Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

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zan
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Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by zan » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:49 pm

Hi Classical Theravada dhamma friends! I thought it may be useful to collect a list of quotes that show how impossible it is that nibbana is consciousness or a self.

I considered doing this in the great debate thread, but then realized they would get lost in the sea of debate, very difficult to find amongst the back and forth, and less convincing when every time a really good point is made, someone immediately casts doubt on it.

So, here, I propose that we post only quotes that show the above. No argument, no debate, just info supporting this fact. A handbook for those disillusioned by dhamma soul theories.

Why this fact? Because it is at the core of the dhamma. All else aside, if nibbana were a self or consciousness, the dhamma would have to be completely re evaluated. It necessarily calls into question the law of impermanence, the understanding of not self and other incredibly important foundational doctrines.

I got knocked for a loop last year by reading a lot of soul theories on the dhamma and actually walked away from it entirely for a long time, disillusioned, because, if the dhamma teaches that we have souls (or eternal citta, or whatever, some kind of continuing existence) then I found it impossible to continue practice, as the only thing, to my knowledge, that sets the dhamma completely aside from other religions, is the lack of a soul (it may sound light or superficial but this is very serious to myself and surely many dhamma practitioners). Now I have done some study and learned a little more and thought it may be nice to record as many clear and cohesive statements as possible, in the hopes that others in my situation will have a life raft to grab onto to get back on track with much less time lost and much less leg work!
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by SarathW » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:55 pm

“He perceives Nibbāna as Nibbāna. Having perceived Nibbāna as Nibbāna, he conceives himself as Nibbāna, he conceives himself in Nibbāna, he conceives himself apart from Nibbāna, he conceives Nibbāna to be ‘mine,’ he delights in Nibbāna. Why is that? Because he has not fully understood it, I say.

https://suttacentral.net/mn1/en/bodhi
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by SarathW » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:08 am

This is how the question should be asked:

“Where do water and earth,
fire and air find no footing;
where do long and short,
fine and coarse, beautiful and ugly;
where do name and form
cease with nothing left over?”

And the answer to that is:

“Consciousness that’s invisible,
infinite, radiant all round.
Here’s where water and earth,
fire and air find no footing;

here’s where long and short,
fine and coarse, beautiful and ugly;
here’s where name and form
cease with nothing left over—
with the cessation of consciousness,
that’s where this ceases.
”’”

https://suttacentral.net/dn11/en/sujato#85.18
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

zan
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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by zan » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:26 am

...The Buddha declares that “all phenomena are nonself” (sabbe dhammā anattā), which means that if one seeks a self anywhere one will not find one. Since “all phenomena” includes both the conditioned and the unconditioned, this precludes an utterly transcendent, ineffable self."
-Bhikkhi Bodhi’s footnote to the Ānanda Sutta (SN.44.10)

So it's clearly impossible that it is a self.
viññāṇaṁ aniccaṁ
Consciousness is impermanent
-SN 22.59

So it is clearly impossible that it is consciousness, as nibbana is stable (SN 43) and consciousness is, hundreds of times throughout the Pali Canon, said to be temporary.
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by DNS » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:37 am

Moderator note: some off topic posts have been removed please stay on topic and respect the wishes of the OP. Refrain from posts which are only designed to refute the OP premise.

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by cappuccino » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:39 am

Buddha refuted wrong views, why can I not?

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by DNS » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:41 am

cappuccino wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:39 am
Buddha refuted wrong views, why can I not?
You can make your case in the other threads, great nibbana thread, etc but not here in the Classical sub-forum.

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by zan » Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:43 am

SarathW wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:55 pm
“He perceives Nibbāna as Nibbāna. Having perceived Nibbāna as Nibbāna, he conceives himself as Nibbāna, he conceives himself in Nibbāna, he conceives himself apart from Nibbāna, he conceives Nibbāna to be ‘mine,’ he delights in Nibbāna. Why is that? Because he has not fully understood it, I say.

https://suttacentral.net/mn1/en/bodhi

SarathW wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:08 am
This is how the question should be asked:

“Where do water and earth,
fire and air find no footing;
where do long and short,
fine and coarse, beautiful and ugly;
where do name and form
cease with nothing left over?”

