Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 22. Khandhasaṃyutta: Connected Discourses on the Aggregates
Division II. The Middle Fifty

III. Being Devoured

73 (1) Gratification
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling does not understand as it really is the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of form, feeling, perception, volitional formations, and consciousness.
    “But, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple [82] understands as it really is the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of form, feeling, perception, volitional formations, and consciousness.”

74 (2) Origin (1)
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling does not understand as it really is the origin and the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of form, feeling, perception, volitional formations, and consciousness.
    “But, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple understands as it really is the origin and the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of form, feeling, perception, volitional formations, and consciousness.”

75 (3) Origin (2)
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple understands as it really is the origin and the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of form, feeling, perception, volitional formations, and consciousness.”

76 (4) Arahants (1)
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, form is impermanent. What is impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself [83] should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
    “Feeling is impermanent…. Perception is impermanent…. Volitional formations are impermanent…. Consciousness is impermanent. What is impermanent is suffering. What is suffering is nonself. What is nonself should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
    “Seeing thus, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple experiences revulsion towards form, revulsion towards feeling, revulsion towards perception, revulsion towards volitional formations, revulsion towards consciousness. Experiencing revulsion, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion [his mind] is liberated. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: ‘It’s liberated.’ He understands: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.’
    “To whatever extent, bhikkhus, there are abodes of beings, even up to the pinnacle of existence, these are the foremost in the world, these are the best, that is, the arahants.”
    This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this:

“Happy indeed are the arahants!
 No craving can be found in them.
 Cut off is the conceit ‘I am,’
 Burst asunder is delusion’s net.

“They have reached the unstirred state,
 Limpid are their minds;
 They are unsullied in the world—
 The holy ones, without taints.

“Having fully understood the five aggregates,
 Ranging in the seven good qualities,
 Those praiseworthy superior men
 Are the Buddha’s bosom sons.

“Endowed with the seven gems,
 Trained in the threefold training,
 Those great heroes wander about
 With fear and trembling abandoned.

“Endowed with the ten factors,
 Those great nāgas, concentrated,
 Are the best beings in the world:
 No craving can be found in them.

“The adepts’ knowledge has arisen in them:
 ‘This body is the last I bear.’
 In regard to the core of the holy life
 They no longer depend on others. [84]

“They do not waver in discrimination,
 They are released from renewed existence.
 Having reached the stage of the tamed,
 They are the victors in the world.

“Above, across, and below,
 Delight is no more found in them.
 They boldly sound their lion’s roar:
 ‘The enlightened are supreme in the world.’”

77 (5) Arahants (2)
(This sutta is identical with the preceding one except that the verses are omitted.)

78 (6) The Lion
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, in the evening the lion, the king of beasts, comes out from his lair. Having come out, he stretches himself, surveys the four quarters all around, and roars his lion’s roar three times. Then he sets out in search of game. [85]
    “When the lion, the king of beasts, roars, whatever animals hear the sound are for the most part filled with fear, a sense of urgency, and terror. Those who live in holes enter their holes; those who live in the water enter the water; those who live in the woods enter the woods; and the birds fly up into the air. Even those royal bull elephants, bound by strong thongs in the villages, towns, and capital cities, burst and break their bonds asunder; frightened, they urinate and defecate and flee here and there. So powerful, bhikkhus, is the lion, the king of beasts, among the animals, so majestic and mighty.
    “So too, bhikkhus, when the Tathāgata arises in the world, an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed leader of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One, he teaches the Dhamma thus: ‘Such is form, such its origin, such its passing away; such is feeling … such is perception … such are volitional formations … such is consciousness, such its origin, such its passing away.’
    “Then, bhikkhus, when those devas who are long-lived, beautiful, abounding in happiness, dwelling for a long time in lofty palaces, hear the Tathāgata’s teaching of the Dhamma, they are for the most part filled with fear, a sense of urgency, and terror, [saying]: ‘It seems, sir, that we are impermanent, though we thought ourselves permanent; it seems, sir, that we are unstable, though we thought ourselves stable; it seems, sir, that we are noneternal, though we thought ourselves eternal. It seems, sir, that we are impermanent, unstable, noneternal, included within identity.’ So powerful, bhikkhus, is the Tathāgata over this world together with its devas, so majestic and mighty.”
    This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this: [86]

