Questions and Answers by Visākha and Dhammadinna


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; Talk one to six, 11th to 17th December 1961

(I condense the story of Visākha and Dhammadinna told by Sayadaw. It was based on Cula-Vedalla Sutta, Sutta No.44 of Majjhima Nikāya.)

T1.

(King Bimbisara invited the Buddha to his place and he gave talks there. Visākha, the merchant of Rajagaha listened these talks 3 times separately. And each time he realized the Dhamma and the last time become a non-returner (anagamin). Later his wife Dhammadinna, asked permission for entering the bhikkuni sangha. She went to a quiet place for 7 days and practiced and became an arahant. After she came back from the retreat, Visākha went to see her and asked questions on dhamma.)

You’ll have the chance to hear the questions and answers between Visākha and Dhammadinna from identity-view (sakkāya ditthi) to Nibbāna. (Then Sayadaw told the story of them.) Therefore, the Path Knowledge (magga nyan) surely has the power of energy to destroy defilement (kilesas). What is sakkāya? It’s the 5-aggregates (khandhas). The real existence of mind-body is sakkāya. People here (the audience) understand sakkāya ditthi as a combination. It’s the natural qualities of the aggregates (paramatha dhamma of the 5 khandhas) and are really existed, and you can call it sakkāya. (It’s important to understand that the Buddha’s Teaching is for practical purpose to end dukkha. Not for the philosophical thought games like later tradition.)

Some people say that you have a lot of sakkāya. This way of using it is wrong. Sakkāya is not a fault. It means mind-body, only wrong view is wrong. Form(rupa) is sakkāya. If you take it as “I or me”, become wrong view. People don’t know that form is truth of dukkha and think it as I or me. Then it can lead to the woeful planes. I am cold, I am hot etc. In this way I is interfering with sakkāya. Knowning form as form, even it becomes knowledge. ” I have a good meal”, this is “the I” interfere with feeling. So, viewing sakkāya in the wrong way becomes wrong view. ” I perceive it”, interfere with perception. ” Don’t misunderstand my intention”, interfere with volition. At here, one has to remember that “I in speech” is not a fault only take it as the real me. People already clear about this point and by using only in speech is not in fault with it. It’s a relative truth and we need to use it for communication. The Buddha himself used it. People have wrong view not in this way, and they think it as real. If nobody explains for it, these thoughts are over run through in countless times. For the one who knows this point, they know that their speech and the reality are different things. ” Don’t test my mind”, it becomes wrong view in consciousness. If someone comes in and tests him what will happen. Then they become in a quarrel. The cause of wrong view is sure enough in this case. Regarding with wrong views, people are quarreling and fighting among them. If interfering with wrong view in anyone of the aggregates can become annihilationism (uccheda ditthi). As example,” If I die, I also die”. “When my mind comes to an end, I also end”. These are the ideas of totally cut off. ” I’ll die with this vedanā”. This include both identify-view & annihilationism.

If you have wrong view and clinging to view will follow. Still alive we have view of permanence and near dying view of annihilation. When business is going well sasata ditthi, and during illness ucchedha ditthi, not knowing about these things is living a bad long life. Wrong view is the seed of hell. Why? With it follows by clinging to view. I will never give up my view (become clinging) and do what I think (become action). Is it action (kamma) or wrong view (ditthi) leading one to the woeful planes for rebirth? You may think beings fall into these planes are because of unwholesome actions. It is not so. Wrong view is making the programming and action has to follow it. (The same as craving-tanhā, the Buddha mentioned wrong view as great tanhā and greed-lobha as small tanhā). “I can’t overcome this vedanā”, this is the I-ness go and mixed-up with vedanā. Vedanā is arising and passing away by itself. Have to observe it like a stranger. Painful feelings come & go. Good feelings also come & go. Neutral feeling is also in the same way. The observing mind also the same. This is dispelling wrong view. Feeling arising on the body and the observing mind is happening inside. So, don’t mixed-up. If you don’t mixed-up these things, then wrong view can’t come in. Take it as a stranger. Then you know it as not-self.

The knowledge of not-self come into being. You must observe in the khandha, it appears as a guest and die as a guest. It’s equal to prato (stranger) (There were 10 contemplations in the suttas mentioned by the Buddha and Sāriputta. How to contemplate in 10 different ways on khandha? Prato was one of them). I teach you the contemplation of not-self. The Buddha also had dukkha vedanā on the body but no mental feeling in the mind. This was different from the common beings. Only had bodily pain and no mental pain. Why is that? That is because he had the ability to observe or see it as a guest. All the 5-khandhas and whatever arising are guests. (Liked guests come and go). Take it as the host, you will suffer. As an example, “If my son dies, it will hurt me”. In reality it’s nothing to do with you, he is only a guest. He came to you but not you wanted him. If you want him to leave and he will not. If you are in tears, and already mixed up the guest with “the I”. Most women are in tears, because they making the guests as hosts. In the words, “my daughter”, “the mother’s I” and “the daughter’s I” are intermingling. The daughter’s mind-body is nothing to do with the mother’s mind-body. We are in tears is not because of misfortune, but the cause of intermingling. The mother’s wrong view and the daughter’s identity (sakkāya) become mixed-up. When it shows its not-self nature and it hurts me. The mother’s string of wrong view goes and connects with the daughter’s aggregates, and then clinging to view arises (ditthupādāna). There will be no tears to fall without mixed-up wrong view with sakkāya. “Whatever changing in the world, my mind is not moving”, this is someone does not have wrong view. Ariyas’ mind is not moving when they encounter with the eight worldly winds. No connection with the string of wrong view. Someone here will be in stressful when something happens to one’s own child in England. This is 6000 miles away. Too long is the string of wrong view. You are in tears because someone had tortured you or you went to mix thing up. Bind two oxen together with a rope. If one of them is falling into the cliff and the other is also. Without wrong view whatever happen to the mother, the daughter is all right. In the same way to the daughter, the mother is all right. In this way no painful rebirths come to be and in this life also no suffering. Don’t mixed-up one’s own khandhas with one’s wrong view. The Buddha said that there is no fault greater than wrong view. It can lead to commit the 5 heavy kammas. Killing one’s own father is ditthi; there is nothing it can’t do. In the unwholesome dhammas, wrong view is the most fearful one.

