Sutta (?) about knowledge of ending being constant or not


I am looking for a sutta (I think it is a sutta anyway) I remember about someone asking a monk (maybe Ananda?) whether an Arahant has constant knowledge of the absence of defilements or if he needs to check his mind. And the answer goes something like this:
“Suppose a person were missing a limb. Would they constantly know they are missing the limb all throughout the day, or only upon checking?”
“Only upon checking”
“In the same way an Arahant knows he doesn’t have defilements only upon checking his mind”.

Something like that :sweat_smile:

It could be a commentarial story, or Milindapañha, but I remember it being a sutta.

Thanks! :pray:


@Giovanni Good morning, I found something like that, but I don’t know if it’s what you’re looking for. Have a great week!


Hi @luis_ruitoku!
Thank you for the suggestion. It might be Kathavatthu as well, but it’s not quite this one.
I specifically remember the simile of the man missing the limb to illustrate the point.
Thank you anyway!


Middle Discourses 76 With Sandaka


That’s it, thank you very much! :pray:

Is there a way to improve the search function in sutta central to easily find such suttas from bits and pieces of memory of it? Now we seem to rely on people who are very familiar with the suttas or some parts which they recently read to answer these kinds of questions.

I searched limb, arahant, turns out the word in the sutta is hands and feet and amputated.


That’s the authentic way, isn’t it? :wink:
I knew it was in the MN. Then I searched in a .doc version of Bhate Sujato’s translation for hands. Lots of hand things even just there.

I believe that the best way to solve this particular issue is an annotated index of similes where all the possible keywords are indexed. For example, there is a simile about snakes in the SN, but Bhante Bodhi has translated it as vipers (which I’m sure is fine) but unless you know that, looking up snakes will get you nowhere.

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That’s why I did, and also looked for “check” and “upon checking”, but the sutta has “checked:sweat_smile:

That’s a good way to go about it.

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