (DN 1); and
  2. a Soul that does not create kammic continuity and responsibility from life-to-life (SN 12.17).

If you look at DN 1, there are many forms of sakkāyadiṭṭhi listed there. But as has often been noted, DN 1 was not intended to be a closed list, limited to the 62 catalogued there. DN 1 is actually an exposition on the 2nd Noble Reality of craving. It is craving which conceives all these different views on the Soul, including the eel-wriggling of those too scared to argue.

You can get a partial sense of the common thread that unites all the different forms of appropriation from SN 24.2 to SN 24.4. What you take to be the Soul is sakkāya, another word for the 5 Clingable Aggregates. There is another formula of appropriation sometimes used -

So too, friend Yamaka, the uninstructed worldling, who is not a seer of the noble ones and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, who is not a seer of superior persons and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, regards form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form. - SN 22.85

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If you would take my odd understanding of self view (sakkāyadiṭṭhi ), you will understand MN1 easier. To me, MN1 simply list every possible things (including nibbana) that you can insert/refer in every possible way the “I, mine, my, myself” in it. It simply describes self view and how to end it.

I generally understand your position. If it eventually turns on this seeming distinction -

That is not treated as clinging to form, according to the suttas as far as I can tell.

Agree, it is not clinging. What I mean is "take, use for a purpose,…"I tried to use your word to make it closer to your question. However, my English is not very good and I do not understand fully the meaning of that word (actually I had to check the dictionary for its meaning!)

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Hi again! Re MN 1, I think the operative difference between a Trainee and an Arahant is that the Arahant does not “conceive”. Take a look at how “conceiving” is characterised in SN 35.248. It’s actually the conceit “I am”, a very subtle form of craving, a latent tendency. Even if a Trainee does not regard/cling to the Aggregates as a Soul, she will still get reborn on account of this latent tendency.

It’s a clear distinction between Clinging and Conceit, but one so difficult to elucidate that Ven Khemaka had to resort to 2 similes to bring out the distinction in SN 22.89.

To actually see where this Conceit is directed, one can do no better than to refer to AN 3.32 and 34. The conceit “I am” is with reference to "this body with consciousness " or to “external signs”.

The “external signs” is that long listing of “objects” in MN 1. As for the “body with consciousness”, I read “body” to mean “personal existence”, ie Name-&-Form.


Yes, we can see the change in “conceive” level from ordinary person to an arahant. If we pay attention, we can see the trainee “should not conceive”. This implies required action for the trainee. Not just his view only.

If we understand MN1, we will see the path quite clear.

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Since you may interest in exploring the meaning of “conceive” and “conceit”, I would like to bring up some of my humble understandings to see if they may help you in your search. However, I do not know Pali - cannot check the meaning in Pali- and my English is not very good, so I may not use them accurately (or may misunderstood them!). Moreover, I am not a Sutta’s guy, so I will use the Suttas that you cited from your previous posts.

To me, “conceive” in MN1 has a sense of “view”. What kind of view is this? It is self view. It is the view that enables us to refer/insert the “I, me, mine, myself” into everything. (As you already knew, I see ‘self’ simply as this “I, me”).

The latent tendency “I am” or conceit is more tricky. Even though we can clearly observe this body is not “me”, this feeling is not “me”, this perception is not “me”, this mental volition is not “me”, this consciousness is not “me”, yet there still exists a sense of “I, me”. We still recognize there is “I, me” here. (Don’t you?)

Go back to SN 22.89

“Friends, I do not speak of form as ‘I am,’ nor do I speak of ‘I am’ apart from form. I do not speak of feeling as ‘I am’ … nor of perception as ‘I am’ … nor of volitional formations as ‘I am’ … nor of consciousness as ‘I am,’ nor do I speak of ‘I am’ apart from consciousness. Friends, although the notion ‘I am’ has not yet vanished in me in relation to these five aggregates subject to clinging, still I do not regard anything among them as ‘This I am.’

“Suppose, friends, there is the scent of a blue, red, or white lotus. Would one be speaking rightly if one would say, ‘The scent belongs to the petals,’ or ‘The scent belongs to the stalk,’ or ‘The scent belongs to the pistils’?”

“No, friend.”

“And how, friends, should one answer if one is to answer rightly?”

“Answering rightly, friend, one should answer: ‘The scent belongs to the flower.’”

“So too, friends, I do not speak of form as ‘I am,’ nor do I speak of ‘I am’ apart from form. I do not speak of feeling as ‘I am’ … nor of perception as ‘I am’ … nor of volitional formations as ‘I am’ … nor of consciousness as ‘I am,’ nor do I speak of ‘I am’ apart from consciousness. Friends, although the notion ‘I am’ has not yet vanished in me in relation to these five aggregates subject to clinging, still I do not regard anything among them as ‘This I am.’

Even though "the scent does not belong to the petals, to the stalk, to the pistils, but answering rightly, the scent belongs to the flower.

This is the reason, the source of that latent tendency. That “I am” rightly belongs to “you”! It will naturally fall back to you. However, that is the real problem and we will need to uproot it.

