Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Dialogues of the Buddha
The Soul Theory
Translated from the Pali by T.W. Rhys Davids
Originally published under the patronage of
His Majesty King Chulālankarana,
King of Siam
by The Pali Text Society, Oxford
This Sutta, beginning with a discussion on the mystery of trance, passes over, by a natural transition, or association of ideas, to the question of soul. For trance (as is pointed out by Poṭṭhapāda in § 6) had been explained by adherents of the soul theory as produced by the supposed fact of a 'soul' having gone away out of the body.
As is well known, this hypothesis of a soul inside the body has been adopted, and no doubt quite independently, among so many different peoples in all parts of the world that it may fairly be described as almost universal. It is even by no means certain that it has not been quite universal; in which case its adoption is probably a necessary result of the methods of thought possible to men in early times. But it is, unfortunately, very easy for us, who now no longer use the word 'soul' exclusively in its original sense, to misunderstand the ancient view, and to import into it modern conceptions. The oldest and simplest form of the hypothesis was frankly materialistic. The notion was that of a double shadowy, no doubt, and impalpable but still a physical double of the physical body; and made up, like the body, of the four elements.
When the 'soul' was away the body lay still, without moving, apparently without life, in trance. or disease, or sleep. When the 'soul' came back, motion began again, and life. Endless were the corollaries of a theory which, however devoid of the essential marks of a sound scientific hypothesis, underlies every variety of early speculation in India, as elsewhere.
Long before the date of the earliest records of Indian belief this theory, among the ancestors of the men to whom we owe those records, had gone through a whole course of development of which the Vedas show us only the results. They take the theory so completely for granted that the details of it, as they held it, are nowhere set out in full, or in any detail. The hypothesis having been handed down from time immemorial, and being accepted by all, it was considered amply sufficient to refer to it in vague and indirect phraseology. And the stage which the theory had reached before the time when our Sutta was composed can only be pieced together imperfectly from incidental references in the Upanishads.
I have collected these references together in the article already referred to (J.R.A.S., 1899), and need here only state the result. This is that the Upanishads show how the whole theory of the priests, as there set out, is throughout based on this old theory of a soul inside the body. The numerous details are full of inconsistencies, more especially on the point, so important to theologians, as to what happens to the soul after it flies away from the body. But not one of these inconsistent views leaves for a moment the basis of the soul theory. That is always taken for granted. And the different views set out in these priestly manuals by no means exhaust the list of speculations about the soul that must have been current in India when Buddhism arose, and when our Sutta was composed. There were almost certainly other views, allied to one or other of the thirty-two theories controverted above (pp. 44, 45), A careful search would no doubt reveal passages, even in the later priestly literature itself, acknowledging views which do not happen to be referred to in the Upanishads, but which bear the stamp of great antiquity such passages as Mahābhārata XII, 11704, where we are told that if the soul, in departing from the body goes out by way of the knees, it will go to the Sādhyas.
However, that may be, it is certain that all the religions, and all the philosophies, the existing records show to have existed in India, in the time when Buddhism arose, are based on this belief in a subtle but material 'soul' inside the body, and in shape like the body. It would scarcely be going too far to say that all religions, and all philosophies, then existing in the world. were based upon it. Buddhism stands alone among the religions of India in ignoring the soul. The vigour and originality of this new departure are evident from the complete isolation in which Buddhism stands, in this respect, from all other religious systems then existing in the world. And the very great difficulty which those European writers, who are still steeped in animistic preconceptions, find in appreciating, or even understanding the doctrine, may help us to realise how difficult it must have been for the originator of it to take so decisive and so far-reaching a step in religion and philosophy, at so early a period in the history of human thought.
Nearly a quarter of a century ago I put this in the forefront of my first exposition of Buddhism. The publication, since then, of numerous texts has shown how the early Buddhist writers had previously followed precisely the same method. They reserve, as is only natural, the enthusiasm of their poetry and eloquence for the positive side of their doctrine, for Arahatship. But the doctrine of the impermanence of each and every condition, physical or mental; the absence of any abiding principle, any entity, any substance, any 'soul' (aniccatā, nissattatā, nijjīvatā, anattalakkhaṇatā, na h'ettha sassato bhāvo attā vā upalabbhati) is treated, from the numerous points of view from which it can be approached, in as many different Suttas.
For the most part, one point only is dealt with in each text. In our Sutta it is, in the first place, the gradual change of mental conditions, of states of consciousness: and then, secondly, the point that personality, individuality (attapaṭilābho) is only a convenient expression in common use in the world, and therefore made use of also by the Tathāgata, but only in such a manner that he is not led astray by its ambiguity, by its apparent implication of some permanent entity.
The Soul Theory
[ati] THUS HAVE I HEARD. The Exalted One was once staying at Sāvatthi in Anātha Piṇḍika's pleasaunce in the Jeta Wood. Now at that time Poṭṭhapāda, the wandering mendicant, was dwelling at the hall put up in Queen Mallikā's Park for the discussion of systems of opinion-the hall set round with a row of Tinduka trees, and known by the name of 'The Hall' And there was with him a great following of mendicants; to wit, three hundred mendicants.
2 Now the Exalted One, who had put on his under garment in the early morning, proceeded in his robes, and with his bowl in his hand, into Sāvatthi for alms.
