The Road Map to Nibbāna

revised on 2019-07-02

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 6th January 1961 & 19th to 20th September 1961

(cf. MN.24 Rathavinītasuttaṃ)

[ The Buddha was staying near Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove. After the Rain Retreat some monks from the native land of the Buddha visited him. He asked them who their teacher was. They answered that he was Puṇṇa mantāṇiputta (Mantāṇi’s son). How he taught them?

Puṇṇa set himself as an example to teach the monks. He taught what himself had practiced. The Buddha praised him. At that time Ven. Sāriputta was near and wanted to meet him. After this occasion, the Buddha went to Sāvatthi. Sometimes later Puṇṇa went to Sāvatthi and paid respect to the Buddha. One of Ven. Sāriputta’s disciples came to him and gave the news.

After exchanging words with the Buddha, Puṇṇa left for the Andhavana Forest for the day’s abiding. Sāriputta followed him from a distance. Both of them stayed at some distances apart and entered into Phalasamāpatti (staying in the fruition state). Both of them came out from it in the evening. And then Sāriputta approached him and asked questions.

Questions and Answers were as follow:

Q1: Do you learn the teaching from the Buddha for sīla practice? (This is the purification of virtue—sīlavisuddhi.)
A: Puṇṇa’s answer—No, Friend.

Q2: For samādhi practice (This is the purification of mind—cittavisuddhi.)?
No, Friend.

Q3: For right view (This is the purification of view—diṭṭhivisuddhi.)
No, Friend.

Q4: For overcoming doubt (This is the purification by overcoming of doubt—kaṅkhāvitaraṇa visuddhi.)?
No, Friend.

Q5: For discerning impermanence (This is the purification by knowledge and vision of what the path is and what the path is not—maggāmaggañāṇadassana visuddhi.)?
No, Friend.

Q6: For the knowledge from Bhaṅga Ñāṇa (knowledge of the dissolution) to Gotrabhū Ñāṇa (knowledge of the change of lineage), these are called Purification of the way (paṭipadāñāṇadassana visuddhi)? The answer was: No, Friend.

Q7: For the Path Knowledge (This is the purification by knowledge and vision—maggañāṇadassana visuddhi.)?
No, Friend.

Q8: So, for what purpose you are practicing the Dhamma.
A: Only for the sake of Nibbāna. And then Sāriputta said to Puṇṇa; “Let me continue to ask you.”

① Can the practice of sīla realize Nibbāna?
No, if possible all worldlings (puthujjana) will realize it.
From ② to ⑦, they were also asked in this way. Puṇṇa answered all of them in negative.

Because all of them were saṅkhata dhamma (conditioned Dhamma) and not Nibbāna which was asaṅkhata Dhamma (Unconditioned phenomenon). Sāriputta praised him. Puṇṇa gave an analogy for the seven purification processes. King Pasenadi Kosala from Sāvatthi wanted to go to Sāketa, 700 miles far away (The mileage was not mentioned in the sutta. Sayadaw used it only for a clear explanation. Most monks used the sutta teachings exactly mentioned in the suttas words by words in Pali and translate into their own language, and with explanation. But he was different, only used the points and facts for teaching. His talks were only for practical purpose).

The king’s servants arranged chariots for him to change after each 100 miles. He came down from it and entered Sāketa after he arrived at Sāketa by the last seventh chariot. In this analogy, the first chariot was sīla and the last seventh was magga. ]

According to the purification (visuddhi) there are seven stages. By vipassanā process; seeing impermanence, become disenchantment and ending of impermanence. Why I have to give this talk is because I am afraid that you have the mistaken contentment (There are a lot of food for thought in this remark. Most Buddhists only satisfy with making merits and observing sīla).

The knowledge of seeing Nibbāna is the purified knowledge (i.e., the seventh stage). Path knowledge is also impermanence and it’s not Nibbāna yet. It’s still not asaṅkhata dhamma (unconditioned dhamma). I am asking you to contemplate the impermanence of the knowledge, because they are also impermanent. So that you know they are also saṅkhata dhamma. All the seven dhammas (7 stages) are only the way to Nibbāna. They themselves are not Nibbānic Element. Only you have overcome your doubt should contemplate impermanence (Practice from fourth to fifth stage)

(This is one of the reasons why Sayadaw asked disciples to give up wrong view and overcoming doubt before insight practice were from the sutta teachings and evidences. For this point he always emphasized the teaching of Dependent Arising.)

If you discern impermanence don’t give up. After thoroughly penetrate dukkha you are on the seventh chariot. Path knowledge is still impermanent. After you come down from it and arrive Nibbāna. These seven stages are the levels on the way of the practice.


[In the beginning for 30 minutes Sayadaw talked about the danger and cleverness of taṇhā. Puṇṇa was foremost in giving Dhamma talks, and enlightened people. Ānanda had entered the stream by him. He taught people by his own examples, such as few wishes and contentment, etc. Enter and stay in Phalasamāpatti could prolong one’s life and delay the time of death. (The Buddha was very sick during his last three months in life, and in this way; he waited his last disciple Subhadda).

Buddhists practise for the ending of upādāna dhamma. If people can realize Nibbāna by samatha then all the Brahma gods will be in that group. Purification by view can be possible with a teacher’s explanation. For overcoming doubt and discovering impermanence can possible by the help of a good teacher. Even Path and Fruition Knowledges are not Nibbāna, still within the province of conditioned dhamma of impermanence.

