Eighteen Days in Solitude
Day 6: 22nd October, 2002; By Venerable U Ñāṇaransi ; The translator: Ven. Uttamo
We’re arriving at another part of the process for change. It needs to clearly understand the way of practice and the nature of the practice. From samatha practice we’ll develop vipassana. There exists the process of insight knowledge. There are 2 basic knowledges of insight. These are: 1. Understanding the characteristics of mental and material phenomena (namarupa pariccheda nana). 2. Discernment of conditions for mental and material phenomena (paccaya pariggaha nana). These are still not arriving to the insight knowledge yet. This is the part for preparation to change there. For the 6th and 7th days we’ll develop these 2 knowledges. Why we’re establishing these knowledges. According to Mogok Sayadaw’s instruction we must dispel wrong views. Many meditation systems arose in Burma and no centres based on this point. Only Mogok Sayadaw took it as very important. He said many times in some of his talks that without dispelling wrong views and practiced not attained Nibbana. (There were some monks had wrong views as mentioned in some of the suttas. So the Buddha and Ven. Sariputta were helping them to dispel wrong views.) Practicing vipassana is not for the happiness of human and heavenly beings. But for killing the craving for becoming (bhava tanha), so that not to get another mind and body (khandha). We came here for practice to free ourselves from dukkha. Mogok Sayadaw was helping yogis to dispel ditthi with Dhamma talks. I give vipassana lectures and help yogis to dispel ditthi. By listening Mogok Sayadaw’s talks also possible. It’s still not a contemplative stage yet. (It’s intellectual knowledge.) Now, we arrive to the stage of how to dispel ditthi with the contemplation. Sayadawgyi said, “if you want to dispel ditthi, there are one thing you had to do.”
That is to understand Dependent Arising (paticcasamupada) teaching. Not from the book (i.e, in letters), but to understand the Dependent Arising of the mind and body process (khandha). Vipassana contemplation is on the Dependent Arising process of the khandha. And not the past and future khandhas, but the present arising khandha. And you also have to know what the khandha is. As for the khandha most people take it and mixing up with the self body. What you’re seeing in the mirror is the self body and not the real khandha. Khandha is an intrinsic nature. There are 5 khandhas. If you carefully observe, the nature of matter are hardness/softness, heat/cold, distention/pressure, cohesion/trickling (these are the 4 great elements of earth, heat, air and water). These are its intrinsic nature and material elements. These exist in nature as qualities. Talking about the form and the shape of the physical body is by ordinary people. Intelligent people – vipassana yogis and scientists are talking about the intrinsic nature as matter. The intrinsic nature of change or impermanence is matter. If we’re talking about matter (rupa) and you must understand or see it as change or impermanence. These are the interpretations of matter. Consciousness (vinnanam) is the impermanent of the intrinsic knowing nature. Therefore in this khandha exists only the changing nature of impermanent matter and the knowing nature of impermanent mind. Vedanakkhandha-feeling aggregate is the impermanent nature of feelings. Sannakkhandha-prerceiving aggregate is the impermanent nature of perceptions. Hearing of what I am saying is consciousness. Perceiving of what I am saying is perception. Good for hearing is feeling-vedana. Wanting to hear again is volitional formation-sankharakkhadha. Therefor the 4 mind and mental khandhas arise together. The sound and ears are matter. These are the 5 intrinsic nature. Vipassana is contemplating of these 5 intrinsic natures.
