Eight Causes of Wrong Views


revised on 2019-05-26


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 25th January to 1st Febuary 1959

[Sayadaw gave eight talks on the eight causes of wrong views consecutively for eight days. Here only translate the main points in these talks. The 8 causes are: (1) By investigation about the khandhas develop wrong views (2) Ignorance (avijjā) (3) Contact (phassa) (4) Perception (sañña) (5) Thinking (vitakka) (6) Unwise attention (ayonisomanasikāra) (7) Association with people (8) Listening to wrong teachings. ]

  1. [By investigation about the khandhas develop wrong views: We don’t know about the nature of the khandhas, and only with the help of a Buddha, living beings can have right view. Before the Buddha appeared human beings thought about their origins, and then they created a Creator and developed wrong views. If beings have fixed wrong view (niyata micchā diṭṭhi) and never given up these views, and after death they suffer in hell. Even at the time the world system is destroyed by fire element, these hell beings have to move into another universe continue to suffer in hell. How can there be a Creator God in the sky, sky is a concept and never exist. (Fixed wrong views are: Ahetuka diṭṭhi – no cause view, Akiriya diṭṭhi – no result view, and Natthika diṭṭhi – no cause and effect view. After death have a fixed destination of rebirth, i.e., hells, so called niyata micchā diṭṭhi, may be similar to the 5-Heavy Kammas.)]

Without the help of the Buddha and teachers, investigation and thinking develop micchā-diṭṭhi. For example in other religions, the investigation is based on ignorance (avijjā). Micchā-diṭṭhi is more dangerous than the 5-Heavy Kammas. Even the world is destroyed these hell beings are moved to another place to continue their suffering.

  1. [avijjā develop wrong view: In the Buddha’s time there were 62-wrong views and all were based on identity view (sakkāya diṭṭhi). Here ignorance (avijjā) means not knowing the Four Noble Truths. Sayadaw mentioned 2 knowledges: right and wrong (sammā-ñāṇa and micchā-ñāṇa). Sammā-ñāṇa is the Four Noble Truths; and micchā-ñāṇa is worldly knowledge because it based on self view, greed, hatred and delusion, e.g., knowledge create all human problems on earth, various kinds of pollution including pollution of the mind. ]

All worldly knowledge harmful to others is micchā-ñāṇa, except harmless.

  1. [Contact (phassa) develops wrong view: With the contact of the 6-sense doors and the 6-sense objects and 6-conciousness arise. From here we start take it as I see, I hear, I smell…etc. in this way wrong view develop. As a yogi, it’s important to observe when contact happen. So phassa is one important factor to develop wrong view or insight. ]

Wrong view and taṇhā are together. After entering the steam diṭṭhi is destroyed and 1/4 of the taṇhā also abandoned. The meanings of phassa have 2: contact and meeting.

  1. Sañña develops wrong views: Pure perception does not develop wrong views; such as, just seeing, just hearing, etc. But with concept wrong views come in, e.g., I see a woman.
  2. Thinking develops wrong views: Vitakka means thinking the sense objects. They develop wrong views while thinking without knowledge and thinking about the things should not be thought about. (Things should not be think about are as an e.g., the world is finite or infinite? The ten questions the Buddha never answered in his time.) Thinking must go together with ñāṇa. Therefore two kinds of vitakka, ñāṇa must have vitakka. Of the two wisdom factors; sammā-diṭṭhi (right view) is ñāṇa, and sammā-saṅkappa (right thought) is vitakka. Buddhists converted into other faiths are thinking without ñāṇa. Therefore, taking the wrong views as right views and converted to them. The wrong view of other faiths was coming from people who did not have the ability of knowledge to think and created doctrines. Kamma and samatha also develop wrong views, e.g., celestial beings (devata) and Brahmas. Only vipassanā cannot stick with wrong views.
  3. [Unwise attention or reflection develop wrong views : There is a sutta in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, X93 on views, Anāthapiṇḍika the householder responded to the wanderers’ answers was quite well known. He gave 2 causes for their wrong views; ayonisomanasikāra – inappropriate attention and listening to wrong teachings. ]

Take impermanence (anicca) as permanence (nicca), suffering (dukkha) as happiness (sukka), not-self (anatta) as self (atta) and loathsomeness (asubha) as beauty (subha). These are examples of unwise attentions. Making dāna with the enrichment of vipassanā will go up higher and higher and not fall down again. (This point was emphasized by Sayadaw very often in his talks on dāna and merits practices which most Buddhists making for the sake of wealth and good rebirths; i.e., unwise attention.) After you go up because of sharp wisdom faculty will only continue to go up higher. With ordinary dāna and samatha and after their power are finished will fall down again.

  1. Association with people develops wrong views: For example, parents, friends, etc. Association with bad friends (pāpamitta) develop wrong views, and with good friends (kalyāṇa mitta) develop right views (Here Sayadaw made the point bad friends are not necessary who had done bad things but referred to other faiths followers who have wrong views.)

(Sayadaw again made an important point on a Christian or other faiths later became a Buddhist not because of his past kamma if he was associated with a Buddhist. He said it was his present kamma, i.e., associate with kalyāṇa mitta.)

Wrong view is very far away from Nibbāna. But Nibbāna is closed to right view. Discern impermanence becomes right view. At the ending of impermanence Nibbāna exists. Between wrong view and Nibbāna their distance is immeasurable (see the story of Rohitassa Devata looking for Nibbāna in the cosmos.) Therefore, the Buddha warned people the important of destroyed wrong view was more important than your head was on fire and your chest was piercing with lances (Behind the meaning was a very important message. If your head and body were in burning with fire and piercing with lances you would die only once, but if wrong views were not destroyed your sufferings were never ending.)

  1. By listening to wrong teachings develop wrong views: A Buddhist or someone listens or reads the Christian teaching and becomes a Christian. Actually, most Buddhists have wrong views (no need to mention other faiths), so easily to accept other teachings. If they really understand or know what is right or wrong views, it will not happen. So Buddhist monks have the duties to explain these things to them.

revised on 2019-05-26; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4028&p=35575#p35575 (posted on 2018-12-14)


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