Saṃyutta Nikāya 22

Connected Discourses on the Aggregates

90. Channa

On one occasion a number of bhikkhus were dwelling at Baraṇasi in the Deer Park at Isipatana. Then, in the evening, the Venerable Channa emerged from seclusion and, taking his key, went from dwelling to dwelling saying to the elder bhikkhus: “Let the elder venerable ones exhort me, let them instruct me, let them give me a Dhamma talk in such a way that I might see the Dhamma.”

When this was said, the elder bhikkhus said to the Venerable Channa: “Form, friend Channa, is impermanent, feeling is impermanent, perception is impermanent, volitional formations are impermanent, consciousness is impermanent. Form is nonself, feeling is nonself, perception is nonself, volitional formations are nonself, consciousness is nonself. All formations are impermanent; all phenomena are nonself.”

Then it occurred to the Venerable Channa: “I too think in this way: ‘Form is impermanent … consciousness is impermanent. Form is nonself … consciousness is nonself. All formations are impermanent; all phenomena are nonself.’ But my mind does not launch out upon the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna; nor does it acquire confidence, settle down, and resolve on it. Instead, agitation and clinging arise and the mind turns back, thinking: ‘But who is my self?’ But such does not happen to one who sees the Dhamma. So who can teach me the Dhamma in such a way that I might see the Dhamma?”

Then it occurred to the Venerable Channa: “This Venerable Ānanda is dwelling at Kosambi in Ghosita’s Park, and he has been praised by the Teacher and is esteemed by his wise brothers in the holy life. The Venerable Ānanda is capable of teaching me the Dhamma in such a way that I might see the Dhamma. Since I have so much trust in the Venerable Ānanda, let me approach him.”

Then the Venerable Channa set his lodging in order, took his bowl and robe, and went to Ghosita’s Park in Kosambi, where he approached the Venerable Ānanda and exchanged greetings with him. When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and told the Venerable Ānanda everything that had happened, adding: “Let the Venerable Ānanda exhort me, let him instruct me, let him give me a Dhamma talk in such a way that I might see the Dhamma.”

“Even by this much am I pleased with the Venerable Channa. Perhaps the Venerable Channa has opened himself up and broken through his barrenness. Lend your ear, friend Channa, you are capable of understanding the Dhamma.”

Then at once a lofty rapture and gladness arose in the Venerable Channa as he thought: “It seems that I am capable of understanding the Dhamma.”

The Venerable Ānanda then said: “In the presence of the Blessed One I have heard this, friend Channa, in his presence I have received the exhortation he spoke to the bhikkhu Kaccanagotta:

“This world, Kaccana, for the most part relies upon a duality … (the entire sutta 12:15 is cited here) … Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.”

“So it is, friend Ānanda, for those venerable ones who have such compassionate and benevolent brothers in the holy life to admonish and instruct them. And now that I have heard this Dhamma teaching of the Venerable Ānanda, I have made the breakthrough to the Dhamma.”