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Saṁyutta Nikāya — The Connected Discourses

SN22: Connected Discourses on the Aggregates

SN22:56 Phases of the Clinging Aggregates

1At Sāvatthī. "Bhikkhus, there are these five aggregates subject to clinging. What five? The form aggregate subject to clinging, sn.iii.59 the feeling aggregate subject to clinging, the perception aggregate subject to clinging, the volitional formations aggregate subject to clinging, the consciousness aggregate subject to clinging.

"So long as I did not directly know as they really are the five aggregates subject to clinging in four phases,[n.80] Catuparivaṭṭa, lit. "four turnings." Spk-pṭ: By way of turning round the Four Noble Truths with respect to each of the five aggregates. I did not claim to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with its devas, Māra, and Brahma, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans. But when I directly knew all this as it really is, then I claimed to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with … its devas and humans.

2"And how, bhikkhus, are there four phases? I directly knew form, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation. I directly knew feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation.

3"And what, bhikkhus, is form? The four great elements and the form derived from the four great elements: this is called form. With the arising of nutriment there is the arising of form. With the cessation of nutriment there is the cessation of form. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of form; that is, right view … right concentration.[n.81] Strangely, the Nikāyas do not offer an analysis of the form derived from the four great elements (catunnaṃ mahābhūtānaṃ upādāya rūpaṃ). This analysis first appears only in the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, according to which such form includes the five sense faculties, four sense objects (the tactile object being assigned to three of the great elements, excluding the water element), the space element, sexual determination, physical nutriment (= edible food), etc.; see CMA 6:2–5. On nutriment as a condition for the physical body, see II, n. 18. In this sutta the proximate condition for the origination of each of the five aggregates is shown, in contrast with SN22.5, which shows the collective distal or remote condition for all five aggregates. For the distinction of the two types of conditions, see II, n. 58.

4"Whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known form, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, are practising for the purpose of revulsion towards form, for its fading away and cessation, they are practising well. Those who are practising well have gained a foothold in this Dhamma and Discipline.[n.82] This paragraph shows trainees (sekha), who have directly known the Four Noble Truths and are practising for attainment of Nibbāna, the ultimate cessation of the five aggregates. For this reason the trainees are said to have "gained a foothold (gādhanti) in this Dhamma and Discipline," in contrast to the arahants, who have completed their work.

5"And whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known form, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, through revulsion towards form, through its fading away and cessation, are liberated by nonclinging, they are well liberated. Those who are well liberated are consummate ones. As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.[n.83] This paragraph shows those beyond training (asekha), the arahants. Spk: They are well liberated (suvimuttā) by the liberation of the fruit of arahantship; consummate ones (kevalino), complete, having done all their duties. There is no round for describing them (vaṭṭaṁ tesaṁ natthi paññāpanāya): there is no remaining round (of rebirths) for the description of them. Or else "round" means basis (kāraṇa), so there is no basis for description. At this point the plane of the one beyond training (asekhabhūmi, i.e., of the arahant) has been discussed.
On "consummate one," see I, n. 446. On the idea of the arahant as beyond description or free from reckoning, see SN22.35 and n. 47 above. The expression vaṭṭaṁ tesaṁ natthi paññāpanāya recurs at SN44.6 (IV 391,10); see too DN II 63,30–64,1. The phrase might also have been translated, "There is no round for their manifestation."

6"And what, bhikkhus, is feeling? sn.iii.60 There are these six classes of feeling: feeling born of eye-contact, feeling born of ear-contact, feeling born of nose-contact, feeling born of tongue-contact, feeling born of body-contact, feeling born of mind-contact. This is called feeling. With the arising of contact there is the arising of feeling.[n.84] Contact (phassa) is the coming together of sense object and consciousness via a sense faculty. When this occurs, the other mental factors arise, most notably feeling, perception, and volition. With the cessation of contact there is the cessation of feeling. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of feeling; that is, right view … right concentration.

7"Whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known feeling, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, are practising for the purpose of revulsion towards feeling, for its fading away and cessation, they are practising well. Those who are practising well have gained a foothold in this Dhamma and Discipline.

8"And whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known feeling … and the way leading to its cessation … As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.

9"And what, bhikkhus, is perception? There are these six classes of perception: perception of forms, perception of sounds, perception of odours, perception of tastes, perception of tactile objects, perception of mental phenomena. This is called perception. With the arising of contact there is the arising of perception. With the cessation of contact there is the cessation of perception. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of perception; that is, right view … right concentration.

"Whatever ascetics and brahmins … As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.


