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The Brahmajāla Sutta:
The Discourse on the
All-embracing Net of Views

The First Sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya


Translated from the Pali
by

Bhikkhu Bodhi


Extracted from The All-embracing Net of Views:
The Brahmajāla Sutta and its Commentaries,

translated and introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi. (BP209S)

Buddhist Publication Society
P.O. Box. 61
54, Sangharaja Mawatha
Kandy, Sri Lanka

The All-embracing Net of Views: The Brahmajāla Sutta and its Commentaries

First published 1978
Second printing 1990
Second edition 2007

Copyright © 1978, 2007 by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Complete book available at http://www.bps.lk/cover.php?id=bp209s

BPS On-line Excerpt ©: 2013

Digital Transcription Source: BPS Transcription Project

For free distribution. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted and redistributed in any medium. However, any such republication and redistribution is to be made available to the public on a free and unrestricted basis, and translations and other derivative works are to be clearly marked as such.


The Brahmajāla Sutta

I. Talk on Wanderers (Paribbājakakathā)

1. Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Exalted One was travelling along the highway between Rājagaha and Nālandā together with a great company of bhikkhus, with about five hundred bhikkhus. At the same time the wanderer Suppiya was also travelling along the highway between Rājagaha and Nālandā together with his pupil, the youth Brahmadatta. Along the way, the wanderer Suppiya spoke in many ways in dispraise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. But his pupil, the youth Brahmadatta, spoke in many ways in praise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. Thus these two, teacher and pupil, followed closely behind the Exalted One and the company of bhikkhus, making assertions in direct contradiction to each other.

2. Then the Exalted One together with the company of bhikkhus entered the royal rest-house in the Ambalaṭṭhika garden in order to pass the night. The wanderer Suppiya together with his pupil, the youth Brahmadatta, also entered the royal resthouse in the Ambalaṭṭhika garden in order to pass the night. There, too, the wanderer Suppiya spoke in many ways in dispraise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha, while his pupil Brahmadatta spoke in many ways in their praise. Thus these two, teacher and pupil, dwelt together making assertions in direct contradiction to each other.

3. When dawn broke a number of bhikkhus, after rising, assembled in the pavilion. As they sat together, the following conversation sprang up among them: “It is wonderful and marvellous, friends, how the Exalted One, he who knows and sees, the Worthy One, the perfectly enlightened Buddha, has so thoroughly penetrated the diversity in the dispositions of beings. For this wanderer Suppiya spoke in many ways in dispraise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha, while his own pupil, the youth Brahmadatta, spoke in many ways in their praise. These two, teacher and pupil, followed closely behind the Exalted One and the company of bhikkhus, making assertions in direct contradiction to each other.”

4. Then the Exalted One, realizing the turn their discussion had taken, entered the pavilion, sat down on the prepared seat, and addressed the bhikkhus: “What kind of discussion were you holding just now, bhikkhus? What was the subject of your conversation?”

The bhikkhus replied: “When dawn had broken, Lord, after rising we assembled in the pavilion. As we sat here, the following conversation sprang up among us: ‘It is wonderful and marvellous friends, how the Exalted One, he who knows and sees, the Worthy One, the perfectly enlightened Buddha, has so thoroughly penetrated the diversity in the dispositions of beings. For this wanderer Suppiya spoke in many ways in dispraise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha, while his own pupil, the youth Brahmadatta, spoke in many ways in their praise. These two, teacher and pupil, followed closely behind the Exalted One and the company of bhikkhus, making assertions in direct contradiction to each other.’ This, Lord, was the conversation we were having when the Exalted One arrived.”

5. “If, bhikkhus, others speak in dispraise of me, or in dispraise of the Dhamma, or in dispraise of the Sangha, you should not give way to resentment, displeasure, or animosity against them in your heart. For if you were to become angry or upset in such a situation, you would only be creating an obstacle for yourselves. If you were to become angry or upset when others speak in dispraise of us, would you be able to recognize whether their statements are rightly or wrongly spoken?”

“Certainly not, Lord.”

“If, bhikkhus, others speak in dispraise of me, or in dispraise of the Dhamma, or in dispraise of the Sangha, you should unravel what is false and point it out as false, saying: ‘For such and such a reason this is false, this is untrue, there is no such thing in us, this is not found among us.’

6. “And if, bhikkhus, others speak in praise of me, or in praise of the Dhamma, or in praise of the Sangha, you should not give way to jubilation, joy, and exultation in your heart. For if you were to become jubilant, joyful, and exultant in such a situation, you would only be creating an obstacle for yourselves. If others speak in praise of me, or in praise of the Dhamma, or in praise of the Sangha, you should acknowledge what is fact as fact, saying: ‘For such and such a reason this is a fact, this is true, there is such a thing in us, this is found among us.’

II. The Analysis of Virtue

1. The Short Section on Virtue (Cūḷasīla)

7. “It is, bhikkhus, only to trifling and insignificant matters, to the minor details of mere moral virtue, that a worldling would refer when speaking in praise of the Tathāgata. And what are those trifling and insignificant matters, those minor details of mere moral virtue, to which he would refer?

8. “‘Having abandoned the destruction of life, the recluse Gotama abstains from the destruction of life. He has laid aside the rod and the sword, and dwells conscientious, full of kindness, compassionate for the welfare of all living beings.’ It is in this way, bhikkhus, that the worldling would speak when speaking in praise of the Tathāgata.

“Or he might say: ‘Having abandoned taking what is not given, the recluse Gotama abstains from taking what is not given. Accepting and expecting only what is given, he dwells in honesty and rectitude of heart.’

“Or he might say: ‘Having abandoned unchaste living, the recluse Gotama lives the life of chastity. He dwells remote (from women), and abstains from the vulgar practice of sexual intercourse.’

9. “Or he might say: ‘Having abandoned false speech, the recluse Gotama abstains from falsehood. He speaks only the truth, he lives devoted to truth; trustworthy and reliable, he does not deceive anyone in the world.’

“Or he might say: ‘Having abandoned slander, the recluse Gotama abstains from slander. He does not repeat elsewhere what he has heard here in order to divide others from the people here, nor does he repeat here what he has heard elsewhere in order to divide these from the people there. Thus he is a reconciler of those who are divided and a promoter of friendships. Rejoicing, delighting, and exulting in concord, he speaks only words that are conducive to concord.’

“Or he might say: ‘Having abandoned harsh speech, the recluse Gotama abstains from harsh speech. He speaks only such words as are gentle, pleasing to the ear, endearing, going to the heart, urbane, amiable, and agreeable to many people.’