 And he thought: 'It is too early now to enter Sāvatthi for alms. Let me go to the Hall, the debating hall in the Mallikā Park, where Poṭṭhapāda is.' And he did so.
3. Now at that time Poṭṭhapāda was seated with the company of the mendicants all talking with loud voices, with shouts and tumult, all sorts of worldly talk: to wit, tales of kings, of robbers, of ministers of state; tales of war, of terrors, of battles; talks about foods and drinks, about clothes and beds and garlands and perfumes; talks about relationships; talks about equipages, villages, towns, cities, and countries; tales about women and heroes; gossip such as that at street corners, and places whence water is fetched; ghost stories ; desultory chatter ; legends about the creation of the land or sea; and speculations about existence and non-existence.
 4. And Poṭṭhapāda, the mendicant, caught sight of the Exalted One approaching in the distance. And at the sight of him he called the assembly to order, saying: 'Be still, venerable Sirs, and make no noise. Here is the Samaṇa Gotama coming. Now that venerable one delights in quiet, and speaks in praise of quietude. How well it were if, seeing how quiet the assembly is, he should see fit to join us!' And when he spake thus, the mendicants kept silence.
5. Now the Exalted One came on to where Poṭṭhapāda, the mendicant was. And the latter said to him:
'May the Exalted One come near. We bid him welcome. It is long since the Exalted One took the departure of coming our way. Let him take a seat. Here is a place spread ready.'
And the Exalted One sat down. And Poṭṭhapāda, the mendicant, brought a low stool, and sat down beside him. And to him thus seated the Exalted One said:
 'What was the subject, Poṭṭhapāda, that you were seated here together to discuss; and what was the talk among you that has been interrupted?'
6. And when he had thus spoken, Poṭṭhapāda said: 'Never mind, Sir, the subject we were seated together to discuss. There will be no difficulty in the Exalted One hearing afterwards about that. But long ago, Sir, on several occasions, when various teachers, Samaṇas and Brahmans, had met together, and were seated in the debating hall, the talk fell on trance, and the question was: " How then, Sirs, is the cessation of consciousness brought about?"
'Now on that some said thus: "Ideas come to a man without a reason and without a cause, and so also do they pass away. At the time when they spring up within him, then he becomes conscious; when they pass away, then he becomes unconscious." Thus did they explain the cessation of consciousness.
'On that another said: "That, Sirs, will never be so as you say. Consciousness, Sirs, is a man's soul. It is the soul that comes and goes. When the soul comes into a man then he becomes conscious, when the soul goes away out of a man then he becomes unconscious." Thus do others explain the cessation of consciousness.
'On that another said: "That, Sirs, will never be as you say. But there are certain Samaṇas and Brahmans of great power and influence. It is they who infuse consciousness into a man, and draw it away out of him. When they infuse it into him he becomes conscious, when they draw it away he becomes unconscious." Thus do others explain the cessation of consciousness.
 'Then, Sir, the memory of the Exalted One arose in me, and I thought: "Would that the Exalted One, would that the Happy One were here, he who is so skilled in these psychical states."For the Exalted One would know how trance is brought about. How, then, Sir, is there cessation of consciousness?'
7. 'Well, as to that, Poṭṭhapāda, those Samaṇas and Brahmans who said that ideas come to a man and pass away without a reason, and without a cause, are wrong from the very commencement. For it is precisely through a reason, by means of a cause, that ideas come and go.  By training some ideas arise. By training others pass away.
'And what is that training?' continued the Exalted One. '
[He then sets out the first Part of the system of self training, for the Bhikkhu, as translated above, pp. 78-84, from the Sāmañña-phala, as follows:--
1. The introductory paragraphs on the appearance of a Buddha, his preaching, the conviction of a hearer and his renunciation of the world.
2. The tract on the Sīlas, the minor details of mere morality.
3. The paragraphs on Confidence.
4. The paragraphs on 'Guarded is the door of his senses.'
5. The paragraphs on 'Mindful and Self-possessed.'
6. The paragraphs on Solitude.
7. The paragraphs on the conquest of the Five Hindrances.
And goes on:]
 10. 'But when he has realised that these Five Hindrances have been put away from within him, a gladness springs up within him, and joy arises to him thus gladdened, and so rejoicing all his frame  becomes at ease, and being thus at ease he is filled with a sense of peace, and in that peace his heart is stayed. Then estranged from lusts, aloof from evil dispositions, he enters into and remains in the First Rapture (the First Jhāna) a state of joy and case born of detachment, reasoning and investigation going on the while. Then that idea, (that consciousness), of lusts, that he had before, passes away. And thereupon there arises within him a subtle, but actual, consciousness of the joy and peace arising from detachment, and he becomes a person to whom that idea is consciously present.
Thus is it that through training one idea, one sort of consciousness, arises; and through training another passes away. This is the training I spoke of,' said the, Exalted One.
11. 'And again, Poṭṭhapāda, the Bhikkhu, suppressing all reasoning and investigation, enters into and abides in the, Second Rapture (the Second Jhāna) a state of joy and case, born of the serenity of concentration, when no reasoning or investigation goes on, a state of elevation of mind, a tranquillisation of the heart within. Then that subtle, but actual, consciousness of the joy and peace arising from detachment, that he just had, passes away. And thereupon there arises a subtle, but actual, consciousness of the joy and peace born of concentration. And he becomes a person conscious of that.
