The Six Oceans of Māgandiya

revised on 2021-01-27

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 25th December 1960, 5th to 8th September 1961


[The Buddha compared the six sense-doors with the six oceans which never overflowed or human beings never fulfilled their desire. The oceans can be dry up when the world comes to an end. But living beings desire never dry up and it can be only by the Noble Eightfold Path. Māgandiya Brahmin disagreed with the Buddha because the Buddha cut off desire.

His view was increasing desire. But the Buddha said that he cut off desire and found the real happiness (i.e., Nibbāna) was incomparable by the sensual pleasure. We can contemplate sensual pleasure as real dukkha. Even these momentary pleasures are not easy to come by and only with hard works.]

The eye looks at forms and they are never enough for it. The ear hears the voice of son and daughter and they are never enough for them etc. Therefore the six sensual doors are like the six oceans. You can never fill them in full. Filling them is only one person. By filling it until you die. But the eye door never enough for it, and you are overcome by tiredness. By filling them, at last it ends up in the coffin.

The monks asked the Buddha, “What is called the ocean?” The Buddha answered that the water in the natural ocean could be dry up when the six suns came out. But the kilesa water from your six sense-doors would be never dry up. Busy by filling is not only one’s own six oceans but there are also extra oceans have to be filled. (i.e., family members).

Their leader is taṇhā. It’s like a blind man filling a pot with holes in it. Taṇhā hole is very wide so can’t never fill it. (Sayadaw told the Māgandiya’s story, MN 75: Māgandiya Sutta) Māgandiya brahmin quoted his view from their ancient text to oppose the Buddha’s view. The Buddha had seen the real happiness of Nibbāna and not indulged in the desire and attachment of sensuality. These are inferior dhammas. People are still can’t find anything better than that, and in craziness for them. Still can’t find the real happiness and take these as the real things. And take the SUFFERING as the HAPPINESS.

revised on 2019-07-02


[Sayadaw said saṁsāra should be taken the khandha as arising and passing away moment to moment continually. This is a more practical in sense. Past is only a memory, so can’t do anything about it. The beginning of saṁsāra is khandha. The ending of saṁsāra is the ending of khandha. So the present saṁsāra is more important. From here can cut off the future saṁsāra or to continue.

The Buddha stayed at Kuru State. After the old Māgandiya brahmin became an arahant, one day the Buddha went to the fire place of Bhāradvāja brahmin. He sat on the grass near him for a few days. So the brahmin looked after the sitting place properly. One day the old Māgandiya’s nephew young Māgandiya had a walk and came to his friend Bhāradvāja’s place.

He saw the sitting place very clean and tidy so that he asked him whose sitting place it was. After he heard the name of the Buddha and said that it was unlucky for him to see the Gautama’s sitting place. Bhāradvāja asked him why? Because he cut off worldly affairs was the answer. Bhāradvāja said to him that he should not say in this way, and Gautama was worshipped by many.

Māgandiya retorted as if he met the Buddha would say the same thing to him. From far away the Buddha heard their conservations with the divine ear. He came to their place and said directly to Māgandiya about their conversations. Māgandiya was shocked by what he heard from the Buddha. Then the Buddha explained his way of practice to cut off worldly desire. By observing whatever arising from the six sense doors, and taṇhā is cutting off]

Connections of dukkha are saṁsāra. Cutting of dukkha is the stopping of saṁsāra Connection of mind-body processes are saṁsāra. A connection of khandha in a circle is saṁsāra. Don’t take saṁsāra with months and years. For example, you open your eyes and seeing arises. This is the beginning of saṁsāra. It starts from the aggregate of consciousness. It will not wrong, if you take the beginning of saṁsāra as from the khandha. After the seeing and the next mind khandha of wanting mind arises. This is another saṁsāra.

Now, it’s already two saṁsāras. Saṁsāra becomes increasing. If it’s continuous and up to kamma, and Dependent Arising is completed. You’ll get the future birth. This is the extension of saṁsāra. After getting a new khandha, it's followed by ageing, sickness and death. This is also saṁsāra. From the seeing consciousness to kamma is present saṁsāra.