“Or he might say: ‘Having abandoned idle chatter, the recluse Gotama abstains from idle chatter. He speaks at the right time, speaks what is factual, speaks on the good, on the Dhamma and the Discipline. His words are worth treasuring: they are timely, backed by reason, definite and connected with the good.’

10. “Or he might say: ‘The recluse Gotama abstains from damaging seed and plant life.

He eats only in one part of the day, refraining from food at night and from eating at improper times.

He abstains from dancing, singing, instrumental music, and witnessing unsuitable shows.

He abstains from wearing garlands, embellishing himself with scents, and beautifying himself with unguents.

He abstains from accepting gold and silver.

He abstains from accepting uncooked grain, raw meat, women and girls, male and female slaves, goats and sheep, fowl and swine, elephants, cattle, horses and mares.

He abstains from accepting fields and lands.

He abstains from running messages and errands.

He abstains from buying and selling, and from dealing with false weights, false metals, and false measures.

He abstains from the crooked ways of bribery, deception, and fraud.

He abstains from mutilating, executing, imprisoning, robbery, plunder, and violence.’

“It is in this way, bhikkhus, that the worldling would speak when speaking in praise of the Tathāgata.

2. The Intermediate Section on Virtue (Majjhimasīla)

11. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some honourable recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, continuously cause damage to seed and plant life—to plants propagated from roots, stems, joints, buds, and seeds—the recluse Gotama abstains from damaging seed and plant life.’

12. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some honourable recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, enjoy the use of stored up goods such as stored up food, drinks, garments, vehicles, bedding, scents, and comestibles—the recluse Gotama abstains from the use of stored up goods’

13. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some honourable recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, attend unsuitable shows, such as:

shows featuring dancing, singing, or instrumental music;

theatrical performances;

narrations of legends;

music played by hand-clapping, cymbals, and drums;

picture houses;

acrobatic performances;

combats of elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, goats, rams, cocks and quails;

stick-fights, boxing and wrestling, sham-fights, roll-calls, battle-arrays, and regimental reviews—

the recluse Gotama abstains from attending such unsuitable shows.’

14. “Or he might say: “Whereas some honourable recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, indulge in the following games that are a basis for negligence:

aṭṭhapada (a game played on an eight-row chess-board);

dasapada (a game played on a ten-row chess-board);

ākāsa (a game of the same type played by imagining a board in the air);

parihārapatha (“hopscotch,” a diagram is drawn on the ground and one has to jump in the allowable spaces avoiding the lines);

santika (“spellicans,” assembling the pieces in a pile, removing and returning them without disturbing the pile);

khalika (dice games);

ghaṭika (hitting a short stick with a long stick);

salākahattha (a game played by dipping the hand in paint or dye, striking the ground or a wall, and requiring the participants to show the figure of an elephant, a horse etc.);

akkha (ball games);

paṅgacīra (blowing through toy pipes made of leaves);

vaṅkaka (ploughing with miniature ploughs);

mokkhacika (turning somersaults);

ciṅgulika (playing with paper windmills);

pattāḷ aka (playing with toy measures);

rathaka (playing with toy chariots);

dhanuka (playing with toy bows);

akkharika (guessing at letters written in the air or on one’s back);

manesika (guessing others’ thoughts);

yathāvajja (games involving mimicry of deformities)—

the recluse Gotama abstains from such games and recreations.’

15. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, enjoy the use of high and luxurious beds and seats, such as:

spacious couches;

thrones with animal figures carved on the supports; long-haired coverlets;

multi-coloured patchwork coverlets; white woollen coverlets;

woollen coverlets embroidered with flowers; quilts stuffed with cotton;

woollen coverlets embroidered with animal figures;

woollen coverlets with hair on both sides or on one side; bedspreads embroidered with gems;

silk coverlets;

dance-hall carpets;

elephant, horse or chariot rugs; rugs of antelope-skins;

choice spreads made of kadali-deer hides; spreads with red awnings overhead;

couches with red cushions for the head and feet—

the recluse Gotama abstains from the use of such high and luxurious beds and seats.’

16. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, enjoy the use of such devices for embellishing and beautifying themselves as the following: rubbing scented powders into the body, massaging with oils, bathing in perfumed water, kneading the limbs, mirrors, ointments, garlands, scents, unguents, face-powders, make-up, bracelets, head-bands, decorated walking sticks, ornamented medicine-tubes, rapiers, sunshades, embroidered sandals, turbans, diadems, yaktail whisks, and long-fringed white robes—the recluse Gotama abstains from the use of such devices for embellishment and beautification.’

17. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in frivolous chatter, such as: talk about kings, thieves, and ministers of state; talk about armies, dangers and wars; talk about food, drink, garments, and lodgings; talk about garlands and scents; talk about relatives, vehicles, villages, towns, cities, and countries; talk about women and talk about heroes; street talk and talk by the well; talk about those departed in days gone by; rambling chit-chat; speculations about the world and about the sea; talk about gain and loss—the recluse Gotama abstains from such frivolous chatter.’

18. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in wrangling argumentation, (saying to one another):

“You don’t understand this doctrine and discipline. I am the one who understands this doctrine and discipline.”

“How can you understand this doctrine and discipline?”

“You’re practising the wrong way. I’m practising the right way.”

“I’m being consistent. You’re inconsistent.”

“What should have been said first you said last, what should have been said last you said first.”

“What you took so long to think out has been confuted.”

“Your doctrine has been refuted. You’re defeated. Go, try to save your doctrine, or disentangle yourself now if you can”—

the recluse Gotama abstains from such wrangling argumentation.’

19. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in running messages and errands for kings, ministers of state, khattiyas, brahmins, householders, or youths, (who command them): “Go here, go there, take this, bring that from there”—the recluse Gotama abstains from running such messages and errands.’

20. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in scheming, talking, hinting, belittling others, and pursuing gain with gain—the recluse Gotama abstains from such kinds of scheming and talking.’

“It is in this way, bhikkhus, that a worldling would speak when speaking in praise of the Tathāgata.

3. The Long Section on Virtue (Mahāsīla)

21. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as:

prophesying long life, prosperity etc., or the reverse, from the marks on a person’s limbs, hands, feet etc; divining by means of omens and signs;

making auguries on the basis of thunderbolts and celestial portents;

interpreting ominous dreams;

telling fortunes from marks on the body;

making auguries from the marks on cloth gnawed by mice; offering fire oblations;

offering oblations from a ladle;

offering oblations of husks, rice powder, rice grains, ghee, and oil to the gods;

offering oblations from the mouth;

offering blood-sacrifices to the gods;

making predictions based on the fingertips;

determining whether the site for a proposed house or garden is propitious or not;

making predictions for officers of state;

the knowledge of charms to lay demons in a cemetery;

the knowledge of charms to cure one possessed by ghosts;

the knowledge of charms to be pronounced by one living in an earthen house;

the snake craft (for curing snake bites and charming snakes);

the poison craft (for neutralizing or making poison)

the scorpion craft and rat craft (for curing scorpion stings and rat bites, respectively);

the bird craft and crow craft (for understanding the cries of birds and crows);

foretelling the number of years that a man has to live;

the knowledge of charms to give protection from arrows;

reciting charms to understand the language of animals—

the recluse Gotama abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.’

22. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as interpreting the significance of the colour, shape, and other features of the following items to determine whether they portend fortune or misfortune for their owners: gems, garments, staffs, swords, spears, arrows, bows, other weapons, women, men, boys, girls, slaves, slave-women, elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, cows, goats, rams, fowl, quails, lizards, rabbits, tortoises, and other animals—

the recluse Gotama abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.’

23. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as making predictions to the effect that:

the king will march forth;

the king will not march forth;

our king will attack and the enemy king will retreat;

the enemy king will attack and our king will retreat;

our king will triumph and the enemy king will be defeated;

the enemy king will triumph and our king will be defeated;

thus there will be victory for one and defeat for the other—

the recluse Gotama abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.’

24. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as predicting: there will be an eclipse of the moon, an eclipse of the sun, an eclipse of a constellation; the sun and the moon will go on their proper courses; there will be an aberration of the sun and moon; the constellations will go on their proper courses; there will be an aberration of a constellation; there will be a fall of meteors; there will be a skyblaze; there will be an earthquake; there will be an earth-roar; there will be a rising and setting, a darkening and brightening, of the moon, sun, and constellations; such will be the result of the moon’s eclipse, such the result of the sun’s eclipse, (and so on down to) such will be the result of the rising and setting, darkening and brightening of the moon, sun, and constellations—the recluse Gotama abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.’

25. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as predicting: there will be abundant rain; there will be a drought; there will be a good harvest; there will be a famine; there will be security; there will be danger; there will be sickness; there will be health; or they earn their living by accounting, computation, calculation, the composing of poetry, and speculations about the world—the recluse Gotama abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.’

26. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as: arranging auspicious dates for marriages, both those in which the bride is brought in (from another family) and those in which she is sent out (to another family); arranging auspicious dates for betrothals and divorces; arranging auspicious dates for the accumulation or expenditure of money; reciting charms to make people lucky or unlucky; rejuvenating the fetuses of abortive women; reciting spells to bind a man’s tongue, to paralyze his jaws, to make him lose control over his hands, to make him lose control over his jaw, or to bring on deafness; obtaining oracular answers to questions by means of a mirror, a girl, or a god; worshipping the sun; worshipping Mahābrahmā; bringing forth flames from the mouth; invoking the goddess of luck—the recluse Gotama abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.’

27. “Or he might say: ‘Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as: promising gifts to deities in return for favours; fulfilling such promises; demonology; reciting spells after entering an earthen house; inducing virility and impotence; preparing and consecrating sites for a house; giving ceremonial mouthwashes and ceremonial bathing; offering sacrificial fires; administering emetics, purgatives, expectorants and phlegmagogues; administering medicine through the ear and through the nose; administering ointments and counter-ointments; practising fine surgery on the eyes and ears; practising general surgery on the body; practising as a children’s doctor; the application of medicinal roots; the binding on of medicinal herbs—the recluse Gotama abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.’

“These, bhikkhus, are those trifling and insignificant matters, those minor details of mere moral virtue, that a worldling would refer to when speaking in praise of the Tathāgata.

III. Speculations about the Past (Pubbantakappika)

28. “There are, bhikkhus, other dhammas, deep, difficult to see, difficult to understand, peaceful and sublime, beyond the sphere of reasoning, subtle, comprehensible only to the wise, which the Tathāgata, having realized for himself with direct knowledge, propounds to others; and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak. And what are these dhammas?

29. “There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are speculators about the past, who hold settled views about the past, and who on eighteen grounds assert various conceptual theorems referring to the past. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honourable recluses and brahmins frame their speculations?

1. Eternalism (Sassatavāda): Views 1–4

30. “There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are eternalists, and who on four grounds proclaim the self and the world to be eternal. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honourable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

31. “In the first case, bhikkhus, some recluse or a brahmin, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, diligence, and right reflection, attains to such a degree of mental concentration that with his mind thus concentrated, [purified, clarified, unblemished, devoid of corruptions], he recollects his numerous past lives: that is, (he recollects) one birth, two, three, four, or five births; ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty births; a hundred, a thousand, or a hundred thousand births; many hundreds of births, many thousands of births, many hundreds of thousands of births. (He recalls:) ‘Then I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose here.’ Thus he recollects his numerous past lives in their modes and their details.

“He speaks thus: ‘The self and the world are eternal, barren, steadfast as a mountain peak, standing firm like a pillar. And though these beings roam and wander (through the round of existence), pass away and re-arise, yet the self and the world remain the same just like eternity itself. What is the reason? Because I, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, diligence, and right reflection, attain to such a degree of mental concentration that with my mind thus concentrated, I recollect my numerous past lives in their modes and their details. For this reason I know this: the self and the world are eternal, barren, steadfast as a mountain peak, standing firm like a pillar. And though these beings roam and wander (through the round of existence), pass away and re-arise, yet the self and the world remain the same just like eternity itself.’

“This, bhikkhus, is the first case.

32. “In the second case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins eternalists, who proclaim the self and the world to be eternal?

“Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or brahmin, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, diligence, and right reflection, attains to such a degree of mental concentration that with his mind thus concentrated he recollects his numerous past lives: that is, (he recollects his past lives throughout) one aeon of world-contraction and expansion, throughout two, three, four, five, or ten aeons of world-contraction and expansion. (He recalls:) ‘Then I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose here.’ Thus he recollects his numerous past lives in their modes and their details.

“He speaks thus: ‘The self and the world are eternal, barren, steadfast as a mountain peak, standing firm like a pillar. And though these beings roam and wander (through the round of existence), pass away and re-arise, yet the self and the world remain the same just like eternity itself. What is the reason? “

(The remainder is exactly the same as §31 except for the extent of time recollected.)

“This, bhikkhus, is the second reason.

33. “In the third case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins eternalists, who proclaim the self and the world to be eternal?

“Herein, bhikkhus, some recluse or brahmin, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, diligence, and right reflection, attains to such a degree of mental concentration that with his mind thus concentrated he recollects his numerous past lives: that is, (he recollects his past lives throughout) ten aeons of world-contraction and expansion, throughout twenty, thirty, or forty aeons of world-contraction and expansion… (As above)… Thus he recollects his numerous past lives in their modes and their details.

