Saṃyuktāgama

83. Discourse at Vesalī

Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying at Vesalī in the Hall with the Peaked Roof by the side of the Monkey Pond.

At that time the Blessed One said to the monks: “What does a learned noble disciple regard as not self, as not distinct from the self in the sense of being owned by it, as not existing within the self, nor a self as existing within it, so that rightly and evenly contemplating it in this way he knows and sees it as it really is?”

The monks said to the Buddha: “The Blessed One is the root of the Dharma, the eye of Dharma, the foundation of the Dharma. May he teach us! Having heard it, the monks will receive it respectfully as he has taught it.”

The Buddha said to the monks: “Listen and pay careful attention to what I shall tell you. A learned noble disciple regards bodily form as not self, as not distinct from the self in the sense of being owned by it, as not existing within the self, nor a self as existing within it. This is called rightly contemplating it as it really is. Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness are also like this.

The Buddha said to the monks: “Is bodily form permanent or impermanent?”

The monks said to the Buddha: “It is impermanent, Blessed One.”

The Buddha again said to the monks: “What is impermanent, is it dukkha?”

The monks said to the Buddha: “It is dukkha, Blessed One.”

The Buddha said: “Monks, what is impermanent, dukkha, of a nature to change, would a learned 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?“

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

The Buddha said: “Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness are also like this. Therefore, monks, whatever bodily form, whether past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, sublime or repugnant, far or near, all of it is entirely not self, 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 called rightly contemplating it as it really is. Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness are also like this.

“A learned noble disciple who examines it in this way attains liberation from bodily form, attains liberation from feeling … perception … formations … consciousness. I say, he is liberated from birth, old age, disease, death, worry, sorrow, vexation, and pain, from this entire great mass of dukkha.’”

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