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How the Buddha talked about “Not-self”

§ 128. “Form, monks, is not-self. If form were the self, this form would not lend itself to dis-ease. It would be possible (to say) with regard to form, ‘Let my form be thus. Let my form not be thus.’ But precisely because form is not-self, this form lends itself to dis-ease. And it is not possible (to say) with regard to form, ‘Let my form be thus. Let my form not be thus.’

“Feeling is not-self …. “Perception is not-self …. “Fabrications are not-self …. “Consciousness is not-self. If consciousness were the self, this consciousness would not lend itself to dis-ease. It would be possible (to say) with regard to consciousness, ‘Let my consciousness be thus. Let my consciousness not be thus.’ But precisely because  consciousness is not-self, consciousness lends itself to dis- ease. And it is not possible (to say) with regard to consciousness, ‘Let my consciousness be thus. Let my consciousness not be thus.’

“What do you think, monks: Is form constant or inconstant?”

“Inconstant, lord.” “And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?” “Stressful, lord.”

“And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: ‘This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am’?”

“No, lord.” “… Is feeling constant or inconstant?” “Inconstant, lord.” …. “… Is perception constant or inconstant?” “Inconstant, lord.” …. “… Are fabrications constant or inconstant?” “Inconstant, lord.” …. “What do you think, monks: Is consciousness constant or inconstant?” “Inconstant, lord.”

“And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?” “Stressful, lord.” “And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: ‘This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am’?” “No, lord.”

“Thus, monks, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: Every form is to be seen with right discernment as it has come to be as: ‘This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.’

“Any feeling whatsoever…. “Any perception whatsoever…. “Any fabrications whatsoever…. “Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or  external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: Every consciousness is to be seen with right discernment as it has come to be as: ‘This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.’”

— SN (Samyutta Nikaya) 22:59

Translated from the Pali canon by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

from “Skill in Questions”
HOW THE BUDDHA TAUGHT
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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About Steven Goodheart

"I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." Spinoza

One Response to “How the Buddha talked about “Not-self””

  1. Steven:
    Reblogged :http://wp.me/p1QwdP-5e
    Thanks for this !
    d

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