Susīma the Wanderer

revised on 2019-06-14

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 28th to 31st, Jan.1960


(Sayadaw said, without developing the samatha practice separately can realize Nibbāna. He pointed out a commentary by Ven. Anuruddhha – Nāmarūpapariccheda Text. It was said that the light of the dawn was showing the sign that the sun would be coming out very soon. Insight knowledge (vipassanā ñāṇa) was like the dawn period and the Path Knowledge was like the sun comes out.) Vipassanā knowledge has the 5-factors of the path (5-magganga): (1) Right view (Sammā-diṭṭhi) (2) Right thought (Sammā-saṅkappa). These are wisdom factors. (3) Right mindfulness (Sammā-sati) (4) Right effort (Sammā-vāyāma) (5) Right concentration (Sammā-samādhi). These are samādhi factors. Because when you are discerning anicca these 5-factors are functioning together. Without these factors you can't discern anicca. Therefore, without even developing samatha practice separately and with confidence start with impermanence in the way of practice here. I'll also give you the story of evidence from the sutta. Wisdom is the leader and samādhi is the follower in this process of the practice. It is the age of short life span now, so that it doesn't develop samādhi separately. If you discern anicca quickly it will end quickly. But you can't get the psychic power. After becoming an arahant, it's even easier if you want to follow samatha practice (Sayadaw did not mean that it had to follow it. For an arahant, perhaps he had no interest in it.)

If your mind is restless, first using ānāpānasati – mindfulness of breathing develop some calmness. After that, contemplate whatever feeling arises. (In this talk, Sayadaw used the contemplation of feeling explaining the practice.) The arising of feeling is the arising of paṭicca-samuppāda. And the passing away of the feeling is the cessation of paṭicca-samuppāda. Khandha arises and khandha ceases. It's about knowing the nature of one's khandhas. The arising is saṅkhāra (conditioned phenomenon) and the passing away is anicca (impermanence). Only saṅkhāra and anicca exist. Therefore, it's the same as the preaching of Sabbe saṅkhāra anicca – All conditioned phenomena are impermanent. If you do not contemplate and when all the feelings are arising, then each pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feeling will connect with greed, anger and delusion. By seeing the passing away of the arising dhamma not create new dependent arising process. Seeing the old passing away does not create a new one. In this way not receive new dukkha. You can say dukkha ceases. Dukkha ceased is Nibbāna. Seeing the old one arose and ceased could be said knowledge came in. Insight knowledge comes in to cut off samudaya (here taṇhā, upādāna and kamma) and dukkha (jāti, jarā and maraṇa). This is cutting off samudaya sacca and dukkha sacca. It cuts off the next khandhas. The cause and result are cutting off. The cutting off dukkha and samudaya is the practice of vipassanā. This can't be achieved by prayers and only by practice. This is a very sure practice. Start doing it and will be finished. Some say Nibbāna is far away. Some say it's near. The one who says near without any insight knowledge is blindly near. The one who says far away without any knowledge himself can't do anything for him.

If you can separate the two khandhas and it's near. For example, after the feeling khandha, and will come the taṇhā khandha. After taṇhā, continues to upādāna, kamma khandha etc. We must know that we are alive by connecting khandhas. If you can't contemplate the preceding khandhas will get the following khandhas. (Here is an interesting point to contemplate. Our present life khandhas are continuously arising because of the past kammas which are releasing by taṇhā which kept the kammic energy with them. We kill the latent taṇhā by practice and at the same time taṇhā does not arise and no new khandhas arise in the future.) Therefore, vipassanā is the function of stopping the next khandhas arising. Without the next khandhas arise, then the two truths of round of existence have ceased to exist (vaṭṭa sacca, i.e., samudaya and dukkha or kilesa vaṭṭa and vipāka vaṭṭa). Therefore, vipassanā practice is the working of liberation from the round of existence. Without samādhi the mind can't know straight away towards impermanence. If you know it, then samatha and vipassanā are working together. The merit without the round of existence (vivaṭṭa kusala) is referring to vipassanā practice. Even making generosity (dāna) need to support by vipassanā. It is knowing one's own importance of cutting off the dependent arising process by developing insight. A knowledgeable person should firstly store away his own WOK (Here Sayadaw referred to one's own Hell Wok created by unwholesome kammas.)(In this talk also said about dukkha with having and sukha without having are good for contemplation to understand the four meaning of dukkha and the peace of Nibbāna. This talk had a lot of profound Dhamma need for contemplation.)