“When the Buddha, through direct knowledge,
 Sets in motion the Wheel of Dhamma,
 The peerless Teacher in this world
 With its devas [makes this known]:

“The cessation of identity
 And the origin of identity,
 Also the Noble Eightfold Path
 That leads to suffering’s appeasement.

“Then those devas with long life spans,
 Beautiful, ablaze with glory,
 Are struck with fear, filled with terror,
 Like beasts who hear the lion’s roar.

“‘We’ve not transcended identity;
 It seems, sir, we’re impermanent,’
 [So they say] having heard the utterance
 Of the Arahant, the released Stable One.”

79 (7) Being Devoured
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, those ascetics and brahmins who recollect their manifold past abodes all recollect the five aggregates subject to clinging or a certain one among them. What five?
    “When recollecting thus, bhikkhus: ‘I had such form in the past,’ it is just form that one recollects. When recollecting: ‘I had such a feeling in the past,’ it is just feeling that one recollects. When recollecting: ‘I had such a perception in the past,’ it is just perception that one recollects. When recollecting: ‘I had such volitional formations in the past,’ it is just volitional formations that one recollects. When recollecting: ‘I had such consciousness in the past,’ it is just consciousness that one recollects.
    “And why, bhikkhus, do you call it form? ‘It is deformed,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called form. Deformed by what? Deformed by cold, deformed by heat, deformed by hunger, deformed by thirst, deformed by contact with flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, and serpents. ‘It is deformed,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called form.
    “And why, bhikkhus, do you call it feeling? ‘It feels,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called feeling. And what does it feel? It feels pleasure, it feels pain, [87] it feels neither-pain-nor-pleasure. ‘It feels,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called feeling.
    “And why, bhikkhus, do you call it perception? ‘It perceives,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called perception. And what does it perceive? It perceives blue, it perceives yellow, it perceives red, it perceives white. ‘It perceives,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called perception.
    “And why, bhikkhus, do you call them volitional formations? ‘They construct the conditioned,’ bhikkhus, therefore they are called volitional formations. And what is the conditioned that they construct? They construct conditioned form as form; they construct conditioned feeling as feeling; they construct conditioned perception as perception; they construct conditioned volitional formations as volitional formations; they construct conditioned consciousness as consciousness. ‘They construct the conditioned,’ bhikkhus, therefore they are called volitional formations.
    “And why, bhikkhus, do you call it consciousness? ‘It cognizes,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called consciousness. And what does it cognize? It cognizes sour, it cognizes bitter, it cognizes pungent, it cognizes sweet, it cognizes sharp, it cognizes mild, it cognizes salty, it cognizes bland. ‘It cognizes,’ bhikkhus, therefore it is called consciousness.
    “Therein, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple reflects thus: ‘I am now being devoured by form. In the past too I was devoured by form in the very same way that I am now being devoured by present form. If I were to seek delight in future form, then in the future too I shall be devoured by form in the very same way that I am now being devoured by present form.’ Having reflected thus, he becomes indifferent towards past form, he does not seek delight in future form, and he is practising for revulsion towards present form, for its fading away and cessation.
