The Six Oceans of Māgandiya

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 25th December 1960, 5th to 8th September 1961


[The Buddha compared the 6 sense-doors with the 6 oceans which never overflowed or human beings never fulfilled their desire. The oceans can be dry up when the world comes to an end. But living beings desire never dry up & it can be only by the Noble Eightfold Path. Māgandiya Brahmin disagreed with the Buddha because the Buddha cut off desire.

His view was increasing desire. But the Buddha said that he cut off desire & found the real happiness (i.e, Nibbāna) was incomparable by the sensual pleasure. We can contemplate sensual pleasure as real dukkha. Even these momentary pleasure are not easy to come by and only with hard works.]

The eye looking at forms and never enough for it. The ear hearing the voice of son & daughter and never enough for them etc. Therefore the 6 sensual doors are like the 6 oceans. You can’t never fill them in full. Filling them is only one person. By filling it until you die. But the eye door never enough for it, and you are overcome by tiredness. By filling them & at last end up in the coffin.

The monks asked the Buddha, “What is called the ocean?” The Buddha answered that the water in the natural ocean could be dry up when the 6 suns came out. But the kilesa water from your 6 sense-doors would be never dry up. Busy by filling is not only one’s own 6 oceans but there are also extra oceans have to be filled. (i.e, family members).

Their leader is tanhā. It’s like a blind man filling a pot with holes in it. Tanhā hole is very wide so can’t never fill it. (Sayadaw told the Māgandiya’s story) Māgandiya brahmin quoted his view from their ancient text to oppose the Buddha’s view. The Buddha had seen the real happiness of Nibbāna & not indulged in the desire & attachment of sensuality. These are inferior dhammas. People are still can’t find anything better than that, & in craziness for them. Still can’t find the real happiness & take these as the real things. And take the SUFFERING as the HAPPINESS.


[Sayadaw said saṁsāra should be taken the khandha as arising & passing away moment to moment continually. This is a more practical in sense. Past is only a memory, so can’t do anything about it. The beginning of saṁsāra is khandha. The ending of saṁsāra is the ending of khandha. So the present saṁsāra is more important. From here can cut off the future saṁsāra or to continue.

The Buddha stayed at Kuru State. After the old Māgandiya brahmin became an arahant & one day the Buddha went to the fire place of Bharadvaja brahmin He sat on the grass near him for a few days. So the brahmin was looked after the sitting place properly. One day the old Māgandiya’s nephew young Māgandiya had a walk & came to his friend Bharadvaja’s place.

He saw the sitting place very clean & tidy that asked him who sitting place it was. After he heard the name of the Buddha & said that it was unlucky for him to see the Gautama’s sitting place. Bharadvaja asked him why? Because he cut off worldly affairs was the answer. Bharadvaja said to him that he should not say in this way, & Gautama was worshipped by many.

Māgandiya retorted as if he met the Buddha would say the same thing to him. From far away the Buddha heard their conservations with the divine ear. He came to their place & said directly to Māgandiya about their conversations. Māgandiya was shocked by what he heard from the Buddha. Then the Buddha explained his way of practice to cut off worldly desire. By observing whatever arising from the 6 sense_doors, & tanhā is cutting off]

Connections of dukkha are saṁsāra. Cutting of dukkha is the stopping of saṁsāra Connection of mind-body processes are saṁsāra. Connections of khandha in a circle is saṁsāra. Don’t take saṁsāra with months & years. As example, you open your eyes & seeing arises. This is the beginning of saṁsāra. It starts from the aggregate of consciousness. It will not wrong, if you take the beginning of saṁsāra as from the khandha. After the seeing & the next mind khandha of wanting mind arises. This is another saṁsāra.

Now, it’s already 2 saṁsāras. Saṁsāra becomes increasing. If it’s continuous and up to kamma, and Dependent Arising is completed. You’ll get the future birth. This is the extension of saṁsāra. After getting a new khandha and follow by ageing, sickness & death. This is also saṁsāra. From the seeing consciousness to kamma is present saṁsāra.

