Aggivacchagotta Sutta 72.18

Dear Kalyanamittas,
Below is a very beautiful sutta, The ‘Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta‘ for sharing by all. In th​is sutta, Gautama Buddha clarifies his views on the nature of existence and explains the nature of nirvana to Vacchagotta by means of a simile. A sentient being which is composed of Skandha who realized Nirvana is compared to an extinguished fire.
(This Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta is a Buddhist sutta in the Majjhima Nikaya of the Tripitaka. This sutta is number 72 in the Third Division on Wanderers [Paribbajakavagga] and has an alternate spelling of [Aggivacchagotta] by the Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi. In th​is sutta, Gautama Buddha clarifies his views on the nature of existence and explains the nature of nirvana to Vacchagotta by means of a simile. A sentient being which is composed of Skandha who realized Nirvana is compared to an extinguished fire.)
Aggivacchagotta Sutta 72.18

18. “It is enough to cause you bewilderment, Vaccha, enough to cause you confusion, for this Dhamma, Vaccha, is profound, hard to see and hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, unattainable by mere reasoning, subtle, to be experienced by the wise. It is hard for you to understand it when you hold another view, accept another teaching, approve of another teaching, pursue a different training, and follow a different teacher. So, I shall question you about this in return, Vaccha. Answer as you choose..

and then we follow the Buddha as he goes on to help Vaccha retune his understanding….

The thicket of views[edit]

Vacchagotta first asks the Buddha whether he holds particular views on the extent of the cosmos, the relationship between mind and body, and the nature of a Tathagata‘s existence after death. To all the questions, Gautama Buddha simply replies he does not hold such views. Vacchagotta expresses confusion at this answer and asks why the Buddha takes no position regarding his questions.

The Buddha explains that each question leads to an unresolvable thicket of views which will cause suffering and distress if investigated. Because such investigation cannot lead to enlightened understanding and nirvana, the Buddha takes no position on these subjects. The Tathagata is released due to true discernment and cessation of clinging.


Vacchagotta questions further. Where does the monk who has been released reappear? The following exchange results:

“‘Reappear,’ Vaccha, doesn’t apply.”
“In that case, Master Gotama, he does not reappear.”
“‘Does not reappear,’ Vaccha, doesn’t apply.”
“…both does & does not reappear.”
“…doesn’t apply.”
“…neither does nor does not reappear.”
“…doesn’t apply.”

Vacchagotta’s confusion increases. The Buddha asks him in which direction a fire goes when it has gone out. Vaccha replies that the question “does not fit the case … For the fire that depended on fuel … when that fuel has all gone, and it can get no other, being thus without nutriment, it is said to be extinct.” The Buddha then explains: “In exactly the same way …, all form by which one could predicate the existence of the saint, all that form has been abandoned, uprooted, pulled out of the ground like a palmyra-tree, and become non-existent and not liable to spring up again in the future. The saint … who has been released from what is styled form is deep, immeasurable, unfathomable, like the mighty ocean.” The same is then said of the other aggregates.[3] A tathāgata has abandoned that clinging to the personality factors that render the mind a bounded, measurable entity, and is instead “freed from being reckoned by” all or any of them, even in life. The skandhas have been seen to be a burden, and an enlightened individual is one with “burden dropped”.[4]

A variety of similar passages make it clear that the metaphor “gone out, he cannot be defined” (atthangato so na pamanam eti) refers equally to liberation in life.[5] In the Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta itself, it is clear that the Buddha is the subject of the metaphor, and the Buddha has already “uprooted” or “annihilated” the five aggregates.[6] In Sn 1074, it is stated that the sage cannot be “reckoned” because he is freed from the category “name” or, more generally, concepts. The absence of this precludes the possibility of reckoning or articulating a state of affairs; “name” here refers to the concepts or apperceptions that make propositions possible.[7]

The fire metaphor used in the Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta (which is also used elsewhere) is a radical way of making the point that the liberated sage is beyond phenomenal experience. It also makes the additional point that this indefinable, transcendent state is the sage’s state even during life. This idea goes against the early Brahminic notion of liberation at death.