    “[He reflects thus:] ‘I am now being devoured by feeling.’ … [88] … ‘I am now being devoured by perception.’ … ‘I am now being devoured by volitional formations.’ … ‘I am now being devoured by consciousness. In the past too I was devoured by consciousness in the very same way that I am now being devoured by present consciousness. If I were to seek delight in future consciousness, then in the future too I shall be devoured by consciousness in the very same way that I am now being devoured by present consciousness.’ Having reflected thus, he becomes indifferent towards past consciousness, he does not seek delight in future consciousness, and he is practising for revulsion towards present consciousness, for its fading away and cessation.
    “What do you think, bhikkhus, is form permanent or impermanent?… Is feeling … perception … volitional formations … [89] consciousness permanent or impermanent?” – “Impermanent, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?” – “Suffering, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?” – “No, venerable sir.”
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, any kind of form whatsoever … Any kind of feeling whatsoever … Any kind of perception whatsoever … Any kind of volitional formations whatsoever … Any kind of consciousness whatsoever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, all consciousness should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
    “This is called, bhikkhus, a noble disciple who dismantles and does not build up; who abandons and does not cling; who scatters and does not amass; who extinguishes and does not kindle.
    “And what is it that he dismantles and does not build up? He dismantles form and does not build it up. He dismantles feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness and does not build it up.
    “And what is it that he abandons and does not cling to? He abandons form and does not cling to it. He abandons feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness and does not cling to it.
    “And what is it that he scatters and does not amass? He scatters form and does not amass it. He scatters feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness and does not amass it. [90]
    “And what is it that he extinguishes and does not kindle? He extinguishes form and does not kindle it. He extinguishes feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness and does not kindle it.
    “Seeing thus, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple experiences revulsion towards form, revulsion towards feeling, revulsion towards perception, revulsion towards volitional formations, revulsion towards consciousness. Experiencing revulsion, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion [his mind] is liberated. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: ‘It’s liberated.’ He understands: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.’
    “This is called, bhikkhus, a noble disciple who neither builds up nor dismantles, but who abides having dismantled; who neither abandons nor clings, but who abides having abandoned; who neither scatters nor amasses, but who abides having scattered; who neither extinguishes nor kindles, but who abides having extinguished.
    “And what is it, bhikkhus, that he neither builds up nor dismantles, but abides having dismantled? He neither builds up nor dismantles form, but abides having dismantled it. He neither builds up nor dismantles feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, but abides having dismantled it.
    “And what is it that he neither abandons nor clings to, but abides having abandoned? He neither abandons nor clings to form, but abides having abandoned it. He neither abandons nor clings to feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, but abides having abandoned it.
    “And what is it that he neither scatters nor amasses, but abides having scattered? He neither scatters nor amasses form, but abides having scattered it. He neither scatters nor amasses feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, but abides having scattered it.
    “And what is it that he neither extinguishes nor kindles, but abides having extinguished? He neither extinguishes nor kindles form, but abides having extinguished it. He neither extinguishes nor kindles feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, but abides having extinguished it.
    “When, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu is thus liberated in mind, the devas together with Indra, Brahmā, and Pajāpati pay homage to him from afar: [91]

