The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[The First Chapter for Recitation]

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[7: Seven Further Things which Prevent Decline in the Community (29-35)]

I will teach you a further seven things which prevent decline, listen to it, apply your minds well, and I will speak.”

“Very well, reverend Sir,” those monks replied to the Gracious One, and the Gracious One said this:

  1. “For as long, monks, as the monks will develop the perception of impermanence, surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline. These are known as the Seven Perceptions (Sattasaññā), see Saṅgītisuttaṁ (DN 33). Compare it with the 10 perceptions that were taught to Ven. Girimānanda (AN 10.60), which include these seven, and add: the perception of non-delight in the whole world (sabbaloke anabhiratasaññā), the perception of impermanence in all processes (sabbasaṅkhāresu aniccasaññā), mindfulness while breathing (ānāpānasati).01

  2. For as long, monks, as the monks will develop the perception of non-self, surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline. The teaching of non-self may be said to be the most characteristic thing about the Buddha's teaching, which sets it apart from the other religions both then and now.02

  3. For as long, monks, as the monks will develop the perception of the unattractive, surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline. The perception of the unattractive is defined as reflecting on the 32 parts of the body, such as the hairs of the head, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin.03

  4. For as long, monks, as the monks will develop the perception of danger, surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline. The perception of danger means seeing how the body is subject to all sorts of diseases and other ailments.04

  5. For as long, monks, as the monks will develop the perception of giving up, surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline. The perception of giving up means giving up wrong intention and establishing right intention (sammāsaṅkappa).05

  6. For as long, monks, as the monks will develop the perception of dispassion, surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline. The perception of dispassion and the following perception of cessation are defined as retiring to a quiet place and attaining nibbāna.06

  7. For as long, monks, as the monks will develop the perception of cessation, surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline.

For as long, monks, as the monks will maintain these seven things which prevent decline, and the monks will agree with these seven things which prevent decline, surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline.