What does 'atta' mean here?

What does ‘atta’ mean here? Views are what are not picked up or put down here. Does ‘atta’ mean they here? Or is this a case where ‘atta’ does not mean self or anything like it?

Snp 4.3
For one who is involved gets embroiled in disputes about teachings—
Upayo hi dhammesu upeti vādaṁ,
but how to dispute with the uninvolved? About what?
Anūpayaṁ kena kathaṁ vadeyya;
For picking up and putting down is not what they do;
Attā nirattā na hi tassa atthi,
they have shaken off all views in this very life.
Adhosi so diṭṭhimidheva sabbanti.

The ‘attā’ in the third line is not the ‘attā’ = ‘self’, but rather a past participle of ādadāti. The logical subject is ‘tassa’. Maybe literally, ‘indeed there is not for him (things which) have been taken up or rejected.’
Ven. Bodhi has for this line, “Nothing is taken up or rejected by him.”

The ‘so’ in the fourth line is singular [he]. adhosi is the aorist of dhunāti.

Ven. Ñāṇadīpa has for the 3&4th lines:

“Taking up or rejecting- such things are not for him.
He has shaken off all views here itself.”

There seems to be a word play involved in the third line with attā and nirattā and the more common sense of ‘attā’.


I think another place Buddha clearly say it in another way but almost same meaning. It can still be understood meaning the person doesn’t put away it’s personality or put on a new one. Kinda thought. It has to do with not going the extreme really.

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I see Ven. Bodhi has a note on this tricky passage.

Footnote 1804: “It is uncertain whether such a pun is intended by Sn itself. Atta (<ātta) is the past participle, masculine plural, of ādiyati, 'to take up,” and niratta the past participle of nirassati, “to reject, to cast away, to dismiss.” Hence the original sense of the line is" “For him there is nothing taken up or rejected.”

By a phonetic coincidence, atta is a homonym of the word meaning “self” (Skt ātmā) and niratta, as the negation of this, suggests the denial of self (along the lines of annihilationists who repudiated survival of death). Hence the commentaries read into the dichotomy of atta and niratta the contrast between affirmation of a self (the eternalist view) and the repudiation of a self (the annihilationist view)."