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

V. Flowers

93 (1) The River
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, suppose there was a mountain river sweeping downwards, flowing into the distance with a swift current. If on either bank of the river kāsa grass or kusa grass were to grow, it would overhang it; if rushes, reeds, or trees were to grow, they would overhang it. If a man being carried along by the current should grasp the kāsa grass, it would break off and he would thereby meet with calamity and disaster; if he should grasp the kusa grass, it would break off and he would thereby meet with calamity and disaster; if he should grasp the rushes, reeds, or trees, [138] they would break off and he would thereby meet with calamity and disaster.
    “So too, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling … regards form as self, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form. That form of his disintegrates and he thereby meets with calamity and disaster. 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 consciousness of his disintegrates and he thereby meets with calamity and disaster.
    “What do you think, bhikkhus, is form permanent or impermanent?” – “Impermanent, venerable sir.”… – “Therefore … Seeing thus … He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’”

94 (2) Flowers
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, I do not dispute with the world; rather, it is the world that disputes with me. A proponent of the Dhamma does not dispute with anyone in the world. Of that which the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, I too say that it does not exist. And of that which the wise in the world agree upon as existing, I too say that it exists.
    “And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, of which I too say that it does not exist? [139] Form that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, and I too say that it does not exist. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, and I too say that it does not exist.
    “That, bhikkhus, is what the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, of which I too say that it does not exist.
    “And what is it, bhikkhus, that the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists? Form that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness that is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this the wise in the world agree upon as existing, and I too say that it exists.
    “That, bhikkhus, is what the wise in the world agree upon as existing, of which I too say that it exists.
    “There is, bhikkhus, a world-phenomenon in the world to which the Tathāgata has awakened and broken through. Having done so, he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyses it, elucidates it.
    “And what is that world-phenomenon in the world to which the Tathāgata has awakened and broken through? Form, bhikkhus, is a world-phenomenon in the world to which the Tathāgata has awakened and broken through. Having done so, he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyses it, elucidates it. When it is being thus explained … [140] … elucidated by the Tathāgata, if anyone does not know and see, how can I do anything with that foolish worldling, blind and sightless, who does not know and does not see?
    “Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness is a world-phenomenon in the world to which the Tathāgata has awakened and broken through. Having done so, he explains it, teaches it, proclaims it, establishes it, discloses it, analyses it, elucidates it. When it is being thus explained … and elucidated by the Tathāgata, if anyone does not know and see, how can I do anything with that foolish worldling, blind and sightless, who does not know and does not see?
    “Bhikkhus, just as a blue, red, or white lotus is born in the water and grows up in the water, but having risen up above the water, it stands unsullied by the water, so too the Tathāgata was born in the world and grew up in the world, but having overcome the world, he dwells unsullied by the world.”

95 (3) A Lump of Foam
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Ayojjhā on the bank of the river Ganges. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus:
    “Bhikkhus, suppose that this river Ganges was carrying along a great lump of foam. A man with good sight would inspect it, ponder it, and carefully investigate it, and it would appear to him to be void, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in a lump of foam? So too, bhikkhus, whatever kind of form there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: [141] a bhikkhu inspects it, ponders it, and carefully investigates it, and it would appear to him to be void, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in form?
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, that in the autumn, when it is raining and big rain drops are falling, a water bubble arises and bursts on the surface of the water. A man with good sight would inspect it, ponder it, and carefully investigate it, and it would appear to him to be void, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in a water bubble? So too, bhikkhus, whatever kind of feeling there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: a bhikkhu inspects it, ponders it, and carefully investigates it, and it would appear to him to be void, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in feeling?
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, that in the last month of the hot season, at high noon, a shimmering mirage appears. A man with good sight would inspect it, ponder it, and carefully investigate it, and it would appear to him to be void, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in a mirage? So too, bhikkhus, whatever kind of perception there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: a bhikkhu inspects it, ponders it, and carefully investigates it, and it would appear to him to be void, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in perception?
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, that a man needing heartwood, seeking heartwood, wandering in search of heartwood, would take a sharp axe and enter a forest. There he would see the trunk of a large plantain tree, straight, fresh, without a fruit-bud core. He would cut it down at the root, cut off the crown, and unroll the coil. As he unrolls the coil, he would not find even softwood, let alone heartwood. A man with good sight would inspect it, ponder it, and carefully investigate it, [142] and it would appear to him to be void, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in the trunk of a plantain tree? So too, bhikkhus, whatever kind of volitional formations there are, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: a bhikkhu inspects them, ponders them, and carefully investigates them. As he investigates them, they appear to him to be void, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in volitional formations?
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, that a magician or a magician’s apprentice would display a magical illusion at a crossroads. A man with good sight would inspect it, ponder it, and carefully investigate it, and it would appear to him to be void, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in a magical illusion? So too, bhikkhus, whatever kind of consciousness there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near: a bhikkhu inspects it, ponders it, and carefully investigates it, and it would appear to him to be void, hollow, insubstantial. For what substance could there be in consciousness?
    “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 what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this:

