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Sakkāya
Own-body

In SN 3.22.154 The Buddha teaches that because of shape, sense-experience, perception, own-making and sense-consciousness the view that there is only one correct way of seeing things with regard to body arises and that the escape therefrom is through seeing the inconstance, pain, and non-self in these things.

The word to understand is 'sakkāya.' SA = one, own; KĀYA = 'k-kha-whatever', body as in 'the human body' and as in 'a body of water'.

Woodward: 'person-pack';

Bhk. Bodhi: 'personality' (in this sutta 'identity;);

Rhys Davids: 'delusion of self';

Bhk. Thanissaro: 'self-identity';

Horner: 'own-body'.

The two closest are Horner's 'own-body' and Woodward's person-pack (taking SA as 'own > person' and KĀYA as 'pack').

The 'sakkāya-diṭṭhi' or view that there is a 'sakkāya' is a saŋyojana and is broken when one attains Stream-winning.

I suggest, against the prevailing winds, that 'body' here refers to a greater range of things than 'one's own body', and that, as well as that, the term should be understood as 'one-body' (i.e., of truth, set of ideas) that it includes holding any belief that there is but one way of seeing things and that that is the only true way and all other beliefs are foolish — a statement frequently repeated in the suttas as the principle error in holding views and which would encompass the idea that there was such a thing as 'one's own body'.

In the description above I have tried to construct a reasonable compromise in the way this is stated and the more usual translations.

Bhk. Bodhi notes that

'Spk states that the identification of each aggregate individually with the self is the annihilationist view ... [the annihiliationist view is that whatever is identified with as the self comes to be utterly extinguished upon the ending of the thing identified-with] while the other views are variants of eternalism ... thus there are five types of annihilationism [of the five khandhas: "the self is ~"] and fifteen of eternalism [of the five khandhas: 'the self has'; '~ is in the self'; 'the self is in ~']. To my mind this is unacceptable, for eternalist views can clearly be formulated by taking the individual mental aggregates as the self. [this would still be taking the (or a) khandha as the self as the mental 'aggregates' are derived therefrom] It also seems to me questionable that a view of self must implicitly posit one (or more) of the aggregates as self; for a view of self to have any meaning or content, it need only posit a relationship between a supposed self and the aggregates, but it need not identify one of the aggregates as self.'

This does not recognize the all encompasing nature of the idea of the khandhas, and proposes a 'self' outside of the khandhas that 'has a relationship' with one or more of the khandhas. This is a view of an eternal self. The Buddhas proposition is that there is no self outside of the khandhas.

Taking into consideration the next sutta SN 3.22.155, which deals explicitly with 'self' it seems to me that there are two subjects being spoken of: Holding views concerning 'things in general' 'kaya' 'bodies' of ideas or things which are all fundamentally based on the khandhas, and 'the self in particular' also based on the khandhas. There is a distinction made by at least some, if not most, people between 'body' and 'self'. Not everyone holds that body is self, but everyone has a problem with believing the way they see it is the one and only correct way of seeing things. But I may be wrong and these two suttas may be only dealing with two ways of speaking of the self.

 


 

From the Discussion of AN 4.131:

First ... one must understand fetter #1: sakkāyaditthi. The usual understanding is that this means 'view of self' understanding that to mean the idea one has that one has an eternal self, etc.

Actually the usual understanding of how this yoke is broken is to flip to the incorrect view that there is no self which is why this yoke must be understood in broader terms than 'own-self'.

The emphasis should be on the 'view' part of the compound. The holding onto points of view concerning individuality with the idea: 'This alone is the truth, all other views are stupidity.'

The Streamwinner who has freed himself from this yoke will have understood that the problem of pain arises as a result of the holding on to a view concerning his having an eternal self, but he will not necessarily have actually abandoned the identification, thoughts, and so forth that arise from having had that point of view in the past.

Its like the phantom limb phenomena.

He is likened to the person who has come across a well without a bucket to retrieve the water. [see SN 2.12.68] He can see the solution (as it were) but has not got the means to drink.

In a similar way all the first five fetters have to do with orienting the intellect to the goal and focusing the individual's behavior on elimination of various gross obstructions to perception of his inner workings.


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