 'Thus also is it that through training- one idea, one sort of consciousness, arises; and through training another passes away. This is the training I spoke of,' said the Exalted One.
12. 'And again, Poṭṭhapāda, the Bhikkhu, holding aloof from joy, becomes equable; and, mindful and self possessed, he experiences in his body that ease which the Arahats talk of when they say: "The man serene and self-possessed is well at case." And so he enters  into and abides in the Third Rapture (the Third Jhāna). Then that subtle, but yet actual, consciousness, that he just had, of the joy and peace born of concentration, passes away. And thereupon there arises a subtle, but yet actual, consciousness of the bliss of equanimity. And he becomes a person conscious of that.
'Thus also is it that through training one idea, one sort of consciousness, arises; and through training another passes away. This is the training I spoke of,' said the Exalted One.
13. 'And again, Poṭṭhapāda, the Bhikkhu, by the putting away alike of ease and of pain, by the passing away of any joy, any elation, he had previously felt, enters into and abides in the Fourth Rapture (the Fourth Jhāna) a state of pure self-possession and equanimity, without pain and without case. Then that subtle, but yet actual, consciousness, that he just had, of the bliss of equanimity, passes away. And thereupon there arises to him a subtle, but yet actual, consciousness of the absence of pain, and of the absence of ease. And he becomes a person conscious of that.
'Thus also is it that through training one idea, one sort of consciousness, arises; and through training another passes away. This is the training I spoke of,' said the Exalted One.
14. 'And. again, Poṭṭhapāda, the Bhikkhu, by passing beyond the consciousness of form, by putting an end to the sense of resistance, by paying no heed to the idea of distinction, thinking: "The space is infinite," reaches up to and remains in the mental state in which  the mind is concerned only with the consciousness of the infinity of space. Then the consciousness, that he previously had, of form passes away, and there arises in him the blissful consciousness, subtle but yet actual, of his being concerned only with the infinity of space. And he becomes a person conscious of that.
'Thus also is it that through training one idea, one sort of consciousness, arises; and through training another passes away. This is the training I spoke of,' said the Exalted One.
 15. 'And again, Poṭṭhapāda, the Bhikkhu, by passing quite beyond the consciousness of space as infinite, thinking: "Cognition is infinite," reaches up to and remains in the mental state in which the mind is concerned only with the infinity of cognition. Then the subtle, but yet actual., consciousness, that he just had, of the infinity of space, passes away. And there arises in him a consciousness, subtle but yet actual, of everything being within the sphere of the infinity of cognition. And he becomes a person conscious of that.
16. 'And again, Poṭṭhapāda, the Bhikkhu, by passing quite beyond the consciousness of the infinity of cognition, thinking: " There is nothing that really is," reaches up to and remains in the mental state in which the mind is concerned only with the unreality of things. Then that sense. of everything being within the sphere of infinite cognition, that he just had, passes away. And there arises in him a consciousness, subtle but yet actual, of unreality as the object of his thought. And he becomes a person conscious of that.
 'Thus also is it that through training one idea, one sort of consciousness, arises; and through training another passes away. This is the training I spoke of,' said the Exalted One.
17. 'So from the time, Poṭṭhapāda, that the Bhikkhu is thus conscious in a way brought about by himself (from the time of the First Rapture), he goes on from one stage to the next, and from that to the next until he reaches the summit of consciousness. And when he is on the summit it may occur to him: " To be thinking at all is the inferior state. 'Twere better not to be thinking. Were I to go on thinking and fancying, these ideas, these states of consciousness, I have reached to, would pass away, but others, coarser ones, might arise. So I will neither think nor fancy any more." And he does not. And to him neither thinking any more, nor fancying, the ideas, the states of consciousness, he had, pass away; and no others, coarser than they, arise. So he falls into trance. Thus is it, Poṭṭhapāda, that the attainment of the cessation of conscious ideas takes place step by step.
18. 'Now what do you think, Poṭṭhapāda? Have you ever heard, before this, of this gradual attainment of the cessation of conscious ideas?'
'No, Sir, I have not. But I now understand what you say as follows: [and he repeated the words of section 17]'
'That is right, Poṭṭhapāda.'
 19. 'And does the Exalted One teach that there is one summit of consciousness, or that there are several?'
 'In my opinion, Poṭṭhapāda, there is one, and there are also several.'
'But how can the Exalted teach that there both is one, and that there are also several?'
'As he attains to the cessation (of one idea, one state of consciousness) after another, so does he reach, one after another, to different summits up to the last. So is it, Poṭṭhapāda, that I put forward both one summit and several.'
20. 'Now is it, Sir, the idea, the state of consciousness, that arises' first, and then knowledge; or does knowledge arise first, and then the idea, the state' of consciousness; or do both arise simultaneously, neither of them before or after the other?'
'It is the idea, Poṭṭhapāda, the state of consciousness, that arises first, and after that knowledge. And the springing up of knowledge is dependent on the springing up of the idea, of the state of consciousness. And this may be understood from the fact that a man recognises: "It is from this cause or that that knowledge has arisen to me."'
21. 'Is then, Sir, the consciousness identical with a man's soul, or is consciousness one thing, and the soul another?
