(lit. 'sight'; Ö dis,
to see): view, belief, speculative opinion, insight.
If not qualified by
sammā, 'right', it mostly refers to wrong and evil view or opinion, and only
in a few instances to right view, understanding or insight (e.g.
ditthi-ppatta, q.v.; ditthi-visuddhi, purification of insight;
ditthi-sampanna, possessed of insight).
Wrong or evil views (ditthi or micchā-ditthi)
are declared as utterly rejectable for being a source of wrong and evil
aspirations and conduct, and liable at times to lead man to the deepest abysses
of depravity, as it is said in A. I, 22:
"No other thing than evil views do I know, o monks, whereby
to such an extent the disadvantageous things not yet arisen arise, and the
disadvantageous things already arisen are brought to growth and fullness. No other
thing than evil views do I know, whereby to such an extent the advantageous things
not yet arisen are hindered in their arising, and the advantageous things already
arisen disappear. No other thing than evil views do I know, whereby to such an
extent human beings at the dissolution of the body, at death, are passing to a
way of suffering, into a world of woe, into hell." Further in A. I, 23:
"Whatever a man filled with evil views performs or undertakes, or whatever he
possesses of will, aspiration, longing and tendencies, all these things lead him
to an undesirable, unpleasant and disagreeable state, to woe and suffering."
From the Abhidhamma (Dhs) it may be inferred that evil views,
whenever they arise, are associated with greed (s. Tab. I. 22, 23, 26, 27).
Numerous speculative opinions and theories, which at all
times have influenced and still are influencing mankind, are quoted in the sutta-texts.
Amongst them, however, the wrong view which everywhere, and at all times, has
most misled and deluded mankind is the personality-belief, the ego-illusion.
This personality-belief (sakkāya-ditthi), or ego-illusion (atta-ditthi),
is of 2 kinds: eternity-belief and annihilation-belief.
Eternity-belief (sassata-ditthi) is the belief in the
existence of a persisting ego-entity, soul or personality, existing
independently of those physical and mental processes that constitute life and
continuing even after death.
Annihilation-belief (uccheda-ditthi), on the other
hand, is the belief in the existence of an ego-entity or personality as being
more or less identical with those physical and mental processes, and which
therefore, at the dissolution at death, will come to be annihilated. - For the
20 kinds of personality-belief, see sakkāya-ditthi.
Now, the Buddha neither teaches a personality which will
continue after death, nor does he teach a personality which will be annihilated
at death, but he shows us that 'personality', 'ego', 'individual', 'man', etc.,
are nothing but mere conventional designations (vohāra-vacana) and that
in the ultimate sense (s. paramattha-sacca)
there is only this self-consuming process of physical and mental phenomena which
continually arise and again disappear immediately.
For further details, s. anattā,
"The Perfect One is free from any theory (ditthigata),
for the Perfect One has seen what materiality is, and how it arises and passes
away. He has seen what feeling ... perception ... mental constructions ...
consciousness are, and how they arise and pass away. Therefore I say that the
Perfect One has won complete deliverance through the extinction, fading away,
disappearance, rejection and casting out of all imaginings and conjectures, of
all inclination to the 'vain-glory of 'I' and 'mine." (M. 72).
The rejection of speculative views and theories is a
prominent feature in a chapter of the Sutta-Nipāta, the Atthaka-Vagga.
The so-called 'evil views with fixed destiny' (niyata-micchāditthi)
constituting the last of the 10 disadvantageous courses of action (kammapatha), are the following three:
(1) the fatalistic 'view of the uncaused ness'
of existence (ahetukaditthi),
(2) the view of the inefficacy of action'
(3) nihilism (natthikaditthi).
(1) was taught by
Makkhali-Gosāla, a contemporary of the
Buddha who denied every cause for the corruptness and purity of beings, and
asserted that everything is minutely predestined by fate.
(2) was taught by
Pūrana-Kassapa, another contemporary of the
Buddha who denied every karmical effect of good and bad actions: "To him who
kills, steals, robs, etc., nothing bad will happen. For generosity,
self-restraint and truthfulness, etc. no reward is to be expected."
(3) was taught by
Ajita-Kesakambali, a third contemporary of
the Buddha who asserted that any belief in good action and its reward is a mere
delusion, that after death no further life would follow, that man at death would
become dissolved into the elements, etc.
For further details about these 3 views, s. D.2, M.60;
commentarial exposition in WHEEL 98/99, P. 23.
Frequently mentioned are also the 10 antinomies (antagāhikā
micchā-ditthi): 'Finite is the world' or 'infinite is the world' ... 'body
and soul are identical' or 'body and soul are different' (e.g. M. 63).
In the Brahmājala Sutta .(D.1), 62 false views are classified
and described, comprising all conceivable wrong views and speculations about man
See The All-Embracing Net of Views (Brahmājala Sutta),
tr. with Com. by Bhikkhu Bodhi (BPS).
Further s. D.15, D.23, M.24, D.28; M.11, M.12, M.25, M.60,
M.76, M.101, M.102, M.110; A.II.16; A.X.93; S.XXI, S.XXIV; Pts.M. Ditthikathā, etc.
Wrong views (ditthi) are one of the proclivities (s.
anusaya), fermentations (s.
Āsava), clingings (s.
upādāna), one of
the three modes of perversions (s. vipallāsa). disadvantageous consciousness
(akusala citta), rooted in greed, may be either with or without wrong
views (ditthigata-sampayutta or vippayutta); s. Dhs.; Tab I.
On right view (sammā-ditthi), s.
magga and M.9
(Trans. with Com. in 'R. Und.').