If you discern anicca, samatha and vipassanā are together. There are three ways for vipassanā practice: based on samatha practice, based on vipassanā practice and based on samatha/vipassanā together. (Here Sayadaw explained it as Yuganaddha (or yuganandha) way.) With khaṇika samādhi (momentary calmness) develop insight. With ānāpānasati develop calmness and contemplate impermanence. The Buddha gave instruction to Susīma the wanderer (SN.12.70 Susimasuttaṃ, S.ii.119ff). First contemplate impermanence, after that come the ending of impermanence which is the Path Knowledge. He said only that much, do not include samatha practice. Susīma dissatisfied with the Buddha's answer. He said that he did not understand it. The reason today I use this Susīma's story is to support my teaching here. So I tell you to practice with full confidence without any doubt about it. If you do it will find out what I have been said. The Buddha also supported about it. If you can't get the result, it's not the fault of the Dhamma. It is the fault of one's over grown defilements. This is the only conclusion to make. If the forest of kilesa is over grown can't do anything. You can't arrive to Nibbāna by samatha practice. This is the result of vipassanā practice.


The duty for the Buddha's Teaching is the contemplation of impermanence of the mind and body process. Follow the Teaching of the Buddha without deviation. (Sayadaw continued to talk about the qualities of a sotāpanna.) In the Buddha's time, there were dhammas on practical vipassanā practice. The Buddha himself instructed Susīma on practical insight practice. Susīma came from a group of wanderers who held wrong view. The Buddha helped him first to dispel his wrong view. In the Aṅguttara-Nikāya it mentioned that people held wrong view couldn't penetrate the 4-Noble Truths. The Buddha used the 5-handhas to teach him, because except the 5-khandhas there is nothing to talk about. He said many things to Susīma. Here I will use only feelings (vedanā). There are five kinds of feeling by faculty (i.e., indriya – eye, ear..., mind faculty): Pleasant feeling in the body (sukha vedanā), pleasant feeling in the mind (somanassa), unpleasant feeling in the body (dukkha vedanā), unpleasant feeling in the mind (domanassa) and neutral feeling (upekkhā). There is no period without any feeling, even during the sleep we are changing our bodies by turning around. Free from feeling is only in Nibbāna (So people don't like it.) (Sayadaw gave a simile of a fish to demonstrate how the different feeling is functioning.) A fish sees a hook with bait (neutral feeling), and then swallows the bait (pleasant feeling). The fisherman pulls the hook back on the boat and beats the fish head with a stick and it dies (all these are dukkha vedanā). The fish dies because of the 3-feelings (Living beings are suffering because of these, especially human beings. You can contemplate all human problems and suffering from family life, society, country, politic, economic, culture, environmental problems etc. connection with feelings.) In the Vedanā Saṃyutta, the Buddha said that if someone could contemplate all the feelings taṇhā will not arise and leading to Nibbāna. If you ask, "Is it the ending of impermanence is Nibbāna?" Cool and peacefulness is Nibbāna, because all dukkhas are ceased. In the heart it is cool and peaceful. Knowing it is the Path Knowledge.


Sayadaw mentioned the Susīma's story. He said that the Buddha taught him by questions and answers, nothing to do with samatha practice. Actually every realization from sotāpanna to arahant always includes vipassanā jhāna or super-mundane jhāna. Therefore, they enjoy the fruition state in their lives. He explained the 5-magganga with simile. Discerning anicca is sammā-diṭṭhi and sammā-saṅkappa. Here sammā-saṅkappa as a lens. Samādhi factors are helpers of wisdom factors. Sati, viriya, samādhi are like 3 persons plucking a fruit on a tree. Sīla factors come only at the point of discerning the end of dukkha. It becomes a magga sīla. During the time of penetration of dukkha, the 3 sīla factors come in and dukkha end. Dukkha ceased is Nibbāna. It is the Path Knowledge after the 8-factors are completed. After that comes Fruitions. Fruitions also see Nibbāna. After Fruitions ceased reviewing knowledge arises (Paccavekkhana Ñāṇa). It also sees Nibbāna. It's Seeing Nibbāna three times in the whole process.

revised on 2019-06-14; cited from (posted on 2018-12-15)

  • Content of Part 3 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

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