The Reality and the Knowing
revised on 2021-07-28
Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 6th to 8th February 1961
[These three talks were based on the Tevijjavaccha Sutta of Majjhima Nikāya (MN 71 Tevijjavacchasuttaṃ). As I had already mentioned before, Sayadaw mostly used the suttas only to explain the Buddha’s teaching and the practice in clearer and simpler ways. Maybe there were many Pali words in it but mostly known to the Burmese Buddhists.
He only took a few points from the suttas and used it for practice. People want to study a whole sutta must go back to the Nikāya itself. The second and the third talks were concentrating on the contemplation of mind. There were many important points in these talks for the practicing yogis. ]
Cutting off the Dependent Arising is Nibbāna. The khandhas processes are Dependent Arising. The knowledge (ñāṇa) comes in and cuts off the process. The original khandha process is the truth of dukkha. Broken-down the khandha process is the truth of the cessation of dukkha (Nirodha Sacca). (Sayadaw used the Dependent Arising Chart to explain the dhamma, see the twelve links).
Knowledge has to come in between section two and section three [Avijjā → saṅkhāra (section 1) → viññāṇa → nāmarūpa → saḷāyatana → phassa → vedanā (section 2) → taṇhā → upādāna → kammabhava (section 3) → jāti, jarā, maraṇa etc. (section 4)
This is cutting off the khandha process. Don’t let the five factors and the three factors to be connected (From section two is five factors and section three is three factors). Because of the khandha process we are afraid of the four planes of misery (hell, animal peta and asura).
Even if you arise to the blissful plane khandha (sugati) will fall down again from it (Never forget the Buddha’s warning of the permanent homes of the living beings were the four planes of misery). Insight meditation is a type of contemplation for the result of no desire to the khandha. If you condense the five khandhas and it become mind and body. Condense it again it’s only impermanent.
In the real contemplation, you are not contemplating form, feeling and mind but their impermanence. If you are discerning impermanence and it was like the dawn time in the early morning. By continuous contemplation for sometimes the sun of Nibbāna will come out (From the Nāmarūpa-pariccheda Text, a Commentary)
Therefore the main point is working with impermanence. Without the development of the insight knowledges no Path Knowledge or supramundane knowledge (lokuttara magga) arises. For insight knowledge to arise is very important. Path Knowledge arises is not important. You will take rebirth in blissful plane and become a stream enterer (sotāpanna) there (From the Aṅguttara Nikāya) if you die with insight knowledge.
You even can become an arahant if you die with the Path Knowledge near death (it may be referred to a much matured yogi and it could be seen in some suttas). After become a stream enterer other stages are easy. (Sayadaw continued to talk about the Tevijjavaccha Sutta) At the time of discerning impermanence, you discard the fetters.
(These are ten fetters—saṁyojana: 1. sensual lust 2. attachment to rūpa-jhānas 3. attachment to arūpa-jhānas 4. aversion 5. conceit 6. wrong views 7. adherence to rites and ceremonies 8. doubt 9. restlessness 10. ignorance)
Because at that moment not continue to craving and clinging. Every form, feeling and mind arise let knowledge comes in behind them. Then craving, clinging, ignorance, volitional formation, sorrow and lamentation can’t arise. A person without practice can’t abandon the human fetters.
The Buddha reminded the monks for many times to stay with mindfulness of the khandha and observed with paññā. With mindfulness before and observed with paññā from behind. For example, in the physical body there are itches, pains and numbness etc. … and mind states are arising.
We watch them with mindfulness and observed with paññā. With mindfulness before and observe with paññā from behind. And the khandha will tell you as I am impermanent. You get the five factors of the path during you are observing them because you have mindfulness and seen with wisdom (there are three factors with mindfulness and two factors seeing with wisdom).
Only anicca exists and anicca arises. Closed your eyes and contemplate, you can’t find hand, feet, ear and nose but only anicca. With anicca existing, but someone will be a corpse with double blindness if he'd never seen it before dying.
