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Sutta Nipata IV.3

Dutthatthaka Sutta


There are some who dispute
    corrupted at heart,
and those who dispute
    their hearts set on truth,
but a sage doesn't enter
a dispute that's arisen,
which is why he is
    nowhere constrained.

Now, how would one
    led on by desire,
    entrenched in his likes,
    forming his own conclusions,
overcome his own views?
He'd dispute in line
with the way that he knows.

Whoever boasts to others, unasked,
of his practices, precepts,
is, say the skilled,
ignoble by nature --
    he who speaks of himself
    of his own accord.

But a monk at peace,
    fully unbound in himself,
who doesn't boast of his precepts
    -- "That's how I am" --
he, say the skilled,
is noble by nature --
    he with no vanity
    with regard to the world.

One whose doctrines aren't clean --
fabricated, formed, given preference
when he sees it to his own advantage --
    relies on a peace
    on what can be shaken.

Because entrenchments[1] in views
aren't easily overcome
when considering what's grasped
among doctrines,
    that's why
a person embraces or rejects a doctrine --
    in light of these very

Now, one who is cleansed[2]
    has no preconceived view
about states of becoming
                or not-
    anywhere in the world.
Having abandoned conceit[3] & illusion,
by what means would he go?[4]
        He isn't involved.

For one who's involved
    gets into disputes
    over doctrines,
but how -- in connection with what[5] --
would you argue
with one uninvolved?
    He has nothing
embraced or rejected,
has sloughed off every view
    right here -- every one.


1. Entrenchments: a rendering of the Pali term, nivesana, which can also be rendered as abode, situation, home, or establishment. [Go back]

2. Nd.I: Cleansed through discernment. [Go back]

3. Nd.I explains a variety of ways of understanding the word "conceit," the most comprehensive being a list of nine kinds of conceit: viewing people better than oneself as worse than oneself, on a par with oneself, or better than oneself; viewing people on a par with oneself as worse than oneself, on a par with oneself, or better than oneself; viewing people worse than oneself as worse than oneself, on a par with oneself, or better than oneself. In other words, the truth of the view is not the issue here; the issue is the tendency to compare oneself with others. [Go back]

4. Nd.I: "By what means would he go" to any destination in any state of becoming. [Go back]

5. In connection with what: a rendering of the instrumental case that attempts to cover several of its meanings, in particular "by what means" and "in terms of what." For a discussion of the use of the instrumental case in the Atthaka Vagga, see note 1 to Sn IV.9. [Go back]

Source: ATI - For Free Distribution Only, as a Gift of Dhamma.

Dhamma Essay:
Self-transformation by Bhikkhu Bodhi

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