Wrong View on Nibbāna
revised on 2019-10-02
Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 11th and 12th July, 1962
Not knowing of Nibbāna becomes annihilationism (also can be eternalism). We know Nibbāna as the cessation of mind and form and taṇhā (from the suttas). After the cessation of these things and take it as nothing exists anymore and run into annihilationism. Teaching on Nibbāna is quite a heavy subject. Taking Nibbāna as a place or a city (even as a permanent heavenly existence) is eternalism.
Taking Nibbāna as without mind and form and run into annihilationism. Without the penetrative knowledge, Nibbāna and wrong views are very close to each other. If saying Nibbāna as nothing arises and craving people (bhava taṇhā) will reject it. (This was one of the reasons and some taṇhā people have bhava taṇhā — craving for existence that creating a superior heavenly existence to represent Nibbāna).
Now, you’ll know clearly the existence of Nibbāna taught by the Buddha. You can arrive to Nibbāna or seeing it only in the middle way by going between the two wrong views (sassata and uccheda). People are taking it as extinction or a special place. Therefore whatever you are giving (dāna) with wrong view will never arrive there.
All the Buddhas taught that living beings caught up with sassata and uccheda views never realized Nibbāna (So this point is very important for all Buddhists who want to transcend dukkha). Therefore we have to talk about Nibbāna free from sassata and uccheda views.
(Sayadaw continued to Aggivaccha Sutta, MN.72 Aggivacchasuttaṃ) This was the discourse on Nibbāna. In the time of the Buddha they used loka (the world) for mind and form. Rebirth consciousness (paṭisandhi viññāṇaṁ) was already finished in the past.
Now, from the five khandhas of saḷāyatana (6 sense-bases) we take the present consciousness (pavutti viññāṇaṁ) which is mind (manāyatana). Inside of the mind and form (nāma/rūpa), 6sense-bases (saḷāyatana), contact (phassa), feeling (vedanā), there is neither man nor woman, neither person nor being exists. Before talking about Aggivaccha, I am dispelling diṭṭhi for you.
Listening to this talk is not me, a person or being and only mind and form, or khandha dukkha sacca. We have to base on the D. A. process to talk about Nibbāna. Because of ignorance, volitional formation arises → rebirth consciousness → mind and form → six senses bases → contact → feeling arises.
These are causes and effects connection. Here is dispelling your doubt. Human being, cow, chicken, pig, etc. all are so called with conventional truth (sammuti sacca). All their sources of existences are the same. Nobody creates them (God or Mahā Brahma).
With the causes and the results are arising. Diṭṭhi falls away by knowing the arising phenomena. Visuddhimagga Text book defined it as cūḷa-sotāpanna. This is falling away of wrong view by knowing (not directly). Knowing is knowledge.
The brahmin Aggivaccha asked the Buddha if we took these views what would happen (his wrong views to the Buddha). It became wrong views. ‘‘Please talk about Gotama’s view. ’’ ‘‘My view is mind and form are arising and passing away.’’ Therefore I am asking you to contemplate impermanence is the view of the Buddha. The right knowing of impermanent dukkha sacca with the magga sacca is the view of Buddhists.
Without listening to these kind of talks all people have wrong views. With the resistance of diṭṭhi and can‘t realize Nibbāna (because the first stage of realization is destroying wrong views). These reject Nibbāna. Therefore after dispelling diṭṭhi that people should do the offerings (dāna).
What is the benefit of taking the view of impermanence? Taṇhā, māna and diṭṭhi will cease. This is the doctrine of the cessation of papañca dhamma or to Nibbāna. Papañca dhamma are making beings running like a circle in saṁsāra. Ni-papañca is Nibbāna (Taṇhā, māna and diṭṭhi are papañca).
Practice without the appreciation of Nibbāna and can’t realize it. Only free from sassata and uccheda views that it is possible. You have to understand D. A. process for the appreciation of Nibbāna. Do you have to do the prayers, if you want Nibbāna? Or you have to understand the process of D. A. and know how to cut it?
You will never realize Nibbāna if you don’t understand the process and how to cut it because you do it blindly and without knowledge anything about it.
(Sayadaw gave the example of Ven. Channa on this point). If you understand the continuation of D. A. process and will understand dukkha sacca. And also if you understand the disconnection of D. A. process and will understand magga sacca. In this way nirodha (cessation of dukkha) comes in by itself.