“Form is like a lump of foam,
 Feeling like a water bubble;
 Perception is like a mirage,
 Volitions like a plantain trunk,
 And consciousness like an illusion,
 So explained the Kinsman of the Sun.

“However one may ponder it
 And carefully investigate it,
 It appears but hollow and void
 When one views it carefully. [143]

“With reference to this body
 The One of Broad Wisdom has taught
 That with the abandoning of three things
 One sees this form discarded.

“When vitality, heat, and consciousness
 Depart from this physical body,
 Then it lies there cast away:
 Food for others, without volition.

“Such is this continuum,
 This illusion, beguiler of fools.
 It is taught to be a murderer;
 Here no substance can be found.

“A bhikkhu with energy aroused
 Should look upon the aggregates thus,
 Whether by day or at night,
 Comprehending, ever mindful.

“He should discard all the fetters
 And make a refuge for himself;
 Let him fare as with head ablaze,
 Yearning for the imperishable state.”

96 (4) A Lump of Cowdung
At Sāvatthī. Then a certain bhikkhu … Sitting to one side, that bhikkhu said to the Blessed One:
    “Venerable sir, is there any form that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself? Is there, venerable sir, any feeling … any perception … any volitional formations … any consciousness [144] that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself?”
    “Bhikkhu, there is no form that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself. There is no feeling … no perception … no volitional formations … no consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself.”
    Then the Blessed One took up a little lump of cowdung in his hand and said to that bhikkhu: “Bhikkhu, there is not even this much individual existence that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself. If there was this much individual existence that was permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, this living of the holy life for the complete destruction of suffering could not be discerned. But because there is not even this much individual existence that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, this living of the holy life for the complete destruction of suffering is discerned.
    “In the past, bhikkhu, I was a head-anointed khattiya king. I had 84,000 cities, the chief of which was the capital Kusāvatī. I had 84,000 palaces, the chief of which was the palace [named] Dhamma. I had 84,000 halls with peaked roofs, the chief of which was the hall [named] the Great Array. I had 84,000 couches made of ivory, of heartwood, of gold and silver, decked with long-haired coverlets, embroidered with flowers, with choice spreads made of antelope hides, [145] with red awnings overhead and red cushions at both ends.
    “I had 84,000 bull elephants with golden ornaments and golden banners, covered with nets of golden thread, the chief of which was the royal bull elephant [named] Uposatha. I had 84,000 steeds with golden ornaments and golden banners, covered with nets of golden thread, the chief of which was the royal steed [named] Valāhaka. I had 84,000 chariots with golden ornaments and golden banners, covered with nets of golden thread, the chief of which was the chariot [named] Vejayanta.
    “I had 84,000 jewels, the chief of which was the jewel-gem. I had 84,000 women, the chief of whom was Queen Subhaddā. I had 84,000 vassals of the khattiya caste, the chief of whom was the commander-gem. I had 84,000 cows with tethers of fine jute and milk pails of bronze. I had 84,000 koṭis of garments made of fine linen, of fine silk, of fine wool, of fine cotton. I had 84,000 plates on which my meals were served both in the morning and in the evening.
    “Of those 84,000 cities, bhikkhu, there was only one city in which I resided at that time: the capital Kusāvatī. Of those 84,000 palaces, [146] there was only one palace in which I resided at that time: the palace [named] Dhamma. Of those 84,000 halls with peaked roof, there was only one hall with peaked roof in which I resided at that time: the hall [named] the Great Array. Of those 84,000 couches, there was only one couch that I used at that time, one made either of ivory or of heartwood or of gold or of silver.
    “Of those 84,000 elephants, there was only one elephant that I rode at that time, the royal bull elephant [named] Uposatha. Of those 84,000 steeds, there was only one steed that I rode at that time, the royal steed [named] Valāhaka. Of those 84,000 chariots, there was only one chariot that I rode in at that time, the chariot [named] Vejayanta.
    “Of those 84,000 women, there was only one woman who waited on me at that time, either a khattiya maiden or a velāmika maiden. Of those 84,000 koṭis of garments, there was only one pair of garments that I wore at that time, one made either of fine linen or of fine silk or of fine wool or of fine cotton. Of those 84,000 plates, there was only one plate from which I ate at most a measure of rice with a suitable curry.
    “Thus, bhikkhu, all those formations have passed, ceased, changed. So impermanent are formations, bhikkhu, so unstable, so unreliable. [147] It is enough, bhikkhu, to feel revulsion towards all formations, enough to become dispassionate towards them, enough to be liberated from them.”