If I die, vedanā also die, when the fire go out, the light also die out. So take the fire and light together. Fire and light are different things. Fire is heat and light is brightening. Different types of feeling arise in turn, these reveal its unstableness. So try to see the arising & passing away. In this way, no “I-ness” mixed up with the process. There is no I in the arising, and in the passing away also no I-ness. Take all these as stranger. Living beings fall into painful rebirths are not by feeling but wrong view.Feeling is conditioning wrong view – vedanā paccaya ditthi.

T2

Cula-Vedalla Sutta is the answers to the questions of Dhamma. (Here Sayadaw told the story in brief) After became an anagamin (i.e, Visākha), his faculties were calm and serene. His Dhamma attainment was not suitable to this sensual world. By contemplating impermanence, the defilements become thinner. Arriving at the knowledge of disenchantment, it becomes thinner. At the end it’s eradicated. Practice is never wasting. Only this medicine can free someone from the danger of old age, sickness and death. This is the only refuge can rely on. If you have samudaya (tanhā-craving) dukkha will follow. Even knowledge of impermanence (vipassanā nyan) is quite effective.

  1. What is sakkāya? Only asked sakkāya and not including wrong view yet. It’s the clinging of the 5-khandhas. What are the 5-khandhas? These are form aggregates, feeling aggregates, perception aggregates, fabrication aggregates and the consciousness aggregates. She answered it as the present 5-khandhas. Still he did not believe it, because can be answered by book knowledge. It’s important for you all to understand that. This present 5- khandhas is sakkāya.
  2. What is the cause of sakkāya (khandhas)? It comes from craving (tanhā), craving for sensual pleasure (kama tanhā), craving for becoming (bhava tanhā) and craving for non-becoming (vibhava tanhā).The cause of mind-body is coming from craving. Khandhas arise from tanhā, updāna and kamma. The main source is craving. Until craving is not dying out will have sakkāya khandha and with old age, sickness and death follow behind. It comes from the craving for attachment to life. Surrounded by many kinds of dukkha. Because of the fish smell flies are coming. In the same way because of sakkāya (the 5-khandhas) dangers are coming. By wind blow suffer from the danger of wind. Because of heat suffer from the danger of heat. The cause from wicked dhamma only brings wicked things. Only these are arising. If you can see the impermanence of sakkāya, you will transcend its empire. Sakkāya is the truth of dukkha. Seeing dukkha sacca and tanhā samudaya must thinning out. After thinning out tanhā, dukkha become less and less. Someone with affection will encounter dukkha and hurt himself, with more affection more harmfulness. When sakkāya changes and samudaya also changes; then sorrow, grief and lamentation come in.
  3. Tell me the ending of sakkāya. If craving ends, it will end also. In short with the ending of samudaya and dukkha end also. Tanhā nirodho Nibbānam appear~ the cessation of craving is Nibbāna. The Buddha could enter into the Nibbanic state during the Dhamma talk, within the period of in-breath and out-breath. He also started from impermanence (arising and passing away) and instantly turned towards Nibbāna.

(4) Tell me the practice to the ending of sakkāya. It’s the noble Eight Fold Path. If not entered the Path yet has to contemplate with the 5 factors (i.e. sammā -sati, sammā-vāyāma, sammā-samādhi, sammā-ditthi, sammā-sankappa).

After the Path, practice with 8 factors (from sakādagamin to arahantship). Why these factors called magganga (i.e, the 5 path factors)? That is because it cuts off defilement temporary. If it can cut off defilement, and then become the dhamma become to Nibbāna. Just contemplate impermanence and doing nothing, then you are temporary in Nibbāna. Dāna, sīla and samatha are supportive factors for the magganga. They are decisive support condition (upanisaya paccayo) and magganga is path condition (magga paccayo). (i.e the far and near causes) The Noble Eight Fold Path is sīla, samādhi and paññā. Paññā is the leading factor.

  1. Tell me the clinging aggregates (upādānakkhandhā). The 5-khandhas are the objects of clinging.
  2. Clinging and clingingk handhas are the same or separate? It’s neither the same nor separate. How to understand it? For your clear understanding I have to come in. Khandhas exist by itself, as examples the khandhas of son and wife. If it’s only sakkāya, and then it only become the sense objects. Not the sense objects of clinging. The clinging from here go to connect the other side khandhas and then become the clinging khandhas. The other side is 5-khandhas and this side is craving, and these two connect together become clinging khandhas. Without connection it is not. It’s only contact with the sense object and the sense organ (arom & arammanika). The khandhas and tanhā are not the same. People have craving become clinging khandhas. We can’t bear even mosquito bite. Therefore, it’s connected. It’s unbearable when it hurt our beloved khandhas. khandhas are the place of clinging. Some people mix-up with it and some are not. Noble persons (ariyas) are not in it. When we are happy or unhappy we connect it. They are connected as cause & effect relationship. They are different nature that not the same (khandha & tanhā). For someone who connects these not separate.
  3. Tell me sakkāya ditthi. No intellectual knowledge and not listening to ariya’s dhamma and then take the khandhas as me. With knowledge only sakkāya and not become wrong view. The khandha is sakkāya and wrong view is interfering with it. Without listening dhamma difficult to dispel wrong view. Therefore the causes for becoming a sotāpanna are:
1. Association with the wise
2. Listening the dhamma
3. Wise reflection on it (yonisomanasikarā)
4. Practise according to the dhamma (dhammānu dhammapatipatti)

Where is intellectual knowledge come from? From listening the dhamma, fulfilling these 4 factors will realize the Dhamma. Every day in talk I had mentioned sakkāya ditthi as the seed of hell. It’s more dangerous than greed, anger, delusion, envy and avarice. If sakkāya ditthi is eradicated; 1/4 of greed, anger and delusion is destroyed, including envy, avarice and whatever combined with it. If you don’t want to fall into painful rebirths have to destroy it first. Even you don’t fear other kilesas must fear this one. Dāna, sīla, samatha can lead someone to good rebirths, but later pull one downwards to painful rebirths by wrong views. If you are not destroyed it only temporary rising upwards.

