Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

The Related Discourses


46. Materialism

1. Thus I have heard:[1] One time, the Buddha was staying at Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park in Jeta’s Grove of Śrāvastī.

2. It was then that the Bhagavān addressed the monks, “What is it that exists, that arises, that binds and is an attachment, and that’s viewed as self, which causes sentient beings to make such views and such statements as this? ‘Sentient beings are alive in this life. After death, they are destroyed and become non-existent. The four elements combine to form a man. When his life ends, earth returns to earth, water returns to water, fire returns to fire, wind returns to wind, and his faculties turn into space. The bier bed being fifth, four people carry his dead body to the graveyard … he’s recognizable before he’s burned. After he’s burned, his bones are white as a dove. The conceited know generosity, and the intelligent know acceptance. Those who say [its fruit] exists are all speak vainly and falsely. Whether foolish or wise, they are both destroyed and become non-existent in the other life after death.’”[2]

3. The monks said to the Buddha, “The Bhagavān is the Dharma root, the Dharma eye, and the Dharma refuge …”

It’s thus explained in detail like the remainder of 35.7, and the next two sūtras are like 35.8-9 above but with this introduction.


  1. Parallels for this sūtra include SN 24.5, DN 2, and DĀ 27. [back]
  2. This wrong view is attributed to Ajita Keśakambala in both DN 2 and DĀ 27. [back]

Translator: Charles Patton

Last Revised: 21 May 2021