97 (5) The Fingernail
At Sāvatthī. Sitting to one side, that bhikkhu said to the Blessed One: “Is there, venerable sir, any form that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself? Is there any feeling … any perception … any volitional formations … any consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself?”
    “Bhikkhu, there is no form … no feeling … no perception … no volitional formations … no consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself.”
    Then the Blessed One took up a little bit of soil in his fingernail and said to that bhikkhu: “Bhikkhu, there is not even this much form that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself. If there was this much form that was permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, this living of the holy life for the complete destruction of suffering could not be discerned. But because there is not even this much form that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, this living of the holy life for the complete destruction of suffering is discerned. [148]
    “There is not even this much feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself. If there was this much consciousness … But because there is not even this much consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, this living of the holy life for the complete destruction of suffering is discerned.
    “What do you think, bhikkhu, is form permanent or impermanent?” – “Impermanent, venerable sir.”… [149] … – “Therefore … Seeing thus … He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’”

98 (6) Simple Version
At Sāvatthī. Sitting to one side, that bhikkhu said to the Blessed One: “Is there, venerable sir, any form, any feeling, any perception, any volitional formations, any consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself?”
    “Bhikkhu, there is no form, no feeling, no perception, no volitional formations, no consciousness that is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and that will remain the same just like eternity itself.”

99 (7) The Leash (1)
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, this saṃsāra is without discoverable beginning. A first point is not discerned of beings roaming and wandering on hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.
    “There comes a time, bhikkhus, when the great ocean dries up and evaporates and no longer exists, but still, I say, there is no making an end of suffering for those beings roaming and wandering on hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.
    “There comes a time, bhikkhus, when Sineru, the king of mountains, burns up and perishes and no longer exists, but still, I say, [150] there is no making an end of suffering for those beings roaming and wandering on hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.
    “There comes a time, bhikkhus, when the great earth burns up and perishes and no longer exists, but still, I say, there is no making an end of suffering for those beings roaming and wandering on hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving.
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, a dog tied up on a leash was bound to a strong post or pillar: it would just keep on running and revolving around that same post or pillar. So too, the uninstructed worldling … regards form as self … feeling as self … perception as self … volitional formations as self … consciousness as self…. He just keeps running and revolving around form, around feeling, around perception, around volitional formations, around consciousness. As he keeps on running and revolving around them, he is not freed from form, not freed from feeling, not freed from perception, not freed from volitional formations, not freed from consciousness. He is not freed from birth, aging, and death; not freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; not freed from suffering, I say.
    “But the instructed noble disciple … does not regard form as self … nor feeling as self … nor perception as self … nor volitional formations as self … nor consciousness as self…. He no longer keeps running and revolving around form, around feeling, around perception, around volitional formations, around consciousness. As he no longer keeps running and revolving around them, he is freed from form, freed from feeling, freed from perception, freed from volitional formations, freed from consciousness. He is freed from birth, aging, and death; freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair; freed from suffering, I say.” [151]

