The Kaccānagotta Sutta is a discourse in which the Buddha presents the middle way between the two extreme views of existence and non-existence. In this discourse, the Buddha states:
'Everything exists’: That is one extreme.
‘Everything doesn’t exist’: That is a second extreme.
Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathāgata teaches the Dhamma via the middle.
The text is also known as:
The Sanskrit title is rendered as:
The following editions of this text are avaiable:
- Pali Canon
- Samyutta Nikaya (SN 12.15)
- Also cited in toto in the Channa Sutta (SN 22.90)
- Chinese Canon
- Samyukta Agama (SA 301)
- Also partially cited in Saṃyuktāgama 262 (T. 2.99 66c01-c18 = SN 22.90) with a significantly different rendering, suggesting a different translator.
- Sanskrit manuscript
- Kaccānagotta (Sujato), SuttaCentral
- Kaccānagotta Sutta (SN 12:15) translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
- Access to Insight: Kaccaayanagotto Sutta translated by Maurice Walsh.
- Jayarava. Kaccānagotta Sutta (SN 12.15, PTS S ii.16.) along with Buddhaghosa’s commentary (PTS SA ii.32).
Translation from SuttaCentral
|This translation of the text Kaccānagotta is published by SuttaCentral under license CC0 1.0. Translation by Bhikkhu Sujato.|
At Sāvatthī. Then Venerable Kaccānagotta went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:
“Sir, they speak of this thing called ‘right view’. How is right view defined?”
“Kaccāna, this world mostly relies on the dual notions of existence and non-existence. But when you truly see the origin of the world with right understanding, you won’t have the notion of non-existence regarding the world. And when you truly see the cessation of the world with right understanding, you won’t have the notion of existence regarding the world. The world is for the most part shackled to attraction, grasping, and insisting. But if—when it comes to this attraction, grasping, mental fixation, insistence, and underlying tendency—you don’t get attracted, grasp, and commit to the notion ‘my self’, you’ll have no doubt or uncertainty that what arises is just suffering arising, and what ceases is just suffering ceasing. Your knowledge about this is independent of others. This is how right view is defined.‘All exists’: this is one extreme. ‘All doesn’t exist’: this is the second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Realized One teaches by the middle way: ‘Ignorance is a condition for choices. Choices are a condition for consciousness. … That is how this entire mass of suffering originates. When ignorance fades away and ceases with nothing left over, choices cease. When choices cease, consciousness ceases. … That is how this entire mass of suffering ceases.’”
References from other texts
The sutta is quoted in the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra (Section LXII; p. 145).
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu (translator), Kaccānagotta Sutta
- Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. Mahākātyāyana
- Kaccaayanagotto Sutta translated by Maurice Walsh
- Kātyāyanaḥsūtra, SuttaCentral
- "CBETA". T 2.99.
- Tripāṭhi, C (1962). Sanskrittexte as den Turfanfunden. Akademie-Verlag.