“He speaks thus: ‘The self and the world are eternal, barren, steadfast as a mountain peak, standing firm like a pillar. And though these beings roam and wander (through the round of existence), pass away and re-arise, yet the self and the world remain the same just like eternity itself. What is the reason?

(As in §31 except for the extent of time.) “This, bhikkhus, is the third case.

34. “In the fourth case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins eternalists, who proclaim the self and the world to be eternal?

“Herein, bhikkhus, some recluse or brahmin is a rationalist, an investigator. He declares his view—hammered out by reason, deduced from his investigations, following his own flight of thought—thus: “The self and the world are eternal, barren, steadfast as a mountain peak, standing firm like a pillar. And though these beings roam and wander (through the round of existence), pass away and re-arise, yet the self and the world remain the same just like eternity itself.’

“This, bhikkhus, is the fourth case.

35. “It is on these four grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins who are eternalists proclaim the self and the world to be eternal. Whatever recluses and brahmins there may be who proclaim the self and the world to be eternal, all of them do so on these four grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

36. “This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands. And he understands: ‘These standpoints, thus assumed and thus misapprehended, lead to such a future destination, to such a state in the world beyond.’ He understands as well what transcends this, yet even that understanding he does not misapprehend. And because he is free from misapprehension, he has realized within himself the state of perfect peace. Having understood as they really are the origin and the passing away of feelings, their satisfaction, their unsatisfactoriness, and the escape from them, the Tathāgata, bhikkhus, is emancipated through non-clinging.

37. “These are those dhammas, bhikkhus, that are deep, difficult to see, difficult to understand, peaceful and sublime, beyond the sphere of reasoning, subtle, comprehensible only to the wise, which the Tathāgata, having realized for himself with direct knowledge, propounds to others; and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

2. Partial-Eternalism (Ekaccasassatavāda): Views 5–8

38. “There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are eternalists in regard to some things and non-eternalists in regard to other things, and who on four grounds proclaim the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honourable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

39. “There comes a time, bhikkhus, when after the lapse of a long period this world contracts (disintegrates). While the world is contracting, beings for the most part are reborn in the Ābhassara Brahma-world. There they dwell, mind-made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the air, abiding in glory. And they continue thus for a long, long period of time.

40. “But sooner or later, bhikkhus, after the lapse of a long period, there comes a time when this world begins to expand once again. While the world is expanding, an empty palace of Brahmā appears. Then a certain being, due to the exhaustion of his life-span or the exhaustion of his merit, passes away from the Ābhassara plane and re-arises in the empty palace of Brahmā. There he dwells, mind made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the air, abiding in glory. And he continues thus for a long, long period of time.

41. “Then, as a result of dwelling there all alone for so long a time, there arises in him dissatisfaction and agitation, (and he yearns): ‘Oh, that other beings might come to this place!’ Just at that moment, due to the exhaustion of their life-span or the exhaustion of their merit, certain other beings pass away from the Ābhassara plane and re-arise in the palace of Brahmā, in companionship with him. There they dwell, mind-made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the air, abiding in glory. And they continue thus for a long, long period of time.

42. “Thereupon the being who re-arose there first thinks to himself: ‘I am Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the Vanquisher, the Unvanquished, the Universal Seer, the Wielder of Power, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, the Supreme Being, the Ordainer, the Almighty, the Father of all that are and are to be. And these beings have been created by me. What is the reason? Because first I made the wish: “Oh, that other beings might come to this place!” And after I made this resolution, now these beings have come.’

“And the beings who re-arose there after him also think: ‘This must be Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the Vanquisher, the Unvanquished, the Universal Seer, the Wielder of Power, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, the Supreme Being, the Ordainer, the Almighty, the Father of all that are and are to be. And we have been created by him. What is the reason? Because we see that he was here first, and we appeared here after him.’

43. “Herein, bhikkhus, the being who re-arose there first possesses longer life, greater beauty, and greater authority than the beings who re-arose there after him.

44. “Now, bhikkhus, this comes to pass, that a certain being, after passing away from that plane, takes rebirth in this world. Having come to this world, he goes forth from home to homelessness. When he has gone forth, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, diligence, and right reflection, he attains to such a degree of mental concentration that with his mind thus concentrated he recollects his immediately preceding life, but none previous to that. He speaks thus: ‘We were created by him, by Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the Vanquisher, the Unvanquished, the Universal Seer, the Wielder of Power, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, the Supreme Being, the Ordainer, the Almighty, the Father of all that are and are to be. He is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and he will remain the same just like eternity itself. But we, who have been created by him and have come to this world, are impermanent, unstable, short-lived, doomed to perish.’

“This, bhikkhus, is the first case.

45. “In the second case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins eternalists in regard to some things and non-eternalists in regard to other things, proclaiming the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal?

“There are, bhikkhus, certain gods called ‘corrupted by play.’

These gods spend an excessive time indulging in the delights of laughter and play. As a consequence they become forgetful and, when they become forgetful, they pass away from that plane.

46. “Now, bhikkhus, this comes to pass, that a certain being, after passing away from that plane, takes rebirth in this world. Having come to this world, he goes forth from home to homelessness. When he has gone forth, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, diligence, and right reflection, he attains to such a degree of mental concentration that with his mind thus concentrated he recollects his immediately preceding life, but none previous to that. He speaks thus: ‘Those honourable gods who are not corrupted by play do not spend an excessive time indulging in the delights of laughter and play. As a consequence they do not become forgetful, and because they do not become forgetful they do not pass away from that plane. Those gods are permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and they will remain the same just like eternity itself. But we were gods corrupted by play. We spent an excessive time indulging in the delights of laughter and play, and as a consequence we became forgetful. When we became forgetful we passed away from that plane. Coming to this world, now we are impermanent, unstable, short lived, doomed to perish.’

“This bhikkhus, is the second case.

47. “In the third case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins eternalists in regard to some things and non-eternalists in regard to other things, proclaiming the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal?

“There are, bhikkhus, certain gods called ‘corrupted by mind.’ These gods contemplate one another with excessive envy. As a consequence their minds becomes corrupted by anger towards one another. When their minds are corrupted by anger, their bodies and minds become exhausted and consequently, they pass away from that plane.

