Instruction on Dying

revised on 2021-03-16

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; no date noted

When you all were young and with ignorance had done foolish things before. You should never think about these things during the practice and non-practice. You have to forget about them. Don’t let worry (kukkucca) come in (such as: it’s still not finish yet) if you’re making merits.

Restlessness (uddhacca) and worry are arising to people who have dispersed minds. Without dispersion, it’ll not arise. These are two fearful dhammas. It is kukkucca after doing bad things and becoming worry. It is also kukkucca to worry about not yet doing good things.

Everyone has these dhammas. When will these dhammas arise? These may come as near death kammas (āsanna kamma). Even you have looked after your sīla and done merits for your whole life; they may come in and give the results. (Sayadaw gave the example of Queen Mallikā).

Maraṇāsanna kamma is the kamma which is close to death. Birth comes after death. Therefore, it is also close to birth. The mental state of worry and difficulty with this thing sent her to hell. (Queen Mallikā had performed great dāna and merits in her life. But once she had lied to the king for a minor thing and worry arose in her near death.

Sayadaw continued to talk that instead of contemplation one’s own merits (cāgānussati) at near death, it's better to contemplate the khandha with insight. For this point he gave the example of Ven. Phagguna. So every Buddhist should prepare for this beforehand.)

Now you all are getting up when become tired, and also in torpor (i.e., during sitting practice). At the time of death except vipassanā and there is nothing can be relied on. So if you make exertion can become a sotāpanna to arahant (At the Buddha’s time some attained Dhamma in this way; e.g., Ven. Tissa, Ven. Channa, etc).

This is near death wholesome kamma (kusala āsanna kamma). At that time, who will relax on his effort and desire (chanda)? Also it becomes habitual kamma (āciṇṇaka kamma) with the practice of the contemplation of impermanence before death; and one continues with the practice near death and it becomes near death kamma.

(Continued the story of Ven. Sona’s father who was a hunter before. Later he ordained as a novice and near death he saw the sign for the bad destination. But with the help of Sona, he changed the bad to good destination).

So it can be changed for near death kamma. Worry and remorse can be changed. Therefore, at near death good teachers and friends are important to help for the dying people. The best way is changing by oneself with the contemplation of impermanence. (So practice is important for the preparation because of the uncertainty of the dying moments.)

(Told another story of Ven. Tissa and his new robes.) This was one’s belongings tormenting oneself. The Buddha had mentioned that it was frightening for foolish people having wealth and fortunes. Without these things, it was better for them.

(Here foolish person (bāla) does things harmful to himself and others in this life and future to come. Even the Buddha said all the human problems, sufferings and natural disasters were made by bāla people not by the wise person (pandita). The Buddha mentioned the causes of the problems and the ways to deal with them in many suttas).

The old things become renew again and tormenting you. Don’t think about the old unwholesome things. You have to think what is happening in the present khandha (this becomes right thinking). Thinking back the bad things become active phase of cognitive process.

This mind is re-tormenting you. You encounter sufferings by thinking of not good thoughts. Contemplate its impermanence if they arise; and it becomes anicca and magga. You are changing them into anicca. Queen Mallikā and Ven. Tissa were not changing them in this way that fell into hell and became a louse. Continue with the vipassanā practice also make it not arises.

Contemplate its impermanence if they come in and it becomes maggas and no need to fear about it. It becomes vipassanā and also a good change. You will fall into bad destinations if you don’t know how to die; whereas will go to good destinations and Nibbāna if you know how to die.

I am teaching you to Nibbāna with the worry and remorse dhammas. In another way, I am teaching you how to die. Restlessness – uddhacca arises and you think that the mind is running away. The mind doesn’t go anywhere. It’s only aiming at the object. (i.e, thoughts/dhammārams.)

Like a telescopic mirror aiming far away. Restlessness arises at the heart – base (hadaya vatthu), and it may be aimed at the far away object. Restlessness arises at the heart base and falls away at the same spot. Don’t contemplate at the object, but at the place which arises.

Turning your mind towards the heart base where it arises and falls away. If you take the mind as running away is the view of eternalism (sassata diṭṭhi). It’s the same view as the soul/life goes out.

(The view of the existence of a soul is a great problem. Even still many Buddhists are thinking in this way, and including some Buddhist monks. What a pity it is?!)

revised on 2021-03-16; cited from (posted on 2019-04-16)

  • Content of Part 12 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

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