With Metta always,

Bro Teoh

Sallekha Sutta, Middle Discourses, MN8: Majjhima Nikāya 8

Dear Kalyanamittas,

Below emails regarding this Sallekha Sutta for sharing by all. Please do read through the sutta and watch out for the sharing which I will schedule next Tuesday class 21 September 2021.
With metta always,
Dear Sister, Eng Bee,
Maha Sadhu! to u for your rather good ability to understand and appreciate this Sallekha Sutta (Discourse on Effacement). This sutta clearly points out that the 1st to 8th Jhanas Eight attainment are not states of enlightenment but just ‘pleasant abidings here and now’. The actual cultivation is very different. It demands insight leading to the following understanding:
‘if the object in relation to which those views arise, which they underlie, and which they are exercised upon is seen as it actually is with proper wisdom [yathābhūtaṁ sammappaññā passato] thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self,’ [‘netaṁ mama, nesohamasmi, na me so attā’ti] then the abandoning and relinquishing of those views comes about. 
The Buddha then list out the 44 negative states of mind that need to be understood and deal with via proper cultivation. 
The last time I shared this sutta was in the year 2005 and your request on behalf of other kalyanamittas for me to share this sutta in one of our classes is beautiful and sadhu! to u for the wholesomeness.
I will share it again during this 21st September Tuesday class.
Sadhu!  and with metta,
Dear BroTeoh,
Namo Buddhāya!    🙏🙏🙏
This MN8 is such a beautiful Teaching of the Buddha !!!
I have taken hints from you to look up at this sutta; but only today, this is possible. I
t will be our blessings if BroTeoh can find time to share this sutta with us in any of the classes.
Rejoicing in advance because my heart is smiling even at this moment, after I have read through it…. 🙏🙏🙏
Sukhi hontu.
May All Beings Be Well, Happy, Peaceful & Safe Always.
Sādhu & with mettā, EngBee

Bro Teoh’s Tuesday/Thursday classes dated 7 July and 9 July 2020 (28th and 29th Lessons of Heart Sutra Book -2nd Edition)

Dear Kalyanamittas,
Enclose below are the 7 July and 9 July 2020 Tuesday/Thursday classes (28th and 29th Lesson of Heart Sutra (2nd Edition) recordings for sharing by all:
  • 7 July 2020 Tuesday class:
1st Video link :
  • 9 July 2020 Thursday class
Bye! and with metta always,
Bro Teoh

Bro Teoh’s Sunday class dated 10 May 2020 (7th Lesson Unique Dhamma Quotes by Bro Teoh)

Dear Kalyanamittas,
Enclose below is the 10 May 2020 Sunday class ( 7th Lesson Unique Dhamma Quotes) recordings for sharing by all:
Bro Teoh

Bro Teoh’s 7 April and 9 April 2020  Tuesday/Thursday classes – Heart Sutra (2nd Edition)

Dear Kalyanamittas,
Enclose below are the 7 April and 9 April 2020  Tuesday/Thursday classes (4th and 5th Lesson of Heart Sutra (2nd Edition) recordings for sharing by all:
  • 7 April 2020 Tuesday class:

Audio link:

2nd Video link:

  • 9 April 2020 Thursday class
Bye! and with metta always,
Bro Teoh

Bro Teoh’s Tuesday/Thursday classes dated 31 March and 2 April 2020

Dear Kalyanamittas,
Enclose below are the 31 March and 2 April 2020 Thursday classes ( 2nd and 3rd Lesson of Heart Sutra (2nd Edition) recordings for sharing by all:
  • 31 March 2020 Tuesday class:
  • 2 April 2020 Thursday class

Audio link:

Bye! and with metta always,
Bro Teoh

Bro Teoh’s 29 March 2020 Sunday class ( Unique Dhamma Quotes, 1st Lesson. ) 

Dear Kalyanamittas,
Enclose below is the 29 March 2020 Sunday class (  Unique Dhamma Quotes, 1st Lesson.) recordings for sharing by all:
  • 29 March 2020 Thursday class:
Bye! and with metta always,
Bro Teoh

Bro Teoh’s 1st online Zoom video conference – 24 March 2020 Tuesday dhamma class

Dear Kalyanamittas,
Enclose below is our  24 March 2020 Tuesday class 1st Zoom video conference dhamma class recordings for sharing by all:
To join our class you all can click onto our below Zoom video conference  link:

23 March 2020: Special annoucement

  • We are pleased to annouced that our 1st Zoom video conference dhamma sharing scheduled to go ahead on the 24 March will be on. Sadhu! x3.
  • To join our Zoom video conference dhamma class you can click on the following link:

Bro Teoh *Tues* Class 19May2020 *(Tonight)*

*Kalyanamittas are encouraged to send questions to whatsapp group ahead for discussion*
_8:00 PM – Puja & Meditation_
_8:30 PM – Dhamma sharing_
_[time above is based on GMT+8]_
Topic: Continue book study (Heart Sutra 2nd Edition)
*Join Zoom Meeting – click the link below* after u hv installed ZOOM in your phone/computer:
Meeting ID: 777 788 2080
Password: 882080
Please download ZOOM app in your phone/computer to join the Kalyanamittas sharing (
# *SOUND*..MUTE when not speaking
# *VIDEO*..ON if feasible

# *QUERY*..RAISE HAND to ask adhoc Qs

Sent from Outlook Mobile

Bro Teoh’s 23 Feb 2020 Sunday class

Dear kalyanamittas,
Enclose below are the audio and video links to our above 23 Feb 2020 Sunday class for sharing by all.

Whiteboard link:

With metta,
Bro Teoh