Mountains of Bones and Oceans of Blood

revised on 2020-06-15

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 2nd to 3rd September 1962


[In the book of causation, Nidānavagga, there was a chapter called Without Discoverable Beginning, Anamatagga saṃyutta. The Buddha gave some similes on the subject of Saṁsāra — round of existence without discoverable beginning.

Some of them were: ① Tears shed by a living being in Saṁsāra was more than the four great oceans. ② The mothers’ milk a being had drunk was more than four great oceans. ③ The blood a being had shed by beheading was more than the four great oceans.

After the Buddha passed away, some Buddhist philosophers or even practitioners postulated theory of the beginning of Saṁsāra or everything, the first cause. In the time of the Buddha, some of the 62 wrong views came from practices and miscalculation. ]

If you are making merits (puñña) based on craving (taṇhā), it becomes black and white mixed kamma. Therefore, you’ll get the human existence. With only taṇhā, you can’t get it. Merit is white and the desire for becoming is black. So it becomes samudaya sacca. Mostly monks are using samudaya sacca to teach people as good. Samudaya has to be abandoned.

(Sayadaw was very different from others. Always teaching people to transcend dukkha for whatever wholesome kamma they are doing).

Why do I say it’s samudaya? Because it’s governed by ignorance (avijjā). People who know this point will do merits for not wanting becoming. If you have done samudaya sacca, it’ll give the result of dukkha. Only cutting off the round of existence (vaṭṭa), will realize Nibbāna.

Now people are making merits for connection of vaṭṭas. With kilesa vaṭṭa, kamma vaṭṭa arises. With kamma vaṭṭa, vipāka vaṭṭa is sure to arise. (Defilements lead to actions and actions lead to existences.) That people are making merits for wanting to have a long life and good health mean including taṇhā with the affectionate khandha.

When making the merits, we can’t realize about it. Only by contemplating about them with truth, we know that as dukkha. Importance of right view is becoming clear. Even merit is dukkha, no need to mention about demerit. Then, someone says, let us make merits for good fortune.

This is clinging to the khandha. All are based on the attachment to khandha, not including to come out from the vaṭṭas. We are always doing the avijjā paccaya saṅkhāra — action with ignorance. Therefore, not anyone of them will realize Nibbāna if 100,000 human beings die. Rise and fall of the khandha is the truth of dukkha.

Therefore, khandha is dukkha sacca. You all said that it was taught by the Buddha. But truth always exists without the Buddha. The Buddha only explained it with names. Truth had existed before the Buddha. Therefore, you have to remember that whenever you have khandha, dukkha exists.

Whatever arises from khandha is dukkha sacca. By knowing impermanence, diṭṭhi falls away. After knowing the cause and effect, doubt falls away. After diṭṭhi falls away and with contemplation is a cūḷa-sotāpanna. With the contemplation and discerning of impermanence will become sotāpanna.


If you don’t know the truth, your bones will be higher than Mt. Vepulla (at Rājagaha). Buddhas had arisen in the world as many as the numbers of sand grains in the Ganges River. Now you are discerning anicca and knowing dukkha sacca. You’ll not die again. Because section ② is not connecting with section ③ (i.e., viññāṇa…vedanā ˃/ taṇhā…kamma).

By seeing the arising and falling dukkha, ñāṇa cut off saṁsāra. Saṁsāra is long because we don’t know dukkha sacca with the Path knowledge. Following in the ways of traditions, our bones were piled up like mountains. (Here traditions mean worldly matters, dāna, sīla, and samatha practices, etc.)

Our khandhas rise and fall. Seeing impermanence is seeing dukkha. By seeing dukkha, taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma die out. No more birth (jāti), ageing (jarā) and death (maraṇa) arise. Therefore, the truth to Nibbāna is to know the Noble Truth. Making worldly developments are the matters of bones developments (Even may be worse than bones developments because human beings misuse them in unwholesome ways. The results are painful births).

Especially today you have to remember these things. If you contemplate and discern impermanence of the arising dhamma, section ① of ignorance (avijjā) becomes knowledge (vijjā). And mental formation (saṅkhāra) becomes non-mental formation (vi-saṅkhāra).

Also you'll know the section ② as dukkha sacca (i.e., viññāṇa…vedanā = the five khandhas). And also it cuts off section ③ and ④ not to arise (i.e., taṇhā, upādāna, kamma ≯ jāti).

The magga (path factors) sees dukkha sacca and cut off D. A. cycle of section ① to section ④ and it can’t recycle again. Section ① and ② are cut off by knowing dukkha. Section ③ and ④ are cut off by abandoning. Therefore, the whole circle is vanished. Before we are running in circle; now the circular running is cut off.

The circular running of samudaya and dukkha saccas is finished. The cessation of samudaya and dukkha is Nibbāna. They are ceased with the arising of magga and nirodha. The person working with impermanence knows two truths and then abandoning two truths.

Therefore, the circular running show comes to an end. In reality, all the four truths are included in the knowing dukkha sacca with magga sacca. The Buddha has arisen in the world to open the ñāṇa eyes for not connecting sections ③ and ④, or to cut off sections ② and ③. For a person, the journey is not ending; sorrow and lamentation are always following him.

Craving, clinging and action (taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma) are the dhammas for the extension of saṁsāra. It doesn’t matter to reduce your work and eating. But if you reduce the practice or not doing the practice, your bones will pile up like a mountain. It’s quite terrible.

Now if you don’t practice, your dukkha can’t vanish just like the simile given by the Buddha. It was like using a blade of grass dipping into the sea and shaking the water out each time and the sea water would never dry up. The Buddha said these things with his direct penetrative knowledge.

(Sayadaw here warned the audience about the passing away of Henzada U Mya, a well-known business man and a close disciple of him. Nearly a month before he died, Sayadaw met him in Rangoon (Yan-gon) (Yangon) and warned him again for practice. He never took Sayadaw’s warning seriously and was always busy with making money. So, Sayadaw now urged his audiences for practice and not wasting their precious time on money.)

revised on 2020-06-15; cited from (posted on 2019-02-17)

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