The Buddha on Attachment to Views and Disputations

In Buddhism, Right View is part of the Noble Eightfold Path.  But attachment to views, even right views, is always a hindrance. In The Mind Like Fire Unbound, Thanissaro Bhikkhu comments:

“Attachment to views can block an experience of Unbinding in any of three major ways. First, the content of the view itself may not be conducive to the arising of discernment and may even have a pernicious moral effect on one’s actions…

Secondly, apart from the actual content of the views, a person attached to views is bound to get into disputes with those who hold opposing views, resulting in unwholesome mental states for the winners as well as the losers…

Thirdly, and more profoundly, attachment to views implicitly involves attachment to a sense of ‘superior’ & ‘inferior,’ and to the criteria used in measuring and making such evaluations..[but as the Buddha explains] any measure or criterion acts as a limitation or bond on the mind…”

Dutthatthaka Sutta: Corrupted

translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

There are some who dispute
corrupted at heart,
and those who dispute
their hearts set on truth,
but a sage doesn’t enter
a dispute that’s arisen,
which is why he is
nowhere constrained.

Now, how would one
led on by desire,
entrenched in his likes,
forming his own conclusions,
overcome his own views?
He’d dispute in line
with the way that he knows.

Whoever boasts to others, unasked,
of his practices, precepts,
is, say the skilled,
ignoble by nature —
he who speaks of himself
of his own accord.

But a monk at peace,
fully unbound in himself,
who doesn’t boast of his precepts
— “That’s how I am” —
he, say the skilled,
is noble by nature —
he with no vanity
with regard to the world.

One whose doctrines aren’t clean —
fabricated, formed, given preference
when he sees it to his own advantage —
relies on a peace
dependent
on what can be shaken.

Because entrenchments in views
aren’t easily overcome
when considering what’s grasped
among doctrines,
that’s why
a person embraces or rejects a doctrine —
in light of these very
entrenchments.

Now, one who is cleansed
has no preconceived view
about states of becoming
or not-
anywhere in the world.
Having abandoned conceit & illusion,
by what means would he go?
He isn’t involved.

For one who’s involved
gets into disputes
over doctrines,
but how — in connection with what —
would you argue
with one uninvolved?
He has nothing
embraced or rejected,
has sloughed off every view
right here — every one.

The Buddha

♥♥♥

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About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

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