Dog on a Leash

This sutta lays out the main points of Buddhist philosophy in a few simply lines.

The beginning of all things cannot be found.
You will never find the first cause of beings wandering on
snagged by ignorance and imprisoned by desire.

Someday the ocean will dry up,
and still the suffering of beings wandering on
snagged by ignorance and imprisoned by desire will not cease.

Someday the earth will burn up,
and still the suffering of beings wandering on
snagged by ignorance and imprisoned by desire will not cease.

If a dog were tied to a post with a leash,
it would run ceaselessly in circles
around and around that post.

An ignorant person confuses his body for his true self.
His feelings for his true self.
His perceptions, compulsions, and consciousness for his true self.
He runs ceaselessly around and around,
his body, feelings, perceptions, compulsions, and consciousness.
As he runs, he is not free from body, feelings, perceptions, compulsions, and consciousness.
He is not free from birth, aging and death,
nor free from sorrow, weeping, pain, grief, and despair.

But a wise person does not confuse his body for his true self.
His feelings for his true self.
His perceptions, compulsions, and consciousness as his true self. He ceases running around and around his body, feelings, perceptions, compulsions, and consciousness.
And by ceasing, he is free from his body, freed from his feelings. Freed from his perceptions, compulsions, and consciousness itself.
He is free from birth, aging and death,
free from sorrow, weeping, pain, grief, and despair.

-Gaddulabaddha Sutta SN 22:99

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