And the answer to that is:

“Consciousness that’s invisible,
infinite, radiant all round.
Here’s where water and earth,
fire and air find no footing;

here’s where long and short,
fine and coarse, beautiful and ugly;
here’s where name and form
cease with nothing left over—
with the cessation of consciousness,
that’s where this ceases.
”’”

https://suttacentral.net/dn11/en/sujato#85.18
:clap:
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

SarathW
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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by SarathW » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:01 am

cappuccino wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 12:39 am
Buddha refuted wrong views, why can I not?
Perhaps you can start a thread:
"Post sutta quotes that utterly rule Nibbana being consciousness and self"
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by cappuccino » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:44 am

nirvana
noun
a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self

from Dictionary

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:49 am

zan wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:49 pm
Hi Classical Theravada dhamma friends! I thought it may be useful to collect a list of quotes that show how impossible it is that nibbana is consciousness or a self.
........
So, here, I propose that we post only quotes that show the above. No argument, no debate, just info supporting this fact. A handbook for those disillusioned by dhamma soul theories.
Congratulations zan!
And, Thank you very much for creating a safe haven for us. :anjali: :anjali: :anjali:


On the No-self Characteristic
The Anatta-lakkhana Sutta
translated, with an introduction by
N.K.G. Mendis
2007

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... 8.html#top

Having thus instructed the five disciples, the Buddha gave the discourse on the No-self characteristic of existence. No-self is one of the three characteristics of existence, the other two being impermanence and unsatisfactoriness. These three are inter-related and one cannot be taken apart from the other two. They are found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
.....
No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. With regard to the animate, this implies the absence of a soul which either emanated from a divine source or was created by a divine being. Biblical religions bless only the human being in the whole of the animal kingdom with this soul. The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha. At least an intellectual grasp of this characteristic of existence is needed to appreciate the Buddha's teaching. It is only when insight is gained in this respect that progress can be made along the Path to full enlightenment.
.....
There is an implication here that, unless one gains insight into the No-self characteristic of existence, it is not possible to start on the path to Enlightenment. Of the ten fetters that bind us down to wanderings in Samsara, belief in a soul is the first to be broken. Hence the profound importance of this discourse.
.....
This second discourse was on a discovery which was revolutionary in human thought. Before the Buddha's time and even after, religious teachers emphasized the existence of an abiding soul. A skeptic would say that this soul-less doctrine is one of hopelessness and despair and equates a sentient being to an automaton. On the contrary, the No-self doctrine gives the sentient being the highest sense of responsibility, the greatest amount of encouragement, the highest measure of hope and is conducive to contentment which will be reflected in the disciple's attitude to other fellow beings, which is the only way to put an end to all the strife on this earth.
.....
Can we verify for ourselves the truth of this aspect of the Buddha's teaching? The Buddha urged his disciples to investigate the Dhamma. In fact, this investigation is the second of the seven enlightenment factors.
.....
What then is the cause of this delusion that a self or soul exists? It is purely subjective, born of ignorance and nourished by the roots, both unwholesome and wholesome. It is lack of insight into the most profound statement ever made, that "bare phenomena roll on." There is no doer but only the action, there is no speaker but only the utterance, there is no thinker but only the thought.
.....
The No-self doctrine leads to harmlessness, contentment and peace. In contrast, it would be pertinent to refer briefly to some of the repercussions of the Self or Soul Doctrine. Even in very ancient times, the sentient being, as a result of stimuli from the senses in different forms, had the subjective impression that there was something abiding in himself, which may be called the Self or Soul. He also had the notion that this entity had the capacity to possess and own animate and inanimate objects. His survival depended on protecting this self. Apart from his own efforts towards this end, when the situation seemed to be beyond his control, or when events occurred that he could not understand, he looked for someone outside of himself for protection and to provide an answer to the mysterious. This outside source had to be someone better than any of his fellow beings. It had to be supernatural. In times of calamity, he looked up to the supernatural for help to ward off the danger.
.....
🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
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  • "the one thing all the mistaken views have in common is the assump­tion that the self exists" ~ DN1
  • "It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22
  • The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
  • No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. ~ SN22.59

zan
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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by zan » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:15 am

Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:49 am
zan wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:49 pm
Hi Classical Theravada dhamma friends! I thought it may be useful to collect a list of quotes that show how impossible it is that nibbana is consciousness or a self.
........
So, here, I propose that we post only quotes that show the above. No argument, no debate, just info supporting this fact. A handbook for those disillusioned by dhamma soul theories.
Congratulations zan!
And, Thank you very much for creating a safe haven for us. :anjali: :anjali: :anjali:


On the No-self Characteristic
The Anatta-lakkhana Sutta
translated, with an introduction by
N.K.G. Mendis
2007

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... 8.html#top

Having thus instructed the five disciples, the Buddha gave the discourse on the No-self characteristic of existence. No-self is one of the three characteristics of existence, the other two being impermanence and unsatisfactoriness. These three are inter-related and one cannot be taken apart from the other two. They are found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
.....
No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. With regard to the animate, this implies the absence of a soul which either emanated from a divine source or was created by a divine being. Biblical religions bless only the human being in the whole of the animal kingdom with this soul. The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha. At least an intellectual grasp of this characteristic of existence is needed to appreciate the Buddha's teaching. It is only when insight is gained in this respect that progress can be made along the Path to full enlightenment.
.....
There is an implication here that, unless one gains insight into the No-self characteristic of existence, it is not possible to start on the path to Enlightenment. Of the ten fetters that bind us down to wanderings in Samsara, belief in a soul is the first to be broken. Hence the profound importance of this discourse.
.....
This second discourse was on a discovery which was revolutionary in human thought. Before the Buddha's time and even after, religious teachers emphasized the existence of an abiding soul. A skeptic would say that this soul-less doctrine is one of hopelessness and despair and equates a sentient being to an automaton. On the contrary, the No-self doctrine gives the sentient being the highest sense of responsibility, the greatest amount of encouragement, the highest measure of hope and is conducive to contentment which will be reflected in the disciple's attitude to other fellow beings, which is the only way to put an end to all the strife on this earth.
.....
Can we verify for ourselves the truth of this aspect of the Buddha's teaching? The Buddha urged his disciples to investigate the Dhamma. In fact, this investigation is the second of the seven enlightenment factors.
.....
What then is the cause of this delusion that a self or soul exists? It is purely subjective, born of ignorance and nourished by the roots, both unwholesome and wholesome. It is lack of insight into the most profound statement ever made, that "bare phenomena roll on." There is no doer but only the action, there is no speaker but only the utterance, there is no thinker but only the thought.
.....
The No-self doctrine leads to harmlessness, contentment and peace. In contrast, it would be pertinent to refer briefly to some of the repercussions of the Self or Soul Doctrine. Even in very ancient times, the sentient being, as a result of stimuli from the senses in different forms, had the subjective impression that there was something abiding in himself, which may be called the Self or Soul. He also had the notion that this entity had the capacity to possess and own animate and inanimate objects. His survival depended on protecting this self. Apart from his own efforts towards this end, when the situation seemed to be beyond his control, or when events occurred that he could not understand, he looked for someone outside of himself for protection and to provide an answer to the mysterious. This outside source had to be someone better than any of his fellow beings. It had to be supernatural. In times of calamity, he looked up to the supernatural for help to ward off the danger.
.....
🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
metta
Hey buddy! Thanks for posting! Great stuff! :thumbsup:
Never read anything I write as an accurate statement about anything whatsoever. First, look to wiser ones than I. Look to wise texts. Unless you can confirm their accuracy from a reliable source, treat my writings like word games, nothing more.