“‘Homage to you, O thoroughbred man!
 Homage to you, O highest among men!
 We ourselves do not directly know
 Dependent upon what you meditate.’”

80 (8) Alms-Gatherer
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu in Nigrodha’s Park.
    Then the Blessed One, having dismissed the bhikkhus for a particular reason, dressed in the morning and, taking bowl and robe, entered Kapilavatthu for alms. When he had walked for alms in Kapilavatthu and had returned from the alms round, after his meal he went to the Great Wood for the day’s abiding. Having plunged into the Great Wood, he sat down at the foot of a beluva sapling for the day’s abiding.
    Then, while the Blessed One was alone in seclusion, a reflection arose in his mind thus: “The Saṅgha of bhikkhus has been dismissed by me. There are bhikkhus here who are newly ordained, not long gone forth, recently come to this Dhamma and Discipline. If they do not see me there may take place in them some alteration or change. Just as when a young calf does not see its mother there may take place in it some alteration or change, so too there are bhikkhus here who are newly ordained, not long gone forth, recently come to this Dhamma and Discipline. If they do not see me there may take place in them some alteration or change. Just as when young seedlings do not get water there may take place in them some alteration or change, so too there are bhikkhus here who are newly ordained, not long gone forth, recently come to this Dhamma and Discipline. If they do not see me there may take place in them some alteration or change. Let me assist the Saṅgha of bhikkhus now just as I have assisted it in the past.”
    Then Brahmā Sahampati, having known with his own mind the reflection in the Blessed One’s mind, just as quickly as a strong man might extend his drawn-in arm or draw in his extended arm, disappeared from the brahmā world and reappeared before the Blessed One. [92] He arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, raised his joined hands in reverential salutation towards the Blessed One, and said to him: “So it is, Blessed One! So it is, Fortunate One! The Saṅgha of bhikkhus has been dismissed by the Blessed One. There are bhikkhus here who are newly ordained … (as above, including the similes) … If they do not see the Blessed One there may take place in them some alteration or change. Venerable sir, let the Blessed One take delight in the Saṅgha of bhikkhus! Let the Blessed One welcome the Saṅgha of bhikkhus! Let the Blessed One assist the Saṅgha of bhikkhus now just as he has assisted it in the past.”
    The Blessed One consented by silence. Then Brahmā Sahampati, having understood the Blessed One’s consent, paid homage to the Blessed One and, keeping him on his right, he disappeared right there.
    Then in the evening the Blessed One emerged from seclusion and went to Nigrodha’s Park. He sat down in the appointed seat and performed such a feat of spiritual power that the bhikkhus would come to him, alone and in pairs, in a timid manner. Then those bhikkhus approached the Blessed One, alone and in pairs, in a timid manner. [93] Having approached, they paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to them:
    “Bhikkhus, this is the lowest form of livelihood, that is, gathering alms. In the world this is a term of abuse: ‘You alms-gatherer; you roam about with a begging bowl in your hand!’ And yet, bhikkhus, clansmen intent on the good take up that way of life for a valid reason. It is not because they have been driven to it by kings that they do so, nor because they have been driven to it by thieves, nor owing to debt, nor from fear, nor to earn a livelihood. But they do so with the thought: ‘I am immersed in birth, aging, and death; in sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. I am immersed in suffering, oppressed by suffering. Perhaps an ending of this entire mass of suffering might be discerned!’
    “It is in such a way, bhikkhus, that this clansman has gone forth. Yet he is covetous, inflamed by lust for sensual pleasures, with a mind full of ill will, with intentions corrupted by hate, muddle-minded, lacking clear comprehension, unconcentrated, scatter-brained, loose in his sense faculties. Just as a brand from a funeral pyre, burning at both ends and smeared with excrement in the middle, cannot be used as timber either in the village or in the forest, in just such a way do I speak about this person: he has missed out on the enjoyments of a householder, yet he does not fulfil the goal of asceticism.
    “There are, bhikkhus, these three kinds of unwholesome thoughts: sensual thought, thought of ill will, thought of harming. And where, bhikkhus, do these three unwholesome thoughts cease without remainder? For one who dwells with a mind well established in the four establishments of mindfulness, or for one who develops the signless concentration. This is reason enough, bhikkhus, to develop the signless concentration. When the signless concentration is developed and cultivated, bhikkhus, it is of great fruit and benefit.
    “There are, bhikkhus, these two views: the view of existence and the view of extermination. [94] Therein, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple reflects thus: ‘Is there anything in the world that I could cling to without being blameworthy?’ He understand thus: ‘There is nothing in the world that I could cling to without being blameworthy. For if I should cling, it is only form that I would be clinging to, only feeling … only perception … only volitional formations … only consciousness that I would be clinging to. With that clinging of mine as condition, there would be existence; with existence as condition, birth; with birth as condition, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair would come to be. Such would be the origin of this whole mass of suffering.’
    “What do you think, bhikkhus, is form permanent or impermanent?… Is feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness permanent or impermanent?” – “Impermanent, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?” – “Suffering, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?” – “No, venerable sir.”
    “Seeing thus … He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’”