48. “Now, bhikkhus, this comes to pass, that a certain being, after passing away from that plane, takes rebirth in this world. Having come to this world, he goes forth from home to homelessness. When he has gone forth, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, diligence, and right reflection, he attains to such a degree of mental concentration that with his mind thus concentrated he recollects his immediately preceding life, but none previous to that. He speaks thus: ‘Those honourable gods who are not corrupted by mind do not contemplate each other with excessive envy. As a result, their minds do not become corrupted by anger towards one another, their bodies and minds do not become exhausted, and they do not pass away from that plane. Those gods are permanent, stable, not subject to change, and they will remain the same just like eternity itself. But we were gods corrupted by mind. We contemplated each other with excessive envy and as a result our minds became corrupted by anger towards one another. When our minds were corrupted by anger, our bodies and minds became exhausted and consequently, we passed away from that plane. Coming to this world, now we are impermanent, unstable, short-lived, doomed to perish.’

“This, bhikkhus, is the third case.

49. “In the fourth case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins eternalists in regard to some things and non-eternalists in regard to other things, proclaiming the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal?

“Herein, bhikkhus, recluse or a certain brahmin is a rationalist, an investigator. He declares his view—hammered out by reason, deduced from his investigations, following his own flight of thought—thus: ‘That which is called “the eye,” “the ear,” “the nose,” “the tongue,” and “the body”—that self is impermanent, unstable, non-eternal, subject to change. But that which is called “mind” (citta) or “mentality” (mano) or “consciousness” (viññāṇa)—that self is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and it will remain the same just like eternity itself.’

“This, bhikkhus, is the fourth case.

50. “It is on these four grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins who are partial-eternalists proclaim the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal. Whatever recluses and brahmins there may be who proclaim the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal, all of them do so on these four grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

51. “This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands. And he understands: ‘These standpoints, thus assumed and thus misapprehended, lead to such a future destination, to such a state in the world beyond.’ He understands as well what transcends this, yet even that understanding he does not misapprehend. And because he is free from misapprehension, he has realized within himself the state of perfect peace. Having understood as they really are the origin and the passing away of feelings, their satisfaction, their unsatisfactoriness, and the escape from them, the Tathāgata, bhikkhus, is emancipated through non-clinging.

52. “These are those dhammas, bhikkhus, that are deep, difficult to see, difficult to understand, peaceful and sublime, beyond the sphere of reasoning, subtle, comprehensible only to the wise, which the Tathāgata, having realized for himself with direct knowledge, propounds to others; and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

3. Doctrines of the Finitude and Infinity of the World (Antānantavāda): Views 9–12

53. “There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are extensionists,13 and who on four grounds proclaim the world to be finite or infinite. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honourable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

54. “In the first case, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, diligence, and right reflection, attains to such a degree of mental concentration that with his mind thus concentrated he abides perceiving the world as finite. He speaks thus: ‘The world is finite and bounded. What is the reason? Because I attain to such concentration of mind that I abide perceiving the world as finite. For that reason I know this: the world is finite and bounded.’

“This, bhikkhus, is the first case.

55. “In the second case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins extensionists, proclaiming the world to be finite or infinite?

“Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, diligence, and right reflection, attains to such a degree of mental concentration that with his mind thus concentrated he abides perceiving the world as infinite. He speaks thus: ‘The world is infinite and boundless. Those recluses and brahmins who declare the world to be finite and bounded speak falsely. The world is infinite and boundless. What is the reason? Because I attain to such concentration of mind that I abide perceiving the world as infinite. For this reason I know this: the world is infinite and boundless.’

“This, bhikkhus, is the second case.

56. “In the third case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins extensionists, proclaiming the world to be finite or infinite?

“Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, diligence, and right reflection, attains to such a degree of mental concentration that with his mind thus concentrated he abides perceiving the world as finite in the upward and downward directions, but as infinite across. He speaks thus: ‘The world is both finite and infinite. Those recluses and brahmins who declare the world to be finite and bounded speak falsely; and those recluses and brahmins who declare the world to be infinite and boundless also speak falsely. The world is both finite and infinite. For what reason? Because I attain to such concentration of mind that I abide perceiving the world as finite in the upward and downward directions, but as infinite across. For this reason I know this: the world is both finite and infinite.’

“This, bhikkhus, is the third case.

57. “In the fourth case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins extensionists, proclaiming the world to be finite or infinite?

“Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin is a rationalist, an investigator. He declares his view—hammered out by reason, deduced from his investigations, following his own flight of thought—thus: ‘The world is neither finite nor infinite. Those recluses and brahmins who declare the world to be finite and bounded, those who declare it to be infinite and boundless, and those who declare it to be both finite and infinite—all these speak falsely. The world is neither finite nor infinite.’

“This, bhikkhus, is the fourth case.

58. “It is on these four grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins, who are extensionists proclaim the world to be finite of infinite. Whatever recluses or brahmins there may be who proclaim the world to be finite or infinite, all of them do so on these four grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

59–60. “This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands … (repeat §§ 51–52 in full) … and it is concerning these that those who would praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

4. Doctrines of Endless Equivocation (Amarāvikkhepavāda): Views 13–16

61. “There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are endless equivocators.14 When questioned about this or that point, on four grounds they resort to evasive statements and to endless equivocation. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honourable recluses and brahmins do so?

62. “Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a 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, 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. But when he is 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.’ “This, bhikkhus, is the first case.

63. “In the second case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins endless equivocators, resorting to evasive statements and to endless equivocation?

“Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a 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, desire and lust or hatred and aversion might arise in me. Should desire and lust or hated and aversion arise in me, that would be clinging on my part. Such clinging would distress me, and that distress would be an obstacle for me.’ Therefore, out of fear and loathing of clinging, he does not declare anything to be wholesome or unwholesome. 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.’ “This, bhikkhus, is the second case.

64. “In the third case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins endless equivocators, resorting to evasive statements and to endless equivocation?

“Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a 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. 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. 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.’

“This, bhikkhus, is the third case.

65. “In the fourth case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins endless equivocators, resorting to evasive statements and to endless equivocation?

“Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a 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 to 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 is neither this nor that.’

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

  1. 1. Is there no world beyond?
    2. Is it that there both is and is not a world beyond?
    3. Is it that there neither is nor is not a world beyond?
  2. 1. Are there beings spontaneously reborn?
    2. Are there no beings spontaneously reborn?
    3. Is it that there both are and are not beings spontaneously reborn?
    4. Is it that there neither are nor are not beings spontaneously reborn?
  3. 1. Is there fruit and result of good and bad action?
    2. Is there no fruit and result of good and bad action?
    3. Is it that there both is and is not fruit and result of good and bad action?
    4. Is it that there neither is nor is not fruit and result of good and bad action?
  4. 1. Does the Tathāgata exist after death?
    2. Does the Tathāgata not exist after death?
    3. Does the Tathāgata both exist and not exist after death?
    4. Does the Tathāgata neither exist nor not exist after death?

