SN 12.15
PTS: S ii 16
CDB i 544
Kaccaayanagotto Sutta: Kaccaayana
translated from the Pali by
Maurice O'Connell Walshe
Alternate translation: Thanissaro
The Pali title of this sutta is based on the PTS (Feer) edition.

[At Saavatthii the Ven. Kaccaayana asked the Blessed One:] "'Right view,[1] right view,' it is said, Lord. In what way, Lord, is there right view?'

"The world in general, Kaccaayana, inclines to two views, to existence[2] or to non-existence.[3] But for him who, with the highest wisdom, sees the uprising of the world as it really is,[4] 'non-existence of the world' does not apply, and for him who, with highest wisdom, sees the passing away of the world as it really is, 'existence of the world' does not apply.

"The world in general, Kaccaayana, grasps after systems and is imprisoned by dogmas.[5] But he[6] does not go along with that system-grasping, that mental obstinacy and dogmatic bias, does not grasp at it, does not affirm: 'This is my self.'[7] He knows without doubt or hesitation that whatever arises is merely dukkha[8] that what passes away is merely dukkha and such knowledge is his own, not depending on anyone else. This, Kaccaayana, is what constitutes right view.

"'Everything exists,'[9] this is one extreme [view]; 'nothing exists,' this is the other extreme. Avoiding both extremes the Tathaagata[10] teaches a doctrine of the middle: Conditioned by ignorance are the formations... [as SN 12.10]... So there comes about the arising of this entire mass of suffering. But from the complete fading away and cessation of ignorance there comes the cessation of the formations, from the cessation of the formations comes the cessation of consciousness... So there comes about the complete cessation of this entire mass of suffering."


Samma Di.t.thi: the first step of the Noble Eightfold Path, lit. "Right Seeing." It is also rendered "Right Understanding," but the connotations of this are too exclusively intellectual. The rendering "Right Views" (plural) is to be rejected, since it is not a matter of holding "views" (opinions) but of "seeing things as they really are."
Atthitaa: "is-ness." The theory of "Eternalism" (sassatavaada).
Natthitaa: "is-not-ness." The theory of "Annihilationism" (ucchedavaada). All forms of materialism come under this heading. See the discussion in Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of DN 1, The All-Embracing Net of Views (BPS 1978), pp. 30-33.
Yathaabhuuta.m: cf n. 1.
Or, as we might say today, "ideologies" or "isms."
I take this to mean the man who sees "with the highest wisdom" mentioned above. Mrs Rhys Davids seems to have gone slightly astray here.
[Attaa me ti:] Cf. SN 3.8, n. 1. Feer's edition of SN reads here attaa na me ti "this is not myself," which would also make sense but is contradicted, not only in SA [Commentary], but also when the story is repeated at SN 22.90.
The usual translation "suffering," always a makeshift, is inappropriate here.

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

Sabbam atthi. From the Sanskrit form of this expression, sarvam asti (though used in a slightly different sense) the Sarvaastivaadin school got their name. They held that dharmas existed in "three times," past, present and future. It was mainly to this early school that the label "Hiinayaana" ("Lesser Career or Vehicle") was applied and later illegitimately applied to the Theravaada (see SN 12.22, n. 1).
Lit. probably either "Thus come" tathaa-aagata or "Thus gone (beyond)" (tathaa-gata): the Buddha's usual way of referring to himself. For other meanings cf. Bhikkhu Bodhi, The All-Embracing Net of Views (BPS 1978), pp. 50-53, 331-344.