The mind ensnared by attachment and ignorance

Thaibuddha

In the Buddhist understanding of the nature of the mind, there is a clear distinction made between holding to a destructive belief, and being ignorant. This can be explained in a number of ways. For example, one can adhere to a wrong belief, known as a ‘wrong-view’ but in theory still be in possession of a proposition which is factually correct. But, one can adhere to a correct belief, a right-view – one cannot be attached to a correct view, a right-view. The very act of attachment makes it a wrong-view. One could however, know what is true – but one should not adhere to that proposition with the thought ‘this alone is true, anything else is falsehood’. By adhering to the correct view in this way, its ‘correctness’ is negated – it becomes a wrong-view.

 

The ‘corruptions’ (āsavas)

In describing this process I will examine the ‘corruptions’ (āsavas). In the list of corruptions four are occasionally listed instead of the more usual three, both views and ignorance being given as separate corruptions.[1] Why are ‘views’ and ‘ignorance’ separate corruptions? Aren’t they both a lack of knowledge? If we examine how the corruptions are explained we may find an answer to this question. Buddhaghosa describes the corruptions in the following terms: the corruption of sensual desire (kāmāsavo) is the lust for the five pleasures of the senses; the corruption of becoming (bhavāsavo) is the passionate desire for life in a heaven of form, and formless existence, longing for ‘absorption’ jhāna, and lust co-existent with an eternalistic view;[2] the corruption of views (diṭṭhāsavo) is explained as the sixty-two views;[3] and the corruption of ignorance (avijjāsavo) is the lack of knowledge regarding eight points,[4] understood as the four truths, knowledge of the past, future or both, and of dependent-origination.[5] This explanation implies that views and ignorance refer to different things. In the following I would like to explore why there are two separate corruptions: views and ignorance, and to delineate the differences between them. My argument is that the corruption of views is the attachment to knowledge, and that the corruption of ignorance is false knowledge itself. This leads me to understand the corruption of views as the attachment to doctrine, not doctrine itself

 

The thicket, wilderness, contortion, vacillation and fetter of views

In the Atthasālinī (As 248) Buddhaghosa explains ‘wrong-views’ (micchā-diṭṭhi) as ‘not seeing things as they are’ (ayāthāva-dassanaṃ). The phrase points to the way in which certain views are held. It is not so much the content of the doctrines that posits a wrong conception of the way things are, but the fact that, by becoming an object of attachment, wrong-view distorts the true nature of things.[6] A view can be doctrinally correct but if, through giving rise to attachment, it distorts the holder’s response to the world, it is a wrong-view. The early Abhidhamma emphasises that a view is incorrect if it becomes an object of attachment, not because it is untrue. From the Abhidhamma perspective, ‘views’ (diṭṭhi)is exclusively connected with a mind (citta) rooted in greed (lobha-mūla). Views occur in four types of consciousness rooted in greed.[7] Views are primarily (if not exclusively) associated with greed, not delusion, in the Abhidhamma. In the Visuddhimagga, Buddhaghosa explains right-view as a type of knowledge,[8] and wrong-view as a type of greed (Vism XIV 90-91). As Rupert Gethin has observed ‘diṭṭhi can only be present in the mind when greed and attachment occur’.[9] This tells us that the early Theravāda understood the nature of views in relation to greed and attachment: wrong-views occur with greed and attachment, and right-views occur without greed and attachment. This connection between view and craving will now be considered.

 

The Dhammasaṅgaṇi

I would like to look at an Abhidhamma passage explaining wrong-views, and Buddhaghosa’s comments upon this passage. In the Dhammasaṅgaṇi, micchā-diṭṭhi is explained in the following terms :

‘Gone over to view (diṭṭhi-gata), the thicket of view (diṭṭhi-gahana), a wilderness of view (diṭṭhi-kantāra), the contrariness of view (diṭṭhi-visūkāyika), the turmoil of view (diṭṭhi-vipphandita), the fetter of views (diṭṭhi-saṃyojana), holding (gāha), fixity (patiṭṭhāha), adherence (abhinivesa), clinging (parāmāsa), a bad path (kumagga), a false way (micchā-patha), falsity (micchatta), the realm of (other) systems of crossing over (titthāyatana), the hold of the perverted views (vipariyesa-gāha).’[10]

This formula is also added in many contexts in which wrong-views are being discussed. One example of this is found in the Vibhaṅga. A discussion of dependent-origination explains the phrase ‘with craving as condition there is attachment’ (taṇhā-paccayā upādānaṃ) as ‘gone over to view, the thicket of view, a wilderness of view’, etc.[11] Craving, and the attachment that it gives rise to, are being explained as micchā-diṭṭhi. Wrong-view is the embodiment of craving and attachment.[12]

In the Atthasālinī Buddhaghosa comments on each of the Dhammasaṅgaṇi terms. I will summarise these comments:

