Itivuttaka 49

This was said by the Blessed One, said by the Arahant, so I have heard: “Overcome by two viewpoints, monks, some human & divine beings adhere, other human & divine beings slip right past, while those with vision see.

“And how do some adhere? Human & divine beings enjoy becoming, delight in becoming, are satisfied with becoming. When the Dhamma is being taught for the sake of the cessation of becoming, their minds do not take to it, are not calmed by it, do not settle on it or become resolved on it. This is how some adhere.

“And how do some slip right past? Some, feeling horrified, humiliated, & disgusted with that very becoming, relish non-becoming: ‘When this self, at the break-up of the body, after death, perishes & is destroyed, and does not exist after death, that is peaceful, that is exquisite, that is sufficiency!’ This is how some slip right past.

“And how do those with vision see? There is the case where a monk sees what’s come to be as what’s come to be. Seeing what’s come to be as what’s come to be, he practices for disenchantment with what’s come to be, dispassion toward what’s come to be, cessation of what’s come to be. This is how those with vision see.”1

Those, having seen

what’s come to be

as what’s come to be,

and what’s gone beyond

what’s come to be,

are released in line

with what’s come to be,

through the exhaustion of craving

for becoming.

If they’ve comprehended

what’s come to be,

and are free from the craving

for becoming & non-,

with the non-becoming

of what’s come to be,

monks come

to no further becoming.


1. This discourse illustrates, in a technical fashion, the function of appropriate attention explained in the note to §16. SN 12:15 presents the same point from a different perspective: “This world takes as its object a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world [= the six senses and their objects] as it has come to be with right discernment, ‘non-existence’ with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it has come to be with right discernment, ‘existence’ with reference to the world does not occur to one. By & large, this world is in bondage to attachments, clingings, & biases. But one such as this does not get involved with or cling to these attachments, clingings, fixations of awareness, biases, or obsessions; nor is he resolved on ‘my self.’ He has no uncertainty or doubt that mere stress, when arising, is arising; stress, when passing away, is passing away. In this, his knowledge is independent of others. It’s to this extent, Kaccāna, that there is right view.”

For a more complete discussion of this topic, see The Paradox of Becoming.

See also: MN 106; AN 3:76; Sn 4:2; Sn 5:5