Analysis of the Truths

MN 141
PTS: M iii 248
Saccavibhaṅga Sutta
(Analysis of the Truths)

1. Thus have I heard:

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Vārāṇasī in the Deer Park at Isipatana. There he addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus.” – “Venerable Sir,” they replied. The Blessed One said this:

2. “At Vārāṇasī, bhikkhus, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Tathāgata, accomplished and fully enlightened, set in motion the unsurpassed Wheel of Truth that no one can stop – no contemplative, no brahmin, no deva, no Māra, no Brahmā, nor anyone in the world – that is, the announcing, teaching, describing, establishing, revealing, expounding, and exhibiting of the Four Noble Truths. Of what four?

3. “The announcing, teaching, describing, establishing, revealing, expounding, and exhibiting of the noble truth of suffering. The announcing, teaching, describing, establishing, revealing, expounding, and exhibiting of the noble truth of the origin of suffering. The announcing, teaching, describing, establishing, revealing, expounding, and exhibiting of the noble truth of the cessation of suffering. The announcing, teaching, describing, establishing, revealing, expounding, and exhibiting of the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.

4. “At Vārāṇasī, bhikkhus, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Tathāgata, accomplished and fully enlightened, set in motion the unsurpassed Wheel of Truth that no one can stop – no contemplative, no brahmin, no deva, no Māra, no Brahmā, nor anyone in the world – that is, the announcing, teaching, describing, establishing, revealing, expounding, and exhibiting of these Four Noble Truths.

5. “Cultivate the friendship of Sāriputta and Moggallāna, bhikkhus; associate with Sāriputta and Moggallāna. They are wise and helpful to their companions in the holy life. Sāriputta is like a mother; Moggallāna is like a nurse. Sāriputta trains others for the fruit of stream-entry, Moggallāna for the supreme goal. Sāriputta, bhikkhus, is able to announce, teach, describe, establish, reveal, expound, and exhibit the Four Noble Truths.”

6. That is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Well-Farer rose from his seat and entered his dwelling.

7. Then, not long after the Blessed One had gone, the venerable Sāriputta addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Friends, bhikkhus.” – “Friend,” they replied to the venerable Sāriputta. The venerable Sāriputta said this:

8. “At Vārāṇasī, friends, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Tathāgata, accomplished and fully enlightened, set in motion the unsurpassed Wheel of Truth that no one can stop – no contemplative, no brahmin, no deva, no Māra, no Brahmā, nor anyone in the world – that is, the announcing, teaching, describing, establishing, revealing, expounding, and exhibiting of the Four Noble Truths. Of what four?

9. “The announcing, teaching, describing, establishing, revealing, expounding, and exhibiting of the noble truth of suffering. The announcing, teaching, describing, establishing, revealing, expounding, and exhibiting of the noble truth of the origin of suffering. The announcing, teaching, describing, establishing, revealing, expounding, and exhibiting of the noble truth of the cessation of suffering. The announcing, teaching, describing, establishing, revealing, expounding, and exhibiting of the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.

10. “And what, friends, is the noble truth of suffering? Birth is suffering; aging is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; not getting what one wants, that too is suffering – in brief, the five clinging-aggregates are suffering.

11. “And what, friends, is birth? The birth of beings into the various orders of beings, their coming to birth, conception, generation, the manifestation of the aggregates, the acquiring of the bases for contact—this is called birth.

12. “And what, friends, is aging? The aging of beings in the various orders of beings, their deterioration, the brokenness of teeth, the greyness of hair, the wrinkling of skin, the decline of life, the weakness of faculties—this is called aging.

13. “And what, friends, is death? The passing of beings out of the various orders of beings, their passing away, dissolution, disappearance, dying, the completion of time, the dissolution of the aggregates, the laying down of the body—this is called death.

14. “And what, friends, is sorrow? The sorrow, sorrowing, sorrowfulness, inner sorrow, inner sorriness , of one who has encountered some misfortune or is affected by some painful state—this is called sorrow.

15. “And what, friends, is lamentation? The wail and lament, wailing and lamenting, bewailing and lamentation, of one who has encountered some misfortune or is affected by some painful state—this is called lamentation.

16. “And what, friends, is pain? Bodily pain, bodily discomfort, painful, uncomfortable feeling born of bodily contact—this is called pain.

17. “And what, friends, is grief? Mental pain, mental discomfort, painful, uncomfortable feeling born of mental contact—this is called grief.

18. “And what, friends, is despair? The trouble and despair, the tribulation and desperation, of one who has encountered some misfortune or is affected by some painful state—this is called despair.

