The Paths of the Wise and the Fool

revised on 2019-09-12

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 10th December 1961

We have to learn from him, how he became a Buddha. We are Buddhists and have to follow his way. A devatā (deity) asked the Buddha, how he crossed over the wide saṁsāric ocean and arrived at the safety bank of Nibbāna (from Saṁyutta. N). Saṁsāra is like a whirlpool and it turning round and round. It’s like the circle of D. A. processes.

Turning around like a circle and can’t find the beginning. Not swimming in it is sinking. With the swimming is sweeping away. Therefore without sinking and sweeping away are free from saṁsāra. Avoidance from the two ways of sinking and sweeping away is crossing over saṁsāra.

You will sink if you follow the ways of the tradition. By following the ways of little knowledge is sweeping away. The traditional ways mean craving, clinging and action (taṇhā, upādāna and kamma), or the unwholesome path. One can do only wholesome things and sweep away or get the path of blissful existence (sugati) by meeting with an ordinary teacher. He's sweeping away to this and that existences with the desire for life (bhava taṇhā). As to the path of the gradually elevated heavenly existences, it's just the way of floating which are the floods of sensuality (kāmogha) and the becoming (bhavogha).

The floods (ogha) of views and ignorance (diṭṭhi-ogha and avijjogha) are the ways of sinking. Most beings can’t distinguish them and only follow these two paths. Buddhists follow the first and the second paths (i.e., kāmogha and bhavogha).

They have strong desire for heavens. They don’t want to be separated from the members of family and wealths, taking them as real as the third and fourth paths (i.e., diṭṭhi-ogha and avijjogha). All these four paths have inversions. The path of floating is heavenly happiness, taking dukkha as sukha. Celestial beings have long life, taking impermanence as permanence.

These places also have asubha because they will die, taking asubha as subha. The path of sinking is the cause of the inversion of view (diṭṭhi vipallāsa), taking them as my son, my wife, etc. Ignorance includes in both of the paths as a leader. The cause is not knowing the truth. All of them have the two roots of existence.

The leader of sugati is craving. The leader of dugati is ignorance. In another way, taṇhā is the path of floating and ignorance is the path of sinking. I’ll not exhort you if it's not important. Therefore it’s important. You must avoid these two paths. Don’t want happiness when you are making merits; just do it to be free from the khandha.

In this way you are on the middle path. If you don’t take things as this is mine, this I am and this is my self and you are free from sinking and in the middle way. The leader of the path of floating is taṇhā and sinking is ignorance. Both of them are including in them and the only difference is only leadership.

To be freed from these paths taṇhā must become non-greed (alobha, not wanting the existences — bhava) and Ignorance (wrong view) becomes knowledge (right view). If not, is only running in circular way (like a whirlpool), and sinking (pull by the whirlpool down to the bottom). I am urging you all, with non-greed (alobha) and right view (sammā-diṭṭhi) to perform a lot of merits (with the middle way).

In anywhere we have these three paths. It is not only the two paths of indulgence in sensual pleasure and self mortification. So we have to use them wisely/rightly everywhere. In another way, wholesome minds are the path of floating, unwholesome minds are the path of sinking and the path factors are the middle path.

Let us walk on the middle way. Whatever it may be must have reflections and contemplations. In daily life, going and living with vipassanā ñāṇa. I don’t say not to give (i.e., dāna practice). It’s important in the middle way. Focus in the middle way. It's the middle way to want to be freed from the existences (vaṭṭa) with dāna and sīla.

It's the middle way not to want the khandha. This is non-greed (alobha). From greed to become non-greed is important. From wrong view to become right view is free from the path of sinking. It’s not easy to be in the middle way.

We can encounter it only with the arising of the Buddha. After becoming a Buddha he started to teach the middle way. We must observe with the eye of knowledge, with the kilesa fire is extinguished and will know the Four Noble Truth. The middle way exists only within the Buddha’s Teaching. Not exists outside the teaching.

There were Paccekabuddhas but they couldn’t help others on the path. They knew the truth by themselves but couldn’t teach others. I can teach you, not because better than the Paccekabuddha. He knew the truth without a teacher. I can teach you by relying on my teacher the Buddha.

If there is still has any teacher can teach the truth, can be freed from dukkha. Free from dukkha means free from the rounds of existence of defilement, action and khandha (kilesa, kamma and vipāka vaṭṭas). Your understanding of freedom is becoming an arahant but it is nothing to do with the personal identity.

In the khandha don’t have these dhammas is freedom. With freedom from kilesa vaṭṭa and the others are also free. So, kilesa vaṭṭa is important. The Buddha took kilesa vaṭṭa as the main point. In short free from lobha and everything is free. Samudaya sacca is lobha, dukkha sacca is mind and body and with the four Path Knowledges are the four middle ways.

After the first Path Knowledge no need to worry and it leads to the others. On the first path is more important. Right view is gradually leading to the higher levels. Right view is mature step by step. So the Buddha asked to develop the path factors, to make right view becoming maturity, to sharpen the knife of right view sharper and sharper. Step by step it passes through from the coarser to the refined level. So don’t relax on your development.

It becomes rusty if you leave it aside. It’s sharpened not only in sitting but also standing, walking and lying down. It must lead with mindfulness and wisdom. Therefore the Buddha exhorted us always living with mindfulness and contemplation with wisdom. In my exhortation these two points were very important. Lacking with them was never in the middle way.

He reminded us quite very often to have mindfulness and clear comprehension in everywhere. Without them kilesa will grow. It means D. A. process continues. For example, not mindful of the seeing, not contemplating its impermanence, and with the seeing arises desire. Then it continues D. A. process in the middle (see the twelve links of D. A. process), and continues to taṇhā, upādāna and kamma.

So the Buddha was saying of he was too worry for us to open our eyes. Even it was better with a hot iron bar to poke your eye. (Unwholesome dhammas are burning and poisoning the six senses doors and their consequences are unthinkable. Now, many unwholesome media are harming human beings all the times. So we can see the Buddha’s worry and compassion.)

It will never end since continuing to taṇhā, upādānaṁ and kamma and saṁsāra. After the seeing and wanting, clinging and action will come for many times. And with uncountable births arise. Lacking of sati and sampajāna (mindfulness and clear comprehension) is horrible.

So the Buddha had emphasized about it. Do you know how to open your eyes? You can’t open it accordingly to the tradition. Not knowing the truth is ignorance and saṅkhāra are following behind it. It can follow by the three D. A. processes with greed, hatred and delusion. These are the D. A. processes in the beginning, middle and end (see the twelve links of D. A.).

If you know how to open your eyes is in the middle way. If not you are in the extreme, i.e., floating and sinking. Do you know how to listen also? You have to correct all of them (With the six senses-doors, don’t forget the Buddha’s Fire Discourse). In the Saṁyutta Nikāya, the Buddha reminded us for 34 times to look for a teacher who could teach rightly.

Without a right teacher can’t be in the middle way. If the fools become fortunate and they are following the sinking ways (We can see these fools around the world and human history. These people do foolish and stupid things, harming themselves and others after having wealths, powers and fames). Ordinary people become fortunate and following the floating ways (Only the wise knows how to use it for the benefits of others and themselves).

revised on 2019-09-12; cited from (posted on 2019-01-18)

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