How to Open Your Eye?

revised on 2021-01-27

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; (30th December 1960, 30th May to 1st June 1961)

[The following four talks were based on the Indriya-bhāvanā Sutta, Majjhima Nikāya, the development of the Faculties, Sutta NO. 152.]


I am worrying of you as living a negligent life. You should have reliance with you. Without it will encounter dukkha. (These were the words the Buddha reminded the monks in the sutta of Aṅguttara Nikāya) The Buddha reminded us to rely on impermanence, because it ended Dukkha. He mentioned eight kinds of reliance and the last one was impermanence.

You will get the knowledge of ending dukkha if you contemplate all the ending of impermanence. Take reliance on the two knowledges of seeing impermanence and the ending of it (i.e., Yathābhūta Ñāṇa and Magga Ñāṇa). During on the journey of life and dying moment you need to rely on it. At near death with contemplation can become a stream-enterer to an arahant. (There were a few stories at the time of the Buddha, for example, Ven. Phagguna, AN.6.56 Phaggunasuttaṃ).

Everyone, even the Buddha, has to rely on impermanence. You have to start from impermanence if you enter the fruition state (phala samāpatti). I will talk on how to see thing is the true reliance. On seeing hateful things and become angry. On seeing affectionate things and become greedy. On seeing neither hateful nor affectionate things and become deluded.

These are during the time of opening your eyes. How to use the six sense faculties without harm? Don’t observe the outside objects but instead observe what is arising in the heart. Seeing is the cause and the arising dhamma in the heart is the result. This is the resultant phenomenon (paṭicca-samuppanna dhamma). It is gross and compounded phenomenon (Saṅkhata dhamma). Contemplate the arising phenomenon as compounded.

After contemplation, it’s not there. Every greed, anger and delusion arise contemplate in this way. All of their non-existing are similar. As impermanence they are the same. The path factors are seeing it. All the knowings (knowledges) are seeing the non-existings (i.e., vanishing or disappearing). See all the arising dhammas as impermanence in series. These are not an ordinary thing.

It is vipassanupekkhā ñāṇa (equanimity of insight). You contemplate all of them with equanimity, and not seeing as greed, anger and delusion. This is true development of faculties. Continue with the contemplation and arrive to the knowledge of equanimity towards formations (saṅkhāra-upekkhā ñāṇa). After that it is the Path Knowledge.

In this way by using the six sense faculties is without harm. It’s easy to practice also. You have to practice until it becomes your own nature. The Buddha said that whoever practiced and became natural, and then it was easy like closing and opening your eyes. If you can practice up to this point, and it becomes a true reliance (He continued to talk about the dying moments by seeing anicca as mentioned in the Aṅguttara Nikāya).

In these three knowledges (i.e., vipassanupekkhā ñāṇa, saṅkhāra-upekkhā ñāṇa and magga ñāṇa), you'll become a stream-enterer if you die with the vipassanupekkhā ñāṇa or saṅkhāra-upekkhā ñāṇa after arriving at the heavenly realm. On the other hand, what will happen if you don’t rely on insight knowledge? You will arrive at peta, hell and animal realms if you die with greed, anger and delusion.


[In the beginning, Sayadaw mentioned the important, and also interesting power of Dhamma. Listening to the Dhamma carefully, make effort to remember them, and then put into practice. In this way Dhamma can be enshrined in the mind and body becomes a Dhamma Cetiya (shrine). It will protect the yogi from dangers and difficulties.

Some examples could be read on the Buddha’s Conquest of the eight Adversities (see the Jayamaṅgala Aṭṭhagāthā). The Buddha after his enlightenment was looking for someone who he could take on refuge. But he never found anyone who could be excellent than him in sīla, samādhi and paññā. He became a Buddha by the Dhamma. So he took the Dhamma, the four Noble Truths as a refuge and teacher.

The Brahma God Sahampati agreed with him because the past Buddhas were also doing the same thing before (This point is very important, because these episodes showed that there was no Creator God and Creation existed in the whole Cosmos). All living beings because of their wholesome and unwholesome dhammas or kammas are travelling in the round of existence. Sayadaw taught his disciples how to contemplate the Dhamma Buddha or Ñāṇa Buddha and not the physical Buddha. Have to penetrate to the Dhamma Buddha.

So, we must rely on wholesome dhamma, especially the supramurdane Dhamma (lokuttara Dhamma). Because of our wholesome dhammas of the past, now we meet the Buddha’s Dhamma which is the most difficult to come by. Therefore, we must use this chance fully to go up higher and higher to transcend Dukkha and not for going downwards.]

