WARREN: BUDDHISM IN TRANSLATIONS

150

 

 


 

 

Ī 18. The Mind Less Permanent Than the Body

Translated from the Samyutta-Nikāya (sn1.12.62)

[1][pts][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD.

On a certain occasion The Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthi in Jetavana monastery in Anāthapindika's Park. And there The Blessed One addressed the priests.

"Priests," said he.

"Lord," said the priests to The Blessed One in reply. And The Blessed One spoke as follows: --

"Even the ignorant, unconverted man, O priests, may conceive an aversion for this body which is composed of the four elements, may divest himself of passion for it, and attain to freedom from it. And why do I say so? Because, O priests, the increase and the wasting away of this body which [151] is composed of the four elements are evident, and the way in which it is obtained and afterwards laid away again.[1] Therefore here the ignorant, unconverted man may conceive aversion, divest himself of passion, and attain to freedom. But that, O priests, which is called mind, intellect, consciousness, -- here the ignorant, unconverted man is not equal to conceiving aversion, is not equal to divesting himself of passion, is not equal to attaining freedom. And why do I say so? Because, O priests, from time immemorial the ignorant, unconverted man has held, cherished, and affected the notion, 'This is mine; this am I; this is my Ego.' Therefore here the ignorant, unconverted man is not equal to conceiving aversion, is not equal to divesting himself of passion, is not equal to attaining freedom. But it were better, O priests, if the ignorant, unconverted man regarded the body which is composed of the four elements as an Ego, rather than the mind. And why do I say so? Because it is evident, O priests, that this body which is composed of the four elements lasts one year, lasts two years, lasts three years, lasts four years, lasts five years, lasts ten years, lasts twenty years, lasts thirty years, lasts forty years, lasts fifty years, lasts a hundred years, and even more. But that, O priests, which is called mind, intellect, consciousness, keeps up an incessant round by day and by night of perishing as one thing and springing up as another.

"Here the learned and noble disciple, O priests, attentively considers Dependent Origination -- Behold this exists when that exists, this originates from the origination of the other; this does not exist when that does not exist, this ceases from the cessation of the other. O priests, a pleasant sensation originates in dependence on contact with pleasant objects; but when that contact with pleasant objects ceases, the feeling sprung from that contact, the pleasant sensation that originated in dependence on contact with pleasant objects ceases and comes to an end. O priests, an unpleasant sensation [152] . . . an indifferent sensation originates in dependence on contact with indifferent objects; but when that contact with indifferent objects ceases, the feeling sprung from that contact, the indifferent sensation that originated in dependence on contact with indifferent objects ceases and comes to an end.

"Just as, O priests, heat comes into existence and flame into being from the friction and concussion of two sticks of wood, but on the separation and parting of these two sticks of wood the heat sprung from those two sticks of wood ceases and comes to an end: in exactly the same way, O priests, a pleasant sensation originates in dependence on contact with pleasant objects; but when that contact with pleasant objects ceases, the feeling sprung from that contact, the pleasant sensation that originated in dependence on contact with pleasant objects ceases and comes to an end. An unpleasant sensation . . . an indifferent sensation originates in dependence on contact with indifferent objects; but when that contact with indifferent objects ceases, the feeling sprung from that contact, the indifferent sensation that originated in dependence on contact with indifferent objects ceases and comes to an end.

Perceiving this, O priests, the learned and noble disciple conceives an aversion for contact, conceives an aversion for sensation, conceives an aversion for perception, conceives an aversion for the predispositions, conceives an aversion for consciousness. And in conceiving this aversion he becomes divested of passion, and by the absence of passion he becomes free, and when he is free he becomes aware that he is free; and he knows that rebirth is exhausted, that he has lived the holy life, that he has done what it behooved him to do, and that he is no more for this world.


[1]Visuddhi-Magga, chap. xx.: By "The way in which it is obtained" is meant conception; by "The way in which it is laid away again" is meant death.

 


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