‘Wrong-views are ‘gone over to view’ (diṭṭhi-gata) because they are a way of seeing that, due to its being included in the sixty-two wrong-views (dvāsaṭṭhi diṭṭhi-antogatattā), has gone over to views in the sense of ‘not seeing things as they are’ (ayāthāva-dassana). Views are a thicket (diṭṭhi-gahana) because they are difficult to get beyond, like a grass thicket, a forest thicket or a mountainous region. The term ‘wilderness of view’ (diṭṭhi-kantāra) implies that view is dangerous and fearsome, like a wilderness infested by thieves and snakes, without food and water. In the sense of overthrowing and conflicting with right-view, it is the ‘contrariness of view’ (diṭṭhi-visūkāyika). This is because when the ‘wrong way of seeing’ (micchā-dassana) occurs, it overthrows and conflicts with the ‘right way of seeing’ (sammā-dassana). The ‘turmoil of view’ (diṭṭhi-vipphandita) is the turning to the other form for one who at one time holds the eternalist-view and at one time the annihilationist-view, for one lost in views is unable to stick with one position. The ‘fetter of view’ (diṭṭhi-saṃyojana) is itself considered as a fetter in the sense of ‘binding’ (bandhana), because it takes hold of its object firmly as crocodiles, and so on, take hold of a man, it is ‘holding’ (gāha). As a result of becoming fixed, it is ‘fixity’ (patiṭṭhāha). Indeed, by reason of its forceful occurrence, having become fixed it takes hold; and, because it is convinced about permanence and so on, this is an ‘adherence’ (abhinivesa). Because it misses the nature of dhammas and insists on holding on by way of the idea of their permanence and so on, it is ‘clinging’ (parāmāsa). A ‘bad path’ (kumagga) is a path that is vile due to its taking one to what is unbeneficial or it is a path to the vile descents. As a way that is not in accordance with the truth it is a ‘false way’ (micchā-patha). For even though one who is confused about the way takes a road thinking ‘this is certainly the way to such and such a village’ it does not bring him to that village, just so, even though one who is lost in view holds a view, thinking, ‘this is the way to a happy destiny’ it does not bring him to a happy destiny; so a ‘false way’ is a way not in accordance with the truth. As something that is by nature false it is ‘falsity’ (micchatta). A ‘system of crossing over’ (tittha)is where, just because of their roaming about there, it appears the foolish cross over; and because this is the realm of things unbeneficial, it is the ‘realm of other systems of crossing over’ (titthāyatana). Alternatively, the ‘realm of other systems of crossing over’ is a ‘realm’ (āyatana) in the sense of the dwelling place and country of birth of those belonging to other systems of crossing over. The ‘hold of the perverted views’ (vipariyesa-gāha) is a holding on which constitutes a perverted view; alternatively it is holding on because of perverted view; ‘perverted view’ (vipallatthagāho) is the meaning.’[13]

 

The content of the view, what it proposes, is not ignored in this passage. A wrong-view does propose a false proposition. However, it is the tendency of views to become an object of greed and attachment that is of primary importance.[14] This suggests that the Abhidhamma is interested in how views are held, not, essentially, what they propose. Rupert Gethin has suggested that it is the fact that a view is an object of greed and attachment that the Theravāda Abhidhamma wishes to stress. He compares the definitions given of ‘delusion’ (moha) to that given for diṭṭhi in the Dhammasaṅgaṇi.[15] The list of terms describing diṭṭhi in the Dhammasaṅgaṇi were given above with the formula beginning ‘gone over to view, the thicket of view, a wilderness of view’. In contrast, the list of terms in the Dhammasaṅgaṇi explaining moha is dominated by the notions of not knowing and not seeing. [16] Ignorance and delusion obscure the true nature of things. The content of the proposition is emphasised. This is clearly different to the list of terms that characterise micchā-diṭṭhi, which I have just discussed. These terms emphasise grasping, fixity and holding.

 

Gethin secondly considers Buddhaghosa’s definitions of micchā-diṭṭhi and moha. Hence diṭṭhi has the characteristic of inappropriate adherence (ayoniso abhinivesa); its function is clinging (parāmāsa); its manifestation is wrong-adherence (micchābhinivesa); its basis is the absence of desire to meet Noble Ones and the like (ariyānaṃ adassana-kāmatādi), and it should be seen as the ultimate fault (paramaṃ vajjaṃ). In contrast, delusion has the characteristic of mental blindness (cittassa andhabhāva), or not knowing (aññāṇa); its function is not penetrating (asampaṭivedha), or concealing the true nature of the object (ārammaṇa-sabhāva-cchādana); its manifestation is the absence of right practice (asammā-paṭipatti), or blindness (andhakāra); its basis is inappropriate bringing to mind (ayoniso manasikāra); it should be seen as the root of all that is unskilful (sabbākusalānaṃ).[17]

 

The Peṭakopadesa

To these examples may be added others. In the Peṭakopadesa (Peṭ 94) diṭṭhi and avijjā are described in the following way: ‘views are characterised by adherence and clinging’[18] while ‘ignorance is characterised by non-penetration (of the four truths), and unawareness of ideas’.[19] The passage further explains that the āsava of views is ‘abandoned by contemplating mind as mind’ (so citte cittānupassissa pahīyati), while the āsava of ignorance is ‘abandoned by contemplating dhammas as dhammas’ (so dhammesu dhammānupassissa pahīyati). The ‘āsava of views is thus abandoned in the mind’ (diṭṭhāsavo citte pahātabbo), while the ‘āsava of ignorance is abandoned in dhammas’ (avijjāsavo dhammesu pahātabbo).[20] This is possibly a reference to the third and fourth foundations of mindfulness (satipaṭṭhāna). The four, which I have already cited, are to contemplate body as body, feelings as feelings, mind as mind, and dhammas as dhammas.[21] This passage could be understood using the model I considered earlier of the cleansing of body, speech and mind. In my discussion of the ‘ten wholesome courses of action’ (dasa kusala-kammapathā), I suggested that the sequence of these actions suggested a gradual transformation of conduct. In this understanding, contemplating the mind as mind implies an understanding of the working of the mind, of the cravings of the mind, in order to understand things as they are.

 

Earlier in the Peṭakopadesa it is explained that ‘[the view that there is] self in the mind [is the āsava] of views, and that there is permanence in the concomitants of consciousness (cetasikas)[22] [is the āsava of ignorance]’.[23] The Peṭakopadesa is analysing these ideas on different grounds and is clearly separating the corruptions of diṭṭhi and avijjā. Another example of the difference between the corruptions of diṭṭhi and avijjā is the following classification. The ‘perversion that there is self in what is not-self, attachment to view, the bond of views, the bodily tie of clinging, the corruption of views, the flood of views, the barb of views’ are terms found together to explain the tendency towards views.[24] In contrast, the ‘perversion that there is permanence in the impermanent, attachment to the theory of self, the bond of ignorance, the bodily tie of insistence that this is truth, the corruption of ignorance, the flood of ignorance, the barb of delusion’ are a set of terms found together to explain the tendency towards ignorance.[25]

 

