Dying with Smile


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 30th March 1961

[Janusonin brahman said to the Buddha that in his view everyone afraid of death. The Buddha answerd that it was not right. There were 4 persons afraid of death and other 4 persons not afraid of death.

Persons afriaid of death are:

① Someone attaches to the family members and wealth and when he comes near to death afraid of dying. Because he has to part from these things and sorrow, lamentation, pain and grief follow. He doesn’t understand that family members and wealth are truth of dukkha. He dies with attachment, pain and agony. The rebirth will be peta (hungry ghost)

②Attachment to one’s own body also die with fear of death.
③Someone done a lot of unwholesome things in his life becomes remorse and fear during dying.
④Someone not understands D.A process and has doubt on future rebirth. Because of ignorance fear of death come in.

The other 4 not fear of death are the opposite. These are;— No attachment to the family members and wealth, to the body, doing wholesome deeds and no doubt.

For these 4 points to be succeeded:

1. One should practice insight (vipassanā) and understands the true nature of anicca, dukkha and anatta of these things.
2. Practice insight to understand one’s own nature.
3. Practice as much as possible in daily life.
4. Contemplate vedana near death.

In these ways a yogi will face death fearlessly. Even can realize Nibbāna near death, or sure for good rebirth and realize Nibbāna in next life. It was mentioned by the Buddha in the Anguttara Nikāya. By looking at the face of the dead body can know the rebirth which is good or bad. The bodily posture also an indication. As e.g, the head is turning to the right side.]

Today talk is concerning to everyone. We are going towards death from our births. From sitting, sleeping, eating and drinking, etc. one second to one second is going towards death. This is the surest things and other things are not sure.

We are vatta persons (persons in the round of existence). Therefore are always running on the same path. All are in grumbling with we are old and will die. Just only in grumble but never find the way out. I am giving this talk for finding the way out and become fearless at near death.

You must make the decision of to become one of the 4 fearless persons to death. Going towards death with fear and how can be a good rebirth for you. Going to die without fear is not only for good rebirth but also will end dukkha.

① Near death painful feeling will arise you don’t want to be separated with family members and wealth so become fear with displeasure, sorrow, lamentation, pain and grief. This is because not knowing that death is the truth of dukkha-maranaṁ pi dukkha saccaṁ By not knowing become attachment and can’t let go of wives, children and wealths. Mind with fear leads to sorrow, lamentation, pain and displeasure.

②Taking one’s own khandha as self (atta) and become fear near death.

③Fear comes from the unwholesome actions (akusala kammas) which had done before. Thinking about things one had wasted time with it.

④Don’t know the beginning and the ending of D.A process (i.e, ignorance →volitional formation and birth→aging and death). Don’t know both, such as where I came from and where I’ll go. Don’t have faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, and near death doubt comes in.

You all understand the D.A process. Contact (phassa) conditions feelings (vedana), after contact ceases and feeling also ceases — in this way contemplate the impermanence of feeling. With the Path Knowledge arises birth aging and death can’t arise. So, you die with no doubt.

The 4 fearless persons are the result of vipassanā practice, with the contemplation of impermanence, dukkha and not-self. They are sure to good rebirths and for ending dukkha. I urge you all to die with the practice. Also encourage your parents, family members and friends to do it. With this in the next life will finish the practice.

These were taught by the Buddha. So have faith in it. Never let go of vipassanā practice. A person died with smile, the head turned to the right side, the complexion was clear and had a pleasant look. These were the causes of seeing the good rebirth and the power of Nibbāna. Die with an ugly face can be born in one’s home as lizard, cockroach and dog.

From now on you have to practice for the overcoming of feelings. At near death these feelings will come. When you see the cessation of feelings, as feeling ceases so too craving also ceases-(Vedana nirodha→tanhā nirodho), and then the Path knowledge appears.

Running in circle is the ugly death. Smiling death is cutting off the circle. Near death don’t let yourself in shame for others to see your situation. The corpse itself is showing the sign of it. Even in your life you had done good merits such as building monastery, lake and shrine (ceti).

But in near death you can’t remember them, if the painful feelings are becoming very srong. Vedana is sticking to the khandha. you have to insert knowledge between feelings (i.e, between each feeling). Feeling is passing away. The inserting knowledge is the path factors(magga). Vedana and nyan have to go in this way. Feelings are never existing in continuity. Only exist as rise and fall.

So you will see the passing away. Is it still in pain, numbness and aches? After seeing them a lot become disenchantment. Without them will be cool. Then nyan making a decision as it’s only the truth of dukkha. And then feeling comes to an end. Vedana and khandha end together at the place, and Nibbāna appears. This is a person dies with the freedom from the round of existence.

So, he has to smile. All of you have listened to my talks and at the time of death will know what happen. If you die with an ugly face what a shame! So, try hard not to become like this.


  • Content of "Dhmma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

cited from https://www.oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4049&start=10