Samyuktagama 30

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Saṃyuktāgama 30. First Discourse to Soṇa

Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels’ Feeding Place. At that time the venerable Sāriputta was on Mount Vulture Peak. Then a householder’s son by the name of Soṇa, who every day used to roam around, reached Mount Vulture Peak and approached the venerable Sāriputta. Having exchanged polite greetings he withdrew to sit at one side. He said to Sāriputta:

“If recluses and brahmins in regard to bodily form which is impermanent and changing, bodily form which is not stable, say: ‘I am superior, I am equal, I am inferior’; why do these recluses and brahmins have such a perception and do not see the truth?

“If recluses and brahmins in regard to feeling … perception … formations … consciousness, which is impermanent and changing, which is not stable, say: ‘I am superior, I am equal, I am inferior’; why do these recluses and brahmins have such a perception and do not see the truth?

“If recluses and brahmins in regard to bodily form which is impermanent and not stable, bodily form which is changing, say: ‘I am superior, I am equal, I am inferior’; why do they imagine like this and do not see the truth? In regard to feeling … perception … formations … consciousness which is impermanent and changing, which is not stable, they say: ‘I am superior, I am equal, I am inferior’. Why do they imagine like this and do not see the truth?”

Sāriputta asked: “Soṇa, what do you think, is bodily form permanent or is it impermanent?” Soṇa replied: “It is impermanent.”

Sāriputta asked: “Soṇa, what is impermanent, is it dukkha?” Soṇa replied: “It is dukkha.”

Sāriputta asked: “Soṇa, what is impermanent, dukkha, of a nature to change, what do you think, does a noble disciple herein regard such bodily form as the self, as distinct from the self in the sense of being owned by it, as existing within the self, or the self as existing within it?” Soṇa replied: “No.”

Sāriputta asked: “Soṇa, what do you think, is feeling … perception … formations … consciousness permanent or is it impermanent?” Soṇa replied: “It is impermanent.”

Sāriputta asked: “What is impermanent, is it dukkha?” Soṇa replied: “It is dukkha.”

Sāriputta asked: “Soṇa, consciousness that is impermanent, dukkha, of a nature to change, what do you think, does a noble disciple herein regard such consciousness as the self, as distinct from the self in the sense of being owned by it, as existing within the self, or the self as existing within it?” Soṇa replied: “No.”

Sāriputta said: “Soṇa you should know that whatever bodily form, whether past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, sublime or repugnant, far or near, all such bodily form is not self, is 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 reckoned knowing it as it really is.

“In the same way whatever feeling … perception … formations … consciousness, whether past, future or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, sublime or repugnant, far or near, all such consciousness is not self, is 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 reckoned knowing it as it really is.

“Soṇa, in this way arouse disenchantment in regard to bodily form … feeling … perception … formations … consciousness, be free from desire for it and become liberated. Being liberated you will know and see that: ‘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 Sāriputta had spoken this discourse, the householder’s son Soṇa attained the pure eye of Dharma that is remote from mental stains and free from mental dust. Then the householder’s son Soṇa saw the Dharma and attained the Dharma, not needing to rely on others he had attained fearlessness in the right Dharma. He rose from his seat, arranged his clothes so as to bare the right shoulder, knelt down and with palms together said to Sāriputta:

“I have now crossed over. From now on I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the Dharma and take refuge in the Saṅgha as a lay follower. From today until the end of my life I purely take refuge in the three jewels.”

Then the householder’s son Soṇa, hearing what Sāriputta had said, was thrilled with delight, paid homage and left.