The Most Dangerous Enemy

revised on 2021-01-11

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; (no date)

[Here is again a Dhamma talk based on wrong view (diṭṭhi) which came from Aggivacchagotta Sutta—to Vacchagotta on fire, Majjhima Nikāya (MN 72). Sayadaw himself used this sutta a lot in many of his talks on dealing with diṭṭhi. The Buddha was using the extinction or cessation of fuel and fire for Nibbāna was a very good and clear simile on the nature of Nibbāna. If we study the talks of Mogok Sayadaw, he put more emphasis on killing diṭṭhi because it’s the seed of apāya dugatis (hell, animals and hungry shades).

Combining with taṇhā becomes great taṇhā—diṭṭhi-taṇhā, the sufferings it creates are in wide range and unthinkable. Its influence is from the lowest hells to the highest existence of neither perception nor non-perception—the immaterial jhānic plane, except for the five pure abodes for the non-returners (anāgāmi). After eradicated diṭṭhi suffering waiting for a stream-enterer was only seven drops of water compared with the sufferings in the ocean of water which a worldling had to be suffered. Someone eradicated diṭṭhi had stable sīla, so he never harmed himself and others in any ways.

If we observe nowadays societies from family level to international level, we can see a lot of sufferings and problems come from diṭṭhi—self-centred behaviors and conducts, selfishness, envy, jealousy, competition syndrome (unwholesome competitions), stinginess, hostility, violence, rivalry, ill-will, etc. Only when the Buddha was born did living beings have the right view; although not many knew about it and not many could accept it. How thick is human’s ignorance (avijjā)? They always worship their dangerous enemy all the time with money, power and fame. Later their bad teacher sends them to the four woeful existences. Therefore, the Buddha warned us that the frequent homes of living beings were the apāya-bhūmi. Only we know the Buddha Dhamma will understand the compassion and wisdom of the Buddha and ariya sāvakas.]

Diṭṭhupādāna (clinging with wrong view) means binding with wrong view, after that taṇhā follows behind it. Diṭṭhi is like the rope which binds a man’s body. Taṇhā is like the river water which drifting away the man who has been bound with diṭṭhi rope. (Here Sayadaw used the words binder and drifter for diṭṭhi rope and taṇhā water which carrying the saṃsāric traveler in to the ocean of saṃsāra.)

Throughout the saṃsāra beings are always in this situation. If diṭṭhi does not fall away (i.e. the diṭṭhi rope), then only drifting, whirling (whirlpool) and sinking will follow. Thus, the Buddha mentioned that if diṭṭhi disappeared, all others would collapse (i.e. kilesa; and will eventually be affirmed as Nibbāna).

It becomes clear how much important for diṭṭhi to be fallen off. (This explains the importance of diṭṭhi shedding.) There are two causes for diṭṭhi arising—wrong attention (ayoniso) and listening to wrong teachings. Khandha itself is impermanent (anicca), suffering (dukkha), not-self (anatta), 32 parts of loathsomeness (asubha) but someone takes it as —wrong view of permanent, wrong view of happiness, wrong view of self and wrong view of beautiful (nicca-diṭṭhi, sukha-diṭṭhi, atta-diṭṭhi and subha-diṭṭhi). Combining them with the khandha becomes identify view—sakkāya-diṭṭhi. Without seeing of impermanence diṭṭhi can’t fall away. (Sayadaw talked about the extensiveness of taint of view—diṭṭhāsava and Vacchagotta brahmin.)

After diṭṭhi falls away (i.e., momentary by contemplation) and doing dāna it’ll send one to the goal of Nibbāna (merit with right view and inspiration for Nibbāna or the ending of dukkha). Because this kind of dāna includes ñāṇa.

[Sayadaw always helps donors to have right view and attitude on dāna practice. He encouraged them to perform the highest dāna by enriching with insight which also was taught by the Buddha, also the donors should have the right attention and aspiration for ending dukkha. Otherwise, it becomes useless dāna because it leads to becoming khandhas which is dukkha sacca. Sayadaw’s interpretation of dukkha is—duk—disgusting, kha—useless → dukkha—disgusting and useless. Is it true or not? If a person dies, no one wants to keep his/her body around; for the remains become as disgusting and useless as a rotting log.]