81 (9) Pārileyya
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Kosambī in Ghosita’s Park.
    Then, in the morning, the Blessed One dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Kosambī for alms. When he had walked for alms in Kosambī and had returned from the alms round, after his meal [95] he set his lodging in order himself, took his bowl and robe, and without informing his personal attendants, without taking leave of the Bhikkhu Saṅgha, he set out on tour alone, without a companion.
    Then, not long after the Blessed One had departed, a certain bhikkhu approached the Venerable Ānanda and told him: “Friend Ānanda, the Blessed One has set his lodging in order himself, taken his bowl and robe, and without informing his personal attendants, without taking leave of the Bhikkhu Saṅgha, he has set out on tour alone, without a companion.”
    “Friend, whenever the Blessed One sets out like that he wishes to dwell alone. On such an occasion the Blessed One should not be followed by anyone.”
    Then the Blessed One, wandering by stages, arrived at Pārileyyaka. There at Pārileyyaka the Blessed One dwelt at the foot of an auspicious sal tree.
    Then a number of bhikkhus approached the Venerable Ānanda and exchanged greetings with him. When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, they sat down to one side and said to the Venerable Ānanda: “Friend Ānanda, it has been a long time since we heard a Dhamma talk in the presence of the Blessed One. We should like to hear such a talk, friend Ānanda.”
    Then the Venerable Ānanda together with those bhikkhus approached the Blessed One at Pārileyyaka, at the foot of the auspicious sal tree. Having approached, they paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then instructed, exhorted, inspired, and gladdened those bhikkhus with a Dhamma talk. [96] Now on that occasion a reflection arose in the mind of a certain bhikkhu thus: “How should one know, how should one see, for the immediate destruction of the taints to occur?”
    The Blessed One, having known with his own mind the reflection in that bhikkhu’s mind, addressed the bhikkhus thus:
    “Bhikkhus, this Dhamma has been taught by me discriminately. The four establishments of mindfulness have been taught by me discriminately. The four right strivings … The four bases for spiritual power … The five spiritual faculties … The five powers … The seven factors of enlightenment … The Noble Eightfold Path has been taught by me discriminately. Bhikkhus, in regard to the Dhamma that has been thus taught by me discriminately, a reflection arose in the mind of a certain bhikkhu thus: ‘How should one know, how should one see, for the immediate destruction of the taints to occur?’
    “And how, bhikkhus, should one know, how should one see, for the immediate destruction of the taints to occur? Here, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling, who is not a seer of the noble ones and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, who is not a seer of superior persons and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, regards form as self. That regarding, bhikkhus, is a formation. That formation—what is its source, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced? When the uninstructed worldling is contacted by a feeling born of ignorance-contact, craving arises: thence that formation is born.
    “Thus, bhikkhus, that formation is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that craving is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that feeling is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that contact is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that ignorance is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen. [97] When one knows and sees thus, bhikkhus, the immediate destruction of the taints occurs.
    “He may not regard form as self, but he regards self as possessing form. That regarding is a formation … (all as above) … When one knows and sees thus, bhikkhus, the immediate destruction of the taints occurs.
    “He may not regard form as self or self as possessing form, but he regards form as in self. That regarding is a formation….
    “He may not regard form as self or self as possessing form or form as in self, but he regards self as in form. That regarding is a formation…. [98]
    “He may not regard form as self … or self as in form, but he regards feeling as self … perception as self … volitional formations as self … consciousness as self … self as in consciousness. That regarding is a formation…. When one knows and sees thus, bhikkhus, the immediate destruction of the taints occurs.
    “He may not regard form as self … [99] … or self as in consciousness, but he holds such a view as this: ‘That which is the self is the world; having passed away, that I shall be—permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change.’ That eternalist view is a formation…. When one knows and sees thus, bhikkhus, the immediate destruction of the taints occurs.
    “He may not regard form as self … or hold such an [eternalist] view, but he holds such a view as this: ‘I might not be, and it might not be for me; I will not be, [and] it will not be for me.’ That annihilationist view is a formation….
    “He may not regard form as self … or hold such an [annihilationist] view, but he is perplexed, doubtful, indecisive in regard to the true Dhamma. That perplexity, doubtfulness, indecisiveness in regard to the true Dhamma is a formation. That formation—what is its source, what is its origin, from what is it born and produced? When the uninstructed worldling is contacted by a feeling born of ignorance-contact, craving arises: thence that formation is born.
    “So that formation, bhikkhus, is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that craving is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that feeling is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that contact is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen; that ignorance is impermanent, conditioned, dependently arisen. When one knows and sees thus, bhikkhus, the immediate destruction of the taints occurs.” [100]

