Seeing One’s Own Death Is Vipassanā

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 25th Nov.1960

[Sayadaw gave a meditation instruction here. The language he used was unusual. He said when the observing mind and mental states arose, we could see their disappearing or anicca. A mind born and it dies, and then another mind arises again and dies again. Two minds and two mental states can’t arise together at the same time. So when a mind arises we observe and it’s not there anymore. When the observing mind comes in and it dies already. At that moment we are alive with the observing mind(magga). When another mind arises, the observing mind also disappears. So there is no observer only the observed. Vipassanā is seeing the death with the living mind. If you could see the death with the living mind, then the Buddha had arisen. Without it no Buddha arose then it becomes the path of ignorance condition kammic formation. So what really make the mind & body process on and on. Sayadaw sometimes in some of his talks mentioned about the hell beings suffer in hell. They die instantly and born again instantly on and on until their kammas are finishing for the hell. Some petas who never had a drop of water to drink for their thirsty. They lived for a very long period of times between each Buddha. They continued to survive by food of kamma(kammāhāra).

Mind is the creator because it creates kamma. Even before the being dies the results are starting to materialize. There was a sutta about Nandiya upāsaka. Because of his good kammas celestial mansions were starting to appear in the Tavatimsa Heaven even before he died. One time Ven. Maha-Moggallana visited there and found out some beautiful mansions with celestial nymphs were waiting for someone to arrive there. They requested Ven. Mahā-Moggallāna to send the message for Nandiya upāsaka. There was a remarkable parallel in a modern day story. This time do not with the outside objects but with the materialisation of a human embryo by the kammic energy. This was in Ajahn Mun’s Biography about an elderly nun (see Ajahn Mun Biography, The legacy, pgs416-418)]

Human dukkha are can’t compare to the dukkha of the hells and hungry ghosts. By reaching the sotāpatti magga (the knowledge of stream entry), dukkha only left for 7 drops of water compare with the whole drops of water in a huge lake (a cubic lake which is 50x50x50 yojanas each side with full of water, 1 yojana = 8 or 13 miles, from Sacca Samyutta). Therefore, you all have to put full force energy for practice. Only by practice to get the vipassanā magga (insight knowledge) that you’ll get the supra-mundane knowledge (lokuttara magga). Vipassanā knowledge is the cause and supra-mundane knowledge is the result. (It mentioned in the Susima Sutta) Vipassanā knowledge is seeing the impermanence and supra-mundane knowledge is seeing the ending of the impermanence or impermanent process. Therefore, only you can see the impermanence, then you can see the end of it. By killing the kilesa worms with insight knowledge and you get the light of supra-mundane knowledge. Seeing one’s own khandha is vipassanā knowledge. When the first mind is arising and you are alive with the first mind. If the second mind arises, the first mind dies away and you are alive with the second mind again. You have to know in this way. Therefore, contemplation of one’s own death is vipassanā. Discerning one’s own death is vipassanā. We don’t see the numerous momentary arising deaths that craving (tanhā) arises, and wants to become human beings or heavenly beings. By not seeing one’s own death; and ignorance, craving, clinging and action continue. In this way dukkha machine is going on and on. People are alive without knowing is like a blind man walking along the way. Seeing the death is going on the right path and without it on the wrong path. How to see one’s own death is the best way of seeing? Don’t see it in the way of fright. Seeing it as a stranger, then it’s equal to the word of prato(stranger). You cannot stop it happens, so looking at it as a stranger. In this way is no fear and fright. This is also seeing it as not-self(anatta). In this way of seeing and vipassanā knowledge is becoming mature and developing. And then become don’t want to associate or living with the stranger. It makes samudaya tanhā in the heart becomes thinner. By knowing it as not mine, wrong view and doubt fall away. Strangers are not coming anymore, and free from the dead ones. And then not seeing one’s own death anymore is Nibbāna. This is Nibbāna element. (Sayadaw continued the Susima story). Practice with the insight knowledge beforehand and then will follow by the Path Knowledge (vipassanā nyan-> magga nyan) (In most of the suttas the Buddha taught about 3 knowledges, but here in Susima Sutta mentioned these 2 knowledges.)

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