If you know the connection and know that samudaya is its cause. Dukkha sacca is including in the continuation of the D. A. process. Also, Nibbāna is including in the disconnection of D. A. process. If you don’t know them, sassata and uccheda views come in as hindrances. Impermanent view is cutting off both views.
By seeing impermanence with the contemplation of any one of the four satipaṭṭhāna is on the right path. By observing the khandha process and diṭṭhi is cleared up, and not only with the intellectual knowledge. Therefore you have to look at the khandha. Whatever mind arises and contemplate its impermanence and section ② not connect with the section ③ (viññāṇa…. vedanā and taṇhā…. kamma).
The present causes are cutting off and the future results will not arise. [section ③ and section ④]. With this you know Nibbāna roughly. What do you call the cessation of samudaya and dukkha? It’s called Nibbāna. Before, it’s only samudaya and dukkha arise; but without dukkha and magga. If taṇhā and dukkha cease, it’s Nibbāna.
With the understanding of the cutting off D. A. process that you appreciate Nibbāna. Therefore two views on Nibbāna arise. The end of Taṇhā is Nibbāna and The end of Khandha is Nibbāna. This is to know Nibbāna from the cause and effect connection.
The brahmin (Aggivaccha) continued to ask; ‘‘With the cessation of papañca dhamma, where the person was gone? ‘’ The Buddha not answered his question. It was sassata view having the thought that the person was gone to somewhere whereas was uccheda view for not going anywhere. His mind was confused with diṭṭhi and Nibbāna. Only with teaching by clearing up wrong views as much as possible, that Nibbāna comes into appearance.
Khandha are like fuels and kilesa fire. Therefore you all are burning with kilesa fire (so human world is like a hell). Fuels and fire are going together that our situations are quite worse (So human beings are also like the fire petas whom Ven. Mahā-moggallāna met. Human beings create all these unpleasant things from this human world).
Is there including any happy person? The fire will be extinguished if the fuels are gone. Therefore by getting the khandha isn’t good. If using the ultimate reality; only dukkha and samudaya are going together. With concept; fuels and fire are together. Do the contemplation of insight means asking you to view the burning of the fuels and fire. Rise and fall, rise and fall, etc. are these burning processes (impermanent).
All the khandhas are always disappearing by burning with ageing and death fire. Therefore you know your own horrible existence. You'll be sure to realize Nibbāna if your magga is in accordance with the impermanence.
By practicing in the morning, you attain realization in the evening, vice versa; if kilesa not comes in between them (i.e., between anicca and magga). (From the Majjhima Nikāya) Why don’t you realize it? Because your khandha are going to connect with taṇhā. You all have the habits of connections. Only you have the habit of disconnection will realize Nibbāna.
If section ③ and section ④ not arise will get Nibbāna. (i.e., taṇhā…. . kamma and jāti…). Taṇhā nirodho Nibbānaṁ and khandha nirodho Nibbānaṁ — Cessation of craving and khandha is Nibbāna. Therefore you get the round of existence by connection and Nibbāna is disconnection. A person can alive with each mind moment. One will die if next mind does not arise.
So contemplate the dead mind with the alive mind, or contemplate the pre-mind with the post-mind. The pre-mind is the dead mind which is dukkha sacca. The post-mind is the alive mind which is magga sacca. Every time the mind dies and seeing with the alive mind and saṁsāra will be cut off. If you see your own deaths; “Do you want to get human and heavenly existences by prayers?”
It becomes disenchantment. Seeing the dead is yathābhūta ñāṇa — knowledge of as it really is. Disenchantment is nibbidā ñāṇa. At the time of not wanting it is magga ñāṇa — Path knowledge. At that moment all the five khandhas disappear. All the death shows are finished which is Nibbāna. Seeing it is magga ñāṇa.
So these are nirodha and magga — cessation of dukkha and the eight path factors. The Buddha said; ‘‘the journey to Nibbāna is not far and very near’’ And then why don’t we arrive there? Because we are going in the crooked way. We are running in a circular way. If kilesas are coming in, you don’t get it this life and also next life. Therefore, it’s important not let kilesas come in. Contemplate them as impermanence if they come in.
revised on 2019-10-02; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4192&p=35964#p35964 (posted on 2019-02-16)
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