Birth, Death and Nibbāna

revised on 2021-01-27

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 27th Nov. 1959

[This talk explain the functions of the Four Noble Truths and their connection in a quite detail and simple way but profound. Also there are some hidden meanings behind them and for contemplation and to find out by the yogi. This strengthens his confidence in the Buddha Teaching. ]

In the Paṭṭhāna (Conditional Relation), faith (saddhā), generosity (dāna), precept(sīla), serenity(samatha) and insight (vipassanā) are the distant causes to Nibbāna. Completing the 8-path factors is only the near cause to Nibbāna. I will talk about feeling (vedanā) in the Saṃyutta Nikāya of Connected Discourse on feeling (Vedanā Saṃyutta). It's about feeling, contemplation on feeling and to Nibbāna with feeling. The Buddha said first to develop samādhi by breathing (ānāpāna) or kasiṇa (circular shaped meditative device), after that to know the feelings. To know the feeling means not on the type of feelings (such as pleasant etc.), according to the commentary to know the truth of dukkha on feeling.

With the Satipaṭṭhāna Pali, people think that it's only to know the feeling. According to the Dependent Arising (paṭicca-samuppāda) whatever arising is dependent co-arising. The whole connecting process is dukkha. All the arising phenomena are by its nature (dhammatā) have to be passed away. Passing away is also dukkha. So whatever kind of feeling arise, know them as the truth of dukkha. If you discern anicca you see the truth of dukkha. Contemplation of impermanence is to know the truth of dukkha. Carefully note this point. If you discern impermanence you get the knowledge of the truth (sacca ñāṇa). Impermanence is the truth of dukkha (dukkha sacca) and knowing is the truth of the path (magga sacca).

There are two reasons (causes) for the present feeling arises; i.e., near cause and distant cause. The distant cause is in the past, because of ignorance (avijjā), craving (taṇhā), clinging (upādāna) and action (kamma) we got the present khandhas (i.e., according to the Dependent Arising). The near cause is in every moment because of contact (phassa) feeling arises. Without the past and the present causes no feeling can arise. So without the past ignorance..., action, i.e., the cause of dukkha (samudaya sacca), then the truth of dukkha (present khandhas) or dukkha sacca can't arise. I am now explaining in details is because you may have doubt that why the impermanent process happens continuously again and again. If I say exactly because of ignorance, craving, clinging, action and contact that impermanent phenomena of the truth of dukkha arise (samudaya and dukkha sacca). Yogis will ask me; “When shall we arrive at Nibbāna?” My answer is when samudaya and dukkha sacca cease you will arrive there. If you can contemplate to the ending of the truth of dukkha, and then the samudaya sacca of the past also cease. With the cause ceases and also the result. The ending of impermanence is with the ending of the past causes. The ending of both of them (i.e., Dukkha khandha and samudaya taṇhā) is Nibbāna. Impermanent dukkha sacca ends with the past cause of samudaya sacca.

Maybe you'll ask: “Why is the ending of impermanent dukkha sacca leading to the ending of the past samudaya sacca?” According to the Buddha the extinction of feeling means the extinction of cause and effect. Discerning the impermanent dukkha sacca is knowledge (vijjā). This knowledge kills the past ignorance (avijjā). Discerning of impermanence is non‐greed, i.e., no greed or craving comes in. Without craving there is no clinging (upādāna). Insight knowledge arises and it cuts off the kamma. Therefore, during contemplation of impermanence the past cause is ceased. Dukkha sacca is ceased by contemplation towards the ending of it. Contemplation kills samudaya sacca. Dukkha ceases when the knowledge of not wanting arises. Contemplative knowledge (i.e., vipassanā ñāṇa) functions two duties. The Path Knowledge (Magga Ñāṇa) function 4-duties: kills taṇhā (samudaya), penetrates dukkha, development and seeing Nibbāna. With the completion of the eight path factors, it cuts off the past defilement (kilesa) and not allows the present defilement to arise. Therefore, the path factors kill the past causes and not allowing the present causes to arise. So the Noble Eightfold Path is the way to Nibbāna. Nibbāna ends dukkha only whereas happiness is still existent. The Noble Eightfold Path cut off the past kamma and forbid the new kamma to arise. So the Buddha called craving (taṇhā) as the crooked dhamma and the path factors as straight dhamma, because it kills taṇhā.

[Note: This talk supports the three periods of time in the 12 links of Paṭiccasamuppāda teaching.]

revised on 2021-01-27; cited from (posted on 2018-12-15)

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