Remorse, Worry and Dying

revised on 2021-01-27

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 16-3-1959 , 20-12-1960 , 21-11-1961


[Sayadaw reminds his disciples not to be caught up by remorse and worry (kukkucca), because they come in and disturb the practice. In one’s life, everyone done something wrong is quite normal and can’t stop anyone for realization. Only the 5-heavy kammas and niyata-micchādiṭṭhi can stop anyone for realization. If kukkucca comes, observe their anicca. Listening dhamma talks are important, so that can correct mistakes. Kukkucca and doubt come, observe them and keep with the meditation. The causes of them are the 10-wholesome and unwholesome dhammas. (The 10-wholesome dhammas are: (1) To avoid the destruction of lives be anxious for the welfare of all lives. (2) To avoid taking what belong to others. (3) To avoid sexual misconduct. (4) To avoid lying, knowingly speaking a lie for the sake of any advantage. (5) To avoid malicious speech, to unite the discordant, to encourage the united, and to utter speech that makes for harmony. (6) To avoid harsh language and speak gentle, courteous and agreeable words. (7) To avoid frivolous talk; to speak at the right time, in accordance with facts, what is useful, moderate and full of sense. (8) To be without covetousness. (9) To be free from ill-will, thinking “These beings were free from hatred and ill-will and would lead a happy life free from trouble”. (10) To possess right view, such as that gifts and offerings are not fruitless and that there are result of wholesome and unwholesome actions.)

Worry about good things that has not done yet and remorse from bad things that had already done. It’s a kind of subtle dosa. In a family mostly parents have kukkucca. In the Buddha’s teaching to King Ajātasattu, kukkucca is like a slave who can’t make any decision. Human beings have a lot of worries in their daily life. It creates unhappiness and a big hindrance for practice. So, it's very important to deal with them. They usually come at quiet times, such as sleeping times, practice times and near dying. The mind is in the past and future, and never in the present moment. ]

Kukkucca is a refined state of dosa. May be nobody believes this point. You should think carefully. This is a displeasing mind. Therefore, I have said a refined dosa. Another point is some people mistaken it as a wholesome mental state. Example, some people near death, thinking they had never done good things in their lives, wanting to see their grandsons or sons ordaining as novices. Most people think that these are wholesome mental states. They are dying with refined dosa. At that moment don’t think anything, staying with your meditation at the present moment. Dosa is harmful to both sides. Kukkucca is only harmful to oneself. You are inviting worry at anytime and at anywhere by thinking this and that, and this worry and that worry. But for the practice, you are looking for a place and for a time (giving many reasons for practice).


[Sayadaw reminds strongly to disciples to treat regret and worry carefully during alive and near death. Never think about something bad from the past and to do something good for the future. The past is already gone and no use to think about but only to contemplate not to do the same mistake again and not for remorse. Nearly everyone in our life had done something wrong before. Worry for the future also useless, because future is unknown. If you want to do something good just do it. Remorse and worry are usually come during practice and dying moment not other times. So, be very carefully to deal with them especially during dying moments. Don’t let anyone even family members to disturb the dying person. Let him dies peacefully by himself. But if possible, ask an able or skillful person to help support the dying person for good rebirth. There were many stories on this subject. The Buddha also taught many things about how to die. Most important is has a peaceful environment to help the dying person. ]

Kukkucca means doing the disgusting things. It’s also a kind of sorrow phenomena. Remorse and worry both of them is soka (sorrow). Whatever unwholesome kammas you had committed, which were not the 5-heavy kammas, do not need to worry about it. Just do the insight meditation, it will be eradicated. Whatever unwholesome actions had done before, never think about it. In the same way don’t think about wholesome things not doing yet. If you want to do just go and do it. These are refined dosa. No good for thinking about it. (Sayadaw mentioned the story of a monk in the Buddha Kassapa’s Sāsana. Near the time of his death, kukkucca came in and he died. He reborn as a nāga serpent.) From the planes of misery to come up as a human being is not so easy. Therefore, with many difficulties to get this life should not waste times with family and business matters. Near death with kukkucca become the āsanna-kamma (dying moment kamma). This kamma is the closet to the next life (Sayadaw reminds disciples the importance of near death.) The people near the dying person should be very careful, not to disturb the dying person. We may accompany with dying person simply by contemplation of the impermanent nature of dukkha vedanā. Sometimes the dying person takes a longer time to pass away, because his/her kammas are making arrangement that it takes longer time. From now on we must make preparation and protection for near death.


