From the Beginning to the End (The Way From Sotāpanna to Arahant, Dhamma Talks by Sayadaw U Ukkaṭṭha)

  1. This talk was delivered at Mye-ni-gon Dhamma Sāla in Rangoon.

U Zin only thinks about the existing dhamma (real phenomena) and not thinking about the non-existing ones. There are four knowing dhammas of four satipaṭṭhānas. There are two dhammas to exterminate—diṭṭhi (wrong view) and taṇhā (craving). Exterminate diṭṭhi will be free from apāyas, and exterminate taṇhā will attain Nibbāna. I’ll now talk about what kinds of mind and form of diṭṭhi are exterminated and what kinds of mind and form of taṇhā are exterminated (i.e., from sotāpanna to arahant level). I’ll talk about minds, these are khandha dhammas that I know all about them with the practice. Thae Inn Gu is surrounded by four lakes. ( Thae Inn means sand lake, Gu means cave—so it means sand lake cave. Then he talked about there were many wild water buffaloes in that area in the past. Two men killed a buffalo and cut its meant near a lake. And then one village man came near them, asked for some meat. They gave him the bad parts of the meat, which they did not want. But the two men who were the owner of the buffalo ate the best meat. In the same way, most Buddhists meet the Buddha sāsana, but they are wasting most of their times with worldling dhammas—such as dāna and sīla and other merits. So, they are like the village man eats the bad meat. Very few indeed are like the two men eat the best meat because they are the owners of it. It means very few Buddhists are the owner of Dhamma.) I don’t like people not doing the practice. U Zin myself practiced for 21 months (over one year) until my bones and skin were worn out. I have this determination and effort: either I die, or taṇhā dies. I had checked my minds and knew all of them, and also other people’s minds. Furthermore, I knew all the clinging minds (upādācitta), mind frees from upādāna (clinging) and the liberated mind. Don’t look at people’s minds but your own minds (checking your mind and not someone else's). Don’t find other’s faults but your own ones. (This was also admonished by Buddha).

I had a lay disciple U Ba Yin who taught others and I heard from what he said as follows. I don’t know about pariyatti (learning) and if you come and tell me I’ll listen to you as my teacher with gratitude. U Ba Yin’s story: There was a house with two stories. In the upper story a virtuous man with white clothes (symbol of purity) lived and at the ground floor was a young woman living there. We have to be careful of verbal actions (vācā kammas) because its results are terrible. Our bodhisatta (Gautama Buddha) in one of his past lives said if others practiced for six days I could do it even for six years. So, our bodhisatta was practicing for six years to become a Buddha. Therefore, even a Buddha couldn’t escape the results of action of many past lives.

(The acts we humans commit with our mouths are quite numerous and varied. I had written about some of them in the Maṅgala Sutta already. Most people without the knowledge of Buddha Dhamma will never know about its important and serious consequences. In the Buddha’s time, the beautiful sex worker Ambapālī was a prostitute for many past lives until her last life. In the Buddha Kassapa’s time she mentioned to an old arahant bhikkhunī as like a prostitute. Mahāmoggallāna in the same Buddha’s time talked to a monk as behaving like a slave, because of this verbal action in one of the future lives he was born as a son to a slave woman and became a salve. One of the great disciples of the Buddha (mahā-sāvaka) in his past life was making a joke to a pacceka Buddha as looked like a leper. So, in his last life as a monk suddenly one day he was sick infested with serious skin disease. Later he had to stay in a monk hospital and no one came to see him because of the body smell and disgusting skin disease. Only Sāriputta came to see him and cared for him. He was like a brother to all monks, and the loveliest on earth.

Nowadays, human speech acts are quite extensive, many and diverse, because there are many kinds of media. We could see all four types of unwholesome verbal actions in them—such as cheating, lying, harming, frivolous talks, harsh speech, back biting, etc., there are no end about them.)