“This bhikkhus, is the fourth case.

66. “It is on these four grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins who are endless equivocators resort to evasive statements and to endless equivocation when questioned about this or that point. Whatever recluses or brahmins there may be who resort to evasive statements and to endless equivocation, all of them do so on these four grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

“This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands …. and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

5. Doctrines of Fortuitous Origination (Adhiccasamuppannavāda): Views 17–18

67. “There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins, who are fortuitous originationists, and who on two grounds proclaim the self and the world to originate fortuitously. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honourable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

68. “There are, bhikkhus, certain gods called ‘non-percipient beings.’ When perception arises in them, those gods pass away from that plane. Now, bhikkhus, this comes to pass, that a certain being, after passing away from that plane, takes rebirth in this world. Having come to this world, he goes forth from home to homelessness. When he has gone forth, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, diligence, and right reflection, he attains to such a degree of mental concentration that with his mind thus concentrated he recollects the arising of perception, but nothing previous to that. He speaks thus: ‘The self and the world originate fortuitously. What is the reason? Because previously I did not exist, but now I am. Not having been, I sprang into being.’

“This, bhikkhus, is the first case.

69. “In the second case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honourable recluses and brahmins fortuitous originationists, proclaiming the self and the world to originate fortuitously?

“Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin is a rationalist, an investigator. He declares his view—hammered out by reason, deduced from his investigations, following his own flight of thought—thus: ‘The self and the world originate fortuitously.’

“This, bhikkhus, is the second case.

70. “It is on these two grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins who are fortuitous originationists proclaim the self and the world to originate fortuitously. Whatever recluses or brahmins there may be who proclaim the self and the world to originate fortuitously, all of them do so on these two grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

“This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands … and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

71. “It is on these eighteen grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins who are speculators about the past and hold settled views about the past assert various conceptual theorems referring to the past. Whatever recluses or brahmins are speculators about the past, hold settled views about the past, and assert various conceptual theorems referring to the past, all of them do so on these eighteen grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

72. “This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands. And he understands: ‘These standpoints, thus assumed and thus misapprehended, lead to such a future destination, to such in the world beyond.’ He understands as well what transcends this, yet even that understanding he does not misapprehend. And because he is free from misapprehension, he has realized within himself the state of perfect peace. Having understood as they really are the origin and the passing away of feelings, their satisfaction, their unsatisfactoriness, and the escape from them, the Tathāgata, bhikkhus, is emancipated through non-clinging.

73. “These are those dhammas, bhikkhus, that are deep, difficult to see, difficult to understand, peaceful and sublime, beyond the sphere of reasoning, subtle, comprehensible only to the wise, which the Tathāgata, having realized for himself with direct knowledge, propounds to others; and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

IV. Speculations about the Future (Aparantakappika)

74. “There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are speculators about the future, who hold settled views about the future, and who on forty-four grounds assert various conceptual theorems referring to the future. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honourable recluses and brahmins frame their speculations?

1. Doctrines of Percipient Immortality (Saññīvādā): Views 19–34

75. “There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who maintain a doctrine of percipient immortality and who on sixteen grounds proclaim the self to survive percipient after death. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honourable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

76. “They proclaim: ‘The self is immutable after death, percipient, and:

  1. 1. material
    2. immaterial
    3. both material and immaterial
    4. neither material nor immaterial
  2. 1. finite
    2. infinite
    3. both finite and infinite
    4. neither finite nor infinite
  3. 1. of uniform perception
    2. of diversified perception
    3. of limited perception
    4. of boundless perception
  4. 1. exclusively happy
    2. exclusively miserable
    3. both happy and miserable
    4. neither happy nor miserable.’

77. “It is on these sixteen grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins who maintain a doctrine of percipient immortality proclaim the self to survive percipient after death. Whatever recluses or brahmins maintain a doctrine of percipient immortality, all of them do so on these sixteen grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

“This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understand … and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

2. Doctrines of Non-percipient Immortality (Asaññīvādā): Views 35–42

78. “There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who maintain a doctrine of non-percipient immortality, and who on eight grounds proclaim the self to survive non-percipient after death. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honourable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

79. “They proclaim: ‘The self is immutable after death, non-percipient, and:

  1. 1.material
    2. immaterial
    3. both material and immaterial
    4. neither material nor immaterial
  2. 1. finite
    2. infinite
    3. both finite and infinite
    4. neither finite nor infinite.’

80. “It is on these eight grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins who maintain a doctrine of non-percipient immortality proclaim the self to survive non-percipient after death. Whatever recluses or brahmins maintain a doctrine of non -percipient immortality, all of them do so on these eight grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

“This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands … and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

3. Doctrines of Neither Percipient Nor Non-Percipient Immortality (Nevasaññī-nāsaññīvādā): Views 43–50

81. “There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who maintain a doctrine of neither percipient nor non-percipient immortality and who on eight grounds proclaim the self to survive neither percipient nor non-percipient after death. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honourable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

82. “They proclaim: ‘The self is immutable after death, neither percipient nor non-percipient, and:

  1. 1. material
    2. immaterial
    3. both material and immaterial
    4. neither material nor immaterial
  2. 1. finite
    2. infinite
    3. both finite and infinite
    4. neither finite nor infinite.’

83. “It is on these eight grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins who maintain a doctrine of neither percipient nor non-percipient immortality proclaim the self to survive neither percipient nor non-percipient after death. Whatever recluses or brahmins maintain a doctrine of neither percipient nor non-percipient immortality, all of them do so on these eight grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

“This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands … and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

4. Annihilationism (Ucchedavādā): Views 51–57

84. “There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who are annihilationists and who on seven grounds proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honourable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

85. “Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin asserts the following doctrine and view: ‘The self, good sir, has material form; it is composed of the four primary elements and originates from father and mother. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.’ In this way some proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.

86. “To him another says: ‘There is, good sir, such a self as you assert. That I do not deny. But it is not at that point that the self is completely annihilated. For there is, good sir, another self—divine, having material form, pertaining to the sense sphere, feeding on edible nutriment. That you neither know nor see, but I know it and see it. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.’ In this way others proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.

87. “To him another says: ‘There is, good sir, such a self as you assert. That I do not deny. But it is not at that point that the self is completely annihilated. For there is, good sir, another self—divine, having material form, mind-made, complete in all its limbs and organs, not destitute of any faculties. That you neither know nor see, but I know it and see it. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.’ In this way others proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.