'But what then, Poṭṭhapāda? Do you really fall back on the soul?'
'And if there were such a soul, Poṭṭhapāda, then, even so, your consciousness would be one thing, and your soul another. That, Poṭṭhapāda, you may know by the following considerations. Granting, Poṭṭhapāda, a material soul, having form, built up of the four elements, nourished by solid food; still some ideas, some states of consciousness, would arise to the man, and others would pass away. On this account also, Poṭṭhapāda, you can see how consciousness must be one thing, and soul another.'
22. 'Then, Sir, I fall back on a soul made of mind, with all its major and minor parts complete, not deficient in any organ.'
And granting, Poṭṭhapāda, you had such a soul, the same argument would apply.'
 23. 'Then, Sir, I fall back on a soul without form, and made of consciousness.'
'And granting, Poṭṭhapāda, you had such a soul, still the same argument would apply.'
 24. 'But is it possible, Sir, for me to understand whether consciousness is the man's soul, or the one is, different from the other?'
'Hard is it for you, Poṭṭhapāda, holding, as you do, different views, other things approving themselves to you, setting different aims before yourself, striving, after a different perfection, trained in a different system of doctrine, to grasp this matter!'
25-27. 'Then, Sir, if that be so, tell me at least: "Is the world eternal? Is this alone the truth, and any other view mere folly?"'
'That, Poṭṭhapāda, is a matter on which I have expressed no opinion.'
[Then, in the same terms, Poṭṭhapāda asked each of the following questions:--
2. Is the world not eternal?
3. Is the world finite?
4. Is the world infinite?
5.  Is the soul the same as the body?
6. Is the soul one thing, and the body another?
7. Does one who has gained the truth live again after death?
8. Does he not live again after death?
9. Does he both live again, and not live again, after death?
10. Does he neither live again, nor not live again, after death?
And to each question the Exalted One made the same reply:--]
'That too, Poṭṭhapāda, is a matter on which I have expressed no opinion.'
28. 'But why has the Exalted One expressed no opinion on that?'
'This question is not calculated to profit, it is not  concerned with the Norm (the Dhamma), it does not redound even to the elements of right conduct, nor to detachment, nor to purification from lusts, nor to quietude, nor to tranquillisation of heart, nor to real knowledge, nor to the insight (of the higher stages of the Path), nor to Nirvāṇa. Therefore is it that I express no opinion upon. it.'
 29. 'Then what is it that the Exalted One has determined?'
'I have expounded, Poṭṭhapāda, what pain is; I have expounded what is the origin of pain; I have expounded what is the cessation of pain; I have expounded what is the method by which one may reach the cessation of pain.'
30. 'And why has the Exalted One put forth a statement as to that?'
Because that question, Poṭṭhapāda, is calculated to profit, is concerned with the Norm, redounds to the beginnings of right conduct, to detachment, to purification from lusts, to quietude, to tranquillisation of heart, to real knowledge, to the insight of the higher stages of the Path, and to Nirvāṇa. Therefore is it, Poṭṭhapāda, that I have put forward a statement as to that.'
'That is so, O Exalted One. That is so, O Happy One. And now let the Exalted One do what seemeth to him fit.'
And the Exalted One rose from his seat, and departed thence.
31. Now no sooner had the Exalted One gone away than those mendicants bore down upon Poṭṭhapāda, the mendicant, from all sides with a torrent of jeering and biting words, saying: 'Just so forsooth, this Poṭṭhapāda gives vent to approval of whatsoever the Samaṇa  Gotama says, with his: " That is so, O Exalted One. That is so, O Happy One." Now we, on the other hand, fail to see that the Samaṇa Gotama has put forward any doctrine that is distinct with regard to any one of the ten points raised.' And they went through them all in detail.
 But when they spake thus Poṭṭhapāda, the mendicant, replied: 'Neither do I see that he puts forward, as certain, any proposition with respect to those points. But the Samaṇa Gotama propounds a method in accordance with the nature of things, true and fit, based on the Norm, and certain by reason of the Norm. And how could I refuse to approve, as well said, what has been so well said by the Samaṇa Gotama as he propounded that?'
32. Now after the lapse of two or three days Citta, the son of the elephant trainer, and Poṭṭhapāda, the mendicant, came to the place where the Exalted One was, staying. And on their arrival Citta,, the son of the elephant trainer, bowed low to the Exalted One, and took his scat on one side. And Poṭṭhapāda, the mendicant, exchanged with the Exalted One the greetings and compliments of courtesy and friendship, and took his seat on one side, and when he was so seated he told the Exalted One how the mendicants had jeered at him, and how he had replied.
 33. 'All those mendicants, Poṭṭhapāda, are blind, and see not. You are the only one, with eyes to see, among them. Some things, Poṭṭhapāda, I have laid down as, certain, other things I have declared un-  certain. The latter are those ten questions that you raised, and for the reasons given I hold them matters of uncertainty. The former are the Four Truths I expounded, and for the reasons given I hold them to be matters of certainty.
 34. 'There are some Samaṇas and Brahmans Poṭṭhapāda, who hold the following opinion, indulge in the following speculation: " The soul is perfectly happy and healthy after death." And I went to them, and asked them whether that was their view or not. And they acknowledged that it was. And I asked them whether, so far as they were in the habit of knowing or perceiving it, the world (that is, the people in the world) was perfectly happy, and they answered: "No."