Nothing is more fearful than wrong view, because of this someone can kill one’s own mother and father. The 5-heavy kammas come from it. In sotāpanna these kammas are never happened. People said they fear unwholesome dhammas. Don’t be fear! If you destroy wrong view, no need to fear any unwholesome dhammas. It’s leading other unwholesome dhammas and sending beings to the 8-great hells and 120-small hells. If you see sakkāya it dispels wrong view. Why? It becomes right view and the wrong view has to go away. Wrong view must exterminate by right view. Any illness has to be cured by it’s own medicine. Dāna, sīla and samatha can’t overcome it. It’s better to do wholesome kammas after dispel wrong view, if not will fall downwards again. The Buddha preferred the kinds of dāna, sīla and samatha enrich with vipassanā. There are 8-kinds of dāna and the best one is enriched with vipassanā. (Mentioned in the Anguttara) Sakkāya ditthi arises because of not knowing the reality. Therefore, knowing the differences clearly and then do the merits. As an example, you shoot a bird with a poison arrow and hit the skin only. It continues to fly as long as the poison not spread enough to the whole body, and then spread enough it will fall down. In the same way any merits done with wrong view going upward temporary and later pull downward by wrong view.

T3

(8)Why sakkāya ditthi arises? At the time of the Buddha there were noble beings. People had identity-view because they didn’t approach them and listened to their talks. Now a day people have this view because they don’t have chance for hearing the Dhamma. Not hearing the Dhamma will never dispel this view. Nothing is more important than sakkāya ditthi. When the 5-khandhas arise and don’t know become sakkāya ditthi. As example, there is stiffness in the body. Take the air, wind element as I am in stiffness. Someone who knows, it’s just the alteration of wind element. Don’t mixed-up with the I-ness. Wind element is just only wind element. Heat and cold also become, “I am in cold.”,”I am in hot.” It’s just heat elements. Someone has diarrhea, “I don’t know what happen to me.” Take water element as me. Take the 4-great elements as me. “My body is itchy.” Not knowing the aggregates of feeling arising and passing away become identity-view. “I forget.”, making the I-ness to the lost memory. “I want to sleep.”, making the I-ness to sloth and torpor, the aggregate of formation (sankhārakkhandha). “Don’t test my mind.”, take consciousness as me. Everytime the phenomena of ultimate reality (paramatha dhamma) are arising become wrong view. How many times a day? Uncountable!

  1. Why there is no sakkāya ditthi? Whatever arising contemplate as this is not mine, not I am, not me, then dispel sakkāya ditthi. Contemplate the arising of feeling, mind and mental states as impermanent, suffering, not-self. Someone who had dispelled sakkāya ditthi will not fall into the 4-painful rebirths.
  2. What kind of dhamma can destroy sakkāya ditthi? Developing the Noble Eight Fold Path will overcome it. Is there any difference among them? Yes, they have. The differences are sīla, samādhi and paññā. (Explained the 3 sīlas) These are sīla magganga (path factors). Why there are 3 differences? They can’t do the job separately. With the help of mindfulness (sati) and effort (viriya) samādhi develop. The commentary gave this example. How do you take (pluck) a flower, which you can’t reach out? One person (1st) has to bend his waist and gives his back to another person (2nd). This 2nd person has to climb on his (1st) back. A 3rd person standing beside the 1st person and gives his shoulder for the 2nd person to hold on it. In the same way in vipassanā the 1st person bends his waist and back is liked viriya. The 3rd person standing beside is similar to sati. Samādhi is liked the 2nd person who plucks the flower. Sati and viriya support samādhi. In vipassanā, not putting effort (viriya) and no mindfulness (sati) are impossible. Only then samādhi can go straight towards the object. Wanting to develop samādhi don’t let go of mindfulness and don’t reduce effort. Only then samādhi can catch hold of impermanence. If you can’t discern impermanence, one of them is lacking for the mind going straight away towards the object. These 3-factors are important. Viriya is pushing from behind and sati is helping it to pluck there. It happens only by combining 3 together. If one of them is lacking, you must know the situation. If you can know and correct it, your samādhi will go towards the object of impermanence. Samādhi can’t see impermanence, only leading towards it. Can plunge the mind towards where one’s need is samādhi. Only wisdom (nyan) is seeing impermanence. It is also not seen by sati, only pointing towards it. Three of them combining together and pointing towards a sense-object. They can’t see impermanence. Must know this point. It’s important for the yogis. Samādhi only reaches to the flower. Can’t choose good or bad. Why is that? It’s only pointing to an object. This one is impermanent (anicca) and conditioned phenomena (saṅkhāra. These are not concern with samādhi only helping the wisdom factors.

Tell me wisdom factors. It’s Right View and Right Thought. Why these are together? The eyes are in good shape. But to choose a thing for good or bad, there need to be something to turn around the object to be observed. As example, you look at an object and see only this side. Can’t see the other side. For seeing the other side, you need to turn over the object. This side is liked this and the other side is liked that. Right Thought providing the view, the view of impermanence.

Wisdom is observing the object. Arising is something and passing away is another thing. Someone has to provide this for the seeing. Seeing only the arising and not the passing, and only the passing and not the arising, and then right thought is poor.

Sammā is right and saṅkappa is thinking (turning around) or providing the view. The example I want to give is: using the power glasses for the poor eye sight. In this way will see like a young boy, will see clearly with the help of the glasses. Without the glasses you can see but not clear. Here the eyes are sammā-ditthi and the glasses are right thought. In this way can see the whole process. If you can’t see clear, then helping with right thought. It means vitakka, and it gives strength for the contemplation. Therefore samādhi and paññā factors need helps.

Then why sīla factors have 3-diffenent nature. If one of them exists, other two are not included. Right speech and right action each do its own different jobs. Therefore, one can’t help the other during it’s performance. They have different actions (kamma). Because of their abstaining, they have the same name as sīla but different in jobs. For the yogi who is practicing, sometimes with 5-factors and sometimes with 6-factors. Samādhi and paññā can be come in together. But sīla can’t come in together, and can’t help each other. During vipassanā contemplation they can’t include. If one is included the other are not. When are they coming together? It is at the time of inclining towards Nibbāna element. If not never coming together. During meditation keeping the sīla only. Unstable sīla is one of the reasons that cannot come together. Not become right view that sīla is unstable. Right view develops vipassanā. Someone has wrong view can’t rely on sīla and easy to break it. Monks who had sīlas but they couldn’t dispel wrong view that born as naga (a type of magical snake) and louse (the 1st one was from the Kassapa Buddha’s time and the 2nd one was during Gotama Buddha). Freedom from the 4-painful rebirths is by destroying wrong view. It’s the seed of hell which I mention to you everyday is become clear.

