revised on 2021-01-11
Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 27th November 1961
It was like someone with the whole body of sores forcing himself through the thorny bushes. There are sores at everywhere of the eye, ear, … and mind (the six senses). Physical object (form), sound, … and mind objects (dhamma ārammaṇa) are thorns. Therefore, kilesa wounds are always arising within us. Someone with sores runs into the thorny bushes it will become worse. And at the eye, ear, … and mind—greed, anger and delusion arise. Therefore, people don’t want to live in forest and the mountain because they don’t use to it. They only want to live in the city with the crowd. It means they want to be hurt or hit with thorns. They have satisfaction with wounds and cuts, and not want to be freed from them (i.e., no appreciation of bodily seclusion—kaya-viveka). The cause of short life is harmed by the thorns of defilement (see, DN. 26 Cakkavatti Sutta). The cause of kamma is very few indeed, if not become a person who has wrong view on kamma (i.e., kammavādī-diṭṭhi—someone has the view of whatever happens is due to kamma or past kammas.)
The Buddha not only taught about the cause of kamma but also the other many causes, as an example—the case of suicide. It was hit with the thorn of the mind, but if you take everything as the result of the past kamma, then it becomes kammavādī-diṭṭhi. Many Buddhists have this view. They blame it on past kammas if something is going wrong. To do things blindly with anger is to be struck by the thorns of the mind. This is the time to stay calm or you will have wounds and trauma. Someone died with fright was hit by the thorn of physical form, with poison was hit by the thorn of taste, etc. You’re going through the thorny bush and at the same time don’t want to get cuts and wounds is never possible. Even the Buddha couldn’t help you. You can’t hit by thorns if you stay with samatha and vipassanā.
You don’t want to die alone as a lonely mouse, but wanting to die among the relatives. Why is that? Because you want descending to apāya—woeful existence. It means in this way. This is dying with the clinging dhamma. Is it becoming a clinging or not if dying among the affectionate people? The Buddha’s preference and our preference are in the opposite ways. His was Nibbāna and yours are the four apāyas—painful existences. If any one of the six sense objects hits you, you will get the wound. There is no problem handling poison without any wound and cut on the hands, otherwise, you’ll die. It came from Dhammapada. After becoming a stream-winner (sotāpanna), you’ll not harmed by them while going through kilesa thorny forest. In the simile of the six animals’ discourse, the Buddha first mentioned these thorns and continued to talk about the animals. It’s only safe by staying with bodily mental seclusion.
Seclusion by attainments (acquisitions) comes only after the path knowledges. The stay away from the sense objects is bodily seclusion. Contemplating impermanence with the calm mind (samādhi) is mental seclusion (This is not letting the mind go outside to the sense objects by vipassanā practice. It seems to me Sayadaw’s interpretation was more practical in daily life situations.) By handling poison with cuts and wounds, you’ll be gone. So, don’t be playful with your hands which I have to remind you. It’s not easy to talk about this kind of Dhamma. The nature of this Dhamma is quite different from the preference of living beings. The preference of beings is to be hurt by thorns (i.e., kilesa) and Dhamma (i.e., Nibbāna) is to be free from dangers. You have to make the decision that what the Buddha taught was right and your preference is wrong. After the bodily and mental seclusions, practice vipassanā.
(Sayadaw combined these two discourses to deliver the talk; from Saṃyutta Nikāya is the simile of six animals, SN. 35.247 Chappāṇakopamasuttaṃ; and from Aṅguttara Nikāya—on seclusion, AN. 4.138 Nikaṭṭhasuttaṃ.)
Becoming the seclusion by attainments (upadhi viveka) will never be hurt by thorns. Bodily + mental seclusion. → insight contemplation → seclusion by attainment. (There are two attainments—momentary and permanent, i.e., path factors and path knowledge or seeing the rise and fall of khandhas and the cessation of the khandhas.) Seclusion by momentary acquisition is referred to anicca/magga → i.e., discerning of the disappearance of the khandha with insight knowledge. Khandha is the place where sores and wounds grow out (i.e., kilesa diseases). Upadhi viveka is no khandha. No khandha for five or 10 minutes is freed from wounds and cuts (at these periods). There is no khandha to hit by thorns. This was the reason noble disciples used to enter the fruition states. Only by knowing about these things, we like Nibbāna. At this place—the saying of that khandha was the places of diseases (rogato) is becoming clear. This khandha is like a hospital with patients. The cessation of this khandha is Nibbāna. Only by knowing as you have sores or disease and then you want to be freed from it. Now, you know that we all have sores and wounds. When the path knowledge of no desire to live with this big sore (i.e., khandha) arises, and you’ll know its real nature.
The khandha has the nature of pīḷanāṭṭha—oppress being without any sympathy. It oppresses beings with 96 kinds of illness (roga) and the wounds of sense objects. You have been oppressed by it because you have it. Don’t refer it to the past kammas. (Most Buddhists referred to their misfortunes on kammas but no khandhas and nothing would happen.) Then, Dāyakas and Dāyikās (i.e., the pāḷi words refer to Buddhist layman and laywoman), you have to make the decision what is important for you. (the audience—No khandha, Venerable) Firstly, don’t push yourself through the thorns (i.e., the thorns of sense objects—for kaya-viveka, restraint of the sense faculties) After that, do samādhi (i.e., citta-viveka by ānāpānasati), and then vipassanā which is turning towards upadhi-viveka seclusion by acquisition. You’ll see the wounds arise in blips, and then continue with the contemplation until become disenchanted with it. With the existence of this khandha and Nibbāna is covered up. (This point is interesting for contemplation to know about the relationship between khandha and Kilesa and nature of Nibbāna). Kilesas cover on knowledge (ñāṇa), and again khandha (dukkha sacca) covers on Nibbāna. You don’t want this khandha if you know its growth with wounds and sores. And then knowledge (ñāṇa—i.e., the contemplative mind) does not turn towards upadhi khandha; instead, it turns towards Nibbāna which has no upadhi khandha.
revised on 2021-01-11
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