Wise Attention and Effort


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 9th January 1961

With wise attention (yoniso) and effort, wisdom (paññā) becomes sharp. If wise attention is good and knowledge – ñāṇa cutting off defilements of the mind. With not good attention can’t see impermanence, and ñāṇa not cutting off kileasas.

You have to remember that including with both of wise attention and ñāṇa and kilesas will cut off. Then, good yoniso is the helper of knowledge. With only ñāṇa can’t do anything. With wise attention and ñāṇa becomes sharp. With the wise attention of anicca and ñāṇa is cutting kilesas.

With the wise attention of dukkha and anatta are also in the same way. With asubha and dukkha sacca are also the same. With wrong attention andñāṇa doesn’t has the chances to come in. These points were the Buddha taught to Ven.

Potthila (Told the story of Potthila). An iguana was hiding in an earth mound with the 6 outlets. If you want to catch it, close the 5 outlets and waiting and watching at the opened one. In the same way close the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body, the 5 outlets. And then contemplate whatever arising from the mind outlet (mano).

“From the mind door contemplate of impermanence with good attention.” The Buddha taught to Ven. Potthila from the monastery.If you have right attention and wisdom develops. With wrong attention and wisdom dries up.

(These 2 points are very important for development of wisdom. In everyday life we should use the Buddha’s Teachings wisely to contemplate our experiences. Then we’ll see ourselves become wiser and wiser. Not just sitting there for meditation only. If we are watching the polluted medias everyday for many hours or unwholesome educations and our mind becomes more defiled).

Anicca, dukkha, anatta, asubha and dukkha sacca; these are the 5 right attentions.It’s like cutting the rice plants. Wise attention is like the left hand collecting and grasping at the rice plants. And knowledge (ñāṇa) is like the right hand holding the sickle and cutting the rice plants in the left hand (a simile from the Milinda Pañha).

Different kinds of vedana are arising in the body. If you can contemplate impermanence of them and ñāṇa cutting off kilesas. With wrong attention and taints – āsava arise. Remember these opposites; the results of wise and unwise attentions.

For e.g, seeing a flower and not contemplate it as anicca. And instead contemplate it as beautiful and desire (lobha) arises. If you are looking at a person as disgusting. It’s wrong attention and follow with anger.

(All these kinds of things are important in daily life. We built characters and habits by how we behave or react to the sensual worlds).

With wrong attention and taint of ignorance follows. With ignorance and lobha/dosa arise. Have to remember that, if taints arises and you’re far away from Nibbāna. If smell arises should not has wrong attention.

Contemplate it as impermanence and the D.A. process is cutting off there. If not, will follow with anger. You all must remember is making effort with right attention and will cut off kilesas. It’s like holding the sickle firmly and cutting off the rice plants with force.

Therefore, there are 2 helpers for knowledge (ñāṇa); with right attention and practice with effort and ñāṇa will become sharp. For example, if you put down a sharp knife and it can cut things off by itself? These words are important, and have to remember it.

Ven. Potthila became arahant with these 2 points. With wrong attention, and if the mind is straying away to here andthere and ñāṇa can’t sharp. If feelings are arising in the body and contemplate them as not me, nor a person and not a being, only anicca.

After that continue the contemplation as dukkha. sacca. Rice plants are kilesas, the left – hand collecting and grasping the plant is right attention, right hand holding the sickle is effort and the sickle is knowledge/ñāṇa).


cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4241&p=36184#p36184 (posted on 2019-03-25)


  • Content of Part 10 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

  • Content of "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

  • Content of Publications of Ven. Uttamo

This is only an experimental WWW. It's always under construction (proofreading, revising)!

According to the translator— Ven. Uttamo's words, this is strictly for free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma—Dhamma Dāna. You may re-format, reprint, translate, and redistribute this work in any medium.