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Yamaka Sutta

Yamaka Thera held the view that, in so far as a monk has destroyed the corruptions (āsava), he is broken up and perishes at the break up of the body and becomes not after death. Yamaka’s colleagues tried to correct this erroneous view (the heresy lies in the implication that “a being is broken up and perishes”; SA.ii.226.) but failed, and so reported him to Sāriputta. Sāriputta visited Yamaka and argued with him that if it were false to say of anybody that he existed in truth, in reality, even in this very life, how much more so to speak of someone existing or not existing after death. Yamaka thereupon confessed his error. Sāriputta further elucidated the matter by using the simile of a man who enters the service of a rich householder with the intent to murder him. Such a man would always be a murderer, even though his master knew him not to be so. Even so, the disciple who regards body, etc., as permanent and so on, harbours a murderous view, even though he knows it not as such (S.iii.109 ff).

The sutta is often referred to. (e.g., VibhA.32; Vism.479; cp. Vism.626 (Yamakato sammasana). Does “Yamakato” here mean “according to the Yamaka Sutta“?).

It is sometimes called the Yamakovāda Sutta (e.g., Netti, p.30).

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