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Saɱyutta Nikāya:
IV. Saḷāyatana Vagga:
43: Asaŋkhata Saɱyuttaɱ

Sutta 10

ĀĀnanda (or Atthatta) Suttaɱ

Ānanda (Is There a Self?)

Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Copyright Bhikkhu Bodhi 2000, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)
This selection from The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Saɱyutta Nikāya by Bhikkhu Bodhi is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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[1][pts][than] Then the wanderer Vacchagotta approached the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him.

When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to him:

"How is it now, Master Gotama, is there a self?"

When this was said, the Blessed One was silent.

"Then, Master Gotama, is there no self?"

A second time the Blessed One was silent.

Then the wanderer Vacchagotta rose from his seat and departed.

Then, not long after the wanderer Vacchagotta had left, the Venerable Ānanda said to the Blessed One:

"Why is it, venerable sir, that when the Blessed One was questioned by the wanderer Vacchagotta, he did not answer?"

"If, Ānanda, when I was asked by the wanderer Vacchagotta,

'Is there a self?'

I had answered,

'There is a self,'

this would have been siding with those ascetics and brahmins who are eternalists.

And if, when I was asked by him,

'Is there no self?'

I had answered,

'There is no self,'

this would have been siding with those ascetics and brahmins who are annihilationists.

"If, Ānanda, when I was asked by the wanderer Vacchagotta,

'Is there a self?'

I had answered,

'There is a self,'

would this have been consistent on my part with the arising of the knowledge that 'all phenomena are nonself'?"

"No, venerable sir."

"And if, when I was asked by him,

'Is there no self?'

I had answered,

'There is no self,'

the wanderer Vacchagotta, already confused, would have fallen into even greater confusion, thinking,

'It seems that the self I formerly had does not exist now.'"


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