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

I. Engagement

53 (1) Engagement
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, one who is engaged is unliberated; one who is disengaged is liberated. Consciousness, bhikkhus, while standing, might stand engaged with form; based upon form, established upon form, with a sprinkling of delight, it might come to growth, increase, and expansion. Or consciousness, while standing, might stand [engaged with feeling … engaged with perception …] engaged with volitional formations; based upon volitional formations, established upon volitional formations, with a sprinkling of delight, it might come to growth, increase, and expansion.
    “Bhikkhus, though someone might say: ‘Apart from form, apart from feeling, apart from perception, apart from volitional formations, I will make known the coming and going of consciousness, its passing away and rebirth, its growth, increase, and expansion’—that is impossible.
    “Bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu has abandoned lust for the form element, with the abandoning of lust the basis is cut off: there is no support for the establishing of consciousness. If he has abandoned lust for the feeling element … for the perception element … for the volitional formations element … for the consciousness element, with the abandoning of lust the basis is cut off: there is no support for the establishing of consciousness.
    “When that consciousness is unestablished, not coming to growth, nongenerative, [54] it is liberated. 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.’”

54 (2) Seeds
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, there are these five kinds of seeds. What five? Root-seeds, stem-seeds, joint-seeds, cutting-seeds, and germ-seeds as the fifth. If these five kinds of seeds are unbroken, unspoilt, undamaged by wind and sun, fertile, securely planted, but there is no earth or water, would these five kinds of seeds come to growth, increase, and expansion?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “If these five kinds of seeds are broken, spoilt, damaged by wind and sun, unfertile, not securely planted, but there is earth and water, would these five kinds of seeds come to growth, increase, and expansion?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “If these five kinds of seeds are unbroken, unspoilt, undamaged by wind and sun, fertile, securely planted, and there is earth and water, would these five kinds of seeds come to growth, increase, and expansion?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “Bhikkhus, the four stations of consciousness should be seen as like the earth element. Delight and lust should be seen as like the water element. Consciousness together with its nutriment should be seen as like the five kinds of seeds.
    “Consciousness, bhikkhus, while standing, might stand engaged with form; [55] based upon form, established upon form, with a sprinkling of delight, it might come to growth, increase, and expansion. Or consciousness, while standing, might stand engaged with feeling … engaged with perception … engaged with volitional formations; based upon volitional formations, established upon volitional formations, with a sprinkling of delight, it might come to growth, increase, and expansion.
    “Bhikkhus, though someone might say: ‘Apart from form, apart from feeling, apart from perception, apart from volitional formations, I will make known the coming and going of consciousness, its passing away and rebirth, its growth, increase, and expansion’—that is impossible.
    “Bhikkhus, if a bhikkhu has abandoned lust for the form element, with the abandoning of lust the basis is cut off: there is no support for the establishing of consciousness. If he has abandoned lust for the feeling element … for the perception element … for the volitional formations element … for the consciousness element, with the abandoning of lust the basis is cut off: there is no support for the establishing of consciousness.
    “When that consciousness is unestablished, not coming to growth, nongenerative, it is liberated. 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.’”

