Nibbāna Is Near ; Not Far Away


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 15th December 1961

The Buddha talked about Nibbāna without anyone asking. He wanted to dispel people’s doubts. Atthi Bhikkhave Nibbānam-Monks! Nibbāna exists. It’s sure that Nibbāna exists. To arrive Nibbāna is start from sankhata. From conditioned to unconditioned. Someone who wants to leave the conditioned will arrive there. Sankhata Damma, Asankhata Dhamma-Condition Dhamma, Unconditioned Dhamma (from the Dhammasangani). Nibbāna always exist as a natural phenomenon (Sabhava Dhamma). It exists all the time and why only with the Buddha’s help many can realize it. (Before the Buddha, only Pacceka Buddhas had realized it). He could only teach the way to be there. Couldn’t make it happen. Nibbāna is unconditioned and exist as a natural phenomenon. It’s existing in nature should be encounter by someone. According to the Buddha it’s impossible. Why? It needs to be got on the right train. Only the one who takes the maggan train or who do the work of the path factors will arrive there. The train is called magga paccayo (Path Condition). There are trains from good rebirth to good rebirth (sugati to sugati), good rebirth to bad rebirth (sugati to dugati), and good rebirth to Nibbāna. Without the Buddha appeared all take the first and second trains in turn. Nobody can take the third one. Without the Buddha only Pacceka Buddhas were taking the right train. No one can write about Nibbāna. Not by drawing or showing Nibbāna, even can’t show a fake one (Sayadaw referred to scholars and artists). It’s without form, shape and images, so can’t be deformed or inconstant. A place without deformity and inconstancy is the best place. All living being are living inside the province of conditions and never have the chance for living with safety.

Asking you to contemplate impermanence is wanting you to see the conditioned. Wanting you for disenchantment to conditioned. Wanting you to transcend or get out of conditioned. Wanting you to sharpen the knowledge which wanting to get out of conditions. Therefore, asking you to contemplate everyday. Wanting to arrive Nibbāna have to follow to the end of sankhata. So I am asking U Than Maung (one of his disciples in the audience) as: Are you arriving to the end of inconstancy yet? At the ending of sankhata you will find it. It’s close to the ending of sankhata. In the Saṁyutta the Buddha said: Nibbāna sandike – Nibbāna is not far away, very near. Therefore, the Buddha taught to Rohitassa Devata to look for Nibbāna at 2-armed-lengths body (everyone’s height is only 2-armed-lengths of his/her own hand). Contemplate this 2-armed-lengths body back and forth will see inconstancy and disenchantment of it. After that make a firm decision as it’s truly dukkha sacca and then come to an end. It looks like you are watching a movie when it ended the white screen appear before you. Before it ending the screen was complicating with moving pictures. Here also the movie sankhata ends and Nibbāna white screen appears. The meaning is it’s closing behind. If you are going by maggan train only short moment. I encourage you to make effort. khandhas disappear and Nibbāna appears here. It’s near but far away because can’t overcome the sankhata. Don’t say overcome it even very few people see impermanence. Because of not seeing anicca, so not arriving at nicca Nibbāna. If you say far away, people are retreating. Saying near they don’t know how to look for it. Some heard from others said that Nibbāna was far away. And also don’t know how to look for, so they decide to develop perfection(paramis) slowly. It’s not parami but to have magganga (path factors).

In Pesakopadesa(a commentary, also by the Buddha), it mentioned that listening to the Sacca Dhamma(talks on Noble Truths) and proper or wise attention, by practicing in this way penetrated the Truth of Dukkha and would realize Nibbāna. It was not mentioning about the paramis. This maggan train can ride only by oneself and can’t carry family members. Each person with one’s own train. Therefore, Path Knowledge can’t share with others. (Not the same as merits) Paccatamveditabboviññūhī – each person enjoys the happiness or peace by oneself. Magga paccayo – Nibbāna is Path Condition, it came from the Patthāna (law of conditionality). In the whole samara (round of rebirth), we were taking the wrong train and suffered by it. Don’t look for the culprit. People are talking as making money to feed your family is encouraging to ride the dugati train from the sugati (sugati – good or happy, dugati – bad or painful). Even may be you will think it as he is friendly to me. Some encourage to ride the sugati train for the betterment of next life. This is for your old age, sickness and death. If you ride the middle train (maggan), they will say you are still so young. Do you see the disadvantages make by your good friends? This is remind you for the future.

You want to follow the middle way because of the appreciation of Nibbāna. And want to follow it after have dispelled uccheda ditthi. Ehi-passiko (come and see)- Dhamma is calling you. Sandhitiko (observing or contemplating) – you are following it, and Paccatamveditabboviññūhī – each person will realize the Path Knowledge. (Sayadaw very often using the 6-qualities of dhamma to explain the practice) Realization comes by practicing only, not by prayer or chanting. There are also following in the wrong ways (e.g. a mosquito bites and following with the hand). Following with craving, anger and delusion. Ehi is sense objects (arom), and Sandhitiko is contemplation (arammanika). If these two are harmonizing you are on the right train. You are seeing the sankhata. Ignorance and craving (avijjā and tanhā) covered on the knowledge (nyan). (This is one cover) Dukkha covers on Nibbāna (2nd cover). If you still don’t see impermanence, defilement covers on the knowledge. If you are still not in disenchantment with impermanence, and will not make a firm decision as Truth of Dukkha (Dukkha Sacca). Then you will not see Nibbāna. Therefore, to Nibbāna have to go with practice. You can’t have it for free. Kilesa and Dukkha cover up Nibbāna. If you can uncover these two will see it. (First uncover kilesas and see anicca, 2nd uncover Dukkha) The biggest enemy is defilement. Can’t penetrate the Truth of Dukkha that Dukkha cover up again. If you still not seeing anicca not overcome defilement. Not seeing Nibbāna still not penetrate Dukkha yet. If you win kilesa, you will find dukkha. By penetration of dukkha and then Dukkhasa antam karissati ~ at the ending of dukkha will realise Nibbāna.


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