82 (10) The Full-Moon Night
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in the Eastern Park, in the Mansion of Migāra’s Mother, together with a great Saṅgha of bhikkhus. Now on that occasion—the Uposatha day of the fifteenth, a full-moon night—the Blessed One was sitting out in the open surrounded by the Saṅgha of bhikkhus.
    Then a certain bhikkhu rose from his seat, arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, raised his joined hands in reverential salutation towards the Blessed One, and said to him: “Venerable sir, I would ask the Blessed One about a certain point, if the Blessed One would grant me the favour of answering my question.”
    “Well then, bhikkhu, sit down in your own seat and ask whatever you wish.”
    “Yes, venerable sir,” that bhikkhu replied. Then he sat down in his own seat and said to the Blessed One:
    “Aren’t these the five aggregates subject to clinging, venerable sir: that is, the form aggregate subject to clinging, the feeling aggregate subject to clinging, the perception aggregate subject to clinging, the volitional formations aggregate subject to clinging, the consciousness aggregate subject to clinging?”
    “Those are the five aggregates subject to clinging, bhikkhu: that is, the form aggregate subject to clinging, the feeling aggregate subject to clinging, the perception aggregate subject to clinging, the volitional formations aggregate subject to clinging, the consciousness aggregate subject to clinging.”
    Saying, “Good, venerable sir,” that bhikkhu delighted and rejoiced in the Blessed One’s statement. Then he asked the Blessed One a further question:
    “But, venerable sir, in what are these five aggregates subject to clinging rooted?”
    “These five aggregates subject to clinging, bhikkhu, are rooted in desire.”
    “Venerable sir, is that clinging the same as these five aggregates subject to clinging, or is the clinging something apart from the five aggregates subject to clinging?”
    “Bhikkhus, that clinging is neither the same as the five aggregates subject to clinging, [101] nor is the clinging something apart from the five aggregates subject to clinging. But rather, the desire and lust for them, that is the clinging there.”
    Saying, “Good, venerable sir,” that bhikkhu … asked the Blessed One a further question:
    “But, venerable sir, can there be diversity in the desire and lust for the five aggregates subject to clinging?”
    “There can be, bhikkhu,” the Blessed One said. “Here, bhikkhu, it occurs to someone: ‘May I have such form in the future! May I have such feeling in the future! May I have such perception in the future! May I have such volitional formations in the future! May I have such consciousness in the future!’ Thus, bhikkhu, there can be diversity in the desire and lust for the five aggregates subject to clinging.”
    Saying, “Good, venerable sir,” that bhikkhu … asked the Blessed One a further question:
    “In what way, venerable sir, does the designation ‘aggregates’ apply to the aggregates?”
    “Whatever kind of form there is, bhikkhu, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: this is called the form aggregate. Whatever kind of feeling there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: this is called the feeling aggregate. Whatever kind of perception there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: this is called the perception aggregate. Whatever kind of volitional formations there are, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: this is called the volitional formations aggregate. Whatever kind of consciousness there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: this is called the consciousness aggregate. It is in this way, bhikkhu, that the designation ‘aggregates’ applies to the aggregates.”
    Saying, “Good, venerable sir,” that bhikkhu … asked the Blessed One a further question:
    “What is the cause and condition, venerable sir, for the manifestation of the form aggregate? What is the cause and condition for the manifestation of the feeling aggregate?… for the manifestation of the perception aggregate?… for the manifestation of the volitional formations aggregate?… for the manifestation of the consciousness aggregate?”
    “The four great elements, bhikkhu, are the cause and condition for the manifestation of the form aggregate. Contact is the cause and condition for the manifestation of the feeling aggregate. Contact is the cause and condition for the manifestation of the perception aggregate. [102] Contact is the cause and condition for the manifestation of the volitional formations aggregate. Name-and-form is the cause and condition for the manifestation of the consciousness aggregate.”
    “Venerable sir, how does identity view come to be?”
