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Title: Sassatavada  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Eternalism, Buddhist philosophy, Nontheistic religions, Three marks of existence, The unanswered questions
Collection: Buddhist Philosophy
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Sassatavada (Pali: "eternalism") is a kind of thinking rejected by the Buddha in the nikayas (and agamas). One example of it is the belief that the individual has an unchanging Self. Views of this kind were held at the Buddha's time by a variety of groups.

The Buddha rejected this and the opposite concept of ucchedavada (materialism) on both logical and epistemic grounds. He proposed a Middle Way between these extremes, relying not on ontology but on causality.

Eternalism included the belief that the extinction of things means their stable latency and the production of things means their manifestation — this violates the Buddha's principle of the middle way.[1]

Eternalism is one of the corners or limits of the 'Four Limits' (Sanskrit: Caturanta), a particular configuration of the Catuskoti.


  1. ^ K. Venkata Ramanan, Nagarjuna's Philosophy: As Presented in the Maha-Prajnaparamita-Sastra. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1993, page 60.

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