Samyuktagama 268

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Saṃyuktāgama 268. Discourse on the Flowing River

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: “It is just as if from a mountain ravine the water of a river gushes forth, whose water is deep and quick, with a strong current and much that is afloat upon it. On the two banks of the river various vegetation grows, which the great water has bent so that it is along the borders of the water. Persons wading cross the water are often set afloat by the water and carried away by the stream, sinking and drowning. Being carried by the waves close to the bank, with the hand they clasp the vegetation, yet the vegetation breaks off and they are again carried away by the water, drifting along.

“In the same way, monks, suppose a foolish living being does not understand as it really is bodily form, the arising of bodily form, the cessation of bodily form, the gratification of bodily form, the danger in bodily form, and the escape from bodily form. Because of not understanding it as it really is, he delights in and is attached to bodily form, declaring bodily form to be the self, even though that bodily form subsequently breaks apart. In the same way he does not understand as it really is feeling … perception … formations … consciousness, the arising of consciousness, the cessation of consciousness, the gratification of consciousness, the danger in consciousness, and the escape from consciousness. Because of not understanding it as it really is, he delights in and is attached to consciousness, declaring consciousness to be the self, even though consciousness in turn subsequently breaks apart.

“A learned noble disciple understands bodily form as it really is, the arising of bodily form, the cessation of bodily form, the gratification of bodily form, the danger in bodily form, and the escape from bodily form. Because of understanding it as it really is, he does not delight in and is not attached to bodily form.

“In the same way he understands as it really is feeling … perception … formations … consciousness, the arising of consciousness, the cessation of consciousness, the gratification of consciousness, the danger in consciousness, and the escape from consciousness. Because of understanding it as it really is, he does not delight in and is not attached to consciousness.

“Because of not delighting and being attached, in this way he attains Nirvāṇa and personally knows: ‘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.