In the Lankavatara Sutra, it says: 能舍一切我见执着.

Red Pine translates: "who eliminate attachment to a self." Suzuki translates: "to keep themselves properly away from ego centered notions."

These terms have Sanskrit equivalent: 我见 (satkāya-dṛṣṭi) is usually translated as the "view of transitory collection." 执着 (abhiniveśana) is clinging or attachment.

The grammar is not clear to me.

Should it read "eliminating attachment to the view of transitory collection" or rather "eliminating the view of transitory collection that clings"?

In other words, how do I tell whether clinging is a substantive or a verb?

The context is:


Red Pine's translation is:

“This, Lord of Lanka, is the understanding of all great practitioners , who thereby overcome false doctrines and refute mistaken views, who eliminate attachment to a self , and who make use of the subtlest wisdom to transform their consciousness. This is the Mahayana path that leads to the stage attained by buddhas. You should therefore devote yourself to such an understanding self-realization).

Observations on technical issues:
恶见 is a classical Buddhist term meaning evil view or mistaken view.
执着 is a classical Buddhist term meaning clinging.
我见 is a classical Buddhist term meaning view of transitory collection.
妙慧 is a classical Buddhist term meaning subtle wisdom.
之道 is a classical Buddhist term for marga (Sanskrit).
自证 is a classical Buddhist term meaning self-realization.

转所依, 所依, 所依识, 识 are also technical Buddhist term I don't know how to split. It seems Red Pine and Suzuki didn't either because they have very different translations. But that is the subject of another later question.

  • There are two phrases in this sentence 能舍一切 and 我见执着. 舍 and 见 is the verb to each phrase respectively. Without knowing the full context, I guess the sentence means - 我可以捨棄一切除了我的信念(見解).
    – r13
    May 3, 2021 at 19:03
  • How could 见 be the verb since 我见 is just a Chinese translation of satkāya-dṛṣṭi (view of transitory collection)? May 3, 2021 at 19:52
  • You are correct. If it meant 見解, then it can't be a verb. My mistake.
    – r13
    May 3, 2021 at 20:00
  • The sentence can also be interpreted as 我可以捨棄一切但是"堅持"我的信念, 堅持 (insist, continue to hold) means 执着 then.
    – r13
    May 3, 2021 at 20:18
  • Thank you for the suggestion. I've just added the context, just in case. May 3, 2021 at 21:20

2 Answers 2

  1. Below is a compilation of Sanskrit, Chinese (Bodhiruci, 菩譯), Chinese (Śikshānanda, 實譯), and English (Suzuki), which I found in Bibliotheca Polyglotta:




    to keep themselves properly away from ego-centered notions

  2. I then looked up the Digital Corpus of Sanskrit (DCS) to understand how it was originally phrased in Sanskrit. DCS gave the parsing of Sanskrit into: ātma (compound for ātman 'self'), dṛṣṭi (compound for dṛṣṭi 'seeing; notion'), vyāvartana (compound for vyāvartana 'turning away'), and kuśalānāṃ (genitive plural masculine for kuśala 'proper').

    The only verb-like morpheme here is 'turning away', which corresponds to or in Chinese. That is to say, I believe 執著 is not a verb but a substantive, perhaps a unique feature of Śikshānanda but not Bodhiruci. That is also to say, this is more of a question on translation, rather than Chinese grammar.

  3. Compared to the historical Chinese translations, Suzuki adheres to the meaning of kuśalānāṃ ('proper') better. As a whole, it means something like 'proper turning-away from self-notions' as a phrase genitive to the nominative phrase 'realisation of the great Yogins' (abhisamayo mahāyoginā, 修行者行) seen at the beginning (note: the genitive case can be used generically in Sanskrit; I think it expounds on what the realisation / understanding of the great Yogins are, see Dhammajoti 2012:4). I also looked up a modern translation by Tam Shek-wing [談錫永] (2005:20) that incorporated the translation 'proper' () much like Suzuki (Tam used for 'turning away'):


    Huang Baosheng [黃寶生] (2011:22) used 善於 ('good at') for 'proper' and 摒棄 for 'turning away' instead. Both are more idiomatic in modern Chinese:


    I feel like the notion of 'properness' was skipped (more like understood) in the Śikshānanda translation.

  4. Huang also defined 我見 (ātmadṛṣṭi) in one of his footnotes:

    「我見」(ātmadṛṣṭi)指執著某種固定不變的實體,如靈魂。其中的 ātman,一般指靈魂或自我。

    (translation) Ātmadṛṣṭi refers to the fixation on a certain kind of constant body, such as the soul. Ātman in the compound normally refers to the soul or self.

    With this in mind, I am confident 執著 in the Śikshānanda tradition is a substantive, or an in-text explanation to the more jargonistic 我見.


  1. I found a modern Japanese translation (Tokiwa, 1994:10) which also supports the substantive and idiosyncratic nature (i.e. presence in only Śikshānanda) of 執著. I translate the phrase in bold below as 'people who excel in removing the view of themselves'.



  1. Dhammajoti KL. Reading Buddhist Sanskrit Texts: An Elementary Grammatical Guide. Buddha-dharma Centre of Hong Kong; 2015.

  2. 談錫永(2005)《入楞伽經梵本新譯》。臺北:全佛文化。

  3. 黃寶生(2011)《梵漢對勘入楞伽經》。北京:中國社會科學出版社。

  4. 常盤義伸(1994)『「ランカーに入る」:梵文入楞伽経の全訳と研究』Part 1. 京都:花園大学国際禅学研究所.

  • Would you translate Śikshānanda as "eliminating attachment to the conception of atman" or "eliminating the conception of atman, which is an attachment (執著)"? May 4, 2021 at 6:11
  • 1
    @TenzinDorje what you're saying feels like 我見之執著 ('the attachment to the conception of atman'). What I read (without referencing Sanskrit or English) feels more like 我見和執著, or 我見、執著 ('conception of atman, and attachment'), i.e., the nouns seem parallel. I think the semantic difference between these two interpretations is negligible.
    – L Parker
    May 4, 2021 at 6:25
  • 1
    Another issue at hand is I have yet to understand the same sentence in 菩譯 (specifically, the meaning of 見我見過). I am also uncertain why kuśalānāṃ seems to be untranslated in Chinese except in Suzuki. (Maybe it has something to do with 執著). So for a definitive answer, I need more research.
    – L Parker
    May 4, 2021 at 6:28

If you can number a thing, it is definitely a thing. "一切 = all".

All is a number, thus 我见执着 is a thing.

(if thou) would abandon all self attachment.

If (thou) would thus.
(This) namely is the true devotee path.
(if thou) would break free from other opinions, (if thou) would break free from wrong views.
(if thou) would abandon all self attachment.
(if thou) would use wisdom instead of knowledge.
(if thou) would cultivate (the way of ) the Bodhisattva Great Vehicle Dao
(if thou) would enter such a true place
thou shouldst diligently increase cultivation and study (of the Dao)


Below is the proposal of 神秀, I believe it was in 风木山黄美寺


身是菩提树, 心如明镜台

This was the counter-proposal of 慧能,a frightening negation of everything (also found in 红楼梦):



Thus, 慧能 would reply to your text: there is no self, no attachment, wisdom or Dao.

Which is also the message of the Diamond Sutra: The Truth neither is nor is not.

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