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The First Truth

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I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Varanasi, in the Game Refuge at Isipatana. There he addressed the group of five monks:

'Physical Form, monks, is not the self. If physical Form were the self, this physical Form (Body) would not lend itself to dis-ease. One could get physical Form to be like this and not be like that. But precisely because physical Form is not the self, it lends itself to dis-ease. And one cannot get physical Form to be like this and not be like that.

'Feeling is not the self... Perception is not the self... Mental fabrications are not the self...

'Consciousness is not the self. If Consciousness were the self, this Consciousness would not lend itself to dis-ease. One could get Consciousness to be like this and not be like that. But precisely because Consciousness is not the self, it lends itself to dis-ease. And one cannot get Consciousness to be like this and not be like that.

'What do you think, monks — Is physical Form constant or inconstant?' — 'Inconstant, Lord.' — 'And whatever is inconstant: Is it easeful or stressful?' — 'Stressful, Lord.' — 'And is it right to assume with regard to whatever is inconstant, stressful, subject to change, that "This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am"?' — 'No, Lord.'

'...Is feeling constant or inconstant?... Is Perception constant or inconstant?... Are mental fabrications constant or inconstant?...

'Is Consciousness constant or inconstant?' — 'Inconstant, Lord.' — 'And whatever is inconstant: Is it easeful or stressful?' — 'Stressful, Lord.' — 'And is it right to assume with regard to whatever is inconstant, stressful, subject to change, that "This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am"?' — 'No, Lord.'

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'Thus, monks, any physical Form whatsoever — past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle, common or sublime, far or near: every physical Form — is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: "This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am."

'Any feeling whatsoever... Any Perception whatsoever... Any mental fabrications whatsoever...

'Any Consciousness whatsoever — past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle, common or sublime, far or near: every Consciousness — is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: "This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am."

'Seeing thus, the instructed Noble disciple grows disenchanted with the Body, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with Perception, disenchanted with mental processes, and disenchanted with Consciousness. Disenchanted, he grows dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is released. With release, there is the Knowledge, "Released." He discerns that "Birth is ended, the holy Life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this World."'

That is what the Blessed One said. Glad at Heart, the group of five monks delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being given, the hearts of the group of five monks, through not clinging (not being sustained), were released from the mental fermentations.

Source

www.accesstoinsight.org