How to Open Your Eye?

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; (30th December 1960, 30th May to 1st June 1961)

(The following 4 talks were based on the Indriya-bhāvanā Sutta, Majjima Nikāya, the development of the Faculties, Sutta NO.152.)


I am worrying of you as living a negligent life. Should have a reliance with you. Without it will encounter dukkha. (These were the words the Buddha reminded the monks in the sutta of Anguttara Nikāya) The Buddha reminded us to rely on impermanence, because it ended Dukkha. He mentioned 8 kinds of reliance & the last one was impermanence.

If you contemplate all the ending of impermanence & will get the knowledge of ending dukkha. Take reliance on the 2 knowledges of seeing impermanence & the ending of it (i.e, Yathābhūta Nyan & Magga Nyan). During on the journey of life and dying moment you need to rely on it. At near death with contemplation can become a stream-enterer to an arahat. (There were a few stories at the time of the Buddha, for example-Ven. Phegguna).

Even the Buddha had to rely on impermanence. If you enter the fruition state (phala samāpatti) have to start from impermanence. I will talk on how to see thing is the true reliance. On seeing hateful things and become angry. On seeing affectionate things and become greedy. On seeing neither hateful nor affectionate things and become deluded.

These are during the time of opening your eyes. How to use the 6 sense faculties without harm? Don’t observe the outside objects but instead observe what is arising in the heart. Seeing is the cause & the arising dhamma in the heart is the result. This is the resultant phenomenon (paticcasamupana dhamma). It is gross & compounded phenomenon (Sankhata dhamma). Contemplate the arising phenomenon as compounded.

After contemplation, it’s not there. Every greed, anger & delusion arise contemplate in this way. All of their non-existings are similar. As impermanence they are the same. The path factors are seeing it. All the knowings (knowledges) are seeing the non-existings (i.e, vanishing or disappearing). Seeing all the arising dhammas as impermanence in series. These are not an ordinary thing.

It is vipassanupekkha nyan (equanimity of insight). You contemplate all of them with equanimity, & not seeing as greed, anger & delusion. This is true development of faculties. Continue with the contemplation & arrive to the knowledge of equanimity towards formations (sankharupekkha ñāna). After that it is the Path Knowledge.

In this way by using the 6 sense faculties is without harm. It’s easy to practice also. You have to practice until it becomes your own nature. The Buddha said that whoever practiced & became natural, then it was easy like closing & opening your eyes. If you can practice up to this point, & it becomes a true reliance (He continued to talk about the dying moments by seeing anicca as mentioned in the Aṅguttara Nikāya).

In these 3 knowledges (i.e, vipassanupekkha nyan, sankharupekkha nyan & magga nyan); if you die with the vipassanupekkha nyan or sankharupekkha nyan & after arriving to the heavenly realm become a stream-enterer. If you don’t rely on insight knowledge what will happen? If you die with greed, anger & delusion will arrive to peta, hell & animal realms.


[In the beginning Sayadaw mentioned the important, & also interesting about the power of Dhamma. Listening to the Dhamma carefully, make effort to remember them, & then put into practice. In this way Dhamma can be enshrined in the mind and body becomes a Dhamma Cetiya (shrine). It will protect the yogi from dangers & difficulties.

The examples were, the Buddha’s Conquest of the 8 Adversities (see the Jaya-mangala-attha-gāthā). The Buddha after his enlightenment was looking for someone who he could take on refuge. But he never found anyone who could be excellent than him in sīla, samādhi & paññā. He became a Buddha by the Dhamma. So he took the Dhamma, the 4 Noble Truths as a refuge & teacher.

The Brahma God Sahampati agreed with him because the past Buddhas were also doing the same thing before (This point is very important, because these episodes showed that there was no Creator God & Creation existed in the whole Cosmos). All living beings because of their wholesome & unwholesome dhammas or kammas are travelling in the round of existence. Sayadaw taught his disciples how to contemplate the Dhamma Buddha or Nyan Buddha & not the physical Buddha. Have to penetrate to the Dhamma Buddha.

So, we must rely on wholesome dhamma, especially the supramurdane Dhamma (lokuttara Dhamma). Because of our wholesome dhammas of the past, now we meet the Buddha’s Dhamma which is the most difficult to come by. Therefore, we must use this chance fully to go up higher & higher to transcend Dukkha & not for going downwards]

The Buddha taught the Dhamma from external. Whoever listening with the above mentioned 3 ways, then the Dhamma will enshrine in our body (There are always 2 causes; i.e, external & internal causes effect every living beings. The most important one is the internal one). Path factors are the Dhamma Ceti. Why the Buddha became the great conqueror of the 8 adversities? Because his khandha became a Dhamma Ceti.

