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dṛṣṭi (P. diṭṭhi; T. 'lta ba འལྟ་བ་; C. jian 見) - is translated as "wrong view", "afflicted views", "belief", "opinionatedness", "deluded outlooks", etc. It is defined as seeing wrongly; it's characteristic is unwise interpretation of things.[1]

Both the Sanskrit and Pali traditions identify multiple types of wrong view, such as the "view of a personal identity" (satkāyadṛṣṭi). The Sanskrit tradition identifies a specific set of five wrong views.

Dṛṣṭi is identified in the following contexts:

Pali tradition

A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma states:

Diṭṭhi here means seeing wrongly. Its characteristic is unwise (unjustified) interpretation of things. Its function is to preassume. It is manifested as a wrong interpretation or belief. Its proximate cause is unwillingness to see the noble ones (ariya), and so on.[1]

Nina van Gorkom states:

What is wrong view? It is a distorted view of realities, a misinterpretation of them. Do we, for example, know hearing as only an element which hears or do we still cling to an idea of self who hears? Do we know sound as it is, as only a reality which can be heard, or do we take what is heard for a "person" or a "thing" such as a voice or a car? Person, voice and car are concepts we can think of but which cannot be heard. Hearing and thinking occur at different moments and these realities experience different objects. Only one object can be experienced at a time through the appropriate doorway, but we still have many misunderstandings about reality. Through the study of the Dhamma we may have acquired theoretical understanding of realities as being impermanent and non-self, but wrong view cannot be eradicated through theoretical understanding. It can only be eradicated through the practice, through the development of the eightfold Path.[2]

The Atthasalini (II, Part IX, Chapter I, 248) gives the following definition of wrong view, ditthi:

... It has unwise conviction as characteristic; perversion as function; wrong conviction as manifestation; the desire not to see the ariyans as proximate cause. It should be regarded as the highest fault.[2]

The Atthasalini (II, Part IX, Chapter II, 253) also states:

... From being not the right path, it is a "wrong path". For just as one who is gone astray, although he holds that this is the path to such a village, does not arrive at a village, so a man of false opinions, although he holds that this is the path to a happy destiny, cannot get there; hence from being not the right path it is a wrong path...[2]

The Buddhist Dictionary states:

Wrong or evil views (diṭṭhi or micchā-diṭṭhi) are declared as utterly rejectable for being a source of wrong and evil aspirations and conduct, and liable at times to lead man to the deepest abysses of depravity, as it is said in AN 1:22:
"No other thing than evil views do I know, O monks, whereby to such an extent the unwholesome things not yet arisen arise, and the unwholesome things already arisen are brought to growth and fullness. No other thing than evil views do I know, whereby to such an extent the wholesome things not yet arisen are hindered in their arising, and the wholesome things already arisen disappear. No other thing than evil views do I know, whereby to such an extent human beings at the dissolution of the body, at death, are passing to a way of suffering, into a world of woe, into hell.”
Further in AN 1:23:
“Whatever a man filled with evil views performs or undertakes, or whatever he possesses of will, aspiration, longing and tendencies, all these things lead him to an undesirable, unpleasant and disagreeable state, to woe and suffering.”[3]

Sanskrit tradition

The Foundation of Buddhist Practice states:

Afflictive views (dṛṣṭi) are either an afflictive intelligence (corrupt understanding) that regards the aggregates as being inherently I or mine or, in direct dependence on such a view, an afflictive intelligence that develops further mistaken conceptions.[4]

The Khenjuk states:

  • Tib. ལྟ་བ་ཉོན་མོངས་ཅན་ཐམས་ཅད་ལྟ་བ་སྟེ། ལྟ་བ་ངན་པ་ཐམས་ཅད་ཀྱི་རྟེན་བྱེད་པའོ།
  • Belief is the view of all kinds of afflictive intelligence. It forms the support for all unwholesome beliefs.[5]

StudyBuddhism states:

Deluded outlooks view their objects in a certain way. They seek and regard their objects as things to latch on to (yul-‘tshol-ba), without they themselves scrutinizing, analyzing, or investigating them. In other words, they merely have an attitude toward their objects. They occur only during conceptual cognition and are accompanied by either an interpolation or a repudiation. As mental factors, however, they themselves do not interpolate or repudiate anything.[6]

Five types of dṛṣṭi

Five types of wrong view (T. lta ba lnga ལྟ་བ་ལྔ་) are identified in the Sanskrit tradition. They are:[4][5]

  1. view of a personal identity (satkāyadṛṣṭi), which is the basis for the other four types of wrong view
  2. extremist views (antagrāhadṛṣṭi) such as eternalism and nihilism
  3. wrong views (Skt. mithyādṛṣṭi), which cut the roots of virtue
  4. belief in ideological supremacy (dṛṣṭiparāmarśa)
  5. belief in ethical and ritual supremacy (śīlavrataparāmarśa)

The Buddhist Psychology of Awakening states:

Drishti is translated as “belief” or “opinionatedness.” There are five ways to discuss this factor:
  1. We have lots of opinions regarding what is perishable, what will break down. That means that we have lots of opinions, fictions, and things we accept or claim to be the case about a self or things that belong to a self. We do not understand that this “self” is itself a belief. In fact, there is a multiplicity of factors that work together to create the illusion of a self, which will break down.
  2. There is opinionatedness regarding extremes. We really think, extremely, this is the way it is or that is the way it is. And these extremes also lead to the third point.
  3. There are opinions regarding ideologies. This is a nice translation for what in Tibetan is called “a cherished view.” Our view is very precious to us, and we cling to it. We have lots of opinions about cherished views.
  4. There are opinions regarding ethical conduct and certain things that ought to be done. People are very tight about what should be done. The tighter we are, the less we know.
  5. There are opinions that are simply wrong, meaning we have beliefs that don’t correspond to reality.[7]

Alternative Translations

  • afflicted view
  • afflictive views (Thubten Chodron)
  • belief (Erik Pema Kunsang)
  • defiled view (Padmakara)
  • deluded outlook (Berzin)
  • opinionatedness (Guenther)
  • wrong view

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bhikkhu Bodhi 2000, s.v. Wrong view (Diṭṭhi).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 van Gorkom 1999, Cetasikas, Cetasikas: Wrong View (ditthi)
  3. Nyanatiloka Thera 2019, s.v. diṭṭhi.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dalai Lama & Thubten Chodron 2018, s.v. Chapter 3.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Mipham Rinpoche 2004, s.v. Belief.
  6. Berzin, Alexander, Primary Minds and the Fifty-one Mental Factors
  7. Goodman 2020, s.v. Belief/Opinionatedness.


External links