Three Steps to Nibbāna

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 8th to 10th July 1962


Only the truth of Dhamma (sacca dhamma) can arrive to Nibbāna. In the discourse; Turning of the wheel of Dhamma (Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta), in the beginning the Buddha taught the 5 ascetics (Pañccavaggi) on Knowledge about the truth (sacca ñāṇa). Afrer that taught about what was the function of the truth? This was the working knowledge of the truth (kicca ñāṇa).

After that taught the ending of Kicca Ñāṇa which was knowing the end of the working knowledge (kata ñāṇa). Taking notes of these in gist. If you want to arrive Nibbāna, which is the ending of all dukkha and these 3 knowledges are very important.

Where were you coming from? (Pointing to the D.A process chart). You all came from avijjā (not knowing). What was you didn’t know? Not knowing the truth was ignorance (avijjā). Therefore I come here for opening your eyes. Traditionally all are blind people. If the right dhamma disappears and saṁsāra will be long. On behalf of the truth I’ll not talk lightly to anyone.

If the right dhamma disappears and all will be in dukkha. Every day you are doing things for sufferings. (doing samudaya and dukkha). Therefore the other 2 truths are disappearing from you (magga and nirodha). If the cutting knowledge (ñāṇa) arises and you will get Nibbāna.

Is Nibbāna far or near? At the 6 sense-doors, minds are starting to arise. You have to know them (knowing the arising minds). Also have to know the contact (phassa) and good or bad feelings (vedana). Every time all the different minds arise, have to follow their impermanence.

Saṁsāra is long means the phenomena (dhamma) are long in the khandha process (The continuation of the D.A process). If you see dukkha sacca with magga sacca, become cakkhuṁ udapādi-vision arises. Every mind, feeling, etc arise and seeing their impermanence, become vijjā udapādi-knowledge arises. Cessation of dukkha and taṇhā is Nibbāna.

Therefore Nibbāna is for someone knows the truth and how to cut off dukkha and taṇhā. That is the cessation of samudaya and dukkha. From taṇhā, upādānaṁ and kamma are samudaya and jati is dukkha (From the D.A chart, section 3 and section 4). The arising dhamma are satipaṭṭhāna (Knowing the phenomenon arises is sati). Knowing their impermanence are magga (the path factors).

So it becomes satipaṭṭhāna magga. If you can continue in this way lokuttara magga (Path Knowledge) will arise. This is the last knowledge (Kata Ñāṇa). I’ll show their connection. These are not easy to talk. So make notes carefully. Whatever arsing is dukkha sacca. Knowing is ñāṇa.

So it is knowledge of the truth – sacca ñāṇa. Whatever arising is dukkha has 2 meaning: the first one; impermanent is dukkha. The second one; without knowing the arising dhamma and continues to jati is also dukkha. People think Dhammacakka-pavattana Sutta is difficult. Without a teacher, it’s difficult. I’ll talk about Kicca Ñāṇa in gist.

Every time mind, feeling, etc. arise and ask them. What are your functions? The answer will be, our functions are arising and passing away. So the function of mind and form are arising and vanishing.


Where is the truth? Your khandha is the truth. If you know the truth will realize Nibbāna. The khandha has the 5 aggregates. And whichever aggregate you contemplate only dukkha sacca-truth of dukkha. By teaching you to know about suffering and the desire to free from it will arise. Avijjā is not knowing anything. It means not knowing what should be known (i.e. not knowing the truth).

And knowing what shouldn’t be known (i.e. knowing about things which are not truths). Therefore, this is a dhamma (ignorance) give you a lot of trouble. It’s the champion in bad things and forbidden to Nibbāna. It never do the job of freedom and only doing the round of existence.

The first discourse of the Buddha, the Dhammacakka-pavattana Sutta was the sacca Dhamma-truth of Dhamma. But you put the dhamma of dāna, sila, and samatha at the fore front that sacca dhamma is out of the sight. Whoever not knowing the truth and his both eyes doesn’t has the light yet. If you get the light and will go the right way.

There are 2 types of dhamma. Taṇhā prefers dhammas and ñāṇa prefers dhammas. You can’t go to Nibbāna with taṇhā. Therefore, you have to listen a lot of ñāṇa prefers dhammas. You may think there is only one kind of D.A process. There are the D.A process of a worldling, stream enterer (sotāpanna), once returner (sakātagāmin) and non-returner(anāgāmin).

