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It's mentioned in many references that when someone becomes Sotāpanna (= stream-entrant = Person-who-has-seen-Dharma) then the first three fetters (saŋyojana) are dropped.

My question is, if the first fetter which is self-View (sakkāya-ditthi) is dropped, then who is going to be Sakurdagami = Once Return, Anagami = non-returning and Arahant, or how can he focus on the path as his self-view is already dropped by that time.

And also when Anagami person is to become Arahant, he is supposed to drop the last three fetters which are conceit (māna), restlessness (uddhacca),ignorance (avijjā). And if someone has already dropped the self-view then how he can drop the conceit (mana) (the eighth fetter) as it's a subset of the self-view.

The answers like: "It's partially dropped, etc" are not correct as that's not how it's defined (if not it's mistaken).

And there are many places in Tripitaka, that Buddha mentioned as I to refer him self, so does the Buddha still has self-view?

And in Khemaka Sutta this is clearly explained that even Anagami person has I am feeling and desire, which is a subset of self-view.

"Friends, even though a noble disciple has abandoned the five lower fetters, he still has with regard to the five clinging-aggregates a lingering residual 'I am' conceit, an 'I am' desire, an 'I am' obsession. But at a later time he keeps focusing on the phenomena of arising & passing away with regard to the five clinging-aggregates:

Do you still believe that Sakkaya Ditti means Self-View ? or is it a mistake?

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Linguistically, 'sakkāya' ('sat-kaya') means 'true' or 'real body' rather than 'own body'. If it meant 'own body' ('sa-kaya'), this would make our study of theory much easier.

The word 'kaya' means 'group' or 'collection' rather than merely 'physical body'.

In defining 'sakkaya', MN 44 says:

Visākha, the Buddha said that these five grasping aggregates are identity.

Pañca kho ime, āvuso visākha, upādānakkhandhā sakkāyo vutto bhagavatā,

'Sakkāya-ditthi' is also defined in MN 44, as follows:

But ma’am, how does identity view come about?”

Kathaṃ panāyye, sakkāyadiṭṭhi hotī ti?

It’s when an uneducated ordinary person has not seen the noble ones, and is neither skilled nor trained in the teaching of the noble ones. They’ve not seen good persons, and are neither skilled nor trained in the teaching of the good persons. They regard form as self, self as having form, form in self, or self in form. They regard feeling … perception … choices … consciousness as self, self as having consciousness, consciousness in self, or self in consciousness.

viññāṇaṃ attato samanupassati, viññāṇavantaṃ vā attānaṃ, attani vā viññāṇaṃ, viññāṇasmiṃ vā attānaṃ.

It follows 'sakkāya-ditthi' appears to be the belief that the individual life (not yet discerned as five discrete aggregates) is a "real true self" or "atta" (even though the term 'sakkāya' may not translate directly as such).

There are suttas, such as SN 35.166 & SN 35.167, that distinguish the terms "sakkāyadiṭṭhi" (translated as "identity-view") and "attānudiṭṭhi" (translated as "self-view").

Of note & merely guessing: SN 35.166 says realising the 'unsatisfactoriness' ('dukkha') of sense phenomena leads to abandoning 'sakkāyadiṭṭhi' and SN 35.167 says realising the 'not-self' ('anatta') of sense phenomena leads to abandoning "attānudiṭṭhi". Thus, SN 35.166 appears to pertain to the practise for stream-entry & once-returner, which includes realising 'unsatisfactoriness' so the hindrances to concentration, such as sensual desire, are abandoned. Where as SN 35.167 appears to pertain to the practise for Arahantship.

In short, 'sakkāya-ditthi' (fixed true identity view) is obviously the view of the ordinary worldly person (called puthujjana) that believes their life is a real solid intrinsic self.

Where as it appears "attānudiṭṭhi" ('self-view') can, on certain occasions, merely refer to fleeting views of "self" that arise when a non-Arahant Noble One has a lapse in mindfulness & wisdom, as described in the Khemaka Sutta.

