Are Sotapannas immune to wrong views?

Dear Sekha, I don’t have any ill-will towards you as you might have thought seeing my previous direct addressing to points made by you. I can understand your situation and hope you will continue friendly discussions with metta. :green_heart: :blue_heart: :yellow_heart:

Let’s forget about philosophical debate for a while and let me question one of your points.

Where did you learn this from?

Mettā :brown_heart:

Do you think that sotapannas are immune to any kind of wrong view? That would mean that they can never be wrong about anything, which would mean that they are omniscient.

So my question is: are sotapannas omniscient?

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Sotapanna are not omniscient- only the Buddhas have that distinction.

And they still have ignorance- only the arahats have destroyed that fetter.

Moreover they still have some types of mana, conceit.

What they have eliminated is all types of wrong view, micca-dithhi.

If this was true then all sotapannas would agree on everything all the time. And they would be omniscient: if they had really eliminated “all types of wrong view”, they wouldn’t be able to have wrong views about black holes, the structure of DNA or the Krebs cycle, and that would mean that by becoming sotapannas they would have perfect knowledge of all of those things.

Rather, a sotapanna has eliminated wrong views about the four noble truths, meaning he has fully accepted them at the level of views (not fully understood them as they really are yet, otherwise they would be arahants).

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Wrong view and ignorance are two different fetters.
Even the anagamis have ignorance.

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Is the argument here that being wrong about something doesn’t mean one has a wrong view about that thing?

Also this is going way off topic

Not necessitates.
For example we sometimes enjoy sweets knowing it is wrong. Our view is correct but deed is wrong.

Some lay sotapannas sometimes have kama due to the power of kamaraga but they know it is wrong.

True but protecting correct view is also praised.
So we have to combine both.

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I am talking about being intellectually wrong, as in saying something which is not true.

Claiming that sotapannas can never have wrong view about anything is a misinterpretation, and it leads to claiming that a sotapanna can never say anything that would turn out to be wrong, and that sotapannas could never contradict each other on any topic.

Anyway my point is that anyone who can’t even contemplate the possibility of being wrong is surely creating trouble for themselves. Perhaps this merits some reflection?

I more or less agree with this. clinging to scriptures is bad, and the kalama sutta even says dont believe something just becuz your religious texts say so. Even Classical Theravada Buddhist scholars like Phra Payutto admit the Theravada texts are probably not 100% correct.

But it is also true that you should look at what is most likely to be true when discerning which things to follow. What is more likely to be true? A commentary or explanation from a few hundred years after the Buddha died from established scholar monks of the time who lived in a similar-ish time and culture? Or some view that you or someone else in the 21st century in some Western christian country with no background of the culture of ancient india just made up? clinging to views is bad, but so is excessive arrogance to think that you or someone like you living in the 21st century and growing up in a modern and probably not even indian or asian society could interpret the texts better than the historic commentaters.

And clinging applies to everything, clinging to EBT or secular Buddhist views are also bad. even clinging to Buddhism is bad. you can accept something without clinging to it.

Ahh. Actually miccha-ditthi in the Buddhist sense is about deeply held views related to the nature of samsara, to the khandhas- and all revolving around the belief in a self and permenance. It is not about black holes and DNA and krebs cycle.

AN 4.49

PTS: A ii 52

Vipallasa Sutta: Distortions of the Mind

(Vipallasa Sutta: Distortions of the Mind)

These four, O Monks, are distortions of perception, distortions of thought distortions of view…

Sensing no change in the changing, Sensing pleasure in suffering, Assuming “self” where there’s no self, Sensing the un-lovely as lovely — Gone astray with wrong views, beings Mis-perceive with distorted minds. Bound in the bondage of Mara, Those people are far from safety. They’re beings that go on flowing: Going again from death to birth. But when in the world of darkness Buddhas arise to make things bright, They present this profound teaching Which brings suffering to an end. When those with wisdom have heard this, They recuperate their right mind: They see change in what is changing, Suffering where there’s suffering, “Non-self” in what is without self, They see the un-lovely as such**. By this acceptance of right view, They overcome all suffering**.

Very well then we agree that even sotapannas can be wrong about stuff, so everyone should remain prudent.

About a thousand years would be more accurate

I am not used to rejecting ideas based on the ethnicity of the person proposing them. I would tend to consider that it’s somewhat of a shaky ground to base one’s understanding of right view on.

But since we are here, I am curious how you guys explain suttas such as AN 8.51, which states that the True Dhamma would only last for 500 years.

Which is the most likely explanation?

  • The Buddha was wrong
  • The sutta is corrupted
  • The True Dhamma indeed did not last for more than 500 years and we are now dealing with a patched up version (both Classical Theravada and EBT, and whatever else)

The Commentary clarifies that because the Buddha laid down the 8 garuka dhammas the sasana could be extended to 5000 years.
And also the councils played their part in extending it.

If this is true then why did the Buddha not say so? Because that’s very confusing now, we have the commentary basically negating what the sutta says. Anyway, I assume there’s no point discussing this either.

The thing is that nobody who wrongfully clings to their views believes them to actually be wrong view, so it’s not enough to express belief that it is right view than one is clinging to, to declare oneself free from error. This sounds self-evident, and yet here we are.