    “Here, bhikkhu, the uninstructed worldling, who is not a seer of the noble ones and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, who is not a seer of superior persons and is unskilled and undisciplined in their Dhamma, regards form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form. He regards feeling as self … perception as self … volitional formations as self … consciousness as self, or self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in self, or self as in consciousness. That is how identity view comes to be.”
    “But, venerable sir, how does identity view not come to be?”
    “Here, bhikkhu, the instructed noble disciple, who is a seer of the noble ones and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, who is a seer of superior persons and is skilled and disciplined in their Dhamma, does not regard form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form. He does not regard feeling as self … perception as self … volitional formations as self … consciousness as self, or self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in self, or self as in consciousness. That is how identity view does not come to be.”
    “What, venerable sir, is the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of form? What is the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of feeling?… in the case of perception?… in the case of volitional formations?… in the case of consciousness?”
    “The pleasure and joy, bhikkhu, that arise in dependence on form: this is the gratification in form. That form is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this is the danger in form. The removal and abandonment of desire and lust for form: this is the escape from form. The pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on feeling … [103] in dependence on perception … in dependence on volitional formations … in dependence on consciousness: this is the gratification in consciousness. That consciousness is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this is the danger in consciousness. The removal and abandonment of desire and lust for consciousness: this is the escape from consciousness.”
    Saying, “Good, venerable sir,” that bhikkhu delighted and rejoiced in the Blessed One’s statement. Then he asked the Blessed One a further question:
    “Venerable sir, how should one know, how should one see so that, in regard to this body with consciousness and in regard to all external signs, I-making, mine-making, and the underlying tendency to conceit no longer occur within?”
    “Any kind of form whatsoever, bhikkhu, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near—one sees all form as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
    “Any kind of feeling whatsoever … Any kind of perception whatsoever … Any kind of volitional formations whatsoever … Any kind of consciousness whatsoever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near—one sees all consciousness as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’
    “When one knows and sees thus, bhikkhu, then in regard to this body with consciousness and in regard to all external signs, I-making, mine-making, and the underlying tendency to conceit no longer occur within.”
    Now on that occasion the following reflection arose in the mind of a certain bhikkhu: “So it seems that form is nonself, feeling is nonself, perception is nonself, volitional formations are nonself, consciousness is nonself. What self, then, will deeds done by what is nonself affect?”
    Then the Blessed One, knowing with his own mind the reflection in the mind of that bhikkhu, addressed the bhikkhus thus: “It is possible, bhikkhus, that some senseless man here, obtuse and ignorant, with his mind dominated by craving, might think that he can outstrip the Teacher’s Teaching thus: ‘So it seems that form is nonself … consciousness is nonself. [104] What self, then, will deeds done by what is nonself affect?’ Now, bhikkhus, you have been trained by me through interrogation here and there in regard to diverse teachings.
    “What do you think, bhikkhu, is form permanent or impermanent?” – “Impermanent, venerable sir.”… – “Is feeling permanent or impermanent?… Is perception permanent or impermanent?… Are volitional formations permanent or impermanent?… Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?” – “Impermanent, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?” – “Suffering, venerable sir.” – “Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?” – “No, venerable sir.”
    “Therefore … Seeing thus … He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’”

These are the ten questions
The bhikkhu came to ask:
Two about the aggregates,
Whether the same, can there be,
Designation and the cause,
Two about identity,
[One each on] gratification
And [this body] with consciousness.
 

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© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)

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