This young woman was working as a sex worker as a livelihood because of her past kamma. The holy man (i.e., virtuous man) admonished her for her job and behaviour. She listened to his admonish for some time, but because of her livelihood or some other reasons had to continue the profession. This saint was observing her go upstairs with her clients every day. With each client he made a marking with a small pebble near him. At last, it became a pile of pebbles. And then he called the young woman to him and showing her the pile of pebbles and teaching her. She at last had a strong sense of wise urgently (saṃvega) and fear and changed her lifestyle. She lived a life of blameless and tried her life completed with sīla, samādhi and paññā. After death, she was born in heaven, but the holy man fallen into apāya (painful existence). Sayadaw continued to talk about the whole process of the practice.

I’ll talk about the extermination of wrong view. The Buddha told us to know about the khandha sabhāva lakkhaṇa—the characteristics of the khandha nature (as vipassanā). I’ll talk on the process of the practice from kāya, vedanā, citta and dhamma and how it relates to each other step by step. And how sotāpanna exterminates diṭṭhi, how once-returner (sakadāgāmī) reduces kāma (lust), non-returner (anāgāmi) frees from rāga and arahant frees from the taints (āsava).

There are two ways of extermination—exterminations of result and cause. (Sayadaw talked two stories to describe these two ways).

A hunter with his arrows and bow went into a forest for meat. After some time, he met a wild dog, and he used his arrow and bow to shoot the animal. But he missed the animal, and the arrow fell near the dog. The dog instead of running toward and attacking him, it bit the arrow. So, the hunter took another arrow and shot the wild dog, and it killed the animal. Here, the wild dog did not attack the hunter (i.e., the cause), but bit the arrow, which was the result. This is an example of extermination of the result.

The hunter continued hunting, and after some time, he met a tiger at a distance. So, he used his bow and arrow to shoot the tiger. It missed the tiger, and he used another arrow to shoot the animal. But this time before he shot the tiger again, it’s running toward him, and he was killed by the animal. This is an example of extermination of the cause.

[Here this story teaches us humans how to deal with the problems which we create nowadays in the world—such as global warming, all kinds of pollution in nature and the internal pollution of the mind, i.e., all sorts of unwholesome media. How did United Nations, world leaders, politicians and governments, etc. dealing with them? Usually or mostly, they solve the problems like the dog in the story, it’ll never solve and never finish, it goes one and one.

They are the problem themselves, and if they solve the problem out there, there will be more arrows to come. They have to change their foolish, stupid minds, behavious and actions, etc. with wholesome education and not by unwholesome education which increasing their polluted minds—such as greedy, ill-will, hatred, anger, lust, selfishness, envy, stinginess, conceit, delusion, ignorant etc.) They have to solve the problems like the tiger in the story.]

(Sayadaw talked the four great elements by the Buddha as mentioned in Suttas.) What I know about them is stiffness, tension, aches (i.e., earth elements); in the chest area it becomes tight and sweat comes out (i.e., water elements); the body becomes hot and when it’s cold like an ice block (i.e., heat elements); the body is moving and good-fleshes arising (i.e., air element).

When the four elements are disturbed or changed if we note them as pressure, stiffness, aching, and it’s exterminating of the results. Wrong view will never fall away. This everyone knows, and even the child knows it.

There are two knowledge—wrong and right knowing. Exterminating the result has samādhi but it can’t know the four truths. The extermination of external results is—(give examples with six senses of door and six sense objects) when seeing, contemplate the eye and visual form, this is similar to the hunter and the wild dog. You have to contemplate the mind and not form (rūpa). If you contemplate stiffness, tension, aches, hot, cold; seeing, hearing, smelling, etc. and this is the dhamma for the dying of dog. The cause is the mind and the result is form (rūpa). The contemplation of the cause is contemplating the sabhāva lakkhaṇa of its pressing nature distending nature, tensing nature, etc.

