Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 6th December 1960
revised on 2019-07-02
[Sayadaw based this talk on the Āḷavaka Sutta of Saṃyutta Nikāya (SN.10.12. Āḷavakasuttaṃ or i.213ff) and Sutta Nipāta (Sn I, 10, or pp.31-3). It was an interesting sutta and traced it source to the previous Buddha Kassapa. He only used two factors from the sutta; faith (saddhā) and mindfulness (sati). Only with faith (saddhā) people can start to practise and realize first Nibbāna and their faiths become fixed. This stage transcends wrong view and doubt and faith becomes unshakable. May be in the beginning it needs some trust and interest in the Buddha’s teaching to start for it. A few years ago there was a book in the west called “Buddhism without Faith”. Many scholars criticized this book. “Buddhism without Blind Faith” is the Buddhist faith and encourages the freedom of enquiry.
Without any faith and trust, nobody will have the interest to study and practice, but you need to have an open mind. All the Buddha’s teachings could be verified by oneself because it came from the direct experiences of the Buddha and the natural phenomena and laws of nature. Sayadaw gave a very good analogy for saddhā. A man wants to dig out the root of a tree has to use a tool. The root of the tree is like diṭṭhi (wrong view) and it connects with the water of dugati (the four painful rebirths). The branches are like taṇhā and māna (craving and conceit) which grow out from the root.
The tool is paññā (wisdom) and the hands are faith (saddhā). Without the hands the tool can’t dig out the root. Sayadaw also emphasized the important of sati and it was leading all the other factors. Faith can transcend the lower round of existences; i.e., the four painful rebirths. With sati can transcend all the upper saṁsāra; i.e., from the human existence to the highest Brahma Gods. ]
The Buddha taught Ālavaka in the discourse that with faith could close the doors of four painful rebirths. Because of wrong view beings fall into the four painful rebirths, with faith can cross over the flood of wrong view (diṭṭhi-ogha). You have to believe that it can enter the stream of the path (sotāpatti magga). Why do you want to practise the Dhamma? You have faith in the Buddha’s words and also the words of the teacher, so you are practising it. He had been said that you must discern impermanence, and if you practice accordingly will discern it. You discern it because you have faith and practice it. After discerning impermanence do you have any idea of this is my permanent mind process? Wrong view takes it as permanence. In practice let faith is leading you. Another point the Buddha taught was appamāda-diligence with mindfulness can transcend the four floods (oghas). Mindfulness is greater than faith. Whatever is arising (mind states, feelings etc.) watching with mindfulness. You also will see the cessation of dhamma if you are seeing the arising dhamma.
Watching at the candle light and you’ll see it going out. For example, mind with greed is arising and you are watching with mindfulness and it’s passing away. At that time is there any clinging come in? Without it you are free from the flood of sensuality (kāmogha). By watching and observing the mind and body phenomena and seeing impermanence do you want any kind of becoming? Then you are free from the flood of becoming (bhavogha).
If you are let the mindfulness dhamma leading you and wisdom (paññā) will follow behind it. Mindfulness knows the arising dhamma and wisdom knows the anicca. All these knowing are leading by mindfulness. Therefore the Buddha called it Satipaṭṭhāna (the function and object of mindfulness).
revised on 2019-07-02; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4036&p=35623#p35623 (posted on 2018-12-19)
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