If you can get rid of sakkāya ditthi, sasata and uccheda ditthis also gone. Both of them originate from this one. Only ditthi die out that you realize the First Path (magga). Ditthi nirodho Nibbānam~Cessation of wrong view is Nibbāna. After it had gone there are no dhammas can prevent or hinder for the higher Paths. The Dhamma will lead onwards. One also wants to continue. After destroyed wrong view no need to teach him for the higher Paths. The Buddha only taught the 4-causes for stream entering (sotāpanna) and not for the higher Paths. After ditthi is gone and doubt also. Therefore, basically preventing all the Paths is ditthi. After destroyed ditthi no one continue for more then 7-life times. It’s easy to dispel ditthi. Everytime seeing paramattha dhamma (conditioned phemomena), contemplate as this is not mine, not I am and not myself. Contemplate as impermanent nature.

Where is wrong view stuck in? It pierced inside of each 5-khandhas as latent defilement (anusaya kilesa). If you see the impermanence of any khandha and it can’t come in. As an example; to the dukkha vedanā that I am in pain for a long time. It happens because you can’t see the impermanence or cut through the continuity (santati). You take the khandhas as permanence and it comes in. If you can observe the impermanence in details and it will nearly fall away. Seeing it as now arising and now passing away, ditthi cannot come in. Seeing the impermanence without a gap is very important. If not, ditthi will come in. Therefore, I am asking you that do you see impermanence more and more. What do you think why I am asking at you? I am worry that ditthi will come in. If you discern anicca such as you can’t put the tip of a needle inside the whole body. Then ditthi cannot come in. If you see this way, it becomes weak and becomes right view. By its nature the body is packing with impermanence and without gaps. In a second, the mind is arising and passing away at the speed of 1012times (hundred thousand billion times=12zeros behind 1). So it’s without a gap. Form is at the speed of 5×1010* times/sec. (five thousand billion times=5×1 with 10 zeros behind). If wrong view has the strength impermanence will become intermittently. If right view has the strength impermanence becomes more accelerated. They are combating each other. Don’t think what’s happening to me today. It was influenced by ditthi. If ditthi is too strong even can’t see it. If right view is too strong even in the beginning of sitting can see it. May be you want to ask me, with only to discern the speed of impermanence in 1012 and 5×1010 times/sec. can be realized Nibbāna? You can realize Nibbāna without this kind of rate. It’s depended on your own power of discernment. Why? These were the view of someone who had finished the path.

They talked about it by their own discernment. It’s not for the one who is still in practice. Discernment comes by one’s own right view. These were the discernment of arahants. With one’s own discernment will realize the path. If you ask can other discern in billion times. Again, the answer is it’s the view of completion. How can it be the same, the views of worldlings and the noble ones? Why? We have a lot of defilement come in, therefore a lot of life continuum (bhavanga cittas) between the processes. The Buddha’s discernment had only 2-bhavanga cittas between. Sāriputta’s discernment had only 16-bhavanga cittas between. Our discernments have many bhavanga cittas between for each seeing. Bhavanga cittas are not the problem, because not kilesa-cittas. If kilesa comes in, it will become problem. Therefore, in the Anguttara Nikāya, the Buddha said that if kilesa not came in between, practicing in the morning and would realize in the evening. Not mentioned about the bhavanga citta. Bhavanga cittas are normal and the law of dhamma. The numbers of bhavanga cittas are depending on the root of the mind(hetu dhamma).

T4.

The Noble Eight Fold Path is the middle way. We had never been on the middle way in the whole round of rebirths (Samsāra). If we had been, would never return. On the path samādhi is important.

  1. What is samādhi? It’s called one-pointedness of the mind (ekaggata citta). It can take one object. What is one object? If feeling and only feeling, the mind and only the mind and not together. Pointing towards on an object and it’s called the mind is in one-pointedness. Concentrating on an object is ekaggata. If you can concentrate on an object defilement can be overcome.
  2. What is the sign of samādhi? It’s the 4-Satipatthanā, contemplation on the body, feeling, mind and dhamma. Samādhi follows sati towards an object. If it’s feeling, it will fall on feeling straight away. In this way know about feeling. If one-pointedness is on the mind and sati fall on it. One-pointedness must work with the Satipatthānā objects. The sign of samādhi is the body disappeared and knowing the feeling or mind etc. Contemplation of feeling it just falls on feeling, and mind just on mind. Then it becomes the sign of Satipatthanā. If discern impermanence, it’s also the sign (namitta). Sati fall on the object and its permanent sign disappeared and impermanent sign appeared in the mind also the sign of Satipatthanā. By seeing the impermanent sign appeared, the form and shape of man or woman is disappeared. Therefore, by seeing the sign of impermanence is the sign of Satipatthanā. Can itself alone leads to realization? Must include the member of Satipatthanā. It’s effort (viriya). By putting effort forwards and sati-paññā seeing the sign of impermanence. This seeing is helping by effort. Viriya and samādhi are the factors of samādhi. Sati and paññā are the factors of discernment (wisdom). Its qualities we are talking in different ways and in discerning anicca all factors are there. Can it be realized Nibbāna in this way? It needs to be contemplating for many times (bhāvetabba)Why? Kilesa impurities are liked a copper bowl. It can shine only by polishing. From births we had impurities with us liked the copper bowl. By not doing Satipatthānā practice, one-pointedness practice and not putting effort for practice, then the mind becomes more and more dirtier liked the bowl. To do this kind of work, has to meet a teacher and has the kind of ear to listen Dhamma. From the dates of births, we are grown up with craving mother and ignorance father. We are grown up on their hands and care. They are very worry that we realize the Path and Fruit and liberate from their hands. Ignorance cover up the Four Noble Truth and craving teach us for affection to mother, sons and properties. We are doing things what they want us to do.

