Wrong View and Emptiness
revised on 2021-07-28
Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 22nd October 1961
Dhamma has general meaning. Actually it’s truth (sacca) or function rightly. When greed and anger happen, mind-body has to follow them. Mind with greed creates greedy form (lobha rūpa), etc. On the highest level of vipassanā meditation, bones become hooked-joints. It happens by its own dhamma. Mind and mental states can make the physical body without decomposition. The Buddha’s bones became chained-joints. Wholesome, unwholesome and kammically indeterminate dhamma (abyākatā) create their own physical forms respectively. Therefore, this physical body has to follow the nature of the dhamma. Unwholesome dhammas create unwholesome bodies in woeful planes etc. The body is an assemblage of dhamma. Turn the mind into the body will see wholesome and unwholesome dhammas arise without a person or a being. It’s only the dhamma assemblage of wholesome and unwholesome mental states and its form. This is dispelling wrong view leading to woeful planes. If we don’t observe and it becomes a problem. By seeing in this way we become the disciples of the Buddha. Today I’ll give the emptiness teaching of no personality and being. Without this knowledge wrong view will not fall away. A person, a being is only in speech but without an essence. With this firm decision, at the same time, the taints of wrong view (diṭṭhi-āsava) are ceased. By knowing it as the dhamma assemblage taint of ignorance (avijjāsava) also ceased. Analyzing the dhamma carefully will find out that it’s conditioned and impermanent; seeing only the replacement and the passing away. For example, eating is replacement and defecating is passing away. Therefore, in this body only replacement and vanishing exist. It’s only conditioned phenomena and impermanence.
Anicca vaṭṭa sankhāra ~ conditioned phenomena are truly impermanent; this is the function of the aggregates. The whole day this is their duty. Continuously replacing is conditioned dukkha. Impermanent dhamma destroy it. Every time the deer gave birth, it was eaten by the tiger (A Burmese Proverb). It happens in this way. Don’t you become disillusioned with it or not? You all turn your mind to the businesses only and not to the aggregates. If you turn the mind to the aggregates, you’ll want to end the conditioned phenomena and impermanence. The noble beings see this and take no interest in it. Therefore, the Buddha said that no replacement and change is Nibbāna. It’s the greatest Happiness. People think about Nibbāna in many ways, but none of them is true. By direct experience Nibbāna is no replacement and change. I want you all to see this, but don’t think you can see only this much. Why? By seeing this process more and more, it becomes disgusting and displeasure and not wanting anymore. These replacing and changing process become quicker and quicker, later only seeing the passing away. Take this as your knowledge is rising up: at first seeing a lot of the arising and the passing away of phenomena. By continuous effort the mind becomes sharper, and can’t see the arising but only the passing away.
After sometime without seeing any of the arising and passing away, then it's free from the khandha. You can’t find the khandha (in reality, the mind does not see the khandha). The observing mind see or experience freedom of the khandha. I am talking about these for the yogis. Seeing the dissolution of the formations (khandhas) more and more it develops to the knowledge of fear (bhaya ñāṇa), and then the knowledge of danger (ādīnava ñāṇa) (① bhanga → ② bhaya → ③ ādīnava; By seeing ① a lot and become ② fear -- this is developing into fear). From the beginning of his full enlightenment, Sāriputta wanted to leave his body behind. There was no pleasure and freedom at all by carrying around this burdened khandha. Therefore, he wanted to put down this heavy load and entered Nibbāna. You all are not like this. You're wanting to go here and there by carrying the heavy burden around. You can’t see the fault of it, but very happy to be a coolie man. Isn’t quite different? It’s like carrying a burning load. Tanhā wants a big load. If you have many children, it’s like carrying more rice bags, similar to a coolie. So the coolies at the ports don’t like others do the jobs (competition for getting money). Even some lay people wanting to carry the khandha of heavy burden that they are making prayers in front of the Buddha’s images (as long life, beauty, fortune, good rebirths etc). It’s like carrying a heavy burden of load on the very rugged road. Sāriputta mentioned that even at the time the world came to an end, he would be free from carrying Mount Meru on his back (if he had one), but never from the life of a khandha bearer (even the world ended). Nibbāna is the ending of saṅkhāra and anicca (arising and changing). Tesaṃ vūpasamo sukho~ the ending of them is happiness. Saṅkhāra and anicca are our contemplation. It means the arising and passing away of your khandha. In the end, not seeing any of them is arriving at the first stage of Nibbāna. As mentioned in the First Sermon (Discourse), i.e., seeing the Dhamma. Anyone not seeing impermanence is still blind and crazy. Go to see a lot of them and become a normal person!
The Buddha said that in ending one’s own dukkha, it’s quicker and better. There are 4-piles of excrement in the room if you want to clear up later, it becomes smelly. During realization of Nibbāna kammic resultant body still exist, but in the mind of the yogi does not see it. People around see the body, but the yogi himself is not. Because the defilement sends one to the lower planes is eradicated. When the Buddha in fruition state couldn’t see his own body. Yogi own experience and other around him are different. If someone still has defilement, others can’t bear his smell. Before the first council, Mahā Kassapa made a remark on Ānanda, “We have a smelly ram among us.” (At that time Ānanda was still a stream enterer, Sotāpaññā). It does not bother you, but to the Ariyas (nobble beings). Sankhārā and anicca are the same as arising and passing away.”Anicca vaṭṭa sankhārā, Uppada-vaya-dhammino; Uppajjitava nirujjhanti, Tesam vupasamo sukkho”~ “Formations are truely impermanent, their nature is arising and passing away; after arise has to cease, their ending is happiness.”)
If Nibbāna has no khandhas, it can be mistaken as nothingness. Don’t take it as nothingness. For example, you have an ulcer and unbearably painful. You have the desire to be cured, and everybody has to be. Your body is the place of diseases (rogato), ulcer etc., all of them are there. With the noble one’s eye can see them. When it was cured, the yogi has any satisfaction or not? So he is in the state of no disease. Therefore, Nibbāna is exist. Only people have ulcer wanting to be cured. No disease (roga) is Nibbāna. Knowing that there is no disease is Path Knowledge (Magga Ñāṇa), and then Fruition Knowledge (Phala Ñāṇa). Nibbāna exists that Path and Fruition Knowledge can be arisen. So Nibbāna exists (atthi).
“There is monks, an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unfabricated. If there were not that unborn, unbecome, unmade, unfabricated, these would not be the case that emancipation from the born, become, made, fabricated would be discerned. But precisely because there is an unborn, unbecome, unmade, unfabricated, emancipation from the born, become, made, fabricated is discerned.” (Sayadaw quoted these Pali verses from the Buddha in the Udāna).
revised on 2021-07-28; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=2945&p=32935#p32937 (posted on 2016-07-23)
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