'Then I asked them: "Or further, Sirs, can you maintain that you yourselves for a whole night, or for a whole day, or even for half a night or day, have ever been perfectly happy?" And they answered:" No."
'Then I said to them: "Or further, Sirs, do you know a way, or a method, by which you can realise a state that is altogether happy?" And still to that question they answered: "No."
'And then I said: "Or have you, Sirs, ever heard the voices of gods who had realised rebirth in a perfectly happy world, saying: 'Be earnest, O men, and direct in effort, towards the realisation of (rebirth in) a world of perfect happiness. For we, in consequence of similar effort, have been reborn in such a world."' And still they answered: "No."
'Now what think you as to that, Poṭṭhapāda? That being so, does not the talk of those Samaṇas and Brahmans turn out to be without good ground?
'And people should ask him: " Well! good friend! this most beautiful woman in the land, whom you so love and long for, do you know whether that beautiful woman is a noble lady, or of priestly rank, or of the trader class, or of menial birth?"
'And when so asked, he should answer: "No."
'And people should ask him: " Well! good friend! This most beautiful woman in the land, whom you so love and long for, do you know what her name is, or her family name, or whether she be tall, or short, or of medium height; whether she be dark or brunette or golden in colour; or in what village, or town, or city she dwells?
'And when so asked, he should answer: "No."
'And people should say to him: "So then, good friend, whom you know not, neither have seen, her do you love and long for?
'And when so asked, he should answer: "Yes."
'Now what think you of that, Poṭṭhapāda?
Would it not turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was witless talk?'
  36, 37. 'Then just so also, Poṭṭhapāda, with the Samaṇas and Brahmans who talk about the soul being perfectly happy and healthy after death. It is just, Poṭṭhapāda, as if a man were to put up a staircase in a place where four cross roads meet, to mount up thereby on to the upper storey of a mansion. And people should say to him: " Well! good friend! this mansion, to mount up into which you are making this staircase, do you know whether it is in the East, or in the West, or in the South, or in the North? whether it is high, or low, or of medium size?
"And when so asked, he should answer: "No."
'And people should say to him. "But then, good friend, you are making a staircase to mount up into a mansion you know not of, neither have seen!
'And when so asked, he should answer: "Yes."
'Now what think you of that, Poṭṭhapāda? Would it not turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was witless talk
'For a truth, Sir, that being so, his talk would turn out to be witless talk.'
38. '[Then surely just so, Poṭṭhapāda, with those Samaṇas and Brahmans who postulate a soul happy and healthy after death. For they acknowledge that they know no such state in this world now. They acknowledge that they cannot say their own souls have been happy here even for half a day. And they acknowledge that they know no way, no method, of ensuring such a result.] Now what think you of that, Poṭṭhapāda. That being so, does not their talk, too, turn out to be without good ground?'
 'For a truth, Sir, that being so, their talk would turn out to be without good ground.
39. 'The following three modes of personality, are common Poṭṭhapāda, (are commonly acknowledged in the world): material, immaterial, and formless. The  first has form, is made up of the four elements, and is nourished by solid food. The second has no form, is made up of mind, has all its greater and lesser limbs complete, and all the organs perfect. The third is without form, and is made up of consciousness only.
40-42. 'Now I teach a doctrine, Poṭṭhapāda, with respect to each of these, that leads to the putting off of that personality; so that,. if you walk according to that doctrine, the evil dispositions one has acquired may be put away; the dispositions which tend to purification may increase; and one may continue to see face-to-face, and by himself come to realise, the full perfection and grandeur of wisdom.
 'Now it may well be, Poṭṭhapāda, that you think Evil dispositions may be put away, the dis-  positions that, tend to purification may increase, one may continue to see face-to-face, and by himself come to realise, the full perfection and grandeur of wisdom, but one may continue sad." Now that, Poṭṭhapāda, would not be accurate judgement. When such conditions are fulfilled, then there will be joy, and happiness, and peace, and in continual mindfulness and self. mastery, one will dwell at ease.
 43-45. 'And outsiders, Poṭṭhapāda, might question, us thus: "What then, Sir, is that material (or that mental, or, that formless) mode of personality for the putting away of which you preach such a doctrine as will lead him who walks according to it to get free from the evil dispositions he has acquired, to increase in the dispositions that tend to purification, so that he may continue to see face-to-face, and by himself come to realise, the full perfection and grandeur of wisdom.? "And to that I should reply (describing it in the words I have now used to you). "Why this very personality that you see before you is what I mean."
 'Now what think you of that, Poṭṭhapāda. That being so, would not the talk turn out to be well grounded?'
'For a truth, Sir, it would.'
46. 'Just, Poṭṭhapāda, as if a man should construct a staircase, to mount up into the upper storey of a palace, at the foot of the very palace itself. And men should say to him:
'"Well! good friend! that palace, to mount up into which you are constructing this staircase, do you know whether it is in the East, or in the West, or in the  South, or in the North? whether it is high or low or of medium size?
'And when so asked, he should answer: "Why! here is the very palace itself ! It is at the very foot of it I am constructing my staircase with the object of mounting up into it."