10–12"And what, bhikkhus, are volitional formations? There are these six classes of volition:[n.85] The fact that there is a difference between the name of the aggregate (saṅkhārakkhandha) and the term of definition (sañcetanā) suggests that this aggregate has a wider compass than the others. In the Abhidhamma Piṭaka and the commentaries, the saṅkhārakkhandha is treated as an "umbrella category" for classifying all mental factors other than feeling and perception. Volition is mentioned only as the most important factor in this aggregate, not as its exclusive constituent. volition regarding forms, volition regarding sounds, volition regarding odours, volition regarding tastes, volition regarding tactile objects, volition regarding mental phenomena. This is called volitional formations. With the arising of contact there is the arising of volitional formations. With the cessation of contact there is the cessation of volitional formations. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of volitional formations; that is, right view … right concentration.

"Whatever ascetics and brahmins … sn.iii.61 … As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them.


13"And what, bhikkhus, is consciousness? There are these six classes of consciousness: eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, mind-consciousness. This is called consciousness. With the arising of name-and-form there is the arising of consciousness. With the cessation of name-and-form there is the cessation of consciousness. This Noble Eightfold Path is the way leading to the cessation of consciousness; that is, right view … right concentration. [n.86] It is significant that while contact is the proximate condition for feeling, perception, and volitional formations, name-and-form in its entirety is the proximate condition for consciousness. This ties up with the idea, as stated in SN22.3, that the other four aggregates are the "home" of consciousness. See too in this connection SN12.65 and SN12.67.

14"Whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, are practising for the purpose of revulsion towards consciousness, for its fading away and cessation, they are practising well. Those who are practising well have gained a foothold in this Dhamma and Discipline.

15"And whatever ascetics and brahmins, having thus directly known consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation, through revulsion towards consciousness, through its fading away and cessation, are liberated by nonclinging, they are well liberated. Those who are well liberated are consummate ones. As to those consummate ones, there is no round for describing them."

1Sāvatthinidānaṁ. "Pañcime, bhikkhave, upādānakkhandhā. Katame pañca? Rūpupādānakkhandho, vedanupādānakkhandho, saññupādānakkhandho, saṅkhārupādānakkhandho, viññāṇupādānakkhandho.

Yāvakīvañcāhaṁ, bhikkhave, ime pañcupādānakkhandhe catuparivaṭṭaṁ yathābhūtaṁ nābbhaññāsiṁ, neva tāvāhaṁ, bhikkhave, sadevake loke samārake sabrahmake sassamaṇabrāhmaṇiyā pajāya sadevamanussāya anuttaraṁ sammāsambodhiṁ abhisambuddhoti paccaññāsiṁ. Yato ca khvāhaṁ, bhikkhave, ime pañcupādānakkhandhe catuparivaṭṭaṁ yathābhūtaṁ abbhaññāsiṁ, athāhaṁ, bhikkhave, sadevake loke … pe … sadevamanussāya anuttaraṁ sammāsambodhiṁ abhisambuddhoti paccaññāsiṁ.

2Kathañca catuparivaṭṭaṁ? Rūpaṁ abbhaññāsiṁ, rūpasamudayaṁ abbhaññāsiṁ, rūpanirodhaṁ abbhaññāsiṁ, rūpanirodhagāminiṁ paṭipadāṁ abbhaññāsiṁ; vedanāṁ … saññaṁ … saṅkhāre … viññāṇaṁ abbhaññāsiṁ, viññāṇasamudayaṁ abbhaññāsiṁ, viññāṇanirodhaṁ abbhaññāsiṁ, viññāṇanirodhagāminiṁ paṭipadāṁ abbhaññāsiṁ.

3Katamañca, bhikkhave, rūpaṁ? Cattāro ca mahābhūtā catunnañca mahābhūtānaṁ upādāya rūpaṁ. Idaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, rūpaṁ. Āhārasamudayā rūpasamudayo; āhāranirodhā rūpanirodho. Ayameva ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo rūpanirodhagāminī paṭipadā, seyyathidaṁ – sammādiṭṭhi … pe … sammāsamādhi.

4Ye hi keci, bhikkhave, samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā evaṁ rūpaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ rūpasamudayaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ rūpanirodhaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ rūpanirodhagāminiṁ paṭipadāṁ abhiññāya rūpassa nibbidāya virāgāya nirodhāya paṭipannā, te suppaṭipannā. Ye suppaṭipannā, te imasmiṁ dhammavinaye gādhanti.

5Ye ca kho keci, bhikkhave, samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā evaṁ rūpaṁ abhiññāya … pe … evaṁ rūpanirodhagāminiṁ paṭipadāṁ abhiññāya, rūpassa nibbidā virāgā nirodhā anupādā vimuttā te suvimuttā. Ye suvimuttā te kevalino. Ye kevalino vaṭṭaṁ tesaṁ natthi paññāpanāya.

