Penetration of The Five Dhammas

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 5th to 9th Dec.1959

[Sayadaw delivered 5 talks on the 5-Dhammas; the taints (āsavas), action (kamma), suffering (dukkha), sensuality(kama) and feeling(vedanā) respectively. It based on a sutta in the Anguttara-Nikāya which mentioned totally 6-Dhammas, including perception (sañña). But Sayadaw did not include it in his talks.]


[The Buddha said to the monks, the reason living beings were wandering in the round of existence because of not knowing the Dhammas which should be penetrated. According to the sutta the 6-Dhamma are: sensuality, feeling, perception, taint, action and suffering. Each one of them has 6 points to know. On the taints(āsavas): 1. To know āsavas – The taint of sensuality(kamāsava), the taint of becoming (bhavāsava), the taint of view(ditthāsava) and the taint of ignorance(avijjāsava). The first 3 of them are liked the followers and ignorance is liked a leader. In the sutta the Buddha mentioned 3 only without the view. 2. To know the cause – ignorance is the leader and the other are functioning accordingly to its order. 3. To know the diversity – living beings take rebirth in the 31-realms of existence. 4. To know the result – kamma. 5. To know the cessation – to destroy avijjāsava, i.e ignorance ceases the taints cease. 6. To know the path of practice for cessation – the Noble Eight Fold Paths.]

In the early morning after wake up ignorance comes in. With the order of ignorance and all the other taints follow to act for the whole day. Every day of experience is the functions of the 4 taints. Without mindfulness we suffer by them. With mindfulness it becomes the contemplation on Dhamma (Dhammannupassana). Every time they come and with sati contemplate its impermanence. I will talk on the 3rd point which is the result. There are many types of taints giving the results to hell, animals, hungry ghosts, human beings, celestial beings and Brahma gods. Most people think taints usually lead to the planes of misery (apayanumi).


On kamma: Before talking on kamma, I want to talk about wrong view on kamma (kammavadi sasataditthi- i.e, viewing kamma as permanent). It’s very important. Most Buddhists say that before we are arriving at Nibbāna we have to rely on kammas. Why is that? Because it was mentioned in some of the discourses. Most Buddhists also think in this way. Kamma follows behind like an ox-cart and shadow were taught accordingly to the suttanta method. If you take it as a reality and becomes wrong view of eternalism. It means as without changing. Kamma is volition and mental phenomenon. Making into aggregate; it’s mental aggregate (sankhārakhandha). In the Discourse of Not-Self Characteristic (Anatta Lakkhana Sutta), it mentioned as sankhāra anatta – volitional formations are not-self. Therefore, it also has the nature of impermanence. If following liked a shadow, mean it’s not changing. Then, it’s not anatta(not-self), becomes self (atta – this is viewing kamma with wrong view.). Infer something indirectly to make it clear and take it meaning directly become wrong view. Regarding with the result of kamma, some kammas become fruitless and some are not. If not arriving to Nibbāna yet, then it’s not fruitless yet. Kammic result can’t follow directly, but you must take it as giving the same result. The action finished at the place where it had done. But it gives the same result at another place. If you take it as not following behind, then the view of eternalism is falling away. And take it as the same result arises, then the view of annihilationism also falls apart [(The last 2 sentences are important to dispel wrong views on kamma as permanence (sasata) and annihilation (uccheda). The wrong view on kamma comes from the Mahā Punnama Sutta of Majjhima- Nikāya which Sayadaw mentioned here.)] He gave a very simple example to clear up the mistaken view. There are 2 candle sticks. In the first candle stick has light, and the second does not. You take the first candle light and lights it to the 2nd one. And then light arises in the 2nd one. Does it mean the 1st light is following it to the 2nd one? No, it doesn’t. If it’s really following there, the light of the first one will be gone out. Is the 2nd light nothing to do with the 1st light (i.e no connection)? No, it has connection, the same thing is arising. If it’s really following behind, the cause & effect become one or the same. They are not the same. Kamma is the cause and vipākka is the result. They are not the same nor different (but only cause & effect relationship). This point is very important. Practicing with wrong view will not realize the Dhamma.

You have to know kamma in 6 points. These are:(1) To know the type of kamma. (2) To know the cause of kamma. (3) To know the diversity of kamma. (4) To know the result of kamma. (5) To know the cessation of kamma. (6) To know the way of cessation of kamma.

(1). There are 3 types of kamma; i.e bodily, verbal and mental action.
(2). What is the cause of kamma? It arises by contact (phassa). As an example, if you don’t see the foods, the desire to eat doesn’t come. You see the foods and the desire to eat arise. The 3kammas arise because of contact.
(3). There’re many diversities of kammas leading beings to hells, animals, hungry ghosts, human beings, celestial beings and Brahma gods.
(4). The result of kamma are:(a) The result will get in this life within 7 days, 7 months and 7 years. (b)The result will get in next life. (c)The result will get until before Nibbāna to the last life (until the last existence as an arahant, e-g Mahā-Moggallāna).
(5). Nibbāna is the place where kamma cease to arise. When the 8-Path factors arise it ceases. Kamma ceases and dukkha ceases (Here contact-phassa cease and kamma cease).
(6). Practice the Noble Eight Fold Path kamma will cease.

