Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 22. Khandhasaṃyutta: Connected Discourses on the Aggregates
Division I. The Root Fifty

V. With Yourselves as an Island

43 (1) With Yourselves as an Island
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, dwell with yourselves as an island, with yourselves as a refuge, with no other refuge; with the Dhamma as an island, with the Dhamma as a refuge, with no other refuge. When you dwell with yourselves as an island, with yourselves as a refuge, with no other refuge; with the Dhamma as an island, with the Dhamma as a refuge, with no other refuge, the basis itself should be investigated thus: ‘From what are sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair born? How are they produced?’
    “And, bhikkhus, from what are sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair born? How are they produced? 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, or self as possessing form, or form as in self, or self as in form. That form of his changes and alters. With the change and alteration of form, there arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair.
    “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. [43] That consciousness of his changes and alters. With the change and alteration of consciousness, there arise in him sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair.
    “But, bhikkhus, when one has understood the impermanence of form, its change, fading away, and cessation, and when one sees as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘In the past and also now all form is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change,’ then sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair are abandoned. With their abandonment, one does not become agitated. Being unagitated, one dwells happily. A bhikkhu who dwells happily is said to be quenched in that respect.
    “When one has understood the impermanence of feeling … of perception … of volitional formations … of consciousness, its change, fading away, and cessation, and when one sees as it really is with correct wisdom thus: ‘In the past and also now all consciousness is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change,’ then sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair are abandoned. With their abandonment, one does not become agitated. Being unagitated, one dwells happily. A bhikkhu who dwells happily is said to be quenched in that respect.”

44 (2) The Way
At Sāvatthī. [44] “Bhikkhus, I will teach you the way leading to the origination of identity and the way leading to the cessation of identity. Listen to that….
    “And what, bhikkhus, is the way leading to the origination of identity? Here, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling … regards form as self … feeling as self … perception as self … volitional formations as self … consciousness as self … or self as in consciousness. This, bhikkhus, is called the way leading to the origination of identity. When it is said, ‘The way leading to the origination of identity,’ the meaning here is this: a way of regarding things that leads to the origination of suffering.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is the way leading to the cessation of identity? Here, bhikkhus, 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 … nor self as in consciousness. This, bhikkhus, is called the way leading to the cessation of identity. When it is said, ‘The way leading to the cessation of identity,’ the meaning here is this: a way of regarding things that leads to the cessation of suffering.”

45 (3) Impermanent (1)
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, form is impermanent. What is impermanent is suffering. [45] 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.’ When one sees this thus as it really is with correct wisdom, the mind becomes dispassionate and is liberated from the taints by nonclinging.
    “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.’ When one sees this thus as it really is with correct wisdom, the mind becomes dispassionate and is liberated from the taints by nonclinging.
    “If, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu’s mind has become dispassionate towards the form element, it is liberated from the taints by nonclinging. If his mind has become dispassionate towards the feeling element … towards the perception element … towards the volitional formations element … towards the consciousness element, it is liberated from the taints by nonclinging.
    “By being liberated, it is steady; by being steady, it is content; by being content, he is not agitated. Being unagitated, he personally attains Nibbāna. 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.’”

46 (4) Impermanent (2)
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, form is impermanent…. 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.’
    “When one sees this thus as it really is with correct wisdom, one holds no more views concerning the past. When one holds no more views concerning the past, [46] one holds no more views concerning the future. When one holds no more views concerning the future, one has no more obstinate grasping. When one has no more obstinate grasping, the mind becomes dispassionate towards form, feeling, perception, volitional formations, and consciousness, and is liberated from the taints by nonclinging.
    “By being liberated, it is steady; by being steady, it is content; by being content, one is not agitated. Being unagitated, one personally attains Nibbāna. One 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.’”

47 (5) Ways of Regarding Things
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, those ascetics and brahmins who regard [anything as] self in various ways all regard [as self] the five aggregates subject to clinging, or a certain one among them. What five?
    “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, 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.
    “Thus this way of regarding things and [the notion] ‘I am’ have not vanished in him. As ‘I am’ has not vanished, there takes place a descent of the five faculties—of the eye faculty, the ear faculty, the nose faculty, the tongue faculty, the body faculty. There is, bhikkhus, the mind, there are mental phenomena, there is the element of ignorance. When the uninstructed worldling is contacted by a feeling born of ignorance-contact, ‘I am’ occurs to him; ‘I am this’ occurs to him; ‘I will be’ and ‘I will not be,’ and ‘I will consist of form’ and ‘I will be formless,’ and ‘I will be percipient’ and ‘I will be nonpercipient’ and ‘I will be neither percipient nor nonpercipient’—these occur to him. [47]
    “The five faculties remain right there, bhikkhus, but in regard to them the instructed noble disciple abandons ignorance and arouses true knowledge. With the fading away of ignorance and the arising of true knowledge, ‘I am’ does not occur to him; ‘I am this’ does not occur to him; ‘I will be’ and ‘I will not be,’ and ‘I will consist of form’ and ‘I will be formless,’ and ‘I will be percipient’ and ‘I will be nonpercipient’ and ‘I will be neither percipient nor nonpercipient’—these do not occur to him.”

