Saṃyuktāgama

17. Discourse on Not Belonging to Oneself

Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. A certain monk rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder and with palms together said to the Buddha:

“It would be well if the Blessed One would teach me the essentials of the Dharma in brief. On having heard the Dharma I shall alone and in a quiet place reflect on it with energy. Being established in it without negligence I shall reflect on that for whose sake a clansman’s son goes forth, shaving off beard and hair and putting Dharma robes on the body, out of faith going forth from the home to homelessness for the unsurpassed supreme holy life, realizing here and now that ‘birth for me has been eradicated, the holy life has been established, what had to be done has been done, I myself know that there will be no receiving of further existence.’”

At that time the Blessed One said to that monk: “It is well, it is well, that you speak like this: ‘Blessed One, teach me the essentials of the Dharma in brief. On having been taught the Dharma herein in brief and fully understood its meaning, I shall alone and in a quiet place reflect on it with energy. Being established in it without negligence … up to … knowing myself that there will be no receiving of further existence.’ Are you speaking like this?” The monk said to the Buddha: “It is like this, Blessed One.”

The Buddha said to the monk: “Listen, listen and pay careful attention to what I will tell you. Monk, whatever things do not belong to you, they should quickly be eradicated and relinquished. Having eradicated those things will be for your benefit and welfare, for your peace for a long time.” Then the monk said to the Buddha: “I understood, Blessed One, I understood Well Gone One!”

The Buddha said to the monk: “How do you understand in full the meaning of the teaching I herein spoke in brief?” The monk said to the Buddha: “Blessed One, bodily form does not belong to me, it should quickly be eradicated and relinquished. Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness does not belong to me, it should quickly be eradicated and relinquished. This will be for my benefit and welfare, for my peace for a long time. Blessed One, I thus understand in full the meaning of the teaching herein spoken in brief.”

The Buddha said to the monk: “It is well, it is well, monk, that you understand in full the meaning of the teaching I herein spoke in brief. Why is that? Bodily form does not belong to you, it should quickly be eradicated and relinquished. In the same way feeling … perception … formations … consciousness does not belong to you, it should quickly be eradicated and relinquished. Having eradicated and relinquished it will be for your benefit and welfare, for your peace for a long time.

Then, on hearing what the Buddha had said, the mind of that monk was greatly delighted. He paid homage to the Buddha and withdrew. Practising alone in a quiet place with diligence he was established in being without negligence. Having practiced with diligence and being established in being without negligence he was able to reflect on that for the sake of what a clansman’s son goes forth, shaving off beard and hair and putting Dharma robes on the body, out of right faith going forth to homelessness … up to he himself knew that there will be no receiving of further existence.’ Then that monk became an arahant, attaining liberation of the mind.