Only with the understanding of D.A. process that diṭṭhi will fall away. (This is one of the main reasons all living beings have the wrong view if no Buddha had arisen.)

With the diṭṭhi off, we can appreciate the Nibbāna.

(Some Buddhists who had diṭṭhi do not appreciate Nibbāna because they want to come and go according to their own desires—bhava-taṇhā. So, they postulated a doctrine of atta-Nibbāna.)

In the sutta Vacchagotta brahmin asked the Buddha—after the arahant died where did he reappear again? The Buddha’s answer was—the term “reappear” did not apply to the arahant. Actually, the Buddha had to answer him as—after the arahant died and did not reappear but to Nibbāna. If the Buddha gave this direct answer it would make Vacchagotta’s mind confused. With diṭṭhi wholesome merits will not pure (because diṭṭhi is kilesa). Diṭṭhi falls away that Nibbāna arises will be clear.

(Sayadaw explained the 12 links of D.A. process.)

In the 12 links of D.A. process only the fuel and fire exist, i.e., khandha fuel and kilesa fire which are dukkha and samudaya. Dukkha has to be discarded, and Samudaya has to be abandoned. The fuel is consumed, and the fire is extinguished by cutting off the D.A. process. Freedom from the vaṭṭas (rounds of existence—these are khandha vaṭṭa, kilesa vaṭṭa and kamma vaṭṭa) means that the fuel is consumed and the fire is extinguished. So, the fire has gone out and the fuel has finished is Nibbāna.

[ Note on identity view and arahant:

Recently an advanced vipassanā yogi came to visit me and discussed on Dhamma. He has been practising for many years, so I take it that he has overcome the identity view (sakkāya diṭṭhi). He was talking about his own experiences and his doubt on the quality of arahant. Likewise, he had read about on arahant by a well-known Tibetan teacher who had said that arahant still had defilement.

The reason of his conclusion was: an arahant had vāsanā (a habitual formation/habituation), so arahant could not be pure like the Buddha, and he had to wait for a while in the future, and then continued his spiritual journey and became a Buddha (Where does the arahant go and waiting for his future practice?) It seemed to me a lot of later Buddhists even do not know what arahant means. They misinterpreted the Buddha-Dhamma according to their own views and doctrines. They regarded Arahants as selfish; in fact they did not even know that the stream-enterers had already overcome selfishness.

It is a very big gap between sotāpanna and arahant. Even the Buddha never mentioned that an arahant was selfish and still defiled, because he himself was an arahant. (see the First nine attributes of the Buddha).

Sotāpanna already overcame identity view and doubt on the Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha; therefore, he and the Tibetan teacher had doubt in the Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha. It meant they hadn’t still overcome the identity view and appreciated Nibbāna Element (dhātu)… yet. It reminds me what Mogok Sayadawgyi had said in some of his talks; he said if someone had wrong views on Nibbāna couldn’t realize the first Nibbāna (i.e., Sotāpanna).

It seems to me identity view (atta-diṭṭhi) and craving for becoming (bhava-taṇhā) very deep-rooted in living beings and both dhammas are deeply related to each other. We can see their evidences in the suttas, present day human beings and in the views, doctrines and philosophy of later traditions.

Buddhists who did not know the Buddha–Dhamma in the Pāli Nikāya could not let go or still clinging to Nibbāna with wrong view—sassata or uccheda diṭṭhi. With sassata they created atta-Nibbāna, and they could come and go according to their bhava-taṇhā. With uccheda they hated Nibbāna and clung to their diṭṭhi-taṇhā (kāma taṇhā) like the worms in the pit toilet. These worms (white worms) take the smelly yellowish stuffs as gold which also today humans are fighting each other for it up to the international level.

Thus Mogok Sayadawgyi interpreted Nibbāna in many different ways in order to expel the wrong view of it, without which Buddhists would not be able to lay down diṭṭhi-taṇhā and would never be free from Dukkha. So diṭṭhi is the most dangerous enemy to all living beings. ]

revised on 2021-01-11

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