The Mahāniddesa

One final example of the notion of diṭṭhi characterised in terms of grasping and attachment is found in the Mahāniddesa. This canonical text is the only commentary found in the Nikāyas, being (in part) a commentary upon the Aṭṭhakavagga. The Mahāniddesa asks a number of questions about different views. The answer to each question is identical. Hence the question is asked: ‘What is the selfishness of view?’[26] The answer is that it is sakkāya-diṭṭhi with twenty bases, the wrong-view with ten bases (i.e. natthika-diṭṭhi), the extreme view with ten bases (dasavatthukā antaggāhikā diṭṭhi, i.e. the ten avyākata). These are then characterised as gone over to view (diṭṭhi-gata), the thicket of view(diṭṭhi-gahana), a wilderness of view (diṭṭhi-kantāra) etc., using the same formula as the one from the Dhammasaṅgaṇi considered above.[27] The Mahāniddesa then uses the same format to explain other terms. These terms become increasingly difficult to translate with different English words as they are all terms relating to attachment, clinging and grasping. Hence, the question is asked, ‘what is attachment to view?’ (katamo diṭṭhi-nivesanā). The same answer is given, that is sakkāya-diṭṭhi with twenty bases, the wrong-view with ten bases, the extreme view with ten bases, and that this is gone over to view, the thicket of view, etc.[28] The same answer is given as an explanation of ‘fashioning by view’,[29] ‘devotion to view’,[30] ‘holding onto view’,[31] ‘dependence on view’,[32] ‘the stain of view’,[33] ‘the taking-up of view’,[34] ‘fixing attention on view’[35] and the ‘dart of view’.[36]

All these examples illustrate that wrong-views emphasise one aspect of not knowing, and ignorance another. Though their definitions overlap, there is a definite emphasis on either attachment or not knowing. Why exactly is this distinction being made? I would like to suggest that different doctrines are being used in different ways. Or, to put this another way, different doctrines perform different roles. One doctrine may make a claim about how we perceive the world, another about the nature of the world. For one doctrine, it may be the value which that doctrine has for the treading of the Buddhist path, and for another the emphasis may be on what the doctrine explains about the nature of existence. In fact, as I have said, views are not doctrines, but knowledge of doctrines. Wrong-views insist, take hold of, and are attached to their objects (doctrines). This type of ‘wrongness’ may not essentially be ignorance of the true state of things, it may be a correct description of things, but the view is wrong because it is a ‘perversion’ (vipallāsa) and because the ‘perverted view adheres’ (viparīta-diṭṭhi abhinivisati, Peṭ 106). It is ‘unwholesome’ (akusala). It is wrong knowledge of doctrines and not, essentially, a wrong doctrine (though it is likely to be this as well). Wisdom knows how things are, right-view knows how to know how things are. To paraphrase the Sammohavinodanī: one who is attached needs to abandon views, while one who is ignorant needs to abandon delusion.[37

Views are then a type of craving, but how are they distinguished from craving itself? Why not simply subsume the notion of views under the notion of craving? The Peṭakopadesa (Peṭ 26-28) discusses a passage from the Udāna (Ud 32-3), and how this passage relates to ‘defilement by craving’ (taṇhā-saṃkileso) and ‘defilement by view’ (diṭṭhi-saṃkileso). This passage further explains the nature of the type of attachment expressed by the corruption of views. The following is said to be an example of defilement by craving:

‘This world is born to anguish and subject to painful contact,

It is sickness that it calls self;

For however it conceives [it],

It is ever otherwise than that.

Maintaining its being other than that,

The world clings to being, expectantly relishing only being,

[But] what it relishes brings fear,

And what it fears is pain.’[38]

The following is an example of defilement by view:

‘Whoever have declared escape from being [to come about] through [love of] non-being, none of them, I say, escape from being. Whoever have declared liberation from being [to come about] through [love of some kind of] being, none of them, I say, are liberated from being.’[39]

While the discussion of the Peṭakopadesa passage also deals with other issues, I would like to concentrate on what I consider it is implying by these two distinctions, between defilement by craving and defilement by view. The first distinction is relatively straightforward: what we crave changes and is different from what we want it to be. The second distinction, however, deserves more consideration. We could assume that, as defilement by craving points to sensual attachments, so defilement by views points to cognitive attachment. The early Theravāda tradition is, to an extent, preoccupied with craving and how this affects the conduct of the person so obsessed. It seems reasonable to assume that, in the example of defilement by view, the text has in mind sassata and uccheda-diṭṭhi. Though the text has made the distinction between defilement by craving and defilement by views, it seems likely that, by using the term diṭṭhi instead of terms such as delusion (moha) or ignorance (avijjā), the text is implying, as in other places where the term diṭṭhi is used, a certain type of cognitive clinging (parāmāsa). [40] Being and non-being, self and not-self, are all potential objects of attachment. I would go as far as to suggest that, at a certain level, Buddhist thought is not concerned with whether there is a self or not. The issue of a ‘self’ is abandoned and, to an extent, not-self is sammā-diṭṭhi precisely because it rejects the strongest object of attachment. My overall point is that ignorance and views apply to two different forms of corruption, and that views apply to a form of craving, but a specific type of craving. So, when the right-view of anattā abandons the view of self, it is not knowledge abandoning ignorance, it is knowledge of craving abandoning attachment. This is what is meant when it is said that micchā-diṭṭhi is abandoned and sammā-diṭṭhi taken up. Attachment is abandoned and one sees without attachment.

 

Notes

[1] In the Mahāparinibbāna-sutta (D II 72-168) at D II 81, 91, 94 and 98 the four āsavas are given: ‘The mind, when imbued with wisdom becomes completely free from the corruptions, that is, from the corruption of sensuality, of becoming, of wrong-views and of ignorance’ (paññāparibhāvitaṃ cittaṃ sammadeva āsavehi vimuccati, seyyathīdaṃ: kāmāsavā bhavāsavā diṭṭhāsavā avijjāsavā ti). There is another list of terms, identical to the list of four āsavas, that occur in the Nikāyas. These describe sensuality, becoming, views and ignorance as the four yokes (yoga), sometimes found in opposition to the four unyokings (visaṃyoga, see D III 230, 276, S V 59). There are also the four floods (oghas, D III 230, S V 59), consisting of the same categories.

[2] rūpārūpabhavesu chandarāgo jhānanikanti sassatadiṭṭhisahajāto rāgo bhavavasena patthanā bhavāsavo nāma, As 369.

[3] Of the Brahmajāla-sutta: dvāsaṭṭhi diṭṭhiyo diṭṭhāsavo nāma, As 369.

[4] aṭṭhasu ṭhānesu aññāṇaṃ avijjāsavo nāma, As 369.

[5] The Expositor, p. 475, note 3.

[6] This certainly appears to be the understanding of wrong-views by the period of the early Abhidhamma, and, as I will suggest, seems implicit in such discussions as those found in the Brahmajāla-sutta.

[7] Dhs 75, 80-82 (this is a reference to the PTS page numbers). The formalised definition from later Abhidhamma is given in Appendix (5).

[8] Buddhaghosa uses the view of affirmation to explain this view, i.e. it is a type of paññā (Vism XIV 84).

[9] Gethin, ‘Wrong View (micchā-diṭṭhi) and Right View (sammā-diṭṭhi) in the Theravāda Abhidhamma’, p. 218.

[10] yā tasmiṃ samaye diṭṭhi diṭṭhi-gataṃ diṭṭhi-gahanaṃ diṭṭhi-kantāro diṭṭhi-visūkāyikaṃ diṭṭhi-vipphanditaṃ diṭṭhi-saṃyojanaṃ gāho patiṭṭhāho abhiniveso parāmāso kummaggo micchā-patho micchattaṃ titthāyatanaṃ vipariyesagāho, ayaṃ tasmiṃ samaye micchā-diṭṭhi hoti, Dhs 78, 183, 198, 202, 208, 212, passim (all references to page numbers of the PTS edition). Translation adapted from Gethin, ‘Wrong View (micchā-diṭṭhi) and Right View (sammā-diṭṭhi) in the Theravāda Abhidhamma’, p. 218. Most of these terms are found in the Nikāyas. In the Sabbāsava-sutta (M I 6-12), diṭṭhi-gata is described as the thicket, wilderness, contortion and vacillation of views: ‘This speculative view […] is called a thicket of views, the wilderness of views, the contortion of views, the vacillation of views, the fetter of views. Fettered by the fetter of views, the untaught ordinary person is not freed from birth, ageing, and death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair; he is not freed from suffering, I say’ (idaṃ vuccati […] diṭṭhi-gataṃ diṭṭhi-gahanaṃ diṭṭhi-kantāro diṭṭhi-visūkaṃ diṭṭhi-vipphanditaṃ diṭṭhi-saṃyojanaṃ. diṭṭhi-saṃyojanasaṃyutto bhikkhave assutavā puthujjano na parimuccati jātiyā jarāmaraṇena sokehi paridevehi dukkhehi domanassehi upāyāsehi, na parimuccati dukkhasmā ti vadāmi, M I 8). In the Aggivacchagotta-sutta (M I 483-89), the Buddha is asked what danger he sees in the ten avyākata, so that he does not take up any of these views (kim pana bhavaṃ gotamo ādīnavaṃ sampassamāno evaṃ imāni sabbaso diṭṭhi-gatāni anupagato ti, M I 485). The Buddha replies that each of these views is a thicket, a wilderness, a contortion, a vacillation and a fetter of views (diṭṭhi-gahanaṃ diṭṭhi-kantāraṃ diṭṭhi-visūkaṃ diṭṭhi-vipphanditaṃ diṭṭhi-saṃyojanaṃ, M I 485). They are beset by suffering, vexation, despair and fever (sadukkhaṃ savighātaṃ saupāyāsaṃ sapariḷāhaṃ), and do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, peace, direct knowledge, enlightenment or nibbāna (na nibbidāya na virāgāya na nirodhāya na upasamāya na abhiññāya na sambodhāya na nibbānāya saṃvattati, M I 485). In a sense, in this reply, as in the Dhammasaṅgani, the Buddha is not alluding to the content of the views but the effect upon the person that holds to them. Vacchagotta asks the Buddha if he takes up any speculative view (atthi pana bhoto gotamassa kiñci diṭṭhi-gatan ti). The Buddha replies that speculative view is something that he has put away (diṭṭhi-gatan ti kho vaccha apanītam etaṃ tathāgatassa, M I 486). What the Buddha has seen is each of the five khandhas, their origin and their disappearance. In the Yoga-sutta (A II 10-13) at A II 11, views are described as a bond (diṭṭhi-yoga). The bond of views is described as the lust for views, the delight in views, the affection for views, the greed for views, the thirst for views, the fever, clinging, and the craving for views (yo diṭṭhisu diṭṭhi-rāgo diṭṭhi-nandī diṭṭhi-sineho diṭṭhi-mucchā diṭṭhi-pipāsā diṭṭhi-pariḷāho diṭṭhi-ajjhosānaṃ diṭṭhi-taṇhā, A II 11). The term diṭṭhi-visūkāni, contrariness of view, occurs in the Sutta-nipāta where the sage is described as having gone beyond the contrariness of view (diṭṭhivisūkāni upātivatto), on a fixed course, wandering solitary as a rhinoceros horn, Sn 55.

[11] tattha katamaṃ taṇhāpaccayā upādānaṃ: yā diṭṭhi diṭṭhi-gataṃ diṭṭhi-gahanaṃ diṭṭhi-kantāro diṭṭhi-visukāyikaṃ diṭṭhi-vipphanditaṃ diṭṭhi-saṃyojanā gaho patiṭṭhāho abhiniveso parāmāso kummaggo micchā-patho micchattaṃ titthāyatanaṃ vipariyesagāho, idaṃ vuccati taṇhāpaccayā upādānaṃ, Vibh, § 249, p. 145.

[12] This is the analysis according to the Abhidhamma. In the analysis according to the discourses, the same connection between craving and attachment is described as the attachment of desire, wrong-view, precepts and vows, and the attachment to the theory of self (taṇhāpaccayā upādānaṃ: kāmupādānaṃ diṭṭhupādānaṃ silabbatupādānaṃ attavādupādānaṃ, idaṃ vuccati taṇhā-paccayā upādānaṃ, Vibh 136).

