The Mind at Dying


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 29th May 1961

Dying is after the out breath goes out and no in breath comes in is death. The Buddha said that all living beings without seeing the next rebirths at the dying moment would never die. They are seeing it with the 5 dying mind moments. After these minds come death consciousness arises(cuticitta). This mind is the last mind of this life. After that comes rebirth consciousness.

The 5 dying mind must be anyone of the wholesome or unwholesome dhammas. These are arising continuously and passing away one by one for 5 times. What are these 5 minds are seeing? Example for the unwholesome mind - it sees the lying and cheating of others or remembering them. Seeing the unwholesome kamma one's had done before. For the wholesome mind-by seeing made offering things to the monks.

For the practising yogi - he sees the impermenence of phenomena. For a stream enterer (sotāpanna) the impermence of phenomena reappear. Therefore beings are seeing what they are used to do it (This point is very important to everyone in his daily life or whole life.

We should develop wholesome mind and kamma all the times and these become a habit.) So everyone seeing his or her actions has done before and dies. Some see huge black dogs, hell cauldrons (woks).

They become frightened and tears flow down from their eyes. We had lived our lives in wrong ways and will arrive to the wrong places. These they know by themselves. The Buddha had spoken about these things. Some see celestial nymphs, celestial mansions and chariots of the heaven. A person will born as a ghost sees forest, hills and steep cliff.

Family member and others are surrounding and talk to him but he doesn’t hear it. Some are crying out with fright. Family members are near but they can’t help him. After the 5 mind moments and will die. There is no time to make correction. Therefore we have to make preparations earlier before death.

In 100,000 incidents with these kinds of situations, only one case could be made the correction. (Don’t know where Sayadaw got this information. It seems to be a story from Sri Lanka. An old novice was helped by his son who was a monk. In these kinds of situations very difficult to help the dying person.)

It was very few indeed. Someone will born as animal sees the womb of an animal. Some fall into hell directly even don’t have the chances of questioning by King Yama. Because their kammas are very heavy (Such as the 5 heavy kammas)(King Yama is like a judge in hell. A good hearted being who helped the hell beings to remember some of their goodness by questioning them.)

How to correct it? The Buddha warned us – Practice vipassanā. Don’t be headless! Someone with the knowledge of impermanence, seeing it as anicca khandha & dies. After death instantly arrives to blissful plane (sugati), or can enter the stream before death (from the Aṅguttara Nikāya).

The Buddha lived for 45 years (as an enlightened Buddha) & warned the Bhikkhus for 1792 times of the above warnings (Practice vipassanā. Don’t be heedless!) Everyone without the practice of vipassanā, the Teachings of the Buddha is extinct for him. Therefore we should practice vipasannā & become a habitual kamma by without stopping it (Sayadaw continued the Mahanama’s story to give the example of the benefit of the practice).

This task is no need to spend money. Only to sit down & observing the impermanence of the khandha. It is not a burden at all (Human beings are sometime very stupid. They can spend a lot of money & times doing foolish things. Even give up their lives for these stupidity). If you are afraid of dying and death that only get the knowledge of sense of urgency (saṁvega).

If you do the practice will free from dukkha. By knowing these things clearly, & the desire for the practice will arise. You already have the perfections (parami) for yourselves. Because you meet the Buddha’s Teachings, encounter a teacher who can teach the sacca dhamma (teachings on truth) & possess the ears for listening them. (The last point may seem insignificant. Most people taking interest & pleasure to listen gossips & frivolous talks on sensual pleasure. Just examine the nowadays medias.)

(Sayadaw continued on the contemplation of feelings-vedana). Every itching, pain & aching etc. … arise, & with the contemplation will see their arising & passing away. From the 3 feelings (pleasant, unpleasant & neutral) one of them will always arise. With mindfulness, persistent effort & observe with wisdom (paññā).

Whatever arising in the khandha all are impermanent. By showing their impermanence, we just following with, that’s right, that’s right. This is right seeing & even before death getting the path factors (magganga). Nibbāna is covering up by conditioned phenomena. It is covering up with permanence.

King Milinda asked Ven. Nāgasena; “Is Nibabāna always exist or not?” Nibbāna is not connecting with everyone. Only the practicing yogi can see it. Today talk has 3 points. I talk about the good & unpleasant deaths. Nibabāna is covering up by conditioned phenomena.

In referring with the feeling, all 3 types of feeling are covering up Nibbāna. In referring to the mind, all minds are covering up Nibbāna. Therefore I urge you all for the practice.


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