Srona 89

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Śroṇa Sūtra (1st) The Discourse to Śroṇa

Śāripūtra spoke thus:

“Śroṇa, whatever ascetics or brahmins conceive ‘I am superior’ or ‘I am equal’ or ‘I am inferior’ based on form that is impermanent, not lasting, not gratifying, of the nature to decay; this, Śroṇa, is nothing but those ascetics or brahmins not seeing in accordance with reality.

“Śroṇa, whatever ascetics or brahmins conceive ‘I am superior’ or ‘I am equal’ or ‘I am inferior’ based on feeling … perception … volitional activities … consciousness that is impermanent, not lasting, not gratifying, of the nature to decay; this, Śroṇa, is nothing but those ascetics or brahmins not seeing in accordance with reality.

“Śroṇa, whatever ascetics or brahmins do not conceive ‘I am superior’ or ‘I am equal’ or ‘I am inferior’ based on form that is impermanent, not lasting, not gratifying, of the nature to decay; this, Śroṇa, is nothing but those ascetics or brahmins seeing in accordance with reality. Whatever ascetic or brahmin does not conceive ‘I am superior’ or ‘I am equal’ or ‘I am inferior’ based on feeling … perception … volitional activities … consciousness that is impermanent, not lasting, not gratifying, of the nature to decay; this, Śroṇa, is nothing but those ascetics or brahmins seeing in accordance with reality.

“What do you think, Śroṇa, is form permanent or impermanent?”

“It is impermanent, master Śāripūtra.”

“And again, would a learned noble disciple take that which is impermanent, suffering, or, if not suffering, then of the nature to decay, to be his self: ‘This is mine; I am this; this is my self’?”

“No, master Śāripūtra.”

“What do you think, Śroṇa, is feeling … perception … volitional activities … consciousness permanent or impermanent?”

“It is impermanent, master Śāripūtra.”

“And again, would a learned noble disciple take that which is impermanent, suffering, of the nature to decay, to be his self: ‘This is mine; I am this; this is my self’?”

“No, master Śāripūtra.”

“Therefore, Śroṇa, whatever form—past, future, present; internal or external; coarse or fine; inferior or superior; whether far or near—you should see all that with right wisdom in accordance with reality: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’”

“Therefore, Śroṇa, whatever feeling … perception … volitional activities … consciousness—past, future, present; internal or external; coarse or fine; inferior or superior; whether far or near—you should see all that with right wisdom in accordance with reality: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’ Seeing thus, a learned noble disciple is repulsed by form … feeling … perception … volitional activities … consciousness. Being repulsed, he is dispassionate. Being dispassionate, he is liberated. When he is liberated, he knows, ‘It’s liberated’. He understands: ‘Birth is ended, the holy life has been lived, done is what had to be done, there is no returning to this existence.’” And while this exposition of principles was being spoken, the stainless, immaculate vision of the principles of the teachings arose in Śroṇa the householder’s son.

Then Śroṇa the householder’s son, having seen the principles, attained the principles, realized the principles, fathomed the principles, having crossed over uncertainty, crossed over doubt … attained to intrepidity, rose from his seat, arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, extended his hands in añjalī towards venerable Śāripūtra and said:

“I am amazed, venerable Śāripūtra, it is amazing! I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dharma, and to the monastic Sangha. Please regard me as a lay disciple for the rest of my life.” … Śroṇa the householder’s son, expressing his gratitude for venerable Śāripūtra’s words, bowed with his head to venerable Śāripūtra’s feet, and departed from venerable Śāripūtra’s presence.