[13]As 252-53. Translation adapted from Gethin ‘Wrong View (micchā-diṭṭhi) and Right View (sammā-diṭṭhi) in the Theravāda Abhidhamma’, pp. 218-9.

[14] A different analysis is given by Jackson. He argues that avidyā is ‘ontological ignorance’ while mithyā-dṛṣṭi is ‘cosmological ignorance’ (Is Enlightenment Possible, p. 48, note 19). Jackson holds that the four truths, as sammā-diṭṭhi, are a proposition which carry with it many philosophical and cosmological presuppositions (ibid. p. 43). It is in this context that he arrives at this understanding of ignorance and wrong-views.

[15] Gethin ‘Wrong View (micchā-diṭṭhi) and Right View (sammā-diṭṭhi) in the Theravāda Abhidhamma’, p. 220.

[16] yaṃ tasmiṃ samaye aññāṇaṃ adassanaṃ anabhisamayo ananubodho asambodho appaṭivedho asaṃgāhanā apariyogāhanā asamapekkhanā apaccavekkhanā apaccakkhakammaṃ dummejjhaṃ bālyaṃ asampajaññaṃ moho pamoho sammoho avijjā avijjogho avijjāyogo avijjānusayo avijjāpariyuṭṭhānaṃ avijjālaṅgī moho akusalamūlaṃ, ayaṃ tasmiṃ samaye moho hoti, Dhs 78 § 390.

[17] Vism XIV 163-64, As 249; see Gethin ‘Wrong View (micchā-diṭṭhi) and Right View (sammā-diṭṭhi) in the Theravāda Abhidhamma’, p. 220. As Gethin explains: ‘For the Theravādins what is significant about diṭṭhi is not simply that it is a wrong or false way of seeing, but that it is a grasping at or holding onto a particular way of seeing; it is a fixed or rigid view of things. The emphasis in the register of terms for moha, on the other hand, is on its not knowing, not seeing, not understanding, on its failure to penetrate (appaṭivedha), and get below the surface (apariyogāhanā) to the true nature of things.’ Ibid. pp. 220-21.

[18] abhiniveso ca parāmāso ca diṭṭhāsavassa lakkhaṇaṃ, Peṭ 94.

[19] appaṭivedho ca dhammesu asampajaññā ca avijjāsavassa lakkhaṇaṃ, Peṭ 94.

[20] Note an error in the PTS edition, or a probable earlier error, which has avijjāsavo citte pahātabbo. so citte cittānupassissa pahīyati, diṭṭhāsavo dhammesu pahātabbo, so dhammesu dhammānupassissa pahīyati, which I have read as diṭṭhāsavo citte pahātabbo. so citte cittānupassissa pahīyati, avijjāsavo dhammesu pahātabbo, so dhammesu dhammānupassissa pahīyati, Peṭ 94; see Ñāṇamoli, Piṭaka-Disclosure (PTS, London, 1964), p. 127, note 344/1.

[21]idha bhikkhave bhikkhu kāye kāyānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. vedanāsu vedanānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. citte cittānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ. dhammesu dhammānupassī viharati ātāpī sampajāno satimā vineyya loke abhijjhādomanassaṃ, M I 56; see Gethin, The Buddhist Path to Awakening, pp 29-68. There is also some connection between ‘the emptiness gateway to liberation’ (suññatā vimokkhamukhaṃ), and ‘the signless gateway to liberation’ (animittaṃ vimokkhamukhaṃ, Nett 123), which I shall consider in chapter five.

[22] Ñāṇamoli interprets the cetasikas as dhammas (Piṭaka-Disclosure, p. 126, note 339/1).

[23] tattha citte attā ti diṭṭhāsavo, cetasikesu niccan ti avijjāsavo, this is Ñāṇamoli’s suggested correction or restoration of tattha citte atthiti diṭṭhi cetasikesu niccanti, Piṭaka-Disclosure, p. 126, note 339/1, Peṭ 94.

[24] anattani attā ti vipallāso, diṭṭhupādānaṃ, diṭṭhi-yogo, parāmāsa-kāya-gantho, diṭṭhāsavo, diṭṭhi-ogho, diṭṭhi-sallaṃ, Peṭ 246.

[25] anicce niccan ti vipallāso, attavādūpādānaṃ, avijjāyogo, idaṃsaccābhiniveso kāyagantho, avijjāsavo, avijjogho, mohasallaṃ, Peṭ 246.

[26] katamaṃ diṭṭhi-mamattaṃ, Nidd I 51, 122, 125, 129, 276, 369, 440.

[27] The Mahāniddesa adds ‘grasping at things wrongly’ (micchā-gāho ayāthāvakasmiṃ). katamaṃ diṭṭhi-mamattaṃ? vīsativatthukā sakkāya-diṭṭhi, dasavatthukā micchā-diṭṭhi, dasavatthukā antaggāhikā diṭṭhi, yā evarūpā diṭṭhi diṭṭhi-gataṃ diṭṭhi-gahanaṃ diṭṭhi-kantāro diṭṭhi-visūkāyikaṃ diṭṭhi-vipphandikaṃ diṭṭhi-saṃyojanaṃ gāho paṭiggāho abhiniveso parāmāso kummaggo micchā-patho micchattaṃ titthāyatanaṃ vipariyesaggāho viparītaggāho vipallāsaggāho micchā-gāho ayāthāvakasmiṃ yāthāvakan ti gāho. yāvatā dvāsaṭṭhi diṭṭhi-gatāni, idaṃ diṭṭhi-mamattaṃ, Nidd I 50-51.

Dhs: yā tasmiṃ samaye diṭṭhi diṭṭhi-gataṃ diṭṭhi-gahanaṃ diṭṭhi-kantāro diṭṭhi-visūkāyikaṃ diṭṭhi-vipphanditaṃ diṭṭhi-saṃyojanaṃ gāho patiṭṭhāho abhiniveso parāmāso kummaggo micchā-patho micchattaṃ titthāyatanaṃ vipariyesagāho, ayaṃ tasmiṃ samaye micchā-diṭṭhi hoti, Dhs 78.

