Fire Sermon of the Buddha

Fire Sermon of the Buddha

In the Addittapariyaya Sutta, known as the Fire Sermon, the Buddha Shakyamni addresses his monks and describes a world where everything is burning with the fire of desire, hatred, and delusion.

The Buddha explains that the physical and mental senses are all burning with desire, constantly interpreting all the impressions of the world as pleasurable, painful, things to be desired or avoided, consumed or destroyed. All the suffering of the world is caused by continuing to bring sense impressions in to our minds and hearts through the filters of desire and hatred.

The key given by the Buddha is to become dispassionate to the things of the world. This does not mean to become cold, but to observe clearly how we distort reality to our own selfish ends. After observation and comprehension, we can renounce that suffering inherent in our desires and cravings.

Thus have I heard. The Blessed One was once living at Gayaslsa in Gaya with a thousand bhikkhus.

There he addressed the bhikkhus: Bhikkhus, all is burning.

And what is all that is burning? Bhikkhus, the eye is burning, visible forms are burning, visual consciousness is burning, visual impression is burning, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither-painful, nor pleasant, arises on account of the visual impression, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of craving, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion; I say it is burning with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, with lamentations, with pains, with griefs, with despairs.

The ear is burning, sounds are burning, auditory consciousness is burning, auditory impression is burning, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither painful nor pleasant, arises on account of the auditory impression, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of craving…

The nose is burning, odors are burning, olfactory consciousness is burning, olfactory impression is burning, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful, or neither painful nor pleasant, arises on account of the olfactory impression, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of craving…

The tongue is burning, favours are burning, gustative consciousness is burning, gustative impression is burning, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither painful nor pleasant, arises on account of the gustative impression, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of craving…

The body is burning, tangible things are burning, tactile consciousness is burning, tactile impression is burning, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither painful nor pleasant, arises on account of the tactile sensation, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of craving…

The mind is burning, mental objects are burning, mental consciousness is burning, mental impression is burning, also whatever sensation, pleasant o painful or neither painful nor pleasant, arises on account of the mental impression is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of craving, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion; I say it is burning with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, with lamentations, with pains, with griefs, with despairs.

Bhikkhus, a learned and noble disciple, who sees (things) thus, becomes dispassionate with regard to the eye, becomes dispassionate with regard to visible forms, becomes dispassionate with regard to the visual consciousness, becomes dispassionate with regard to the visual impression, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither painful nor pleasant, arises on account of the visual impression, with regard to that too he becomes dispassionate.

He becomes dispassionate with regard to the ear, with regard to sounds…

He becomes dispassionate with regard to the nose… with regard to odors…

He becomes dispassionate with regard to the tongue…with regard to favours….

He becomes dispassionate with regard to the body… with regard to tangible things…

He becomes dispassionate with regard to the mind… with regard to mental consciousness, becomes dispassionate with regard to mental impression, also whatever sensation, pleasant or painful or neither painful nor pleasant, arises on account of mental impression, with regard to that too he becomes dispassionate.

Being dispassionate, he becomes detached; through detachment he is liberated. When liberated there is knowledge that he is liberated. And he knows: Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived, what has to be done is done, there is no more left to be done on this account.

This the Blessed One said. The bhikkhus were glad, and they rejoiced at his words. While this exposition was being delivered, the minds of those thousand bhikkhus were liberated from impurities, without attachment.

Addittapariyaya Sutta (The Fire Sermon of the Buddha)