Concept, Reality and Nibbāna

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 17th October 1961

There are the 4-realizations of Nibbāna , the stream enterer, once-returner, non-returner and the arahant (i-e sotāpanna, sakatagamin, anagamin and arahant). Then, the 5th one is all the khandhas ceased and the peacefulness of Nibbāna. I want you all to know, after the realization of the first Nibbāna, no need to worry about the future. For the other Nibbāna you already have the momentum of the knowledge(nyan). Even you are not listening to dhamma talks, this knowledge will push you forwards to the higher levels. Therefore, the realization of the first Nibbāna is important. For the higher levels there are no other special ways. Starting from the impermanence again. If you ask why we did not realize Nibbāna before. The answer is because of not knowing and take the near things as far away. For the realization of the first Nibbāna must dispel 3 wrong views. After clearing up these views you are sure to realize it. Diṭṭhi nirodho Nibbānam – The cessation of wrong view is Nibbāna- this refers to the first Nibbāna. Don’t pray for any existence of life. It only makes the earthen-soil increasing and also you will suffer. Don’t take these words as not significance. The one also prays this is sure for suffering. (This point is very important for any Buddhist to contemplate clearly whatever their traditions.) I am correcting you for your great mistakes. What you want to enjoy is vedānakkhandha ~ the aggregate of feeling. According to the Four Noble Truths, it’s the truth of suffering. What you all are doing for the enjoyment of human and heavenly pleasures are only superficial. But it’s the same meaning as I will be suffering again and again in the human and celestial worlds and increasing the earthen-soil. Truth (sacca) is right and feeling (vedāna) is not right. I am explaining for your great mistakes. It’s very rare to find a teacher for corrections on these things. You are only seeing the pleasure of feeling, not the truth of it. You are dancing with the strings of craving. (Here Sayadaw using the simile of the string of puppet.)

Feeling arising means on the way to dukkha, and passing away means in dukkha. It’s Dukkha Sacca. This kind of wishes and prayers are covering up Nibbāna. Not knowing (i-e ignorance or delusion) is more difficult than not having (This is a Burmese proverb showing the important of knowledge, because all unwholesomeness start from ignorance, then craving –tanhā).

Your desire and prayers for khandha dukkha are covering up Nibbāna. You take it as this is mine, this I am, this is myself, and all these can’t penetrate the khandha’s nature. You are a slave to the khandha that Nibbāna is out of your sight. (Most of Sayadaw’s dhamma meanings were direct, simple and profound, and sometimes quite humorous.) With prayers and wishes for the khandha, wherever you will be with the attachment to existence (bhava diṭṭhi), by which covers up Nibbāna, that will never arrive to Nibbāna.

(Sayadaw said that Sāriputta asked questions to Yamaka and the ways he answered was helping him to let go of his wrong views by making him to understand concept and reality. And then taught him to observe the nature of the khandha and became a sotāpanna. After became a sotāpanna, Sāriputta asked him if someone asked you what happened to an arahant after he died. The answer was important, because only someone who had eradicated wrong views and doubts could answer in this way. Dukkha ends and sukha exists. The Buddha always emphasized that he taught only dukkha and the ending of dukkha. This point is very important for all Buddhists whatever their traditions. Any dhamma was not about dukkha and the ending of dukkha were not taught by him.)

After the arahant dies nothing happen means the same meaning as there is no Nibbāna. The Buddha taught in many ways as Nibbāna really exists. (e-g in Udāna Pali). In reality arahant is not exist, only a concept. The real existence is the 5-khandhas. Arahanta means a person who had killed the defilments. Puthujjana – worldling means a person who has very thick defilements. By taking off the concepts and contemplate the reality is going onwards to Nibbāna (one of the Dhamma qualities). Yamaka had the view of annihilation because he couldn’t find a teacher. You can know the answer of a sotāpanna from the questions and answers between Sāriputta and Yamaka. You people are praying for Nibbāna without knowing it. There is a place without Dukkha. This must have to exist. Exist with only sukha, that is Nibbāna. But Nibbāna is out of sight because it is covered with Dukkha.

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