Puṇṇa rejected all the seven stages of purifications because still these were not the Nibbānic Element where all the clinging dhammas were ceased. Entered into the fruition attainment is also inclining towards Nibbāna. Fruition state of minds are continuously arising and vanishing. Nibbāna is always exists and without impermanence. ]

People who are making prayers for this and that lives are called lustful hedonists. If you go back home have to battle in war, because it controls by a crazy person (referred to taṇhā). If you can’t conquer taṇhā and see it, you will never realize Nibbāna. If he comes in, you have to know it quickly. Puṇṇa was very good in giving Dhamma talks. Could teach people became stream enterer to non-returner.

He was praised by the Buddha and must be a great person. Phalasamāpatti means the knowledge (ñāṇa) staying with the ending or cessation of dukkha. It can expand the life span and delay the time of death. The questions and answers between Sāriputta and Puṇṇa were for the future generation to understand on practice. Puṇṇa answered that practicing was for Nibbāna. Sāriputta satisfied with his answers but continued to ask questions for more clarification.

With a good teacher we can know about the mind and body, also cause and effect dhammas (third and fourth purifications). Seeing impermanence also needs the help of a good teacher (the fifth purification). Path and Fruition Knowledges are saṅkhata dhammas and vanishing dhammas. Nibbāna can’t vanish, so asaṅkhata dhamma. The mind of the path and fruition knowledges are arising and vanishing. So they can’t be Nibbāna. Nibbāna is always exists. All the clingings are totally ceased in Nibbāna. Totally without any impermanence is Nibbāna.


[In the beginning Sayadaw explained the five spiritual faculties and how to adjust them with Ānanda’s last effort for arahantship. Viriya (persistence), samādhi (concentration), saddhā (faith) and paññā (wisdom) become imbalance create hindrance (nīvaraṇa). Sayadaw said practiced diligently and no development means the faculties are becoming imbalance.

(continued the sutta) The seven visuddhis are not Nibbāna. But they support each other successively; e.g., sīla supports the development of samādhi. One has clear seeing and purified view with samādhi. One overcomes doubt with purification of view. One can see impermanence by contemplation after overcoming doubt, and imperfection of insight (vipassanā-ūpakkilesa) might arise as aura of light (obhasa) etc., (There are ten of them).

Puṇṇa gave the seven chariots as an analogy. The seven chariots are the seven visuddhis, Sāketa was Nibbāna and king Pasenadi was yogi. If you arrive at the knowledge of disenchantment become don’t want to contemplate and run away from it. But you must have to contemplate with patience. With continuous contemplation penetrates Dukkha and impermanence comes to an end. ]

The ears listen to the talk and ñāṇa (mind) turning towards the khandha. If you discern anicca, have the pāramīs to be here and can realize the Dhamma. Don’t think about pāramīs instead make a decision that you already have it. You already have it, but if you think you are not is a mistake. In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Buddha mentioned five factors which referred to the completion of pāramīs (i.e., the five difficulties to encounter as mentioned before).

Therefore you have no need to look back but only make effort for practice to complete it. The Buddha’s Teaching (Sāsana) exits like a lightning in a raining dark night (we take it for granted and wasting time for useless things). Now, you are encountering with it that no need to doubt about your perfection. You only need for diligent practice.

(Sayadaw talked about the five spiritual faculties by using Ānanda’s last struggle for enlightenment). He was practicing walking meditation by overexertion and did not get the result because Samādhi was left behind. Without the help of a teacher and not practice rightly can’t get the result. Over effort becomes restlessness (uddhacca) and over samādhi becomes torpor. Send your effort and samādhi in balance towards impermanence. Faith and wisdom need to be made balance. You must have the faith for realization. Over-faith inclines towards affection. Over-wisdom (intelligence) becomes cunning, sending four of them in balance towards impermanence.

Mindfulness is never excessive like other dhammas. You must always have mindfulness. If all these five spiritual faculties are in balance, you will sure of getting the result (e.g., in Ānanda’s case). This is an important point. In practice making adjustment is important.

(continued the sutta) In fruition state the khandha still exists but the mind is inclining towards Nibbāna. Even Path Knowledge is impermanence and saṅkhata dhamma. Up to the Path Knowledge arise by conditioning. The fruition knowledge is also the same. A person with purified view is overcoming doubt. Those who have no doubt can discern anicca. The seven visuddhis are helping each other in stages to Nibbāna. They themselves are not Nibbāna (gave the analogy of seven chariots). I have been explained the mind/ body process, so you have been come down from the third.

Everyday I explain the Dependent Arising and you have come down from the fourth also. You all are contemplating impermanence, so on the fifth chariot. If you are really becoming disenchanted to the impermanence of dukkha, then you are on the sixth chariot. If seeing the ending of it, then you are on the seventh chariot. Some of you are already on the sixth.

Today I give this talk is let the yogis know themselves which chariot they are on. The chariot you are in, talking to you that Nibbāna is near or far away. The words Nibbāna far away is true to people who are not in practice. This is DEFILEMENT. It’s depending on the practice. If you are disenchanting to the impermanent process, and the knowledge of not wanting, it will arise in short moments. If you are in the fruition knowledge then you are already stepping down from the seventh chariot, and entering the city of Sāketa, which is NIBBĀNA.

revised on 2019-07-02; cited from (posted on 2018-12-27)

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