How to Use Desire and Conceit?

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 30th August 1961

[Ven. Ānanda stayed at Kosambi. A certain Bhikkhuni fell in love for him and sent a man to inform him that she was sick. He visited her. As soon as she saw him from a distance, lay down on a bed and covered her head with a blanket.

Ven. Ānanda came near to her and knew her real intention. And then he gave the following instruction to her. He said to her, this body supported by foods and should use it for Nibbāna. This body created by craving and should use it to destroy māna (conceit).

Sayadaw said, it need to comment on this instruction. This body is conditioning by 4 factors, i.e. kamma, mind (citta), temperature (utu) and foods (āhāra). It born by kamma, so like a mother. It is developing by foods, so like a nurse. Wanting to eat foods, so we eat. In this case we should observe our desire or the taste during consuming.

In this way we use foods for the realization of Nibbāna. It can be also used foods with wrong view. As some ascetics eat little or abstaining from foods for some periods. The right way for consuming foods is contemplating desire or the taste during eating.]

[There are also wholesome desire and conceit and not every of them are unwholesome. Using these wholesome taṇhā and māna to develop the practice. For an example, some yogi’s discern anicca, some arrive to the state of disenchantment (nibbida) and some realize the end of dukkha (i.e. Nibbāna).

If they can achieve these things, I also want to succeed. This is wholesome desire. With these kinds of desire try hard in the practice and can destroy taṇhā. These kind of taṇhā destroy taṇhā. Māna also can be use in the same way. Some yogi’s can do it why should not I? In this way pushing oneself for practice. All these wholesome kinds of taṇhā and māna can cut off D.A process and should develop it.

By ending this talk Sayadaw said that there were 3 ways can develop one’s practice. By saṁvega (sense of urgeney), taṇhā and māna. Three of them cannot do the practice at the same time. Saṁvega is the best of them. There were many stories of realized Nibbāna with saṁvega during the time of the Buddha and up to this present day. (for e.g, the Bodhisatta himself and Ven. Yasa). This talk was based on a discourse in the Catuka Aṅguttara Nikāya.]

Human and celestial worlds are good because we are looking at these things with the eye of taṇhā. And then create kammas with the arrangements of taṇhā and receive the khandhas with the dangers of ageing, sickness and death. Now, can you separate yourselves from the khandhas with dukkha sacca? Ignorance -> craving -> kamma -> khandhas with the danger of ageing, sickness and death.

You have to know that khandhas are under the influence of kamma and kamma is under the influence of taṇhā. (Sayadaw continued the story of Ven. Ānanda and a bhikkuni) This body is sustaining by foods so using it to arrive Nibbāna. This body comes into being through craving, so killing it and arrive Nibbāna.

This body comes into being through conceit, so using it to abandon conceit. Instantly it’s not clear. So I’ll explain it. This body exists by kamma, citta, utu and āhāra. Kamma had already finished it job. Now we are alive by āhāra. Kamma likes a mother and āhāra is a nurse. We want to eat foods and so we eat.

With the eating and have to contemplate the impermanence of taṇhā. With eating can arrive to Nibbāna. With the eating and contemplate the vanishing of the knowing mind of eating. If taṇhā comes in between them contemplate taṇhā. Eat little and abstain from foods are the practice of people with wrong view.

It is the practice of torturing oneself. Can’t contemplate the good or bad mind states that they fall into the planes of misery. If you can’t contemplate on feeling, then contemplate the impermanence of the delighting mind (i.e. taṇhā).

What have to contemplate, the foods or the mind state arises from it? Contemplate our reaction to foods. In vipassanā contemplation there are also have good taṇhā and māna. With the cause of taṇhā and taṇhā dies. You may ask; “Is it not taṇhā unwholesome mind?” The answer of the commentary was it was not giving the result of birth. This kind of taṇhā cut off becoming.

In practice we need these kinds of taṇhā and māna. Most of your taṇhā and māna are arising at the wrong place. We can also use saṁvega (sense of urgency) in our practice. Therefore there are 3 ways of realization. If you don’t use any one of them and never realize the Dhamma. You can’t use all of these. They can’t arise together.

Only one of them always in strength (bala). If saṁvega arises, taṇhā and māna not arise. The other 2 are also in this way. Among 3 of them, if you use one of it and practice hard will realize the Dhamma in this life.

cited from (posted on 2019-01-14)

  • Content of Part 6 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

  • Content of "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

  • Content of Publications of Ven. Uttamo

This is only an experimental WWW. It's always under construction (proofreading, revising)!

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.