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satkāyadṛṣṭi (P. sakkāyadiṭṭhi; T. 'jig tshogs la lta ba འཇིག་ཚོགས་ལྟ་བ་; C. you shenjian 有身見) is translated as "view of a personal identity," "view of a real person," "view of the perishable collection," etc.

Satkāyadṛṣṭi is the belief in an "I" and "mine" based on the five aggregates. Hence, when looking at the five aggregates (e.g., one's body, thoughts, etc.), one thinks, "this is me." Following from this, one thinks, "this is my family, my house," etc. All other mistaken views are based on this misapprehension.[1]

Satkāyadṛṣṭi is identified as:

Sanskrit tradition

The Khenjuk states:

The belief in the transitory collection is the belief in an "I" and a "my" within the five perpetuating aggregates. It forms the basis for the other [unwholesome] beliefs.[2]

The Foundation of Buddhist Practice states:

The view of a personal identity (satkāyadṛṣṭi) is an afflictive intelligence that, when referring to the conventional "I" or "mine," grasps it to be inherently I or mine. It is called "intelligence" in the sense that it analyzes something. It is the root of saṃsāra and acts as the basis for all afflictions.[3]

Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics (Vol. 2) states:

The view of the perishable collection is an afflictive intelligence that, focused on “me” or “mine” within one’s own continuum, thinks of “me” or “mine” as autonomously “me” or “mine.” For example, it is an apprehension of an exaggerated sense of “me” that arises in the depths of your heart when someone praises you, or criticizes you, and so on, and you think “Why me?” This mind is called “view of the perishable collection” because it views “me” or “mine” on the basis of the aggregates that are assembling and disintegrating. The Compendium of Knowledge says: “What is the view of the perishable collection? It is any acquiescing, desiring, discriminating, conceiving, or viewing that views the five aggregates of appropriation as the self or as belonging to the self. It functions as the basis of all views.” Here where the Compendium of Knowledge explains the definition of the view of the perishable collection, the meaning of acquiescing and so on is as follows.
  • Acquiescing means not being wary of a distorted meaning,
  • desiring means engaging its object distortedly,
  • discriminating means fully differentiating its object,
  • conceiving means actively adhering to its object,
  • viewing means perceiving its object.[4]

The Necklace of Clear Understanding states:

The reason for speaking about this view as opinionatedless about what is perishable, is as the lamrim states,
Here, a thing which is perishable is impermanent, and accumulation means plurality. Since the basis of looking and thereby seeing the perishable as perishable is just transitoriness and plurality, one gives it the name of view of perishable because of the statement that there is no eternal and single abiding principle to which a thing may he reduced.[5]
That the function of opinionatedness is to serve as the basis for all bad views is also stated in the gzhon nu ma bdun gyi rtogs brjod (Saptakumāryavadāna):
Where and when will a person ever
Become detached from the necessities of life and
Tear out opinionatedness regarding the perishable constituents
Which is the mother of all biases?
When opinionatedness regarding the perishable is classified according to its content, there are twenty biases. It becomes twenty by subdividing each of the five constituents by way of four alternatives.[6]

Pali tradition

The Buddhist Dictionary states:

Numerous speculative opinions and theories, which at all times have influenced and still are influencing mankind, are quoted in the Sutta-texts. Amongst them, however, the wrong view which everywhere, and at all times, has most misled and deluded mankind is the personality-belief, the ego-illusion. This personality-belief (sakkāya-diṭṭhi), or ego-illusion (atta-diṭṭhi), is of two kinds: eternity-belief and annihilation-belief.
Eternity-belief (sassata-diṭṭhi) is the belief in the existence of a persisting ego-entity, soul or personality, existing independently of those physical and mental processes that constitute life and continuing even after death.
Annihilation-belief (uccheda-diṭṭhi), on the other hand, is the belief in the existence of an ego-entity or personality as being more or less identical with those physical and mental processes, and which therefore, at the dissolution at death, will come to be annihilated...
Now, the Buddha neither teaches a personality which will continue after death, nor does he teach a personality which will be annihilated at death, but he shows us that ‘personality’, ‘ego’, ‘individual’, ‘man’, etc., are nothing but mere conventional designations (vohāra-vacana) “and that in the ultimate sense (see paramattha-sacca) there is only this self-consuming process of physical and mental phenomena that continually arise and again disappear immediately.[7]

