Saṃyuktāgama

32. Third Discourse to Soṇa

Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels’ Feeding Place. At that time the venerable Sāriputta was on Mount Vulture Peak. Then a householder’s son by the name of Soṇa, who every day used to roam around, reached Mount Vulture Peak and approached Sāriputta. He paid homage with his head at Sāriputta’s feet and withdrew to sit at one side.

Then Sāriputta said to Soṇa: “If recluses and brahmins do not know bodily form as it really is, do not know the arising of bodily form as it really is, do not know the cessation of bodily form as it really is, do not know the gratification in bodily form as it really is, do not know the danger in bodily form as it really is, do not know the escape from bodily form as it really is, then for this reason they are not able to transcend bodily form.

“If recluses and brahmins do not know feeling … perception … formations … consciousness as it really is, do not know the arising of consciousness as it really is, do not know the cessation of consciousness as it really is, do not know the gratification in consciousness as it really is, do not know the danger in consciousness as it really is, do not know the escape from consciousness as it really is, then for this reason these recluses and brahmins are not able to transcend consciousness.

“If recluses and brahmins know bodily form … the arising of bodily form … the cessation of bodily form … the gratification in bodily form … the danger in bodily form … the escape from bodily form as it really is, then these recluses and brahmins are able to transcend bodily form.

“If recluses and brahmins know feeling … perception … formations … consciousness … the arising of consciousness … the cessation of consciousness … the gratification in consciousness … the danger in consciousness… the escape from consciousness as it really is, then these recluses and brahmins are able to transcend consciousness.

“Soṇa, what do you think, is bodily form permanent or is it impermanent?” Soṇa replied: “It is impermanent.”

Sāriputta asked: “What is impermanent, is it dukkha?” Soṇa replied: “It is dukkha.”

Sāriputta asked: “Soṇa, bodily form that is impermanent, dukkha, of a nature to change, would a noble disciple herein regard it as the self, as distinct from the self in the sense of being owned by it, as existing within the self, or the self as existing within it?” Soṇa replied: “No.”

Sāriputta asked: “Soṇa. In the same way, what do you think, feeling … perception … formations … consciousness, is it permanent or impermanent?” Soṇa replied: “It is impermanent.”

Sāriputta asked: “What is impermanent, is it dukkha?” Soṇa replied: “It is dukkha.”

Sāriputta asked: “Soṇa, what is impermanent, dukkha, of a nature to change, would a noble disciple herein regard it as the self, as distinct from the self in the sense of being owned by it, as existing within the self, or the self as existing within it?” Soṇa replied: “No.”

Sāriputta said: “Soṇa you should know that whatever bodily form, whether past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, sublime or repugnant, far or near, all such bodily form is not self, is not distinct from the self in the sense of being owned by it, does not exist within the self, nor does a self exist within it. This is reckoned knowing it as it really is.

“Soṇa whatever feeling … perception … formations … consciousness, whether past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, sublime or repugnant, far or near, all such consciousness is not self, is not distinct from the self in the sense of being owned by it, does not exist within the self, nor does a self exist within it. This is reckoned knowing it as it really is.

“Soṇa, a noble disciple rightly contemplates these five aggregates of clinging as not self and not mine. Rightly contemplating in this way he does not grasp at anything in the world. One who does not grasp is not attached to anything. One who is not attached to anything personally attains Nirvāṇa, knowing: ‘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.’”

Then Soṇa, hearing what Sāriputta had said, was thrilled with delight, paid homage and left.