Worry and Sorrow Entering as Sense of Urgency


revised on 2019-05-26


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 27th February 1959

[Saṁvega – sense of urgency, this Pali word may be the less well known or even unaware outside the Theravadin tradition. In Burma this word become a common Burmese word as anicca, dukkha, anatta. It seems to me it’s a very important word for contemplation to search for the meaning of our human existence. As Sayadaw mentioned it’s a kind of knowledge (ñāṇa), which can push or inspire someone on the path or following the Noble Eightfold Path to end dukkha. We can know this from the real stories of Siddhartha Bodhisatta, Sāriputta…etc in the Pali Suttas and some modern day yogis. Nowadays modern human beings under the influence of the 3-unwholesome roots ~ greed, hatred and delusion take Dukkha as Sukha and create a lot of human problems and sufferings in family life, society and bring destruction to natural environments.

A western teacher described the meaning of saṁvega as –“ It’s a hard word to translate because it covers such a complex range – at least 3-clusters of feeling at once: the oppressive sense of shock, dismay and alienation that comes with realizing the futility and meaning of life as it’s normally lived ; a chastening sense of our own complicity complacency and foolishness in having let ourselves live so blindly ; an anxious sense of urgency in trying to find a way out of the meaningless cycle.”

Although this talk was very short, there were profound meanings behind it. True saṁvega develop intelligent wisdom to great wisdom. If worry, sorrow and dosa come in, it can be suicidal. Committed suicide and accumulation of unwholesome mental states are also an interesting point. Nowadays more people (young or old) committed suicide than before, because we accumulate more and more pollutants (rubbish) into our hearts every day from many unhealthy ideas or poisoned-educations. ]

Sense of urgency (saṁvega) is knowledge (intelligence or ñāṇa). But with it worry remorse and dosa can come in. People committed suicide were because of their accumulation of unwholesome mental states. We have to abandon unwholesomeness (pahātabba). Have to develop wholesomeness (bhāvetabba). [This last point usage of abandoning (pahātabba) and developing (bhāvetabba) actually referred to the whole mental development. Practicing each factor of the Noble Eightfold Path also has this meaning. So each factor is important in its own. It’s right effort. In the 37-factors of enlightenment; effort is 9-times, sati is 8-times, wisdom is 5-times and samādhi is 4-times mentioned respectively. The Thai forest monks in their talks very often mentioned as sati/paññā. Sayadaw also very often mentioned it important as the whole practice, i.e., pañcaṅgika magga or vipassanā knowledge.


revised on 2019-05-26; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4028&p=35566#p35566 (posted on 2018-12-14)


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