Samyuktagama 86

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Saṃyuktāgama 86. Discourse on Impermanence

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: “If impermanent bodily form were permanent, then it should not happen that bodily form becomes sick and is in pain, and there should not be the pursuit in relation to bodily form, wishing it to be in this way and not in that way. Because bodily form is impermanent, bodily form becomes sick and pain arises, and one gets what one does not wish to be in this way and not in that way. Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness are also like this.”

“Monks, what do you think, is bodily form permanent or impermanent?”

The monks said to the Buddha: “It is impermanent, Blessed One.”

The Buddha said: “Monks, what is impermanent, is it dukkha?”

The monks said to the Buddha: “It is dukkha, Blessed One.”

The Buddha said: “Monks, what is impermanent, dukkha, of a nature to change, would a learned noble disciple herein regard it 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?“

The monks said to the Buddha: “No, Blessed One.”

The Buddha said: “Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness are 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 of it is entirely without a self and without what belongs to a self; this should be understood as it really is. Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness are also like this.

“A learned noble disciple rightly contemplates bodily form. Having rightly contemplated it, he gives rise to disenchantment towards bodily form, becomes dispassionate towards it, does not delight in it, and is liberated from it. He gives rise to disenchantment towards feeling … perception … formations … consciousness, becomes dispassionate towards it, does not delight in it, and is liberated from it, knowing: ‘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.