You all are moving like an earthworm which was moving without eyes. (So it was eaten by bird or chicken). In the whole saṁsāra, our knowledge and the natural reality were never the same. (How much deluded are living beings? We all have the chance to know the reality of nature only when a Buddha had arisen.)
Therefore, we were ending up at other’s sayings and making many prayers (including merits), such as became human beings and celestial beings would be good. Anicca exists and you know anicca saṁsāra will be cut off.
(Sayadaw continued to talk on the contemplation of mind. So in the following, I insert his system in the contemplation of mind and let the readers to understand clearly what he said in these talks. Sayadaw’s favorite contemplation was on the minds. There may be some reasons behind it. One of the reasons may be he himself was an Abhidhamma expert and even as a very young novice had great interest in this subject).
Contemplation of the mind
1. breathing in mind and 2. breathing out mind (2 host minds) The two host minds are the primary objects for contemplation. You have to contemplate them if other minds (all the guest minds) are arising.
I’ll give you the contemplation of mind. Whatever you are seeing mind consciousness arises. Hearing and hearing consciousness, smelling and smelling consciousness, tasting and tasting consciousness arises respectively. They are arising here and passing away here.
In the physical body there are itches, pains, etc. regarding to the unpleasant sensation with the knowing of the unpleasant physical phenomena; also regarding to the pleasant sensations with the knowing of the pleasant physical phenomena.
(So regard to the physical body two types of knowing consciousness. But as bodily consciousness is one only.) There are totally five consciousnesses. They only arise sometime. Therefore these are external guest minds. Sometimes consciousness can arise as lobha, dosa, moha, alobha, adosa and thinking minds. All these six minds are internal guest minds; not including non‐delusion (amoha) because they are the contemplating mind (five maggaṅgas).
There are two host minds always exist; breathing in and breathing out minds. Therefore, in contemplation of mind, totally 13 types of mind have to be contemplated. Contemplate with amoha; i.e., the five maggaṅgas. If you are discerning the passing away, the five maggaṅgas arise naturally.
Among the 11 guest minds; if one of them arises, follow with the five path factors. Whereas follow the host mind with the path factors if nothing of them arises. The host minds are always there. Every following go with anicca and magga.
So kilesa can’t come in between them. The Buddha taught as, if you practice in the morning and became a stream enterer in the evening. And practiced in the evening and became a stream enterer in the morning. This was a teaching to Prince Bodhirājakumāra (MN.85 Bodhirājakumārasuttaṃ?). Why cannot most people realize it? Because the reality and the knowing are not fitting in.
The reasons are: don’t know the way of practice and not pay attention to it. Therefore we are far from the Path and Fruition Knowledges (Magga and Phala) and Nibbāna Every time it’s arising and no contemplation, for an example, by seeing an object become wanting, clinging, action and birth which continue the D. A. process. Then we will only get dukkha. We can’t follow with knowledge and will turn around with dukkha. And then we are trying for the arising of dukkha. “Don’t we have any pāramī or not doing the practice?” (We are not doing the practice, Ven. Sir). If you have compassion to yourself, just do the practice.
Every mind arises you discern impermanence and see your own death. So, to tell the truth we are always alive with one mind only. Vipassanā is contemplating one’s own death.
For example, after you are breathing out and the mind wanting to breathe in not arises you are dead. Death is subha or asubha? (Asubha, Ven. Sir)
[Here the usage of asubha may be had the general idea of unpleasantness because death is unpleasant to the dying person and others. ]
Therefore, originally you don’t have any lucky sign with you. (Sayadaw continued to explain how to practice insight according to the Milinda’s Text, the Spider Method.) (Opamma-kathā-pañho—The Similes.)
(After about the practice, continuing with the Vaccha Brahmin, Tevijjavaccha Sutta).
The first question connected with lay person on practice. Can a lay person attain realization without discarding the fetters?
