The Most Important Thing in Life

revised on 2019-07-25

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 16th March 1961

[Sayadaw talked about the character of sassata and uccheda persons from the Majjhima Nikāya Commentary. A person with sassata view (eternalism) has the following characters. The view of his fault is small comparing with the uccheda view.

But it is difficult for him to be free from saṁsāra. ① Believe in kamma and rebirth ② Doing good and performing merits. ③ Afraid of unwholesome kamma ④ Take pleasure in the round of existence (vaṭṭa), desire for a good life and enjoying the result of wholesome kamma. ⑤ It is difficult for him to realize the Dhamma even if he had the chances to meet the Buddha and monks because of taking pleasure in life and so it's difficult to free him himself from it. Hiding in the existences for pleasure, you have to do wholesome merits and also dispelling wrong view. By doing it, you will near to Nibbāna.

A person with uccheda view (annihilationism) has the following characters. The view of his fault is great but easy to free from saṁsāra. ① Not believe in kamma and rebirth. ② Not create good kamma ③ Not afraid to do unwholesome actions ④ Not enjoy in becoming. Not taking pleasure in the round of existence. ⑤ If he had the chances to meet the Buddha and monks easy to realize the Dhamma. Any wrong view is not good. It hinders the Path Knowledge.

In this talk Sayadaw talked how to observe bodily sensations. He said if an itchy sensation arises on the body it seems to be continuous (santati). Actually it’s not. The yogi should observe the changing of the sensation. For example, the sensation becomes stronger, the milder one changes into a stronger one. And the milder one is disappeared and substitute with the stronger one. In the beginning, see anicca sparsely because the samādhi is not strong enough.

After sometime samādhi develops and see the whole body is in anicca. This is udayabbaya ñāṇa (knowledge of rise and fall of formation) becomes matured. Continue with the practice it becomes the knowledge of disenchantment (nibbidā ñāṇa). And then later the body disappears and Path Knowledge arises. ]

In Saṃyutta Nikāya the Buddha taught like this. We had to dispel and destroy wrong view quicker than to get rid of the dangers which our chests were piercing with spears and heads burning with fire. The reason we can’t get the first magga is hindering by wrong view. If it was unimportant the Buddha never mentioned it twice.

Now he mentioned it quite often, it meant it was very important. After destroying wrong view, doubt falls away naturally. The root sources of 62 types of wrong view are sassata and uccheda views. Identify view (sakkāya diṭṭhi) is already including in them. It’s important to talk about the characters of wrong views.

You have to decide yourself which character you are in. After that I’ll tell you how to dispel it. (Sayadaw talked about the characters of wrong view as mentioned above). We had these wrong views in saṁsāra that missed each Buddha and the Dhamma. (continued Acela Kassapa’s story) There are two knowledges. One is immature and the other is mature.

Knowledge can be mature only with a lot of practice. It never happens by itself. You have seen impermanence but not Nibbāna yet. That means your knowledge is still not mature yet. But don’t give up and try hard. If you still not see impermanence, then the observation is still not right. If you are seeing it as not exists is right. Then you see impermanence.

For an example, an itchy or painful feeling arises and you observe it. And you see it as not there. Another, arising is a substitution. Don’t take this instruction as insignificance. How to observe is very important? For example, if you contemplate the itchy sensation; a minor itch becomes a major itch.

Only the first small itch disappears and the bigger one can appear. Again you contemplate the second itch and it disappears, and substitutes with a bigger one. By uncovering the continuity of perception and observe will see the impermanence. Don’t think it as continuously itching and paining. Anyhow you’ll see impermanence.

Your knowledge is still not in mature state if you see intermittently. Is it no pāramī or immature? (It’s immature, Ven. Sir). After with a lot of practice will see the whole body of impermanence without a gap for a needle can insert into it. Continue with the persistent contemplation and become disenchantment with it. It is developing from yathābhūta ñāṇa to nibbidā ñāṇa.

At the time when you don’t want to stay with it, and it ceases instantly. The knowledge of not wanting arises and the khandha also disappears. Because ñāṇa becomes mature and it comes to an end. If you still don’t see it is lacking in efficiency.

Kammassakatā ñāṇa is also important (Believe in kamma and result). Because of this you met the Buddha Sāsana and good teacher. Taking satisfaction in itself is satisfied with life. Then sassata view comes in. Also don’t let go of the kammassakatā ñāṇa (Some yogis even think that only practice meditation is enough and no need to make merits. So they don’t want to help others when it’s necessary.

There was a saying by the Buddha in the Dhammapada; “Cease to do evil, cultivate that which is good, purify the heart. This is the way of the awakened ones.” We can’t practice for 24 hours every day. So, wholesome kamma and practice are inseparable.)

Which duty is heavier, looking after one’s khandha or the khandhas of sons and daughters? The responsibility on them is still limited. But we have to look after our khandhas all the time. So, the Buddha mentioned it as vipāka vaṭṭa khandha (resultant khandha of the round of existence).

revised on 2019-07-25; cited from (posted on 2019-01-10)

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