SuttaCentral

Kiṁdiṭṭhika sutta

AN 10.93 has always intrigued me. In the Pāli sutta Anāthapiṇḍika discusses views with some ascetics. Towards the end of the sutta he says:

“Sirs, anything that is created, conditioned, chosen, and dependently originated is impermanent. And what’s impermanent is suffering. And what’s suffering is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self. That’s my view, sirs.”

“Householder, anything that is created, conditioned, chosen, and dependently originated is impermanent. And what’s impermanent is suffering. What you cling to and hold to is just suffering.”

“Sirs, anything that is created, conditioned, chosen, and dependently originated is impermanent. And what’s impermanent is suffering. And I’ve truly seen clearly with right wisdom that what’s suffering is not mine, I am not this, it’s not my self. And I truly understand the escape beyond that.”

The sutta has some interesting parallels. Two from the Saṁyuktāgama and 1 as a Sanskrit fragment. I’m using DeepL to translate the Chinese:

Suda replied, "As I have seen, all beings are sentient beings, born from the harmony of causes. The word “cause and effect” means karma. If there is a false cause and effect, it is impermanence, and impermanence is suffering, and suffering is the absence of self. In this sense, I have no attachment to any of the views. You laymen say this: "All dharmas are permanent, but this is the only reality, all others are delusions. Those who hold such opinions are the root of all suffering, and those who hold on to such evil opinions correspond to suffering, and can endure great suffering, and suffer infinite suffering in birth and death, all because they think that there is something, and that the world is permanent, and that after death they are not born there or not born there. All these views are the result of the union of karma and cause and effect. In this way, we know impermanence, impermanence is suffering, and suffering is the absence of self.

Then a layman said to Suda, "Elder! If all sentient beings are created by the union of karma and karmic causes, they are all impermanent, impermanent is suffering, and suffering is no-self. If this is so, you are now also the cause of all suffering, and you will suffer infinite suffering in birth and death.

Suda replied, "I have said before that I have no attachment to all the views, and therefore I do not have such views now.

The elders replied, "What I see is true, and is real, and is contemplated, and arises, and if it is true, and is real, and is contemplated, and arises, then it is impermanent, and impermanent is suffering. Knowing this, I have nothing to gain from all sight. If thou seest, 'This is true, and the rest is false. Therefore, you are close to suffering, you are only in suffering, you are firmly in suffering, and you are deeply in suffering. If thou sayest that the world is impermanent, this is true, but the rest is false. Such is the blame.

The world is constant, impermanent, very non-permanent, the world is bounded, the world is not bounded, the world is bounded and not bounded, the world is not bounded and not bounded, the life is the body, the life is different, the life is different from the body, there is after death, there is not after death, there is not after death, there is not after death, there is not after death.

A layman said to a lonely elder, "As thou hast said, if any man see him, then he who is real, and has being, and contemplates, and has origination, is impermanent, and if impermanent he is suffering. Therefore, what does the elder see is also a practice of approaching suffering, attaining it, dwelling in it, and penetrating into it?

The elder replied, "I did not say that what I see is real, real, thoughtful, and arising, and all are impermanent, and that the impermanent is suffering.

I’m having difficulty with the SF as it is in Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit, which confuses me somewhat, but it looks to be the same to the Pāli from scanning the words I do know:

… evaṁvādī śāśvato loka idam eva satyaṁ moham anyat. evṁ doṣaṁ bhavati. pūrvavad yāvat, naiva bhavati naiva na bhavati tathāgataḥ paraṁ maraṇāt. idaṁ satyaṁ moham anyat* imā dṛṣṭir bhūtaṁ saṁskṛtaṁ cetayitaṁ pratītyasamutpannaṁ yad bhūtaṁ saṁskṛtaṁ cetayitaṁ pratītyasamutpannaṁ tad anityaṁ yad anityaṁ tad duḥkhaṁ. tasmād ayam āyuṣmāṁ duḥkham evālīnaḥ. duḥkham evādhyupagataḥ. duḥkham evādhiniviṣṭaḥ. duḥkham eva pratipannaḥ. … evaṁvādī naiva bhavati naiva na bhavati tathāgataḥ paraṁ maraṇāt. idaṁ satyaṁ moham anyat.