[28] vīsativatthukā sakkāya-diṭṭhi, dasavatthukā micchā-diṭṭhi, dasavatthukā antaggāhikā diṭṭhi, yā evarūpā diṭṭhi diṭṭhi-gataṃ diṭṭhi-gahanaṃ diṭṭhi-kantāraṃ diṭṭhi-visūkāyikaṃ diṭṭhi-vipphanditaṃ diṭṭhi-saṃyojanaṃ gāho paṭiggāho abhiniveso parāmāso kummaggo micchā-patho micchattaṃ titthāyatanaṃ vipariyesaggāho viparītaggāho vipallāsaggāho micchā-gāho, ayāthāvakasmiṃ yāthāvakan ti gāho. yāvatā dvāsaṭṭhi diṭṭhigatāni, ayaṃ diṭṭhi-nivesanā, Nidd I 100.

[29] diṭṭhi-kappa, Nidd I 112-13, 251, 328, 336.

[30] diṭṭhi-purekkhāra, Nidd I 113.

[31] diṭṭhi-pariggaha, Nidd I 129, 275.

[32] diṭṭhi-nissaya, Nidd I 133, 245, 431.

[33] diṭṭhi-lepa, Nidd I 136, 332.

[34] diṭṭhi-upaya, Nidd I 308.

[35]diṭṭhi-pakappanā, Nidd I 316. There are two types of pakappanā, those of taṇhā and diṭṭhi, Nidd I 72, 186.

[36]diṭṭhi-salla, Nidd I 414-15. There are seven darts, rāga, dosa, moha, māna, diṭṭhi, soka and kathakathā, Nidd I 59.

[37] Vibh-a 300.

[38] ayaṃ loko santāpajāto

phassapareto rogaṃ vadati attano,

yena yena hi maññati

tato taṃ hoti aññathā.

aññathābhāvī bhavasatto loko

bhavapareto bhavam evā bhinandati, yad abhinandati taṃ bhayaṃ

yassa bhāyati taṃ dukkhaṃ, Peṭ 26.

[39] ye hi keci samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā vibhavena bhavassa vippamokkham āhaṃsu, sabbe te avippamuttā bhavasmā ti vadāmi.ye vā pana keci samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā bhavena bhavassa nissaraṇam āhaṃsu, sabbe te anissaṭā bhavasmā ti vadāmi, Peṭ 26.

[40] It should be noted that the Udāna passage which the Peṭakopadesa is discussing, does use the term avijjā, Peṭ 27.

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On why the Buddhist epistemologist does not want to ‘wriggle like an eel’

life ob buddha miami.edu WQ

It is often assumed that Buddhism, in its condemnation of attachment to some forms of knowledge is in some ways a form of scepticism. While there are some similarities there is also a clear condemnation of those who deny a valid means of gaining knowledge. Indeed, one can perhaps suggest a certain uneasiness with its own epistemology being compared to a sceptical one. This notion is epitomised by the view attributed to Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta in the Sāmaññaphala-sutta.

 

In the Sāmaññaphala-sutta (D I 47-86) King Ajātasattu asks six teachers to ‘point to such a reward visible here and now as a fruit of the homeless life’.[1] There are two things one may observe about the nature of the exchange in this Sutta. First, in a similar way that the Buddha refuses to answer certain questions, the six teachers appear to be unwilling to answer questions about the nature of action and the effects of actions. Second, as the Buddha sometimes refuses to answer questions of an ontological nature, so the six teachers, in a sense, will only answer (or evade) questions of an ontological nature. In the Sāmaññaphala-sutta the Buddha’s answer to King Ajātasattu suggests that action influences the realisation of knowledge (D I 62-85). His answer suggests the interplay of conduct and knowledge, the answers of the six teachers deny this, hence they are wrong-views.

 

On being asked the fruits of the homeless life, Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta, the last of the six teachers to be interrogated by King Ajātasattu in the Sāmaññaphala-sutta answered in the following way:

 

“If you ask me: ‘Is there another world?’ — if I thought there is another world, I would declare that there is. I do not take it thus, I do not say it is true, I do not say it is otherwise, I do not say it is not so, I do not say it is not not so.

Similarly, when asked any of the following questions, he resorts to the same evasive statements and to endless equivocation:

‘Is there no world beyond?’ ‘Is it that there both is and is not a world beyond?’ ‘Is it that there neither is nor is not a world beyond?’ ‘Are there beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Are there no beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Is it that there both are and are not beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Is it that there neither are nor are not beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Is there fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Is there no fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Is it that there both is and is not fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Is it that there neither is nor is not fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata exist after death?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata not exist after death?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata both exist and not exist after death?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata neither exist nor not exist after death?’”[2]

 

In the Sāmaññaphala-sutta this formula is, as I have indicated, attributed to Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta. These views are not given a name. The sutta states that when Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta was asked the fruits of the homeless life he ‘replied by equivocating’ (vikkhepaṃ vyākāsi, D I 57). In the Brahmajāla-sutta are found the wrong-views of the ‘four endless equivocators'(or ‘eel-wrigglers’ cattāro amarā-vikkhepikā) which are very similar to the wrong-view of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta.

The views of the endless equivocators

There are four views found in the Brahmajāla-sutta (D I 1-46) called the views of the ‘four endless equivocators’ (cattāro amarāvikkhepikā). These are the views of those who avoided answering questions:

 

The first three views begin with:

Herein, bhikkhus, some recluse or brahmin does not understand as it really is what is wholesome and what is unwholesome. He thinks: ‘I do not understand as it really is what is wholesome and what is unwholesome. If, without understanding, I were to declare something to be wholesome or unwholesome:

 

View 1: my declaration might be false. If my declaration should be false, that would distress me, and that distress would be an obstacle for me.’ Therefore, out of fear and loathing of making a false statement, he does not declare anything to be wholesome or unwholesome.

