SN 12.17
PTS: S ii 18
CDB i 545
Acela Sutta: Naked Kassapa
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 Veluvana the wanderer Acela-Kassapa (Naked Kassapa) questioned the Buddha:]

"Well now, good Gotama, is suffering caused by oneself?"

"No indeed, Kassapa," said the Blessed One.

"Well then, good Gotama, is one's suffering caused by another?"

"No indeed, Kassapa."

"Well then, good Gotama, is suffering caused by both oneself and another?"

"No indeed, Kassapa."

"Well then, good Gotama, this suffering which is caused neither by oneself nor by another, is it the result of chance?"[1]

"No indeed, Kassapa."

"Well then, good Gotama, is suffering non-existent?"

"No Kassapa: suffering is not non-existent. Suffering exists."

"Then the good Gotama neither knows nor sees suffering."

"No, Kassapa, it is not that I neither know nor see suffering: I know suffering, I see suffering."

"Well now, good Gotama, when I asked you, 'Is suffering caused by oneself?' you answered 'No indeed' [and so on for all the other questions.] Would the Lord, the Blessed One[2] expound suffering to me! Would the Lord, the Blessed One teach me about suffering!"

"'He who performs the act also experiences [the result]' — what you, Kassapa, first called 'suffering caused by oneself' — this amounts to the Eternalist[3] theory. 'One person performs the act, another experiences,' — which to the person affected seems like "suffering caused by another" — this amounts to the Annihilationist[4] theory. Avoiding both extremes, Kassapa, the Tathaagata teaches a doctrine of the middle: Conditioned by ignorance are the (Kamma-) formations... [as SN 12.15]... so there comes about the cessation of this entire mass of suffering."

[Kassapa is converted and eventually becomes an Arahant.]


Not caused by any conditions.
Kassapa here switches from the familiar bho Gotama to the more respectable form. He is now ready to accept instruction.
Sassatavaada (SN 12.15, n. 2).
Ucchedavaada (SN 12.15, n. 3).