Saṃyutta Nikāya 22

Connected Discourses on the Aggregates

102. Perception of Impermanence

At Savatthi. “Bhikkhus, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, it eliminates all sensual lust, it eliminates all lust for existence, it eliminates all ignorance, it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’

“Just as, bhikkhus, in the autumn a ploughman ploughing with a great ploughshare cuts through all the rootlets as he ploughs, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, it eliminates all sensual lust … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’

“Just as, bhikkhus, a rush-cutter would cut down a rush, grab it by the top, and shake it down and shake it out and thump it about, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, it eliminates all sensual lust … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’

“Just as, bhikkhus, when the stalk of a bunch of mangoes has been cut, all the mangoes attached to the stalk follow along with it, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’

“Just as, bhikkhus, all the rafters of a house with a peaked roof lead to the roof peak, slope towards the roof peak, and converge upon the roof peak, and the roof peak is declared to be their chief, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’

“Just as, bhikkhus, among fragrant roots, black orris is declared to be their chief, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’

“Just as, bhikkhus, among fragrant heartwoods, red sandalwood is declared to be their chief, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’

“Just as, bhikkhus, among fragrant flowers, jasmine is declared to be their chief, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’

“Just as, bhikkhus, all petty princes are the vassals of a wheel-turning monarch, and the wheel-turning monarch is declared to be their chief, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’

“Just as, bhikkhus, the radiance of all the stars does not amount to a sixteenth part of the radiance of the moon, and the radiance of the moon is declared to be their chief, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’

“Just as, bhikkhus, in the autumn, when the sky is clear and cloudless, the sun, ascending in the sky, dispels all darkness from space as it shines and beams and radiates, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, it eliminates all sensual lust, it eliminates all lust for existence, it eliminates all ignorance, it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’

“And how, bhikkhus, is the perception of impermanence developed and cultivated so that it eliminates all sensual lust, eliminates all lust for existence, eliminates all ignorance, and uproots all conceit ‘I am’? ‘Such is form, such its origin, such its passing away; such is feeling … such is perception … such are volitional formations … such is consciousness, such its origin, such its passing away’: that is how the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated so that it eliminates all sensual lust, eliminates all lust for existence, eliminates all ignorance, and uproots all conceit ‘I am.’”