With the long period of sitting, vedanā arises because form (rūpa) is disturbed and one of the four elements leading it. Form the knowing of the in-breath and out-breath and the mind inclines toward the painful vedanā. This happens its own nature and not doing it by oneself. This is not samatha practice by knowing the sabhāva dhamma that it’s vipassanā. When vedanā arises and contemplate the stiffness, tension, etc. it’ll be continuous to painful and could it be ended? Vedanā is nāma dhamma (mind dhamma). If you contemplate stiffness, and it’s form (rūpa). Experiencing the stiffness is vedanā nāma dhamma or mind dhamma. You have to contemplate the experience of vedanā. With little stiffness and you experience it or feel it. As the stiffness increases, you will experience (feel) it and follow it through to the end. You have to contemplate the vanishing nāma nature of experience, contemplate the vanishing of experience, etc. And then it comes to the ending and at the same time the pain in form (rūpa) also ending together. With the ending of vedanā it arrives to cittānupassanā. I don’t know the satipaṭṭhāna in the books, but I know them in the khandha. With dukkha ends and arrive and feel happiness. The mind is like a small frog sitting in the water pool, quietly and calm. The Buddha said that only seeing dukkha would see sukha. If not seeing dukkha and never seeing sukha. The whole world only indulgence in sukha (i.e., on kāmaguṇa—sensual pleasures). You must also understand this. Experiencing dukkha is like someone in the very hot season of March and April (Burmese weather) without umbrella and sandals walking under a very hot sun on the hot sandy ground. He is also thirsty of water. The mind is experiencing dukkha vedanā and looking for happiness and freedom. The mind wants to be free. I don’t know how it said in the books. The mind is experiencing vedanā again. The mind is looking for shady tree and lake for comfort. When he finds it and running there and drinks the water fully. All the dukkha is extinguished. It is up to cittasatipaṭṭhāna. If you get there, tell your family that if I die, do not make merit for me. (i.e., become sotāpanna and never take rebirth again in woeful existences).

I am still not arriving at home yet (i.e., Nibbāna—our real homes) and can’t stop at here, and will continue encounter with dukkha. I continue the journey and reflect as—nāma (mind or in Burmese nam) is the nature of experience or feel dukkha and sukha. Form (rūpa) nature is changing, deformed, afflicted, etc. This is dhammānupassanāsatipaṭṭhāna. During the contemplation know the nāma nature of experiencing dukkha and sukha and the form nature of hot, cold, stiffness, etc. If you contemplate the stiffness, pressure, coldness, etc. of form it becomes contemplating dukkha samudaya the arising of dukkha. This is exterminating the result.

You have to contemplate the nāma (mind), its nature characteristic sabhāva lakkhaṇa of experience (vedanā). This is the exterminating of the cause, and diṭṭhi will fall away. Contemplating in this way whatever mind dhamma arises from the six senses of door with its impermanence come to end. These are citta saṅkhāra—minds are turning around vedanā. This is the turning of dependent co-arising (paṭiccasamuppāda). The mind with tenseness, stiffness, etc. are dhamma turning the paṭiccasamuppāda. Not paying attention to the form dhamma and only know the feeling of vedanā. There is no dukkha and sukha and only exist as just vedanā (it can be called equanimity or neutral feeling). These are the internal dhammas. From external the knowing minds of seeing, hearing, smelling, etc. lead to seeing man, woman, etc. If this kind of knowing mind arises will lead to apāyas (woeful existences). These minds are turning the D.A process (Dependent arising = D.A). With the cessation of these minds and paṭiccasamuppāda is cut off. All the minds arise from the six senses of door only have the nature of feeling or just feelings. Knowing the experiences of the form nature is kāyāsatipaṭṭhāna because it bases on form (rūpa). This is sotāpanna satipaṭṭhāna.

