Itivuttaka 43

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: “There is, monks, an unborn1–unbecome–unmade–unfabricated. If there were not that unborn–unbecome–unmade–unfabricated, there would not be the case that escape from the born–become–made–fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn–unbecome–unmade–unfabricated, escape from the born–become–made–fabricated is thus discerned.”

The born, become, produced,

made, fabricated, impermanent,

fabricated of aging & death,

a nest of illnesses, perishing,

come-into-being through nourishment

and the guide [that is craving]–

is unfit for delight.

The escape from that


peaceful, permanent,

a sphere beyond conjecture,

unborn, unproduced,

the sorrowless, stainless state,

the cessation of stressful qualities,

stilling-of-fabrications bliss.


1. Some scholars have argued that the term “unborn” cannot be used to distinguish Unbinding from transmigration, as there are discourses (such as SN 15:3) stating that transmigration itself has no beginning point, implying that it too is unborn. Thus they argue that in this passage the term ajātaṁ, although a past participle, should be translated as, “without birth.” However, this argument is based on two questionable premises. First, it assumes that Unbinding is here being contrasted with transmigration, even though the passage simply contrasts it with the fabricated. Secondly, even assuming that the phrase “the born—the become,” etc., is a reference to transmigration, the scholars’ argument is based on a misreading of SN 15:3. There, transmigration is said to have an “inconceivable” or “undiscoverable” beginning point. This is very different from saying that it is unborn. If transmigration were unborn, it would be unfabricated (see AN 3:47), which is obviously not the case. Thus, in translating this term to describe Unbinding, I have maintained the straight grammatical reading, “unborn.”