Formation and Impermanence


revised on 2019-07-25


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 21st March 1961

[This talk explained about formations and impermanence (Saṅkhāra and anicca). Sayadaw took the famous verse from the Mahā-Parinibbāna (total unbinding) Sutta, Dīgha Nikāya to explain them.

Anicca vata saṅkhāra—Formations are surely indeed impermanent
Uppada-vaya dhammino—Their nature to arise and pass away
Uppajjitavā nirujjhanti—They disband as they are arising
Tesaṁ vupasamo sukho—Their total stillness is bliss

From this verse and other teachings in the suttas referred to the important of saṅkhāra and anicca in practice of the Dhamma of the Buddha. ]

The worldling monk not appreciated the answers from the four arahants was not understanding of the saṅkhāra dhamma (conditioned phenomena). If he understood saṅkhāra dhamma were impermanent and this problem would not arise to him. (This episode was in the Kiṃsukopama Sutta, SN.35.245 Kiṃsukopamasuttaṃ)

To understand saṅkhāra dhamma is important. All mind and body are saṅkhāra dhamma. They all are ending at passing away. Arising by conditioning is saṅkhāra dhamma. The results of arising phenomena caused by conditions are saṅkhāra dhamma.

For example, the smell of food, because of the smell of food smelling consciousness arises. The smell of food is the cause and knowing the smell (consciousness) is the result. Insight practice is contemplating the resultant phenomena. If you don’t discern the passing away of the arising phenomena can never expect the freedom from the saṁsāric dukkha. Arise by condition is the nature of arising.

By contemplation and not existing is the nature of passing away. If you can catch up with the not existing of the arising dhamma and this is the real insight. By seeing the arising and passing away of phenomena develop the insight knowledges.

If you don’t know the arising phenomenon, then can’t know the passing away phenomenon. This point is important and analyzing it carefully. You know the arising and passing away by reflection. If you know the arising will ready to know the passing away. Except the nature of arising and passing away what still they have? If you don’t know the way of contemplation of insight and it’ll become quite difficult.

If you are searching for it will not find it. By knowing the beginning of the arising will know the passing away. The worldling monk didn’t know these things and became confusion. Another example is that the object of touch contacts with the body and itching consciousness arises. This is saṅkhāra dhamma. Where it will end up? It will end up in passing away. Therefore never forget that the arising phenomenon will pass away.

Form dhamma (rūpa) arises by the conditions of kamma, mind (citta), temperature (utu) and foods (āhāra). So, form is saṅkhāra dhamma and must end up in passing away. Mind and mental factors (cetasikas) are also conditioning by form dhamma.

So, it’s saṅkhāra dhammas. It must end up in passing away. Therefore whatever mind and body you have must end up in passing away. Don’t ask or beg for them with prayers (e.g., later Buddhists).

If you do it, wherever life you are getting in will be with an evil death. Your khandhas do exist only with the support of others. Later, out of support and have to die. (Human beings become old, their kammic energy also become weaker. The body becomes more and more in degeneration. At last, citta, utu and āhāra can’t do anything for the body. So, kammic energy is the most important one for support.)

Anicca vata saṅkhāra —Formations are surely indeed impermanent. Saṅkhāra is your mind and body. Where will it end up? End up in anicca. Vata—means surely indeed (Emphasize the nature of anicca). It’s real indeed and not lying at you. These verses are should not recite only (for practice).

If you do something again for the passing away dhamma and it’ll go the same way again. So, do the practice for the not passing away Dhamma (i.e., Nibbāna). Asaṅkhata dhamma (unconditioned dhamma) is not passing away (i.e., Nibbāna). We are in tears for asking the passing away phenomena (family members).

We love the formations and falling in tears for it. Is it good luck for you? We are moving around in the forest of formation and impermanence but don’t see it. So it’s sure that your eyes are covering up with thick clouds. Even before born, you were blind in the womb and also stayed inside the darkness of your mother’s womb. Now, I am treating you with maggan water (holy water of the paths for the blindness).

How many words are you speaking every day? It’s uncountable even though you are still not seeing anicca. Are you not sure every word is passing away after spoken? If I am telling people that everyone was blind from the womb, nobody will believe it. Do you believe it now?

Every time when you speak following behind as it’s passing away, passing away, etc. … If the two of the arising and passing way are ending, then it’s Nibbāna. You have to follow by making the impermanence as a background. Follow it accordingly and must see the ending of it if you see saṅkhāra. If you don’t see the beginning road to May Myo City (a city with a cool climate in upper Burma) can’t arrive there.

In the same way by seeing the beginning of saṅkhāra will see the ending of it, i.e., Nibbāna. It’s now clear for you as why you are not reaching to Nibbāna because you don’t see saṅkhāra. Saṅkhāra dhamma are surely indeed impermanent (Anicca vata saṅkhāra). Asaṅkhata dhamma is surely permanent (i.e., Nibbāna). You are ending up at what others say and appreciate the saṅkhāra dhamma (e.g., later Buddhists).

No mindfulness and people are moving without a proper direction. An earth worm is not seeing and moving accordingly to its desire. Now, you are sure will see the ending of the phenomena by seeing the beginning of them.

Uppada-vaya dhammino—These dhammas (saṅkhāra) are arising and passing away. Saṅkhāra dhammas are arising and passing away. No man nor woman, neither a person nor a being exists. Uppajjitavā nirujjhanti—Arising in oneself and ceasing in oneself. Mind and body are never permanent is very clear. Tesam vupmasamo sukkho—Their total stillness is peaceful Nibbāna. Inside you without the impermanence of both (mind/body) and will realize Nibbāna.


revised on 2019-07-25; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4049&p=35719#p35719 (posted on 2019-01-10)


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