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Paramaṭṭhaka Sutta

The fifth sutta of the Aṭṭhakavagga of the Suttanipāta. It was taught in reference to the divergence of views held by various teachers in Sāvatthi.The king, on hearing of their constant disputes, gave orders that a company of blind men be collected and an elephant placed before them. They were then asked to touch the elephant, and each one described what it appeared like to him. Each described that part which he had touched. The king told the heretics that their divergent views were as unreliable as the blind men’s descriptions of the elephant. The Buddha, hearing of this, taught the sutta in order to confirm the king’s judgment.

One should not give oneself up to philosophical speculations which lead nowhere and promote wrangles (SN.vs.796‑803; SNA.ii.1529 ff). The sutta is commented upon in the Mahā Niddesa (MNid.102 ff).

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