This teaching on the 62 (false) convictions is from the Brahmajala Sutta (in the Pali Digha Nikaya &endash; adapted herein from Walshe). At the end of this Sutta the Buddha declares that this teaching may be known by the following names:
In his glossary entry on the sixty-two convictions in the Vimalakirti Sutra, Thurman states:
These ... consist of all views other than the "right view" of selflessness. All sixty-two fall into either one of the two categories known as the "two extremisms": "eternalism" (sashvatavada) and "nihilism" (ucchedavada).
The 62 as discussed in the Brahmajala Sutta are outlined below. However, for Vimalakirtis take on this subject, see his exchange with Manjushri below.
Select any of the links below to jump to the appropriate section, or scroll through the whole page to see all 62 in order as they appear.
Views Proclaiming the Eternity of the Self and World
Views Proclaiming the Partial Eternity and Partial Non-Eternity of the Self and World
Views Proclaiming the Finitude and/or Infinitude of the World
Evasive Strategies Resorted to by "Eel-Wrigglers" [or Endless Equivocators]
Views Proclaiming the Chance Origination of the World
4 Views Proclaiming the Eternity of the Self and World (1-4)
- 1. based on remembering up to 100,000s of previous lifetimes
- 2. based on remembering up to 10 previous world-cycles
- 3. based on remembering up to 40 previous world-cycles
- 4. based on logical reasoning (tarka)
4 Views Proclaiming the Partial Eternity and Partial Non-Eternity of the Self and World (5-8)
- 5. based on remembering lifetimes back to the beginning of a world-cycle; thinking that oneself is impermanent (non-eternal), but that the first being present in the world-cycle (Brahama) must have been the Creator and thus must be eternal
- 6. based on thinking that those gods who avoid pleasures and maintain their mindfulness are in a stable state and are thus permanent, whereas oneself (who is "Corrupted by Pleasure") is unstable and impermanent
- 7. as above, thinking instead that one is impermanent because of being "Corrupted by Envy"
- 8. based on the reasoning that matter/body is impermanent, but that thought/mind/consciousness is eternal
4 Views Proclaiming the Finitude and/or Infinitude of the World (9-12)
- 9. based on meditative perception that the world is finite, bounded by a circle
- 10. based on meditative perception that the world is infinite and unbounded
- 11. based on meditative perception that the world is finite vertically, but infinite horizontally
- 12. based on reasoning, arguing that the world is neither finite nor infinite
4 Evasive Strategies Resorted to by "Eel-Wrigglers" [or Endless Equivocators] (13-16)These are people who will not commit to any definitive statement about anything because:
- 13. they feel they do not know what is good/bad, or right/wrong, and they are terrified of speaking any falsehood
- 14. they feel they do not know what is good or bad, and they want to avoid saying anything that might cause them to generate desire, attachment, aversion, etc., which they would find distressing
- 15. they feel they do not know what is good or bad, and they want to avoid saying anything that a skilled debator / intellect might destroy with reasoned analysis and questioning, which they would find distressing
- 16. they are dull and stupid! They respond to any question: "If I thought so, I would say so. But I don't say so. And I don't say otherwise. And I don't say it is not, and I don't not say it is not."
2 Views Proclaiming the Chance Origination of the World (17-18)
- 17. based on falling from a meditative absorption of unconsciousness and thereby thinking that oneself (and the world) has suddenly come into being from non-being
- 18. based on reasoning
[Back to Overview Above]
16 Regarding Conscious Post-Mortem Survival (19-34)The self after death is healthy, conscious, and:
- 19. material (acc. Buddhaghosa, this is the view of the Ajivikas)
- 20. immaterial (the view of the Jains)
- 21. both (the next 14 are derived from various meditative experiences)
- 22. neither
- 23. finite
- 24. infinite
- 25. both
- 26. neither
- 27. of uniform perception
- 28. of varied perception
- 29. of limited perception
- 30. of unlimited perception
- 31. wholly happy
- 32. wholly miserable
- 33. both
- 34. neither
8 Regarding Unonscious Post-Mortem Survival (35-42)The self after death is healthy, unconscious, and:
- 35. material (acc. Bhikku Bhodi, this is deriverd from experiencing the unconscious absorption)
- 36. immaterial (from taking perception to be the self)
- 37. both (from taking the material, or material and immaterial dhammas + perception to be the self)
- 38. neither (based on reasoning)
- 39. finite (from Formless Realm "Higher Dhyana" [= Samapatti or "Absorption"] #1: Infinite Space)
- 40. infinite (Formless Absorption #2: Infinite Consciousness)
- 41. both (Formless Absorption #3: Nothingness)
- 42. neither (Formless Absorption #4: Neither Consc. nor Unconsciousness)
8 Regarding Neither Conscious Nor Unonscious Post-Mortem Survival (43-50)The self after death is healthy, neither unconscious nor unconscious, and:
- 43. material ("based on a subtle perception incapable of performing this function [?] at death and rebirth..." )
- 44. immaterial (as "immaterial" in #36 above)
- 45. both (as "both" in #37 above)
- 46. neither (as "neither" in #38 above)
- 47. finite (as "finite" in #39 above)
- 48. infinite (as "infinite" in #40 above)
- 49. both (as "both" in #41 above)
- 50. neither (as "neither" in #42 above)
7 Nihilistic Views Regarding Post-Mortem Survival (51-57)
- 51. the self is material; when the body breaks up at death, the self perishes
- 52. another [subtler] self is divine (divya - connected with Desire Realm gods); when the body breaks up at death, it is that self that perishes
- 53. another [subtler] self is mind-made (produced by dhyana); when the body breaks up at death, it is that self that perishes
- 54. another [subtler] self is beyond the senses, realizing Formless Absorption #1 (cf. above); when the body breaks up at death, it is that self that perishes
- 55. another [subtler] self realizes Formless Absorption #2; when the body breaks up at death, it is that self that perishes
- 56. another [subtler] self realizes Formless Absorption #3; when the body breaks up at death, it is that self that perishes
- 57. another [subtler] self realizes Formless Absorption #4.; when the body breaks up at death, it is that self that perishes
5 Regarding Nirvana Here and Now (58-62)
- 58. attained by indulging the five senses
- 59. attained by detachment from the sense-desires (though still accompanied by discursive thought), culminating in the first [lower] contemplation (dhyana)
- 60. attained by cessation of discursive thought (though still accompanied by delight and joy), born of concentration (samadhi), culminating in the second contemplation (dhyana)
- 61. attained by cessation of delight/exhilaration (accompanied by equanimity and mindfulness), culminating in the third contemplation (dhyana)
- 62. attained by cessation of all forms of pleasure, pain, joy or depression - truly pure equanimity and mindfulness - culminating in the fourth contemplation (dhyana)
[Back to Overview Above]
(From p. 44 of Thurmans translation):
Mañjushri: Householder, where should emptiness be sought?
Vimalakirti: Mañjushri, emptiness should be sought among the sixty-two convictions.
Mañjushri: Where should the sixty-two convictions be sought?
Vimalakirti: They should be sought in the liberation of the Tathagatas.
Mañjushri: Where should the liberation of the Tathagatas be sought?
Vimalakirti: It should be sought in the prime mental activity of all living beings.Mañjushri, you ask me why I am without servants, but all Maras and opponents are my servants. Why? The Maras advocate this life of birth and death, and the bodhisattva does not avoid life. The heterodox opponents advocate convictions, and the bodhisattva is not troubled by convictions. Therefore, all Maras and opponents are my servants.
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