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:32 am

Hi Classical friends :heart: ,

I think this one and its variants are the most elusive of all wrong views for some people.

The 8th of 62 WRONG VIEWS
(the 4th in Partial Eternalism / Ekaccasassatavāda / Ekacca Sassata Ditthi)
⬤ eye/ear/nose/tongue/body >>> that self is impermanent
mind/intellect/thought/consciousness/viññāṇa >>> that self is permanent



From: DN 1 Brahmajāla Sutta: The All-embracing Net of Views
"49. "In the fourth case, owing to what, with reference to what, are some honorable recluses and brahmins eternalists in regard to some things and non-eternalists in regard to other things, proclaiming the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal?

"Herein, bhikkhus, recluse or a certain brahmin is a rationalist, an investigator. He declares his view — hammered out by reason, deduced from his investigations, following his own flight of thought — thus: 'That which is called "the eye," "the ear," "the nose," "the tongue," and "the body" — that self is impermanent, unstable, non-eternal, subject to change. But that which is called "mind" (citta) or "mentality" (mano) or "consciousness" (viññāṇa) — that self is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, and it will remain the same just like eternity itself.'

"This, bhikkhus, is the fourth case.

50. "It is on these four grounds, bhikkhus, that those recluses and brahmins who are partial-eternalists proclaim the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal. Whatever recluses and brahmins there may be who proclaim the self and the world to be partly eternal and partly non-eternal, all of them do so on these four grounds or on a certain one of them. Outside of these there is none.

51. "This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands. And he understands: 'These standpoints, thus assumed and thus misapprehended, lead to such a future destination, to such a state in the world beyond.' He understands as well what transcends this, yet even that understanding he does not misapprehend. And because he is free from misapprehension, he has realized within himself the state of perfect peace. Having understood as they really are the origin and the passing away of feelings, their satisfaction, their unsatisfactoriness, and the escape from them, the Tathāgata, bhikkhus, is emancipated through non-clinging.
Bhikkhu Bodhi
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .bodh.html


The Fourth Category of Ekacca Sassata Ditthi
49. In the fourth category (of ekacca sassata-ditthi) on what authority and on what basis do the respected samanas and brahmanas, holding the dualistic view of eternity and non-eternity, propound that atta as well as loka is in some cases eternal and in others not eternal?
Bhikkhus! in this world a certain samana or brahmana is given to logic and investigation. He uses various methods of reasoning, conducts investigations and gives his views, saying :

"This which is called eye, ear, nose, tongue and the physical body is the atta which is impermanent, unstable, not eternal and mutable. But this which is called mind, thought or consciousness, is the atta which is permanent, stable. eternal, immutable and as everlasting as things eternal."

Bhikkhus! This is the fourth possibility. It is based on this that some samanas and brahmanas, holding the dualistic view of eternity and non-eternity, propound that atta as well as loka is in some cases eternal and in others not eternal. (4+4—8)

50. Bhikkhus! These samanas and brahmanas, holding the dualistic view of eternity and non-eternity, demonstrate on these four grounds that atta as well as loka is in some cases eternal and in others not eternal.

Bhikkhus! When any samanas and or brahmanas, holding the dualistic view of eternity and non-eternity, demonstrate that atta as well as loka is in some cases eternal and in others not eternal, all of them proffer these four, or one of these four, lines of reasoning and not any other line of reasoning.

51. Bhikkhus! The Tathagata knows the destination, the next existence in which one holding these four views would be reborn, if these views are thus held on to, if these views are thus grasped.

The Tathagata knows these four views. He also knows the dhamma which surpasses them. Knowing that dhamma, he does not view it in the wrong way. Since he does not view it in the wrong way, he realizes by himself the extinction of defilements (i.e., greed, anger, and ignorance of the Four Ariya Truths).
Burma Pitaka Association Editorial Committee
http://buddhistlibraryonline.org/index. ... rahmajala2

8. “As for the fourth: With reference to what, coming from what, are contemplatives & brahmans partially eternalists and partially non-eternalists who proclaim a partially eternal and partially non-eternal self & cosmos?

