Sutta Nipāta

Mahāviyūha Sutta

4.13. Greater Discourse on Quarrelling

Question
Regarding those people who hold to their views,
Arguing, “Only this is true!”
Should all of them be criticized,
Or are some praiseworthy also?

Buddha
This is a small thing, not enough for peace.
I say there are two outcomes of dispute;
Seeing this one should not dispute,
Recognizing that safety is a place without dispute.

Regarding these widely-held opinions,
One who knows does not get involved with any of them.
Why would the uninvolved become involved,
Since they have no preferences
In what is seen or heard?

Those who consider ethics to be the highest
Say that purity comes from self-restraint.
They undertake a vow and stick to it,
Thinking that only training in this way is there purity,
Declaring themselves experts,
They go to future rebirths.

If he falls away from virtuous conduct and vows,
He is anxious, having failed in his task.
He yearns and longs for purity, as one far from home
Who has lost his travelling companions.

But one who abandons all virtue and vows,
and deeds both blameless and blameworthy,
Does not long for either purity or impurity;
he lives detached, fostering peace.

Dependent on ascetic practices,
Or on what is seen, heard, or thought,
They say that purity comes from continual transmigration,
They are not free of craving for life after life.

One who yearns has longings,
And is anxious regarding their aspirations;
But for one here who has no falling away or reappearing,
Why would they be anxious,
Or for what would they long?

Question
The doctrine that some people call the ultimate,
Others say is deficient.
Which of these speaks the truth?
For all of them say they are experts.

Buddha
They say their own doctrine is complete,
While that of others is deficient.
Thus arguing they dispute,
Each taking what they agree upon to be the truth.

If by criticizing an opponent
Their doctrine became deficient,
There would be no distinguished doctrines,
Because it is common for people to speak
In defence of their own doctrines,
While making the other’s out to be deficient.

Indeed, the honoring of their own teachings
Is nothing other than praise of themselves;
If each doctrine were valid,
Then purity would be just a personal matter.

The brahmin is not led by another,
Considering wisely, they do not grasp any teaching;
Therefore they go beyond disputes,
Since they see no other doctrine as best.

Thinking, “I know, I see, this is how it is!”
Some fall back on view as purity.
Even if one has seen, what use is that to them?
Overstepping, they say purity
Comes by some other means.

A person with vision sees mind and body,
And then knows only that much;
Let them see much or little,
The experts say purity does not come from that.

One who speaks dogmatically,
Who’s settled down in view,
Will not be deferent, one not easily trained.
To that attached, his own views “pure”,
“pure path” according to what he’s seen.

The paragon with wisdom comes not near
To following views, by partial knowledge bound.
Having known opinions of common people,
He’s equanimous, though others study them.

The sage lets go of all ties to the world,
And when disputes come up they do not take sides;
Peaceful amid the agitated, they are equanimous,
They don’t hold on, thinking, “Let them hold on”.

Former corruptions are abandoned,
While new ones are not created,
They have no biasses, and are not dogmatic.
The sage is freed from commitment to views,
Not clinging to the world, nor reproaching themselves.

They have no enemies in the doctrines,
Whether seen, heard, or thought;
The sage is freed, having put down the burden,
Not planning, not wanting, not wishing.