From samatha practice you can’t go directly to vipassana practice. You have to build 2 basic knowledges. The first one is namarupapariggaha nana. Understanding the characteristics, etc of mental and material phenomena. Separating the 5 khandhas and you get one matter (rupa) and 4 mind and mental phenomena (nama). Condense them together and get mind and matter. You have to contemplate these mind and matter. Contemplate with the penetrative knowing mind and not with the 5 physical doors. Following behind sati with knowing. Before was only establishing for good sati. Now, have to develop knowledge that following behind sati with knowing. I’ll tell you how to do it. When you breathe in and at the entrance of the nostrils, touching and the knowing mind arise. Before, not thinking anything and only notice the touching. This was making the mind calm down. Only with the calm mind and knowledge will arise. With the touching and the mind knows it. These 2 are intrinsic natures. Following with knowledge, what’s touching and what’s knowing? Must know the touching. And must know the knowing. Have to understand them with differentiation. The air and nostrils are form (rupa). These 2 intrinsic nature are touching each other. These are the touching of hardness of the earth element and the movement of the air element. Knowing of them is the mind dhamma. We’re alive with the arising of mind and matter. We go for shopping. With the eyes see a piece of cloth. We eat foods. With the contact of food and the tongue, and taste consciousness arises. Before their contact it doesn’t arise. It arises now at the present moment. All mind and matter are arising at the present moment. Vipassana practice is contemplating the present moment, arising khandha. Thinking about what already has happened is not vipassana. Vipassna is knowing what’s arising now. Now, you’re sitting here and feeling (vedana) arises. Is it the back pain or the changing of form (rupa)? It’s the changing of form and the mind knows it. Do you have to know it as pain, pain? You have to contemplate it as the mind knows the change of form. And it’s not pain and becomes the object of vipassana. Without knowing the change and you don’t know the pain. In the operation room, the patient doesn’t feel the operation. Only with knowing that feeling the pain. Today in the contemplation of the khandha, everytime forms contacts must know them. Touching is form and knowing is the mind. Now, you’re sitting here. Why are you sitting here? Because you want to sit. Wanting to sit is the mind and the sitting is form. You’re eating foods. Wanting to eat is the mind and the eating is form. Before I was talking about with the condition of forms and mind arose. Now, is with the condition of the mind and form arises. In breathing in and out, wanting to breathe in is the mind and the breathing is form. Knowing there as mind and matter, etc. The whole day is the working of mind and form, but we take it as we’re doing for it.
Is it me or other, man or woman, who really done it? It is mind and form. We become conceited because of me and other; person and being. Now, you’re sitting here. And if you getting up, are there any mind and form of the sitting still exist? It dies away and we’re now with the new mind and form of standing. It’s replacing with new mind and form. Form standing and starts stepping. Is there any standing of mind and form exist? If it’s not there, then it dies away and disappears. How many times you’re dying every day? Are you alive or die for many times? It’s not the view of ordinary people. Now, we’re arriving to the view of insight knowledge. Therefore the whole day and times many deaths are piling up. In one life, die only once is the conventional death. But ultimate death are many times, even you don’t need for sending of to the cemetery. But we’re carrying around these corpses with us. Later you’ll know this khandha is good or bad. If you think you’re alive, that’s the view of eternalism. If you think after dying and everything is finished, that’s the view of annihilationism. Today you have to contemplate every process as mind and matter. And then you’ll get the knowledge of mind and form. To contemplate the present five khandhas arise is seeing one’s death. Then you’ll not have the view of tomorrow I’ll still alive. Clinging to me and other, person and being disappear. All living beings are only mind and form. Giving names to things are only for convenience and called concepts (pannatti). Vipassana is not contemplating the concepts. In the mirror, what we see as pretty, ugly, fat, thin, etc. are not really exist, and only thoughts or concepts. These are only mind and form. We’re looking at things with concepts that it becomes white complexion, beautiful, etc. What really exists is arising and passing away of impermanence. So it’s dukkha - suffering. It doesn’t follow our desire and not-self (anatta). The views of worldlings and yogis are opposite. The things people think as good are loathsome to yogis. However you see yourself as beautiful and pretty. Do you see the khandha becomes old and degenerated? The hairs become white slowly, the teeth broken and skin becomes wrinkled. The molecules in the body disintegrated and falling apart. Now, you practice to know mind and form arise. Why you have to do it? Because to dispel wrong views.
- Content of "Eighteen Days In Solitude"