T 1670B Nāgasena Bhikṣu Sūtra

Part 2: Dialogues

2.74. Consciousness, wisdom and life principle

The king asked Nāgasena again, “Is the consciousness of a person, his wisdom, and his life principle all the same or different?”

Nāgasena said, “The consciousness of a person knows, his wisdom realizes the Path, and his life principle is empty without a permanent entity.”

“If there is no life principle, then who sees material forms with eyes; hears sounds with ears; smells odors with nose; tastes flavor with mouth; feels coarseness and smoothness with body and knows good and evil with the mind?”

Then Nāgasena asked, “If the life principle can see with eyes, then when pupils are plucked out, can it see farther and wider? When ears are torn open and enlarged, can they hear farther and wider? When the nose is dug out to make it bigger, can it smell odors farther and wider? When the mouth is wide open, can it know taste farther and wider? When the skin is cut and peeled off, can it feel coarseness and smoothness? When the mind is removed, can thoughts become numerous?”

“No,” said the king.