From birth onwards is future saṁsāra. The Buddha asked to cut off the present saṁsāra was to stop the future saṁsāra. Stopping the process of increasing, & saṁsāra will stop. From present saṁsāra to future saṁsāra is the increasing of saṁsāra (continued the Māgandiya story)

Māgandiya liked the increasing of desire. You all are the same. So you all are the relatives of Māgandiya. Not understanding of Dependent Arising & all are like him. From the point of truth people like the increasing of dukkha. With more increasing of dukkha is more falling of tears. More increasing of sorrow & lamentation will follow. It’s true to say that all of you are the relatives of Māgandiya and with his wrong view.

The Buddha taught to Māgandiya the above mentioned Dhamma. Every time of seeing, contemplate the impermanence of form becomes the path factors. This was the doctorine of the Buddha for the cutting off craving. Māgandiya doctorine was increasing of craving. Just seeing is a neutral mind & without any fault.

But by continuing the process has fault. Therefore stop the tanhā, upādāna & kamma arise by practice. With the contemplation is cutting off samudaya & dukkha. Māgandiya believed according to their text (It was misinterpretation by them). Others also have their own records. If all these are have differences will bring to arguments. Taking the khandha process is the right one.


[in the beginning Sayadaw gave instruction on how to listen Sacca Dhamma. If the monk talks on vedana the yogi should listen with the ear but the mind observes vedana. In this way during the talk discerns anicca, becomes nibbida nyan (knowledge of disenchantment) & magga nyan (path knowledge) successively. During magga nyan moment you can’t hear the talk anymore.

Sayadaw said no one realized Nibbāna just by listening only. However quick the enlightenment was more or less it needs to contemplate. Sayadaw encouraged his disciple practice diligently. He said the preacher & the listeners were moving toward death in moment to moment. So everyone could die at any time. If we die before the realization will miss the good chances.

Whoever observes anicca at this moment he was wise & not foolish. Should not determine wise & fool with concept. Determine with the moments to moment practice. (In the later period of 1961 to 1962 Sayadaw gave talk usually based on strong saṁvega, urging & encouraging his disciples practiced diligently without wasting time. Sayadaw mentioned on death very often in his talks. He knew the time of his death a long time ago.)

Moment to moment time concept is very important to yogis or Buddhists because reality & experiences are moment. Practice, doing merits, realization etc. all actions are momentary. In each moment without practice we are influent by avijjā & tanhā & then towards jati or birth of misery. By practice with each moment influence by sati & paññā, and then towards Nibbāna.

The Buddha said to Māgandiya that he knew sensual pleasure very well as a prince & enjoyed the highest sensual pleasure, & awared of it empty nature. So he gave it up, led a homeless life for the real happiness, & realized Nibbāna. The Buddha used simile to compare sensual pleasure & Nibbāna. Human sensual pleasure were nothing, if compare to heavenly pleasures (Here Sayadaw gave the analogy of a hungry dog eating human excrement which are very common in poor countries. But for human this view is very disgusting).

Another example was a man infested by leprosy had to scratch the itchy sensation & sometimes used the heat of fire to alleviate it. After curing the disease he will never close to the heat of fire anymore]

If the khandha is talking about impermanence to you during the talk, and you get the yathābhūta nyan. At that moments your ears are hearing the talk & also the mind observes the khandha with seeing impermanence & identity view falls away. The Dhamma is talking to you & the mind appreciates it. After that come disenchantment to the khandha, the mind develops & wants to free from it.

Tanhā becomes thinner that develops to this knowledge. By continuous observing the impermanence of the khandha and it comes to an end. At that time you can’t hear the talk & the mind inclining towards Nibbāna. In the time of the Buddha some people realized Nibbāna by listening talks & at the same time observing the khandha. Without knowing these, people think it as just by listening. It didn’t happen just by listening.

Give an example, if you are observing a carcass of a dog for some period of time. It is becoming slowly bloated & livid with various worms & eaten by vultures. Later you’ll find its disappearance. Here also the same it’s becoming clear with the developing knowledge. Our only concern is for the continuation of the knowledge.

At the same time to see Nibbāna & kilesa dies out. In this way during the time of the Buddha became sotāpana to arahant. After the talks they didn’t want to leave but wanted to report their experiences to the Buddha. I am urging you very often to practice hard is death can come to you at any time. If you are still not discerning anicca is the time of a fool.