Thus "conceit" or "mana" for a non-Arahant Noble One appears to be an example of "attānudiṭṭhi" ("self-view") but would not be an example of 'sakkāya-ditthi' (view of fixed true identity).


As for personal pronouns found in the suttas, Noble Ones merely use these as mere linguistic "conventions". Refer particularly to SN 1.25 & also SN 5.10.

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In my understanding, there is no controversy here at all. The explanation can be very simple:

Before stream-entry, someone can think: "I am this body" or "I am inside this body" or "I am the perceiver of all my experience" or "I am the decision maker of all my actions" or "I am my memories" or "I am the thinker of thoughts".

With stream-entry these mistaken views are abandoned. Body is just body. Experience is just experience. Actions are just actions. Memories are just memories. Thoughts are just thoughts. They are not "I", there is no "I" in them, nor is "I" doing them.

At the same time, after stream-entry there are still remaining hangups to be abandoned. Particularly, there are still some habits of getting drawn to pleasant experiences and avoiding unpleasant experiences, once those are abandoned there remains anxiety about not being perfect enough (udacca-kukucca), once that is abandoned there is pride of being perfect (mana). Having these issues does not require identifying anything as "I". Even without thinking "I am this" or "I am that" there are states of attraction, aversion, anxiety, or pride.

You are asking, how is it possible that someone could keep working on these issues without thinking "I am body", or "I am inside body" or "I am the thinker of thoughts" or "I am the doer of actions" etc.?

From my experience, working on them does not require thinking in terms of "I". Instead, what's required is to see "body as body", "feelings as feelings", "thoughts as thoughts" etc. - as explained in Satipatthana. When there is such seeing, there is observation: "here is a thought conducive to dukkha" and "this thought conducive to dukkha should be abandoned" and "this thought conducive to dukkha has been abandoned" - as you can see this can happen without any I-making.

At the same time, even after abandoning explicit I-making (thinking in terms of I) there is still deep-lying residual habit or intuition of assuming that "I" is the decision-maker of actions and the experiencer of experiences. As explained in the suttas, this will linger for a long time and requires very intensive and deep meditation practice to be abandoned.

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My question is, if the first fetter which is self-View (sakkāya-ditthi) is dropped, then who is going to be Sakurdagami

I think that's a potentially misleading question.

  • "If God didn't create the universe, then who did?"
  • "If you didn't cause the thunder, then who did?"

If you look at MN 72 it suggests that "does not apply" might be a right reply to a question like that.

how can he focus on the path as his self-view is already dropped by that time

SN 5.10 suggests that the bhikkhuni Vajira is aware of the arising and cessation of dukkha.

I think that (i.e. knowledge of the arising and cessation of dukkha) is what the four noble truths describe -- not any "self-view" or "self-theory".

And if someone has already dropped the self-view then how he can drop the conceit (mana) (the eighth fetter) as it's a subset of the self-view

See How are 'conceit' and 'identity-view' not the same?

I think a "view" is more permanent.

For example,

  • "I believe I should be rude to you" -- that implies I'll try to be rude, and always be rude.
  • "I believe I shouldn't be rude" -- but sometimes I'm still rude by mistake, accidentally or out of carelessness -- that's something different, and not really "a subset".

And there are many places in Tripitaka, that Buddha mentioned as I to refer him self, so does the Buddha still has self-view?

I've read that theory before, e.g. here.

I think it's a mistranslation or misunderstanding -- a person might use the first person singular in conventional speech without intending that to be understood as a statement about "true self" or "permanent body" or even "soul" or "union with Brahma" or anything like that.

Do you still believe that Sakkaya Ditti means Self-View ? or is it a mistake?

Also I think the word Sakkāya is implying something about "true body" -- it's not just about a (fixed or temporary) sense of "self" -- it's a view about the "body" or the "aggregates", i.e. as described in SN 22.59.

