To Know Yourself

revised on 2019-07-25

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 20th March 1961

We must think about us ourselves: where did we come from? The answer will be—we don’t know. And after death where we’ll go? The answer is also we don’t know.

Not only in this life, but also it was the same in past life. It was like the story of the waver girl (DhA. verse. 174 or DhA.iii.170f, 7. Pesakāradhītāvatthu); everyone knows as one has to die, but he doesn’t know when it is; not knowing the time of death, and leaving the answer of not knowing where we came from.

But we can do decide where we’ll go after death. This is very important. (And then Sayadaw gave the story of Citta upāsaka as an example, SN.41.10 Gilānadassanasuttaṃ). So, there is the way. If you don’t do the way to know it and the answer will be negative. We should always reflect that I shall die for sure, only a period of time!

A period of time refers to near death. You all are in near death but concern about for the distant deaths (A lot of elderly people in the audience. Most Asian elderly people concern about their children, instead of concerning their practice).

This is a kind of stupidity. A person is drowning and even his mouth near the water level. But he is still shouting in worry for the children on the bank. It’s too crazy. Is it more important to struggle for our own concern? Taṇhā is as a lawyer defends on your behalf. Taṇhā is a good preacher. I can preach you only once a day. He is teaching you all the time, so you’ll follow with him. Taṇhā is very cunning. (continued the Kiṃsukopama Sutta, SN.35.245 Kiṃsukopamasuttaṃ)

Today I’ll talk about the right dhamma. According to the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta, there are five khandhas. You'll get the right view if you discern the impermanence of one of them. You have to observe one of them if I ask you to observe the five khandhas. A person who discerns impermanence can see Nibbāna because the ending of impermanence is Nibbāna. So, I urge you strongly to turn your knowledge towards the khandha. I want you to die with smile on your face. If you don’t get the right view and don’t know where to go after death. Discerning impermanence is right view. And you don’t see man and woman.

If you don’t get the right view of impermanence before and can’t get the right view of the ending of impermanence. This is Nibbāna. You are saying that we are practicing quite a long time now. But still don’t see impermanence yet.

There are piles of impermanence there. For example, you want to drink water. This mind arises and disappears. Did you drink it? (No, Ven. Sir). Anicca not exists or you only don’t know. (We don’t know it, Ven. Sir). Not knowing (i.e., ignorance) is more difficult than the not existing (i.e., anicca). The not existing is closed to you but you don’t know is quite difficult.

So don’t let this to effect my reputation (as a teacher). Do the practice to see the not existing and the knowing accordingly (i.e., seeing anicca). Don’t let it become not existing and not knowing (i.e., not seeing anicca). So don’t let this happen and effect the Buddha’s reputation because he knew it himself and taught to us.

You can get a bed bug even in the dark. But you can’t catch the anicca here which is very clear to you. Whatever mind arises, contemplate to know as it’s not there.

revised on 2019-07-25; cited from (posted on 2019-01-10)

  • 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.