revised on 2021-01-27
Here the conclusion has double meanings—ending of Mogok Sayadaw’s talks and some reflections on the translations and Mogok–Dhamma or Buddha-Dhamma. These translations are only parts of over a thousand talks which were recorded more than half-century age. Sayadaw had great wisdom, and his talks were not ordinary but with the quality of penetration. It reminds me about the teachings by the disciples of the Buddha—such sāvaka as; Sāriputta, Puṇṇa-mantāniputta, Mahā Kaccāna.
It was very fortunate that one of his last lay disciples U Tan Daing put a lot of effort to compile Sayadaw’s recorded talks and transcribed into many volumes and Sayadaw’s Dhamma survives into these days. Nowadays it seemed to be more than 39 volumes—each volume included 13 or 14 talks each. I have no doubt that Mogok Dhamma benefits a lot of Burmese Buddhists in study and practice of Buddha-Dhamma. For example, recently a meditation teacher of Mahasi system combined with Mogok Dhamma talks with Mahasi method had great success in teaching yogis because he was an open-minded teacher and not clinging to tradition and had fixed views.
Once Sayadaw said to one of his closest disciples as in the future his talks would be more valuable than gold. It’s true Sayadaw’s talks and Buddha Dhamma are like the seven noble treasures—faith, virtue, moral shame, moral dread, learning, generosity and wisdom (saddhā, sīla, hiri, ottappa, suta, cāga and paññā). I met some students of Goenkaji—they had practised for a period of time and advanced in practice but without a teacher’s guidance for continuing the practice. After they knew about Mogok Dhamma and overcame their difficulties. Even with a lot of listening and reading (i.e., the transcribed talks) with contemplation or reflection on Dhamma increase our wisdom faculty and will become wiser and intelligent. Not like the teachings of reliance on the outside power which makes the mind become blunt as a rusted knife.
Even if we temporarily possess the seven noble treasures (sattavidha-ariya-dhana), such as the "treasure of hearing" (sutadhana; also known as "good knowledge" on the Dhamma—kalyāṇa-mitta), it will be of great benefit to our lives; there are other reasons. Therefore, I decided to translate them for other Buddhists not because my English language was very good. The Burmese Buddhists had never tried it before; even though they knew that Mogok's talks were noble treasures or riches and it benefited many Buddhists. Recently some new meditation methods and teachings appeared and its followers translated them and spread outside Burma. Many Burmese benefited from Sayādawgyi’s talks but no one tried to translate it for others.
There are now Buddhist schools in Burma open to the lay community, and more lay people are studying the Sutta Nikāyas, the Abhidhamma and commentaries—such as the Visuddhimagga. These people are younger generation. There were only a few older people who interested in Abhidhamma before. This is a good sign for Burmese Buddhism. There are some Burmese meditation systems are spread outside Burma, but it’s very rare to see Dhamma translations books by well-known scholar monks and meditation teachers. Even Ledi Sayadaw’s books are very rare in Burmese before. Only not very long-time ago, a well-known publishing group with the help of Ledi monks made Ledi Sayadaw’s work available in Burmese. Ledi Sayadaw’s works are also very important for translations to spread it outside Burma.
I have already mentioned above my English language is not excellent, but Mogok talks are like the noble treasures and noble taste of Dhamma. So, I wanted to share it with others; besides, there was no one else who would try to do it. I have the habit of making notes whatever good books (Dhamma or worldly) which I am reading (including listening Dhamma talks). This is one of the important factors for Mogok Dhamma coming into existence. In fact, I would like to translate from the books transcribed by the Mogok Centre; for in each of the talks they contain other essences of the Dharma, but I do not have these books to hand. Even if I try them alone, it takes me for many years to finish it.
When I was still in Burma in 1980 Mogok talks were only 33 in volumes. In my short biography on U Sun Lwin (Ven. Ādiccaramsī) for his Dhamma in retreat I have mentioned he had studied Mogok talks in volumes donated to him by friends. These were 39 volumes, and he wrote about them for four volumes in gist and finished it in 1990. At the time when he finished, Mogok Dhamma volumes were 44 volumes in numbers.
Although I cannot translate the full Dhamma talk (each one is an hour long), it is better than nothing. I hope in the future some Dhamma protectors will come out to do this noble task. Hopefully, there will be some Dhamma protectors out there in the future for this noble task.
Sayadaw himself never gave titles to his talks, so I choose the title of each talk. I had never written anything before as a book. I used the pen to write these translations and gave it to a Theravada group of the people for typing corrections. But they found no one who could make correction for me, even they make a lot of mistakes in typing. So, it had wasted a lot of my energy and times. At last, I found someone who could help my works for correction and came into completion. If I could find him earlier, these works (i.e., Eighteen Days in Solitude, Mogok Sayadaw’s Dhamma Talks and Protection with Blessings—Maṅgala Sutta) would come out quite earlier.
Here I want to say gratitude and appreciation to people who help me to finish these projects, especially to two kalyāṇa mittas:
Firstly, to Upāsikā Daw Lay Thwe (New Zealand) who offered me Mogok Sayadaw’s Dhamma Talks—the Noble Treasure which helps me to sharpen my wisdom faculty.
Secondly to Upāsaka—Nanda (Taiwan), without his corrections, my project could be still in the saṃsāric existence of corrections.
Every beginning has the ending except Nibbāna Element. From the beginning of these project to the end of it, I had learnt something about the noble beings and ancient Chinese sages for their love, and compassion and services to their fellow human beings. For Buddhist monks—starting from Ven. Ānanda to present day Burmese Tipiṭaka Sayadaws they memorized the Buddha Dhamma until to this day; it was not an easy task. It would need a lot of memory (sati), energy and concentration power to maintain it.
Therefore, we still benefit from the noble treasure in its original form. The ancient Chinese sages preserved their teachings and works on many slices of bamboo in calligraphy and all these slices of bamboo were connected together with strings. From cutting bamboos to finish a book with many slices of bamboo was not an easy thing to do. There was also the work of preservation of the slices of bamboo from insects and other things which I have no knowledge about them.
So the teaching chapters of the Buddha and the ancient sages are not easy to come by; unlike the media nowadays, if you press a button it appears on the screen. But a lot of them are rubbish and polluted matters which increase one’s defilement. After death, it’ll send one to the painful birth (hell, animal and hungry shade).
If someone listened or read Sayadaw’s talks many times with contemplation, it would be for sure that he/she will become a genuine Buddhist and with its practice at least can discern anicca. If this translation can help someone in this direction or solving his difficulties and problems in the practice then it’s worthwhile for me to do the translation.
May the Dharma live on!
Sabbe satta sukhi hontu!
revised on 2021-01-27
- Content of Part 13 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"
- Content of "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"
- 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.