This is what I heard from the Blessed One. Those days, the Blessed One was living in the province of Uruvelā, on the bank of the Nerañjarā River, at the root of the Bodhi tree, recently enlightened. One day, the Buddha sat at the root of the Bodhi tree for seven days straight, experiencing the bliss of enlightenment. Then, with the passing of seven days, after emerging from that concentration, he surveyed the world with the eye of a Buddha. As the Buddha did so, he saw beings burning with the many defilements and aflame with the many fires born of desire, hatred and delusion.
Then, on realizing the peace of liberation, the Blessed One spoke the following inspired verses:
“Beings in the world are scorched by defilements. They are troubled by sense contact. They regard pain born from contact to be “themselves”. They expect things to happen in a certain way, however, things happen in a completely different way.
“Beings are attached to existence. Things happen in the opposite way of what they expect. Beings are troubled by existence, but still they welcome existence. Existence welcomed by them, causes fear in them. Whatever brings fear, is painful. The wise should follow the noble path in order to abandon existence.
“Some people say that liberation from existence is to be achieved by the same defilements that lead to existence. None of them will be liberated from existence, I say.
“Some other people say that liberation from existence comes from non-existence1 None of them will be liberated from existence.
“Suffering arises due to defiled kamma. With the destruction of all clinging comes the end of suffering. Look at all these beings, they are worn down and suffering due to the lack of true knowledge of life. They are still attached to desires. They will not be liberated from existence.
“Whatever existence exists anywhere in any way, all that is, impermanent, suffering and subject to change.
“Seeing this true nature, with developed wisdom, the craving for existence is abandoned and the craving for non-existence is not welcomed. Full abandonment of craving is Nibbāna.
“The monk who has attained Nibbāna, is freed of existence due to the ending of clinging. He defeated Māra, the evil one. He conquered the battle. He went beyond all existences. He is not agitated by ups and downs of life. He is called a liberated monk.