Samyuktagama 31

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Saṃyuktāgama 31. Second 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. He paid homage with his head at Sāriputta’s feet and withdrew to sit at one side.

Then Sāriputta said: “Soṇa, if recluses and brahmins do not know bodily form as it really is, do not know the arising of bodily form as it really is, do not know the cessation of bodily form as it really is, do not know the path to the cessation of bodily form as it really is, then, Soṇa, you should know that for this reason these recluses and brahmins are not able to eradicate bodily form.

“In the same way recluses and brahmins who do not know feeling … perception … formations … consciousness as it really is, do not know the arising of consciousness as it really is, do not know the cessation of consciousness as it really is, do not know the path to the cessation of consciousness as it really is, then for this reason they are not able to eradicate consciousness.

“Soṇa, if recluses and brahmins know bodily form as it really is, know the arising of bodily form as it really is, know the cessation of bodily form as it really is, know the path to the cessation of bodily form as it really is, then, Soṇa, you should know that for this reason these recluses and brahmins are able to eradicate bodily form.

“In the same way, Soṇa, if recluses and brahmins know feeling … perception … formations … consciousness as it really is, know the arising of consciousness as it really is, know the cessation of consciousness as it really is, know the path to the cessation of consciousness as it really is, then, Soṇa, you should know that for this reason these recluses and brahmins are able to eradicate consciousness.”

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

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

Sāriputta said: “Bodily form that is impermanent, dukkha, of a nature to change, would 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. In the same way feeling … perception … formations … consciousness, is it permanent or impermanent?” Soṇa replied: “It is impermanent.”

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

Sāriputta asked again: “What is impermanent, dukkha, of a nature to change, would 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.

“Soṇa, a noble disciple arouses disenchantment in regard to bodily form, is free from desire for it and becomes liberated. He becomes liberated from birth, old age, disease, death, sorrow, sadness, pain and vexation.

“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, a noble disciple arouses disenchantment in regard to consciousness, is free from desire for it and becomes liberated. He becomes liberated from birth, old age, disease, death, sorrow, sadness, pain and vexation.”

Then Soṇa, hearing what Sāriputta had said, was thrilled with delight, paid homage and left.