If everything exists for an instant only, as with Sautrāntika Buddhism, then doesn't that mean everything dies at the exact same time it is born? Isn't that impossible?

I am not asking for an analysis of the sutta pitaka, but to understand how anyone could hold those two positions. Did it ever come up in historical debate?

  • They are supposedly sutta based school so idk why you don't want sutta analysis because certainly their positions were supposedly derived from those texts. I don't think i can for sure say what their exact doctrine was as i only read the wiki but i think i get their problem with momentariness could be.
    – user8527
    Aug 10, 2020 at 17:29
  • yeah i don't get what you're not knowing here @MAGA2020 i do not want sutta analysis cos it will only be a poor substitute for scholarship.
    – user2512
    Aug 10, 2020 at 17:32
  • 2
    So you are asking explicitly about the views of those who follow the sutta and how their understanding developed but you don't want to know the analysis of sutta that are basis for their understanding. Im not understanding how this can be answered without analyzing the sutta. The school you referenced are Suttavadins, it's in their name.
    – user8527
    Aug 10, 2020 at 17:38
  • The breath dies as it is born
    – Lowbrow
    Aug 10, 2020 at 21:20
  • @MAGA2020 I think the Sautrāntika school derived their own abhidharma and that this question is asking about some element from that -- the OP's comment, "a poor substitute for scholarship", implies to me that to answer this question you need to be a scholar who knows that the Sautrāntika doctrine/abhidharma was, and not simply give your own opinion of the question based only on your own understanding of the suttas.
    – ChrisW
    Aug 11, 2020 at 11:05

2 Answers 2


I would say there were two ways of looking at this.

  1. You can't exist "for" an instant but you can exist "at" this instant. You are not living five minutes ago, or two hours in the future. You are living at this precise moment.
  2. "You" are living in this instant and this "you" is different to the "you" of last week or last year or five mins ago. As you experience things, you change and become a different person. You don't die or become a different being.

“Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

[Note that this isn't dedicated for stacks, exchange and what ever world-binding trade but for release from this wheel]

  • What an assemblies of people with no Nissaya, down-voting the peak of the Buddhas Dhamma... not capable of proper attention but after exchange, stacks and trade... Aug 25, 2020 at 21:43

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