Only by becoming an arahant and all are cutting off. Whatever arises and knows it as dukkha sacca. Then it becomes vedana paccaya paññā-feeling conditions wisdom. This is knowing the truth and the way to the stream entrance. If vedana paccaya taṇhā-feeling conditions craving which you do everyday. Then it’s the way of a worldling.

I’ll continue to talk kicca ñāṇa. This knowledge is more closer to become a stream enterer. These 3 knowledges were made Kondañño (the first of the 5 pañcavaggis) became a stream enterer. It will take you long in the practice if follow the long process of the insight knowledges. Ordinary disciples no need pāramīs. You only need for listening tha sacca dhamma and wise attention for it.

These came from the Majjima Nikāya and Petakopadesa Text. Now you have to know the function of whatever arising dhamma of form, feeling, mind, and dhamma are carrying ageing and death with them. Are they encounter destruction naturally or the cause of oppression by ageing and death? They’ll tell you that we are subjecting to the function of oppression. You have to see their functions with ñāṇa. If you know their functions and it’s kicca ñāṇa.


Only you know the truth can develop kicca ñāṇa. From these you can realize Nibbāna, which is kata ñāṇa. All the meditation centers are teaching the 16 stages of insight knowledges. In my talks don’t have these and only 3 knowledges. Why it’s too short?

[Before his time and after until now most teachers and yogis talk about these 16 knowledges which are from the commentary). In the Saṃyutta Nikāya the Buddha taught that in this 2 armed length khandha truth existed. (e.g. to Rohitassa Devata).]

I am teaching to people with 3 intentions. (All dhamma teachers should have these intentions) 1. May people could listen to the sacca dhamma 2. May the Dhamma be known by them 3. May people could practice in accordance with the knowledge.

All persons of dukkha sacca (worldlings) are indeed poor people. Because thy don’t have the treasures of a disciple of a noble ones. (These are conviction (saddhā), virtue (sīla), conscience (hiri), concern (ottappa), listening (suta), generosity (cāga) and discernment (paññā)

Nobody can help to deal with old age, sickness and death. Therefore all are lonely and poor. (This point is seemed to be simple and insignificant. But if we contemplate deeply we see the oppression of dukkha sacca)

(Sayadaw continue to talk on dukkha in the everyday life with humor; such as homes, clothes, foods, etc. compared them with hospitals, bandages and medicines, etc.)

The khandha is always oppressing by ageing, sickness and death (jarā, byādhi and maraṇa). So it’s dukkha sacca (the meaning of Pilanatho Oppressive dukkha). Therefore the khandha subjects to the function of oppression. This is kicca ñāṇa. Also subject to the conditioning by taṇhā – craving. Also it’s dukkha sacca.

This is saṅkhatatho – conditioned dukkha. For examples, we are always busy with livelihood of foods, clothings, dwellings, etc. (Conditioned dukkha may be many varieties in wide ranges and never end to talk about this subject).

Khandha is always burning with fires of ageing, sickness and death (including with many types of kilesa fires). This is santapatho – Burning Dukkha. Mind and feeling, etc are arising and vanishing by changing. This is vipariṇāmatho – changing dukkha. All these 4 functions are including in vipassanā knowledges.

Therefore, with the short human life span don’t follow the 16 knowledges. Go with these 4 functional knowledges which is bhāvetabba or vipassanā ñāṇa. Kata ñāṇa are Path Knowledge and Fruition Knowledge. Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta, the first discourse was relating to everyone because it not concerned with the character of a person.

Some discourse were relating to personalities. For example, Bahiya of the Bark – cloth. Teaching on truth (sacca) is dhammānupassanā satipaṭṭhāna. Contemplation of whatever form, feeling, mind and at last all are converging at the impermanent dukkha sacca, which is dhammānupassanā satipaṭṭhāna. All functional knowledge are insight knowledges. You don’t need to know Abhidhamma.

(Sayadaw himself was a well known Abhidhamma teacher of his time. Nowadays some have the view of it as no need to practice in accordance with the Abhidhamma. The suttas not support this point).

Ven. Sāriputta taught the monks to contemplate one’s own mind. Therefore whatever mind arises contemplate any of it. And you’ll see impermanent dukkha sacca. This is kicca ñāṇa. It’s also true as contemplate the dead mind with the alive mind. Because you see your own death with ñāṇa.

If you see your own deaths moment to moment and become disenchantment. After that comes the knowledge of not wanting your own deaths. This arises and all the khandhas disappear. Dukkha sacca disappears and sukha arises at its place. Knowing of dukkha not exists is kata ñāṇa.

cited from (posted on 2019-02-16)

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