The Art of Thinking

revised on 2019-08-12

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 1st August 1961

During the contemplation of one’s khandha; mind and body only exist as rise and fall. Khandha only has impermanence. Observe them and only see impermanence. And then your both eyes have light. With the traditional eyes of the parents we take it as this is my son, my daughter, etc.

If dying in this way we are born and die as blind people and end up in the coffins. It’s a great lost. Therefore the Buddha said about us as we were blind and crazy worldlings. What does it look like? Earth worms have no eyes by birth. They are moving blindly here and there and encounter deaths.

(It’s interesting to observe earth worms. They come out during the winter season and have a lot of difficult times. It has a difficult life. Poor things!).

You all will be born as animals, living as animals and die as animals if without seeing impermanence and dying. I urge you to work hard for this right view. And die in this way and not born in the planes of misery. Try hard for what the khandha has in itself and knowing it accordingly.

This becomes the eyes of right view (sammā-diṭṭhi eyes) which know rightly. With this view and following it to the end will die with smile. If die with blindness, at near death will see mountain, hills and forest, hell fire, etc. Crying with fright, fear and struggle, in this kind of situation will die badly.

Dying with fright and fear is an ugly death with grimace. You'll reach toward Nibbāna if you die with the four Path Knowledges (i.e., as an arahant). If not (reaching toward Nibbāna), at least, you will reach toward good destinations (sugati). The Buddha was reminding the monks to do the practice for 1792 times in his life.

Now you find these sense objects (sensual pleasure) and don’t take it highly. These are not the salvation dhamma. They are big enemies (referred to the sense objects of family members and wealth). If you take care of them more than its need will die badly.

A monk asked the Buddha about the life span of a hell being. “How long does it take time to be suffered in hell, Ven. Bhante?” “I can’t tell you.” The Buddha knew it, but it took so long that couldn’t talk about it. If you really sick even have millions of dollars can’t cure it or make it better (referred to near death illness).

Observe the khandha to see its rise and fall asubha. And then continue to observe until you don’t desire it. You’ll see the disappearance of the khandha, which is Nibbāna. People don’t desire Nibbāna because there is no khandha. In true the bad thing disappears and the good one appears. In the Saṃyutta Nikāya, the Buddha taught us as if we wanted to think, thought about sacca dhamma not on children and business.

But you all are thinking about going to the planes of misery. Thinking about the truths is vipassanā contemplation. The arising dhamma is dukkha sacca and knowing is magga sacca. Think in this way if you want to think.

But you do not think about closing the door of misery, instead the opening of it. You have to reduce all these things. The doors of misery are opening by our craving (samudaya sacca). If you want to close them, only ñāṇa (magga sacca) will do it. From here you are constructing the hell wok (cauldron).

And also from here you can extinguish the hell fire. For example, like an electric button can swift on and swift off from here. (Sayadaw recounted the upāsaka Nandiya's story). Even before you are going there the woks are boiling and waiting for you. These are establishing from the human world.

From the human world you can also make the hell woks and celestial mansions to disappear. You all are following and developing the cauldron line (like a factory making woks). Therefore human world is very precious (Most human beings from the human plane are creating all sorts of kamma and going to the other planes as an international air-port). Every time not knowing the arising dhamma, it becomes — avijjā paccaya saṅkhāra-ignorance conditions volitional formation → jāti (birth).You will go to the miserable planes if you do not know how to think. And know how to think, will go to Nibbāna. Knowing of how to think is right thought (sammā-saṅkappa). With right thought and seeing is right view (sammā-diṭṭhi).

Good thoughts are right thought. With good thought and knowing rightly is right view. Do not think about sensual thoughts (kāma vitakka), thought of ill will (vyāpāda vitakka) and thought of harming (vihiṁsā vitakka). Instead think about renunciation (nekkhamma vitakka), without ill will or with love (avyāpāda) and harmlessness (avihiṁsā). In accordance with our parent tradition people have big thoughts. It comes a Big Wok with a big thought. Do you want to compete with each other which one’s wok is Bigger? You will get magga if you contemplate whatever arising as dukkha sacca. In this way kilesa becomes thinner and thinner. At last it ceases and will reach Nibbāna.

Do you know how to think it in beds? (These words referred to majority but he had many upper class disciples sitting in front of him. Nowadays many politicians, industrialists and economists are thinking the Biggest Woks in beds.) Right thought is an important dhamma to Nibbāna.

revised on 2019-08-12; cited from (posted on 2019-01-11)

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