Sunday, June 2, 2013

"The NOT-SELF Characteristic" (sutra)

Amber Dorrian and Dhr. Seven, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Ven. √Ďanamoli Thera (Anatta-lakkhana Sutta, SN 22.59) from Three Cardinal Discourses of the Buddha WH 17 (BPS.lk)
The Buddha, gilded, in rare supine pose (Neumeyer/flickr.com)
 
Thus have I heard. Once the Buddha was living in Benares, at the Deer Park, in the Resort of Seers. 
 
There he addressed the group of five: "Meditators!" 
 
"Venerable sir," they replied. The Blessed One said this [later epitomized as the basis of the famous Mahayana Heart Sutra].
 
Gleaming Buddha (Hereward J. Bunch/flickr)
"Meditators, form is not-self. Were form self, then this form would not lead to affliction, and it could be gained from form: 'Let my form be this way, let my form not be that way.' But since form is not-self, it leads to affliction, and from form it cannot be gained: 'Let my form be this way, let my form not be that way.'
 
"Meditators, feeling is not-self...
 
"Meditators, perception is not-self...
  
"Meditators, volitions (determinations, mental formations) are not-self...
 
"Meditators, consciousness is not self. Were consciousness self, then this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and one could have it of consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be this way, let my consciousness not be that way.' But since consciousness is not-self, it leads to affliction, and it cannot be gained from consciousness: 'Let my consciousness be this way, let my consciousness not be that way.'
 
"Meditators, how do you conceive it: Is form permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent unpleasant or pleasant?" — "Unpleasant, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent and (being subject to change) unpleasant fit to be regarded: 'This is mine, this is I, this is myself'"? — "No, venerable sir."
 
"Is feeling permanent or impermanent? ...
 
"Is perception permanent or impermanent? ...
 
"Are volitions permanent or impermanent? ...
 
"Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?" — "Impermanent, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent pleasant or unpleasant?" — "Unpleasant, venerable sir." — "Now is what is impermanent and (being subject to change) unpleasant fit to be regarded: 'This is mine, this is I, this is myself'"? — "No, venerable sir."
 
"So, meditators, any kind of form whatsoever -- whether past, future, or arising in the present, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near -- must, with right understanding, be regarded: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'
 
Buddha addresses the five ascetics (buddhisam)
"Any kind of feeling whatsoever...
 
"Any kind of perception whatsoever...

"Any kind of determination whatsoever...

"Any kind of consciousness whatsoever -- whether past, future, or arising in the present, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near -- must, with right understanding, be regarded: 'This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.'
 
"Meditators, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth, this Dharma) knows-and-sees this, that person finds estrangement in form, finds estrangement in feeling, finds estrangement in perception, finds estrangement in volitions, finds estrangement in consciousness.
 
"When one finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, one is liberated. When one is liberated, there is knowledge [intuitive certainty] that one is liberated. One understands: 'Rebirth is exhausted, the high life has been lived out, what can be done is done, of this there is no more beyond.'"
 
That is what the Blessed One said. The group of five were glad, and they approved his words.
 
Now during this utterance, the hearts of the group of five were liberated from taints through letting go and clinging no more.

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