Without Essence

The Anattalakkhana Sutta was the second teaching the Buddha gave to the 5 ascetics. It is all about the true nature of self.

Your body is not your true self.
If your body was your true self,
it wouldn’t lead to pain and suffering.
If your body was your true self,
it would be under your full control.
But it is not so!

Your feelings are not your true self.
If your feelings were your true self,
they wouldn’t lead to pain and suffering.
If your feelings were your true self,
they would be under your full control.
But it is not so!

Your perceptions, consciousness, and experience are not your true self.
If they were your true self,
they wouldn’t lead to pain and suffering.
If they were your true self,
they would be under your full control.
But it is not so!

“Is your body everlasting or fleeting?”
“Fleeting!”
“Is what is fleeting a comfort or a misery?”
“A misery!”
“So should I say this body is mine? I am my body? It is my true self?”
“No!”

“Are your feelings everlasting or fleeting?”
“Fleeting!”
“Is what is fleeting a comfort or a misery?”
“A misery!”
“So should I say these feelings are mine? I am my feelings? Are they my true self?”
“No!”

“Are your perceptions, consciousness, and experiences everlasting or fleeting?”
“Fleeting!”
“Is what is fleeting a comfort or a misery?”
“A misery!”
“So should I say these perceptions are mine? I am my perceptions? Are they my true self?”
“No!”

And so a wise one turns away from the body,
turns away from feelings,
turns away from perceptions, consciousness, and experiences.
He becomes serene.
Through serenity he is liberated.

-Anattalakkhana Sutta

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