 

View 2: desire and lust or hatred and aversion might arise in me. Should desire and lust or hatred and aversion arise in me, that should be attachment on my part. Such attachment would distress me, and that distress would be an obstacle for me.’ Therefore, out of fear and loathing of attachment, he does not declare anything to be wholesome or unwholesome.

 

Thie third view takes a slightly different form:

View 3: Now there are recluses and brahmins who are wise, clever, experienced in controversy, who wander about demolishing the views of others with their wisdom. If, without understanding, I were to declare something to be wholesome or unwholesome, they might cross-examine me about my views, press me for reasons, and refute my statements. If they should do so, I might not be able to reply. If I could not reply, that would distress me, and that distress would be an obstacle for me.’ Therefore, out of fear and loathing of being cross-examined, he does not declare anything to be wholesome or unwholesome.

 

All views (including the fourth view) conclude with:

But when questioned about this or that point, he resorts to evasive statements and to endless equivocation: ‘I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that it is neither this nor that.’ [3]

 

The fourth view takes a slightly different form:

View 4: Herein, bhikkhus, some recluse or brahmin is dull and stupid. Due to his dullness and stupidity, when he is questioned about this or that point, he resorts to evasive statements and endless equivocation:’ ‘If you ask me whether there is a world beyond—if I thought there is another world, I would declare that there is. But I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that it is neither this nor that.

 

Similarly, when asked any of the following questions, he resorts to the same evasive statements and to endless equivocation:

 

‘Is there no world beyond?’ ‘Is it that there both is and is not a world beyond?’ ‘Is it that there neither is nor is not a world beyond?’

 

‘Are there beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Are there no beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Is it that there both are and are not beings spontaneously reborn?’ ‘Is it that there neither are nor are not beings spontaneously reborn?’

 

‘Is there fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Is there no fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Is it that there both is and is not fruit and result of good and bad actions?’ ‘Is it that there neither is nor is not fruit and result of good and bad actions?’

 

‘Does the Tathāgata exist after death?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata not exist after death?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata both exist and not exist after death?’ ‘Does the Tathāgata neither exist nor not exist after death?’ D I 24-28. [4]

 

These views are the views of the endless equivocators. The first view claims knowledge is a ‘moral danger’ and a ‘source of remorse’.[5] The second view sees ‘attachment’ (upadāna) as the danger, which will lead to ‘mental disquietude’ (vighāta).[6] The third view states that fear of debating, which may lead to argument or interrogation (anuyogabhayā), is the danger.[7]Hence, falsehood, involvement and debate are the things to be avoided by these three positions. [8] The final view is somewhat different. It is identical to that attributed in the Sāmaññaphala-sutta to Sañjaya Bellaṭṭhiputta. A central theme of all four views is the expression: ‘I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that it is neither this nor that’.[9] Watanabe points out that the Buddhist tradition has explained this clause as containing both four and five answers.[10] This expression is found alone in the following:

 

Again […] a certain teacher is dull and confused. Because he is dull and confused, when he is asked such and such a question, he engages in evasive statements and to endless equivocation: ‘I do not take it thus, nor do I take it in that way, nor do I take it in some other way. I do not say that it is not, nor do I say that it is neither this nor that.’[11]

 

This passage from the Sandaka-sutta is described as one of four kinds of ‘holy life without consolation’ (anassāsikaṃ brahmacariyam akkhātaṃ M I 520).[12]

 

These are the views of those who avoid answering questions. In general the endless equivocators held that there was a ‘moral danger’ (antarayo) in making truth claims. The moral danger perceived was worry or remorse (vighāto). Jayatilleke has noted a ‘superficial similarity’ between these ideas and those of the Buddha.[13] Some have found in this an expression of a spiritual path.[14] Though the view of Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta does not express this sense of despondency with debate and the making of truth claims, it is in this context that I think the view should be considered. He endlessly wriggles, like an eel, as do the views condemned in the Brahmajāla-sutta. And anyone with even a passing interest in the history of Buddhist thought might think the Buddhist epistemologist, seeking to explain knowledge and truth is also prone to some philosophical equivocation. In this context it is not surprising that, given the opportunity, scepticism is condemned in both the Brahmajāla-sutta and the Sāmaññaphala-sutta.

 

Notes

[1]sakkā nu kho […] evaṃ diṭṭheva dhamme sandiṭṭhikaṃ sāmaññaphalaṃ paññāpetun ti, D I 52 ff.

[2] atthi paro loko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi paro loko ti iti ce me assa, atthi paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n’ atthi paro loko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n atthi paro loko ti iti ce me assa, n’ atthi paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi ca n’ atthi ca paro loko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi ca n’ atthi ca paro loko ti iti ce me assa, atthi ca n’ atthi ca paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. nevatthi na n’ atthi paro loko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, nevatthi na n’ atthi paro loko ti iti ce me assa, nevatthi na n’ atthi paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi sattā opapātikā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce me assa, atthi sattā opapātikā’ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi ca n’ atthi ca sattā opapātikā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sattā opapātikā ti iti ce me assa, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sattā opapātikā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā’ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. nevatthi na n’ atthi sattā opapātikā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, nevatthi na n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce me assa, nevatthi na n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce me assa, atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce me assa, n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi ca n’ atthi ca sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce me assa, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti’pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. nevatthi na n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, nevatthi na n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko’ti iti ce me assa, nevatthi na n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā’ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. na hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, na hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, na hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. hoti ca na hoti ca Tathāgato param maraṇā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, hoti ca na hoti ca Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, hoti ca na hoti ca Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. neva hoti na na hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā? ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, neva hoti na na hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, neva hoti na na hoti Tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evanti pi me no. tathā ti’pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no ti, D I 58-59.

