Why Human Beings in Dangers?
revised on 2021-07-28
Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 30th Jan. to 1st Feb. 1961 and 24th Sep. to 26th Sep.1961
[Before the Buddha appeared, Sakka, the king of Tāvatiṃsa Heaven, asked some questions to some teachers, but nobody could answer him. Later he asked the Buddha, listened to the talk and observed his khandhas, and became a stream enterer. And then passed away instantly and reborn again as Sakka at the same spot. He asked the Buddha that beings wanted long life and healthiness, but they had dangers and illnesses. So what was the reason about these? The Buddha gave the answer that because of envy (issā) and stinginess or avarice (macchariya). (Sayadaw said people have these negative mental states not only they have dangers and sickness but also lead to painful rebirths.) Where do these mental states come from? From love and hate. Where do love and hate come from? From desire (chanda), which are 5 kinds: want to get, want to search, want to use, want to store and want to give. The last giving is nothing to do with making merits (dāna) but to protect or secure one's own properties, for example bribery. Where is chanda come from? From thinking (vitakka); here refer to unwholesome thoughts, such as thoughts of sensual pleasure, ill-will and harmfulness. Where vitakka come from? From mental proliferations (papañca), connect with craving, conceit and wrong view (taṇhā, māna, diṭṭhi). And then Sakka asked the Buddha: “Is there any way to eradicate papañca?” Practice the contemplation of feeling.
This khandha is always going towards death. If you are going the wrong direction (micchā-maggan), deaths are never end. Only by right direction (sammā-maggan) will end deaths. Vīthi citta arise at the time of death for everyone (consciousness belonging to a cognitive process, here for taking rebirth.). These are not free from sense-objects. It's for a new destination of rebirth to see black dogs, Hell sign etc. before a being dies. The dying person knows his way to rebirth. Tears run down from his face because "I had lived a bad life so I will have a painful rebirth". At that time everyone has remorse but too late for correction. All living beings no one dies without seeing the objective signs. Now, if you are making preparation, it will be ready at the dying moment. How much kamma still left? Nobody knows it. (In this present life for continue to live.) It's possible even today or tomorrow for death. There are also through the intervention of destructive kamma (upacchedaka kamma) can die anytime. If you are still going on pulling the time, you will be a foolish person. (Sayadaw continued Sakka's story) Envy and avarice are attracting dangers and evil things. They are mental states of dosa. They will let you have enemies and painful rebirths in this life. It doesn't come during the meditation, but in daily life of actions or activities. So in our daily life contemplate them with mindful attention. At first, it's difficult to practice with mental states, but later you will get the habit of it.
[Sayadaw talked about dying and rebirth at the beginning.] At the time of death should we have to cling anything or don't want anything to come into the mind? It's important not to want anything or to have the knowledge of not wanting anything to come in. Have to die with this knowledge, die with the knowledge of not wanting the khandhas. Prepare with practice before death. Have to discern the impermanence of anicca, dukkha, anatta, asubha, dukkha sacca. At least, discern one of these 5 points, so that the knowledge will come in near death. Before death comes, one had to realize the Path Knowledge. Even though you can't do it at least should have the insight knowledge. Near death by contemplation still have the chance for become sotāpanna to anāgāmin. By having habitual kamma (āciṇṇaka kamma) near death becomes āsanna kamma (near death kamma).
(Sayadaw explained the process of Sakka's questions.) Feeling (vedanā) lead to → mental proliferation (papañca) → thinking (vitakka) → desire (chanda) → love and hate → envy and avarice with stinginess (issā and macchariya) → Dangers and sickness. Practice the contemplation of feeling (It’s the source) to overcome it.
I have to warn you all; because of your good kammas all of you are still alive. How long it's? I have to answer for you; it's until now. I will give you an example. A pond is full of water after raining. Because of the hot sun the water in the pond become less and less. But the fishes in the pond don't know that. The water dry up little by little, so are the fishes closer to die. The water dries up means for the fishes to die. Do you know it? Here fishes are human beings and the water becomes less and less means their kammas are used up slowly. For older people their kammic water nearly dry up now. Is it the time for them looking for pleasure like the fishes or searching for the deathlessness? If the pond dries up the fishes must become the foods for eagles and hawks. Here eagles and hawks are referring to the 4 painful rebirths. I have to remind you 2 things. Some are near death because their kammic water becomes less, but concern for others who are still far away from death. They are still busy with family matters and business. So I remind you to make preparation for death now. Practice for the death of taṇhā is looking for deathlessness.
(Retold the Sakka's story here) In this discourse the Buddha mentioned the types of feeling. (1) two pleasant mental feelings (somanassa vedanā) (2) two unpleasant mental feelings (domanassa vedanā) (3) two neutral mental feelings (upekkhā vadanā). Each type of these vedanā can be divided into wholesome and unwholesome (kusala and akusala). It is mentioned as one which has to be pursued and one which has to be avoided in the sutta, DN.21 Sakkapañhasuttaṃ.)