Can we at least agree that prudence is a good thing?

Yes :slight_smile:

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I add some more about the vipallasa.
There are three types: sanna-vipallasa (perversion of
perception), citta-vipallasa (perversion of consciousness) and
ditthi-vipallasa (perversion of view).

The first two are very common and arise with
with any akusala citta .
The last (ditthi-vipallasa) is the same as wrong view. The sotapanna has eradicated ditthi-vipallasa but may still have the other two types.

This sutta talks about anicca, dukkha, anatta, asubha, not about whether we should believe everything Buddhagosa wrote.

@Sekha , I had split the previous topic because it drifted into a new and interesting conversation.
We enjoy your questions and answers. :innocent:
I’m trying to keep the flow going by “splitting and closing.” The previous post will be reopen in a week (if I remember). We don’t want topics to drag out too far, and drift into new ones, but just keep talking and we will curate the splits…

It is common to confuse ignorance with wrong view. We are talking about wrong view as explained by the commentaries and abhidhamma and directly refers to the 3 lower fetters. But these are also mentioned in the Suttas as well.

Here is a list from Wikipedia.

Lists of fetters

Sutta Pitaka’s list of ten fetters

The Pali canon’s Sutta Pitaka identifies ten “fetters of becoming”:[3]

  1. belief in a self (Pali: sakkāya-diṭṭhi)[4]
  2. doubt or uncertainty, especially about the Buddha’s awakeness and nine supermundane consciousnesses (vicikicchā)[5]
  3. attachment to rites and rituals (sīlabbata-parāmāsa)[6]
  4. sensual desire (kāmacchando)[7]
  5. ill will (vyāpādo or byāpādo)[8]
  6. lust for material existence, lust for material rebirth (rūparāgo)[9]
  7. lust for immaterial existence, lust for rebirth in a formless realm (arūparāgo)[10]
  8. conceit (māna)[11][12]
  9. restlessness (uddhacca)[13]
  10. ignorance (avijjā)[14]

As indicated in the adjacent table, throughout the Sutta Pitaka, the first five fetters are referred to as “lower fetters” (orambhāgiyāni saṃyojanāni) and are eradicated upon becoming a non-returner; and, the last five fetters are referred to as “higher fetters” (uddhambhāgiyāni saṃyojanāni), eradicated by an arahant.[15]

Three fetters

Both the Sagīti Sutta (DN 33) and the Dhammasaṅgaṇi (Dhs. 1002-1006) refer to the “three fetters” as the first three in the aforementioned Sutta Pitaka list of ten:

  1. belief in a self (sakkāya-diṭṭhi)
  2. doubt (vicikicchā)
  3. attachment to rites and rituals (sīlabbata-parāmāsa)[16]

According to the Canon, these three fetters are eradicated by stream-enterers and once-returners.[17]

The Four planes of liberation (according to the Sutta Piaka[[note 1]]( iki/Fetter_(Buddhism)#cite_note-StagesFettersRebirths1-3)) stage’s “fruit”[[note 2]]( wiki/Fetter_(Buddhism)#cite_note-StagesFettersRebirths2-4) abandoned fetters rebirth(s) until suffering’s end


  1. identity view (Anatman)
  2. doubt in Buddha
  3. ascetic or ritual rules lower
    fetters up to seven rebirths in
    human or heavenly realms

once-returner[note 3] once more as a human


  1. sensual desire
  2. ill will once more in
    a heavenly realm
    (Pure Abodes)


  1. material-rebirth desire
  2. immaterial-rebirth desire
  3. conceit
  4. restlessness
  5. ignorance higher
    fetters no rebirth

Source: Ñāṇamoli & Bodhi (2001), Middle-Length Discourses, pp. 41-43.

The fetters are enumerated in different ways in the Pali canon’s Sutta Pitaka and Abhidhamma Pitaka.


Okasa Bhante,

Good householder, it’s right that a stream-enter is not capable to act on basic wrong view deliberatly, meaning that he is void of all notions of ingratitude found in the different aspects of wrong view, such as acting on “there are no parents, techer, giver”, “no fruits of deeds”, “no Sublime”… in short: with notions of demand, “rights”.

Possessed by right view he is no more capable to act grave wrong, no more able to head downwardly and fit to “clean” smaller fault by himself.

How ever, he’s still not immune of falling apart in regard of right view as a factor of the path.

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I would say this is the most likely case. I will admit I am not a classical theravada purist, I consider classical theravada to be the “best we have”, but not truly the pure dhamma as practiced in the Buddha’s time.

But just like how historians and scientists are almost never 100% sure about their conclusions due to limitations/holes in available evidence, it is still worth studying the conclusions because it is still probably “more right” than someone who just makes up an explanation based on logical conjecture. Which is why Classical theravada is still worth studying/practicing because dont let the perfect get in the way of the good.

No many commentaries date just a few or several hundred years after the Buddha. And either way, it doesnt matter. 100, 700, or 1000. Just by shear chance, it is far more likely to be an accurate interpretation than something someone in the modern world just makes up.

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