55 (3) Inspired Utterance
At Sāvatthī. There the Blessed One uttered this inspired utterance: “‘It might not be, and it might not be for me; it will not be, [and] it will not be for me’: [56] resolving thus, a bhikkhu can cut off the lower fetters.”
    When this was said, a certain bhikkhu said to the Blessed One: “But how, venerable sir, can a bhikkhu, resolving thus: ‘It might not be, and it might not be for me; it will not be, [and] it will not be for me,’ cut off the lower fetters?”
    “Here, bhikkhu, the uninstructed worldling, who is not a seer of the noble ones … regards form as self … or self as in consciousness.
    “He does not understand as it really is impermanent form as ‘impermanent form’ … impermanent feeling as ‘impermanent feeling’ … impermanent perception as ‘impermanent perception’ … impermanent volitional formations as ‘impermanent volitional formations’ … impermanent consciousness as ‘impermanent consciousness.’
    “He does not understand as it really is painful form as ‘painful form’ … painful feeling as ‘painful feeling’ … painful perception as ‘painful perception’ … painful volitional formations as ‘painful volitional formations’ … painful consciousness as ‘painful consciousness.’
    “He does not understand as it really is selfless form as ‘selfless form’ … selfless feeling as ‘selfless feeling’ … selfless perception as ‘selfless perception’ … selfless volitional formations as ‘selfless volitional formations’ … selfless consciousness as ‘selfless consciousness.’
    “He does not understand as it really is conditioned form as ‘conditioned form’ … conditioned feeling as ‘conditioned feeling’ … conditioned perception as ‘conditioned perception’ … conditioned volitional formations as ‘conditioned volitional formations’ … conditioned consciousness as ‘conditioned consciousness.’
    “He does not understand as it really is: ‘Form will be exterminated’ … ‘Feeling will be exterminated’ … ‘Perception will be exterminated’ … ‘Volitional formations will be exterminated’ … ‘Consciousness will be exterminated.’ [57]
    “The instructed noble disciple, bhikkhu, who is a seer of the noble ones … does not regard form as self … or self as in consciousness.
    “He understands as it really is impermanent form as ‘impermanent form’ … impermanent consciousness as ‘impermanent consciousness.’
    “He understands as it really is painful form as ‘painful form’ … painful consciousness as ‘painful consciousness.’
    “He understands as it really is selfless form as ‘selfless form’ … selfless consciousness as ‘selfless consciousness.’
    “He understands as it really is conditioned form as ‘conditioned form’ … conditioned consciousness as ‘conditioned consciousness.’
    “He understands as it really is: ‘Form will be exterminated’ … ‘Feeling will be exterminated’ … ‘Perception will be exterminated’ … ‘Volitional formations will be exterminated’ … ‘Consciousness will be exterminated.’
    “With the extermination of form, feeling, perception, volitional formations, and consciousness, that bhikkhu, resolving thus: ‘It might not be, and it might not be for me; it will not be, [and] it will not be for me,’ can cut off the lower fetters.”
    “Resolving thus, venerable sir, a bhikkhu can cut off the lower fetters. But how should one know, how should one see, for the immediate destruction of the taints to occur?”
    “Here, bhikkhu, the uninstructed worldling becomes frightened over an unfrightening matter. For this is frightening to the uninstructed worldling: ‘It might not be, and it might not be for me; it will not be, [and] it will not be for me.’ But the instructed noble disciple does not become frightened over an unfrightening matter. For this is not frightening to the noble disciple: ‘It might not be, and it might not be for me; it will not be, [and] it will not be for me.’ [58]
    “Consciousness, bhikkhu, while standing, might stand engaged with form … engaged with feeling … engaged with perception … engaged with volitional formations; based upon volitional formations, established upon volitional formations, with a sprinkling of delight, it might come to growth, increase, and expansion.
    “Bhikkhu, though someone might say: ‘Apart from form, apart from feeling, apart from perception, apart from volitional formations, I will make known the coming and going of consciousness, its passing away and rebirth, its growth, increase, and expansion’—that is impossible.
    “Bhikkhu, if a bhikkhu has abandoned lust for the form element, with the abandoning of lust the basis is cut off: there is no support for the establishing of consciousness. If he has abandoned lust for the feeling element … for the perception element … for the volitional formations element … for the consciousness element, with the abandoning of lust the basis is cut off: there is no support for the establishing of consciousness.
    “When that consciousness is unestablished, not coming to growth, nongenerative, it is liberated. 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.’
    “It is, bhikkhu, for one who knows thus, for one who sees thus, that the immediate destruction of the taints occurs.”