A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma states:

Personality view (sakkāyadiṭṭhi) [is] the identification of any of the five aggregates as a self or the accessories of a self. The Suttas mention twenty types of personality view. These are obtained by considering each of the five aggregates in four ways, thus: “One regards materiality as self, or self as possessing materiality, or materiality as in self, or self as in materiality.” The same is repeated with respect to feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness. (See e.g. M. 44/i,300.)[8]

Nina van Gorkom states:

When the wrong view of self has been eradicated one will not cling to speculative theories anymore. But so long as one still believes in a self, one is bound to cling to speculative theories. We all have accumulated "personality-belief" or "sakkaya-ditthi". We read in the Kindred Sayings (lV, Salayatana-vagga, Kindred sayings about Citta, 3, Isidatta) that the monk Isidatta said to Citta, the housefather:
Herein, housefather, the untaught manyfolk, who discern not those who are ariyans, who are unskilled in the ariyan doctrine, who are untrained in the ariyan doctrine... they regard body as the self, they regard the self as having body, body as being in the self, the self as being in the body.
Thus, there are four kinds of the wrong view of personality-belief with regard to "body", rupa-kkhandha. The same is said about the wrong views with regard to the four nama-kkhandhas of feeling, perception, the " formations " or "activities" and consciousness. Since there are four kinds of the wrong view of personality-belief, sakkaya-ditthi, concerning each of the five khandhas, there are twenty kinds of this wrong view in all (1 Dhammasangani, 1003). One may cling with wrong view to the idea of "I see", "my body", "my will". But they are only khandhas, conditioned elements which arise and fall away.[9]

Twenty types of satkāyadṛṣṭi

Twenty types of satkāyadṛṣṭi are identified in both the Sanskrit and Pali traditions. In this classification, there are four types of satkāyadṛṣṭi for each of the five aggregates.[6][8]

For the aggregate of form, the four types of satkāyadṛṣṭi are the beliefs that:

  1. form is the self
  2. form and the self possess one another
  3. form is in the self
  4. the self is in the form

When these four views are associated with each of the aggregates, there are twenty types of satkāyadṛṣṭi.


Etymologically, kāya means "body," sakkāya means "existing body," and diṭṭhi means "view" (here implying a wrong view).

In general, "belief in an individual self" refers to a "belief that in one or other of the khandhas there is a permanent entity, an attā."[10]

Alternative Translations

  • view of the transitory collection (Erik Pema Kunzang, Gateway to Knowledge)
  • view of the perishable collection (Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics, Vol. 2)
  • view of personality (David Karma Choephel)
  • views about a real personality (Karl Brunnhölzl)
  • view of a transitory network (Alex Berzin)
  • personalistic view (84000 Anne Burchardi)
  • personality view (Bhikkhu Bodhi, A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma)
  • personality belief (Buddhist Dictionary)
  • view of a real person (Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism)
  • view of personal identity (Thubten Chodron, The Foundation of Buddhist Practice)
  • opinionateness regarding the perishabe constituents (Geunther, Mind in Buddhist Psychology)
  • wrong view of personality-belief (Nina von Gorkom)
  • identity view (Bodhi, 2000)
  • view of individuality (Gethin, 1998, p. 73)
  • personality-belief (Walshe, 1995)
  • views on the existing group (Harvey, 2007)


  1. Khenjuk notes
  2. Mipham Rinpoche 2004, s.v. belief in the transitory collection.
  3. Dalai Lama & Thubten Chodron 2018, s.v. Chapter 3.
  4. Thupten Jinpa 2020, s.v. The Six Root Mental Afflictions.
  5. The meaning of this passage is that there is no ontological principle or essence which by definition is that by which something is what it is. The assumption of an essence contradicts the axiom of traositoriness. (Yeshe Gyaltsen, fn 33)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Yeshe Gyeltsen 1975, s.v. Opinionatedness [lta ba].
  7. Nyanatiloka Thera 2019, s.v. diṭṭhi.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Bhikkhu Bodhi 2000, s.v. Chapter VII, Compendium of Categories, "Clinging".
  9. van Gorkom 1999, Cetasikas, Wrong View (ditthi)
  10. Rhys Davids & Stede (1921-25), pp. 660-1, "Sakkāya" entry (retrieved 2008-04-09).


External links