Kukkucca is remorse and worry, a kind of sorrow. Uddhacca and kukkucca are together, because if one of them arises the other also follows. Remorse and worry are more important than restlessness. Whether you are practicing or not, never think about them. I haven’t done wholesome things yet or my works are not finished yet. Don’t think about it. Let it go. The mind is restless so it appears. If not, they don’t arise. The mind not want to stay on an object is uddhacca. Both of them arise in everyone. It comes in near death as an āsanna-kamma (kammas appear to the mind near death). (Sayadaw told the story of Queen Mallikā. Dhammapada-aṭṭhakathā / 11. Jarāvaggo / 6. Mallikādevīvatthu). It’s the kamma of near death and rebirth. Even though people had done a lot of wholesome, it’s a dangerous one. During dying don’t think anything, just contemplate impermanence. (For this point Sayadaw gave the story of Ven. Phagguna as an example.) It’s like someone in drowning. This person near drowning will use all his energy in swimming. It’s the same, a dying person contemplate impermanence will put all his efforts for contemplation. Now, you are sitting in meditation, and getting up and going here and there. At near death only has the practice for rely on, so you put full effort in it. And then can become a sotāpanna to arahant. Phagguna became an anāgāmin. (AN. 6. 56/ 2. Phaggunasuttaṃ)

(Sayadaw talked about the 3 ways of dying.) The old cows close to the entrance of the cowshed are like the dying moment of remorse and worry. In the morning open the entrance door they go out first. These things happen because people don’t have a good teacher to teach them and no practice. If you contemplate impermanence very often, it becomes habitual kamma (āciṇṇaka-kamma) and near death continuing the practice, it becomes āsanna-kamma. At dying this impermanent knowledge will give you a very good result.

Instead of unwholesome āsanna-kamma develop the wholesome āsanna – kamma, by practice before death. It’s a very important matter that I had told you yesterday and today again. (He told a story of an old aged novice in Ceylon, how to correct his mind state near death by his son – a monk.) Therefore, it’s important to have a good teacher or friend at dying. (He told another story of Ven. Tissa who attached to his new robes at the time of death.) The rust corrodes the iron. In the same way, wealth and power drag a person who has craving and attachment to the planes of misery. These were the words of the Buddha on this story (Dhammapada-aṭṭhakathā / 18. Malavaggo / 3. Tissattheravatthu.) A foolish man has wealth is in danger. And without it is better. It’s like bitten by one’s own snake. An old thing becomes a new one and torturing you again (the danger of kukkucca). Everyone had made mistakes in his life. Never rethink about it. If you want to think, just think about what happen to my present khandha. If not the old thing becomes a new one and torture you. This comes from rethinking what should not be thought. If they arise, contemplate their impermanence. It’s anicca and the contemplative mind is magga. It becomes vipassanā and at the dying moment a good change. If you don’t know how to die, it will lead you to the planes of misery. If you know how to die, it will lead you to the planes of pleasure and Nibbāna. You can change your āsanna-kamma. Don’t doubt about it. Action mind changes into knowledge mind (kamma into paññā) by practice. Teaching how to die is more important than how to live, because dying is close to next rebirth. A physical object appears in the mind. Mind and body are not going to the other side. The mind is inclining towards an object (explained the rebirth process). Sometimes you are complaining that the mind is running away from you. This is your justification. It is difficult to arrest the mind. The mind doesn’t run away anywhere. It appears at the heart base. Don’t contemplate at the place of inclined object; contemplate at the arising place (heart base). If you think the mind is running away, then it is sassata-diṭṭhi (permanent wrong view). It is the same as the soul is going out. (Living beings believe in the soul is a very strong and deep rooted view than any other wrong views. Therefore, even some Buddhists invented a Buddhist Soul Theory or Doctrine by themselves.)

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

  • Content of Part 2 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。