Dharma Pearls

Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

The Related Discourses

1. The Aggregates

143. Impermanent

1. Thus I have heard: One time, the Buddha was staying at Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park in Jeta’s Grove of Śrāvastī.

2. It was then that the Bhagavān addressed the monks, “If impermanent form was permanent, that form wouldn’t have illness and pain, nor would it be sought of form: ‘Let it be so; let it not be so.’ Illness and pain arise in form because it’s impermanent, and that’s why it becomes what’s not desired: ‘Let it be so; let it not be so.’ Feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness are likewise. Monks, what do you think? Is form permanent, or is it impermanent?”

The monks said to the Buddha, “Impermanent, Bhagavān.”

3. “Monks, what’s impermanent is painful, isn’t it?”

The monks said to the Buddha, “It’s painful, Bhagavān.”

4. “Monks, if something is impermanent and painful, it’s liable to change. Would well-versed noble disciples see in that a self, what’s other than self, or [self and other] present in each other?”

The monks said to the Buddha, “No, Bhagavān.”

5. “Feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness are likewise. Therefore, monks, whatever forms exist, whether past, future, or present, internal or external, crude or fine, beautiful or ugly, far or near, they are all not self and don’t belong to self when known as they really are. Feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness are likewise.

6. “Well-versed noble disciples correctly observe form. After correctly observing it, they become disillusioned with form, part with desire, don’t delight in it, and are liberated. They become disillusioned with feeling … perception … volition … consciousness, part with desire, don’t delight in it, and are liberated. ‘My births have ended, the religious life has been established, and the task has been accomplished. I myself know I won’t be subject to a later existence.’”

7. After the Buddha spoke this sūtra, the monks who heard what the Buddha taught rejoiced and approved.


Translator: Charles Patton

Last Revised: 9 December 2020