SN 12.17 Acela Sutta: To the Clothless Ascetic

The ‘clothless ascetic’ is Kassapa who famously becomes ‘Maha Kasyapa’ in the Zen stories. Here he questions the Buddha about suffering. Is it created by oneself or another? The Buddha says “If one thinks ‘the one who acts is the same as the one who experiences the result’ then one asserts with reference to one existing from the beginning ‘suffering is created by oneself’. This amounts to eternalism. If one thinks ‘the one who acts is one, the one who experiences the result is another’ then one asserts with reference to one stricken by feeling ‘suffering is created by another’. This amounts to annihilationsim’. Without veering towards either of these extremes the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma by the middle - with ignorance as condition, volitional formations come to be (-> consciousness -> name and form -> six sense bases -> contact -> feeling -> craving -> clinging -> becoming -> birth -> suffering).

Full text