From birth onwards is future saṁsāra. The Buddha asked to cut off the present saṁsāra was to stop the future saṁsāra. Stopping the process of increasing, and saṁsāra will stop. From present saṁsāra to future saṁsāra is the increasing of saṁsāra (continued the Māgandiya story)

Māgandiya likes the increasing of desire. You all are the same. So you all are the relatives of Māgandiya. Not understanding of Dependent Arising and all are like him. From the point of truth, people like the increasing of dukkha. With more increasing of dukkha is more falling of tears. More increasing of sorrow and lamentation will follow. It’s true to say that all of you are the relatives of Māgandiya and with his wrong view.

The Buddha taught to Māgandiya the above mentioned Dhamma. Every time of seeing, contemplate the impermanence of form becomes the path factors. This was the doctrines of the Buddha for the cutting off craving. Māgandiya doctrine was increasing of craving. Just seeing is a neutral mind and without any fault.

But by continuing the process has fault. Therefore stop the taṇhā, upādāna and kamma arise by practice. With the contemplation is cutting off samudaya and dukkha. Māgandiya believed according to their text (It was misinterpretation by them). Others also have their own records. It will bring to arguments if there are differences among all these ones. Taking the khandha process is the right one.

revised on 2019-07-02


[ In the beginning, Sayadaw gave instruction on how to listen Sacca Dhamma. If the monk talks on vedanā the yogi should listen with the ear but the mind observes vedanā. In this way during the talk discerns anicca, becomes nibbidā ñāṇa (knowledge of disenchantment) and magga ñāṇa (path knowledge) successively. During magga ñāṇa moment you can’t hear the talk anymore. (This point supports the existence of vipassanā jhāna by the commentary.)

Sayadaw said no one realized Nibbāna just by listening only. However quick the enlightenment was more or less it needs to contemplate. Sayadaw encouraged his disciple practice diligently. He said the preacher and the listeners were moving toward death in moment to moment. So everyone could die at any time. If we die before the realization will miss the good chances.

Whoever observes anicca at this moment he was wise and not foolish. Should not determine wise and fool with concept. Determine with the moments to moment practice. (In the later period of 1961 to 1962 Sayadaw gave talk usually based on strong saṁvega, urging and encouraging his disciples practiced diligently without wasting time. Sayadaw mentioned on death very often in his talks. He knew the time of his death a long time ago.)

Moment to moment time concept is very important to yogis or Buddhists because reality and experiences are moment. Practice, doing merits, realization etc., all actions are momentary. In each moment, we are influenced by avijjā and taṇhā, and then towards jāti or birth of misery without practice. On the other hand, by practicing with each moment, we are influenced by sati and paññā, and then towards Nibbāna.

The Buddha said to Māgandiya that he knew sensual pleasure very well as a prince enjoyed the highest sensual pleasure, and was aware of its empty nature. So he gave it up, led a homeless life for the real happiness, and realized Nibbāna. The Buddha used simile to compare sensual pleasure and Nibbāna. Human sensual pleasure were nothing, if compare to heavenly pleasures (Here Sayadaw gave the analogy of a hungry dog eating human excrement which are very common in poor countries. But for human this view is very disgusting).

Another example was a man infested by leprosy had to scratch the itchy sensation and sometimes used the heat of fire to alleviate it. After curing the disease he will never close to the heat of fire anymore.]

If the khandha is talking about impermanence to you during the talk, then you get the yathābhūta ñāṇa. At that moment your ears are hearing the talk and also the mind observes the khandha with seeing impermanence and identity view falls away. The Dhamma is talking to you and the mind appreciates it. After that come disenchantment to the khandha, the mind develops and wants to free from it.

Taṇhā becomes thinner that develops to this knowledge. By continuous observing the impermanence of the khandha and it comes to an end. At that time you can’t hear the talk and the mind inclining towards Nibbāna. In the time of the Buddha some people realized Nibbāna by listening talks and at the same time observing the khandha. Without knowing these, people think it as just by listening. It didn’t happen just by listening.

Give an example, if you are observing a carcass of a dog for some period of time. It is becoming slowly bloated and livid with various worms and eaten by vultures. Later you’ll find its disappearance. Here also the same it’s becoming clear with the developing knowledge. Our only concern is for the continuation of the knowledge.

Seeing the Nibbāna, kilesa dies out at the same time. In this way, during the time of the Buddha, they became sotāpanna till arahant. After the talks they didn’t want to leave but wanted to report their experiences to the Buddha. I am urging you very often to practice hard is death can come to you at any time. If you are still not discerning anicca is the time of a fool.

