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The right view of the Noble Ones is described here as:

"There is no mother and father, without the self."

Buddha describes wrong view here:

“And what, bhikkhus, is wrong view? ‘There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed; no fruit or result of good and bad actions; no this world, no other world; no mother, no father; no beings who are reborn spontaneously; no good and virtuous recluses and brahmins in the world who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’ This is wrong view.

MN 117

Is it possible to turn this wrong view into the right view of the Noble Ones by adding "without the self?"

“And what, bhikkhus, is right view of the Noble Ones? ‘There is nothing given without the self, nothing offered without the self, nothing sacrificed without the self; no fruit or result of good and bad actions without the self; no this world without the self, no other world without the self; no mother, no father without the self; no beings who are reborn spontaneously without the self; no good and virtuous recluses and brahmins in the world who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world without the self.’ This is right view of the Noble Ones."

Is this an accurate description of the right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path?

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2 Answers 2

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I updated it to:

There is no "my" mother and "my" father, without the self ("me"). Whose mother and father are they? They are mother and father relative to a self.

We can understand this through the following sutta:

Seeing in what way is a monk unbound,
clinging to nothing in the world?"
"He should put an entire stop
to the root of objectification-classifications:
'I am the thinker.'
Snp 4.14

With footnote from Ven. Thanissaro:

On objectification-classifications and their role in leading to conflict, see Sn 4.11 and the introduction to MN 18. The perception, "I am the thinker" lies at the root of these classifications in that it reads into the immediate present a set of distinctions — I/not-I; being/not-being; thinker/thought; identity/non-identity — that then can proliferate into mental and physical conflict. The conceit inherent in this perception thus forms a fetter on the mind. To become unbound, one must learn to examine these distinctions — which we all take for granted — to see that they are simply assumptions that are not inherent in experience, and that we would be better off to be able to drop them.

Every father and mother are father and mother to someone. They are "my" father and "my" mother.

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The Zen story titled "Is That So?" (I suppose you know it) suggests that it's possible to 'function' as a parent, filling the needs of the child, without especial attachment to that child nor to the role of parent.

If I look at the world (society) then I see many mothers and fathers, sometimes.

Recognizing the bond or relationship between children and parents may be important for the avoidance of suffering (and so denying it is wrong)? The Buddha set a rule for example that people need their parents' permission before ordaining, I'm pretty sure that's an example of the Buddha's not denying that 'parents exist'.


I'm not sure about the phrase you quoted and perhaps you're misusing it if you use it out of context. I can't presume to know what was meant in context but I read as something like,

There is no "my" mother and father, without "me" (i.e. the self).

Extending the phrase to add "without the self" to every sentence sounds like a word-game (and it seems to me that a lot of recent questions on this site have been based on "logic").

If you're asking what "right view" is, perhaps that's better defined in another sutta than in MN 117 -- i.e. in SN 12.15 -- I'll quote it all because it's quite short, it contains several famous phrases:

Kaccānagotta (SN 12.15)

At Sāvatthī.

Then Venerable Kaccānagotta went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Sir, they speak of this thing called ‘right view’. How is right view defined?”

“Kaccāna, this world mostly relies on the dual notions of existence and non-existence.

But when you truly see the origin of the world with right understanding, you won’t have the notion of non-existence regarding the world. And when you truly see the cessation of the world with right understanding, you won’t have the notion of existence regarding the world.

The world is for the most part shackled by attraction, grasping, and insisting.

But if—when it comes to this attraction, grasping, mental fixation, insistence, and underlying tendency—you don’t get attracted, grasp, and commit to the notion ‘my self’, you’ll have no doubt or uncertainty that what arises is just suffering arising, and what ceases is just suffering ceasing. Your knowledge about this is independent of others.

This is how right view is defined.

‘All exists’: this is one extreme.

‘All does not exist’: this is the second extreme.

Avoiding these two extremes, the Realized One teaches by the middle way:

‘Ignorance is a condition for choices. Choices are a condition for consciousness. … That is how this entire mass of suffering originates.

When ignorance fades away and ceases with nothing left over, choices cease. When choices cease, consciousness ceases. … That is how this entire mass of suffering ceases.’”

This is echoed in the Vajira Sutta (SN 5.10).

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  • Thanks @ChrisW for helping to sort out the misunderstanding. Also wanted to note about your critique of "logic" that when I use this phrase I'm not talking about mathematical or western formal logic. Just mean nomal inferential logic such as what Vaijra uses in SN 5.10 or the Buddha uses throughout the suttas.
    – user13375
    Oct 20, 2023 at 17:21
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    Hi @YesheTenley perhaps I don't know what "normal inferential logic" is when it not "mathematical or western formal logic" -- e.g. Wikipedia's Inference gives syllogisms as an example, which are mathematical and western are they not. But anyway when I said "logic" I was thinking of or meant to imply logos i.e. "word" -- there have been topics about the meanings of words (which is fine in context), but then IMO using them in an algebraic, symbol-substitution kind of way.
    – ChrisW
    Oct 20, 2023 at 17:44
  • The logic employed in every day colloquial language by one or more people describing their reasoning which is usually not formal and with varied levels of rigor.
    – user13375
    Oct 20, 2023 at 18:16

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