Views
Diṭṭhi Sutta  (AN 10:93)

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Then Anāthapiṇḍika the householder left Sāvatthī in the middle of the day to see the Blessed One, but the thought then occurred to him, “Now is not the right time to see the Blessed One, for he is in seclusion. And it is not the right time to see the mind-developing monks, for they are in seclusion. What if I were to visit the park of the wanderers of other persuasions?” So he headed to the park of the wanderers of other persuasions.

Now on that occasion the wanderers of other persuasions had come together in a gathering and were sitting, discussing many kinds of bestial topics, making a great noise and racket. They saw Anāthapiṇḍika the householder coming from afar, and on seeing him, hushed one another: “Be quiet, good sirs. Don’t make any noise. Here comes Anāthapiṇḍika the householder, a disciple of the contemplative Gotama. He is one of those disciples of the contemplative Gotama, clad in white, who lives in Sāvatthī. These people are fond of quietude, trained in quietude, and speak in praise of quietude. Maybe, if he perceives our group as quiet, he will consider it worth his while to come our way.” So the wanderers fell silent.

Then Anāthapiṇḍika the householder went to where the wanderers of other persuasions were staying. On arrival he greeted them courteously. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the wanderers said to him, “Tell us, householder, what views the contemplative Gotama has.”

“Venerable sirs, I don’t know entirely what views the Blessed One has.”

“Well, well. So you don’t know entirely what views the contemplative Gotama has. Then tell us what views the monks have.”

“I don’t even know entirely what views the monks have.”

“So you don’t know entirely what views the contemplative Gotama has or even that the monks have. Then tell us what views you have.”

“It wouldn’t be difficult for me to expound to you what views I have. But please let the venerable ones expound each in line with his position, and then it won’t be difficult for me to expound to you what views I have.”

When this had been said, one of the wanderers said to Anāthapiṇḍika the householder, “The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have.”

Another wanderer said to Anāthapiṇḍika, “The cosmos is not eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have.”

Another wanderer said, “The cosmos is finite…”…”The cosmos is infinite…”…”The soul & the body are the same…”…”The soul is one thing and the body another…”…”After death a Tathāgata exists…”…”After death a Tathāgata does not exist…”…”After death a Tathāgata both does & does not exist…”…”After death a Tathāgata neither does nor does not exist. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have.”

When this had been said, Anāthapiṇḍika the householder said to the wanderers, “As for the venerable one who says, ‘The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have,” his view arises from his own inappropriate attention or in dependence on the words of another. Now this view has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated. Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated: That is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. This venerable one thus adheres to that very stress, submits himself to that very stress.” [Similarly for the other positions.]

When this had been said, the wanderers said to Anāthapiṇḍika the householder, “We have each & every one expounded to you in line with our own positions. Now tell us what views you have.”

“Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated: That is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. This is the sort of view I have.”

“So, householder, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated: That is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. You thus adhere to that very stress, submit yourself to that very stress.”

“Venerable sirs, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated: That is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. Having seen this well with right discernment as it has come to be, I also discern the higher escape from it as it has come to be.”

When this was said, the wanderers fell silent, abashed, sitting with their shoulders drooping, their heads down, brooding, at a loss for words. Anāthapiṇḍika the householder, perceiving that the wanderers were silent, abashed… at a loss for words, got up & went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he told the Blessed One the entirety of his conversation with the wanderers.

(The Blessed One said:) “Well done, householder. Well done. That is how you should periodically & righteously refute those foolish men.” Then he instructed, urged, roused, and encouraged Anāthapiṇḍika the householder with a talk on Dhamma. When Anāthapiṇḍika the householder had been instructed, urged, roused and encouraged by the Blessed One with a talk on Dhamma, he got up from his seat and, having bowed down to the Blessed One, left, keeping the Blessed One on his right side. Not long afterward, the Blessed One addressed the monks: “Monks, even a monk who has long penetrated the Dhamma in this Dhamma & Vinaya would do well, periodically & righteously, to refute the wanderers of other persuasions in just the way Anāthapiṇḍika the householder has done.”

See also: DN 9; MN 63; MN 72; SN 12:15; SN 22:81; AN 7:58; Dhp 92–93; Ud 1:10; Sn 4:5; Sn 4:8–9; Sn 4:11