athānyataro ’nyatīrthikaparivrājako ’nāthapiṇḍadaṁ gṛhapatim idam avocat*. nanu gṛhapater api dṛṣṭir bhūtaṁ saṁskṛtaṁ cetayitaṁ pratītyasamutpannaṁ yad bhūtaṁ saṁskṛtaṁ cetayitaṁ pratītyasamutpannaṁ tad anityaṁ yad anityaṁ tad duḥkhaṁ. tasmād gṛhapatir api duḥkham evālīnaḥ duḥkham evādhyupagataḥ. duḥkham evādhiniviṣṭaḥ. duḥkham eva pratipannaḥ.

mama bhavanto dṛṣṭir bhūtaṁ saṁskṛtaṁ cetayitaṁ pratītyasamutpannaṁ yad bhūtaṁ saṁskṛtaṁ cetayitaṁ pratītyasamutpannaṁ tad anityaṁ yad anityaṁ tad duḥkhaṁ. evaṁ viditvā tasmād aham imāṁ dṛṣṭiṁ sarveṇa sarvaṁ nābhyupagatam. evam eva gṛhapate.

This of course all depends on translation, but the Pāli sutta (and possible the SF?) sees things in terms of non-identification and lust etc in regard to Right View, whilst the Northern texts seem to be about transcending even that view. Since this suttas has so many parallels, it likely goes back to the earliest time in Buddhist history and so it has important things to say regarding how early Buddhists understood views and how their position differed from the ascetic dogmatists.

Also, I was unsure where to post this. I thought this would be an interesting area of discussion, but I’m also interested in the translations. Apologies if this is in the wrong section.

2 Likes

Thanks for turning me on to that translate tool. That is better than google!!!

2 Likes

Just taking the opportunity in affirming the connection between impermanence and non-self as expounded in SN 22.59 the definitive sutta on that subject:

“Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. Having seen this well with right discernment as it actually is present, I also discern the higher escape from it as it actually is present.”—AN 10.93, Thanissaro

“Bhikkhus, how do you conceive it: is form permanent or impermanent?” — “Impermanent, venerable Sir.” — “Now is what is impermanent painful or pleasant?” — “Painful, venerable Sir.” — “Now is what is impermanent, what is painful since subject to change, fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this is I, this is my self’”? — “No, venerable sir.”—SN 22.59

The reason there is not an abiding self is because it is impermanent. In fact as the practice progresses, the self changes to different levels going from the body to a mind-made self (DN 9).

1 Like

You’re welcome. It obviously isn’t perfect and can’t match a human translator but yes, it’s the best online translating tool I’ve come across. Helps to get the gist at least of a lot of untranslated Agamas.

Hmmm… shades of SN12.15 ??

“Kaccāna, for the most part this world is bound by procurement, clinging, and adherence1. And as regards that procurement and clinging by the mind, that resolution and tendency towards adherence: when one does not procure, does not cling to, and does not resolve upon thoughts of ‘My soul’2; when one has no doubt about, no uncertainty of, and no dependence on another for the knowledge that ‘It is only suffering that arises, and only suffering that ceases’ – this, Kaccāna, is ‘Right perspective.’

Now for my two bits… :joy: < Ooooh, the craving to say something… is this Conceit? > :thinking:

In the expression of a View, the Self comes into being (object implies subject). Since a View is conditioned, it is Impermanent, being Impermanent it is Suffering. The wise know better than to hold on to Suffering, therefore they don’t hold on to Views. In letting go of a View, the Self passes away (the illusion of a permanent Self and what belongs to it is seen through), hence not - Self is realized.

IMO, Personal Kamma, Rebirth, Suffering and Death pertain to sentient beings, they are relative truths, valid only in so far as a Self is seen to exist. The only Absolute Truth is the Dhamma of cause and effect aka Dependent co arising aka Dependent Origination. Once this is realized, not-Self is known and the illusion of Personal Kamma, Rebirth, Suffering and Death are seen through.