By discerning anicca is the time of the wise. The time of the wise & the fool are decided by time moment. Without attention can’t see impermanence is living with ignorance. Therefore it’s foolishness. If you discern it, so it’s wise. The fool goes to the plane of misery. The wise goes to the blissful plane (sugati) & Nibbāna. Death is also momentary.

If another moment not arises then it’s death. Nibbāna is also in the moment. If kilesa not arise in the next moment, then it’s Nibbāna. Therefore 7 years old novices were arrived to Nibbāna. It’s not only for the grown up. To make these decisions. By cutting of Dependent Arising is wise & not cutting off is foolish. After this mind & next mind not arises is dead.

After this mind & a foolish mind arises is living with a foolish life. But with the wholesome mind arises is living with a wise life. When a hell being was arriving in hell & questioning by Yama, king of the Hell. The questions were connection with the Dependent Arising. They were suffered in hell accordingly by the decision of the dhamma, which they had commited.

(Continued Māgandiya’s story) Every dhamma arises no contemplation is the increasing of dedilements. With contemplation is cutting off it. All the dhammas arising from the 6 sense-doors are in these processes. Sound sleep is unconscious mind which is life-continuum mind (bhavanga-citta). You can’t sleep is active mind (javana citta) & a lot of thinking going on. Whatever mind state arise contemplate its impermanence. (The Buddha told about his bodhisatta life with sensual pleasure).

Sensual pleasures are increasing desire. You are taking pleasure in family life & wealth is not seeing Nibbāna. The Buddha said if you really see Nibbāna & you would not taking pleasure in them. It was like the differences between worldly pleasure & heavenly pleasure. Another one is when a human seeing a dog eating excrement becomes disgust with it. In the same way practice to have right view.

If you take pleasure in your own things still not have right view. Next example was a man had leprosy. If you are in pleasure with your family & wealth is like a leper. Wanting to go near a pit of glowing embers. After curing the disease doesn’t want to go near the heat anymore.


[The way of Māgandiya’s tradition was the continuation of Dependent Arising. That is; contact ->feeling->craving->clinging->action. The Buddha’s way was the cutting off Dependent Arising. That is; ­contact ceases -> feeling ceases-> craving ceases-> clinging ceases->action ceases.

Sayadaw gave a very good example the differences between sensual pleasure & Nibbāna peace. The rich man Visākha after became an anagamin (non-returner) not interested in his beautiful wife Dhammadina & wealth. We are always get lost in unreal things because of the kilesas. (Continued the Māgandiya’s story from T3) After cured of his leprosy, 2 strong men grasped this man & forcefully pushed him near the fire again.

But he would reject it. Ordinary people are like this because of their kilesa disease take impermanence as permanence, dukkha as sukha, not-self as self, not beautiful as beautiful, & get lost in sensual pleasure. These are like fire & burning, but take it as cool & pleasant. In some discourses the Buddha compared the body with disease. Now he was free from kilesa disease & a real happy person. Then the Buddha recited these verses: “Arogyaṁ paramaṁ labhaṁ……….. Nibbānaṁ paramuṁ sukhaṁ” “Health is the best fortune …….. Nibbāna is the foremost happiness, and the Noble Eightfold Path is the best way.”

Māgandiya requested the Buddha to show him the way to real happiness. But the Buddha said to him that he was born with blindness, So, must cure his vision first & then could show him the way.]

(In the beginning Sayadaw made a very important point) The Buddha with the 5 great sacrifices fulfilled his paramis (perfections for Buddhahood) were not for Nibbāna. (Offered his life, bodily parts, great wealth, wife & children) If he wanted it he would get it at the time of the Buddha Dipenkara as the hermit Sumedha. It was only for the living beings.

Therefore we should respect & show gratitude for his great compassion & love with diligent practice. In the Mahā-suññāta Sutta the Buddha mentioned to Ānanda, “Ānanda engage with me in friendliness & not in opposition what I have admonished & have faith & follow accordingly with it.”

