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Kaccānagotta Sutta

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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.[1]

Nagarjuna cites this text in his commentary Mulamadhyamaka-karika, in which Nagarjuna explores the subtle implications of Middle Way reasoning.

Alternate titles

The text is also known as:

  • Kaccayanagotta Sutta
  • Kaccāyanasutta[2]
  • Kaccaayanagotto Sutta[3]

The Sanskrit title is rendered as:

  • Kātyāyanaḥsūtra[4]


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)[5]
  • 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
  • Sūtra 19 of Nidānasaṃyukta, in a Saṃyuktāgama collection found in Turfan, probably copied ca. 13th or 14th century.[6]

English Translations

From Pāli

From Chinese

Translation from SuttaCentral

This translation of the text Kaccānagotta is published by SuttaCentral under license CC0 1.0. Translation by Bhikkhu Sujato. SuttaCentral icon square 170px.png

15. Kaccānagotta

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.’”

— Translated by Bhikkhu Sujato, SuttaCentral

References from other texts

The sutta is quoted in the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra (Section LXII; p. 145).

It is also cited in Sanskrit in Nāgārjuna's Mulamadhyamaka-karika (MMK 15.7) and in commentaries on this work by Candrakīrti, namely Prassanapadā and Madhyamakāvatārabhāṣya.


  1. Thanissaro Bhikkhu (translator), Kaccānagotta Sutta
  2. Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. Mahākātyāyana
  3. Kaccaayanagotto Sutta translated by Maurice Walsh
  4. SuttaCentral icon square 170px.png Kātyāyanaḥsūtra, SuttaCentral
  5. "CBETA". T 2.99. 
  6. Tripāṭhi, C (1962). Sanskrittexte as den Turfanfunden. Akademie-Verlag. 

External links

This article includes content from Kaccānagotta Sutta on Wikipedia (view authors). License under CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikipedia logo