Unwise Attention and Sufferings


revised on 2019-09-12


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 17th December 1961

The Buddha taught that with wise attention (yoniso) would arrive to Nibbāna. Sabbe saṅkhāra anicca — as all conditioned phenomena are impermanent, with contemplation of form (rūpa), feeling (vedanā), etc. and will see all of them are impermanent.

Close your eyes and observe the khandha with knowledge (ñāṇa) and will see the feelings are arising here and vanishing here. All are impermanent (anicca). Minds are also in the same way and you can’t control of them. Someone with wise attention doesn’t find me or him and only find impermanence.

Seeing the vanishing phenomena is seeing anicca. With unwise attention; my mind, I am feeling good, I am in pain, etc. making the feeling (vedanā) as; “I”. “I see it” is neutral feeling and making it as “I”. “I” is wrong view. From behind it will follow clinging with wrong view (diṭṭhupādāna). And also follow with action, kamma paccaya jāti — action conditions birth.

The fault of unwise attention is even leading to the planes of misery. The fault of unwise attention is very great indeed. We are taking impermanence, dukkha, not-self as sons and daughters that become worry and crying follow with sorrow, lamentation, etc. Why does it happen? Because of not approaching a good teacher and not listening to the noble teaching.

Unwise attention hinders Path and Fruition Knowledges (Sayadaw mentioned some of the problems encounter in daily life by unwise attention). Therefore you have to note it as a very important dhamma. Smile and grimace arise by unwise attention. Hungry ghost and hell exist by unwise attention. Taints (āsava) send beings to the planes of misery, human beings, celestial beings and brahma gods. Sent by āsava, whatever planes you arrive, it only gets ageing, sickness and death. With unwise attention taking the sensual planes as will give us happiness and arriving there. So with unwise attention taints arise. Cause by the taints and beings arrive to different planes of existence. Beings arrive to whichever planes only get ageing, sickness and death.

(see the Sayadaw’s whole circle chart of D. A. process. The axle is representing the taints; the four spokes are actions cause by the taints. The outer-most iron wheel is representing ageing and death. People praying for any plane of existence are not knowing the truth. Not knowing is taint of ignorance (avijjāsava).

The desire for asking is taint of sensuality (kāmāsava). Planes of jhanic existence are taint of becoming (bhavāsava). I want to be there is taint of wrong view (diṭṭhāsava). Beings are taking rebirths according to the turning of the axle of taints. Turning up and down and to all sides are ageing and death.

All the taints are coming from unwise attention and ending up in dukkha sacca. With unwise attention and kilesa arises. Beings are doing actions with kilesa. They encounter ageing, sickness and death with actions and arriving to the planes of existence. Axle of taints is broken down and ends the problems with wise attention. Don’t follow the paths of smile and grimace. It can’t be free from ageing and death.

Noble beings (ariyas) can smile because they are free from ageing and death. They don’t have anything for the grimace and only have Saṁvega (for other living beings because they had direct experienced of dukkha sacca and the taste of Nibbāna). Because of unwise attention beings are wandering among the planes of existence.

In the Saṃyutta Nikāya (Khandhavagga), Ven. Mahākoṭṭhita asked Ven. Sāriputta “Someone has sīla and what should he do?” The answer was; he should have wise attention. Therefore whatever is arising and contemplate its impermanence and no taints arise. Contemplate the five khandhas as impermanent, suffering, disease, a tumour, a dart, misery, affliction, alien, disintegrating, empty and non-self (11 ways).

By contemplating of impermanence and becomes wise attention. Impermanence is anicca and the seeing is magga. Therefore without the ignorance; wrong views, craving for becoming (bhavataṇhā) and the four taints (āsavas) cease. The axle of the taints is broken down. Without the spokes and planes of existence, free from ageing, sickness and death. In sitting meditation, if discerning impermanence and note it as I have right attention.

By seeing impermanence and all the ten ways of contemplation are including in it. (Sayadaw mentioned ten ways but in the sutta mentioned 11 ways. He said lay people no need to know all of them).

The Path Knowledge is like a knife. It’s breaking down the axle of the taint. Except vipassanā there is no other refuge. Except discerning impermanence no one will save you (No Buddhas, no bodhisattas and no Gods act as a Saviour. Nowadays a lot of Buddhists rely one outside powers and becoming like other faiths.)


revised on 2019-09-12; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4091&p=35858#p35858 (posted on 2019-01-18)


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