56 (4) Phases of the Clinging Aggregates
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, there are these five aggregates subject to clinging. What five? The form aggregate subject to clinging, [59] 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.
    “So long as I did not directly know as they really are the five aggregates subject to clinging in four phases, I did not claim to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with its devas, Māra, and Brahmā, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans. But when I directly knew all this as it really is, then I claimed to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with … its devas and humans.
    “And how, bhikkhus, are there four phases? I directly knew form, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation. I directly knew feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is form? The four great elements and the form derived from the four great elements: this is called form. With the arising of nutriment there is the arising of form. With the cessation of nutriment there is the cessation of form. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of form; that is, right view … right concentration.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known form, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, are practising for the purpose of revulsion towards form, for its fading away and cessation, they are practising well. Those who are practising well have gained a foothold in this Dhamma and Discipline.
    “And whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known form, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, through revulsion towards form, through its fading away and cessation, are liberated by nonclinging, they are well liberated. Those who are well liberated are consummate ones. As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is feeling? [60] There are these six classes of feeling: feeling born of eye-contact, feeling born of ear-contact, feeling born of nose-contact, feeling born of tongue-contact, feeling born of body-contact, feeling born of mind-contact. This is called feeling. With the arising of contact there is the arising of feeling. With the cessation of contact there is the cessation of feeling. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of feeling; that is, right view … right concentration.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known feeling, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, are practising for the purpose of revulsion towards feeling, for its fading away and cessation, they are practising well. Those who are practising well have gained a foothold in this Dhamma and Discipline.
    “And whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known feeling … and the way leading to its cessation … As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is perception? There are these six classes of perception: perception of forms, perception of sounds, perception of odours, perception of tastes, perception of tactile objects, perception of mental phenomena. This is called perception. With the arising of contact there is the arising of perception. With the cessation of contact there is the cessation of perception. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of perception; that is, right view … right concentration.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins … As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.
    “And what, bhikkhus, are volitional formations? There are these six classes of volition: volition regarding forms, volition regarding sounds, volition regarding odours, volition regarding tastes, volition regarding tactile objects, volition regarding mental phenomena. These are called volitional formations. With the arising of contact there is the arising of volitional formations. With the cessation of contact there is the cessation of volitional formations. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of volitional formations; that is, right view … right concentration.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins … [61] … As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is consciousness? There are these six classes of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, mind-consciousness. This is called consciousness. With the arising of name-and-form there is the arising of consciousness. With the cessation of name-and-form there is the cessation of consciousness. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of consciousness; that is, right view … right concentration.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, are practising for the purpose of revulsion towards consciousness, for its fading away and cessation, they are practising well. Those who are practising well have gained a foothold in this Dhamma and Discipline.
    “And whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, through revulsion towards consciousness, through its fading away and cessation, are liberated by nonclinging, they are well liberated. Those who are well liberated are consummate ones. As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.”

57 (5) The Seven Cases
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who is skilled in seven cases and a triple investigator is called, in this Dhamma and Discipline, a consummate one, one who has fully lived the holy life, the highest kind of person.
    “And how, bhikkhus, is a bhikkhu skilled in seven cases? [62] Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu understands form, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation; he understands the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of form.
    “He understands feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation; he understands the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of consciousness.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is form? The four great elements and the form derived from the four great elements: this is called form. With the arising of nutriment there is the arising of form. With the cessation of nutriment there is the cessation of form. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of form; that is, right view … right concentration.
    “The pleasure and joy 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.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known form, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, having thus directly known the gratification, the danger, and [63] the escape in the case of form, are practising for the purpose of revulsion towards form, for its fading away and cessation, they are practising well. Those who are practising well have gained a foothold in this Dhamma and Discipline.
    “And whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known form, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, having thus directly known the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of form, through revulsion towards form, through its fading away and cessation, are liberated by nonclinging, they are well liberated. Those who are well liberated are consummate ones. As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is feeling? There are these six classes of feeling: feeling born of eye-contact … (as in preceding sutta) … feeling born of mind-contact. This is called feeling. With the arising of contact there is the arising of feeling. With the cessation of contact there is the cessation of feeling. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of feeling; that is, right view … right concentration.
    “The pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on feeling: this is the gratification in feeling. That feeling is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this is the danger in feeling. The removal and abandonment of desire and lust for feeling: this is the escape from feeling.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known feeling, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, having thus directly known the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of feeling, are practising for the purpose of revulsion towards feeling, for its fading away and cessation, they are practising well. Those who are practising well have gained a foothold in this Dhamma and Discipline.
    “And whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known feeling … and the escape in the case of feeling … As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is perception? There are these six classes of perception: perception of forms … perception of mental phenomena. This is called perception. With the arising of contact there is the arising of perception. With the cessation of contact there is the cessation of perception. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of perception; that is, right view … right concentration.
    “The pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on perception: this is the gratification in perception. That perception is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this is the danger in perception. The removal and abandonment of desire and lust for perception: this is the escape from perception.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins … As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.
    “And what, bhikkhus, are volitional formations? There are these six classes of volition: volition regarding forms … volition regarding mental phenomena. This is called volitional formations. With the arising of contact there is the arising of volitional formations. With the cessation of contact there is the cessation of volitional formations. [64] This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of volitional formations; that is, right view … right concentration.
    “The pleasure and joy that arise in dependence on volitional formations: this is the gratification in volitional formations. That volitional formations are impermanent, suffering, and subject to change: this is the danger in volitional formations. The removal and abandonment of desire and lust for volitional formations: this is the escape from volitional formations.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins … As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.
    “And what, bhikkhus, is consciousness? There are these six classes of consciousness: eye-consciousness … mind-consciousness. This is called consciousness. With the arising of name-and-form there is the arising of consciousness. With the cessation of name-and-form there is the cessation of consciousness. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of consciousness; that is, right view … right concentration.
    “The pleasure and joy that arise 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.
    “Whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, having thus directly known the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of consciousness, are practising for the purpose of revulsion towards consciousness, for its fading away and cessation, they are practising well. Those who are practising well have gained a foothold in this Dhamma and Discipline. [65]
    “And whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, having thus directly known the gratification, the danger, and the escape in the case of consciousness, through revulsion towards consciousness, through its fading away and cessation, are liberated by nonclinging, they are well liberated. Those who are well liberated are consummate ones. As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.
    “It is in such a way, bhikkhus, that a bhikkhu is skilled in seven cases.
    “And how, bhikkhus, is a bhikkhu a triple investigator? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu investigates by way of the elements, by way of the sense bases, and by way of dependent origination. It is in such a way that a bhikkhu is a triple investigator.
    “Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who is skilled in these seven cases and a triple investigator is called, in this Dhamma and Discipline, a consummate one, one who has fully lived the holy life, the highest kind of person.”

