Worry and Sorrow Entering as Sense of Urgency

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 27th February 1959

[Samvega – sense of urgency, this Pali word may be the less well known or even unaware outside the Theravadin tradition. In Burma this word become a common Burmese word as anicca, dukkha, anatta. It seems to me it’s a very important word for contemplation to search for the meaning of our human existence. As Sayadaw mentioned it’s a kind of knowledge(nyan), which can push or inspire someone on the path or following the Noble Eight Fold Path to end dukkha. We can know this from the real stories of Siddhartha Boddhisatta, Sāriputta…etc in the Pali Suttas and some modern day yogis. Nowadays modern human beings under the influence of the 3-unwholesome roots ~ greed, hatred and delusion take Dukkha as Sukha and create a lot of human problems and sufferings in family life, society and bring destruction to natural environments.

A western teacher described the meaning of samvega as –“ It’s a hard word to translate because it covers such a complex range – at least 3-clusters of feeling at once: the oppressive sense of shock, dismay and alienation that comes with realizing the futility and meaning of life as it’s normally lived ; a chastening sense of our own complicity complacency and foolishness in having let ourselves live so blindly ; an anxious sense of urgency in trying to find a way out of the meaningless cycle.”

Although this talk was very short, there were profound meanings behind it. True samvega develop intelligent wisdom to great wisdom. If worry, sorrow and dosa come in, it can be suicidal. Committed suicide and accumulation of unwholesome mental states are also an interesting point. Nowadays more people (young or old) committed suicide than before , because we accumulate more and more pollutants (rubbish) into our hearts every day from many unhealthy ideas or poisoned-educations.]

Sense of urgency (samvega) is a knowledge (intelligence or nyan). But with it worry remorse and dosa can come in. People committed suicide were because of their accumulation of unwholesome mental states. We have to abandon unwholesomeness (pahatabba). Have to develop wholesomeness (bhavetabba). [This last point usage of abandoning (pahatabba) and developing (bhavetabba) actually referred to the whole mental development. Practicing each factor of the Noble Eight Fold Path also has this meaning. So each factor is important in its own. It’s right effort. In the 37-factors of enlightenment; effort is 9-times, sati is 8-times, wisdom is 5-times and samādhi is 4-times mentioned respectively. The Thai forest monks in their talks very often mentioned as sati/paññā. Sayadaw also very often mentioned it important as the whole practice, i-e pancaganga magga or vipassanā knowledge.

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