This document contains instructions for ridding the sense of a personal self. I was wondering which suttas (or other texts) the quotes at the end come from:

“By rightly understanding ‘I am,’ one makes and end of suffering.”


“The eradication of ‘I am’ is the attainment of Nibbana here and now.”


I think the first one is for example the Kutuhalasala Sutta (SN 44.9) (S iv 398), the relevent sentence in that translation being:

Instead, he describes him thus:

"He has cut through craving, severed the fetter, and by rightly breaking through conceit has made an end of suffering & stress."'

I think that "rightly breaking through conceit" might be a translation of of the same text as "rightly understanding ‘I am’" (because "breaking through" = "understanding", and "I am" = "conceit").

There's more about the relationship between "conceit" and "identity view" in the answers to this topic.

Another translation is here:

But, he declares of him, thus:

“He has cut off craving, and through full mastery over conceit, he has made a total end of suffering.”

This gives the Pali in a footnote:

Acchejji taṇhaṁ vivattayi saññojanaṁ sammā,mānâbhisamayā antam akāsi dukkhassâ ti.

Here's part of a dictionary definition of one of those words, Abhisamaya

Abhisamaya, (abhi + samaya, from sam + i, cp. abhisameti & sameti; BSk. abhisamaya, e. g. Divy 200, 654) “coming by completely”, insight into, comprehension, realization, clear understanding, grasp, penetration.

So you can see how that word might be translated as "understanding" and/or "penetration".

A later part of that same dictionary definition says,

sammā-mān’âbhisamaya full understanding of false pride in ster. phrase "acchecchi (for acchejji) taṇhaṃ, vivattayi saññojanaṃ sammāmānâbhisamayā antam akāsi dukkhassa" at S.IV, 205, 207, 399; A.III, 246, 444; It.47

... in other words:

  • It's a "ster. phrase" (maybe "stereotypical phrase"?)
  • That dictionary translates it as "full understanding of false pride"
  • It can be found in several suttas, including S.IV (205, 207, and 399), A.III (246 and 444), and It.47.

And indeed, as stated in that definition, here it is again at the end of (for example) the Nissaraniya Sutta (AN 5.200) (A iii 245):

He has cut through craving, has turned away from the fetter, and by rightly breaking through conceit he has put an end to suffering & stress.

So it's found in at least two of the suttas (quoted/hyperlinked above), and presumably found in at least all 6 of the suttas referenced in the dictionary definition above.

  • What I find interesting in the citations you provided is the emphasis placed on craving. It seems to classify 'breaking through conceit' as just one of the conditions for cessation of suffering. This is also in line with the severing of the ten fetters. Self-view (Pali: sakkāya-diṭṭhi) is but one of those fetters (and a lower one, at that). Different ways of skinning a cat... Sep 20 '16 at 19:17
  • 1
    Not "different ways"? The fact that there are ten fetters implies it's necessary to eradicate all of them, doesn't it? The document you linked to in your OP says "granted it may take a little more as well", which I understand as saying that although eradication of identity-view is necessary, it is not sufficient. "Craving" is in the Pali phrase quoted in this answer (see the word taṇha). It's mentioned in the 2nd and 3rd noble truths; as rāgo it is 3 of the 10 fetters. SN 51.15 says that the aim is to abandon desire.
    – ChrisW
    Sep 20 '16 at 21:59

A noble disciple of the Buddha – a Stream Entrant – having let go of the clinging to the personality belief (sakkayaditthi), has to start working towards uprooting its more subtle form, in ‘Attavada’. One cannot be a stream-enter-or as long as he is in possession of the personality belief. Attavada is the very last hindrance, if eradicated will realize Nibbana.

In the Khemaka Sutta: About Khemaka, SN 22.89 it says:

Friends, even though a noble disciple has abandoned the five lower fetters, still, in relation to the five aggregates subject to clinging, there lingers in him a residual conceit ‘I am,’ a desire ‘I am,’ an underlying tendency ‘I am’ that has not yet been uprooted. Sometime later he dwells contemplating rise and fall in the five aggregates subject to clinging: ‘Such is form, such its origin, such its passing away; such is feeling … such is perception … such are volitional formations … such is consciousness, such its origin, such its passing away.’ As he dwells thus contemplating rise and fall in the five aggregates subject to clinging, the residual conceit ‘I am,’ the desire ‘I am,’ the underlying tendency ‘I am’ that had not yet been uprooted—this comes to be uprooted.

In the Dīghāvu Upāsaka Sutta, SN55.3 Buddha states:

"Therefore, Dighavu, when you are established in these four factors of stream entry, you should further develop six qualities conducive to clear knowing. Remain focused on inconstancy in all fabrications, percipient of stress in what is inconstant, percipient of not-self in what is stressful, percipient of abandoning, percipient of dispassion, percipient of cessation. That's how you should train yourself." ….. Dīghāvu later passes away and arises spontaneously in the Suddhāvāsa as a non-returner.

Read Also Upasena Sutta: Upasena, SN 35.69.

Records the incident of the death of Upasena Vangantaputta from a snake-bite. Summoned by him, Sāriputta looked at him and said that he noticed no change at all in Upasena, either in his body or in his faculties. Upasena answered that that was because he had long before quelled all lurking tendencies of "I" and "mine."


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