58 (6) The Perfectly Enlightened One
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One, liberated by nonclinging through revulsion towards form, through its fading away and cessation, is called a Perfectly Enlightened One. A bhikkhu liberated by wisdom, liberated by nonclinging through revulsion towards form, through its fading away and cessation, is called one liberated by wisdom.
    “The Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One, liberated by nonclinging through revulsion towards feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, through its fading away [66] and cessation, is called a Perfectly Enlightened One. A bhikkhu liberated by wisdom, liberated by nonclinging through revulsion towards feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, through its fading away and cessation, is called one liberated by wisdom.
    “Therein, bhikkhus, what is the distinction, what is the disparity, what is the difference between the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One, and a bhikkhu liberated by wisdom?”
    “Venerable sir, our teachings are rooted in the Blessed One, guided by the Blessed One, take recourse in the Blessed One. It would be good if the Blessed One would clear up the meaning of this statement. Having heard it from him, the bhikkhus will remember it.”
    “Then listen and attend closely, bhikkhus, I will speak.”
    “Yes, venerable sir,” the bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:
    “The Tathāgata, bhikkhus, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One, is the originator of the path unarisen before, the producer of the path unproduced before, the declarer of the path undeclared before. He is the knower of the path, the discoverer of the path, the one skilled in the path. And his disciples now dwell following that path and become possessed of it afterwards.
    “This, bhikkhus, is the distinction, the disparity, the difference between the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One, and a bhikkhu liberated by wisdom.”

59 (7) The Characteristic of Nonself
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Bārāṇasī in the Deer Park at Isipatana. There the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus of the group of five thus: “Bhikkhus!”
    “Venerable sir!” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:
    “Bhikkhus, form is nonself. For if, bhikkhus, form were self, this form would not lead to affliction, and it would be possible to have it of form: ‘Let my form be thus; let my form not be thus.’ But because form is nonself, form leads to affliction, and it is not possible to have it of form: ‘Let my form be thus; let my form not be thus.’
    “Feeling is nonself…. [67] … Perception is nonself…. Volitional formations are nonself…. Consciousness is nonself. For if, bhikkhus, consciousness were self, this consciousness would not lead to affliction, and it would be possible to have it of consciousness: ‘Let my consciousness be thus; let my consciousness not be thus.’ But because consciousness is nonself, consciousness leads to affliction, and it is not possible to have it of consciousness: ‘Let my consciousness be thus; let my consciousness not be thus.’
    “What do you think, bhikkhus, 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?” – [68] “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, 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, 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, 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.’”
    That is what the Blessed One said. Elated, those bhikkhus delighted in the Blessed One’s statement. And while this discourse was being spoken, the minds of the bhikkhus of the group of five were liberated from the taints by nonclinging.

