Neither Collaborate nor Resist
Eva.m vimutta-citto bhikkhu||
na kenaci sa'nvadati,||
na kenaci vivadati,||
ya~n ca loke vutta.m tena voharati aparaamasan.|| ||
Thus heart-freed, a beggar
does not comply with anyone
does not reply to anyone
and whatever is expressed in worldly terms is not siezed at.
This statement is made as a sort of summary to the discourse at [MN 74] where Dighanaka makes a statement of a point of view and hearing Gotama's response thinks that the Buddha has agreed with him.
The issues raised come up now and again. The Arahant does not agree with points of view that are expressed, nor does he negate them. This is expressed in other cases as 'neither collaborating with nor rebelling against'. He does not 'confront' in debate or in any other form of behavior. He sees things as they are, without intervening 'interpretation' and so when himself confronted by the expression of a viewpoint he does not respond directly, but responds with a statement of what he actually sees. And the corollary (in response to the challenge that by using terms such as "I" and "mine" in common speech he (the arahant) is expressing a point of view): In ordinary speech the Arahant uses the words 'I', 'My' etc., without attaching any idea of ownership.
I have translated sa'nvadati and vivadati (literally: co-say and re-say or un-say; agree (say along with) and retort or refute; Ms. Horner: 'concur' and 'dispute'; Nanamoli/Bodhi/Thanissaro: side-with and dispute;) reaching into the obscure and contorted: O.E.D.: Comply. 3.: To be complaisant with, make oneself agreeable to (persons) in conduct or action, to accommodate oneself to the desires or wishes of; the notion of politness often passing to that of obsequiousness or servility;
Reply. 4b: To retort upon one.
He does not contort (ply) himself to agree; he does not try to bend (ply) the other when he disagrees.