Day 16: 1st November, 2002 (Eighteen Days In Solitude-- Instructional Dhamma Talks in Retreat)


revised on 2020-09-06


In vipassanā practice, the first knowledge is sabbe saṅkhāra anicca – the five khandhas arise by conditioning are impermanent. The first thing is to know this view. In the whole world everything exists are saṅkhāra loka – conditioned world. Forests, mountains, earth, water, human beings, etc. are arising by causes. Therefore these things are results. We need to know why it’s arising. We arrived into this life according to our past kammas. After arriving here not only kamma, but also mind (citta), temperature (utu), food (āhāra) are conditioning our lives. Utu is weather or temperature. Āhāra is the thing which we eat and drink for survival and development of this khandha (body).

It is depending on these four causes. To become a human being is with the wholesome kamma. If you could check human beings, nearly all of them came from the woeful planes. After their unwholesome kammic debts had finished and came up to the human plane. (This point was mentioned by the Buddha in some suttas). You can’t calculate and estimate them as they come from human or heavenly planes. According to the teachings, indiscernible beginning of the saṁsāra (round of existence), many Buddha had arisen more than the sand grains in the Ganges River. We had missed these Buddhas because we were born with the eight faults.

[These are: three planes of misery (i.e., hell beings + animals +petas), arūpa Brahma gods and Brahma gods without perceptions, human beings with three unwholesome roots, border areas where the teachings can’t reach, having wrong views and the periods when the Buddhas were not arising.]

Even a Buddha arose we didn’t have the chances to meet him and listen to the Dhamma. These were the reasons we had missed with many Buddhas in saṁsāra. In saṁsāra our bones were piling up like mountains. And mostly born in hells became animals and petas. Now, we’re with the force of wholesome kammas and have this human life. The reasons as a very fortunate human being are; encountering with the Buddha’s sāsana and also in the period of liberation (vimuttiyuga). This is the period of 500 years between 2500 B.E. and 3000 B.E. Those who practices Dhamma within these 500 years can attain Path and Fruition Knowledge. After these periods, it arrives back to dana, sīla era. No other fortunate things such as encountering with the chances of freeing oneself from the danger of woeful plane. Born in developed countries, consuming and wasting wealth are not real happiness. There are people jumping from high buildings and other ways of suicide exist. Therefore they have unhappiness and sorrow.

People are saying U.S.A is very rich. Sometimes people were killed by gun men. So, they can’t move freely. Why these things are happening to them? They don’t know it. (i.e., wrong educations and knowledges in many ways.) They don’t have peace and happiness. Don’t think that with money and you’ll have happiness and security. Even though our country is poor and has difficulties in lives, it’s not a big problem. With Dhamma we can bear it. (This is not an exaggeration. Someone knows about Burmese Buddhism and modern Burmese History will appreciate it.)

We must practice hard for not falling into woeful plane again. We must contemplate saṅkhāra dhammas with knowledge. Don’t think whatever arises by causes has stability and permanence. It’s anicca. Yadā paññāya passati – when one sees these with insight wisdom. Contemplate these phenomena with paññā as unstable and impermanent. Without looking outside, and the internal phenomena of pains, aches, numbness, etc. all are saṅkhāra arising. These are resultant phenomena, and arising by causes. It’s saṅkhāra dhamma, mind and body, the five khandhas. All are the same in different names. Saṅkhāra dhamma arises at the present moment khandha, and contemplate it with paññā.

Don’t take the unstable dhamma as me and mine. Impermanent dhamma is not good and suffering (Dukkha means disgusting and useless). It becomes more dukkha if you’re making the impermanent dhamma as me and mine, and also far from Path and Fruition Knowledges. Today take more care for the practice. Be mindful! “Me” is atta and mine is attaniya. In the world human sufferings are coming from seeing everything and making them as mine. Me exists that mine arises. It needs to be analyzed with knowledge – me and mine do not exist.

Attha nibbindati dukkhe – one becomes weary of dukkha. First, contemplate impermanence. And then will see dukkha. The truth of dukkha has four characteristics. These are:

