SN III 22.59 The Features of Selflessness

SN III 22.59 The Features of Selflessness

 

Anattalakkhaṇa Sutta #

 

 

At one time,

The Awakened One was residing at Vārāṇasi,

In the deer park at Isipatana.

 

Then he addressed the group of five monks thus:

“Monks.”

“Bhadante,” the monks replied.

 

[1. Not Self] #

 

[Body] #

 

The Awakened One said this:

Monks, [Body][1] is not self,[2]

 

For if [body] would be self,

This [body] would never come upon hurt,[3]

And one could decide: [4]

 

‘Let my [body] be like this,

Let my [body] be like that.’ [5]

 

But the [body] is not self,

Because [body] does come upon hurt,

And one cannot decide:[6]

 

‘Let my [body] be like this,

Let my [body] be like that.’

 

[Sensations] #

 

Sensations are not self.

 

For if sensations would be self,

These sensations would never come upon hurt.

And one could decide:

 

‘Let my sensations be like this,

Let my sensations be like that.’

 

But sensations are not self.

Because sensations do come upon hurt,

And one cannot decide:

 

‘Let my sensations be like this,

Let my sensations be like that.’

 

[Concepts] #

 

Concepts are not self.

 

For if these concepts would be self,

These concepts would never come upon hurt.

And one could decide:

 

‘Let my concepts be like this,

Let my concepts be like that.’

 

But concepts are not self,

Because these concepts do come upon hurt,

And one cannot decide:

 

‘Let my concepts be like this,

Let my concepts be like that.’

 

[Thoughts] #

 

Thoughts are not self.

 

For if thoughts would be self,

These thoughts would never come upon hurt.

And one could decide:

 

‘Let my thoughts be like this,

Let my thoughts be like that.’

 

But thoughts are not self,

Because thoughts do come upon affliction,

And one cannot decide:

 

‘Let my thoughts be like this,

Let my thoughts be like that.’

 

[Consciousness] #

 

Consciousness is not self,

 

For if this consciousness would be self,

This consciousness would never come upon hurt.

And one could decide:

 

‘Let my consciousness be like this,

Let my consciousness be like that.’

 

But this consciousness is not self,

Because this consciousness does come upon hurt,

And one cannot decide:

 

‘Let my consciousness be like this,

Let my consciousness be like that.’

 

[2. Change] #

 

What do you think monks?

 

[Body] #

 

Is the [body] changing or unchanging?

“Changing Bhante”

 

And that which is constantly changing,

            is that pleasant or unpleasant?[7]

“It is unpleasant Bhante.”

 

That which is

constantly changing,

unpleasant,

and of a fleeting nature,

is it sound to consider it as:[8]

“This is me

This is who I am,

This is my-self?[9]

“No, it is not Bhante.”

 

[Sensations] #

 

Are sensations changing or unchanging?

“Changing Bhante”

 

And that which is constantly changing,

            is that pleasant or unpleasant?

“It is unpleasant Bhante.”

 

That which is

constantly changing,

unpleasant,

and of a fleeting nature,

is it sound to consider it as:

“This is me

This is who I am,

This is my-self?

“No, it is not Bhante.”

 

[Concepts] #

 

Are concepts changing or unchanging?

“Changing Bhante”

 

And that which is constantly changing,

            is that pleasant or unpleasant?

“It is unpleasant Bhante.”

 

That which is

constantly changing,

unpleasant,

and of a fleeting nature,

is it sound to consider it as:

“This is me

This is who I am,

This is my-self?[10]

“No, it is not Bhante.”

 

[Thoughts] #

 

Are thoughts changing or unchanging?

“Changing Bhante”

 

And that which is constantly changing,

            is that pleasant or unpleasant?

“It is unpleasant Bhante.”

 

That which is

constantly changing,

unpleasant,

and of a fleeting nature,

is it sound to consider it as:

“This is me

This is who I am,

This is my-self?[11]

“No, it is not Bhante.”

 

[Consciousness] #

 

Is consciousness changing or unchanging?

“Changing Bhante.”

 

And that which is constantly changing,

is that pleasant or unpleasant?

“It is unpleasant Bhante.”

 

That which is

constantly changing,

unpleasant,

and of a fleeting nature,

is it sound to consider it as:

“This is me

This is who I am,

This is my-self?[12]

“No, it is not Bhante.”

 

[3. Wise Discernment] #

 

[Body] #

 

In this case monks,

Any kind of [body] [whether]

Past, present or future

Within or without,

Gross or subtle,

Low or high

Far or near,

All materiality [bodies] should be seen

with wise discernment in this way:

“This is not me,

This is not who I am,

This is not my-self.”

 

[Sensations] #

 

Any kind of sensations [whether]

Past, present or future

Within or without,

Gross or subtle,

Low or high

Far or near,

All sensations should be seen

with wise discernment in this way:

“This is not me,

This is not who I am,

This is not my-self.”

 

[Concepts] #

 

Any kind of concepts [whether]

Past, present or future

Within or without,

Gross or subtle,

low or high

Far or near,

All concepts should be seen

with wise discernment in this way:

“This is not me,

This is not who I am,

This is not my-self.”

 

[Thoughts] #

 

Any kind of thoughts [whether]

Past, present or future

Within or without,

Gross or subtle,

low or high

Far or near,

All thoughts should be seen

with wise discernment in this way:

“This is not me,

This is not who I am,

This is not my-self.”

 

[Consciousness] #

 

Any kind of consciousness [whether]

Past, present or future

Within or without,

Gross or subtle,

low or high

Far or near,

All consciousness should be seen

with wise discernment in this way:

“This is not me,

This is not who I am,

This is not my-self.”

 

[4. Breaking Free] #

 

Seeing in this way monks,

A wise meditator

Completely lets go of body,

Completely lets go of sensations,

Completely lets go of concepts,

Completely lets go of thoughts,

Completely lets go of consciousness.

 

Because of complete letting go comes not holding,

Because of not holding comes release.

 

In this release, one knows:

“This is release”

 

“There is no more [unwholesome states],[13]

Lived is the holy life

Done is what had to be done,

There is no more conceit here.”

 

 

This is what the Awakened one said.

Glad at heart, the group of five monks rejoiced in these words.

 

 

While this discourse was being spoken,

The group of five monks by not holding,

Their mind were released from the mental distractions.

[1] Rūpa: Form, shape, matter, materiality. Here, ‘body’ is more understandable and practical for “English readers”.

[2] Rūpaṃ, bhikkhave, anattā.

[3] Nayidaṃ rūpaṃ ābādhāya saṃvatteyya,

[4] Labbhetha ca rūpe

[5] Evaṃ me rūpaṃ hotu, evaṃ me rūpaṃ mā ahosī’ti. Let my body be like this, and not be like that.

[6] Na ca labbhati rūpe

[7] “Yaṃ panāniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vā taṃ sukhaṃ vā”ti?

[8] “Yaṃ panāniccaṃ dukkhaṃ vipariṇāmadhammaṃ, kallaṃ nu taṃ samanupassituṃ:

[9] ‘etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’ti?

[10] ‘etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’ti?

[11] ‘etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’ti?

[12] ‘etaṃ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’ti?

[13] The original translation is: Birth or rebirth.