So everyday impurities pile up. How long it had been? Not polishing it for the whole round of rebirths. Between them we also have body guards of wrong view. Ditthi always control us and tell us this is your dad and this is your mom. Normally we leave it and never wash and polish it. So it piles up with impurities. This is the reason we can’t realize Nibbāna. The volume of ignorance, craving and ditthi are increasing. Therefore, it needs to contemplate for many times. By polishing again and again the copper bowl which we left for a long time is becoming shining. Must contemplate for many times and put continuous effort. Contemplate continuously decrease ignorance, craving and ditthi. For insight knowledge contemplate again and again is needed and not for Path Knowledge. Path Knowledge sees Nibbāna once only. Even though Path Knowledg arises only once; it’s similar to cross a river by a boat. The boat-man puts the loads in a boat and rows it to the other shore. The boat is doing 4-jobs. 1. Leaving this shore. 2. Arriving to the other shore. 3. Carrying the loads. 4.Crossing the water. In the same way, the boat liked the Path is crossing the water of defilement only once. Leaving this shore of sakkāya ditthi and arriving at the other shore of Nibbāna is also the boat or the Path. The boat is also carrying the loads of khandhas. Path Knowledge happen once and finish 4-jobs. From the impermanence of khandhas it sees the permanence of Nibbāna. Cutting through defilement is the Path and crossing towards Nibbāna, which is without dukkha khandhas is also the Path.

During the practice, one-pointedness is important, and also the sign of Satipatthanā. The helping of effort is also important. All these things happen one time is not enough. Need to contemplate many times. The Buddha emphasized this point by giving the simile of the mother hen and the eggs. The hen has 3 duties to do. You also have the 3 duties of working with anicca, dukkha and anatta. Without these duties, all the eggs become spoiled as your knowledge become blunted. With continuous contemplation the shells of ignorance become thinner. Liquid of craving become dry-up. The knowledge of spiked claws (the chicks inside the eggs) becomes sharper. You must spread your body of contemplation on the eggs of impermanence. Only kilesa liquid dry-up and the shells of ignorance become thinner. The spiked claws become sharp, the chicks can kick the shells from inside and hatch out. Liked the hen, you have to sit on the eggs very often. If not, it’s impossible. Light appears means realize Nibbāna. Kilesa liquid dry-up and the shells of ignorance thin out will see the light. The spiked claws which similar to knowledge become sharp. The Buddha said that the one who contemplated would destroy the taints (āsavas). With kilesa the mind can’t penetrate. Even kilesa itself is inconstant. It has the power of repetition condition (āsevana-paccaya). Therefore, the mind can’t penetrate. When you go back home observe the body, don’t see it as a lump of form. Contemplate feeling, the mind, and if you know how to do it, the form will disappear. If you can’t, the form of hand, feet, hair.. etc, the 32-parts of the body can be appeared. Only the form disappears you are reaching the point.

She talked about the factors of awakening (Dammadinna). Analysis of qualities as a factor of awakening (dhammavijaya sambojjhanga) is the path factors of right view (sammā-ditthi). She used the factors of awakening there. It is the way to Nibbāna that use it as bodhi (awakening). Bodhi means knowing. In the factors of awakening also include contemplation for many times (bhavita bahulikata). Therefore, right view and analysis of qualities are the same things. Right view is not enough for seeing only, but need to contemplate for many times. As the factors of awakening show it. People may think path factors are no need to contemplate for many times. So, I talk about them here. Both of them are wisdom factors. If you do the path factors again and again including awakening factors. Why talk about two things? Path factors talk about cutting off defilement and awakening factors about increasing the factors. By contemplating again and again and not seeing Nibbāna yet, but don’t take it as wasting time. The Buddha gave this simile ~ the handle of a carpenter’s adze. Using it for one time the handle was eroded once. If you’re continuously using it continuously eroded. It can’t come to be by prayers (as later traditions). At first the handle becomes smooth out, and then slowly the fingers’ print appears on the handle. The thickness of kilesa developed from the round of rebirths is so thick that without continuous contemplation can it be thin out? Therefore, insight meditation has the outcome of reducing kilesa. Don’t be disappointed and giving up. If kilesa thin out, the practice is developing. Every time seeing impermanence every time it’s thin out. Seeing more and more it becomes thinner and thinner. Contemplation is stopping the process of dependent arising to continue. First kilesa thin out and later with extinction. Effort also has to develop. May be you might think it’s not including rapture (piti). Already it’s inside the samādhi. I am talking about only the leading factor. It’s included as association with samādhi. Every good feeling of contemplation includes piti. Not as the leader of the path factors but as follower. Contemplation without piti, laziness will follow. Therefore, the Buddha asked to contemplate with joy and interest. Seeing something as never seen before, so contemplate with gladness. I will explain the matter of seeing something never seen before. With the eyes of the Brahma gods can see a needle in the human world. They can see the needle from 4×1010 miles (4×10000000000=400 billion miles) far away (may be yojana, 1yojana=10km). But they do not see the anicca.

They saw it with the worldly eyes (lokiya). Here we see with the supramundane eyes. So your discernment of anicca is better than the views of the Brahma gods. A rock tablet falls from the Brahma world to the earth take one and a half months (1-1/2 months). Theirs are divine eyes. The eyes belong to the time outside the Buddha’s teaching. It’s samādhi eyes. Here are the knowledge eyes (nyan eyes). Not easy to have this knowledge. Here it’s itching and here it’s passing away. Feeling appears and disappears. So it’s nyan eyes. Dhammavijaya eyes or you can call it the eyes of right view or knowledge eyes. The worldling gods and Brahma gods don’t realize Nibbāna, because they are lacking of this eyes. Therefore after they are passing away return to the human world and to the animal realm.

105years (hundred thousand years) before the Doomsday, human beings become fear the day to come. Many developing the Divine-abiding (Brahmavihara Dhamma) and most of them become Brahma gods. All these are by samatha practice and when the time come will fall back again. Even though this eye can see the small needle from far away can’t discern the nature of the 3-characteristics. They practiced samatha for the craving of becoming (bhava-tanhā). They also had unwholesome kammas with them. After falling from the Brahma realms even some of them become pigs (not directly from there but devatas can. See Subrahma Deva’s story). You all had become Brahma before and as devatas uncountable times. But never had been free from old age, sickness and death. Never had the eyes of insight before. Nothing is more valuable than this eye. The pleasures of heavenly gods are good but Sakka (king of the Tavatimsa Heaven) himself came down to the earth for practice. He had the kammic eyes not the nyanic eyes. Discerning impermanence is nobler than Sakka and the great Brahma gods. After seeing anicca, then the Knowledge of Disenchantment (nibbida nyan) and the ending of anicca are sure for the realizing of Nibbāna. You must work hard to get this eyes. In the future can’t find a good teacher like this. Comparing with the whole world very few people have these eyes. Therefore, you have to contemplate in order to see more and more and clearer. Don’t exchange with them (the status of heavenly gods and Brahma gods). You are gold and they are salt. You must know one’s own value. They have to be make wishes for becoming human beings to get this knowledge.

