On Nibbāna


revised on 2019-10-02


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 18th June 1962

Kamma vanishes and Nibbāna also vanishes if Nibbāna is made by kamma. It’s stable Nibbāna — dhuva-Nibbāna, and no connection with kamma, hetu (cause) and utu (temperature). Why can’t people arrive there and see it if it always exists? These are the questions for reasoning. This is not the cause and effect of kamma. This is the cause and effect Dhamma of knowledge (ñāṇa/ñāṇaṁ).

Therefore, you have to work with ñāṇa. This Nibbāna is not made by ñāṇa. If it’s so, it will also vanish after ñāṇa vanishes. This is Dhamma sent by ñāṇa. Therefore it’s not the way of kamma, but the way of ñāṇa. Kamma is only a supporting factor (upatthambhaka). Buddhists are making merits and ask prayers as it will be the supporting of Nibbāna (it means with wholesome kamma realize Nibbāna).

You must note that only will get it by adding ñāṇa to kamma. Nibbāna Dhamma exists naturally. King Milinda asked Ven. Nāgasena, ‘‘Please explain for the characteristic (lakkhaṇa) of ñāṇa. ’’ He answered, ‘‘Light appears and darkness disappears when lighting a fire in the darkness. Now, you see things with light.

So the lakkhaṇa of ñāṇa is dispelling ignorance. Give you the light of wisdom and showing you the existence of Nibbāna. ’’ The reason why you can’t see Nibbāna is it's covered up with the darkness of ignorance and no light of wisdom. Therefore you can’t see the always existing Nibbāna.

Is it the work of prayer or knowledge (ñāṇa)? I must talk about the importance of ñāṇa. For example, Dukkhe ñāṇaṁ — the knowledge of knowing dukkha, Dukkha samudaye ñāṇaṁ the knowledge of knowing the cause of dukkha, etc.

The Buddha was using it as the knowledge of knowing the Four Noble Truths. These are sufficient evidence. With only kamma and no ñāṇa included, it will be on the wrong way (we could see this in some monks and lay people at the time of the Buddha. Because of their good kammas, they met the Buddha but not realized Dhamma). They later jump into the woeful planes after arising to blissful planes (sugati). For example, the 500 celestial nymphs of Subrahmā Devata fell into hell after death.

In the Paṭṭhāna, Conditional Relations was mentioned, Maggapaccayo — Path Condition. It was also taught about knowledge. Therefore, with kamma you must add knowledge in it. Then it will become ñāṇam udapādi — knowledge arises, vijjā udapādi — true knowledge arises, etc.

It was all talking about the ways of knowledges. Nibbāna is always existing Dhamma. Not made by anyone and anything. Then it must good to see it. Note it this way.

Nibbāna is covered up by ignorance; this is one of the covers. After uncovering ignorance and it’s covered up again with the khandha. It is the cause of ignorance why you can’t see the impermanent khandha. Still you can’t see Nibbāna after seeing impermanence. Only the impermanent khandha does not exist, it is khandha nirodho nibbānaṁ (which means the cessation of khanda is Nibbāna).

Therefore, Nibbāna is hidden by two dhammas. You can’t see impermanence if you don’t move ignorance away, and also if you don’t follow the impermanent khandha to the end.

First, you have to dispel ignorance away. Second, you have to follow the impermanent khandha to the end. Taṇhā ends Nibbāna and khandha ends also Nibbāna. It’s very rare for someone expresses this way (Indeed, Sayadaw was quite a rare teacher who could explain on practice very clear and profound theoretically and practically).

You can’t find a man or woman, and only seeing impermanence after uncovering ignorance and craving (avijjā and taṇhā). Originally only impermanence exists. Because, Sabbe saṅkhāra anicca — All condition phenomena are impermanent (Amazing Buddhas, without them none could teach the reality. So all living beings are living with delusions and dying with delusions). Avijjā and taṇhā are samudaya sacca — ignorance and craving are the cause of the truth of dukkha. Impermanent khandha is dukkha sacca — Impermanent khandha is the truth of dukkha.

Therefore two Noble truths are covered up Nibbāna. The teacher must talk about the ways of uncovering of ignorance and craving. (Instead some are teaching people to come back again and again for sufferings. Only people with kilesa can come back again and again without end).

Open up the mind door and close the other five doors. Penetrate the khandha with knowledge and a person or a being disappears and discover feeling, mind and impermanent khandha. Avijjā and taṇhā blow away and this is moving away one cover only.

Now, you start to see the khandha. Contemplate one of the four satipaṭṭhāna and don’t contemplate all of them. Watch and observe and see what the khandha will tell you. With the watching and observing, the khandha is arising and vanishing. And you see the anicca khandha.

You only get the inside knowledge yet. Follow the arising and observe its anicca. Impermanence is anicca, dukkha, anatta and asubha (because it dies). We give four names to it, but that observation is impermanent. Again Nibbāna is covering up with anicca, dukkha, anatta and asubha.

Why is that? Because Nibbāna is nicca, sukha, anatta and subha. Nibbāna is anatta, because nobody can make it. (Also the Buddha’s words — Sabbe dhamma anatta — All dhammas are not-self, including Nibbāna.) Develop the impermanence by exercising it (i.e., bhāvetabba).

It will become maturity. Then you see that one’s own khandha is in dukkha. And you know it as real suffering. Knowing dukkha thoroughly is penetrating dukkha sacca. Wrong view and doubt fall away. Kilesa and khandha cease. It cut off two phenomena, i.e., kilesa and khandha. Cessation of dukkha is Nibbāna. Knowing the cessation is the path knowledge.


revised on 2019-10-02; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4192&p=35957#p35957 (posted on 2019-02-16)


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