6Katamā ca, bhikkhave, vedanā? Chayime, bhikkhave, vedanākāyā – cakkhusamphassajā vedanā, sotasamphassajā vedanā, ghānasamphassajā vedanā, jivhāsamphassajā vedanā, kāyasamphassajā vedanā, manosamphassajā vedanā. Ayaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, vedanā. Phassasamudayā vedanāsamudayo; phassanirodhā vedanānirodho. Ayameva ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo vedanānirodhagāminī paṭipadā, seyyathidaṁ – sammādiṭṭhi … pe … sammāsamādhi.

7Ye hi keci, bhikkhave, samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā evaṁ vedanāṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ vedanāsamudayaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ vedanānirodhaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ vedanānirodhagāminiṁ paṭipadāṁ abhiññāya vedanāya nibbidāya virāgāya nirodhāya paṭipannā, te suppaṭipannā. Ye suppaṭipannā, te imasmiṁ dhammavinaye gādhanti.

8Ye ca kho keci, bhikkhave, samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā evaṁ vedanāṁ abhiññāya … pe … evaṁ vedanānirodhagāminiṁ paṭipadāṁ abhiññāya … pe … vaṭṭaṁ tesaṁ natthi paññāpanāya.

9Katamā ca, bhikkhave, saññā? Chayime, bhikkhave, saññākāyā – rūpasaññā, saddasaññā, gandhasaññā, rasasaññā, phoṭṭhabbasaññā, dhammasaññā. Ayaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, saññā. Phassasamudayā saññāsamudayo; phassanirodhā saññānirodho. Ayameva ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo saññānirodhagāminī paṭipadā, seyyathidaṁ – sammādiṭṭhi … pe … sammāsamādhi … pe … vaṭṭaṁ tesaṁ natthi paññāpanāya.


10Katame ca, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā? Chayime, bhikkhave, cetanākāyā – rūpasañcetanā, saddasañcetanā, gandhasañcetanā, rasasañcetanā, phoṭṭhabbasañcetanā, dhammasañcetanā. Ime vuccanti, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā. Phassasamudayā saṅkhārasamudayo; phassanirodhā saṅkhāranirodho. Ayameva ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo saṅkhāranirodhagāminī paṭipadā, seyyathidaṁ – sammādiṭṭhi … pe … sammāsamādhi.

11Ye hi keci, bhikkhave, samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā evaṁ saṅkhāre abhiññāya, evaṁ saṅkhārasamudayaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ saṅkhāranirodhaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ saṅkhāranirodhagāminiṁ paṭipadāṁ abhiññāya saṅkhārānaṁ nibbidāya virāgāya nirodhāya paṭipannā, te suppaṭipannā. Ye suppaṭipannā, te imasmiṁ dhammavinaye gādhanti.

12Ye ca kho keci, bhikkhave, samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā evaṁ saṅkhāre abhiññāya, evaṁ saṅkhārasamudayaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ saṅkhāranirodhaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ saṅkhāranirodhagāminiṁ paṭipadāṁ abhiññāya saṅkhārānaṁ nibbidā virāgā nirodhā anupādā vimuttā, te suvimuttā. Ye suvimuttā, te kevalino. Ye kevalino vaṭṭaṁ tesaṁ natthi paññāpanāya.


13Katamañca, bhikkhave, viññāṇaṁ? Chayime, bhikkhave, viññāṇakāyā – cakkhuviññāṇaṁ, sotaviññāṇaṁ, ghānaviññāṇaṁ, jivhāviññāṇaṁ, kāyaviññāṇaṁ, manoviññāṇaṁ. Idaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, viññāṇaṁ. Nāmarūpasamudayā viññāṇasamudayo; nāmarūpanirodhā viññāṇanirodho. Ayameva ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo viññāṇanirodhagāminī paṭipadā, seyyathidaṁ – sammādiṭṭhi … pe … sammāsamādhi.

14Ye hi keci, bhikkhave, samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā evaṁ viññāṇaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ viññāṇasamudayaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ viññāṇanirodhaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ viññāṇanirodhagāminiṁ paṭipadāṁ abhiññāya viññāṇassa nibbidāya virāgāya nirodhāya paṭipannā, te suppaṭipannā. Ye suppaṭipannā, te imasmiṁ dhammavinaye gādhanti.

15Ye ca kho keci, bhikkhave, samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā evaṁ viññāṇaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ viññāṇasamudayaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ viññāṇanirodhaṁ abhiññāya, evaṁ viññāṇanirodhagāminiṁ paṭipadāṁ abhiññāya viññāṇassa nibbidā virāgā nirodhā anupādā vimuttā, te suvimuttā. Ye suvimuttā, te kevalino. Ye kevalino vaṭṭaṁ tesaṁ natthi paññāpanāyā"ti.

Catutthaṁ.