Bhikkhu Yamaka

revised on 2021-01-27

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 16th Feb. to 23rd Feb. 1959


[It was from Saṃyutta-Nikkāya. Yamaka listened to the teaching of the Buddha who mentioned his past lives. Yamaka took it as sassatadiṭṭhi – permanent view; and then after the arahant died as uccheda diṭṭhi – annihilation. (Ven. Yamaka took the unenlightened being died as sassata and the arahant as uccheda view.) Sayadaw said it’s important to know Nibbāna by direct experience. In practice it’s important to start systematically from sotāpanna to arahant, i.e., to destroy wrong views and later destroy taṇhā. First Sāriputta dispelled Yamaka’s wrong view of annihilationism – uccheda diṭṭhi. By Sāriputta's questioning him, Yamaka entered the stream. After that, Sāriputta helped him destroy taṇhā, and taught him to contemplate the 5‐khandhas as murderer (vadhaka). All these were happening during the instructions, one can dispel uccheda diṭṭhi by means of the D. A. of the khandhas—khandha paṭiccasamuppāda. Sayadaw mentioned the 12-links, avijjā paccaya saṅkhāra -> viññāṇa ->…etc. Only causes and effects process, saṅkhāra dhamma arises and saṅkhāra dhamma ceases. No being in it but only saṅkhāra dhamma. Saṅkhāra is dukkha. Arahant dies is only saṅkhāra dies or ceases or ends, and when dukkha ends and sukha exist. Sayadaw said that this intellectual knowledge closed the door of avīci hell, because the fixed wrong views die away. (The 3-niyata micchā diṭṭhi – fixed wrong views are non-action (akiriya diṭṭhi), non-cause (ahetuka diṭṭhi) and non-result (natthika diṭṭhi). In the Sāmmaññaphala Sutta of Dīgha Nikāya , sutta No. 2 (DN 2), The fruits of the Contemplative Life, Pūrana Kassapa (or Pūraṇa Kassapa), Makkhali Gosāla and Ajita Kesakambalin were teaching these views or doctrines to people.

It seems that there are many universes in space. The Buddha said a hell being who has niyata micchādiṭṭhi suffers in hell (When the time comes for its destruction has to be moved on or born again in the hell of another universe and continues to suffer). Sabbe saṅkhāra anicca-ti=All conditioned phenomena are impermanent, sabbe saṅkhāra dukkha-ti=All conditioned phenomena are dukkha, when conditioned (saṅkhata) ends and unconditioned (asaṅkhata) arises, which is Nibbāna. Saṅkhata dukkha ends and asaṅkhata sukha arises.]

If an arahant dies and becomes nothingness, then who will want it? If happiness is existing and people will want it. Uccheda diṭṭhi is more fearful than the 5-heavy kammas (pañcānantarika kamma). There are 2-kinds of loss: the loss of knowing and unknowing. After knowing the dhamma of dispelling wrong views and not practicing it is a loss. The loss of unknowing is never heard about these kind of teaching. The loss of knowing without practice is more than the other. (The greatest loss, most Buddhists are in this group.)

(Sayadaw pointed to the chart of Dependent Arising and said) It’s only saṅkhāra arises and saṅkhāra ceases. There is no person and living being. If you know like this, uccheda diṭṭhi falls away. Only the process of saṅkhāra arises and ceases. No arahant born and died. Only the assemblage of dukkha ceased. If dukkha ends, sukha must appear. It transcends from dukkha to sukha. If you know this much will not fall into hell. Dukkha ending that Nibbāna is called sukha. If saṅkhata dukkha ends, asaṅkhata sukha must appear.


[Anyone who never experienced khandha anicca and their ending couldn’t destroy wrong views. All living beings were born in the human, deva and Brahma realms are only temporary. But their permanent homes are planes of misery (apāya-bhūmis). In this talk, Sayadaw mentioned straight forwardly that whatever he said were not his own ideas but based on what the Buddha had said in the Suttas. If it’s his own ideas, then it would become Adhamma or not the Dhamma of the Buddha. And then would fall into hell. (e.g., like the Bhikkhu Kapila of the Buddha Kassapa’s Dispensation, see the Dhammapada. All Buddhists should take this point seriously.) (DhA. iv. 37ff. 24. - – Taṇhāvaggo / 1. Kapilamacchavatthu) Why Yamaka had wrong views? Because he did not understand between conventional and ultimate realities (Sammuti Sacca and Paramattha Sacca).]