'What would you think, Poṭṭhapāda, of that? Would not his talk, that being so, turn out to be well grounded?'
'For a truth, Sir it would.'
48. Now when he had thus spoken, Citta, the son of the elephant trainer, said to the Exalted One:
'At that time, Sir, when a man is in possession of any one of the three modes of personality, are the other two unreal to him then ? Is it only the one he has that is real?
49. At the time, Citta, when any one of the three modes of personality is going on, then it does not come under the category of either of the other two. It is known only by the name of the mode going on.
 'If people should ask you, Citta, thus: "Were you in the past, or not? Will you be in the future, or not? Are you now, or not ?" How would you answer?
I should say that I was in the past, and not not; that I shall be in the future, and not not; that I am now, and not not.'
50. 'Then if they rejoined : Well! that past personality that you had, is that real to you; and the future personality, and the present, unreal? The future personality that you will have, is that real to you; and the past personality, and the present, unreal? The personality that you have now, in the present, is that real to you; and the past personality, and the future, unreal?" How would you answer?'
 'I should say that the past personality that I had was real to me at the time when I had it; and the others unreal. And so also in the other two cases.'
51. 'Well! Just so, Citta, when any one of the three modes of personality is going on, then it does not come under the category of either of the other two.
52. 'Just, Citta, as from a cow comes milk, and from the milk curds, and from the curds butter, and from the butter ghee, and from the ghee junket; but when it is milk it is not called curds, or butter, or, or junket ; and when it is curds it is not called by any of the other names; and so on --
 53. 'Just so, Citta, when any one of the three modes of personality is going on, it is not called by the name of the other. For these, Citta, are merely names, expressions turns of speech, designations in common use in the world. And of these a Tathāgata (one who has won the truth) makes use indeed, but is not led astray by them.'
54. And when he had thus spoken, Poṭṭhapāda, the mendicant, said to the Exalted One:
' Most excellent, Sir, are the words of thy mouth; most 'excellent! just as if a man were to set up that which has been thrown down, or were to reveal that which has been hidden away, or were to point out the right road to him who has gone astray, or were to bring a light into the darkness so that those who had eyes could see external forms, - just even so has the truth  been made known, in many a figure, by the Exalted One. And I, Sir, betake myself to the Exalted One as my guide, to his Doctrine, and to his Order. May the Exalted One accept me as an adherent; as one who, from this day forth as long as life endures, has taken him as his guide.'
55. But Citta, the son of the elephant trainer, though he made use of the same words, concluded with the request: 'And may I be permitted to go forth from the world under the Exalted One; may I receive admission into his Order.' 
56. And his request was granted, and he. 'was received into the Order. And from immediately after his initiation Citta, the son of the elephant trainer, remained alone and separate, earnest, zealous, and resolved. And e'er long he attained to that supreme goal of the higher life for the sake of which the clansmen go forth utterly from the household life to become houseless wanderers yea! that supreme goal did he, by himself, and while yet in this visible world, bring himself to the knowledge of, and continue to realise, and to see face-to-face! And he became conscious that rebirth was at an end; that the higher life had been fulfilled; that all that should be done had been accomplished; and that, after this present life, there would be no beyond!
So the venerable Citta, the son of the elephant trainer, became yet another among the Arahats.
HERE ENDS THE POṬṬHAPĀDA SUTTANTA
 See above, p. 189.
 For souls inside animals, see Rig-veda I,163, 6; for souls inside plants, Atharva-veda V, 5, 7.
 See the authorities quoted in my 'American Lectures,' pp. 64, 65.
 This, for the reasons given above at p. 195, is probably a gotta name; and, as such, a patronymic from the personal name, also Poṭṭhapāda, meaning 'born under Poṭṭhapāda (the old name for the 25th lunar asterism, afterwards called Bhadrapadā). Buddhaghosa says that as a layman he had been a wealthy man of the Brahman Vaṇṇa. If so, it is noteworthy that he addresses the Buddha, not as Gotama, but as bhante.
 The very fact of the erection of such a place is another proof of the freedom of thought prevalent in the Eastern valley of the Ganges in the sixth century B. C. Buddhaghosa tells us that after 'The Hall' had been established, others near it had been built in honour of various famous teachers; but the group of buildings continued to be known as 'The Hall.' There Brahmans, Nigaṇṭhas, Acelas, Paribbājakas, and other teachers met and expounded, or discussed, their views.
It is mentioned elsewhere. See M. II, 22 ; Sum. I, 32.
Mallikā was one of the queens of Pasenadi, king of Kosala. See Jāt. III, 405; IV, 437.
 §§ 2-6 recur, nearly, at M. I, 513; II, I, 2 S. IV, 398.
 For notes on this list, see above, p. 14, § 17.
 Idhāgamanāya pariyāyaɱ akāsi. SO M. I, 252, 326, 481, 514, etc. Perhaps 'since you made this change in your regular habits.'
 Abhisaññā-nirodho, 'the cessation of consciousness.'
 Buddhaghosa explains that they came to this conclusion on the ground of such instances as that of the Rishi Migasingī, who, through love of the celestial nymph Alambusā, fell into a trance that lasted for three years. This must be a different tale from that of the Rishi Isisinga of Jātaka No. 523, whom Alambusā tries in vain to seduce. Compare Vimāna Vatthu XVIII, 11 ; L, 2 6.
