Saṃyuktāgama

85. Discourse on Rightly Examining

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: “Monks, what does one not regard 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: “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. One does not regard bodily form 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. One does not regard feeling … perception … formations … consciousness … also like this.

“Monks, is bodily form permanent or impermanent?”

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

The Buddha said: “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 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. Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness are also like this.

“Monks, a learned noble disciple examines the five aggregates of clinging as being without a self and without what belongs to a self. One who examines them in this way does not cling to anything in the whole world. One who does not cling to anything is not attached to anything. Because of not being attached to anything, he 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.