Chapter 11: The Four Inverted Views
The Buddha again addressed Kasyapa, “What are the four inverted views?
“Giving rise to afflicting ideas about what is not afflicted, that is called an inverted view. The unafflicted is called the Tathagata. [If he] gives rise to afflicted ideas, that would mean the Tathagatas are impermanent, change, and vary. If it is said that the Tathagata is impermanent, he would be called a great and wicked affliction. Or if it is stated that the Tathagata abandons his afflicted body to enter Nirvana, just as when the fuel is gone the flame ceases, this is called being unafflicted and then giving rise to afflicted ideas. And so that is also called an inverted view.
“Suppose I were to say, ‘If the Tathagata were eternal, then this would be a view of self. Because of that view of self, this is immeasurably wicked. This is why it should be said that the Tathagata is impermanent.’ And having thus spoken, I am made happy. But the Tathagata’s impermanence would then be an affliction. If it is an affliction, how can there arise happiness from it?
Because this is an idea of happiness arising out of affliction, it is called an inverted view. Happiness arising from afflicted ideas is also called an inverted view. The happy one is the Tathagata. The afflicted one is the Tathagata who is impermanent. If it is said that the Tathagata is impermanent, that is called giving rise to afflicted ideas about of happy. The Tathagata who eternally abides is called happy.
“Suppose I were to say, ‘If the Tathagata is eternal, how then could he enter into Nirvana? If it is said that the Tathagata is not the afflicted one, how could he abandon the body and seize the freedom of cessation (nirvana)?’ Because this is giving rise to afflicted ideas abou the happy, this is called an inverted view. That is the first of the inverted views.
“Thinking that the impermanent is permanent or thinking that the permanent is impermanent is called having inverted views. The impermanent is called not cultivating emptiness. Because one does not cultivating emptiness, his lifespan is brief. Suppose someone says, ‘Not cultivating emptiness and tranquility, one attains a long lifespan’. This is called an inverted view. This is called the second inverted view.
“Thinking that the self is the selfless or thinking that the selfless is the self, this is called having inverted views. The worldly person surely says that there is a self. And those in the Buddha Dharma also say that there is a self. Although worldly person says there is a self, there is no the Buddha-nature [in that]. This then is called being in the selfless and giving rise to the idea of a self. This is called an inverted view. Those of the Buddha Dharma have a self that is the Buddha-nature. The worldly person says that the Buddha Dharma has no self. This called from within the self giving rise to the idea of the selfless. If it is said that the Buddha Dharma neccesarily is established to be selfless, then this is the reason the Tathagata admonishes the disciples who cultivate the selfless. This is called an inverted view. This is called the third inverted view.
“Thinking that the pure is impure or thinking that the impure is pure, these are called inverted views. The pure then is the Tathagata who eternally abides. It is not the body of various components, not the afflicted body, nor the body of flesh. It is not a body of muscle, bone, tendons, or connective tissues. If
there is someone says, ‘The Tathagata is impermanent, the body of various components … a body of muscle, bone, tendons, and connective tissues. The Dharma and Sangha’s liberation is complete cessation.’ This is called an inverted view.
Thinking that the impure is pure is called an inverted view. If there is someone who says, ‘In this body of mine, there is not a single dharma that is impure. It is by there being no impurities that one will be able to enter the abode of purity. The Tathagata has thus explained the practice of meditation on the impure.’ Such words are empty and delusive talk. This is called an inverted view. This then is called the fouth inverted view.”
Kasyapa said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, on this day, I have for the first time attained the right view. World Honored One, prior to this, we all werecalled people of wrong views.”