100 (8) The Leash (2)
“Bhikkhus, this saṃsāra is without discoverable beginning. A first point is not discerned of beings roaming and wandering on hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving….
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, a dog tied up on a leash was bound to a strong post or pillar. If it walks, it walks close to that post or pillar. If it stands, it stands close to that post or pillar. If it sits down, it sits down close to that post or pillar. If it lies down, it lies down close to that post or pillar.
    “So too, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling regards form thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self.’ He regards feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self.’ If he walks, he walks close to those five aggregates subject to clinging. If he stands, he stands close to those five aggregates subject to clinging. If he sits down, he sits down close to those five aggregates subject to clinging. If he lies down, he lies down close to those five aggregates subject to clinging.
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, one should often reflect upon one’s own mind thus: ‘For a long time this mind has been defiled by lust, hatred, and delusion.’ Through the defilements of the mind beings are defiled; with the cleansing of the mind beings are purified.
    “Bhikkhus, have you seen the picture called ‘Faring On’?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “Even that picture called ‘Faring On’ has been designed in its diversity by the mind, yet the mind is even more diverse than that picture called ‘Faring On.’
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, one should often reflect upon one’s own mind thus: ‘For a long time this mind has been defiled by lust, hatred, and delusion.’ Through the defilements of the mind beings are defiled; with the cleansing of the mind beings are purified. [152]
    “Bhikkhus, I do not see any other order of living beings so diversified as those in the animal realm. Even those beings in the animal realm have been diversified by the mind, yet the mind is even more diverse than those beings in the animal realm.
    “Therefore, bhikkhus, one should often reflect upon one’s own mind thus: ‘For a long time this mind has been defiled by lust, hatred, and delusion.’ Through the defilements of the mind beings are defiled; with the cleansing of the mind beings are purified.
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, an artist or a painter, using dye or lac or turmeric or indigo or crimson, would create the figure of a man or a woman complete in all its features on a well-polished plank or wall or canvas. So too, when the uninstructed worldling produces anything, it is only form that he produces; only feeling that he produces; only perception that he produces; only volitional formations that he produces; only consciousness that he produces.
    “What do you think, bhikkhus, is form permanent or impermanent?” – “Impermanent, venerable sir.”… – “Therefore … Seeing thus … He understands: ‘… there is no more for this state of being.’”

