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Upasena Sutta

To Upasena

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
For free distribution only

Once Ven. Shariputra and Ven. Upasena were staying near Rajagaha in the Cool Forest, at Snakes-hood Grotto. Then it so happened that a snake fell on Ven. Upasena's body and bit him. Then Ven. Upasena said to the monks, "Quick, friends, lift this body of mine onto a couch and carry it outside before it is scattered like a fistful of chaff!"

When this was said, Ven. Shariputra said to Ven. Upasena, "But we don't see any alteration in your body or change in your faculties."

Then Ven. Upasena said, "Quick, friends, lift this body of mine onto a couch and carry it outside before it is scattered like a fistful of chaff! Friend Shariputra, in anyone who had the thought, 'I am the eye' or 'The eye is mine,' 'I am the ear' or 'The ear is mine,' 'I am the nose' or 'The nose is mine,' 'I am the tongue' or 'The tongue is mine,' 'I am the body or 'The body is mine,' 'I am the intellect' or 'The intellect is mine': in him there would be an alteration in his body or a change in his faculties. But as for me, the thought does not occur to me that 'I am the eye' or 'the eye is mine'... 'I am the tongue' or 'The tongue is mine'... 'I am the intellect' or 'the intellect is mine.' So what alteration should there be in my body, what change should their be in my faculties?"

Now, Ven. Upasena's I-making, my-making, and obsession with conceit had already been well rooted out for a long time, which is why the thought did not occur to him that "I am the eye" or "The eye is mine," "I am the tongue" or "The tongue is mine," "I am the intellect" or "The intellect is mine."

Then the monks lifted Ven. Upasena's body on a couch and carried it outside. And Ven. Upasena's body was scattered right there like a fistful of chaff.



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