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 were permanent, that form wouldn’t have illness and pain, nor would one seek from 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 something undesired: ‘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 this as a self, what’s other than self, or either of them present in the 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, distant or near, they are all not self and don’t belong to self when they are truly known. 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 enjoy it, and are liberated from it. They become disillusioned with feeling … perception … volition … consciousness, part with desire, don’t enjoy it, and are liberated from it. ‘My births have been ended, the religious practice has been established, and the task has been accomplished. I myself know that 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: 6 April 2021