Every time volitional mental state arises contemplate impermanence, then craving not arise. Whenever mind/body exist and volition (kamma) exists. Volition cease and mind/body cease. Physical kamma with mind/body, verbal kamma with mind/body and mental kamma with mind/body; they are arising together respectively (sahajata paccaya – conascence condition). You don’t need to have doubt as if volition ceases, mind/body cease or not? If you don’t contemplate because of volition, and must get the mind and body. If you get mind and body, then old age, sickness and death will follow as the truth of dukkha. Kamma is creating round of existence of action (kammavatta) and the result of round of existence (vipākkavatta). With the vipākkavatta has the defilement of round of existence(kilesavatta). Not contemplate the volition with insight knowledge the 3 rounds of existence continue in cycle. Open the eyes and close the eyes are kammas (Want to open and close, these are volitions.). But in the contemplation no need to contemplate only volitions. By contemplation on mind, feeling and dhamma, all include with volition. No need to make a selection.


On dukkha: The 6 points of dukkha are: (1) To know dukkha (Sayadaw used dukkha which was mentioned in The First Discourse Of The Buddha). Birth is dukkha (jatipi dukkha). Look at back this dukkha you had before. Do you know it? No, you don’t. It’s ignorance. Old age is dukkha. Do you know you are burning with this heat element? Again you don’t know it. This is the power of ignorance. Do you know sickness? You know, even animals know it. But you don’t know the illness which always need for adjustment as dukkha (i.e bodily dukkha or discomfort, as e-g hungry and thirsty so we have to eat and drink etc. These are sankhāra dukkha and there are more than that. There are a lot of things to do for the whole day. It’s very important for contemplation to this kind of dukkha and have dispassion for the khandhas). Therefore, dukkha is difficult to know. By only understanding dukkha and it will end. Death is dukkha (marāṇaṃ dukkha). Do you know it? You don’t know it yet, because you are still alive. You can die at any time but every day you can laugh and smile, means you don’t know it. There are many dukkhas and covering up by ignorance that we don’t know it. These are sorrow, lamentation pain, grief and despair etc. All these we have seen every day. Do we know them as dukkha? No, we don’t, and we think it as normal. Therefore, there is a saying, the truth of dukkha is not easy to know. The last dukkha is clinging to the 5-khandhas. This only can be known by insight knowledge. This dukkha always exists. Not everybody knows it. So it’s covering up by ignorance. By penetration of dukkha and the origin of dukkha, i.e samudaya dies. Therefore, the truth of dukkha is difficult to know. In all the truth it’s the most difficult to know. If you know it will realize the ending of dukkha. The 5-khandhas are dukkha phenomena. It only ceases by thorough penetration so I have to warn you on this point very often. In reality it’s important to know the ever changing dukkha of the healthy body (not the physical pain). Only the progressive yogi can know it. The kind of dukkha even can know by dog and pig, not realize Nibbāna. Rootless (ahetuka) and 2-rooted (dvehetuka) person can’t know it. Only 3-rooted person (Tihetuka) can know it. Even tihetuka person can know it by discerning the highest level of impermanence and not by the lower level. There are 2 dukkhas. Dukkha can be treated by medicine and the one cannot. Only by seeing the dukkha which can’t be cured by medicine will realize Nibbāna. It has no time for treatment. Dukkha can’t be cured by medicine is the real dukkha. (2) To know the cause of dukkha: It causes by lobha samudaya(greed). (3) To know the diversity of dukkha: Have to know 4-types; small dukkha, big dukkha, slow dukkha & fast dukkha. Add another two; can be cured and cannot be cured by medicine. In the body only has these 6-types of dukkha. (Sayadaw did not explain them but we can know it by contemplation). (4) To know the result of dukkha: For the worldling (phutthujana) follow by sorrow, lamentation, grief and despair. Tihetuka person seeing impermanent dukkha extinguishes sorrow, lamentation ..etc. will realize Nibbāna and ending dukkha.(6) To know the way: It’s the Noble Eight Fold Path. A person develops the path factors will end dukkha and not by prayers. In the 6 points of dukkha connect the 1st and the 6th. After understanding about dukkha and develop with the path factors (contemplate the 5-khandhas with the path factors).


On sensuality (kama): In the beginning, Sayadaw talked about the practice of Ven. Anuruddha who had conceit (māna), over effort (viriya) and worry were intruding in his practice. Later corrected by Ven. Sāriputta and became an arahant. Sayadaw reminds his disciples to be careful in their practice and have equanimity in all situations.