19. “And what, friends, is ‘not getting what one wants, that too is suffering’? To beings subject to birth there comes desire: ‘Oh, that we were not subject to birth, and that birth would not come to us!’ But this is not to be obtained by desiring, and not to obtain what one wants is suffering. To beings subject to aging there comes desire: ‘Oh, that we were not subject to aging, and that aging would not come to us!’ But this is not to be obtained by desiring, and not to obtain what one wants is suffering. To beings subject to death there comes desire: ‘Oh, that we were not subject to death, and that death would not come to us!’ But this is not to be obtained by desiring, and not to obtain what one wants is suffering. To beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair there comes desire: ‘Oh, that we were not subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair, and that sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair would not come to us!’ But this is not to be obtained by desiring, and not to obtain what one wants is suffering.

20. “And what, friends, are the five clinging-aggregates that, in brief, are suffering? The aggregate of material form that is subject to clinging, the aggregate of feeling that is subject to clinging, the aggregate of perception that is subject to clinging, the aggregate of mental formations that is subject to clinging, and the aggregate of consciousness that is subject to clinging—these are the five clinging-aggregates that, in brief, are suffering.

“This is called the noble truth of suffering.

21. “And what, friends, is the noble truth of the origin of suffering? It is craving – thirsting – that makes for further becoming, accompanied by enjoyment and delight, relishing now here and now there, namely, craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, and craving for non-becoming.

“This is called the Noble Truth of the origin of suffering.

22. “And what, friends, is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering? It is the complete cessation without remainder, renunciation, relinquishment, release, and letting go of that very craving.

“This is called the Noble Truth of the cessation of suffering.

23. “And what, friends, is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering? It is precisely this Noble Eightfold Path, namely, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

24. “And what, friends, is right view? Knowledge of suffering, knowledge of the origin of suffering, knowledge of the cessation of suffering, knowledge of the way leading to the cessation of suffering—this is called right view.

25. “And what, friends, is right intention? Intention of renunciation intention of non-ill will, and intention of non-cruelty—this is called right intention.

26. “And what, friends, is right speech? Abstaining from false speech, abstaining from malicious speech, abstaining from harsh speech, and abstaining from idle chatter—this is called right speech.

27. “And what, friends, is right action? Abstaining from killing living beings, abstaining from taking what is not given, and abstaining from misconduct in sensual pleasures—this is called right action.

28. “And what, friends, is right livelihood? Here, a noble disciple, having abandoned wrong livelihood, earns his living by right livelihood—this is called right livelihood.

29. “And what, friends, is right effort? Here, a bhikkhu awakens zeal for the non-arising of unarisen unskillful and unwholesome states, and he makes effort, arouses energy, exerts his mind, and strives; he awakens zeal for the abandoning of arisen unskillful and unwholesome states, and he makes effort, arouses energy, exerts his mind, and strives; he awakens zeal for the arising of unarisen wholesome states, and he makes effort, arouses energy, exerts his mind, and strives; he awakens zeal for the continuance, non-disappearance, strengthening, increase, and fulfillment by development of arisen wholesome states, and he makes effort, arouses energy, exerts his mind, and strives—this is called right effort.

30. “And what, friends, is right mindfulness? Here, a bhikkhu abides observing the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending, and mindful, having set aside desire and grief in regard to the world; he abides observing feeling in feeling, ardent, clearly comprehending, and mindful, having set aside desire and grief in regard to the world; he abides observing mind in mind, ardent, clearly comprehending, and mindful, having set aside desire and grief in regard to the world; he abides observing mental phenomena in mental phenomena, ardent, clearly comprehending, and mindful, having set aside desire and grief in regard to the world—this is called right mindfulness.

31. “And what, friends, is right concentration? Here, having abandoned sensual pleasures, detached from unskillful mental states, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in first jhāna, wherein there is rapture and happiness born of detachment; with the subsiding of directed thought and evaluation, internally purified, having unification of mind that is free from directed thought and evaluation, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in second jhāna, wherein there is rapture and happiness born of concentration; with the fading away as well of rapture, dwelling in equanimity, mindful and clearly seeing , a bhikkhu enters and dwells in third jhāna, wherein he experiences happiness with the body, of which the Noble Ones declare: ‘He who has equanimity and mindfulness dwells happily’; with the abandoning of happiness and suffering, and with the previous passing away of joy and grief, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in fourth jhāna, wherein there is neither happiness nor suffering, but the purity of mindfulness and equanimity—this is called right concentration.

“This is called the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.

32. “At Vārāṇasī, friends, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Tathāgata, accomplished and fully enlightened, set in motion the unsurpassed Wheel of Truth that no one can stop – no contemplative, no brahmin, no deva, no Māra, no Brahmā, nor anyone in the world – that is, the announcing, teaching, describing, establishing, revealing, expounding, and exhibiting of these Four Noble Truths.

That is what the venerable Sāriputta said. The bhikkhus were satisfied and delighted in the words of the venerable Sāriputta.

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