Flowers
Puppha Sutta  (SN 22:94)

Many Indian Buddhist philosophers stated that conditioned phenomena can’t be described as existing, not existing, both, or neither. However, the Buddha actually stated that conditioned phenomena—inconstant, stressful, subject to change—do exist.

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Near Sāvatthī. There the Blessed One said, “Monks, it’s not that I dispute with the world, but that the world disputes with me. A proponent of the Dhamma doesn’t dispute with anyone with anyone with regard to the world.1 Whatever is agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world, of that I too say, ‘It doesn’t exist.’ Whatever is agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world, of that I too say, ‘It exists.’

“And what is agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world that I too say, ‘It doesn’t exist’?

“Form that’s constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It doesn’t exist.’

“Feeling that’s constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It doesn’t exist.’

“Perception that’s constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It doesn’t exist.’

“Fabrications that are constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change are agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world, and I too say, ‘They don’t exist.’

“Consciousness that’s constant, permanent, eternal, not subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as not existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It doesn’t exist.’

“And what is agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world that I too say, ‘It exists’?

“Form that’s inconstant, stressful, subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It exists.’

“Feeling that’s inconstant, stressful, subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It exists.’

“Perception that’s inconstant, stressful, subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It exists.’

“Fabrications that are inconstant, stressful, subject to change are agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world, and I too say, ‘They exist.’

“Consciousness that’s inconstant, stressful, subject to change is agreed upon by the wise as existing in the world, and I too say, ‘It exists.’2

“Monks, there is a world-phenomenon in the world that the Tathāgata directly awakens to, breaks through to. Directly awakening to & breaking through to that, he declares it, teaches it, describes it, sets it forth. He reveals it, explains it, makes it plain. And what is a world-phenomenon in the world that the Tathāgata directly awakens to, breaks through to, that—directly awakening to & breaking through to it—he declares, teaches, describes, sets forth, reveals, explains, makes plain?3

“Form is a world-phenomenon in the world that the Tathāgata directly awakens to, breaks through to. Directly awakening to & breaking through to that, he declares it, teaches it, describes it, sets it forth. He reveals it, explains it, makes it plain. Whoever—when that is being declared, taught, described, set forth, revealed, explained, & made plain by the Tathāgata—doesn’t know, doesn’t see, then what can I do for that fool, that run-of-the-mill person: blind, without eye-sight, not knowing, not seeing?

“Feeling is a world-phenomenon in the world.…

“Perception is a world-phenomenon in the world.…

“Fabrications are world-phenomena in the world.…

“Consciousness is a world-phenomenon in the world that the Tathāgata directly awakens to, breaks through to. Directly awakening to & breaking through to that, he declares it, teaches it, describes it, sets it forth. He reveals it, explains it, makes it plain. Whoever—when that is being declared, taught, described, set forth, revealed, explained, & made plain by the Tathāgata—doesn’t know, doesn’t see, then what can I do for that fool, that run-of-the-mill person: blind, without eye-sight, not knowing, not seeing?

“Monks, just as a blue, red, or white lotus—born in the water, grown up in the water—stands having risen above the water, unsmeared by the water; in the same way, the Tathāgata—born in the world, grown up in the world—dwells having conquered the world, unsmeared by the world.”

Notes

1. This sentence could also be translated as, “A proponent of the Dhamma doesn’t dispute with anyone with anyone in the world.” The word “world” here is in the locative case, which can mean either “in the world” or “with regard to the world.” However, the locative form used in this sentence (lokasmiṁ) is different from the locative form used in the following sentence (loke). Because loke in the following sentence clearly means “in the world,” the use of a different form of the locative in this sentence may have been intended to indicate that the locative here is meant with a different sense.

2. See SN 12:15, note 3.

3. The latter part of this sentence—“that—directly awakening to & breaking through to it—he declares, teaches, describes, sets forth, reveals, explains, makes plain?”—is present in all the major editions of the Canon but is missing in CDB.