Conceit (māna) is greed (lobha). (Told the story of Anuruddha) Māna, over viriya and worry were intruding in his practice, that without development. He had success in samatha practice but not in the practice of insight. So the 3-hindrances for the realization of Path and Fruit are māna, restlessness (uddhacca) and worry. Hinder for the lower level of knowledge to higher level of knowledge. If you don’t have the realization, one of them is hindering of it. During the practice whatever arising observe with right attitude. Don’t let the worry why I don’t have it yet come in. If you ask how to do it? Just observe in accordance with the Dhamma (Dhammanu – dhammappatti). Just contemplate as it is. Before it shows its nature and observes from behind. Don’t let other phenomena come in and mix-up with it. Regarding to viriya, in the 4-supreme efforts, there nothing is excessive and only equilibrium. Just observe what the Dhamma shows you and it will not take long and realize it.

  1. To know sensuality (2) To know the cause (3) To know the diversity (4) To know the result (5) To know the cessation (6) To know the way of practice.
(1). Kama means the nature of desire, wanting, affection. I am an affectionate person is a sweet word but hinder the knowledge.
(2). Contact (phassa) is the cause of sensuality. As example, affection between each other is only after contact. Do you have any affection to your past lives family members? No affection come, because no contact with them.
(3). The diversity of kama are: These are the 5-desires for the form, sound, smell, taste and touch.
(4). The result is: Because of greed (lobha) living beings create many kammas.
(5). The cessation of kama: The cessation of the 5-cords of kama (No.3) is Nibbāna.

(6). The way of practice: The Noble Eight Fold Path.

There are two kamas; the object of sensuality (vutthu kama) and defilements of sensuality (kilesa kama). These are the 5-khandhas and the mind attach to them. Kilesa kama is sticking to the objects of kama. For insight contemplate the vutthu kama. You can contemplate any one of the 5-khandhas. You can’t realize Nibbāna because can’t separate the two kamas. Can’t separate because you have something of attach to. So contemplate the impermanent nature of vutthu kama and the desire for clinging not come in. Instead it becomes the object of insight. Not become the object of affection. Have to know where the object of kama come from? Take the object as permanence and it becomes sensuality. If the object of kama falls apart then kilesa kama falls off. You must clear about this point. By discerning impermanence and it falls away. You can contemplate anything and it will fall away. If it’s falling away and not exists for clinging that kilesa kama falls off. So anicca leads to Nibbāna is clear. (Sayadaw gave an example as the cause of permanent sign – namitta created the defilement of sensuality with the story of Rahula.) He went for alms round with the Buddha. Looking at the Buddha’s form and his own had developed the permanent sign and became conceited. The Buddha knew his mind and asked him to contemplate impermanence.


On feeling: The Buddha had arisen in this world or not is depending on the knowledge of each person. If you discern anicca, dukkha and anatta in the khandhas then the Buddha had arisen, and if you don’t see it then it’s not. You become Mr. and Mrs. Emptiness or Zero, or a person without values. The 3-universal characteristics always exist without the Buddha appeared in this world or not. With the Buddha had arisen, we have the chance to know it. (mentioned in the Anguttara-Nikāya) With the practice and discerning anicca, you should have gladness about that which will end your dukkha in this life. If you discern anicca it becomes Sandiṭṭhko=visible here and now which is one of the qualities of dhamma (there are 6-attributes of Dhamma). If you put more effort and will see Nibbāna at the ending of impermanence which is akaliko=non-temporal. You may want to ask me. I have discerned anicca but not arrive at the ending yet. It means the discernment is not mature yet. Sandiṭṭhko is not mature yet. Svakhato – the Dhamma is well expounded by the Awakened One, sandiṭṭhko – it’s visible here and now, akaliko – non-temporal; these 3-attributes of the Dhamma are similar to learning (pariyatti or ñatta pariñña, practice (patipatti or tirana pariñña) and the fruit or result (pativedha or pahana pariñña). How do we know the ending of anicca when the discerning knowledge become mature? The arising phenomenon is dukkha and the passing away is also dukkha. Except only dukkha nothing exists. If you can make this decision the anicca will end. At the ending Nibbāna appears.

(1). To know about feelings: Feeling has 3-kinds; pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feeling.
(2). To know the cause of feeling: it’s contact (phassa).
(3). To know the diversity of feeling: 3-kinds connection with sensuality and 3-kinds connection with practice. (pleasant, unpleasant and neutral with kama and pleasant, unpleasant and neutral with meditation), so totally 6-feelings.
(4). To know the result of feeling: Because of feeling creates wholesome and unwholesome kammas.
(5). To know the cessation of feeling: The ending of feeling is Nibbāna.
(6). To know the way: The Noble Eight Fold Path.

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