The Road Map to Nibbāna

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 6th January 1961 & 19th to 20th September 1961

[ the Buddha was staying near Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove. After the Rain Retreat some monks from the native land of the Buddha visited him. He asked them who was their teacher. They answered that he was Punna Mantaniputta (Mantani’s son). How he taught them?

Punna taught them as an exampler. He taught what himself had practiced. The Buddha praised him. At that time Ven. Sāriputta was near & wanted to meet him. After this occasion, the Buddha went to Sāvatthi. Sometimes later Punna went to Sāvatthi & paid respect to the Buddha. One of Ven. Sāriputta’s disciple came to him & gave the news.

After exchanged words with the Buddha, Punna left for the Andarana Forest for the day’s abiding. Sāriputta followed him from a distance. Both of them stayed at some distances apart & entered into Phalasamāpatti (staying in the fruition state). Both of them came out from it in the eveing. And then Sāriputta approached him & asked questions.

Qs & As were as follow:
Q1 Do you learn the teaching from the Buddha for sila practice (silavisuddhi)?
A: Punna’s answer- not for it.

Q2 For samādhi practice (cittavisuddhi)?

Q3 For right view(Ditthivisuddhi)

Q4 For overcoming doubt (kankhāvitarana- visuddhi)?

Q5 For discerning impermanence (maggā maggañānadassana visuddhi)?

Q6 For the knowledge from Bhanga Nyan (knowledge of the dissolution) to Gotrabhu Nyan (knowledge of the change of lineage)These are called-Purification of the way (patipadāñānadassana visuddhi)? The answer was: no

Q7 For the Path Knowledge (maggañānadassana visuddhi)?

Q8: So, for what purpose you are practicing the Dhamma.
A: Only for the sake of Nibbāna. And then Sāriputta said to Punna; “Let me continue to ask you.”

1 By silā practice can realize Nibbāna?
No, if possible all worldlings (puthujjana) will realize it.

From ② to ⑦ , also asked in this way. He answered all of them in negative.

Because all of them were sankhata dhamma (conditioned Dhamma) & not Nibbāna which was asankhata Dhamma (Unconditioned phenomenon). Sāriputta praised him. Punna gave an analogy for the 7 purification processes. King Pasenadi Kosala from Sāvatthi wanted to go to Sāketa, 700 miles far away (The mileage was not mentioned in the sutta. Sayadaw used it only for a clear explanation. Most monks used the sutta teachings exactly mentioned in the suttas words by words in Pali & translate into their own language, & with explanation. But he was different, only used the points & facts for teaching. His talks were only for practical purpose).

The king’s servants arranged chariots for him to change after each 100 miles. After he arrived Sāketa by the last 7th chariot came down from it & entered Sāketa. In this analogy, the 1st chariot was sīla & the last 7th was magga.]

According to the purification (visuddhi) there are 7 stages. By vipassanā process; seeing impermanence, become disenchantment & ending of impermanence. Why I have to give this talk because I am afraid that you have the mistaken contenments (There are a lot of food for thought in this remark. Most Buddhists only satisfy with making merits & observing sīla).

The knowledge of seeing Nibbāna is the knowledge of purification (i.e the 7th stage). Path knowledge is also impermanence and it’s not Nibbāna yet. It’s still not asankhata dhamma (unconditioned dhamma). I am asking you to contemplate the impermanence of the knowledge, because they are also impermanent. So that you know they are also sankhata dhamma. All the 7 dhammas (7 stages) are only the way to Nibbāna. They themselves are not Nibbānic Element. Only you have overcome your doubt should contemplate impermanence (Practice from 4th to 5th stage)

(This is one of the reasons why Sayadaw asked disciples to give up wrong view & overcoming doubt before insight practice were from the sutta teachings & evidences. For this point he always emphasized the teaching of Dependent Arising). If you discern impermanence don’t give up. After thoroughly penetrate dukkha you are on the 7th chariot. Path knowledge is still impermanent. After you come down from it and arrive Nibbāna. These 7 stages are functioning process.


[In the beginning for 30 minutes Sayadaw talked about the danger & cleverness of tanhā. Punna was foremost in giving Dhamma talks, & enlightened people. Ananda had entered the stream by him. He taught people by his own examples, such as few wishes & contentment, etc. Enter & stay in Phalasamāpatti could prolong one’s life & delay the time of death. (The Buddha during his last 3 months in life very sick & in this way waited his last disciple Subhadda).

Buddists practice for the ending of upādāna dhamma. If people can realize Nibbāna by samatha then all the Brahma gods will be in that group. Purification by view can be possible with a teacher’s explanation. For overcoming doubt & discovering impermanence can possible by the help of a good teacher. Even Path & Fruition Knowledges are not Nibbāna, still within the province of conditioned dhamma of impermanence.

Punna rejected all the 7 stages of purifications because still these were not the Nibbānic Element where all the clinging dhammas were ceased. Entered into the fruition attainment is also inclining towards Nibbāna. Fruition state of minds are continuously arising & vanishing. Nibbāna is always exists & without impermanence.]

