Aṅguttara Nikāya

7. Book of the Sevens

54. Undeclared

Then a certain monk went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he said to the Blessed One, “Lord, what is the cause, what is the reason, why uncertainty doesn’t arise in an instructed disciple of the noble ones over the undeclared issues?”

“Because of the cessation of views, monk, uncertainty doesn’t arise in an instructed disciple of the noble ones over the undeclared issues. The view-standpoint, ‘The Tathagata exists after death,’ the view-standpoint, ‘The Tathagata doesn’t exist after death,’ the view-standpoint, ‘The Tathagata both does and doesn’t exist after death,’ the view-standpoint, ‘The Tathagata neither does nor doesn’t exist after death’: The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn’t discern view, doesn’t discern the origination of view, doesn’t discern the cessation of view, doesn’t discern the path of practice leading to the cessation of view, and so for him that view grows. He is not freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress. But the instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns view, discerns the origination of view, discerns the cessation of view, discerns the path of practice leading to the cessation of view, and so for him that view ceases. He is freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs. He is freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

“Thus knowing, thus seeing, the instructed disciple of the noble ones doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathagata exists after death,’ doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathagata doesn’t exist after death,’ doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathagata both does and doesn’t exist after death,’ doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathagata neither does nor doesn’t exist after death.’ Thus knowing, thus seeing, he is thus of a nature not to declare the undeclared issues. Thus knowing, thus seeing, he isn’t paralyzed, doesn’t quake, doesn’t shiver or shake over the undeclared issues.

“‘The Tathagata exists after death’—this craving-standpoint, this perception-standpoint, this product of conceiving, this product of elaboration, this clinging-standpoint: That’s anguish. ‘The Tathagata doesn’t exist after death’: That’s anguish. ‘The Tathagata both does and doesn’t exist after death’: That’s anguish. ‘The Tathagata neither does nor doesn’t exist after death’: That’s anguish.

The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn’t discern anguish, doesn’t discern the origination of anguish, doesn’t discern the cessation of anguish, doesn’t discern the path of practice leading to the cessation of anguish, and so for him that anguish grows. He is not freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress. But the instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns anguish, discerns the origination of anguish, discerns the cessation of anguish, discerns the path of practice leading to the cessation of anguish, and so for him that anguish ceases. He is freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs. He is freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

“Thus knowing, thus seeing, the instructed disciple of the noble ones doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathagata exists after death,’ doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathagata doesn’t exist after death,’ doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathagata both does and doesn’t after death,’ doesn’t declare that ‘The Tathagata neither does nor doesn’t exist after death.’ Thus knowing, thus seeing, he is thus of a nature not to declare the undeclared issues. Thus knowing, thus seeing, he isn’t paralyzed, doesn’t quake, doesn’t shiver or shake over the undeclared issues.”