Saṃyutta Nikāya 12

Connected Discourses on Causation

65. The City

At Savatthī. “Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still a bodhisatta, not yet fully enlightened, it occurred to me: ‘Alas, this world has fallen into trouble, in that it is born, ages, and dies, it passes away and is reborn, yet it does not understand the escape from this suffering headed by aging-and-death. When now will an escape be discerned from this suffering headed by aging-and-death?’

“Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does aging-and-death come to be? By what is aging-and-death conditioned? ’ Then, bhikkhus, through careful attention, there took place in me a breakthrough by wisdom: ‘When there is birth, aging-and-death comes to be; aging-and-death has birth as its condition.’

“Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does birth come to be?… existence?… clinging?… craving?… feeling?… contact?… the six sense bases?… name-and-form? By what is name-and-form conditioned?’ Then, bhikkhus, through careful attention, there took place in me a breakthrough by wisdom: ‘When there is consciousness, name-and-form comes to be; name-and-form has consciousness as its condition.’

“Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘When what exists does consciousness come to be? By what is consciousness conditioned? ’ Then, bhikkhus, through careful attention, there took place in me a breakthrough by wisdom: ‘When there is name-and-form, consciousness comes to be; consciousness has name-and-form as its condition.’

“Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘This consciousness turns back; it does not go further than name-and-form. It is to this extent that one may be born and age and die, pass away and be reborn, that is, when there is consciousness with name-and-form as its condition, and name-and-form with consciousness as its condition. With name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases; with the six sense bases as condition, contact…. Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.’

“‘Origination, origination’—thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.

“Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does aging-and-death not come to be? With the cessation of what does the cessation of aging-and-death come about?’ Then, bhikkhus, through careful attention, there took place in me a breakthrough by wisdom: ‘When there is no birth, aging-and-death does not come to be; with the cessation of birth comes cessation of aging-and-death.’

“It occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does birth not come to be?… existence?… clinging?… craving?… feeling?… contact?… the six sense bases?… name-and-form? With the cessation of what does the cessation of name-and-form come about?’ Then, bhikkhus, through careful attention, there took place in me a breakthrough by wisdom: ‘When there is no consciousness, name-and-form does not come to be; with the cessation of consciousness comes cessation of name-and-form.’

“It occurred to me: ‘When what does not exist does consciousness not come to be? With the cessation of what does the cessation of consciousness come about?’ Then, bhikkhus, through careful attention, there took place in me a breakthrough by wisdom: ‘When there is no name-and-form, consciousness does not come to be; with the cessation of name-and-form comes cessation of consciousness.’

“Then, bhikkhus, it occurred to me: ‘I have discovered this path to enlightenment, that is, with the cessation of name-and-form comes cessation of consciousness; with the cessation of consciousness comes cessation of name-and-form; with the cessation of name-and-form, cessation of the six sense bases; with the cessation of the six sense bases, cessation of contact…. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering.’

“‘Cessation, cessation’—thus, bhikkhus, in regard to things unheard before there arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.

“Suppose, bhikkhus, a man wandering through a forest would see an ancient path, an ancient road travelled upon by people in the past. He would follow it and would see an ancient city, an ancient capital that had been inhabited by people in the past, with parks, groves, ponds, and ramparts, a delightful place. Then the man would inform the king or a royal minister: ‘Sire, know that while wandering through the forest I saw an ancient path, an ancient road travelled upon by people in the past. I followed it and saw an ancient city, an ancient capital that had been inhabited by people in the past, with parks, groves, ponds, and ramparts, a delightful place. Renovate that city, sire!’ Then the king or the royal minister would renovate the city, and some time later that city would become successful and prosperous, well populated, filled with people, attained to growth and expansion.

“So too, bhikkhus, I saw the ancient path, the ancient road travelled by the Perfectly Enlightened Ones of the past. And what is that ancient path, that ancient road? It is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. I followed that path and by doing so I have directly known aging-and-death, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation. I have directly known birth … existence … clinging … .craving … feeling … contact … the six sense bases …. name-and-form … consciousness … volitional formations, their origin, their cessation, and the way leading to their cessation. Having directly known them, I have explained them to the bhikkhus, the bhikkhunīs, the male lay followers, and the female lay followers. This holy life, bhikkhus, has become successful and prosperous, extended, popular, widespread, well proclaimed among devas and humans.”