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Sañña Sutta

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Title: Sañña Sutta: Perceptions

Summary: Seven inner reflections that are well worth pursuing.

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AN 7.46

PTS: A iv 46

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Sañña Sutta: Perceptions

translated from the Pali by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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<p>“Monks, these seven perceptions, when developed & pursued, are of great fruit, of great benefit. They gain a footing in the Deathless, have the Deathless as their final end. Which seven? The perception of the unattractive, the perception of death, the perception of loathsomeness in food, the perception of distaste for every world, the perception of inconstancy, the perception of stress in what is inconstant, the perception of not-self in what is stressful.

[1] ”'The perception of the unattractive, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of the unattractive, his mind shrinks away from the completion of the sexual act, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. Just as a cock's feather or a piece of tendon, when thrown into a fire, shrinks away, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in; in the same way, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of the unattractive, his mind shrinks away from the completion of the sexual act, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. If, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of the unattractive, his mind inclines to the completion of the sexual act, or if non-loathing takes a stance, then he should realize, 'I have not developed the perception of the unattractive; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of the unattractive, his mind shrinks away from the completion of the sexual act, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance, then he should realize, 'I have developed the perception of the unattractive; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there.

”'The perception of the unattractive, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

[2] “'The perception of death, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of death, his mind shrinks away from fervor for life, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. Just as a cock's feather or a piece of tendon, when thrown into a fire, shrinks away, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in; in the same way, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of death, his mind shrinks away from fervor for life, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. If, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of death, his mind inclines to fervor for life, or if non-loathing takes a stance, then he should realize, 'I have not developed the perception of death; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of death, his mind shrinks away from fervor for life, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance, then he should realize, 'I have developed the perception of death; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there.

”'The perception of death, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

[3] ”'The perception of loathsomeness in food, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of loathsomeness in food, his mind shrinks away from craving for flavors, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. Just as a cock's feather or a piece of tendon, when thrown into a fire, shrinks away, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in; in the same way, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of loathsomeness in food, his mind shrinks away from craving for flavors, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. If, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of loathsomeness in food, his mind inclines to craving for flavors, or if non-loathing takes a stance, then he should realize, 'I have not developed the perception of loathsomeness in food; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of loathsomeness in food, his mind shrinks away from craving for flavors, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance, then he should realize, 'I have developed the perception of loathsomeness in food; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there.

”'The perception of loathsomeness in food, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

[4] “'The perception of distaste for every world, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of distaste for every world, his mind shrinks away from worldly embellishments, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. Just as a cock's feather or a piece of tendon, when thrown into a fire, shrinks away, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in; in the same way, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of distaste for every world, his mind shrinks away from worldly embellishments, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. If, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of distaste for every world, his mind inclines to worldly embellishments, or if non-loathing takes a stance, then he should realize, 'I have not developed the perception of distaste for every world; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of distaste for every world, his mind shrinks away from worldly embellishments, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance, then he should realize, 'I have developed the perception of distaste for every world; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there.

”'The perception of distaste for every world, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

[5] ”'The perception of inconstancy, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of inconstancy, his mind shrinks away from gains, offerings, & fame, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. Just as a cock's feather or a piece of tendon, when thrown into a fire, shrinks away, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in; in the same way, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of inconstancy, his mind shrinks away from gains, offerings, & fame, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance. If, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of inconstancy, his mind inclines to gains, offerings, & fame, or if non-loathing takes a stance, then he should realize, 'I have not developed the perception of inconstancy; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of inconstancy, his mind shrinks away from gains, offerings, & fame, bends away, pulls back, and is not drawn in, and either equanimity or loathing take a stance, then he should realize, 'I have developed the perception of inconstancy; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there.

”'The perception of inconstancy, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

[6] “'The perception of stress in what is inconstant, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of stress in what is inconstant, a fierce perception of danger & fear is established in him toward idleness, indolence, laziness, heedlessness, lack of commitment, & lack of reflection, as if toward a murderer with an upraised sword. If, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of stress in what is inconstant, a fierce perception of danger & fear is <i>not</i> established in him toward idleness, indolence, laziness, heedlessness, lack of commitment, & lack of reflection, as if toward a murderer with an upraised sword, then he should realize, 'I have not developed the perception of stress in what is inconstant; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of stress in what is inconstant, a fierce perception of danger & fear <i>is</i> established in him toward idleness, indolence, laziness, heedlessness, lack of commitment, & lack of reflection, as if toward a murderer with an upraised sword, then he should realize, 'I have developed the perception of stress in what is inconstant; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there.

”'The perception of stress in what is inconstant, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

[7] ”'The perception of not-self in what is stressful, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

“When a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of not-self in what is stressful, his heart is devoid of I-making & my-making with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all themes, has transcended pride, is at peace, and is well-released. If, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of not-self in what is stressful, his heart is not devoid of I-making & my-making with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all themes, has not transcended pride, is not at peace, and is not well-released, then he should realize, 'I have not developed the perception of not-self in what is stressful; there is no step-by-step distinction in me; I have not arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there. But if, when a monk's awareness often remains steeped in the perception of not-self in what is stressful, his heart is devoid of I-making & my-making with regard to this conscious body and externally with regard to all themes, has transcended pride, is at peace, and is well-released, then he should realize, 'I have developed the perception of not-self in what is stressful; there is a step-by-step distinction in me; I have arrived at the fruit of [mental] development.' In that way he is alert there.

”'The perception of not-self in what is stressful, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said.

“Monks, these seven perceptions, when developed & pursued, are of great fruit, of great benefit. They gain a footing in the Deathless, have the Deathless as their final end.”</p>

<p>See also: AN 7.70; AN 9.16; AN 10.60 </p>

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