88. “To him another says: ‘There is, good sir, such a self as you assert. That I do not deny. But it is not at that point that the self is completely annihilated. For there is, good sir, another self belonging to the base of infinite space, (reached by) the complete surmounting of perceptions of material form, by the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, by non-attention to perceptions of diversity, (by contemplating) “Space is infinite.” That you neither know nor see, but I know it and see it. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.’ In this way others proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.

89. “To him another says: ‘There is, good sir, such a self as you assert. That I do not deny. But it is not at that point that the self is completely annihilated. For there is, good sir, another self belonging to the base of infinite consciousness, (reached by) completely surmounting the base of infinite space (by contemplating): “Consciousness is infinite.” That you neither know nor see. But I know it and see it. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death—at this point the self is completely annihilated.’ In this way some proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.

90. “To him another says: ‘There is, good sir, such a self as you assert. That I do not deny. But it is not at that point that the self is completely annihilated. For there is, good sir, another self belonging to the base of nothingness, (reached by) completely surmounting the base of infinite consciousness (by contemplating): “There is nothing.” That you neither know nor see. But I know it and see it. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death—at this point the self is completely annihilated.’ In this way some proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.

91. “To him another says: ‘There is, good sir, such a self as you assert. That I do not deny. But it is not at that point that the self is completely annihilated. For there is, good sir, another self belonging to the base of neither perception nor non-perception, (reached by) completely surmounting the base of nothingness (by contemplating): “This is the peaceful, this is the sublime.” That you neither know nor see. But I know it and see it. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death—at this point the self is completely annihilated.’ In this way some proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.

92. “It is on these seven grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins who are annihilationists proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being. Whatever recluses or brahmins proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being, all of them do so on these seven grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

“This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands … and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

5. Doctrines of Nibbāna Here and Now (Diṭṭhadhammanibbānavādā): Views 58–62

93. “There are, bhikkhus, some recluses and brahmins who maintain a doctrine of Nibbāna here and now and who, on five grounds, proclaim Nibbāna here and now for an existent being. And owing to what, with reference to what, do these honourable recluses and brahmins proclaim their views?

94. “Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin asserts the following doctrine or view: ‘When this self, good sir, furnished and supplied with the five strands of sense pleasures, revels in them—at this point the self attains supreme Nibbāna here and now.’ In this way some proclaim supreme Nibbāna here and now for an existent being.

95. “To him another says: ‘There is, good sir, such a self as you assert. That I do not deny. But it is not at that point that the self attains supreme Nibbāna here and now. What is the reason? Because, good sir, sense pleasures are impermanent, suffering, subject to change, and through their change and transformation there arise sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair. But when the self, quite secluded from sense pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, enters and abides in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by initial and sustained thought and contains the rapture and happiness born of seclusion—at this point, good sir, the self attains supreme Nibbāna here and now.’ In this way others proclaim supreme Nibbāna here and now for an existent being.

96. “To him another says: ‘There is, good sir, such a self as you assert. That I do not deny. But it is not at that point that the self attains supreme Nibbāna here and now. What is the reason? Because that jhāna contains initial and sustained thought; therefore it is declared to be gross. But when, with the subsiding of initial and sustained thought, the self enters and abides in the second jhāna, which is accompanied by internal confidence and unification of mind, is free from initial and sustained thought, and contains the rapture and happiness born of concentration—at this point, good sir, the self attains supreme Nibbāna here and now.’ In this way others proclaim supreme Nibbāna here and now for an existent being.

97. “To him another says: ‘There is, good sir, such a self as you assert. That I do not deny. But it is not at that point that the self attains supreme Nibbāna here and now. What is the reason? It is declared to be gross because of the mental exhilaration connected with rapture that exists there. But when, with the fading away of rapture, one abides in equanimity, mindful and clearly comprehending, and still experiencing happiness with the body, enters and abides in the third jhāna, so that the ariyans announce: “He abides happily, in equanimity and mindfulness”—at this point, good sir, the self attains supreme Nibbāna here and now.’ In this way some proclaim supreme Nibbāna here and now for an existent being.

98. “To him another says: ‘There is, good sir, such a self as you assert. That I do not deny. But it is not at that point that the self attains supreme Nibbāna here and now. What is the reason? It is declared to be gross because a mental concern, ‘Happiness,’ exists there. But when, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the disappearance of previous joy and grief, one enters and abides in the fourth jhāna, which is without pleasure and pain and contains purification of mindfulness through equanimity—at this point, good sir, the self attains supreme Nibbāna here and now.’ In this way some proclaim supreme Nibbāna here and now for an existent being.

“This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands … and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

99. “It is on these five grounds, bhikkhus, that these recluses and brahmins who maintain a doctrine of Nibbāna here and now proclaim supreme Nibbāna here and now for an existent being. Whatever recluses or brahmins proclaim supreme Nibbāna here and now for an existent being, all of them do so on these five grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

“This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands … and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

100. “It is on these forty-four grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins who are speculators about the future and hold settled views about the future assert various conceptual theorems referring to the future. Whatever recluses or brahmins, bhikkhus, are speculators about the future, hold settled views about the future, and assert various conceptual theorems referring to the future, all of them do so on these forty-four grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

“This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands … and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

101. “It is on these sixty-two grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins who are speculators about the past, speculators about the future, and speculators about the past and the future together, who hold settled views about the past and the future, assert various conceptual theorems referring to the past and the future.

102. “Whatever recluses or brahmins, bhikkhus, are speculators about the past or speculators about the future or speculators about the past and the future together, hold settled views about the past and the future, and assert various conceptual theorems referring to the past and the future, all of them do so on these sixty-two grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

103. “This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands. And he understands: ‘These standpoints, thus assumed and thus misapprehended, lead to such a future destination, to such a state in the world beyond.’ He understands as well what transcends this, yet even that understanding he does not misapprehend. And because he is free from misapprehension, he has realized within himself the

state of perfect peace. Having understood as they really are the origin and the passing away of feelings, their satisfaction, their unsatisfactoriness, and the escape from them, the Tathāgata, bhikkhus, is emancipated through non-clinging.

104. “These are those dhammas, bhikkhus, that are deep, difficult to see, difficult to understand, peaceful and sublime, beyond the sphere of reasoning, subtle, comprehensible only to the wise, which the Tathāgata, having realized for himself with direct knowledge, propounds to others; and it is concerning these that those who would rightly praise the Tathāgata in accordance with reality would speak.

V. The Round of Conditions and Emancipation from the Round

1. Agitation and Vacillation (Paritassitavipphandita)

105. Therein, bhikkhus, when those recluses and brahmins who are eternalists proclaim on four grounds the self and the world to be eternal—that is only the feeling of those who do not know and do not see; that is only the agitation and vacillation of those who are immersed in craving.

