Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 13th to 15th February 1961
[The following talks were based on Channa Sutta, Samyutta Nikāya. It mentioned about important of right view, and the teacher. In most of Sayadaw’s teachings, he emphasized on right view and corrected people wrong views by using D.A teaching and other suññāta dhammas.
Wrong views are very deep rooted in the mind of living beings up to the Brahma gods. In the 4 stages of enlightenment, the first one is destroyed wrong views. Even the Buddha referred to it as mahā tanhā—the great craving. It was so deep rooted in living beings mind that during the Buddha’s time even some monks near the Buddha had wrong views, e.g Channa, Anuradha, Yamaka.
May be this was one of the reasons some later Buddhists formulated new ideas and thinkings into his teaching and caught up again in wrong view. In the Brahmajāla Sutta, Dĩgha Nikāya, the Buddha mentioned 62 grounds for formulation of wrong views.
He revealed that direct meditative experiences were the most frequent cause for formulating a view, while speculative thoughts assumed only a subordinate roles. Forty-nine instances appear to be based purely or at least in part on meditative experiences and again only 13 instances based on purely reasoning]
[In the beginning Sayadaw made a very strong emphasis on right view before vipassanā practice. He said without understanding D.A and practicing vipassanā couldn’t realized Nibbāna. Because the views of eternalism and annihitionism prevent it to realize Nibbāna, even the yogi can discern anicca. It becomes weak insight.
So, here Sayadaw presented this Channa Sutta. There were also other suttas supported this point, e.g Anuradha Sutta and Yamaka Sutta. Sayadaw said Channa was born at the same day as the Bodhisatta and sent him for the renunciation.
After the Bodhisatta became a Buddha he went to see him and ordained. So may be he was practicing for more than 30 years after the Buddha passed away. At that time he was still a worldling. Why didn’t the Buddha help him?
May be Channa was not the person he could help directly. Later Ananda helped him. Another possible reason was when the Buddha was alive he was still immature for the realization.
Sayadaw said everyone should follow the process taught by the Buddha. Looking for a teacher, listening to the sacca dhamma etc. as mentioned in the Anguttara Nikāya. Also in practice the Buddha mentioned about the 3 knowledges for many times. These are sacca nyan, kicca nyan and kata nyan (see the first sermon).
According to the commentary, these are ñāta pariññā, tirana pariññā and pahana pariññā—knowledge, practice and realization. Without a teacher’s guidance everyone has wrong views. A person with sassata view likes to make merits and avoid deṁerits.
Want to hide in saṁsāra for his good deeds to enjoy it. If he has a chance to meet a teacher who can guide him for transcending dukkha, and doesn’t like it. A person with uccheda view is the opposite. But if he meets a good teacher and gives up his views and practices diligently for the ending of dukkha.]
Sassata and uccheda views are arising because of not understanding the D.A of the khandha. Sassata is for the increasing of bones and skeletons. Uccheda is for the increasing of hells. The middle way is the path factors. After dispelling wrong view with knowledge, and you are in the middle way.
The Buddha said that couldn’t find the beginning of a living being but knew the beginning of it causes. It was ignorance and craving. If you discern the arising of phenomena uccheda falls away. And discern the passing away sassata falls away. When the cause ceases so do the result, and sassata falls away. For example, phassa(contact)
arises, so vedana(feeling) arises, and phassa ceases so vedana ceases. After clear away wrong views and practice it’s sure to get the result. (He told the Channa’s story) Channa practiced with wrong view that even he discerned impermanence couldn’t realized Nibbāna.
Annihilationism (uccheda ditthi) is the desire for the extinction of life without knowledge (nyan). Buddhas had arisen before near the number of sand grains in the Ganges River. And we are still here leaving behind. The reason was in past lives we were in the states of clinging to life which was the view of eternalism.
Sometime met with wrong teachers and followed the way of annihilationism (uccheda). Mostly followed the way of eternalism (sassata). Most Buddhists are eternalists (without a teacher’s help most Buddhists believe in the law of kamma and easily fall into eternalism.
We can’t separate with our khandhas and farmily members. And then for the desire of existence, we are performing merits with the knowledge of law of kamma (kammasakkata nyan). (Sayadaw continued by using each one of the links of D.A process to explain how to free oneself from sassata and uccheda views.)
For example, contact (phassa) conditions feeling (vedana); phassa arises and passes away. Seeing the passing away free from sassata (view of permanence). After passing away; phassa has conditioned the arising of vedana, then the view of annihilationism is falling away. After clearing away wrong views and contemplate become strong insight.
The insight knowledge is proximity condition (anantara paccayo) and the Path Knowledge is the result of the proximity condition (The Path knowledge is the result of the insight knowledges).Therefore after the insight knowledge and the Path Knowledge arises instantly. So Nibbāna is not far away and very near. (Sayadaw continued to talk Channa’s experience)
Even though he discerned anicca but not seeing the ending of it, or the ending of sankhata, or the cessation of tanhā which is Nibbāna. By Seeing impermanence and fear arose in him. Attachment to the khandha also appeared. Fear arose because of the nature of not-self which had without any reliance. Without any reliance became fear. The attachment of what I had to rely on also arose in him.
The mind of fear and looking for refuge appeared together. These came about because of without clear away sassata and uccheda views before the vipasanā contemplation.
[Ditthi is more fearful than tanhā. It’s the source of painful destinations (dugati). So, it’s more dangerous than tanhā. In this talk Sayadaw explained the D. A process from the 6 sense doors. In our normal life we always create kammas without knowingly and most of them are unwholesome.
Only by vipassanā practice we stop creating kammas. He also emphasized about we were alive with each mind moment. We are seeing our birth and death moment to moment by practice.
He mentioned Channa’s own experience. Channa said every time he contemplated anicca, dukkha and anatta never experience Nibbāna. Instead fear arose and what had to be relied on? Commentary explained that he had sassata view and by seeing anicca became in fear and looked for refuge]
Between ditthi and tanhā, wrong view is more fearful than craving. Because wrong view always send beings to the planes of misery. There are also tanhā not send beings to the planes of misery. Tanhā always follow behind ditthi.
Wrong view is the rope binder and tanhā is the floater. If you binds a person hands and feet with a rope and floating down in a river and even this man encounter river banks it becomes hopeless for him.
With this example, wrong view is more fearful than craving is quite evident (The Buddha was very skillful in using language and similes to teach living beings. There are a lot of things and dhamma for contemplation on wrong views and to penetrate its evils).
Whatever arises from the 6 sense doors and can’t contemplate with insight will connect with craving, clinging and kamma. If you can contemplate will not connect with it. Therefore without any contemplation no way can rise up from the planes of misery.
(Remember the warning of the Buddha as planes of misery were the permanent homes of living beings).
The Dhamma cutting off kammas are only insight and supramundane knowledges. Insight knowledge (vipassanā magga) is has to be developed (bhavetabba). Insight knowledge is like collecting the rubbish and supramundane knowledge burning the rubbish. A man life span is only one mind life.
If the next mind is not arising, then he is dead. Because you are alive with tanhā, upadānā and kamma and it will lead to dukkha. (Sayadaw continued Chana’s story) He had seen impermanence but Nibbāna not appeared. It happened because of without dispelling ditthi before hand for the insight practice.
- Content of "Dhmma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"