T5.Visākha asked Dhammadinna on attainment of cessation (nirodha sammāpatti). This is nothing to do with you all and useful. So let us continue to another question. How many feelings are there? There are 3-feelings in the body: pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feelings. If one of them exist the other not, always one of them is there. Everytime it needs to catch on with one of them. For our practice, let us extend the knowledge about them. At the physical body pleasant or unpleasant feelings or sensation can appear. From the eye, ear, nose and tongue are neutral feelings. Why? In the seeing just seeing only, because it is neutral feeling. After seeing it’s better not to continue. In hearing just hearing and then not becoming pleasant or unpleasant about it. In smelling just smelling and also neutral. If you react to it as disappoint then the mind arrived to the active phase of cognitive process (i.e javana citta). It becomes the mind with aversion. In the beginning state it was neutral. In eating just eating is also neutral. Reacting as I like it or I don’t like it and then it becomes a javana citta. There are itches, aches, pains etc. These are happening at their own places. When the body is cold, unpleasant feeling, by using heater become comfortable, then pleasant feeling.

Today, using feeling on practice, if you have satisfaction in the heart, it’s pleasant mental feeling (somanasa vedanā). Unsatisfying is unpleasant mental feeling (domanasa). Whatever happening, it is neither good nor bad and that is neutral feeling. All the feelings which I had just mentioned; if one of them is there then the other are excluded. Why the Buddha called them the feeling aggregate? Because feelings are happening all the times. Do you need to look for feeling or don’t know their arising? On the body pleasant and unpleasant (sukha and dukkha), and in the heart somanasa and domanasa, exclude the tips of the hairs, tips of the fingers, toes nails, and everywhere feeling can arise. Feeling is conditioned phenomena, e-g feeling arises in the eyes is by the contact of the eyes and form. If the eyes are blind can’t arise. It is only saṅkhārā and fall into anicca. Sabbe saṅkhārā anicca~ all conditioned phenomena are impermanent. Its arising is conditioned by others. If you can contemplate anicca, it becomes mindfulness of feeling. If you don’t, after seeing it becomes wanting, then continues to craving, clinging and action (tanhā, upādāna, kamma). [note: Sayadaw always using Dependent Arising in his talks. Therefore, need to understand the 12-Links of Paticasamupada] Seeing as disgusting, then anger of dependent arising continue. Seeing without mindfulness become unknowing which lead to dependent arising of ignorance. No insight meditation from the eye door create 3-ways of dependent arising for the round of rebirths. By not knowing these we think that it doesn’t matter.

But to the Buddha not knowing dependent arising, it’s better to use the hot iron bar to poke the eyes. This makes for dying once. Everytime seeing it and not knowing leading to painful rebirths and will die for many times. While seeing contemplate quickly as conditioned phenomena and inconstant, then dependent arising is cut off the 3-unwholesome dhammas to arise (lobha, dosa and moha).

Dhammadinna answered the question and I show you how to use it for practice, then it becomes clearer. Knowing the arising and passing away can be free from the taints (āsava). From seeing if craving arises, it becomes the taint of sensual pleasure. Not knowing is the taint of ignorance. It’s easy to talk. In the real contemplation it becomes late. Can you stop at just seeing? If you can’t stop, then contemplate impermanence quickly. The Buddha said that by contemplating impermanence of feeling near death could become arahant or destroyed the taints. Sāriputta realized the first Path(magga) by contemplating on the body and the later 3-Paths by feeling. His realization came by during the time of listening to the Buddha’s talk. By contemplating on the inconstancy of feeling and the mind became sharper. By following of the Buddha’s Teaching and at the same time contemplating feeling. Realization can’t come by just listening the talk. Listening and contemplation together can become stream-enterer to arahantship in stage by stage. Therefore, I taught you very often that the ears listening to the talk and the mind observing the khandhas. Just by listening only and without contemplation can’t develop the enlightenment. The mind can’t sharp, can’t see the truth, can’t erode defilement and can’t see Nibbāna. By listening and put effort in practice. Don’t listen only just for merits. In the suttas it mentioned that by listening and also contemplating. Without this can’t stop craving and wrong view. In hearing, also the same, it’s conditioned phenomena. Without knowing conditioned phenomena can’t know anicca. In the body whatever arising is conditioned phenomena. Their nature is ending with impermanence. Its’ arising is becoming and passing away is dying. If you can contemplate in this way, it is pajanati~ means knowing. What do you know? Knowing the inconstancy of conditioned phenomena.

Dīkanakhā listened to the talk and contemplated impermanence and then became Sotāpaññā (He was Sāriputta’s nephew. Both listened to the talk on vedanā given by the Buddha.) Can be contemplated in this way and three ways of dependent co-arising not arise. Tongue and taste are also in the same way. Yadā paññāya passati~ when arising observing with wisdom. The contact of the physical body and outside objects are also in the same way. Body sensitivity (kayapasada) comes into existence by kamma. If a being is still alive, this kamma is not finished yet, then body sensitivity will continue to exist. “It is too cold”, then become aversion to it. Therefore, if you know it is cold, then instantly~Yadā paññāya passati~contemplate it as impermanence. You know the conditioned phenomena is arising, it has to be arising (samudaya) and passing away (vaya). In reality you see the truth of dukkha (dukkha sacca).

Seeing is the truth of the path (magga sacca). If you discern dukkha completely and become the Path knowledge. Not discern completely is only insight knowledge. Why Visākha & Dhammadinna were talking about feeling? Because it is the quickest way to arahatship. It was also mentioned by the Buddha (Sayadaw quoted the Pali verse from a sutta). Therefore, contemplation on feeling was included in Satipatthānā Sutta because it can reach the goal by itself. Sāriputta & Dīkanakhā finished the practice with feeling & no other contemplation. By contemplating feeling other also include. In contemplation take it as a main contemplation. Not knowing the arising is also not knowing the passing away, and then it conceals the truth of dukkha. The Buddha also mentioned that all phenomena arising from the body are the truth of dukkha. Not seeing saṅkhārā can’t contemplate anicca. In the Q&A of Visākha & Dhammadinna, they talked about the types of insight only (Both of them already knew the details). Here I use it for describe the practice. Contemplate impermanence of whatever feeling is arising. They are arising all the times. I only concern you of not knowing the arising. Not knowing is become ignorance. Whatever arising is dukkha sacca. Dukkhe añānam ~ not knowing dukkha is ignorance.

