Samyuktagama 133

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Saṃyuktāgama 133. [Discourse on What is the Cause]

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: “The existence of what is the cause, by clinging to what, by being fettered and attached to what, by seeing what as the self, are living beings hindered by ignorance, led by the fetter of craving, running around for a long time, revolving in the cycle of births and deaths, continuously transmigrating through births and deaths, without understanding its origin?”

The monks said to the Buddha: “The Blessed One is the root of the Dharma, the eye of the Dharma, the foundation of the Dharma. It would be well if the Blessed One could explain the meaning of thisfully to the monks, out of compassion. Having heard it, the monks will uphold and receive it respectfully.”

The Buddha said to the monks: “Listen and pay careful attention to what I shall tell you. Monks, the existence of bodily form is the cause, it is by clinging to the matter of bodily form, by being fettered and attached to bodily form, by seeing bodily form as a self, that living beings are hindered by ignorance, led by the fetter of craving, running around for a long time, revolving in the cycle of births and deaths, continuously transmigrating through births and deaths. Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness is also like this.

“Monks, is bodily form permanent or is it impermanent?”

They replied: “It is impermanent, Blessed One.”

[The Buddha] asked again: “What is impermanent, is it dukkha?”

They replied: “It is dukkha, Blessed One.”

[The Buddha said:] “In this way, monks, what is impermanent is dukkha. This dukkha is the cause, it is by clinging to this matter, by being fettered and attached to it, by seeing it as the self, that living beings are hindered by ignorance, led by the fetter of craving, running around for a long time, revolving in the cycle of births and deaths, continuously transmigrating through births and deaths. Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness is 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 that 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]. This is called right wisdom. Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness is also like this.

“In this way what is seen, heard, experienced, cognized, searched for, remembered, followed with [directed] awareness (vitakka ) and followed with [sustained] contemplation (vicāra ), all that 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]. This is called right wisdom.

“If there is the view proclaiming that a self exists and a world exists, and that this existing world is permanent, lasting, and of an unchanging nature ― all that 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]. This is called right wisdom.

“If again there is the view that this self does not exist, that nothing belongs to this self, that the self will not be in the future and nothing belonging to the self will be in the future ― all that 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]. This is called right wisdom.

“Suppose a learned noble disciple examines these six standpoints for views as not self and not belonging to a self. One who contemplates in this way abandons doubt in relation to the Buddha, abandons doubt in relation to the Dharma … in relation to the Community. Monks, this is called a learned noble disciple who is no longer capable of undertaking a bodily, verbal or mental deed that would lead to the three evil destinies. Even if he is negligent, the noble disciple is certain to proceed to awakening, within seven existences of going and coming among deva s and humans he will make an end of dukkha.”

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