Samyuktagama 270

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Saṃyuktāgama 270. Discourse on the Tree

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: “Perception of impermanence, cultivated, much cultivated, enables one to abandon all craving for sensual pleasures, craving for form, craving for the formless, restlessness, conceit, and ignorance.

“It is just as if a farmer at the end of summer, the beginning of autumn, deeply ploughs the earth to expose the roots and get rid of the grass. In the same way, monks, perception of impermanence, cultivated, much cultivated, enables one to abandon all craving for sensual pleasures, craving for form, craving for the formless, restlessness, conceit, and ignorance.

“Monks, it is just as if a person who cuts grass takes hold of it at one end with the hand, lifts it up and shakes it, to get rid of all dry and withered part, and then takes it along for the head of the household. In the same way, monks, perception of impermanence, cultivated, much cultivated, enables one to abandon all craving for sensual pleasures, craving for form, craving for the formless, restlessness, conceit, and ignorance.

“It is just as when a strong wind shakes the branches of a tree with mango fruits and all the fruit falls down. In the same way, perception of impermanence, cultivated, much cultivated, enables one to abandon all craving for sensual pleasures, craving for form, craving for the formless, restlessness, conceit, and ignorance.

“It is just as a house with a peaked roof whose central beam is solid and firm. Being depended on by the various rafters, it holds them so that they do not get loose. In the same way, perception of impermanence, cultivated, much cultivated, enables one to abandon all craving for sensual pleasures, craving for form, craving for the formless, restlessness, conceit, and ignorance.

“It is just as among the footprints of all living beings, the footprint of an elephant is the largest, because it is able to contain them all. In the same way, perception of impermanence, cultivated, much cultivated, enables one to abandon all craving for sensual pleasures, craving for form, craving for the formless, restlessness, conceit, and ignorance.

“It is just as all rivers in Jambudīpa flow into the great ocean and the great ocean is foremost and first, because it is able to contain them all. In the same way, perception of impermanence, cultivated, much cultivated, enables one to abandon all craving for sensual pleasures, craving for form, craving for the formless, restlessness, conceit, and ignorance.

“It is just as when the sun rises, it is able to dispel all the darkness in the world. In the same way, perception of impermanence, cultivated, much cultivated, enables one to abandon all craving for sensual pleasures, craving for form, craving for the formless, restlessness, conceit, and ignorance.

“It is just as a noble wheel turning king, who is supreme among all smaller kings, being the foremost. In the same way, perception of impermanence, cultivated, much cultivated, enables one to abandon all craving for sensual pleasures, craving for form, craving for the formless, restlessness, conceit, and ignorance.

“Monks, cultivated in what way does the perception of impermanence, being cultivated, much cultivated, enable abandoning all craving for sensual pleasures, craving for form, craving for the formless, restlessness, conceit, and ignorance?

“Suppose a monk in an open field or among trees in a forest gives well attention to and contemplates bodily form as impermanent … feeling … perception … formations … consciousness as impermanent.

“Giving attention in this way he will abandon all craving for sensual pleasures, craving for form, craving for the formless, restlessness, conceit and ignorance. Why is that? One who has the perception of impermanence is able to establish perception of not self. A noble disciple who has established the perception of not self will separate the mind from the ‘I am’ conceit and proceed to attain Nirvāṇa.”

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