revised on 2020-12-30
Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 19th to 20th December 1961
In the Rādha-saṃyuttaṃ (SN. 23), Ven. Rādha asked the Buddha what Mara or Death was. (Here Mara is a metaphor for death or killer and the aggregates or khandhas). The form (rūpa) dhamma will kill you. You have to die because the form exists. You have to contemplate the impermanent form as the killer; if you can’t, it’ll kill you for many lives to come. You conquer the khandha—Marā if you can contemplate it and become disenchanted and ending of it. Feeling phenomena is also the killer. The other perceptions (saññā), volitional formations (saṅkhāra) and consciousness (viññāṇa) are also killers. The five khandhas will kill the person who got it by prayers. (Most Buddhists are craving for sugati khandhas or good rebirths, so they make merits and praying for it.) Dying with the tight and stiff body is killed by the earth element (paṭhavī); overflow with urine and blood is by water element (āpo); overheat is by heat element (tejo). A person dying with the swollen body is killed by wind element (vāyo). Someone dies by eating something which should not be eaten (because taking it as good); this is killed by perception (saññā).
(Sayadaw continued to mention on each of the other khandhas). The five khandhas are not to be seen as secure. The killer is not far away, it exists inside us. The five khandhas oppress the owner without any sympathy (pīḷanāṭṭha); when still alive, force you to work like a slave and in the end, it kills you. Discerning of impermanence is seeing one’s killing dhamma. With the discerning will shun from them. Only by discerning of the truth of dukkha will free from death.
The real search should be freed from death, but the majority are looking for death. They are searching or looking for their killers (i.e., the khandhas—so they fall in love with their killers, so stupid indeed). Not only they can’t see the khandhas as enemies even serving and looking after them. For the vipassanā yogi, “I’ll break apart with you.” Samatha yogi is searching for the killer, therefore he can’t arrive to Nibbāna. Yogis not discovered Nibbāna because they couldn’t transcend the truth of dukkha. Only by knowing the truth of dukkha thoroughly will success. To free from death, we have to kill the khandha (i.e., the killer). Until now, in the whole of saṃsāra we had been killed by them.
Praying for any life is inviting the Marā (i.e., the king of death—the killer) (The bhava-taṇhā of some Buddhists were extremely so strong that they made impossible prayers and vows to save every single being until the hells were empty—it meant we liked to stay in saṃsāra forever.) We’re living together with the five killers of the five khandhas. Even before death, the form dhamma oppresses and tortures us. In vipassanā contemplation on form (rūpa)—contemplate it as the dhamma leads to death and pīḷanāṭṭha—the dhamma oppresses and tortures beings without any sympathy. Sometime people were asking about the causes of death as what kinds of vedanā, what kinds of food poisoning (i.e., on saññā), etc. led to the death of a person. Some died by going to places which shouldn’t be gone (i.e., saṅkhāra). Some couldn’t control their minds and committed suicide (i.e., viññāṇa). Beings make prayers for the khandhas with the taints (āsava) of sensuality, becoming and ignorance (i.e., kāmāsava, bhavāsava and avijjāsava). I am urging you don’t desire the khandha and don’t invite the killers, if not at near death will cry out for “Save me! Help me!”
Don’t be afraid of to be killed, but you have to be afraid of craving for becoming (bhava-taṇhā).
You have to accept the truth of dukkha (dukkha sacca) if you have done the truth of its causes (samudaya sacca). It is taints (āsava) pushing you there, and the killers are the five khandhas. Do you want to become a corpse in other mouth? (i.e., rebirth as animal and ending in other mouth—it may be man or beast.) Or a corpse buried in the earth (as human)? There are 40 extended meanings of anicca, dukkha and anatta characteristics. Whatever talk about, it will include characteristic with rising and falling (anicca). You’ll get the knowledge of as it really is (yathābhūta ñāṇa) if you discern impermanence. You have to continue the contemplation to develop the knowledge of disenchantment (nibbidā ñāṇa). And then continue to contemplate until you don’t want it, with this not wanting the five khandhas disappear. You find the undying place (this is metaphorical term). The knowledge or the mind inclines towards undying (no arising and dying). You have to try it out. I am telling you the way to it. From the dying element, it turns towards the undying element (Nibbāna). The undying place appears and let the knowledge (ñāṇa) stay with it. Don’t look for the place of cessation of dukkha. This is the cessation of dukkha. It’s not conquered the khandha—Marā yet. Reflect it with the reviewing knowledge (paccavekkhana ñāṇa). You experience at the cessation (i.e., nirodha—the cessation of the khandhas) if you review it a lot.
Discerning of impermanence is insight knowledge (vipassanā ñāṇa). Seeing Nibbāna is path knowledge, fruition knowledge and reviewing knowledge (i.e., magga- ñāṇa, phala- ñāṇa and paccavekkhana- ñāṇa) At the first path knowledge (i.e., sotāpatti-magga), diṭṭhi-kilesa (defilement of wrong view) and diṭṭhi-khandha (khandha existence related to wrong view—i.e., painful existences) disappeared. Each of the taints of sensuality, becoming and ignorance (kāmāsava, bhavāsava and avijjāsava) are reduced to its 1/4 strength. The axle of diṭṭhāsava (taint of wrong view) completely broken down and can’t revolve any more (see Part V—Breaking the Axle of the Taints). Therefore, sotāpanna (all noble beings) can’t fall into painful existences (apāyas). The 2nd and 3rd path knowledges break down the axle of kāmāsava (the taint of sensuality). The 4th path knowledge breaks down the axle of bhavāsava and avijjāsava (the taints of becoming and ignorance). Now, you all completed with the decisive support condition (upanissaya paccaya). You have to try with path condition (magga paccaya) to free from the three vaṭṭas (rounds of existence—i.e., kilesa, kamma and khandha). You have enough 23 conditions (i.e., refer to the 24 conditional relations—paṭṭhāna) and only need the path condition (magga paccayo). This is very important. For example, all the food dishes are in ready, and it only needs one type of salt.
revised on 2020-12-30
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