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Saɱyutta Nikāya
II. Nidāna Vagga
12. Nidāna Saɱyutta
2. Āhāra Vagga

Sutta 15

Kaccāna-Gotta Suttaɱ


Translated from the Pali by Maurice O'Connell Walshe
From Samyutta Nikaya: An Anthology (WH 318-321),
by M. O'C. Walshe
(Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1985).
Transcribed from the print edition in 2007 by a volunteer,
under the auspices of the Access to Insight Dhamma Transcription Project
and by arrangement with the Buddhist Publication Society.
© 2007–2012



[1][bit][pts][bodh][than][olds] I HEAR TELL:

[At Saavatthii the Ven. Kaccaayana asked the Blessed One:]

"'Right view,[1] right view,' it is said, Lord.

In what way, Lord, is there right view?'

"The world in general, Kaccaayana, inclines to two views, to existence[2] or to non-existence.[3]

But for him who, with the highest wisdom, sees the uprising of the world as it really is,[4] 'non-existence of the world' does not apply, and for him who, with highest wisdom, sees the passing away of the world as it really is, 'existence of the world' does not apply.

"The world in general, Kaccaayana, grasps after systems and is imprisoned by dogmas.[5]

But he[6] does not go along with that system-grasping, that mental obstinacy and dogmatic bias, does not grasp at it, does not affirm:

'This is my self.'[7]

He knows without doubt or hesitation that whatever arises is merely dukkha[8] that what passes away is merely dukkha and such knowledge is his own, not depending on anyone else.

This, Kaccaayana, is what constitutes right view.

"'Everything exists,'[9] this is one extreme [view]; 'nothing exists,' this is the other extreme.

Avoiding both extremes the Tathaagata[10] teaches a doctrine of the middle:

Conditioned by ignorance are the formations... [as SN 12.10]...

So there comes about the arising of this entire mass of suffering.

But from the complete fading away and cessation of ignorance there comes the cessation of the formations, from the cessation of the formations comes the cessation of consciousness...

So there comes about the complete cessation of this entire mass of suffering."


[1] Samma Diṭṭhi: the first step of the Noble Eightfold Path, lit. "Right Seeing." It is also rendered "Right Understanding," but the connotations of this are too exclusively intellectual. The rendering "Right Views" (plural) is to be rejected, since it is not a matter of holding "views" (opinions) but of "seeing things as they really are."

[2] Atthitaa: "is-ness." The theory of "Eternalism" (sassatavaada).

[3] Natthitaa: "is-not-ness." The theory of "Annihilationism" (ucchedavāda). All forms of materialism come under this heading. See the discussion in Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of DN 1, The All-Embracing Net of Views

[4] Yathābhuutaɱ: cf n. 1.

[5] Or, as we might say today, "ideologies" or "isms."

[6] I take this to mean the man who sees "with the highest wisdom" mentioned above. Mrs Rhys Davids seems to have gone slightly astray here.

[7] ['Attā me' ti:] Cf. SN 3.8, n. 1. Feer's edition of SN reads here 'attā na me' ti "this is not myself," which would also make sense but is contradicted, not only in SA [Commentary], but also when the story is repeated at SN 22.90.

[8] The usual translation "suffering," always a makeshift, is inappropriate here.

Dukkha in Buddhist usage refers to the inherent unsatisfactoriness and general insecurity of all conditioned existence.

SN 12.22-Walshe, n. 1: Attā. Used in everyday speech this word most often simply means 'myself, yourself,' etc. with absolutely no 'metaphysical' implications—a point frequently overlooked by those who wish at all costs to prove that Buddhism teaches the existence of some kind of 'self.' Here we have the Buddhist equivalent of "Do as you would be done by." Cf. Dhp 157.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[9] Sabbaɱ atthi. From the Sanskrit form of this expression, sarvam asti (though used in a slightly different sense) the Sarvaastivādin school got their name. They held that dharmas existed in "three times," past, present and future. It was mainly to this early school that the label "Hīnayāna" ("Lesser Career or Vehicle") was applied and later illegitimately applied to the Theravaada (see SN 12.22, n. 1).

[10] Lit. probably either "Thus come" tath-ā-gata or "Thus gone (beyond)" (tathā-gata): the Buddha's usual way of referring to himself. For other meanings cf. Bhikkhu Bodhi, DN 1, The All-Embracing Net of Views

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