The wholesome pleasant mental feeling (kusala somanassa vedanā). The example of it is seeing anicca the mind develops joy and happiness (i.e., coming from practice).
Unwholesome pleasant mental feeling (akusala somanassa vedanā), e.g., coming from sensual pleasure.
Wholesome unpleasant metal feeling (kusala domanassa vedanā).
(An example of it is one disappointed with one’s own practice which has no progress. The commentary gave the story of bhikkhu Mahāsīva.)
Unwholesome unpleasant mental feeling (akusala domanassa vedanā). An example of this is when the sight of someone creates hatred or dislike.
Wholesome neutral mental feeling (kusala upekkhā vedanā). As an example is vipassanupekkhā.
Unwholesome neutral mental feeling (akusala upekkhā vedanā).
Sakka, the king of gods, asked questions and the Buddha answered. At the same time, he observed his khandhas and entered the stream. Before the Buddha arisen in the world he was the king of the gods. He was a thoughtful person and asked the same questions to some teachers of the time, and nobody could answer for him. These questions were also could be answered only by someone who had realization of the Dhamma (especially the Buddha). Therefore, it's important to understand the khandhas. Because of not understanding it we are quite a long time in the round of existence until now. Instead we are always with craving and wrong view (taṇhā/diṭṭhi). Therefore, we are wandering in the round of existence with the dangers of old age, sickness and death. Now, you have the chance, so try hard in your practice.
Everyone has the desire of being healthy and happy. But why have human beings a lot of sickness and short lives? Because of envy and avarice. Most people think it's the causes of foods, climate and other causes. Stay away from envy and avarice will be less sickness and have a long life. We have to count also the past and present lives as both causes. Envy is 'don't want to see or hear of goodness and happiness of other people'. Macchariya is meanness. All these things are cited from the Sakka Pañha Sutta (Dīgha-nikāya, DN.21) whereas the vipassanā practice from other suttas. Issā is anger (dosa). Macchariya (displeasure) is also anger. If they come in, contemplate anicca. It's the contemplation of the mind – cittānupassanā. By contemplation black thing becomes white. Cutting off defilements means it's now arising and cutting it now. In this way we are free from sickness in this life and also free from suffering in next life. Don't be negligent. Every time they arise must contemplate. They will benefit you with impermanence. Not only free from sickness and short life, also cut off the dependent arising process. If you know how to use, it becomes medicine. If not, becomes poison.
Where do issā and macchariya come from? From love and hate. These dhamma are good for contemplation. Love and hate are lobha and dosa. If these are coming in and can contemplate it, the root cause of issā and macchariya are cutting off. So cittānupassanā (The contemplation of mind) is good. Delusion (moha) also cut off. It functions together with them (co-nascence sahajāta). If you can contemplate every time lobha, dosa and moha come in and cutting off the dependent arising from the beginning, middle and the end (to understand this point see the 12-links of dependent arising). You have to look for or search for contemplation or contemplate when it's arising. "Ven. Sir. It's only arising. "(Some people think vipassanā contemplation is looking for some things to contemplate.) Where do love and hate come from? From desire (chanda). If you have doubt it's ignorance (avijjā). Without contemplation will become wrong view. If you contemplate, wrong view and doubt die away, and will become a stream enterer (sotāpanna). Why we don't become sotāpanna? Because we don't contemplate whatever is arising. Without any doubt and can contemplate impermanence, sotāpanna is easy. Where is desire come from? From thinking.
(In the beginning Sayadaw explained that in our past lives we were doing wholesome deeds and making prayers to meet the Buddha teachings and had the ears to understand it. Now, we are having these chances. If we don't practice, all these become fruitless.) The Buddha said that even how much perfection in the past we had fulfilled it and if we don't practice now in accordance with the Dhamma (Dhammānu-dhammappaṭipatti) will like a lotus bud can't open up. In the same way our lotus bud of knowledge can't open up and die out. (Sayadaw gave the example of layman Peya in the Kassapa Buddha's time) Without the Dhammānu-dhammappaṭipatti, it becomes fruitless. Also like a good meal without any salt in it. Work hard before death comes, and important to discern anicca. You only need to fulfill that one. Also like a lottery number. Only miss a number, you are loss the chance to win. The latent defilement is always waiting for you to push you down into the painful rebirth. Don't delay your practice by moving around for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. The Buddha warned us about the 5-future dangers in the Aṅguttara-Nikāya. Dangers should not be waited for but have to shun away. Don't take it as I am pushing you for practice. I see the great loss that warning you. (Retold the story of Sakka) Where is vitakka coming from? From mental proliferation (papañca) or taṇhā, māna and diṭṭhi. Where is papañca come from? From three types of feelings. Sakka entered the steam by meditation on feeling. Many yogis benefited by contemplation of feeling. Sāriputta became arahant by feeling and so did his nephew Dīghanakha. Every feeling arises have to contemplate. You will only see the arising and the passing away of it. Dhamma reality becomes the Dhamma knowledge. Then it becomes in accordance with the Dhamma. The Buddha asked for us who have pāramīs only to fulfill this one. In this way we know the nature of our khandhas. Without knowing it and papañca dhamma follow.
