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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Samyutta Nikaya >> SA 297

SA 297 Translation by Choong Mun-keat (Wei-keat) (2004)


5. 大空法經 The great discourse on the emptiness of dharmas.

T 2, pp. 84c-85a, sūtra No. 297. ( Saṃyutta-nikāya 12. 35-36 Avijjāpaccayā (vol. ii, pp. 60-63). Skt. version, Tripāṭhī, sūtra 15 and Lamotte (1973). CSA vol. 2, pp. 36-37; FSA vol. 1, pp. 570-572.)


Thus have I heard.

At one time, the Buddha was staying in the cow-herding community of the Kurus.

At that time, the Buddha said to the monks: "I will teach you the dharma, which is good in its beginning, middle, and end; which is of good meaning and good flavour, entirely pure, pure for the noble life, namely: the great discourse on the emptiness of dharmas.

"Listen attentively, consider well, and I will teach you.

"What is the great discourse on the emptiness of dharmas? It is this: Because this exists, that exists; because this arises, that arises. That is to say: Conditioned by ignorance, activities arise; because of activities, consciousness arises, and so on ..., and thus arises this whole mass of suffering.

"Regarding [the statement] conditioned by birth, aging-and-death arises, someone may ask: Who is it that ages-and-dies? To whom does aging-and-death belong?

"And he may answer: It is the self that ages-and-dies. Aging-and-death belongs to the self; aging-and-death is the self.

"To say that soul is the same thing as body, or to say that soul is one thing and body another, these have the same meaning, though they are expressed differently.

"For one who has the view which says that soul is the same thing as body, there is no point in the noble life. And for one who has the other view which says that soul is one thing and body another, there is also no point in the noble life.

"Following neither of these two extremes, the mind should move rightly toward the Middle Way.

"The noble ones, transcending the world, free of distortion, have right view, seeing the true nature of phenomena, namely: Conditioned by birth is aging-and-death, and similarly conditioned are birth, becoming, attachment, craving, feeling, contact, the six sense-spheres, name and form, consciousness, and activities. Conditioned by ignorance, activities arise.

"And if someone asks: Who are the activities? To whom do the activities belong?

"He may answer: The activities are the self, activities belong to the self.

"Thus for him, soul is the same thing as body; or he may say that soul is one thing and body another.

"For one who views soul and body as the same thing, there is no point in the noble life; and for one who says soul is one thing and body another, there is also no point in the noble life.

"Avoiding these two extremes, move rightly toward the Middle Way.

"The noble ones, transcending the world, free of distortion, have right view, seeing the true nature of things, namely: Conditioned by ignorance are activities.

"Monks! As to who ages-and-dies, and to whom aging-and-death belongs, when ignorance fades away, and knowledge arises, aging and death are cut off, and one knows they have been cut off at the root, like the cut-off stump of a palm tree, never to arise again in the future.

"As to who is born, and to whom birth belongs, and so on ...; and as to who are the activities, and to whom the activities belong, when ignorance fades away and knowledge arises in a monk, activities are cut off, and one knows they have been cut off at the root, like the cut-off stump of a palm tree, never to arise again in the future.

"When ignorance fades away and knowledge arises in a monk, in him ignorance ceases, and thus activities cease, and so on ..., and this whole mass of suffering ceases.

"This is called 'the great discourse on the emptiness of dharmas'."

When the Buddha had taught this discourse, all the monks, hearing what the Buddha had said, were delighted, and put it into practice.

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