“There is the case where a certain contemplative or brahman is a logician, an inquirer. He states his own improvisation, hammered out by logic, deduced from his inquiries: ‘That which is called “eye” & “ear” & “nose” & “tongue” & “body”: That self is inconstant, impermanent, non-eternal, subject to change. But that which is called “mind” or “intellect” or “consciousness”: That self is constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change, and will remain just like that for eternity.12*****

“This is the fourth basis—with reference to which, coming from which—some contemplatives & brahmans are partially eternalists and partially non-eternalists who proclaim a partially eternal and partially non-eternal self & cosmos.

“These, monks, are the contemplatives & brahmans who are partially eternalists and partially non-eternalists, who proclaim a partially eternal and partially non-eternal self & cosmos on four grounds. And whatever contemplatives & brahmans who partially eternalists and partially non-eternalists, who proclaim a partially eternal and partially non-eternal self & cosmos, they all do so on one or another of these four grounds. There is nothing outside of this.

“With regard to this, the Tathāgata discerns that ‘These standpoints, thus seized, thus grasped at, lead to such & such a destination, to such & such a state in the world beyond.’ That the Tathāgata discerns. And he discerns what is higher than that. And yet, discerning that, he does not grasp at it. And as he is not grasping at it, unbinding [nibbuti] is experienced right within. Knowing, as they have come to be, the origination, ending, allure, & drawbacks of feelings, along with the escape from feelings, the Tathāgata, monks—through lack of clinging/sustenance—is released.
Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/DN/DN01.html
[12***** a little bit of pollutants here in footnotes with laborious labyrinthine interpretations made by translator, to prove otherwise. By following the links to a handful of sources about a few key phrases like "allness of all" "consciousness without surface" etc. etc., one can easily see why they are flawed, and even more so when considered together with possible translation bias [knowingly/or unknowingly] by putting the background of translator into perspective]. I'll also supply evidence against translator's interpretations later, or you can feel it for yourself by following those interpretative arguments in the footnotes.

The one who believes that the thoughts, the consciousness, and the mind constitute a permanent soul.
https://dhammawiki.com/index.php/62_kinds_of_wrong_view

🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
Metta
🅢🅐🅑🅑🅔 🅓🅗🅐🅜🅜🅐 🅐🅝🅐🅣🅣🅐
  • "the one thing all the mistaken views have in common is the assump­tion that the self exists" ~ DN1
  • "It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22
  • The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
  • No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. ~ SN22.59

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by pegembara » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:35 am

"Now what, bhikkhus, is the Nibbana-element with no residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant... completely released through final knowledge. For him, here in this very life, all that is experienced, not being delighted in, will be extinguished. That, bhikkhus, is called the Nibbana-element with no residue left.
Anatta=No thingness
Nibbana isn't a thing. Sabbe dhamma anatta
Last edited by pegembara on Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Re: Post sutta quotes that utterly rule out nibbana being consciousness or self

Post by Polar Bear » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:41 am

At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said, "Monks, suppose there were a river, flowing down from the mountains, going far, its current swift, carrying everything with it, and — holding on to both banks — kasa grasses, kusa grasses, reeds, birana grasses, & trees were growing. Then a man swept away by the current would grab hold of the kasa grasses, but they would tear away, and so from that cause he would come to disaster. He would grab hold of the kusa grasses... the reeds... the birana grasses... the trees, but they would tear away, and so from that cause he would come to disaster.

"In the same way, there is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma...

"He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness. That consciousness tears away from him, and so from that cause he would come to disaster...

"What do you think, monks — Is consciousness constant or inconstant?"

"Inconstant, lord."

"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?"

"Stressful, lord."

"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?"

"No, lord." ...

"Thus, monks...

"Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: every consciousness is to be seen as it actually is with right discernment as: 'This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.'

"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html


Also, check out the Yamaka sutta: https://suttacentral.net/sn22.85/en/sujato
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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