The physical Buddha didn’t know anything. Only the Nyan Buddha knew it. Therefore, when we are performing puja (devotional practices) must reaching to the internal knowledge Buddha. Becomes a stream-enterer (sotāpanna) also not the body, but the Path Knowledge. You came to this human life was sending by the dhamma.

There are 2 kinds of dhamma; right & wrong dhammas (sammā-dhamma & micchā-dhamma) or the 8 right path factors (sammā-magganga) & the 8 wrong path factors (micchā-magganga). Close the doors to the planes of misery are also dhamma. It does not need to teach people for the dhammas which send them to the planes of misery. Everyone has done it & can do it.

The 3 cariyas of the Buddha were; for his benefit, for the benefit of his relatives, & for the benefit of living beings that he had to fulfilled his perfections (paramis). It’s very important of able to distinguish between friends & foes. (Recounted the story of Sodeyya Brahman on this point). I am warning you all not to shun away from the salvation of the Dhamma. Dhamma sent you here & you are completed with the five rarities (i.e, Encountering the teachings of the Buddha, a teacher who can teach the sacca Dhamma, understanding of it, etc…)

You only need to go upwardly for ending dukkha. But if you don’t respect the Dhamma & going downward is not proper. (continued the Indriya-bhavana Sutta) Now is the time for us to always living together with Dhamma which will save us from the whole saṁsāra. When seeing a form; can become joy (somanassa) or displeasure (domanassa) or neither joy nor displeasure (upekkha). With an object can become 3 states of mind.

If no salvation of Dhamma comes in dukkha will continue to arise. Because of the 3 types of feeling, Dependent Arising will continue in the beginning, middle & the end (see the 12 links of Dependent Arising; pleasant feeling in the middle, unpleasant feeling in the end & neutral feeling in the beginning.

Living being are always going down stream & never up stream. After his enlightenment, the Buddha saw this point. Therefore he became disappointed to teach them. I’ll show you some insight contemplations. From the 3 types of feelings; if one of them is arising & contemplate as it’s the resultant phenomenon arising by causes. In this way the view of a person, a being is falling away. Contemplate it as arising & passing away. In this way the 3 types of feeling are becoming a series of equanimity of insight (vipassanupekkha nyan).


[Sayadaw told the story of the sutta: on one occasion the Buddha was staying among the Kajjangalas (People of the Kajjangala Village) in the Bamboo Grove. During a Dhamma talk he asked the young brahmin Uttara, how his teacher Pārāsivi brahmin taught & trained on the 6 sense faculties.

He replied that by closing the eyes, ears…. etc, & no defilements arose. Then the Buddha responded by saying as followed. Then, in this way people were born blind & deaf already no defilements. Uttara became silent by the words of the Buddha. However, nobody can close the mind door. Therefore the Buddha gave a talk on how to restrain the sense faculties.

Whatever arises from the 6 sense doors; e.g feeling arises (sukha, dukkha or upekkha) observe their annica & it becomes upekkha. They are conditioning by causes. These are kilesa & coarse, & the result of the causes. Whatever arises is sakhārā – conditioned thing.

By seeing anicca becomes upekkha & called sankhārupekkhā (not react to sankhara as like or dislike). It’s very quickly leading to sankhārupekkha nyan (knowledge of equanimity towards formations which is close to the Path knowledge (magga nyan).]

(Sayadaw described the practice from hearing) From the 6 sense doors let whatever arises. But the important thing is can be let the contemplating knowledge comes in to know it. Whatever arising in the body is coarse, so that you know it. First, you have to know it from behind as it is arising by causes (the arising dhamma). Second, after this contemplation, the arising dhamma is not there anymore (that becomes the passing away dhamma). First is arising & second is passing away.

[(Special note: In 18th November 1956, Sayadaw gave a talk on insight meditation by way of vitakka (thought) & vicāra (examination). Here is extract from some of them)]

Vitakka is thinking or thought, & vicāra is all round examination. The Buddha taught the first jhana with vitakka & vicāra and also the path factors with it.

Today I will talk about its implementation (here he used vedana of the 6 sense-doors). Whatever feelings are arising from the 6 sense doors & think about it as, what it is? After that examine the feeling as it exists or not. This is vicāra or examination. If you use vitakka & vicāra in this way you see feeling & also its impermanence.