[3] The first three views begin with:

idha bhikkhave ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā idaṃ kusalan ti yathābhūtaṃ na ppajānāti. idaṃ akusalan ti yathābhūtaṃ na ppajānāti. tassa evaṃ hoti: ahaṃ kho idaṃ kusalan ti yathābhūtaṃ na ppajānāmi. idaṃ akusalan ti yathābhūtaṃ na ppajānāmi. ahañ c’ eva kho pana idaṃ kusalanti yathābhūtaṃ na appajānanto, idaṃ akusalan ti yathābhūtaṃ na appajānanto, idaṃ kusalan ti vā vyākareyyaṃ, idaṃ akusalan ti vā vyākareyyaṃ, tattha me assa chando vā rāgo vā doso vā paṭigho vā. yattha me assa chando vā rāgo vā doso vā paṭigho vā.

View 1: taṃ mam assa musā. yaṃ mam assa musā, so mam assa vighāto. yo mam assa vighāto, so mam assa antarāyo ti. iti so musāvādabhayā musāvādaparijegucchā n ev idaṃ kusalanti vyākaroti. na pan idaṃ akusalan ti vyākaroti.

View 2: tattha me assa chando vā rāgo vā doso vā paṭigho vā. yattha me assa chando vā rāgo vā doso vā paṭigho vā, taṃ mam assa upādānaṃ. yaṃ mam assa upādānaṃ, so mam assa vighāto. yo mam assa vighāto, so mam assa antarāyo ti. iti so upādānabhayā upādānaparijegucchā n ev idaṃ kusalan ti vyākaroti. na pan idaṃ akusalan ti vyākaroti.

View 3: santi hi kho pana samaṇabrāhmaṇā paṇḍitā nipuṇā kataparappavādā vālavedhirūpā vobhindantā maññe caranti paññāgatena diṭṭhigatāni, te maṃ tattha samanuyuñjeyyuṃ samanugāheyyuṃ samanubhāseyyuṃ. ye maṃ tattha samanuyuñjeyyuṃ samanuyuñjeyyuṃ samanuyuñjeyyuṃ, tesāhaṃ na sampāyeyyaṃ. yesāhaṃ na sampāyeyyaṃ, so mam assa vighāto. yo mam’ assa vighāto, so mam’ assa antarāyo ti. iti so anuyogabhayā anuyogaparijegucchā n ev idaṃ kusalan ti vyākaroti. na pan idaṃ akusalan ti vyākaroti.

All views (including the fourth view) conclude with:

tattha tattha pañhaṃ puṭṭho samāno vācāvikkhepaṃ āpajjati amarāvikkhepaṃ: evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no ti.

[4] View 4: idha bhikkhave ekacco samaṇo vā brāhmaṇo vā mando hoti momūho. so mandattā momūhattā tattha tattha pañhaṃ puṭṭho samāno vācāvikkhepaṃ āpajjati amarāvikkhepaṃ: atthi paro loko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi paro loko ti iti ce me assa, atthi paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n’ atthi paro loko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n’ atthi paro loko ti iti ce me assa, n’ atthi paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi ca n’ atthi ca paro loko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi ca n’ atthi ca paro loko ti iti ce me assa, atthi ca n’ atthi ca paro loko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce maṃ assa, atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce me assa, n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi ca n’ atthi ca sattā opapātikā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sattā opapātikā ti iti ce me assa, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sattā opapātikā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. nevatthi na n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n ev atthi na n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce me assa, n ev atthi na n’ atthi sattā opapātikā ti iti ce naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce me assa, atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce me assa, n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. atthi ca n’ atthi ca sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko iti ce me assa, atthi ca n’ atthi ca sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n ev atthi na n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n ev atthi na n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipāko ti iti ce me assa, n’ ev’ atthi na n’ atthi sukaṭadukkaṭānaṃ kammānaṃ phalaṃ vipākoti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. na hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, na hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, na hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. hoti ca na hoti ca tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, hoti ca na hoti ca tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, hoti ca na hoti ca tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no. n eva hoti na na hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti ce maṃ pucchasi, n’ eva hoti na na hoti tathāgato paraṃ maraṇā ti iti ce me assa, n eva hoti na na hoti tathāgato param maraṇā ti iti te naṃ vyākareyyaṃ. evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no, D I 24-28.

[5] Jayatilleke, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, p. 120, Dutt, Early Monastic Buddhism, pp. 51-2.

[6] Jayatilleke, ibid., p. 127.

[7] Jayatilleke, ibid. p. 128-9.

[8] See Warder’s discussion, Outline of Indian Philosophy, p. 45.

[9] evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi me no.

[10] Four clauses by not counting the first phrase evam pi me no. Watanabe, Philosophy and its Development in the Nikāyas and Abhidhamma, p. 89. Watanabe gives as his reference Sumaṇgalavilāsinī,115-6.

[11] puna ca paraṃ [] idh’ ekacco satthā mando hoti momūho, so mandattā momūhattā tathā tathā pañhaṃ puṭṭho samāno vācāvikkhepaṃ āpajjati amarāvikkhepaṃ: evam pi me no. tathā ti pi me no. aññathā ti pi me no. no ti pi me no. no no ti pi no. M I 520-521.

[12] The other three are those who claim ‘omniscience’ (sabbaññū), the ‘traditionalist’ (anussaviko), and the third the ‘reasoner’ and ‘enquirer’ (takkī, vīmaṃsī). These can of course be compared to the four ways which ‘negate the living of the holy life’ cited in chapter two. These four kinds of holy life without consolation are evaluated in a more positive way than the previous group of four. Those who claim omniscience are most likely Jains, the anussaviko is surely an allusion to the Brahmanic tradition, the takkī/vīmaṃsī are familiar as a way of arriving at a viewpoint from the Brahmajāla-sutta.

[13] Jayatilleke, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, p. 474; see also Steven Collins, Selfless Persons, p. 128.

[14] Jayatilleke, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, pp. 124, 128-9; A.K. Warder, Outline of Indian Philosophy (Delhi, 1971), pp. 45-46; B. M. Barua, Pre-Buddhistic Indian Philosophy (Calcutta, 1921), p. 326; G. C. Pande, Studies in the Origins of Buddhism (Allahabad, 1957),p. 350. Pande thinks that, at the very least, this scepticism is based upon ‘critical considerations’.