People who are making prayers for this & that lives are called lustful hedonists. If you go back home have to battle in war, because it controls by a crazy person (referred to tanhā). If you can’t conquer tanhā & see it, will never realize Nibbāna. If he comes in, you have to know it quickly. Punna was very good in giving Dhamma talks. Could teach people became stream enterer to non-returner.

He was praised by the Buddha & must be a great person. Phalasamāpatti means the knowledge (nyan) staying with the ending or cessation of dhkkha. It can expand the life span & delay the time of death. The questions & answers between Sāriputta & Punna was for the future generation to understand on practice. Punna answered that practicing was for Nibbāna. Sāriputta satisfied with his answers but continued to ask questions for more clarification.

With a good teacher we can know about the mind & body, also cause & effect dhammas (3rd &4th purifications). Seeing impermanence also with the help of a good teacher (the 5th purification). Path & Fruition Knowledges are sankhata dhammas & vanishing dhammas. Nibbāna can’t vanish, so asankhata dhamma. The mind of the path & Fruition knowledges are arising & vanishing. So they can’t be Nibbāna. Nibbāna is always exists. All the clingings are totally ceased in Nibbāna. Totally without any impermanence is Nibbāna.


[In the beginning Sayadaw explained the 5 spiritual faculties & how to adjust them with Ananda’s last effort for arahantship. Viriya (persistence), samādhi (concentration), saddhā (faith) & paññā (wisdom) become imbalance create hindrance (nīvarana). Sayadaw said practiced diligently & no development means the faculties are becoming imbalance.

(continued the sutta) The 7 visuddhis are not Nibbāna. But they support each other successively; e.g sīla supports the development of samādhi. With samādhi has clear seeing & purified view. With purification of view overcomes doubt. After overcoming doubt can see impermanence by contemplation, & imperfection of insight (vipassanupakilesa) arises as aura of light (obasa) etc., (There are 10 of them).

Punna gave the 7 chariots as an analogy. The 7 chariots are the 7 visuddhis, Sāketa was Nibbāna & king Pasenadi was yogi. If you arrive at the knowledge of disenchantment become don’t want to contemplate & run away from it. But you must have to contemplate with patience. With continuous contemplation penetrates Dukkha & impermanence comes to an end.]

The ears listen to the talk & nyan (mind) turning towards the khandha. If you discern anicca, have the paramis to be here and can realize the Dhamma. Don’t think about paramis instead make a decision that you already have it. You already have it, but if you think you are not is a mistake. In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Buddha mentioned 5 factors which referred to the completion of paramis (i.e, the 5 difficulties to encounter as mentioned before).

Therefore no need to looking back but only making effort for practice to complete it. The Buddha’s Teaching (Sāsāna) exits like a lightning in a raining dark night (we take it for granted & wasting time for useless things). Now, you are encountering with it that no need to doubt about your perfection. You only need for diligent practice.

(Sayadaw talked about the 5 spiritual faculties by using Ananda’s last struggle for enlightenment). He was practicing walking meditation by overexertion & not got the result. Because Samādhi was left behind. Without the help of a teacher & not practice rightly can’t get the result. Over effort becomes restlessness (uddhacca) & over samādhi becomes torpor. Send your effort & samādhi in balance towards impermanence. Faith & wisdom need to be made balance. You must have the faith for realization. Over faith inclines towards affection. Our wisdom (intelligence) becomes cunning. Sending 4 of them in balance towards impermanence.

Mindfulness is never excessive like other dhammas. You must always has mindfulness. If all these 5 spiritual faculties are in balance, you will sure of getting the result. (e.g. in Ananda’s case). This is an important point. In practice making adjustment is important.

(continued the sutta) In fruition state the khandha still exists but the mind is inclining towards Nibbāna. Even Path Knowledge is impermanence and sankhata dhamma. Up to the Path Knowledge arise by conditioning. The fruition knowledge is also the same. A person with purified view is overcoming doubt. Without doubt can discern anicca. The 7 visruddhis are helping each other in stages to Nibbāna. They themselves are not Nibbāna (gave the analogy of 7 chariots). I have been explained the mind/ body process, so you have been come down from the 3rd .

Everyday I explain the Dependent Arising and you have come down from the 4th also. You all are contemplating impermanence, so on the 5th chariot. If you are really becoming disenhantment to the impermanence of dukkha, then on the 6th chariot. If seeing the ending of it, on the 7th chariot. Some of you are already on the 6th.

Today I give this talk is let the yogis know themselves which chariot they are on. The chariot you are in, talking to you that Nibbāna is near or far away. The words Nibbāna far away is true to people who are not in practice. This is DEFILEMENT. It’s depending on the practice. If you are disenchanting to the impermanent process, & the knowledge of not wanting, it will arise in short moments. If you are in the fruition knowledge then you are already stepping down from the 7th chariot, & entering the city of Sāketa, which is NIBBĀNA.

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