By discerning anicca is the time of the wise. The time of the wise or the fool are decided by time moment. Without attention, those who can’t see impermanence is living with ignorance. Therefore it’s foolishness. If you discern it, so it’s wise. The fool goes to the plane of misery. The wise goes to the blissful plane (sugati) and Nibbāna.

Death is also momentary. If another moment does not arise, then it’s death. Nibbāna is also in the moment. If kilesa not arise in the next moment, then it’s Nibbāna. Therefore seven years old novices arrived at Nibbāna. It’s not only for the grown up. Make these decisions. By cutting of Dependent Arising is wise and not cutting off is foolish. The next mind does not arises after this mind, it is death.

After this mind, a foolish mind arises; it is living with a foolish life. But it is living with a wise life with the wholesome mind arising. When a hell being was arriving in hell and questioning by Yama, king of the Hell. The questions were connection with the Dependent Arising. They were suffered in hell accordingly by the decision of the dhamma, which they had committed.

(Continued Māgandiya’s story) Every dhamma arises, it is the increasing of defilements without contemplation. With contemplation, it is cutting off it. All the dhammas arising from the six sense-doors are in these processes. Sound sleep is unconscious mind which is life-continuum mind (bhavaṅga-citta). You can’t sleep is active mind (javana citta) and a lot of thinking going on. Whatever mind state arise contemplate its impermanence. (The Buddha told about his bodhisatta life with sensual pleasure).

Sensual pleasures are increasing desire. You are taking pleasure in family life and wealth, it is not seeing Nibbāna. The Buddha said if you really see Nibbāna and you would not take pleasure in them. It was like the differences between worldly pleasure and heavenly pleasure. Another one simile is a human becomes disgust with it when seeing a dog eating excrement. In the same way, just practice to have right view.

If you take pleasure in your own things still not have right view. Next example was a man had leprosy. If you are in pleasure with your family and wealth is like a leper. Wanting to go near a pit of glowing embers. After curing the disease doesn’t want to go near the heat anymore.

revised on 2019-07-02


[The way of Māgandiya’s tradition was the continuation of Dependent Arising. That is; contact → feeling → craving → clinging → action. The Buddha’s way was the cutting off Dependent Arising. That is; contact ceases → feeling ceases → craving ceases → clinging ceases → action ceases.

Sayadaw gave a very good example the differences between sensual pleasure and Nibbāna peace. The rich man Visākha, after becoming an anāgāmin (non-returner), was not interested in his beautiful wife Dhammadinnā and wealth. We always get lost in unreal things because of the kilesas.

(Continued the Māgandiya’s story from T3) After cure of his leprosy, two strong men grasped this man and forcefully pushed him near the fire again. But he would reject it. Ordinary people are like this, because of their kilesa disease, they take impermanence as permanence, dukkha as sukha, not-self as self, not beautiful as beautiful, and get lost in sensual pleasure. These are like fire and burning, but take it as cool and pleasant. In some discourses the Buddha compared the body with disease. Now he was free from kilesa disease and a real happy person.

Then the Buddha recited these verses: “Ārogyaṁ paramā lābhā,………. . Nibbānaṁ paramaṁ sukhaṁ” (Anya Nīti-gantha-saṅgaho Naradakkhadīpanī Kāyakhamanīya-niddesa) “Health is the best fortune ……. . Nibbāna is the foremost happiness, and the Noble Eightfold Path is the best way.”

Māgandiya requested the Buddha to show him the way to real happiness. But the Buddha said to him that he was born with blindness, so he must cure his vision first and then could show him the way. ]

(In the beginning Sayadaw made a very important point) The Buddha with the five great sacrifices fulfilled his pāramīs (perfections for Buddhahood) which were not for his own Nibbāna. (offered his life, bodily parts, great wealth, wife and children) If he wanted it he would get it at the time of the Buddha Dīpankara as the hermit Sumedha. It was only for the living beings.

Therefore we should respect and show gratitude for his great compassion and love with diligent practice. In the Mahā-suññāta Sutta (MN 122), the Buddha mentioned to Ānanda, “Ānanda engage with me in friendliness and not in opposition what I have admonished and have faith and follow accordingly with it.”

