Eighteen Days in Solitude
Day 10: 26th October, 2002; By Venerable U Ñāṇaransi ; The translator: Ven. Uttamo
Today is the section of contemplating to see more impermanence of the khandha. I’ll talk about the points have to be careful. What’s the nature of the impermanent khandha? Even we contemplate body/kaya and seeing of their solidity is not seeing impermanence. It needs to get rid of the view of head, body, hands and feet, etc. All these are concepts and not real phenomena. What are the real phenomena? The nature of the elements combine together and shape the body (kaya), or matter (rupa). The real existence is hardness, softness, nature, etc. For easy to remember (or communicate) and make the convention of earth element (pathavi). If they are arising have to know their nature qualities. Even we’re talking with concepts as our legs, hands are tense and stiff, must know their nature of hardness, stiffness, etc. with knowledge (nyan). Mogok Sayadaw said that these were not the kinds of knowing with eyes, ears, etc. Discernment of impermanence is not seeing the solidity, instead its intrinsic nature. Can you show it by handling it? Is it stable? It doesn’t. After all it has the nature of oppression (pilanatha). The intrinsic nature are now arise and now cease. We see the refined mind and body and its impermanence. This is knowing with the bodily consciousness. After it arises already abandons the original nature or something already exists is vanished. The original situation vanishes and something arises. If you know something is arising and something is vanishing. In changing also, an original situation is gone. In the moving phenomenon, is it still at the original place? At the original place it has vanished. Vibrations are also showing the arising and passing away. These things are happening in the mind. You don’t know them with eyes, ears, etc. Now it arises and now observe it. Knowing not there is vipassana magga (insight knowledge). The khandha shows its impermanence and the yogi observes with nyan. Knowing that it’s arising and passing away. These are impermanent and unstable dhammas. Now a layman comes and sees me. After that he goes away and not exists anymore. Don’t think as such, he’ll be in some place. This is thinking with ditthi. Yesterday you all had seen me. Is me a permanent monk? This monk here today and yesterday monk here. Are they the same? They aren’t the same. But if you look at them and it look like the same. Is it right looking with the eyes or with knowledge?
Seeing the dhamma as it really is yathabhuta nyan. Seeing with the eyes is wrong seeing? If not contemplate with insight or the whole day, whatever seeing is right or wrong seeing. Not see their arising and passing away that have desire on them. If becomes affection, then it is craving (tanha). With clinging and action (upadana and kamma) will lead to the plane of misery. How many times each day we’re going to the woeful plane? It seems that we come to human life (world) for collecting the requisites to the plane of misery. If we know this, it’s quite frightening. If we do whatever the khandha asking for is going towards woeful plane. Ledi Sayadaw said that the 6 sense doors were like train stations. Because everyday of many kammas are liked many trains leaving from the stations. If you discern impermanence is seeing rightly. And then craving and clinging cease. Nothing is worthy of attachment. By seeing anicca and you don’t want it. Before you didn’t know that and you desired it. After you really know and don’t like it. After tanha dies and you’re safe from the kammas to painful destinations (unwholesome actions). Therefore Mogok Sayadaw said forcefully and encouragingly that if you discern impermanence would attain Dhamma in this life. And then free from the dangers of painful destinations. A lay woman came and asked me; “Could I fall into woeful plane in next life if I discern impermanence?” “Even though you can’t fall into it in next life, after that born into a family with wrong views and it could be happened again.” (The Ven. himself was a good example.) If you become a human being or a heavenly being with wrong views and next life it could be happened. (For example, the 500 heavenly nymps of Subrahma Devata.) It will only have security for one life (as cula-sotapanna). This is cula-sotapanna. At the time of seeing a lot of impermanence it can have problem. You can also see it here and there in spots. At the time it’s strong and see it in the whole body. In any part of the body you see more or less is not the point. Don’t take it as only you see a lot will attain Dhamma. Seeing them as vibrations / sensations is also mean unstable nature. Could we get old slowly if it’s stable? Before you didn’t know these things. Now you know about them. If you are able to practice in accordance with the impermanence, and also near death impermanence will arise. Mostly impermanent feelings will arise. Would you cry as very painful if they arise? So contemplate to discern them. If you’re crying as save me! Help me! Who can save you? Also family members come and disturb you that die like a dog or a pig. So near death don’t care for anyone instead following with the impermanence. At that moment if you die instantly, it’s death consciousness with the magga (insight path factors). And then instantly birth consciousness arises. It’s not arriving here and there between the intermediate state (some Buddhists believe this state). Born as a ghost (peta) also one of the destinations. (This is one of the possibility of intermediate state for short period.) Can be born as any kinds of living beings. Do you still afraid if you see impermanence? A lay woman came and told me that she didn’t afraid to die (because she knew it with direct experience).