  • I'm not understand this answer, may be what I want to ask is not clear in the question. Anyway how can this be a misleading question it's simply like, You are supposed to run 100m now, and fist step to win the race is cut your two legs, now how can you run the race ( you can crawl but it's not running) – Isuru Jun 13 at 6:50
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Upasaka, those interested,

Sakka = honour/fall for - kāya = group , this giving into, falling for, uphold, starts very outwardly, such as group-identifications, nationality, gender, family, kind, buddhist...we, my, my land, my skill... goes further and deeper to ones body, deeper to the five aggregates. Penetrating here, able to "disconnect" nama-rupa, the stream beginns. Yet, to penetrate the subtile areas, merely in spheres of nama, fine-material-identification, a-rupa-identifications, will need another three turns of the path-wheel.

One can also divide as Sakka -aya, aya meaning 'income', relaying on a group, trade, so "still after amassing" and not on the way of abounding, letting go, letting go of what is not really ones own.

One having entered the stream is said to have become independent (for further walk along).

Again here: First Things First, leaving home/stand, purify one silas. Useless to work on refined polishing a chair, cratching on the bark, if the tree stands firm in the forest. From outwardly letting off, rupa... to the fine, all based on Sila, those shares.

(Note that this is not given for trade, exchanges, stacks or entertainment, but as a means to escape this wheel)

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Imagine you're someone who is afraid of swimming and has never swum before.

You are afraid that you would drown. You have the view that swimming will cause drowning, because someone you knew, drowned in a swimming pool.

Due to holding this view that swimming will cause drowning, you avoid going anywhere near a swimming pool, let alone trying to even dip your toes in it.

But imagine that the government suddenly required that every person must learn to swim.

When you speak to a swimming instructor, she convinces you that the human body can easily float without much effort, and demonstrates this. She also shows you how an infant can easily float without much effort.

With this, you abandon your false view that swimming will cause drowning, and you decide to learn how to swim.

Although you have abandoned your false view that swimming will cause drowning, still you are afraid to let go, and let yourself float. You remain holding on to the edge of the pool or to a flotation device (like a "pool noodle"). Even if you try to let go, you quickly grasp the edge of the pool again. The edge of the pool is your safe haven.

You KNOW that the center of the pool is safe, but you don't FEEL that it's safe.

Although you have abandoned your view and you are convinced that it is not a problem to float, yet you cannot let go of the edge of the pool. This is not due to a false view, but rather due to deep-seated habits and tendencies to avoid the danger of drowning.

Similarly, discarding the self-view may be far easier than uprooting the self-habit or self-conceit or self-obsession. The self-habit is in fact a far deeper habit and tendency than the fear of drowning.

You KNOW that "I am the body" or "the body belongs to me" are false views, yet you still FEEL that "I am the body" or "the body belongs to me". That's the difference between self-view and self-habit.

This is the message of the Khemaka Sutta:

"Friends, it's not that I say 'I am form,' nor do I say 'I am something other than form.' It's not that I say, 'I am feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness,' nor do I say, 'I am something other than consciousness.' With regard to these five clinging-aggregates, 'I am' has not been overcome, although I don't assume that 'I am this.'

The Buddha is like the swimming instructor with skillful means. The swimming instructor can stand next to the pool. The swimming instructor can hold on to the edge of the pool. The swimming instructor can rest on a flotation device like the "pool noodle". The swimming instructor can also swim effortlessly. Similarly, the Buddha can use pronouns like "I" or "they" without having the self-habit or self-view. He does so, because it's impossible to communicate using natural language without the use of pronouns.

This is the message of SN 1.25:

“Someone who has given up conceit has no ties,
the ties of conceit are all cleared away.
Though that clever person has transcended identity,
they’d still say, ‘I speak’,

and also ‘they speak to me’.
Skillful, understanding the world’s conventions,
they’d use these terms as no more than expressions.”

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