[In the Aṅguttara-Nikāya, the Buddha warned about the 5-dangers human beings would encounter in the future. So he reminded and encouraged people to practice diligently now, as the 5-dangers would surely come. King Pasenadi of Kosala also had the sixteen dreams on future human beings and the Cakkavatti Sutta in the Dīgha-nikāya also mentioned by the Buddha about the future human beings and societies (DN.26 Cakkavattisuttaṃ). All these sufferings and unfortunate things happen to human beings because of immorality.
(1)Old age: At this stage the body becomes weak and the mind dull, so difficult for practice. Practice should be continued. With a dull mind and weak kamma the practice will not effective. When we were young wasting our sharp mind and good kamma for defilement was a great lost.
(2)Sickness: When the body is sick also effects the mind, and difficult for practice.
(3)Time of starvation: It can be happened by natural causes or most probably men made. Wars and environmental problems created by human beings.
(4)Disharmony among people, society, country, etc., these can be many reasons and causes, e.g., politics, economics, religions etc.
(5) Disharmony among the Saṅgha. (Sayadaw continued the Sakka's questions) The Buddha's answers were traced backwards the causes of the problems. Diseases and short life <--issā-macchariya ← love and hate ← desire ← vitakka ← papañca (taṇhā, māna, diṭṭhi) ← feeling (vedanā)
So, practice with feelings stop papañca dhamma. The Buddha instructed Sakka on contemplation of feeling. Vedanā can be divided into 3: pleasant (sukha), unpleasant (dukkha) and neutral (upekkhā) feeling. These are bodily feelings. For mental feelings: somanassa, domanassa, upekkhā. In this sutta the Buddha taught him how to deal with mental feelings. Mental feelings also grouped into 2: should be developed (wholesome) and should not be developed (unwholesome). So it becomes six types of feelings (3x2).
- Somanassa should be developed; e.g., comes from practice.
- Somanassa should not be developed; e.g., comes from sensual pleasure.
- Domanassa should be developed; discontent with one's own practice. So put more effort and care one's own practice and become right effort.
(4)Domanassa should not be developed; dissatisfied with worldly things.
(5)Upekkhā should be developed; e.g., vipassanupekkhā, discerning anicca at this moment the mind do not react like or dislike.
(6)Upekkhā should not be developed; dissatisfied or displeasure with worldly matters but can't deal with it and become indifferent domanassa upekkhā.
So there are 6-types of mental feelings; 3 should be developed and 3 should not. Positive feeling is part of observing mind and negative are the objects of vipassanā. Positive feeling leads to Nibbāna and ending dukkha. Negative feeling leads to Dukkha. ]
The Buddha didn't want people to wait for the 5-future dangers. Instead of wanted them to finish their practices. If you don't do it now, then you are waiting for the danger of old age, waiting for forgetfulness, waiting for the danger of can't practice, waiting for the round of existence or painful rebirth. Work hard to finish it in this life, if you don't practice just only wasting your good kamma and intelligence for worldly matters.
If you have khandhas you have the danger of sickness. Before you are sick you are doing what craving tells you. When you are free from illness, the practice is easy to progress. There are sayings that when you are young looking for wealth; and when you are getting old looking for wisdom. All these are wrong. You are waiting for your disadvantages. The Buddha said that should not wait for the practice, but you want to wait. Now, you don't encounter famine yet, but when you getting old it can be. At that time can you practice because of the concerning about livelihood? Human beings have different views and doctrines and become disharmony. It's not good to lean towards any side and has to hide oneself away. In the future when the Saṅgha split it's not easy to pay attention to the Buddha Teachings and difficult for practice.
(Sayadaw continued Sakka's story) Pleasant mental feeling has connection with sensual pleasure should not be happened. Connection with dhamma it's good. Unpleasant mental feeling also should not be happened related to sensual pleasure. Related to dhamma is good. When you can't teach your children and indifferent to them is neutral mental feeling (domanassa upekkhā). It's also not good to happen. Equanimity of insight is good (vipassanupekkhā). I am still analyzing them and not put it into practice yet. Explain with dependent arising, it becomes clearer. Without it the dhamma is not finished. If you can cut off the process and then do it, if you can't just continue the process. In the khandhas just these 2 processes exist and no other. Without them there’s no Four Noble Truths. If you don't cut it off these are only dukkha and samudaya saccas. If you can do it become nirodha and magga saccas. Without including Noble Truth there is no realization. The 3-positive feelings cutting off the dependent arising and the negative feelings continue the process. Developing the 3-positive feelings and contemplating the 3-negative feelings as objects of contemplation.
revised on 2021-07-28; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4031&p=35599#p35599 (posted on 2018-12-15)
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