Ignorance does not stay in this way, and will do something according to its own power. Physical action, verbal action and mental action will follow behind. I’ll talk about it later. If ignorance come in and become liked animals without shame and fear of consequence. These words came from the Avijjā Sutta of Maha Vagga Samyutta. How bad it is? Not knowing of whatever arising at the 6-sense doors is not knowing the truth of dukkha. In this way everyday is creating actions (kamma), mostly unwholesome actions. In short insight meditation is contemplation of the truth of dukkha. The contact of thought and mind sensitivity (mind-door) create pleasant or unpleasant feelings. These are conditioned phenomena. If become Dukkhe añānam (knowing dukkha), then it is knowledge. Avijjā nirodha saṅkhārā nirodho ~ with the cessation of ignorance, volitional formation also ceases (wholesome & unwholesome actions). And then saṅkhārā nirodha viññāna nirodho – with the cessation of volitional formation, consciousness also ceases. Birth is ended. It is the cessation of birth. Ajati (without birth) is Nibbāna. It is clear that contemplation has the benefit of cutting through dukkha. By doing the job of knowing dukkha, craving (samudaya) is ceased, and realizes the cessation of dukkha (nirodha). Everytime knowing dukkha is factors of the Path (magga), it done the duty of the Four Noble Truths at the same time. By contemplation of impermanence knows the others. (Sayadaw continued to talk about neutral feeling of the mind.) Every moment of contemplation realizes the momentary Nibbāna. It is worthy of doing it. You have to contemplate the 5 kinds of feeling. After craving ceases and the Path Knowledge appears. By contemplation one clear up one’s own dangers. Greed, anger and delusion are inner enemies. If you are giving many reasons for not doing it, you are following the reasoning of the defilement of craving. It is just for your own suffering.

T6. Visākha asked,” Not contemplate pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feeling, what will happen?” Not contemplate pleasant feeling latent defilement of craving will follow. She answered shortly. But you must know that craving, clinging & action will follow. It continues to becoming that birth will follow. This birth was come from pleasant feeling, so peta jati (The birth of hungry ghost). From the point of taints, follow by taint of sensual pleasure (kāmāsava). It refers to greed. Follow by kāmāsava, it also follows by taint of becoming (bhavāsava). It is very rare to find someone with contemplation. People are smiling with pleasant feeling. Not contemplate unpleasant feeling anger will follow. This anger arise from ignorance will lead to animal birth. This is followed by the taint of ignorance (avijjāsava). This taint follows up to the highest heavens (i.e Arupa Brahma Gods) and the knowledge of change of lineage (Gotrabu nyan) in insight meditation. When these feelings are arising, make effort to contemplate. If not, it is the path to petas & animal realms. Not contemplate neutral feeling the taint of ignorance follow. This feeling is subtle, only for someone who has knowledge can know about it. Mostly it leads to the animal rebirth. Is it not frightening? Even performing merits without surrounded by insight and then ignorance following with it. It gives advantage to craving. With ignorance that people performing prayers with craving. Then follow by the taints of sensual pleasure, becoming & ignorance. Therefore, there are more merit makings for the continuation of rebirth than liberation from it. These are not the results of merits. It is the cause of ignorance without knowing and continues with one’s own wishes. Indeed, it is rare to find a teacher who can teach people what the Buddha intended for.

Visākha asked, ”Are these 3 latent defilement follow behind feelings all the time?” The answer was not always. A person who practices insight meditation does not follow by them if he contemplates impermanence. This is one way of admonishing. I have to admonish you the second way the Buddha mentioned that merits can give the results of up to jhanas, paths and fruits. But wrong knowledge becomes the cause of repeated births. It is the cause of the merit makers. Generosity (caga) is giving up so it is killing the craving (tanhā). It is giving up mine, so killing wrong view. Therefore, dāna is the dhamma of killing tanhā and ditthi. If you don’t know how to do it; it becomes I have so I give, then ditthi come in. I give it so I will enjoy the fruit and then craving come in. (So, knowledge and wisdom are very important in our daily lives.)

It is depending on the guidance of a wise teacher. Must know how to choose the teaching and always think about that these teachings are reaching to the heart or not (connection with the 4 Noble Truths). If leading to the truth it is precious. The Buddha admitted that he himself did not know the truth before had to wander for a long time in the round of rebirth. Someone has moral virtue (sīla), what should he do? Have to contemplate anicca, dukkha, anatta… etc., the 11 contemplations (disease, tumor, dirt, misery, affliction, alien, disintegrating, empty, anicca, dukkha & anatta). It was questioned by Maha Kotthita & answered by Sāriputta. Someone has sīla and practice vipassanā can realize the path and fruit.

Dhammadinna described on the practice. When pleasant feeling arises it is pleasant, and passing away it is dukkha. Therefore, contemplate as dukkha sacca, then it cut off the taint of sensual pleasure in the dependent co-arising. When unpleasant feeling arise it is painful, and passing away it is sukha. For neutral feeling, someone has sharp faculty discerns anicca. Unpleasant feeling is the opposite of pleasant feeling. We have to contemplate when they arise. Only one can arise. When sukha arises contemplate sukha, and dukkha arises contemplate dukkha. Contemplate both as the truth of dukkha. What is their opposite? Neutral feeling, it means when it arises the other two are not there. When upekkhā arises must contemplate upekkhā. If not, we think that nothing is there. One of them is always arising. Don’t say we can’t find anything to contemplate. It is similar to say as there is no impermanence. It is also like seeing Nibbāna. All the feelings cease is Nibbāna. Therefore, continue to contemplate until all feelings are ended. When the mind can’t penetrate these 3-feelings can be mix-up. Because the mind follows late. The khandha arise quicker than the mind which is observing. That means defilement come in between them. This makes the realization slower. During contemplation sometime sukha or dukkha or neutral feeling continuously arising. As example for sukha vedanā – as with one sukha & with one knowing (i.e nyan) ets., each feeling with each contemplation defilement can not come in between them. As example, if pain arises and continuously painful, then the mind can’t penetrate it. And aversion comes in between them. If pleasant feeling continuously pleasant the mind can’t penetrate it either. Kilesa comes in between them. For the yogis this point is very important. If neutral feeling continues, the mind can’t penetrate it. Ignorance comes in between them. Greed follows behind sukha, anger follows behind dukkha and ignorance follows behind neutral feeling respectively.