I’ll continue on vedanā. With the cessation of dukkha, sotāpanna has sukha, with dukkha ceases and sukha samādhi arises. His samādhi becomes good. Now, it’ll exterminate taṇhā (craving). Contemplation of sukha will become dukkha, this reduces taṇhā. Now, I’ll talk about the dissolution of form (rūpa). The dissolution of nāma (mind) is related to sotāpanna. There are sabhāva view and mind view—with a lot of contemplation on the khandha and loathsomeness of the body appears (asubha). Seeing it as like with an open eye, like a large foamy water, as like 10 days or 15 days loathsome corpse, etc. This is seeing its dhamma sabhāva (dhamma nature). Some said that Thae Inn practice was on concepts. The Buddha said the whole world (loka) was paramatā dhamma. Not really exist is paññatti—concepts. Seeing and knowing dhammas are paramatā dhamma, because of seeing its sabhāva lakkhaṇa. There are five concepts—from sotāpanna to arahant the abandonment of concepts in different levels. What concepts are abandoned by sotāpanna? He abandons the concepts of four elements as -stiffness, tenseness, etc. (internal) and from external the concepts of man, woman, dog, car, etc. He understands the feeling (vedanā) of nāma dhamma.

The stomach of the corpse is opened and with pus and blood flowing out from it. It’s infested with many worms. Skeleton appears and seeing one’s khandha as disgusting. The body appears also as a boiling foamy water, and burning with fire. All these signs (lakkhaṇa) are the perishing of form (rūpa) with its four elements. The skeleton represents earth element (paṭhavī); bloated, putrid, flowing with pus and blood represents water element (āpo), the corpse burns with fire represents fire element (tejo), boiling foamy water represents air element (vāyo). At now, form is the cause and nāma (mind) is the result. At sotāpanna nāma (mind) is the cause and form is the result. It’s seeing the khandha terrible situations that not desire for it. It becomes the result of disgust, and the desire to throw it away. In sleep, it is this state of mind, and at eating also the same state of mind. On the whole world becomes this state of mind. Wanting to throw it away but also can’t do it. And then I am looking for comfort.

In the mind is seeing the khandha’s sabhāva which is paramatā. In the past, I had two dakamas (i.e., two upāsikās—in Burmese is dakama, his two wives in lay life). I thought at the time that they might be good for me. At that time, I was practicing in the village (see his auto-bio talk). When I was looking at the dakama in Rangoon (Burmese wife) and seeing her bloated putrid corpse in the mosquito net. (As a sakadāgāmī—once returner, his samādhi was very good, and he had the power to see things. U Candima also had this power, which mentioned in his auto-bio talk.) It was quite disgusting. When my mind turned toward the Karen-ma in the village, and she also became putrid, smelly and disgusting.

(Karen-ma is the Burmese usage of a Karen woman, as a male Karen-hti. This was his first wife in the village. We can see the stupidity and foolishness of man’s lust in woman. Even nowadays, sexual lust becomes extreme and abnormal in humans—see the same sex affairs and marriages, and it becomes normal.)

When I was looking at the whole world water, mountains, forests, Shwe-ta-gon (the golden stupa in Rangoon), statues, etc. all become putrid and not desire to looking at them. From the eye door vedanā arises (unpleasant or dukkha) and don’t want to enjoy sukha. How vedanā arises from the eye door? The whole world is perishing like a big pile of excrement.

(It may be liked in a pit toilet there are piles of yellowish excrement which is smelly and disgusting. But there are many white worms twisting and wriggling fighting for the yellowish stuff like golds. Nowadays, some humans—politicians, world leaders, business people, rich men, etc. fighting for power and wealth for these yellowish stuffs.)