60 (8) Mahāli
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Vesālī in the Great Wood in the Hall with the Peaked Roof. Then Mahāli the Licchavi approached the Blessed One [69] … and said to him:
    “Venerable sir, Pūraṇa Kassapa speaks thus: ‘There is no cause or condition for the defilement of beings; beings are defiled without cause or condition. There is no cause or condition for the purification of beings; beings are purified without cause or condition.’ What does the Blessed One say about this?”
    “There is, Mahāli, a cause and condition for the defilement of beings; beings are defiled with cause and condition. There is a cause and condition for the purification of beings; beings are purified with cause and condition.”
    “But, venerable sir, what is the cause and condition for the defilement of beings? How is it that beings are defiled with cause and condition?”
    “If, Mahāli, this form were exclusively suffering, immersed in suffering, steeped in suffering, and if it were not [also] steeped in pleasure, beings would not become enamoured with it. But because form is pleasurable, immersed in pleasure, steeped in pleasure, and is not steeped [only] in suffering, beings become enamoured with it. By being enamoured with it, they are captivated by it, and by being captivated by it they are defiled. This, Mahāli, is a cause and condition for the defilement of beings; it is thus that beings are defiled with cause and condition.
    “If, Mahāli, this feeling were exclusively suffering … If this perception … these volitional formations … [70] … this consciousness were exclusively suffering … beings would not become enamoured with it. But because consciousness is pleasurable … beings become enamoured with it. By being enamoured with it, they are captivated by it, and by being captivated by it they are defiled. This too, Mahāli, is a cause and condition for the defilement of beings; it is thus that beings are defiled with cause and condition.”
    “But, venerable sir, what is the cause and condition for the purification of beings? How is it that beings are purified with cause and condition?”
     “If, Mahāli, this form were exclusively pleasurable, immersed in pleasure, steeped in pleasure, and if it were not [also] steeped in suffering, beings would not experience revulsion towards it. But because form is suffering, immersed in suffering, steeped in suffering, and is not steeped [only] in pleasure, beings experience revulsion towards it. Experiencing revulsion, they become dispassionate, and through dispassion they are purified. This, Mahāli, is a cause and condition for the purification of beings; it is thus that beings are purified with cause and condition.
    “If, Mahāli, this feeling were exclusively pleasurable … If this perception … these volitional formations … this consciousness were exclusively pleasurable … beings would not experience revulsion towards it. But because consciousness is suffering … beings experience revulsion towards it. Experiencing revulsion, they become dispassionate, and through dispassion they are purified. [71] This too, Mahāli, is a cause and condition for the purification of beings; it is thus that beings are purified with cause and condition.”

61 (9) Burning
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, form is burning, feeling is burning, perception is burning, volitional formations are burning, consciousness is burning. 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.’”

62 (10) Pathways of Language
At Sāvatthī. “Bhikkhus, there are these three pathways of language, pathways of designation, pathways of description, that are unmixed, that were never mixed, that are not being mixed, that will not be mixed, that are not rejected by wise ascetics and brahmins. What three?
    “Whatever form, bhikkhus, has passed, ceased, changed: the term, label, and description ‘was’ applies to it, not the term ‘is’ or the term ‘will be.’
    “Whatever feeling … Whatever perception … Whatever volitional formations … [72] Whatever consciousness has passed, ceased, changed: the term, label, and description ‘was’ applies to it, not the term ‘is’ or the term ‘will be.’
    “Whatever form, bhikkhus, has not been born, has not become manifest: the term, label, and description ‘will be’ applies to it, not the term ‘is’ or the term ‘was.’
    “Whatever feeling … Whatever perception … Whatever volitional formations … Whatever consciousness has not been born, has not become manifest: the term, label, and description ‘will be’ applies to it, not the term ‘is’ or the term ‘was.’
    “Whatever form, bhikkhus, has been born, has become manifest: the term, label, and description ‘is’ applies to it, not the term ‘was’ or the term ‘will be.’
    “Whatever feeling … Whatever perception … Whatever volitional formations … Whatever consciousness has been born, has become manifest: the term, label, and description ‘is’ applies to it, not the term ‘was’ or the term ‘will be.’
    “These, bhikkhus, are the three pathways of language, pathways of designation, pathways of description, that are unmixed, that were never mixed, that are not being mixed, [73] that will not be mixed, that are not rejected by wise ascetics and brahmins.
    “Bhikkhus, even Vassa and Bañña of Ukkalā, proponents of noncausality, of the inefficacy of action, and of nihilism, did not think that these three pathways of language, pathways of designation, pathways of description should be criticized or scorned. For what reason? Because they fear blame, attack, and condemnation.”
 

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.