The Buddha taught the Dhamma from external. Whoever listening with the above mentioned three ways, then the Dhamma will enshrine in our body (There are always two causes; i.e., external and internal causes effect every living beings. The most important one is the internal one). Path factors are the Dhamma Ceti. Why the Buddha became the great conqueror of the eight adversities? Because his khandha became a Dhamma Ceti.

The physical Buddha didn’t know anything. Only the Ñāṇa Buddha knew it. Therefore, we must reach to the internal knowledge Buddha when we are performing pūja (devotional practices). Becoming a stream-enterer (sotāpanna) is also not the body, but the Path Knowledge. It was sent by the dhamma that you came to this human life.

There are two kinds of dhamma; right and wrong dhammas (sammā-dhamma and micchā-dhamma) or the eight right path factors (sammā-maggaṅga) and the eight wrong path factors (micchā-maggaṅga). Close the doors to the planes of misery are also dhamma. It does not need to teach people for the dhammas which send them to the planes of misery. Everyone has done it and can do it.

The three cariyas of the Buddha that he had to fulfill his perfections (pāramīs) were: for his benefit, for the benefit of his relatives, and for the benefit of living beings. It’s very important of being able to distinguish between friends and foes. (recounting the story of Todeyya Brahman on this point). I am warning you all not to shun away from the salvation of the Dhamma. Dhamma sent you here and you are completed with the five rarities (i.e., Encountering the teachings of the Buddha, a teacher who can teach the sacca Dhamma, understanding of it, etc…)

You only need to go upwardly for ending dukkha. But if you don’t respect the Dhamma and going downward is not proper. (continuing the Indriya-bhavana Sutta) Now is the time for us to always living together with Dhamma which will save us from the whole saṁsāra. There could be joy (somanassa) or displeasure (domanassa) or neither joy nor displeasure (upekkhā) when seeing a form. With an object, there are such three states of mind.

If no salvation of Dhamma comes in dukkha will continue to arise. Because of the three types of feeling, Dependent Arising will continue in the beginning, middle and the end (see the 12 links of Dependent Arising; pleasant feeling in the middle, unpleasant feeling in the end and neutral feeling in the beginning.

Living beings are always going down stream and never up stream. After his enlightenment, the Buddha saw this point. Therefore he became disappointed to teach them. I’ll show you some insight contemplations. From the three types of feelings; if one of them is arising, contemplate as it’s the resultant phenomenon arising by causes. In this way the view of a person, a being is falling away. Contemplate it as arising and passing away. In this way the three types of feeling are becoming a series of equanimity of insight (vipassanupekkhā ñāṇa).


[Sayadaw told the story of the sutta: on one occasion the Buddha was staying among the Gajaṅgalas (People of the Gajaṅgala Village) in the Bamboo Grove. During a Dhamma talk he asked the young brahmin Uttara, how his teacher Pārāsivi brahmin taught and trained on the six sense faculties. (MN.152 Indriyabhāvanāsuttaṃ)

He replied that by closing the eyes, ears…. etc, and no defilements arose. Then the Buddha responded by saying as followed. Then, in this way people born blind and deaf were already no defilements. Uttara became silent by the words of the Buddha. However, nobody can close the mind door. Therefore the Buddha gave a talk on how to restrain the sense faculties.

Whatever arises from the six sense doors, e.g., feeling arises (sukha, dukkha or upekkhā), observe their anicca and it becomes upekkhā. They are conditioned by causes. These are kilesa and coarse, and the result of the causes. Whatever arises is saṅkhāra—conditioned thing.

By seeing anicca becomes upekkhā and called saṅkhāra-upekkhā (not react to saṅkhāra as like or dislike). It’s very quickly leading to saṅkhāra-upekkhā ñāṇa (knowledge of equanimity towards formations which is close to the Path knowledge (magga ñāṇa).]

(Sayadaw described the practice from hearing) From the six sense doors let whatever arises. But the important thing is can be let the contemplating knowledge comes in to know it. Whatever arising in the body is coarse, so that you know it. First, you have to know it from behind as it is arising by causes (the arising dhamma). Second, after this contemplation, the arising dhamma is not there anymore (that becomes the passing away dhamma). First is arising and second is passing away.

[(Special note: In 18th November 1956, Sayadaw gave a talk on insight meditation by way of vitakka (thought) and vicāra (examination). Here is extract from some of them)]

Vitakka is thinking or thought, and vicāra is all round examination. The Buddha taught the first jhāna with vitakka and vicāra and also the path factors with it.

Today I will talk about its implementation (here he used vedanā of the six sense-doors). Whatever feelings are arising from the six sense doors, think about it as "what it is?" After that examine the feeling as it exists or not, this is vicāra or examination. If you use vitakka and vicāra in this way you see feeling and also its impermanence.

