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Samyutta Nikaya
Khandha Saṁyutta

22.59 Anattalakkhaṇa Sutta
The Characteristic of Nonself

The second sermon taught by the Buddha.

At one time the Blessed One was living at Baraṇasi in the Deer Park at Isipatana. There the Blessed One spoke to the monks of the group of five1 saying, “Monks!”

“Bhante!” those monks replied. The Blessed One said this:

“Monks, form is nonself. For if, monks, form were self, this form would not lead to misery, and it would be possible to control form thinking, ‘May my form be like this! May it not be like that!’ But because form is nonself, form leads to misery, and it is not possible to control form thinking, ‘May my form be like this! May it not be like that!’

“Feeling is nonself…. 

“Perception is nonself….

“Volitional formations are nonself….

“Consciousness is nonself. For if, monks, consciousness were self, this consciousness would not lead to misery, and it would be possible to control consciousness thinking, ‘May my consciousness be like this! May it not be like that!’ But because consciousness is nonself, consciousness leads to misery, and it is not possible to control consciousness thinking, ‘May my consciousness be like this! May it not be like that!’

“What do you think, monks, is form permanent or impermanent?”

“Impermanent, bhante.”

“Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?”

“Suffering, bhante.”

“Is it correct to think of something that is impermanent, suffering, and going to change like this: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self?’”

“No, bhante.”

“Is feeling permanent or impermanent? … 

“Is perception permanent or impermanent? … 

“Are volitional formations permanent or impermanent? … 

“Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?”

“Impermanent, bhante.”

“Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?”

 “Suffering, bhante.”

“Is it correct to think of something that is impermanent, suffering, and going to change like this: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self?’”

“No, bhante.”

“For that reason, monks, you should truly see any kind of form at all—

past, future, or present;
internal or external;
coarse or fine;
inferior or superior;
far or near

—all form should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom like this: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

“Any kind of feeling at all … Any kind of perception at all … Any kind of volitional formations at all … Any kind of consciousness  at all—past, future, or present; internal or external; coarse or fine; inferior or superior; far or near—all consciousness should be seen as it really is with correct wisdom like this: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

“Seeing in this way, monks, the instructed noble disciple becomes disillusioned with form, disillusioned with feeling, disillusioned with perception, disillusioned with volitional formations, disillusioned with consciousness. Being disillusioned, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion his mind is liberated. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: ‘It’s liberated.’ He understands: ‘Rebirth has ended. The spiritual journey has been completed. What had to be done to end suffering has been done. There will be no rebirth’”

That is what the Blessed One said. Satisfied, those monks delighted in the Blessed One’s statement. And while this discourse was being spoken, the minds of the monks of the group of five were freed from defilements by not grasping.

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Saṁyutta Nikāya 22.59 Anattalakkhaṇa Sutta: The Characteristic of Nonself

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