Nibbāna Is Near; Not Far Away

revised on 2019-04-20

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 15th December 1961

The Buddha talked about Nibbāna without anyone asking. He wanted to dispel people's doubts. Atthi Bhikkhave Nibbānaṃ – Monks! Nibbāna exists. It's sure that Nibbāna exists. It starts from saṅkhata to arrive at Nibbāna, from conditioned to unconditioned. Someone who wants to leave the conditioned will arrive there. Saṅkhata Dhamma, Asaṅkhata Dhamma – Condition Dhamma, Unconditioned Dhamma (from the Dhammasaṅgaṇi). Nibbāna always exist as a natural phenomenon (Sabhāva Dhamma). It exists all the time and why only with the Buddha's help many can realize it. (Before the Buddha, only Pacceka Buddhas had realized it). He could only teach the way to be there. Couldn't make it happen. Nibbāna is unconditioned and exist as a natural phenomenon. It's existing in nature should be encounter by someone. According to the Buddha it's impossible. Why? It needs to be got on the right train. Only the one who takes the maggan train or who do the work of the path factors will arrive there. The train is called magga paccayo (Path Condition). There are trains from good rebirth to good rebirth (sugati to sugati), good rebirth to bad rebirth (sugati to dugati), and good rebirth to Nibbāna. Without the Buddha appeared all take the first and second trains in turn. Nobody can take the third one. Without the Buddha only Pacceka Buddhas were taking the right train. No one can write about Nibbāna. Not by drawing or showing Nibbāna, even can't show a fake one (Sayadaw referred to scholars and artists). It's without form, shape and images so can't be deformed or inconstant. A place without deformity and inconstancy is the best place. All living being are living inside the province of conditions and never have the chance for living with safety.

Asking you to contemplate impermanence is to want you seeing the conditioned; wanting you for disenchantment to conditioned; wanting you to transcend or get out of conditioned; wanting you to sharpen the knowledge and to get out of conditions by the knowledge. Therefore, I am asking you to contemplate every day. Wanting to arrive Nibbāna have to follow to the end of saṅkhata. So I am asking U Than Maung (one of his disciples in the audience) as; "Are you arriving at the end of inconstancy yet?" At the ending of saṅkhata you will find it. It's close to the ending of saṅkhata. In the Saṁyutta the Buddha said: Nibbānass'eva santike – Nibbāna is not far away, very near (SN.1.46/ (6). Accharāsuttaṃ). Therefore, the Buddha taught to Rohitassa Devaputta to look for Nibbāna at 2-armed-lengths body (everyone's height is only 2-armed-lengths of his/her own hand) (AN.4.45 Rohitassasuttaṃ). Contemplate this 2-armed-lengths body back and forth will see inconstancy and disenchantment of it. After that make a firm decision as it's truly dukkha sacca and then come to an end. It looks like you are watching a movie when it ended the white screen appear before you. Before it ending the screen was complicating with moving pictures. Here also the movie saṅkhata ends and Nibbāna white screen appears. The meaning is it's closing behind. If you are going by maggan train only short moment. I encourage you to make effort. With the khandhas disappear and Nibbāna appears here. It's near but far away for someone who cannot overcome the saṅkhata. Don't say overcome it even very few people see impermanence. One cannot arrive at nicca Nibbāna because of not seeing anicca. If you say far away, people are retreating. Saying near they don't know how to look for it. Some heard from others said that Nibbāna was far away. And also don't know how to look for, so they decide to develop perfection (pāramīs) slowly. It's not pāramī but to have maggaṅga (path factors).

In Petakopadesa (a commentary, and also said by the Buddha), it mentioned that listening to the Sacca Dhamma (talks on Noble Truths) with proper or wise attention, by practicing in this way would penetrate the Truth of Dukkha and realize Nibbāna. It did not mention about the pāramīs. This maggan train can be ridden only by one oneself and it can't carry his family members. Each person rides with one's own train. Therefore, Path Knowledge can't share with others. (Not the same as merits) Paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhī – each person enjoys the happiness or peace by oneself. Magga paccayo – Nibbāna is Path Condition, it came from the Paṭṭhāna (law of conditionality). In the whole of saṁsāra (round of rebirth), we were taking the wrong train and suffered by it. Don't look for the culprit. People are talking as making money to feed your family is encouraging to ride the dugati train from the sugati (sugati – good or happy, dugati – bad or painful). Even may be you will think it as he is friendly to me. Some encourage others to ride the sugati train for the betterment of next life. This is for your old age, sickness and death. If you ride the middle train (maggan), they will say you are still so young. Do you see the disadvantages make by your good friends? This is reminding you for the future.

You want to follow the middle way because of the appreciation of Nibbāna. And want to follow it after you have dispelled uccheda diṭṭhi. Ehi-passiko (come and see) – Dhamma is calling you. Sandiṭṭhiko (observing or contemplating) – you are following it and Paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhī – each person will realize the Path Knowledge. (Sayadaw used the 6-qualities of dhamma to explain the practice quite often.) Realization comes by practicing only, not by prayer or chanting. There are also wrong ways of following with the dhamma (e.g. a mosquito bites and following with the hand). The others are following with craving, anger and delusion. Ehi is sense objects (ārammaṇa), and Sandiṭṭhiko is contemplation (ārammaṇika). If these two are harmonizing you are on the right train. You are seeing the saṅkhata. Ignorance and craving (avijjā and taṇhā) covered on the knowledge. (This is one cover) Again dukkha covers on Nibbāna (2nd cover). If you still don't see impermanence, defilement covers on the knowledge. If you are still not in disenchantment with impermanence, and will not make a firm decision as Truth of Dukkha (Dukkha Sacca). Then you will not see Nibbāna. Therefore, to Nibbāna have to go with practice. You can't have it for free. Kilesa and Dukkha cover up Nibbāna. If you can uncover these two will see it. (First uncover kilesas and see anicca, 2nd uncover Dukkha) The biggest enemy is defilement. It let you can't penetrate the Truth of Dukkha, so that Dukkha cover up again. You have not overcome defilement if you still have not seen anicca. Not seeing Nibbāna still not penetrate Dukkha yet. If you win kilesa, you will find dukkha. By penetration of dukkha and then Dukkhasa antaṃ karissati – at the ending of dukkha, you will realise Nibbāna.

revised on 2019-04-20; cited from (posted on 2016-08-04)

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

  • Content of "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

  • Content of Publications of Ven. Uttamo

This is only an experimental WWW. It's always under construction (proofreading, revising)!

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.

據英譯者—鄔達摩比丘交待,此譯文僅能免費與大眾結緣,作為法的禮物(Dhamma Dāna)。你可以在任何媒體上重新編製、重印、翻譯和重新發布這部作品。