For example, you see something with the eye and don’t know what it is, and then there is no vitakka and vicāra. Someone who has thinking and examination get the path factors. The thinking of I-ness or identity view is falling away. Thinking is vitakka and examination is vicāra. Knowing of the non-existing is paññā. Therefore every time you open your eyes must have seeing with thinking and examination.

The dissolution of phenomenon is useless (feeling or any saṅkhāra dhamma). The uselessness is the truth of dukkha (in some of his talks Sayadaw explained dukkha as disgusting and useless; Duk-disgusting, Kha-useless). If you are in thinking and examination will know the truth of dukkha. Disappearing is death. Death is arriving at dukkha. If you are thinking and examining in this way even hell fire will be extinguished. Even no need to mention about sorrow, lamentation and suffering in the heart]

(continued from the main talk) ① is arising dhamma, and ② is passing away dhamma. In this way, it can’t be followed by greed, hatred and delusion dhammas behind. Is this difficult for you? Every time dhamma arises is by cause, and have to know it as not there. If you ask: "what is Nibbāna?" It’s the cutting off Dependent Arising in the beginning, in the middle and in the end sections. Whichever section is cutting off, and then it’s Nibbāna. Every time a dhamma arises, if you can contemplate its impermanence, and then it'll not become lobha, dosa and moha dhammas because these are only impermanent. All these impermanent dhammas are arising in series. So it’s called vipassanupekkhā. A being will receive double increments if it falls into hell, because the hell being is suffering in hell that is always in the state of displeasure (domanassa). Therefore, it is not easy to talk about the lifespan in hell. (This is one of the reasons that hell beings don’t have a definite life span. Sayadaw mentioned it for his listeners. It reminded them for practicing diligently to end suffering in hell).


The Buddha taught this sutta for vipassanā practice was it could become the most quickest and effective way. In the time of the Buddha there were also many practiced for insight and gave wrong teachings. (continued the story of the Sutta) How do you close the mind door of muddy kilesas? Even may be you can close the other five doors.

The Buddha taught the ariyan way of development of the faculties. Thoughts from the mind door create greed, hatred and delusion. Let it be arisen. Only with the arising dhamma, there will be an object for contemplation. For a dead person he has nothing to contemplate. It’s important to contemplate the arising dhamma. Where are birth, ageing and death, the truth of dukkha come from?

If you trace the reverse order of the Dependent Arising process (the 12 links) and will find out that it came from craving (taṇhā).

→ → →
[craving clinging action birth, ageing and death.]
← ← ←

It arises from the thinking of the mind door. Thought arises from the mind object (dhamma ārammaṇa) and mind door (mana dvāra). The arising cause is called paṭicca-samuppāda and the arising result is called paṭicca-samuppanna. The arising dhamma is coarse and the cause of thinking. It is compounded dhamma (saṅkhata dhamma). If you know it as a compounded dhamma, then anicca is included in it. You know it arising because it’s coarse. And when you contemplate (think about) it’s not there. You know the arising and passing away of the compounded dhamma (saṅkhata dhamma). In the place of greed you only discern impermanence. This contemplation is called vipassanupekkhā ñāṇa.

So anicca is close to Nibbāna because its nature is similar to saṅkhāra‐upekkhā ñāṇa. Therefore the harmlessness of sense faculties is depending on contemplation. In talking about the way to Nibbāna by using long method and it becomes long. By short method, it becomes short.

In short, it only exists as; ① impermanence and, ② the ending of impermanence. It is only dukkha sacca and nirodha sacca while analyzing by truth (impermanence is dukkha and the ending of it is nirodha). (In some suttas the Buddha himself expressed his teachings as he only taught dukkha and the ending of dukkha, in the past, present and future. All the Buddhas were/will the same. Any teaching of not ending for dukkha is not the Buddha’s teachings).

It is only vipassanā ñāṇa and magga ñāṇa (insight knowledge and path knowledge) or the knowledge seeing impermanence and the knowledge seeing the cessation of impermanence while analyzing by knowledge (ñāṇa). In this case; "Are the ten or sixteen insight knowledges wrong?" Both of them are also right. These were the insight knowledges of Ven. Sāriputta’s great wisdom. These are long only in given names, but not in the real process.

Insight knowledge kills the coarse defilement and path knowledge kills the refine one (anusaya-latent one). In the time of the Buddha there were many examples of getting enlightenments within a sitting (mostly listening talks). These were happening because of the short knowledge. If impermanence ceases, dukkha and kilesa are also ceased.

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

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