It is not easy to talk about these things. In real practice you have to know that kilesa really come in or not. Does your mind can catch on with each anicca? You have to observe it. If you don’t, then increase your effort. You will realize Nibbāna. Not realizing is because of kilesa come in between the practice. Insight knowledge (vipassanā nyan) is the forefront knowledge. The first thing has to develop. The right view of insight knowledge come before hand. Only then the right view of Path Knowledge, which is seeing Nibbāna, will follow. In these two right views; vipassanā right view become sharper and Nibbāna become closer. Never lazy in practice, then you will realize it. Without vipassanā right view the leader of the Path right view can’t arise. It was mentioned in the Sagatha Vagga Samyutta.

The knowledge of conformity (anuloma nyan) which is still in the stage of anicca. It conditions the knowledge of change of lineage (gotrabhū nyan) which see Nibbāna with proximity condition (anantarapaccayo). Why I use it here? It describes the natural process without a being. It will arise accordingly to the natural law. Knowledge of the Path comes only after the knowledge of change of lineage and seeing Nibbāna. Therefore, without the knowledge of insight and Path Knowledge can’t happen, even stand between them is the knowledge of change of lineage. Don’t let disappointment and doubt come in. May be I am a 2-rooted person (duhetuka). Had I done something wrong to someone? So I can’t realize Nibbāna. Don’t let these mental states come in. The Buddha guaranteed that if you could listen the truth of dhamma and discerned anicca, and then you would realize it (from Anguttara Nikāya). If no defilement come in between anicca and contemplation, you will realize it. Don’t think about these things. In some people their doubts and remorse leading them into painful rebirths. Preventing them for realization.

After the insight knowledges, and comes the knowledge of change of lineage. After the knowledge of change of lineage, and comes the Path Knowledge. These are the process of the law of vithicitta (consciousness belonging to a cognitive process). They are always in this process. Worry and remorse (kukkucca) are very bad dhamma and danger of the path. Yogi will destroy himself. All the practices never become fruitless. The Buddha also gave encouragement. During the dying moment the practicing yogi by putting effort in contemplation can enter the stream to non-returner. If not happen in this way by dying with the mind of insight knowledge will take rebirth in the heavenly realm. As soon as born there and enter the stream. The Buddha mentioned this definitely (Anguttana Nikāya). If kukkucca come in, contemplate its impermanence. After that continue one’s own contemplation, e-g vedanā, mind etc. For someone who contemplates on feeling, worry is unpleasant mental feeling (domanassa). In contemplation of mind, worry is mind with aversion. Don’t look for it. It comes for contemplation. This point is very important.

Visākha asked,”What is the opposite of neutral feeling?” Dhammadinna answered,” It’s ignorance.” It is true, everytime neutral feeling arise and not knowing it is ignorance. And then what is the opposite of ignorance. The answer is knowledge or knowing (vijja). If one of them there the other is not. Therefore, your contemplation is the path of knowledge. This is the work of true knowledge arising (vijja udapadi) and discernment knowledge arising (ñānam udapadi). What is the opposite of vijja? It is fruition(phala). Vijja is ñānam (knowledge). Fruition is the free mind (vimutti citta). What is the opposite of fruition? It is Nibbāna. Why? For the fruition mind to arise have to practice a lot. It is conditioned phenomena (sankhata dhamma). Nibbāna exist as unconditioned dhamma and without cause. So they are opposite. Visākha was very pleased with her answer. And then the Buddha asked to contemplate fruition as impermanence, because it is conditioned (from the Patthāna). It is sankhata dhamma so ending with anicca. For Nibbāna just only incline towards it. Whatever impermanence contemplate impermanence. Which is permanent just incline towards it. It means stay with the peaceful mind. Therefor I have to mention that incline the mind to the ending of arising & passing phenomena as ending. Don’t contemplate Nibbāna. It is not a dhamma for contemplation. It is a reviewing dhamma (paccavekkhana), an investigating dhamma. What is its characteristic and quality? Can be investigated in this way. It does not matter. The Path is impermanent and Fruition also impermanent. Contemplate conditioned as impermanence(sankhata). As for unconditioned Nibbāna, reviewing as“That it’s”, “That it’s”.

For ending the dhamma talk, to realize Nibbāna start from the conditioned, conditioned knowledge is not the Path Knowledge, only insight knowledge. The knowledge come out from the conditioned are Path Knowledge and Fruition Knowledge. Insight knowledge is taken the objects of conditioned. Contemplate conditioned as anicca is insight knowledge. After the ending of the insight knowledge, you will see the unconditioned, i.e Nibbāna. Why? It is free from the conditioned. Vipassanā practice is finished when the practice of the conditioned is ended. Then the knowledge incline towards the unconditioned will happen. You can’t find Nibbāna inside the province of conditioned. If it is possible, it must be Ditthi-Nibbāna (wrong view Nibbāna). Eating is good, drinking is good, and people take these things as momentary Nibbāna. It is wrong view Nibbāna. Therefore, if you want Nibbāna, have to come out from the province of conditioned. If you don’t know the condition, then can’t find out the exit. The arising is conditioned and the passing away is anicca. If you can’t see, this then it is impossible. First make oneself from blind worldling into right view worldling (kalyna phutujana). And then realize the Path Knowledge of noble view and you will see Nibbāna. Blind worldling does not see the conditioned but good worldling see it. If he sees the unconditioned then becomes a noble person must develop in these ways. Before encountering a spiritual friend, everyone is blind. If you find one and become a good worldling. As example, when Sāriputta and Maha-Mogallana met Sanjaya (their first teacher), they were blind worldlings. After met with Asajit (one of the first 5-disciples of the Buddha) became good worldlings, later became noble persons. Don’t take the blind worldling as 3-rooted or 2-rooted person (tihetuka or duhetuka) only as without a good spiritual friend. Before not met the Buddha, all were in blindness. Therefore, don’t have doubt about it.


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