 Buddhaghosa explains that the ground for this view is the way in which sorcerers work charms (Athabbanikā athabbanaɱ payogenti perhaps 'Atharva priests work out an Atharva charm') which make a man appear as dead as if his head had been cut off; and then bring him back to his natural condition.
 Saññā-nirodhassa pakataññū. So Buddhaghosa. Compare Vin. II, 199.
 Saññā which is used in a sense covering both 'idea' and 'consciousness.' Ekā'saññā is therefore rendered below, in the refrain, one idea, one sort of consciousness.'
 Sukha and dukkha. Well-fare and ill-fare, well-being and ill-being, ease and dis-ease, uneasiness, discomfort. 'Pain' is both too strong a word, and has too frequently an exclusively physical sense, to be a good rendering of dukkha. It is unfortunate that dis-ease has acquired a special connotation which prevents the word being used here; and that we have no pair of correlative words corresponding to those in the Pāli. For pain we have vedanā often (M. I, 10; M. P. S., chapters 2 and 4; Mil. 134), and sometimes dukkha-vedanā (Mil. 112).
 Viññāṇa; the exact translation of this word is still uncertain. Perhaps 'mind,' is meant.
 On these last three sections, which set out the fourth, fifth, and sixth stages of Deliverance (the Vimokkhas), see my former translation at p. 52 of my 'Buddhist Suttas' (S. B. E.) and the notes on pp. 50, 51. These stages are almost exactly the same as the views controverted above at pp. 47, 48. And the doctrine of the sixth Vimokkha, as we see from M. I, 164, formed part of the teaching of Gotama's teacher, ālāra Kālāma.
 Abhisaɱkhareyyaɱ, perhaps 'perfecting' or 'planning out.'
 The foregoing discussion on trance is the earliest one on that subject in Indian literature. Trance is not mentioned in the pre-Buddhistic Upanishads.
 Ñāṇa depends on saññā; that is, I take it, that the mass of knowledge a man has, his insight, his power of judgement, depends on the ideas, the states of consciousness (here, in this connection, those that arise in the Jhānas, etc.) that are 'themselves due to the action on his sense organs of the outside world; but are in so far under his own control that he can shut out some, and give play to others.
 Buddhaghosa says that as a village pig, even if you bathe it in scented water, and anoint it with perfumes, and deck it with garlands, and lay it to rest on the best bed, will not feel happy there, but will go straight back to the dung-heap to take its ease; so Poṭṭhapāda, having tasted the sweet taste of the doctrine of the Three Signs (of the impermanence, the pain, and the absence of any abiding principle) found in everything, harks back to the superstition of the 'soul.'
 Paccemi. This is another of the words the exact sense of which, in Piṭaka times, is still doubtful. It means primarily 'to go back towards, to revert,' and is so used in the Piṭakas. So in G. V, 196 and in S N. 662 (quoted as verse 125 in the Dhammapada, and recurring also G. III, 203; S. I, 13, 164). But somewhat in the same way as to go back home is to go to a place of security ; so in a secondary sense, of opinions or reasons, it means apparently to revert to them, fall back on them, harp on them, with the connotation of regarding them as certain. At S. N. 803 it can be taken either way. At S. N. 788, 803, 840 = 908 ; M. I, 309, 445, and in the question and answer here, the latter seems to be the sense.
 Buddhaghosa says this was not his real opinion. He held to that set. out below in § 23. But he advances this, more elementary, proposition, just to see how the Buddha would meet it. It is nearly the same as the first of the seven propositions about the soul controverted in the Brahma-jāla (above, PP. 46-48).
 This sort of soul is nearly the same as the one referred to above, the Brahma-jāla (§ 12, p. 47); and in the Sāmañña-phala (§ 85, p.87). It is a soul the exact copy, in every respect, of the body, and material, but so subtle that it can be described as 'made of mind.'
 The text repeats the answer given in § 21, with the necessary alterations. The supposition in § 23 is quoted at Asl. 360. The argument is of course that, even if Poṭṭhapāda had any one of these three sorts of soul, then he would regard each of them, in the given case, as a permanent entity. But the consciousness is not an entity. It is a 'becoming' only; subject, as he must (and would) admit, to constant chance. On his own showing then, it is not 'soul.'
 On these Ten Indeterminates see above, in the Introduction to the Mahāli Sutta.
 Dukkha. See the note above on § 13.
 These are the Four Truths, set out more fully in my 'Buddhist Suttas' (S. B. E.), pp. 148-150.
 Vācāya sannitodakena sañjambhariɱ akaɱsu. So also at S. II, 282 and A. I, 187. Probably from the roots tud and jambh.
 There are seven or eight Cittas in the books, one of whom, a layman, was placed by the Buddha at the head of the expounders of the Norm. The Citta of our passage was famous for the fact that he joined the Buddha's Order, and then, on one pretext or another, left it again, no less than seven times. (The same thing is related by I-Tsing of Bhart.r.ihari.) He prided himself on his keenness in distinguishing subtle differences in the meanings of words And his last revolt was owing to a discussion of that sort he had had with Mahā Koṭṭhita. He took refuge with his friend Poṭṭhapāda, who, says Buddhaghosa, brought him along with him, on this occasion, with the express purpose of bringing. about a reconciliation.