I don’t want to attach my khandha and others also. Don’t desire for one’s khandha and also not desire for others’ khandhas. These mind states arise and don’t want to go near dakars and dakarmas (male and female followers). It reduces the defilement of lust (kāma kilesa) by obtaining the vipassanā nyan (ñāṇa) eye, but it still does not free from concepts yet. From the six senses of door vedanās arise and attain vijjā ñāṇa (knowledge). The whole world (loka) becomes dukkha). Don’t want to experience seeing, hearing, smelling, etc. because it sees dukkha. All become dukkha vedanās. With the end of the rising and falling, one becomes a once returner and the kilesa (desire) is decreased. The shape of form concept does not exist, but the perishing of ghana paññatti wholeness is still existing. With the cessation of vedanā is vedanāsatipaṭṭhāna, this is not momentary of impermanence. Seeing the continuous rise and fall, it’s strong insight (balavā vipassanā). I should not talk about the path and fruit (magga and phala) and I don’t know it (as a monk this is declaration of attainment which monastic rule forbid). I am only talking about the nature of the mind. Path and fruit (magga and phala) are also concept, this is vijjā māna paññatti. (concepts about knowledge). It’s not an ignorant concept (avijjā paññatti) anymore.

Not wanting to experience vedanā (dukkha vedanā) is dosa mind. You have to practice letting this dosa mind cease. Perception (saññā) deceives on form (rūpa) with the asubha—loathsome concept. Saṃsāra will arise on form (rūpa). In the state of unconscious or not knowing (something like in coma) is not the path knowledge. I am now talking about the nature of the mind. Now will exterminate the dosa mind. Now the cause of this mind appears, the concept of knowing the putrid body (saññā is the cause).Lustful mind (raga) not exists and reducing of it. Now it will kill the dosa mind. Form (the body) is the cause, and giving the concept of putridness is the result of nāma (mind). Because of saññā (perception) the result of clinging nāma (mind) arise. This is how the five khandhas arise—because of mind and form become dukkha vedanā; because of saññā become putridness; not wanting to experience is saṅkhārakkhandha (mental formation); the knowing is viññāṇa (consciousness). Because of the five khandhas and the result of five khandhas arise (see D.A process). Contemplating in this way is free from saññā, and only impermanence exists. Therefore, not give the perception of putridness. Contemplating the cause and effect is liberated from saññā (perception or concept), and then what happens to it. The ghana concept of wholeness is disappeared, and can’t see the whole world with its mountains, earth and rivers, etc. Instead, what I see is the arising and passing away of the mind and form (rūpa) in the rate of 100 thousand billion times of mind and five thousand billion times of form/sec. The gross form ceases, and what kind of rūpa have I seen? Non-returner (anāgāmi) abandons ghana paññatti—wholeness concepts, and arahant abandons sabhāva paññatti (it may be the most refined concept in nature). If I am looking at the Shwe-tagon great stupa only seeing its rises and falls, looking at water and seeing its particles, the earth also in particles. The whole world only has sabhāva rūpa, and you only know it by practice. The very coarse kāma-kilesa (defilement of lust) of seeing man, woman, etc. is abandoned and not seeing man, woman etc. What it is leaving behind? In the process, only seeing mind and form in the state of rises and falls with the rate of 100 thousand billion times and five thousand billion times in a wink of an eye—these are leaving behind. He is clinging to these billion times changing form (rūpa) and rūpa-taṇhā—craving to form is still with him. He has the fear of mind on the impermanence of mind and form. With rūpa-taṇhā in his mind, he reflects on past, present and future periods and seeing births (jāti). I am seeing my past life of at Padumuttara Buddha’s time was making the wish for realization.

(In one of his talks he had mentioned it. At that time, he was a king and invited the Buddha and saṅgha and giving some dāna and making these wishes. Nearly all the mahā-sāvakas of the Gotama Buddha were making wishes with the Padumuttara Buddha).

Only after perception of the wholeness of form disappears that I do the reflection. Now my perfection—pāramī is fulfilled. If I die now, what will happen to me? If I die now, I will be born in the highest pure abode—akaniṭṭha of pure abode—suddhāvāsabhūmi. I see my brahmā-god’s body there. Brahma-god body is very big indeed, nearly at the height of a toddy palm tree. In 24 hours, I stay five hours there.