Human beings can’t realize Nibbāna if they and the fetters (saṁyojana) are connected. It means khandha connected with taṇhā, upādāna and kamma. On the other hand, they will realize it if khandha and ñāṇa (knowledge) are connected. Therefore if people are doing the practice, they are shaking off their fetters. This happens during the period of practice.
Lay people like Anāthapiṇḍika (billionaire), Visākha (as seven years old girl realized Dhamma) and Santati Minister were living among the fetters, but they had the knowledge to cut them off that realized Nibbāna. The second question was; “Do people reach toward blissful planes (good rebirths) by not discarding the fetters?” The answer was: “It can be”.
Whatever mind arises by watching and contemplating with sati and paññā is killing the three causes of taṇhā, upādāna and kamma. So; it’s preventing the three results of jāti, jarā and maraṇa. Vipassanā contemplation is cutting off the khandha process.
Magga (here the five maggaṅgas) is cutting off the future causes and no future result arises. Yogis of vipassanā contemplation are cutting off samudaya and dukkha saccas. Whatever arises is dukkha sacca. (Sayadaw explained cittānupassanā of the six senses doors one by one)
Cittānupassanā is observing one’s mind. You have to observe it exists or not exists because two minds can’t exist at the same moment. After the arising mind passes away and the observing mind can arise. The minds have to be observed are not more than 45 types of mind. From the 45, only one of them arises in turn. The preceding mind is anicca and the observing mind is magga.
A person who has a lot of observation will get magga. With a lot of observation not only discern anicca but also turn into Dukkha Sacca. 45 types of mind are for a tihetuka person (A yogi can be enlightened in this life by practice).
37 types of mind are for a dve-hetuka person (A yogi can’t enlighten in this life even by practice, but develop the potential for next life. Ti-hetuka person was born with non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion—the three wholesome roots of the mind; whereas dve-hetuka person without the non-delusion mind).
(Sayadaw continued the Q and A between Vaccha Brahmin and the Buddha, stopped at yesterday talk). ① is observing by ②. ①will tell you not there and ② know it not there. Discerning of impermanence is seeing one’s own death.
It becomes a dead person while another mind does NOT arise from behind. With the connecting of minds, we do not become a dead person. Our connections of deaths are Dukkha Sacca and seeing them is Magga Sacca. Knowing Dukkha is Magga Sacca.
Therefore we are contemplating the truth. You’ll get the magga by your own contemplation. The matter of getting the magga is the matter of observation. By observing the 45 minds arise, during cooking and working you’ll get the magga. Also it is during selling and buying. Just only you are observing them.
Taṇhā and upādāna kamma are preventing Nibbāna, but not to sugati (blissful rebirths). We may realize Nibbāna by performing wholesome kammas as vivaṭṭa kammas (Kamma which has no desire for the round of existences). And it becomes a strong supportive cause for Nibbāna. That is you have done it without taṇhā and upādāna. I’ll explain the last two questions as general knowledge.
(Sayadaw mentioned wrong views and practices in ancient India during the time of the Buddha connected with these questions).
“Can Ājīvakas realize Nibbāna?” They can’t. They are governing by wrong views so that they couldn’t realize it. Wrong views are always preventing Nibbāna. “Can they reach toward sugati?” “No, they can’t. But I see only one person.” That was the Bodhisatta himself and during that time he was practicing as a Ājīvaka. But at that time, he believed in the law of kamma so that he was born in sugati (good rebirth) after death.
This is nothing to do with identity view (sakkāya diṭṭhi). Identity view prevents Nibbāna but not sugati. Therefore the Buddha gave serious examples to destroy identity view was more important than your head was on fire and your chest was piercing with a spear (These situations are only die once, but with sakkāya diṭṭhi will never free from dukkha). Identity view is the fetter of wrong views.
revised on 2021-07-28; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4049&p=35702#p35702 (posted on 2019-01-07)
- Content of Part 5 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"
- Content of "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"
- Content of Publications of Ven. Uttamo
According to the translator— Ven. Uttamo's words, this is strictly for free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma—Dhamma Dāna. You may re-format, reprint, translate, and redistribute this work in any medium.