Therefore don’t show disrespect and in-gratitude to the Buddha. Before we fall into hell, correct out mistakes and practice hard. (Sayadaw mentioned the two different ways of Dependent Arising) Cut off the increasing of craving by not letting taṇhā, upādāna and kamma arise. The dying of craving is the death of papañca dhamma (taṇhā, māna and diṭṭhi)

Before seeing the real Dhamma, we are tortured by the fake dhamma (i.e., Nibbāna and worldly dhamma). If you try hard and see the real one; “Do you want the fake one?” Seeing the real one and don’t want the fake is natural. If you see the real Nibbāna will not want the family members and wealth. Do you still happy at home after become a non-returner? (Sayadaw gave the example of Visākha as the point for overcame sensual pleasure). Torture by the fake one is increasing craving and will arrive to the plane of misery.

Thinking of living together with family member and wealth bring coolness is a kind of craziness. Most of you think it's not a cool place like the Dhamma Hall, whereas it is cool when arriving at home for you. All of you have strange disease. It’s over crazy, crazy disease. Fire is a natural heat. Only a crazy person is going near a pit of glowing embers. A person with inversion will go near it. Therefore the Buddha taught us to contemplate the khandha as disease, sore etc. if you still not see impermanence is a double blind person.

revised on 2019-07-02


[Continued the above talk to the verses which the Buddha recited to Māgandiya. The Pali verses were handing down from the past Buddha until to the time of Gautama Buddha and preserved in the Brahmin tradition. But they were using it for the worldly ceremonies.

The Buddha’s instruction to Māgandiya had three points;
① Approaching a teacher for instruction,
② Listening to the Sacca Dhamma,
③ Practice the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma.

In all these points, the third is the most important one. Sayadaw explained on practice the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma as seeing reality as it’s, and will lead to Nibbāna. In Pali is Dhammānu-dhammappaṭipatti. The mind knows the reality of what really exist in the khandha. (According to Sayadaw it’s the nature of anicca or the three universal characteristics). It opens up the Dhamma Eye, then ignorance becomes knowing or knowledge.

The knowledge of eye (ñāṇa cakkhu) is opening up. Living beings were born with blindness and die with blindness in saṁsāra, and never had been seen the light of Dhamma. Saṁsāra is like the prison of darkness. Revolving in saṁsāra is like changing prison to prison. And never find peace and real happiness.

Sayadaw said that in the beginning of the practice, manodvāra pasāda—mind door sensitivity is not clear and bright. Therefore seeing anicca is not very clear and intermittent. And with the continuous, diligent practice becomes clearer and brighter and discerning more and more. ]

First, you discern the impermanence of the khandha. After that comes the disenchantment of the impermanence of the khandha. Later knowing the khandha as truth of dukkha and developing to the point of not wanting it. At last all the disenchanted khandha are disappeared. With all the disappearance; “Are there still any pain and discomfort like the disease and sore exist?” Without any of these is Nibbāna.

The Buddha also taught in this way. All these impermanence originally existed. We can’t see them because of greed, hatred and delusion. Also not follow to the ending of them that can’t arrive to Nibbāna. The Buddha taught it existed within the two armed-length khandha. After if you can’t find the body and will arrive there. Make you yourself clear about this point by practice. It existed, so the Buddha taught about it. Before it arises, the mind (ñāṇa) is staying straight with the impermanence.

After that the mind (ñāṇa) is staying straight with no impermanence. No impermanence is Nibbāna. (Sayadaw in many of his talks was using language skillfully in many ways to explain the Dhamma) Knowing this is Path knowledge. Only the one who practices will see it. All of your duties are following up to the end of impermanence. Don’t ask for something which can’t be given (by prayers and vows).

You have to get it only by practice. You only will get dukkha if you don’t get Nibbāna. The gāthā (verses) on Nibbāna was reciting by the brahmins for good fortune. If you still don’t know the reality of the khandha is wasting your times among the blind people. The real existence is impermanence but what you are knowing is my son, my daughter etc. If you know the reality then ignorance becomes knowledge.

Āloko udapādi—light appears. If someone dies without getting the light is the corpse of a blind. Our grandparents and parents were also died in this way. In next life will fall from a cliff because moving like a blind person. Whatever realms of existence you are in it’s only a prison. You must afraid of dying without getting any light for your both eyes.

With continuous practice the mind is becoming clearer. Later mind sensitivity (mana pasāda) and the knowing mind will fit in together. When this comes and become a person with light. The dying of the blind will take rebirth accordingly to the arrangement of kammas. A person is gaining light can take rebirth accordingly to his desire.

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

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