You can’t kill the kilesas randomly, whereas you must do it in systematically. To become a stream enterer (sotāpanna), first kill wrong views. For the realization of the higher path knowledges have to kill taṇhā (craving). (Sayadaw gave some examples to describe the mistaken idea of Yamaka’s wrong views as after the arahant dies become nothingness.) The darkness of dukkha disappears and the light of sukha appears. Something has to be existed. Darkness disappears and light appears. Darkness must appear if light disappears. This is natural phenomena. (Sayadaw gave another example.) When you have a sore on your hand and suffer from unpleasant feeling. After cured the sore and the pleasant feeling comes in. In some of the suttas, the Buddha said that the khandha was a sore or ulcer (rogato) (e.g., AN. 4. 124/ 4. Dutiyanānākaraṇasuttaṃ). If you have khandha you have sore. After it was cured and disappeared. Without it is sukha. If you appreciate without the sores and you will appreciate Nibbāna. I am not talking about these things blindly. There were Pali Suttas by the Buddha and I refer to them only in simple Burmese language. If it’s not then it becomes Adhamma (not the teaching of the Buddha). Rogato – it doesn’t mean the unpleasant feeling of the diseases only, it means it has the changing nature of the beginning and the end.

(Sayadaw gave an example of our human life as throwing a stone up in the air.) We are now in this human life for a short period of time, like throwing a stone up in the air. After that moment will fall down again into the under worlds (The 4-unpleasantness of existences). Yamaka had wrong view because of the attachment to a person or a being. So he didn’t appreciate Nibbāna. This is depending on not understanding of between the conventional dhamma and ultimate dhamma.


[Conventional truth is true only for dāna, sīla and samatha practices, but not for wisdom and Nibbāna. Reject conventional truth can create the heavy kamma, such as no father and mother etc. It’s true only for not telling lie. But by it alone can’t realize Nibbāna. By understanding ultimate truth can develop wisdom. Every being in the heart has the 3-seeds of existence, i.e., wrong view, greed and delusion. Wrong view is hell seed, greed (lobha) is peta seed (hungry ghost) and delusion is animal seed. Sayadaw talked about kamma and rebirth. He used a word kamma—samaṅgī which means craving is the storage of actions. Craving and wrong view are the causes (samudaya) of suffering and it kept all the kammic energy which beings were created in the round of existence, and then releasing them one by one. He gave an example of a stone which is thrown upwardly and goes upwards as long as the force is lasting. And then it stops and falls back downwardly. So, wrong view is like this. Beings were born in the wholesome realms until their good kammas are lasting. After that, most of them take rebirths in the planes of misery (apāya bhūmi). Therefore destroying diṭṭhi is very important. ]

After Sāriputta heard about Yamaka’s wrong view, he went to see him and questioned him as follow: “Is form permanent or impermanent?” “It’s impermanent, Ven. Sir.” “Impermanence is sukha or dukkha?” “It’s dukkha, Ven. Sir.” “It is dukkha; can you take the form as my form (craving), I am form (conceit) and the form is I (wrong view)?” “No, Ven. Sir.” “If you can’t take the form as I, I am and mine, and then it’s self (atta) or not-self (anatta)?” “Not-self, Ven. Sir.” Sāriputta continued to question him on the other 4-khandhas in the same way. At the same time Yamaka observed his khandhas and entering the stream.

After entering the stream, Sāriputta questioned him again. “Now, do you take the 5-khandhas as an arahant?” “Ven. Sir, before without a teacher I had wrong view. Now, because of you, I have right view. I will not take the khandhas or other things as an arahant.” And then Sāriputta asked him again, “Now, if someone asks you what happen to an arahant after he passed away?” “Ven. Sir, I will answer that only dukkha arises and dukkha ceases.”

Conventional truth is the truth not arriving at Nibbāna. Ultimate truth is the truth arriving at Nibbāna. Taṇhā samudaya is the storage of kammas. Therefore, the Buddha said that wanting to end dukkha had to abandon samudaya. Because conventional truth develop wrong view, therefore use ultimate truth for questioning to dispel diṭṭhi.


[The Buddha taught conventional truth for the following reasons:
1. For shame and fear (hiri and ottappa) to do bad deeds. These two wholesome dhammas are protecting the human world (lokapāla dhamma).
2. For the kamma and result or right view on kamma.
3. For the benefit of dāna (for the donor).
4. For the 5-heavy kammas.
5. For the metta bhavana (practising of loving-kindness).
6. For the knowledge of past lives.
7. For the dāna receiver (e.g., offering something to a noble person is better than an ordinary person).
8. For the sake of worldly conventions.