For example, you see something with the eye & don’t know what it is, then there is no vitakka & vicāra. Someone who has thinking & examination get the path factors. The thinking of I-ness or identity view is falling away. Thinking is vatakka & examination is vicāra. Knowing of the non-existing is paññā. Therefore every time you open your eyes must have seeing with thinking & examination.

The dissolution of phenomenon is useless (feeling or any sankhara dhamma). The uselessness is the truth of dukkha (in some of his talks Sayadaw explained dukkha as disgusting & useless; Duk-disgusting, Kha-useless). If you are in thinking & examination will know the truth of dukkha. Disappearing is death. Death is arriving at dukkha. If you are thinking & examining in this way even hell fire will be extinguished. Even no need to mention about sorrow, lamentation & suffering in the heart]

(continued from the main talk) ① is arising dhamma, & ② is passing away dhamma. In this way greed, hatred & delusion dhmmas can’t follow from behind. Is this difficult for you? Every time dhamma arises is by cause, & have to know it as not there. If you ask what is Nibbāna? It’s the cutting off Dependent Arising in the beginning, in the middle & in the end sections. Whichever section is cutting off, then it’s Nibbāna. Every time a dhamma arises, if you can contemplate its impermanence and not becomes lobha, dosa & moha dhammas.

Because these are only impermanent. All these impermanent dhammas are arising in series. So it’s called vipassanupekkha. If a being falls into hell will receive double increments. Because the hell being is suffering in hell that always in the state of displeasure (domanassa). Therefore, it is not easy to talk about the lifespan in hell. (This is one of the reasons that hell beings don’t have a definite life span. Sayadaw mentioned it for his listeners. It reminded them for practicing diligently to end suffering in hell).


The Budhha taught this sutta for vipassanā practice was it could become the most quickest & effective way. In the time of the Buddha there were also many practiced for insight & gave wrong teachings. (continued the story of the Sutta) How do you close the mind door of muddy kilesas? Even may be you can close the other 5 doors.

The Buddha taught the ariyan way of development of the faculties. Thoughts from the mind door create greed, hatred & delusion. Let it be arisen. Only with the arising dhamma, there will be an object for contemplation. For a dead person he has nothing to contemplate. It’s important to contemplate the arising dhamma. Where are birth, ageing & death, the truth of dukkha come from?

If you trace the reverse order of the Dependent Arising process (the 12 links) & will find out that it came from craving (tanhā).

[ craving <- clinging <- action <- birth, ageing & death.]

It arises from the thinking of the mind door. Thought arises from the mind object (dhamma arom) & mind door (mano dvāra). The arising cause is called paticcasamupada & the arising result is called paticcasamupana. The arising dhamma is coarse & the cause of thinking.

It is compounded dhamma (sankhata dhamma). If you know it as a compounded dhamma, then including anicca in it. You know it arising because it’s coarse. And when you contemplate (think about) it’s not there. You know the arising & passing away of the compounded dhamma (sankhata dhamma). In the place of greed you only discern impermanence. This contemplation is called vipassanupekkha nyan.

Therefore anicca is close to Nibbāna. Because its nature is similar to sankhārupekkha nyan. Therefore the harmlessness of sense faculties is depending on contemplation. In talking about the way to Nibbāna by using long method, and it becomes long. By short method, it becomes short.

In short, it only exists as; ① impermanence and, ② the ending of impermanence.

Analyzing by truth it is only dukkha saca & nirodha sacca (impermanence is dukkha & the ending of it is nirodha. (In some suttas the Buddha himself expressed his teachings as he only taught dukkha & the ending of dukkha, in the past, present & future. All the Buddhas were/will the same. Any teaching not ending for dukkha is not the Buddha’s teachings).

Analyzing by knowledge (nyan), only vipassanā nyan & magga nyan (insight knowledge & path knowledge) or the knowledge seeing impermanence & the knowledge seeing the cessation of impermanence. In this case the 10 insight knowledges & the 16 insight knowledges are right or-wrong? These are also right. These were the insight knowledges of Ven. Sariputta’s great wisdom. These are long in given names, but in the real process is not long.

Insight knowledge kills the coarse defilement & path knowledge kills the refine one (anusaya-latent one). In the time of the Buddha there were many examples of getting enlightenments within a sitting (mostly listening talks). These were happening because of the short knowledge. If impermanence ceases, dukkha & kilesa are also ceased.

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