76. Discourse on Contemplation

Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park.

At that time the Blessed One said to the monks: “There are five aggregates of clinging. What are the five? They are the bodily form aggregate of clinging … the feeling … the perception … the formations … the consciousness aggregate of clinging. Monks, you should examine bodily form. Having examined bodily form, do you see it as being the self, as distinct from the self in the sense of being owned by it, as existing within the self, or a self as existing within bodily form?”

The monks said to the Buddha: “No, Blessed One.”

The Buddha said to the monks: “It is well, it is well. Bodily form is not self. What is not self is impermanent. What is impermanent is dukkha. If it is dukkha, then it is entirely without a self, it is not distinct from the self in the sense of being owned by it, and it does not exist within the self, nor does a self exist within it. This is how it should be contemplated. Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness are also like this.

“A learned noble disciple examines these five aggregates of clinging as being without a self and without what belongs to a self. Having examined them in this way, he does not cling to anything in the world. One who does not cling to anything is not attached to anything. One who is not attached to anything personally realizes 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.’”

When the Buddha had spoken this discourse, the monks, hearing what the Buddha had said, were delighted and received it respectfully.