SN12.49
When this exists, that comes to be;
with the arising of this, that arises…
When this does not exist, that does not come to be;
with the cessation of this, that ceases.

This is how I understand this sutta and its parallels.

At the same time, one must keep in mind that the Dhamma is like a snake, wrongly grasped it will turn back and bite! Please do not mix frameworks and think that this means that sentient beings don’t have personal kamma! As long as one is plugged into the Matrix and attaching to it all as real, the bullet will kill you… you gotta be quick enough, just like Ananthapindika to embody, state the View and disembody again before the blow back of Suffering hits.

2 Likes

長者答言:「我先不言所見者,是真實、有為、思量、緣起法,悉皆無常,無常者是苦,知苦已,我於所見無所得耶?」

Actually , my reading of that part is , it is not about transcending view .
The issue is with the catch of the grammar in the chinese language .

Ps . if i have more time , i might try to do the translation .

My current understanding is that Right View and the view of ascetics are of a different order. What I see the Buddha rejecting in the ascetics is synthetic a priori and inductive reasoning. I take these to be the bases for views that the Buddha rejected in DN 1. Both types of reasoning do not lead to knowledge and both types of reasoning can be the foundation for speculative and abstract metaphysical theories. This is very similar to Hume. I also think the Buddha saw, like Hume, a psychological impulse behind these theories. There is a craving and thirst for views. The human mind has a default setting to go towards these types of reasoning, and so the views that come from them, similar to how it is tainted towards Being or sensual pleasure. Hume would put it as reason being the slave of the passions. I think the Buddha would agree. The ascetics then of DN1, despite claiming knowledge, did not have it. Their epistemological foundation was weak. They merely saw exactly what they wanted to see. Instead then of these views of verificationism, based on the synthetic a priori or induction, the Buddha preferred knowledge. That is to say, the analytical a priori. If we take dependent origination, we can see that rather than being a model of causation (for which, the synthetic a priori or induction is required) it is, instead, a model of conditionality which can be analysed analytically. If there is craving then, analytically, there must have been vedanā as condition (not cause). Analytical knowledge is, of course, certain and true thus not being a personalised view based on the synthetic a priori or induction. I take this then to be what analytical knowledge (paṭisambhidā) is referring to in the suttas (not sure if they appear in the northern texts):

“A senior mendicant with five qualities is dear and beloved to their spiritual companions, respected and admired. What five? They have attained the analytical knowledge [paṭisambhidā] of meaning, the analytical knowledge of the Dhamma, the analytical knowledge of language, the analytical knowledge of discernment, and he is skilful and diligent in attending to the diverse chores that are to be done for his fellow monks…"

AN 5.86

On this basis then Right View is not abandoned or transcended with all of the other views. It is retained as it is knowledge, and through this view one comes to know the origin, the basis for and folly of all other speculative views. Of course my position is rather unorthodox, which is why I have moved away from the Abhidhamma as of late. The Abhidhamma does accept induction and the synthetic a priori. Naturally then, based on my understanding, I found these parallels interesting since they seem to recommend transcending even the certain analytical knowledge of Right View.

1 Like

I did suspect this was a poor translation. I would be very much interested to read your take on it.

I agree. And as the Buddha said in Snp4.12

Indeed, there are not many and varied truths
differing from perception of the ever-true in the world;
but they work upon their views with logic:
“Truth! Falsehood!” So they speak in dualities.

Right View of course, forms part of the raft of the N8FP which has to be transcended and left behind once the opposite shore has been arrived at.

Perhaps another way to frame it…

At first it is Right View (based on confidence and faith), through progress along the path it then increasingly becomes experiential knowledge - actually knowing and understanding reality as it is - Vijja.

Vijja is not a ‘View’ - Right View transforms into/becomes Vijja - Understanding reality as it is

Thus Ignorance is destroyed through the gradual process (N8P), based on and directed by Right View, and leading to Wisdom and Liberation (which includes letting go of all views).

Hence Right view is the one view that is held onto until this time. All other Views are just views, and not leading to the transformation, and can be progressively let go of.

3 Likes