Therefore don’t show disrespect & in-gratitude to the Buddha. Before we fall into hell, correct out mistakes & practice hard (Sayadaw mentioned the 2 different ways of Dependent Arising) Cutting off the increasing of craving by not letting tanhā, upādana & kamma arise. The dying of craving is the death of papanca dhamma (tanhā, māna & dithi)

Before seeing the real Dhamma & we are tortured by the fake dhamma (i.e Nibbāna & worldly dhamma). If you try hard & see the real one; “Do you want the fake one?” Seeing the real one & don’t want the fake is natural. If you see the real Nibbāna will not want the family members & wealth. Do you still happy at home after become a non-returner? (Sayadaw gave the example of Visākha as the point for overcame sensual pleasure). Torture by the fake one is increasing craving & will arrive to the plane of misery.

Thinking of living together with family member & wealth bring coolness is a kind of craziness. Most of you think, arriving at a cool place like the Dhamma Hall is not for you all. But arriving at a hot place after going back home is cool for you. All have strange disease. It’s over crazy, crazy disease. Fire is a natural heat. Only a crazy person is going near a pit of glowing embers. A person with inversion will go near it. Therefore the Buddha taught us to contemplate the khandha as disease, sore etc. if you still not see impermanence is a double blind person.


[Continued the above talk to the verses which the Buddha recited to Māgandiya. The Pali verses were handing down from the past Buddha until to the time of Gautama Buddha & preserved in the Brahmin tradition. But they were using it for the worldly ceremonies.

The Buddha’s instruction to Māgandiya had 3 points;

① Approaching a teacher for instruction,
② Listening to the Sacca Dhamma,
③ Practice the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma.

In all these points, the 3rd is the most important one. Sayadaw explained on practice the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma as seeing reality as it’s, & will lead to Nibbāna. In Pali is Dhammanu_dhamma patipatti. The mind knows the reality of what really exist in the khandha. (According to Sayadaw it’s the nature of anicca or the 3 universal characteristics). It opens up the Dhamma Eye. Then ignorance become knowing or knowledge.

The knowledge of eye (ñāñā cakkhu) is opening up. Living beings were born with blindness & die with blindness in saṁsāra, & never had been seen the light of Dhamma. Saṁsāra is like the prison of darkness. Revolving in saṁsāra is like changing prison to prison. And never find peace & real happiness.

Sayadaw said that in the beginning of the practice manodvāra pasāda-mind door sensitivity is not clear & bright. Therefore seeing annica is not very clear & intermittent. And with the continuous diligent practice becomes clearer & brighter and discerning more & more.]

First, you discern the impermanence of the khandha. After that comes the disenchantment of the impermanence of the khandha. Later knowing the khandha as truth of dukkha & developing to the point of not wanting it. At last all the disenchanted khandha are disappeared. With all the disappearance; “Are there still any pain & discomfort like the disease & sore exist?” Without any of these is Nibbāna.

The Buddha also taught in this way. All these impermanence were originally existing. We can’t see them because of greed, hatred & delusion. Also not follow to the ending of them that can’t arrive to Nibbāna. The Buddha taught it existed within the 2 armed-length khandha. After if you can’t find the body and will arrive there. Making yourself to clear about this point by practice. It existed, so the Buddha taught about it. Before it arises the mind (nyan) is staying straight with the impermanence.

After that the mind (ñāña) is staying straight with no impermanence. No impermanence is Nibbāna. (Sayadaw in many of his talks was using language skillfully in many ways to explain the Dhamma) Knowing this is Path knowledge. Only the one who practices will see it. All of your duties is following up to the end of impermanence. Don’t ask for something which can’t be given (by prayers & vows).

You have to get it only by practice. If you don’t get Nibbāna only will get dukkha. The gatha (verses) on Nibbāna was reciting by the brahmins for good fortune. If you still don’t know the reality of the khandha is wasting your times among the blind people. The real existence is impermanence but your knowing are my son, my daughter etc… If you know the reality then ignorance becomes knowledge.

Āloko udapādi; _light appears. If someone dies without getting the light is the corpse of a blind. Our grandparents & parents were also died in this way. In next life will fall from a cliff because moving like a blind person. Whatever realms of existence you are in it’s only a prison. You must afraid of dying without getting any light for your both eyes.

With continuous practice the mind is becoming clearer. Later mind sensitivity (mano pasāda) & the knowing mind will fit in together. When this comes & become a person with light. The dying of the blind will take rebirth accordingly to the arrangement of kammas. A person is gaining light can take rebirth accordingly to his desire.

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