(The highest pure abode brahma-god life span is 16,000 great aeons. This is not Alice in the wonder land—see Einstein’s Relativity Theory).

Noble beings do not fear death, for they see and know their coming and going. I was in the brahma world for staying six months long. (These six months, if calculated in terms of human life span, may be equivalent to five hours of Brahma's life span.) If I’ll die at that time with clinging to that plane of existence. External sense bases (bahiddhā āyatana) are ceased and internal sense bases (ajjhatta āyatana) are still there. There are minds not arising yet. There are no dhammas to contemplate for the external.

The minds not yet arise are—the mind wants to see, wants to eat, etc. and this is contemplating the not yet arising mind. These are wanting desirous minds—the minds of latent defilements. This is contemplation of the minds—cittānupassanā. Non-returner contemplates the not yet arising latent defilements. This is killing the latent tendency (anusaya) and not let them arise. Now people (scholars) are arguing according to the books (suttas and commentaries). They are not really knowing it (This point reminds us not to argue with practices which we really not experience directly). The mind is inclining towards these refined particles, and enjoy in it. The mind inclines toward it, seeing it and experiencing it. Therefore, D.A process is turning on the eye door. You can’t let the mind be itself, with not seeing only it will not incline, and not inclining will not experience it. This is let the mind stops by itself. There is nothing to be called for that and not giving names to it, because all the concepts paññatti are falling away. This is not the Dhamma which can be seen by ordinary men, ordinary deities (devatas) and ordinary brahmā-gods. Only practicing of insight yogis can see it, this is the Dhamma to Nibbāna. This is contemplation on the refined form (rūpa) and it becomes the faculty of wisdom (paññindriya). It’s arriving at the top of insight (vipassanā) and contemplating on the refined mind and form. In looking for the way out, I have to contemplate again on the external. The seeing nature, the experiencing nature, etc. all the five khandhas are rising and falling away. Contemplate them with the three universal characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anatta and this also not free from it and contemplate again on the mind. What it looks like is—as the simile of the sea crossing ship and the bird. The ship was in the middle of the water and the bird on the ship mast went out and looking for the seashore. When it did not find it and returned to the ship mast. The bird was perching on the ship mast is like contemplating of the internal anusaya—latent defilement of the desire or wanting mind. The bird went out and looking for the seashore is like contemplating impermanence of the mind and form with the three characteristics which arising from external āyatana—sense bases.

From the contemplation of mind (cittānupassanā) let us contemplate dhammānupassanā (contemplation of dhamma). When contemplate again, the internal and the wanting or desire minds are not there anymore. Now we are closing to the seashore. When contemplate again on the seeing, hearing, smelling, etc. minds and from (rūpa)-the non-existing anicca, dukkha and anatta are concepts (saññā) or perceptions. We are contemplating of non-existing things with saññā—concepts. We are not stopping at the real existence of just seeing, just hearing, etc. and clinging to the saññā-concepts. Anicca, dukkha and anatta saññās are fallen away by knowing this and arriving at the shore. And them the Bird (yogi) will never come back again (totally free forever). I am not contemplating the phenomena which arise from the sense objects ārammaṇa or aroms) only at just seeing, just hearing, etc. and nothing is there just sabhāva phenomena, and it becomes zero (saññā). This is dhammānupassanā (contemplation on dhammas). I have no births anymore and nothing have to do and free from the three bhūmis (sensual realm, fine material jhānic-gods and formless jhānic-gods).

revised on 2022-08-05

  • Content of "Two Sides of A Coin" (Dhamma Talks by Sayadaw U Ukkaṭṭha)
  • Content of Dhamma Talks by Sayadaw U Ukkaṭṭha and Sayadaw U Candima
  • Content of Publications of Bhikkhu Uttamo

According to the translator—Bhikkhu 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.

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