Worldly Fetters and Realization

revised on 2021-07-28

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 19th Nov.1960

[Vaccha brahmin asked the Buddha the following questions. (1) Is there anyone without giving up the worldly attachment can realize Nibbāna? (2) Is there anyone without giving up the worldly attachment can reach good rebirth? (3) Any Ājīvaka (or Ājīvika) ever been realized Nibbāna? (4) Any Ājīvaka ever been reached good rebirth? (Ājīvakas were people reject the law of kamma.) The Buddha's answers to these were: (1) Negative answer (2) Positive answer (3) Negative answer (4) Negative answer, but only one person. Sayadaw gave a clear explanation to these Q and A. He said someone is at the time of practicing already giving up worldly things. Therefore, people in family life by regular practice can realize Nibbāna (e.g., Sun Lun Sayadaw was a very good example in modern time). For Ājīvakas they had niyata micchā diṭṭhi fixed in destiny because of this wrong view or akiriyavāda – doctrine of non-action. So the Buddha with his psychic power looking back 91 kappas – Buddhist aeon have never seen that any Ājīvaka realized Nibbāna and reached good rebirths. But the Buddha only saw one Ājīvaka reached sugati – good rebirth, and this man was he himself and at that time believed in kamma. (MN.71 Tevijjavacchasuttaṃ)

Vaccha said that people believed that the Buddha knew everything every moment even during sleep. The Buddha replied that it was people misinterpreted him. (Later Buddhists also misinterpret him in many things.) He only knew by reflection. Sayadaw explained vipassanā process and said that the Buddha mentioned only 3 insight knowledges. These are: (1) Udayabbaya ñāṇa – Knowledge of rise and fall (2) Nibbidā ñāṇa – Knowledge of disenchantment (3) Magga ñāṇa – Path Knowledge. Path Knowledge is discarding the khandhas and taṇhā. For example, Sotāpatti Magga Ñāṇa – The Path Knowledge of Stream Enterer is discarding the 5-khandhas to painful rebirths (hell, ghost and animal) and the craving to identify view – sakkāya diṭṭhi, doubt – vicikicchā and adherence to rites and ceremonies – sīlabbataparāmāsa.]

The Buddha automatically knew everything was not true. He knew only by thinking. Sleep was with the life continuum of the mind (bhavaṅga citta) and how could he knew it. He was a triple knowledge (Tevijjā) person. These are: Pubbenivāsa abhiññā – Direct knowledge of past lives. If he was thinking people past lives and knew all of them, he also knew what would happen to them in the future. This was Dibbacakkhu abhiññā – Direct knowledge of divine eye. And also had the knowledge of destruction of the taints – āsavakkhaya ñāṇa. With this knowledge he also could teach people for their destruction of the taints. (This was the most important knowledge of the all.) (Sayadaw gave some examples of the King Suddhodana and Santati Minister for their attainments of Nibbāna living in the family life.) The fetter – Saṁyojana of affection to one's body is greater than the fetter of wealth and family members. The time of practice is the time of discarding the fetter temporary. So the one who practices will realize the Dhamma, whereas no realization without practice. If you know how to insert the knowledge between the Dependent Arising processes at any time; then you are discarding the fetters. During the practice if any kilesa comes in, then it will take time, and without coming in become quicker. So don't blame on the perfection (pāramī). In Peṭakopadesa Pali, for ordinary disciples – pakati sāvakas, they will realize the Dhamma if they complete with these two factors: (1) Listening to the Sacca Dhamma and (2) Wise attention. If you end up at other people sayings can be miss the chances. This is terrible. A person without contemplation and the fetters are always happening. By contemplation and it doesn't. If you are still discerning only mind and feeling, then these are lower level of knowledge. Not seeing mind and feeling instead anicca means higher level of knowledge. Not discerning the 3-characteristics is still in the lower level. Seeing rise and fall will arrive to the higher level of knowledge, arriving to its intrinsic nature – sabhāva. If you are still seeing the khandhas (i.e., form, feeling, mind . . . etc) still not complete, because the Buddha said that the 5-khandhas are anicca. In the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta Pali said that have to know the mind, feeling etc., but not ask to contemplate these things. (It was mentioned in the beginning.) The Buddha wanted us to contemplate are their anicca. (It was mentioned in the end.)

Contemplation of feeling means remind us the object and without it don't know what to do. The real contemplation is the arising and passing away of them. To know that after arising is not there. Seeing impermanence is Yathābhūta ñāṇa – the knowledge of the way as it really is. Both of the Pali passages are right. The reason why the Buddha taught about the lower level of knowledge was to let us know the object of contemplation. Is it to show the objects of contemplation, to see them or to discern their impermanence? Only by discerning impermanence that the reality and the knowing become fit together (i.e., Yathābhūta ñāṇa, here the Burmese words for the reality and the knowing fit together means you are discerning what really exist. But usually we see what really not exist.) Arriving to the higher level of knowledge, then wrong view falls off. If you discern impermanence continue to contemplate. After sometime will become disenchantment but still in the 5-factors of the Path. Before you see the impermanence and now become disenchantment. These 2 knowledges are quite different. If you ask why they are different? The answer is kilesa becoming thinner. Don't reduce your effort and contemplate with perseverance. The knowledge will rise up again as these are not worthy to have. This is the penetration to the knowledge of Function – Kicca Ñāṇa. The object of contemplation, mind and feeling etc. disappear. It’s the right knowing of the truth of dukkha. The khandhas related to the diṭṭhi kilesa – defilement of wrong view disappear. It becomes khandha nirodho Nibbānaṁ – The ceasing of the khandha is Nibbāna. Diṭṭhi kilesa disappears by not arising. The khandha disappears from the existing. Khandha nirodho and the four apāya nirodho cease together. (Here, by destroying the defilement of wrong view that present khandha ceases and at the same time the future four painful rebirths are totally ceased.) The 3-insight knowledges of seeing impermanence, disenchantment and the ending of the khandha are teaching by every Buddha in the past and the future to come. (This talk could have an interpretation problem for some to satipaṭṭhāna. To know both of the arising and passing away, in the beginning of the practice one may be not able to discern impermanent; whereas he can discern it with strong sati and samādhi later.)

revised on 2021-07-28; cited from (posted on 2018-12-15)

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