 Compare above, pp. 44-47.
 Buddhaghosa takes janaɱ passaɱ as plurals.
 Appāṭihīrakataɱ. Buddhaghosa explains this as 'witless' (paṭibhāna-virahitaɱ). It is the contrary of sappāṭihīrakataɱ which he explains (on § 45 below) by sappaṭiviharaṇaɱ. Perhaps the meaning of the two words is 'apposite' and 'not apposite' (compare B. R. on pratiharaṇa).
There is a closely-allied expression at M. P. 8., pp. 26, 32, where the talk is of disciples who, when a discussion on a wrong opinion has arisen, know how to refute it according to the doctrine (Dharma), and to preach, on the other hand, a doctrine that is sappāṭihāriyaɱ; that is, a doctrine which, in contradistinction to the heresy advanced, is the apposite explanation from the Buddhist point of view. The Pāli word for miracle comes from the same root (prati-har); but to render here 'unmiraculous' would make nonsense of the passage, and both my own and Windisch's rendering of the word in the M. P. S. ('Buddhist Suttas,' p. 43. Māra und Buddha,' p.71) must be also modified accordingly
On the form compare anuhīramāne, quoted at Sum. I, 61 from the Mahā-padhāna Suttanta (No. 14 in the Dīgha).
 This simile recurs. in the 'Tevijja Sutta (translated in my, Buddhist Suttas,' S. B. E., XI, 175) and in the Majjhima II, 33.
 Mangura-cchavī. Perhaps 'of sallow complexion.' Compare M. I, 246 where all these three words for complexion are used. Mangulī itthī at V. III, 107 = S. II, 260 is an allied form. In all these cases an unhealthy complexion is inferred. Here it must evidently be taken in a favourable sense.
 § 34 is here repeated in the text.
 § 34 repeated .
 O'āriko, manomayo, and arūpo atta-paṭilābho. Buddhaghosa here explains atta-paṭilābho by attabhāva-paṭilābho; and on attabhāva he says ( Asl. 308) that it is used for the body, or the five Skandhas, because the fool jumps to the conclusion: 'This is my soul.'
These three forms of personality correspond nearly to the planes, or divisions, into which the worlds are divided in the later Buddhist theory (1) the eleven kāmāvacara worlds, from purgatory below to the deva heavens above, both inclusive: (2) the rūpāvacara worlds,. which are the sixteen worlds of the Brahma gods, and are attained to by the practice of the Four Raptures (the Four Jhāna's): (3) the four arūpāvacara worlds, attained to by the practice of four of the Vimokkhas (Nos. 4-7).
It will be noticed that the lowest of these three planes includes all the forms of existence known in the West, from hell beneath to heaven above. And that the others are connected with the pre-Buddhistic idea of ecstatic meditation leading to special forms of re-existence.
But it is clear from § 58 below that the opinion here put forward is intended to represent, not any Buddhist theory, but a view commonly entertained in the world, such as Poṭṭhapāda himself would admit, and indeed has admitted (above, §§ 21-23). In either case, of course, these modes of existence would be, from the Buddhist point of view, purely temporary. They are the fleeting union of qualities that make up, for a time only, an unstable individuality.
 The whole paragraph is repeated for each of the three modes of personality.
 These saŋkilesikā, dhammā are identified by Buddhaghosa, with the twelve kāmāvacara-akusala-cittapādā of Dhamma Saɱgaṇi 365-430. But compare, contra, Dh. S. 1241 (where, of course, the word apariyāpannā must be struck out).
 Buddhaghosa explains these as 'tranquillity and insight.'
 In the words of §§ 39, 40; that is, that whatever the mode of existence, of temporary individuality, there is happiness obtainable., but only in one way, by getting rid, namely, of certain evil dispositions, and by the increase of certain good dispositions. Buddhaghosa thinks this is said in protest against those who, seeking for happiness beyond the grave, do not admit that happiness can he reached here (as above ' in f 34).
The above rendering of the elliptical phrase Ayaɱ vā so is confirmed by the simile in § 46.
 See above, § 37.
 §§ 42-45 repeated in full.
 Each of the three cases is given in full.
 The point is, of course, that just as there is no substratum in the products of the cow, so in man there is no ego, no constant unity, no 'soul' (in the animistic sense of the word, as used by savages). There are a number of qualities that, when united, make up a personality always changing. When the change has reached a certain point, it is convenient to change the designation, the name, by which the personality is known just as in the case of the products of the cow. But the abstract term is only a convenient form of expression. There never was any personality, as a separate entity, all the time.
The author of the Milinda (pp. 25, 27) has a precisely similar argument.
[Contents ] [Preface ] [#1. Brahma-gāla Suttanta: ] [#2. Sāmañña-phala Suttanta: ] [#3. The Ambaṭṭha Suttanta: ] [#4. The Soṇadaṇḍa Suttanta: ] [#5. The Kūṭadanta Suttanta: ] [#6. The Mahāli Suttanta: ] [#7. Gāliva Suttanta: ] [#8. Kassapa-Sīhanāda Suttanta: ] [#9. The Poṭṭhapāda Suttanta: ] [#10. Subha Suttanta: ] [#11. Kevaddha Suttanta: ] [#12. Lohikka Suttanta: ] [#13. Tevigga Suttanta: ]