v.l. Alagadda Sutta.– Taught at Jetavana to Ariṭṭha concerning his heresy. Ariṭṭha held that according to the Doctrine, as he understood it, the states of mind, e.g. pleasures of sense, declared by the Buddha to be stumbling-
Foolish persons, who have learned the Doctrine by heart but fail to study its import, quite miss the real meaning of their memorising and find no joy in it, using it solely as a means of stricture on others or of bandying verbal quotations; they are like a man who, finding a serpent, seizes it by its tail or coils and gets bitten, meeting thereby death or deadly hurt. However, those who comprehend all that the Doctrine embodies, resemble a man who pins a serpent securely down with a forked stick and grasps it firmly by its neck.
This sutta also contains the parable of the raft. The Doctrine is like a raft to be used in crossing the flood and then to be abandoned. Even good things must eventually be discarded, therefore, how much more bad things?
The last part of the sutta contains questions, chiefly on the mastery of self, asked by various monks, which the Buddha proceeds to explain (M.i.130 ﬀ; MA.i.321 ﬀ). The sutta is quoted by Buddhaghosa (MA.i.136) as an example of a discourse of which the meaning is illustrated by a variety of similes (atthena upamaṃ parivāretvā).