Conventional truth and ultimate truth are important. Without understanding sammuti sacca can be fallen into unpleasant destination. Not knowing paramattha sacca can’t realize Nibbāna. In this talk Sayadaw gave an instruction on vipassanā practice based on contemplation of the mind. We are alive with 2-kinds of mind; i.e., bhavaṅga citta (life continuum) and vīthi citta (consciousness belonging to cognitive process). It may be being able to be translated as non-active and active minds. He used a very simple everyday language as host mind (bhavaṅga citta) and guest mind (vīthi citta). Guest mind can only arise by the conditioning of sense-objects and sense-doors (ārammaṇa and dvāra). Host mind exist all the time without the active mind. Non-active mind is sub-conscious mind and can’t contemplate, so not include in vipassanā. The contemplative mind also guest mind. The other guest minds are only 6-types; i.e., from the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind (mana) contact with the respective sense objects, such as sight, sound, smell etc. Sayadaw said there are also 2 guest minds; i.e., saṁsāric guest mind (saṅkhāra) and the guest mind of the Buddha (the 5-path factors = pañcaṅgika magga)]


For someone who wants to become a sotāpanna has to kill diṭṭhi. Later he kills taṇhā for the higher path knowledges. Let us contemplates the mind for killing diṭṭhi. (Sāriputta taught Yamaka using the 5-khandhas. Sayadaw dispensed the contemplation of mind to practical instruction with Sāriputta’s gāthā of kāyaṃ imaṃ, Milindapañha/ Kammakāraṅgapañho) Following the arising and passing away of the mind process until to their ending. At the ending of all impermanence will realize Nibbāna. This is the gāthā (verse) showing the way to Nibbāna. Wrong views attach to all the 5-khandhas but especially on the mind. There are 2 types of mind; guest and host minds. Mind arising by causes is guest mind. The mind always exist is host mind. Every living being alive with a mind, without a mind is dead. Host mind (bhavaṅga) arises between the 2 guest minds. Without their arising is death. As an example, you want to eat something arise. It’s arising and passing away. Before another mind arises bhavaṅga citta has to arise. Knowing them as vīthi citta and bhavaṅga citta (Between the 2 vīthi cittas, bhavaṅga citta has to arise. These are life continuum minds and they start arising from birth consciousness to until the death consciousness. Vīthi cittas are creating new kammas for the future becoming.)


[The 5-khandhas are sakkāya which means it really exists. If take the khandhas as me or mine become wrong view and not really exists. Take the khandhas as me or mine as a friend lead to painful rebirths. Take the khandhas as enemies lead to Nibbāna. Sayadaw gave the examples of how the 5-khandhas are murderers. Some die because of the 4-elements, other by feeling (vedanā) …etc. In contemplation see the khandhas as stranger (parato) or murderer (vadhakato). ]

The 5-khandhas are sakkāya. Really exist. Take the sakkāya and viewing them as friends become sakkāya diṭṭhi and fall into painful rebirths. If you know sakkāya as enemies will become a sotāpanna. Therefore, with the sakkāya can fall into unpleasant rebirths or realize Nibbāna. (Sayadaw used each khandha to show that the 5-khandhas are murderers; e.g., people die of over heat – tejo rūpa kill people.) In practice for becoming a sotāpanna and higher knowledges, the 5-khandhas only show impermanence. But the ways of contemplation are not the same. For sotāpanna contemplates as this is not mine, not I am and not-myself. For higher knowledges contemplate as murderers.


There are only 2 dhammas; wrong view and right view. With wrong view go to unpleasant destinations, and right view realize Nibbāna. See the khandhas as, this is not mine, not I am, not myself because it’s impermanent nature; then wrong view is falling away. However, if you are practicing hard and not seeing it, then you are 2-rooted person (a person born with non-greed, non-hatred and delusion roots, only has 2-wholesome roots). Then next life will become 3-rooted person. But however need to continue the practices and listening a lot of dhamma talks (here the talks Sayadaw referred to are sacca dhamma), then next life will have the results. If you discern impermanence, taṇhā, māna and diṭṭhi will fall away. The reality and knowing are becoming the same (i.e., seeing the reality of nature). You have the 5-path factors (right sati-viriya-samādhi…right view-thought). After seeing impermanence contemplate as this is not mine, not I am, not myself. This is the contemplation for sotāpanna. For the higher levels, after discerning anicca contemplate as murderer. After their dukkha were ended, arahants wanted to put down their burdened khandhas. This is the opposite of common people.

revised on 2021-01-27; cited from (posted on 2018-12-14)

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