Satipaṭṭhāna Objects and the Contemplative Mind

revised on 2019-05-26

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 16th September 1961

The Buddha gave a talk for 3 reasons. By requesting, not requesting by anyone and depending on the events and situations. Just by compassion gave a teaching without anyone request. This is nothing to do with suitable or unsuitable situations. As an example for the depending on a situation was the quarrel between his 2-sides of relatives for water problem. Without any request he gave the Fool and the Wise discourse. The Buddha had the most disapproving attitude for getting another khandha (rebirth). It would make him happiest if someone did not get it. In the past, because of ignorance and volitional formation, in this life we had rebirth consciousness, mind/body, internal bases, contact, feeling or the 5-khandhas (avijjā → saṅkhāra → viññāṇa → nāma-rūpa → saḷāyatana → phassa → vedanā). In suttas described as a series. In reality it is happening together (from viññāṇa to vedanā=5-khandhas). In suttas described as a series. In reality it is happening together (from viññāṇa to Vedanā=5-khandhas). In the suttas mentioned 3-types of feeling arise. This is intellectual knowledge (ñāta pariññā). The real thing is contemplation (tīrāṇa pariññā). In practice only each feeling is arising and must know it when arises. Only with tīrāṇa pariññā that pahāna pariññā (abandoning of defilement) can be possible. Whatever arising, know it and observe it. When the observing mind comes in, the arising phenomenon already passes away. Why I say this? Because two feelings can't happen at the same time. During the observed feeling arising, the observing feeling can't arise. Two feelings can't appear together. Why? The arising feeling is pleasant feeling and the observing mind is neutral feeling. The observed feeling is anicca, and the observing mind is saṅkhāra. Saṅkhāra observes the anicca. The arising dhamma or saṅkhāra (observing mind) is observing the passing away dhamma. (Here it's important to understand the term saṅkhāra. Whatever arising dhamma is saṅkhāra and arise by conditions)

Saṅkhāra observes the anicca. Passing away is anicca. The arising dhamma is saṅkhāra. Here it's arising, when you look at it and already disappeared. The disappearance and the arising mind or observing mind meet together. If I don't explain this, what happen to the yogis? They will think the contemplative mind (observing mind) is constant or permanent. It's like saying that my mind is fixing on the object, then it would become permanent view (sassata diṭṭhi). The contemplative mind is saṅkhāra anicca and also the arising dhamma (both of them are saṅkhāra anicca). Without dispelling wrong view first, vipassanā practice becomes fruitless (Sayadaw in many his talks emphasized this important point very often. We had many evidences from the time of the Buddha to the present day yogis.). The Buddha concerned about was people could not dispel wrong views. Sometime you are saying that we are observing but can't see impermanence. It seems that the observing mind is permanent. Contemplate the anicca with saṅkhāra. This dhamma is quite difficult but also very true. If not the objects (ārammaṇa) are anicca and the observing mind (ārammaṇika) is nicca. Practice with this wrong view can't succeed. In Visuddhimagga commentary – saṅkhāra dhamma contemplates the saṅkhāra dhamma (Saṅkhārāva saṅkhāre vipassanti). In this way wrong view can be fallen off from both sides. If not, it will be like Sāti monk who had permanent wrong view. He took all other dhammas except consciousness were passing away (MN 38: Mahātaṇhā-saṅkhaya Sutta). With wrong view sotāpatti magga can't arise. Therefore, teacher is important. Gautama Buddha was a short life span Buddha so he left a lot of dhamma teachings behind him for the later generations. Need to be made more clearance here. The observing mind (of saṅkhāra) is observing the object of saṅkhāra when it shows anicca. An example is a rat comes in from the entrance door, do you see it before entering or after entering? You see it after entering. Here also the same. The dhamma arise and you see it or know it. Before the rat comes in you are not looking at it. After the rat comes in, the seeing mind arises. The observed object is anicca, and the observing mind is saṅkhāra.

revised on 2019-05-26; cited from (posted on 2016-07-31)

  • Content of Part I on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

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