To uproot it, we will need to contemplate the rise and fall in the five aggregates subject to clinging and develop dispassion to them. From dispassion, we will relinquish and bring them to cessation (internally and externally).

“Having comprehended the highs and lows in the world,
he is not perturbed by anything in the world.
Peaceful, fumeless, untroubled, wishless,
he has, I say, crossed over birth and old age.” AN 3.32

Since we can see dispassion is the way out of suffering, we can now understand why delight is the root of suffering in MN1.

“He too directly knows water as water…Nibbāna as Nibbāna…Why is that? Because he has understood that delight is the root of suffering. MN 1

OK, noted. It’s just that I have not seen maññati (conceives) being used in this way in the suttas. It does not appear to be Clinging in the sense of appropriating something as a Soul, but it is instead a form of craving (given its designation as an anusaya (latent tendency)).

Some examples -

  1. in SN 35.31, it is a craving for something to be “mine” (typically applied to the elements and bases)
  2. in SN 35.246 and MN 140, it is also a craving for future existence, among other things

Now, if sakkāyadiṭṭhānusaya has disappeared with Stream Entry, can a Trainee still construct a view that posits a Soul? He may still crave existence, but I am not aware of any texts that suggests that any view involving a Soul can ever again arise in a Trainee. Which explains SN 12.20’s assertion on the impossibility of the noble ones being agitated. With the demise of sakkāyadiṭṭhānusaya , its sequel Clinging to things as a Soul has no opportunity to arise.

Therefore, I think maññati would not be a kind of View involving a Soul, but it is a sort of craving premised on something quite ineffable - ie identity, me-ness, mine-ness.

I agree.

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I agree with your point. I think craving is also the driver here. I see this as “view” in the sense of “wrong thinking” which comes from the incomplete “perceiving” earth as earth…

When we talk about “good” or perceive “good”, it already contains “bad” in it. There is no way we can separate them. If we perceive “good” as “good” only, we will have an incomplete perceiving as I see.

Therefore, if we perceive earth as earth, we missed non-earth elements! If we perceive something as “delight”, we missed the non-delight elements that comes with it. This is where the troubles come from!

Because I see this as “view”, and from this view, we start inserting/referring “I, me, mine, myself” into all experiences that we delight or try to remove ourselves from them if we do not (craving element here!). Therefore, I see this as self view. (view that enables us to insert/refer “I, me, mine, myself” into our experiences).

Noted. I think the suttas would not classify this as appropriation of the Aggregates as Self. See SN 1.25. It’s a subtle sense of identity.

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I think an interesting therm in settling this issue is ‘anupādā-vimutto’ (‘liberated through non-clinging/appropriation/taking-up/whatever-term-you-prefer-for-upadana’). I think it would not be very difficult to make a case that this term applies only to an arahant or the Buddha.

Now if a sotapanna already didn’t experience ‘clinging’, would s/he not be properly referred to as ‘anupādā-vimutto’?

I love the story of Bāhiya. Thinks he’s fully awakened but still relating to “I am”

In that case, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus:
In what is seen there must be only what is seen,
in what is heard there must be only what is heard,
in what is sensed there must be only what is sensed,
in what is cognized there must be only what is cognized.
This is the way, Bāhiya, you should train yourself.

And since for you, Bāhiya,
in what is seen there will be only what is seen,
in what is heard there will be only what is heard,
in what is sensed there will be only what is sensed,
in what is cognized there will be only what is cognized,
therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be with that;
and since you will not be with that,
therefore you will not be in that;
and since you will not be in that,
therefore you will not be here or hereafter or in between the two—
just this is the end of suffering.

I’m really inspired by the Buddha’s instruction here! I’m going to try and put into words something that is really difficult for me to put into words. In a nutshell, my evolving experience of applying the Buddha’s instructions into my daily life. I do so as Dhammarakkhita stated:

One sees things, hears sounds; one’s senses make contact with experience and bare cognitions are recognized in order to function in the world. Yet these sights, sounds, sense impressions and bare cognitions are met with an observational awareness that they have arisen and are passing by. There is no elaboration or generating of a story with a “me” or an “I” or a “mine” involved. There is no fixed, central commander who gathers the data, collates everything, forms opinions, beliefs and views and then determines the ultimate truth.

The “me” is a faculty of the mind, not an entity. The “me” is merely a way of contextualizing sense organs doing what they do: seeing, hearing, sensing, cognizing, how one lives this life.

One’s association of “me” is not “in” with what is arising and passing and thus isn’t “with” what is arising and passing. Being with something is like a companion; separate yet together.

The “me” is not part of what is seen, heard, sensed and cognized; things arise and pass and one responds. Being in something is being immersed or mixed in with. A drop of red paint in white paint, an herb in soup; entangled with.

Being here, there or in between is relative location, establishes a “me” by differentiating it from experience. No one is somewhere else; far away or in between here and there.

We are not identical automatons. Just seeing forms as forms and sounds as vibrations is more like an inhuman machine. Rather, we meet sense contact with the Eightfold Path. The sights, sounds, sense contacts and bare cognitions are what puts us in touch with the world. As experiences, of “life” happens, one responds with complete Eightfold Path. We connect with and interact with people and our environment with joy, peace, compassion, wisdom.