106. “When those recluses and brahmins who are eternalists in regard to some things and non-eternalists in regard to other things proclaim on four grounds the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal—that too is only the feeling of those who do not know and do not see; that is only the agitation and vacillation of those who are immersed in craving.

107. “When those recluses and brahmins who are extensionists proclaim on four grounds the world to be finite or infinite—

108. “When those recluses and brahmins who are endless equivocators on four grounds resort to evasive statements and endless equivocation when questioned on this or that point—

109. “When those recluses and brahmins who are fortuitous originationists proclaim on two grounds the self and the world to

originate fortuitously—

110. “When those recluses and brahmins who are speculators about the past and hold settled views about the past assert on eighteen grounds various conceptual theorems referring to the past—

111. “When those recluses and brahmins who maintain a doctrine of percipient immortality proclaim on sixteen grounds the self to survive percipient after death—

112. “When those recluses and brahmins who maintain a doctrine of non-percipient immortality proclaim on eight grounds the self to survive non-percipient after death—

113. “When those recluses and brahmins who maintain a doctrine of neither percipient nor non-percipient immortality proclaim on eight grounds the self to survive neither percipient nor non-percipient after death—

114. “When those recluses and brahmins who are annihilationists proclaim on seven grounds the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being—

115. “When those recluses and brahmins who maintain a doctrine of Nibbāna here and now proclaim on five grounds supreme Nibbāna here and now for an existent being—

116. “When those recluses and brahmins who are speculators about the future and hold settled views about the future assert on forty-four grounds various conceptual theorems referring to the future—

117. “When those recluses and brahmins who are speculators about the past, speculators about the future, speculators about the past and the future together, who hold settled views about the past and the future, assert on sixty-two grounds various conceptual theorems referring to the past and the future—that too is only the feeling of those who do not know and do not see; that is only the agitation and vacillation of those who are immersed in craving.

2. Conditioned by Contact (Phassapaccayavāra)

118 (131). “Therein, bhikkhus, when those recluses who are eternalists proclaim on four grounds the self and the world to be eternal—that is conditioned by contact. That they can experience that feeling without contact—such a case is impossible.

119 (132). “When those recluses and brahmins who are eternalists in regard to some things and non-eternalists in regard to other things proclaim on four grounds the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal—that too is conditioned by contact. That they can experience that feeling without contact—such a case is impossible.

120 (133)–129 (142). “When those recluses and brahmins who are extensionists proclaim their views; when those who are fortuitous originationists proclaim their views; when those who are speculators about the past and hold settled views about the past assert on eighteen grounds various conceptual theorems referring to the past; when those who maintain a doctrine of percipient immortality, non-percipient immortality, or neither percipient nor non-percipient immortality proclaim their views; when those who are annihilationists proclaim their views; when those who maintain a doctrine of Nibbāna here and now proclaim their views; when those who are speculators about the future and hold settled views about the future assert on forty-four grounds various conceptual theorems referring to the future—that too is conditioned by contact. That they can experience that feeling without contact—such a case is impossible.

130 (143). “When those recluses and brahmins who are speculators about the past, speculators about the future, speculators about the past and the future together, who hold settled views about the past and the future, assert on sixty-two grounds various conceptual theorems referring to the past and the future—that too is conditioned by contact. That they can experience that feeling without contact—such a case is impossible.

3. Exposition of the Round (Diṭṭhigatikādhiṭṭhānavaṭṭakathā)

144. “Therein, bhikkhus, those recluses and brahmins who are eternalists and proclaim on four grounds the self and the world to be eternal; and those who are eternalists in regard to some things and non-eternalists in regard to others; and those who are extensionists; and those who are endless equivocators; and those who are fortuitous originationists; and those who are speculators about the past; and those who maintain a doctrine of percipient immortality; and those who maintain a doctrine of non-percipient immortality; and those who maintain a doctrine of neither percipient nor non-percipient immortality; and those who are annihilationists; and those who maintain a doctrine of Nibbāna here and now; and those who are speculators about the future; and those who are speculators about the past, speculators about the future, speculators about the past and the future together, hold settled views about the past and the future and assert on sixty-two grounds various conceptual theorems referring to the past and the future—all these recluses and brahmins experience these feelings only by repeated contacts through the six bases of contact. With feeling as condition, there arises in them craving; with craving as condition, clinging arises; with clinging as condition, existence; with existence as condition, birth; and with birth as condition, ageing and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair arise.

4. The Ending of the Round (Vivaṭṭakathādi)

145. “When, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu understands as they really are the origin and passing away of the six bases of contact, their satisfaction, unsatisfactoriness, and the escape from them, then he understands what transcends all these views.

146. “Whatever recluses or brahmins, bhikkhus, are speculators about the past, speculators about the future, speculators about the past and the future together, hold settled views about the past and the future and assert various conceptual theorems referring to the past and the future—all are trapped in this net with its sixty-two divisions. Whenever they emerge, they emerge caught within this net, trapped and contained within this very net.

“Just as, bhikkhus, a skillful fisherman or a fisherman’s apprentice, after spreading a fine-meshed net over a small pool of water, might think: ‘Whatever sizeable creatures there are in this pool, all are trapped within this net, trapped and contained in this very net’—in the same way, all those recluses and brahmins are trapped in this net with its sixty-two divisions. Whenever they emerge, they emerge caught within this net, trapped and contained within this very net.

147. “The body of the Tathāgata, bhikkhus, stands with the leash that bound it to existence cut. As long as his body stands, gods and men shall see him. But with the breakup of the body and the exhaustion of the life-faculty, gods and men shall see him no more.

“Just as, bhikkhus, when the stalk of a bunch of mangoes has been cut, all the mangoes connected to the stalk follow along with it, in the same way, the body of the Tathāgata stands with the leash that bound it to existence cut. As long as his body stands, gods and men shall see him. But with the breakup of the body and the exhaustion of the life-faculty, gods and men shall see him no more.”

148. When this was said, the Venerable Ānanda said to the Exalted One: “It is wonderful, venerable sir, it is marvelous! What is the title, venerable sir, of this exposition of the Dhamma?”

“Ānanda, you may remember this exposition of the Dhamma as the Net of the Good, as the Net of the Dhamma, as the Supreme Net, as the Net of Views. You may remember it also as the Incomparable Victory in Battle.”

149. Thus spoke the Exalted One. Elated in mind, the bhikkhus delighted in the word of the Exalted One. And while this exposition was being spoken, the ten-thousandfold world system shook.

Here ends the Brahmajāla Sutta.