Sutta reading for sakkaya-ditthi

The context for personality view is the fetters:

AN 10.13

This indicates personality view is more gross than the refined sense of self necessary to the form and formless levels (see DN 9).

(1) All three levels subject to grasping have a self. (2) The self is part of the grasping process, and keeps note of the goal, while instructing anger and desire when to act. The noble eightfold path is conditioned so it’s necessary to have a self to progress along the path:

MN 44

Personality view is removed through appropriate attention and insight (seeing):

MN 2

"He attends appropriately, This is stress… This is the origination of stress… This is the cessation of stress… This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices. These are called the fermentations to be abandoned by seeing.”

It’s possible to have a self but at the same time understand it’s not an ultimate reality:

DN 9

"In the same way, when there is a gross acquisition of a self… it’s classified just as a gross acquisition of a self. When there is a mind-made acquisition of a self… When there is a formless acquisition of a self, it’s not classified either as a gross acquisition of a self or as a mind-made acquisition of a self. It’s classified just as a formless acquisition of a self.

“Citta, these are the world’s designations, the world’s expressions, the world’s ways of speaking, the world’s descriptions, with which the Tathagata expresses himself but without grasping to them.”

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Hi @paul1

Thank you for sharing this. I have many questions regarding this topic but I will restrict myself to a few to begin with.

  1. My first question is about the passage quoted from MN 2. I want to know if my current understanding is somewhat correct or not or if someone could elaborate on it.

As I understand it, though it is written as a four step process of observation and attending, it is not something that can always be done in quick succession. In my experience so far, there can be a substantial gap between identifying stress and realizing its origins (in terms of specifics). Even more difficult is the experience of cessation of stress and realizing what path steps were implemented that resulted in the cessation of that stress. I am talking here of mundane events and experiences not meditative experiences.

Without going into any kind of details, I can state that I have done exactly as the passage suggested to overcome an addiction. It was relatively easy to realize dukkha, much harder to realize the origin of dukkha and cessation of dukkha and the realization that I ended up employing most steps of the 8FP constantly to reach that experience of cessation was done retroactively, in hindsight. The process has also given me some insight into latent tendencies as a bonus.

  1. I find MN 8 to also be very useful for sakkaya-ditthi. Each item that needs to be let go of resides in the mind due to self-view or in service of self. I do have questions regarding the ordering of the 44 items as it seems to jump back and forth between mundane and noble, with the 8FP found somewhere in the middle of the list. My speculation is that it has to do with the ten fetters and the order in which they tend to be eradicated, i.e. the 8FP has to be developed to an extent and then continue the work to eradicate latent conceit, restlessness, and ignorance. Does anyone know why the list of 44 is in the order that it is in?
    with metta
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The four steps in MN 2 are of course the four noble truths, and those who achieve experience of them always come from a prior experience of suffering, as the Buddha did in his own realization.

“The search for a spiritual path is born out of suffering. It does not start with lights and ecstasy, but with the hard tacks of pain, disappointment, and confusion. However, for suffering to give birth to a genuine spiritual search, it must amount to more than something passively received from without. It has to trigger an inner realization, a perception which pierces through the facile complacency of our usual encounter with the world to glimpse the insecurity perpetually gaping underfoot. When this insight dawns, even if only momentarily, it can precipitate a profound personal crisis. It overturns accustomed goals and values, mocks our routine preoccupations, leaves old enjoyments stubbornly unsatisfying.”—-Bikkhu Bodhi

So that accounts for the first noble truth, and the fourth noble truth arises as a result of the second and third. Therefore these are the two important ones for examination, that suffering is due to clinging to the conditioned element, and that suffering is removed by abandoning clinging. These are verified by investigating the results of actions, both mental and physical, as the Buddha-to-be did through insight, recorded in MN 19:

Second noble truth:

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with sensuality (ill-will, harmfulness) arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with sensuality has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.’”


Third noble truth:

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with renunciation arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with renunciation has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding.”

The Buddha experienced the three noble truths before formulating the noble eightfold path, and in fact most of the links of the N8P can be found in emergent form in MN 19. Who can see them?


Right thought is the basis of the sutta. The elements of right thought, renunciation, non-ill will, and harmlessness are the motivations on which right speech, right action, and right livelihood are founded, so they are its material expression. Mindfulness, right effort, and concentration are mentioned. Superior right view is simply the understanding of the noble truths.

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