48 (6) Aggregates
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, I will teach you the five aggregates and the five aggregates subject to clinging. Listen to that….
    “And what, bhikkhus, are the five aggregates? Whatever kind of form there is, 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 … this is called the feeling aggregate. Whatever kind of perception there is … this is called the perception aggregate. Whatever kind of volitional formations there are … these are 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. These, bhikkhus, are called the five aggregates.
    “And what, bhikkhus, are the five aggregates subject to clinging? Whatever kind of form there is, whether past, future, or present … far or near, that is tainted, that can be clung to: this is called the form aggregate subject to clinging. Whatever kind of feeling there is … that is tainted, that can be clung to: this is called the feeling aggregate subject to clinging. Whatever kind of perception there is … that is tainted, that can be clung to: this is called the perception aggregate subject to clinging. Whatever kind of volitional formations there are … that are tainted, that can be clung to: these are called the volitional formations aggregate subject to clinging. [48] Whatever kind of consciousness there is, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, that is tainted, that can be clung to: this is called the consciousness aggregate subject to clinging. These, bhikkhus, are called the five aggregates subject to clinging.”

49 (7) Soṇa (1)
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Then Soṇa the householder’s son approached the Blessed One…. The Blessed One then said to Soṇa the householder’s son:
    “Soṇa, when any ascetics and brahmins, on the basis of form—which is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change—regard themselves thus: ‘I am superior,’ or ‘I am equal,’ or ‘I am inferior,’ what is that due to apart from not seeing things as they really are?
    “When any ascetics and brahmins, on the basis of feeling … on the basis of perception … on the basis of volitional formations … on the basis of consciousness—which is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change—regard themselves thus: ‘I am superior,’ or ‘I am equal,’ or ‘I am inferior,’ what is that due to apart from not seeing things as they really are?
    “Soṇa, when any ascetics and brahmins do not, on the basis of form—which is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change—regard themselves thus: ‘I am superior,’ or ‘I am equal,’ [49] or ‘I am inferior,’ what is that due to apart from seeing things as they really are?
    “When any ascetics and brahmins do not, on the basis of feeling … on the basis of perception … on the basis of volitional formations … on the basis of consciousness—which is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change—regard themselves thus: ‘I am superior,’ or ‘I am equal,’ or ‘I am inferior,’ what is that due to apart from seeing things as they really are?
    “What do you think, Soṇa, is form 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.”
    “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, Soṇa, any kind of form whatsoever, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, inferior or superior, far or near, all form should be seen 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, [50] 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.’
    “Seeing thus, Soṇa, 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.’”

50 (8) Soṇa (2)
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Then Soṇa the householder’s son approached the Blessed One…. The Blessed One then said to Soṇa the householder’s son:
    “Soṇa, those ascetics or brahmins who do not understand form, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation; who do not understand feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation: these I do not consider to be ascetics among ascetics or brahmins among brahmins, and these venerable ones do not, by realizing it for themselves with direct knowledge, in this very life enter and dwell in the goal of asceticism or the goal of brahminhood.
    “But, Soṇa, those ascetics and brahmins who understand form, [51] its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation; who understand feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation: these I consider to be ascetics among ascetics and brahmins among brahmins, and these venerable ones, by realizing it for themselves with direct knowledge, in this very life enter and dwell in the goal of asceticism and the goal of brahminhood.”

51 (9) Destruction of Delight (1)
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu sees as impermanent form which is actually impermanent: that is his right view. Seeing rightly, he experiences revulsion. With the destruction of delight comes the destruction of lust; with the destruction of lust comes the destruction of delight. With the destruction of delight and lust the mind is liberated and is said to be well liberated.
    “A bhikkhu sees as impermanent feeling which is actually impermanent … perception which is actually impermanent … volitional formations which are actually impermanent … consciousness which is actually impermanent: that is his right view…. With the destruction of delight and lust the mind is liberated and is said to be well liberated.”

52 (10) Destruction of Delight (2)
At Sāvatthī. [52] “Bhikkhus, attend carefully to form. Recognize the impermanence of form as it really is. When a bhikkhu attends carefully to form and recognizes the impermanence of form as it really is, he experiences revulsion towards form. With the destruction of delight comes the destruction of lust; with the destruction of lust comes the destruction of delight. With the destruction of delight and lust the mind is liberated and is said to be well liberated.
    “Bhikkhus, attend carefully to feeling … to perception … to volitional formations … to consciousness…. With the destruction of delight and lust the mind is liberated and is said to be well liberated.”
 

How to cite this document:
© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)

Creative Commons License
This selection from The Connected Discourses of the Buddha by Bhikkhu Bodhi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/connected-discourses-buddha.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.wisdompubs.org/terms-use.