It’s important to have this knowledge. By practicing this Dhamma and not afraid of death. Because you have seen one’s own death for many times. Also become seeing impermanence and die. Even not become a sotapanna in this life and next life birth consciousness is with the path factors (magga). A human being is born with lobha mind (mind with greed). So after born and lobha is with us. If you discern impermanence, this life and next life will be safe. If you die with impermanence in this life, and in next life the rebirth consciousness is with the path factors. No need for any special practice. (It happened as the rebirth of a devata. This was mentioned by the Buddha in a sutta of Anguttara Nikaya.) Impermanent phenomenon comes before and follow with the contemplative mind after is magga (i.e., anicca and magga). Continue the following with contemplation in this way is called bhavita-bhahulikata, contemplating many times. Have to know each point with contemplation. Don’t let defilements come in between them. In other words not letting this or that states of mind comes in. If you can do it within an hour like this and can enter the stream. If the contemplation is not good then something is wrong. And then become dissatisfaction with the unclear seeing of impermanence. There’re other things such as, the elements combine together oppress the yogi will arise. Such as the whole body is like prickling and poking with needles and thorns. The head is like pressing with a stone. If you say I can’t bear it and giving up, all these mean; with few discernment become dissatisfaction and with severe oppression can’t bear with it. Then kilesas come in between and ditthi is stuck with you. If you can look at it like a stranger at nearby will bear it. Today I’m talking are 2 points; practicing become anicca and magga, and not let kilesa comes in between them. The khandha is showing its own nature. So don’t go in and confuse it with me and mine. Don’t let ditthi sticks with it. It happens by itself that no need to worry about it. You can’t behave like a stranger that go in and feel with it. So stand nearby and observe.
I’m talking to you the way of contemplation. If you can’t contemplate like this and can’t attain the Dhamma. Sometimes ago, someone saw the head burst open with the brain. A lay woman yogi in Taunggnoo (his meditation centre) ran to me and said that she saw the head burst open and the brain came out. I asked her to touch her head and said to her nothing was wrong, so went on with the contemplation. If not she would become out of control because she couldn’t strip off her wrong views. Even you can discern impermanence is not enough. Also need to distance yourself from it. All these happening are not me and not mine (these points are very important for yogis. Therefore Mogok Sayadaw strongly emphasized to dispel wrong views with Dependent Arising process before the practice). Regarding them as like a stranger and nothing to do with you. It’s khandha arising and not a solidity. Is there anything leaving behind after arises? No objects are leaving behind. So it’s not-self (anatta). If you discern anicca and also see anatta. After die and cremate become ashes, and later will mix up with the soil. So nothing is leaving behind. But after people die their names inscribe on the graveyard stones. Don’t make any markings, after die no solid objects leave behind. Only the energy of wholesome and unwholesome kammas which one had done leaving behind us. Every day human beings are searching things with greed that these things will pull them down to painful destinations. The task can save you is only vipassana practice. Mogok Sayadaw urged us for practice before death came. After getting old and can’t do the practice is a great loss. Therefore have to be practiced at the time you still have the strength. Faith, health and straight-forwardness and discern impermanence (the factors for seeing Dhamma); must have strong faith, good health and practice to see impermanence. (The Buddha’s teaching on faith – saddha was not a blind faith but a true faith comes from direct experience. The Buddha and his disciples never said, just believed me. Therefore in the Noble Eight Fold Path not included. But in the 5 spiritual faculties is the first one. We need trust on the teaching and trying it out ourselves, and then can believe it as right or wrong.)
- Content of "Eighteen Days In Solitude"