101 (9) The Adze Handle (or The Ship)
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, I say that the destruction of the taints is for one who knows and sees, not for one who does not know and does not see. For one who knows what, who sees what, does the destruction of the taints come about? ‘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, [153] such its passing away’: it is for one who knows thus, for one who sees thus, that the destruction of the taints comes about.
    “Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu does not dwell devoted to development, even though such a wish as this might arise in him: ‘Oh, that my mind might be liberated from the taints by nonclinging!’ yet his mind is not liberated from the taints by nonclinging. For what reason? It should be said: because of nondevelopment. Because of not developing what? Because of not developing the four establishments of mindfulness … 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.
    “Suppose, bhikkhus there was a hen with eight, ten, or twelve eggs that she had not covered, incubated, and nurtured properly. Even though such a wish as this might arise in her: ‘Oh, that my chicks might pierce their shells with the points of their claws and beaks and hatch safely!’ yet the chicks are incapable of piercing their shells with the points of their claws and beaks and hatching safely. For what reason? Because that hen with eight, ten, or twelve eggs had not covered, incubated, and nurtured them properly.
    “So too, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu does not dwell devoted to development, even though such a wish as this might arise in him: ‘Oh, that my mind might be liberated from the taints by nonclinging!’ yet his mind is not liberated from the taints by nonclinging. For what reason? It should be said: because of nondevelopment. Because of not developing what? Because of not developing … the Noble Eightfold Path.
    “Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu dwells devoted to development, [154] even though no such wish as this might arise in him: ‘Oh, that my mind might be liberated from the taints by nonclinging!’ yet his mind is liberated from the taints by nonclinging. For what reason? It should be said: because of development. Because of developing what? Because of developing the four establishments of mindfulness … 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.
    “Suppose, bhikkhus there was a hen with eight, ten, or twelve eggs that she had covered, incubated, and nurtured properly. Even though no such wish as this might arise in her: ‘Oh, that my chicks might pierce their shells with the points of their claws and beaks and hatch safely!’ yet the chicks are capable of piercing their shells with the points of their claws and beaks and of hatching safely. For what reason? Because that hen with eight, ten, or twelve eggs had covered, incubated, and nurtured them properly.
    “So too, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu dwells devoted to development, even though no such wish as this might arise in him: ‘Oh, that my mind might be liberated from the taints by nonclinging!’ yet his mind is liberated from the taints by nonclinging. For what reason? It should be said: because of development. Because of developing what? Because of developing … the Noble Eightfold Path.
    “When, bhikkhus, a carpenter or a carpenter’s apprentice looks at the handle of his adze, he sees the impressions of his fingers and his thumb, but he does not know: ‘So much of the adze handle has been worn away today, so much yesterday, so much earlier.’ But when it has worn away, the knowledge occurs to him that it has worn away.
    “So too, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu dwells devoted to development, [155] even though no such knowledge occurs to him: ‘So much of my taints has been worn away today, so much yesterday, so much earlier,’ yet when they are worn away, the knowledge occurs to him that they have been worn away.
    “Suppose, bhikkhus, there was a seafaring ship bound with rigging that had been worn away in the water for six months. It would be hauled up on dry land during the cold season and its rigging would be further attacked by wind and sun. Inundated by rain from a rain cloud, the rigging would easily collapse and rot away. So too, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu dwells devoted to development, his fetters easily collapse and rot away.”

102 (10) Perception of Impermanence
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, it eliminates all sensual lust, it eliminates all lust for existence, it eliminates all ignorance, it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’
    “Just as, bhikkhus, in the autumn a ploughman ploughing with a great ploughshare cuts through all the rootlets as he ploughs, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, it eliminates all sensual lust … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’
    “Just as, bhikkhus, a rush-cutter would cut down a rush, grab it by the top, and shake it down and shake it out and thump it about, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, it eliminates all sensual lust … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’
    “Just as, bhikkhus, when the stalk of a bunch of mangoes has been cut, [156] all the mangoes attached to the stalk follow along with it, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’
    “Just as, bhikkhus, all the rafters of a house with a peaked roof lead to the roof peak, slope towards the roof peak, and converge upon the roof peak, and the roof peak is declared to be their chief, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’
    “Just as, bhikkhus, among fragrant roots, black orris is declared to be their chief, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’
    “Just as, bhikkhus, among fragrant heartwoods, red sandalwood is declared to be their chief, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’
    “Just as, bhikkhus, among fragrant flowers, jasmine is declared to be their chief, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’
    “Just as, bhikkhus, all petty princes are the vassals of a wheel-turning monarch, and the wheel-turning monarch is declared to be their chief, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’
    “Just as, bhikkhus, the radiance of all the stars does not amount to a sixteenth part of the radiance of the moon, and the radiance of the moon is declared to be their chief, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed … it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’
    “Just as, bhikkhus, in the autumn, when the sky is clear and cloudless, the sun, ascending in the sky, dispels all darkness from space as it shines and beams and radiates, so too, when the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated, it eliminates all sensual lust, it eliminates all lust for existence, it eliminates all ignorance, it uproots all conceit ‘I am.’
    “And how, bhikkhus, is the perception of impermanence developed [157] and cultivated so that it eliminates all sensual lust, eliminates all lust for existence, eliminates all ignorance, and uproots all conceit ‘I am’? ‘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’: that is how the perception of impermanence is developed and cultivated so that it eliminates all sensual lust, eliminates all lust for existence, eliminates all ignorance, and uproots all conceit ‘I am.’”
 

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

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