Understanding of Insight Practice

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 18th Nov.1960

To get the first Path Knowledge (Magga Nyan) must kill wrong view. Wrong view is sticking in the 5-khandhas. Wrong view arises because of not knowing the anicca khandhas and the dukkha khandhas. First, strip off wrong view by perception (saññā), later dispelling them by contemplation. Hence, these are the 3-stages of practice; i.e intellectual, practical and realization knowledges (ñāta pariññā), (tīrāṇa pariññā) and (pahāna pariññā). So, wanting to strip off wrong view need to explain the 5-khandhas. To understand the 5-khandhas need to know the Dependent Arising (Paticca-samupadā). Without knowing it, and then have doubt about the source of the khandhas. Dependent Arising has 2 kinds; i.e in the book and in the present khandhas. Must know the present Dependent Arising. Wrong views and doubts are sticking within the 5-khandhas. It happens because of not knowing their arising and ceasing. It happens because not understand the law of Dependent Arising. Dependent Arising of the past was already gone so nothing to do with us now. Future also does not arise yet. Only the present is important. Everybody’s khandhas are the process of cause & effect. So, only explain about mind & body is not enough. According to the book to kill ignorance and volitional formation (avijjā and sankhāra) is right, but this body is the cause of past Dependent Arising. The real has to kill is the present arising of avijjā and sankhāra. By knowing the present Dependent Arising, then ignorance becomes knowledge (avijjā becomes vijjā). Without ignorance will not make sankhāra. So have to practice become vijjā and asankhāra (konwledge and not compounded). To prevent the fruits of ignorance and formation to arise, start from the present khandhas. In this way no new khandha tree grows out. Without this then it will never end. So, to know the present arising khandhas. For example, eyes contact with the physical form, and eye consciousness(seeing) arises. The eyes are the present arising material phenomena and the physical form also. New eyes and new physical form, new mind, new feeling, new perception and the volition of wanting to see also a new one. All these new 5-khandhas are arising now. These new 5-khandhas are nothing to do with the past and future. From sense-consciousness to feeling; i.e the 5-khandhas are arising together. In the text writing it down in separately, but in the real process appear together. So the present 5-khandhas are not the 5-khandhas gave birth by mother, also not created by God.

Only knowing the khandha which is now arising will know the khandha which is now passing away. You all don’t know how to watch a movie. When you are looking at the pictures on the movie screen, you think it’s permanent. In reality what happening is within a minute many pictures are arising & passing away. These can be only known by looking at the role of film in the machine. The material phenomena of the eye caused by the past kamma were already ceased. Now is the new material phenomena caused by the new kamma. (Sayadaw also mentioned an important point that when the 5-khandhas are arising we only aware of the most prominent one.) For example, in a soup when salt is more prominent than the other, and we say it’s salty. But in reality inside the soup including other tastes also, such as sweetness, spicy etc. Within the 5-khandhas of the seeing mind, consciousness and feeling are more prominent, but the other 3 khandhas also arise together with them. (And then Sayadaw explained each one of them and the connection of cause & effect.) Eye-base and physical form elements are the causes (paticca-samupadā) and the 4 mind khandhas are the results (paticca-samupana).

So, there are no personality and living being, only cause & effect process phenomena. Do you have any wrong view and doubt as where I come from? Material phenomena are only material elements, don’t come and confuse it. Mind phenomena are only mind elements, don’t come and confuse it. Material phenomena are conditioning by kamma, citta(mind), utu(temperature) and āhāra(food), not created by Māha Brahma and God. By knowing the causes, doubt is overcome. Knowing that there are only mind & body phenomena, can wrong view come and stick with it? No, in this way wrong view and doubt fall away. This is only in intellect and not by practice. There are 3 ways to dispel them; i.e by intellect, practice and extermination (study, practice and realization). The 5-khandhas are arising and passing away, and replace by another new khandhas etc. in this way without end. (The past kammic energy support these continuations.) For contemplation no need to concentrate all the 5-khandhas, only one of them. It’s the contemplation of impermanence and also one’s own death. After you have seen your own death all the times and do you still want it? The Buddha said that if you are looking for the beginning of a being, it will never end. Why is that? Because all these deaths can never come to an end. When every khandhas arising and can’t contemplate, then Dependent Arising continues and will receive future khandhas continuously.

By contemplation it can not. Vipassanā is contemplating one’s own death. After seeing your own death, do you have any affection to them? In this way of discerning impermanence, the Buddha and worldling (puthujjana yogi) are not the same rate. As example, the Buddha in each moment for the mind 107X105 times (hundred thousand billion times/sec.) and matter 107×5000 times (five thousand billion times/sec.). These rate were after become a Buddha, before enlightenment could not discern that much. Even the Buddha and Ven. Sāriputta are not the same rate. (This talk was delivering to U Tan Daing and his friend U Tun Yin. They came from Rangoon and made inquiry on practice. Later U Tan Daing became a very close disciple and propagated Sayadaw’s talks around Burma by establishing Mogok Vipassanā Centre in Rangoon.)

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