  1. Pīḷaka – Always oppressing without sympathy; the natural oppressive dhamma which we have it.
  2. Saṅkhatato – Oppress by taṇhā with conditioning. We have to look after the body all the time for survival, and also with works as a living; protecting it when it’s cold or hot, from mosquitoes bite, washing the face, brushing teeth, going to the toilet, bathing, etc. by conditioning it in many ways. Supporting it for the whole day and feeding. Are you not tired about it? What are you gaining from it? Nothing! Only ageing, sickness and death. You benefit nothing from it. You have to look after it for the whole time doing this and that. All these things are saṅkhatato conditioning and making adjustments. It’s quite a suffering.
  3. Saṁtapato – Always burning with the fire of kilesas. What’ll happen tomorrow we don’t know? We’re worrying for our wives and children (including for oneself and there are many things to talk about it) after waking up every day; always in the state of worries and concerns. Worry and concern for our livelihoods. In the whole world, new dukkhas are arising successively because of these worries and concerns. With attaining the khandhas and the whole world is burning with fire of defilements. (If we observe and contemplate today world things are becoming worse and worse. Over greed, hatred and delusion, human beings develop unsustainable economics, science and technology, etc.) You must see the fault of the khandhas.
  4. Vipariṇāma – Oppressing by changing. The khandha is moving towards ageing, sickness and death every day. You can’t make it not getting old. There are many diseases. Some are unable to cure, new and strange diseases are arising. When we were young never heard about cancers, AIDS, etc. Still now we can’t overcome malaria disease. We’re worrying about these things. Why we’re alive? It’s not wrong, if you say just for suffering. Why we’re here? For sufferings and living with sufferings. We can’t make dukkha not to arise so that we have to learn how to live with it. For example, we’re struggling and competing with other passengers in riding public buses. What’s the affection of it if you’re in this kind of life? Do you want it again if you see the faults of this khandha? Why do you want this khandha? Because you don’t see the faults. If you see it and you don’t.

For an example, a woman had a son. The son grown up and fell in love with a girl in the village. Then the mother forbade him by saying, “Son, you shouldn’t love this girl.” Do you think he would accept it? After not succeeded and she told him, “Son, I’ll not say again. But tomorrow is full-moon day. The moon is bright and beautiful. At night if you go to her, don’t come back, wait and see what’ll happen!” Then the time arrived, at 11 p.m. the girl asked him to leave. He responded to her; “I’ll not go home tonight.” and embracing her tightly. At 12 a.m. midnight a rounded thing shot out instantly from his bosom. When he looked up, it was the girl’s head. It was called witch bright (direct translation of the Burmese words.) In reality she was a witch. He didn’t dare to get up, instead in the state of fright and trembling. He had to embrace her body and waiting there. In the early morning it went back to normal again.

The next night the mother asked him; “My son, do you want to go again tonight?” the mother asked him because seeing his unhappy face. His answer was; “Oh! No, I’ll never go again.” Why he responded like this? Because he saw the great fault of hers. You will go back again if it’s you old guys because you don’t see the fault of it. (referring to the audience.) Weariness and disenchantment of the khandhas means seeing the faults of the khandhas with knowledge. Development is practicing to see its faults. Only seeing as dukkha, you’ll become weary of it. Your weariness even become not wanting to practice. Mind and body become tired of it. Even though you don’t want to contemplate it still have to contemplate. At last become Esa magga visuddhiya – it’s the path to purify.

With the purified mind, magga arises. The mind not purify is because of diṭṭhi (wrong view). After diṭṭhi falls off and magga arises. The whole time you’re struggling with the practice means how much clever diṭṭhi is. It’s sticking with you in many different ways. For example, a strange thing happens and you don’t contemplate and the mind is following with it.

Therefore the most important point is stabilizing your sati. If something happens without sati and diṭṭhi is sticking with the mind. You must not concern for the khandha. The purification of knowledge is magga – Ñāṇadassanavisuddhi. I’ll talk about the arising of magga. But don’t expect for it to arise. I only want you to know how it happens. It’s something like the whole burning body of dukkha sacca instantly falls away. Or like a light instantly go out. If it’s slowly ceasing or reducing, then it’s not magga. It’s happening within a second. How quick it is, even sometimes you don’t know it? You don’t have time to think about it. It’s akāliko – giving the result without delay.

After the Path Knowledge arises and instantly follows with two fruition cittas. (Someone with the keen faculties follows with three fruition cittas.) The fruition cittas are enjoying the result of magga citta. This kind of experience you have never been enjoyed in the world. It’s supramundane – lokuttara and within a second. Just only think and this kind of thing happens again. I’m not saying you have to believe. It’s true or not can be tested. You have to show me by entering the fruition state. Some yogis don’t have anything for contemplation and it’s peaceful. With this don’t make a decision yet. With the peacefulness and it’s like a statue. Have to make a resolution before entering the fruition state. If you make a resolution for an hour time and like a statue for an hour. You don’t need to check it with the clock. After opening the eyes and it’s exactly an hour. Not in accordance with these two points, then not the Path Knowledge.


revised on 2020-09-06; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4021&p=35466#p35466 (posted on 2018-12-14)


  • Content of "Eighteen Days in Solitude"

  • Content of Publications of Ven. Uttamo

According to the translator— Ven. Uttamo's words, this is strictly for free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma—Dhamma Dāna. You may re-format, reprint, translate, and redistribute this work in any medium.