From Hell to Eternity

revised on 2021-03-15

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 14th May 1961

Living beings are floating and sinking in the four planes of misery. Human world is a place for temporary visit for them. The four planes of misery are their permanent homes.

[These things are very important for reflection. In the 31 realms of existence human world is a very significant and the most important place among them. A Buddha only appears to this world. Beings can create all sorts of kammas in this place.

Combine together only four types: positive kamma (wholesome), negative kamma (unwholesome) mixed kamma (wholesome and unwholesome mixed up) and neither positive nor negative kamma (vipassanā kamma). Therefore from here human beings take rebirths elsewhere. It’s like the sun in the centre of the planetary system.

As the sun light spreads out to everywhere. For the other planes of existence, the four planes of misery are only for suffering and no chances to create wholesome kamma. The other realms are planes of bliss and pleasure; only for enjoyment. So, mostly no chances for create wholesome kammas.

Therefore human beings are not here for power, wealth, fame and seeking for sensual pleasure and enjoyments; but to create wholesome kamma as much as possible, to study and practice for the teaching of the Buddha].

The Buddha was using his knowledge and observed as what was the root cause of all these misery. And he found out that it was diṭṭhi—wrong views. Whatever merits (such as building monastery, etc.), wholesome kamma is one thing and the seed of hell is another thing.

They are different. Diṭṭhi as latent defilement is going with the merits. After the power of wholesome kamma is finished it pulls the being down to the plane of misery. The seed of the hell is identity view (sakkāya diṭṭhi). There is no dukkha greater than hell.

You get this suffering because of diṭṭhi, not knowing the truth. Dispelling diṭṭhi first and do the wholesome kamma later. Without diṭṭhi falling away, kamma becomes vaṭṭa kamma (action for the round of existence). So you can’t free from the round of existence. Diṭṭhi and lobha are together.

Therefore kamma leads by wrong view can take rebirth in the plane of misery. Every birth is truth of dukkha. So, it makes things becoming worse. Diṭṭhi comes from the five khandhas and has unwise attention to it. For example, on the body is an itchy sensation arises. But instead of ñāṇa paying attention on the feeling, and it becomes I am itchy. Between the feeling and attention I or self arises.

This I or self is the seed of hell. It’s terrible. Therefore the Buddha said that it was more important than the head was on fire and the chest was piercing with a spear. Whoever falls into the hell is wrong view. Perception becomes I perceive. To the mind is also my mind.

With wrong attention to the khandha, many of the "I" or "self" arise. "I" or "self" is identity view. It’s the cause for beings falling into hell. The stream enterer doesn’t go there is already destroyed it. Nothing is more terrible than wrong attention because the seed of hell arises from there.

(Here Sayadaw gave a simile for wrong view. A long thread in the kite roller is like diṭṭhi. The kite is the khandha. The wind current is like merits. Living beings are suffered by the arrangement of diṭṭhi and kamma without their wishes. After the dispelling of diṭṭhi it becomes vi-vaṭṭa kamma (Kamma without the round of existence).

It becomes right view with wise attention. Unwise attention is like people looking into the mirror, taking the shadow in the mirror as, he, she, etc.; and then taṇhā, mana, diṭṭhi (craving, conceit and wrong view) come in. Here the mirror is the khandha and shadow is wrong view. It’s like a very small child who has never seen a mirror before.

He becomes frighten and running towards the mother after seeing his own shadow. You'll just go back to the wok (i.e., hell cauldron) if you have unwise attention. You will be tortured by the shadow with unwise attention. Correct yourself with wise attention. In the middle of you and the mirror anicca, dukkha and anatta shadows appear. With the right seeing and right view arises.

I ask you to contemplate the impermanence of the five khandhas for the right view. Then sammā-diṭṭhi arises and micchā-diṭṭhi dies away. And the seed of hell disappears. Some people think, if you understand the nature of mind/body and diṭṭhi will fall away. It’s not yet, you have to discern impermanence.

Without the help of a teacher right view can’t arise. Every wise attention is including the five path factors. Kamma also dies if diṭṭhi dies and so do taṇhā, upādāna because they are led by diṭṭhi. Therefore you don’t get the painful khandha belong to the planes of misery. The stream enterer never falls into the planes of misery again.

The path factors (magga) have functions. For example, a boat is carrying a load and crossing to the other shore of a river. Boat is the path factors, load is yogi, this side of the river is dukkha sacca, the other shore is Nibbāna (nirodha sacca) and the river is diṭṭhi and taṇhā (samudaya sacca).

revised on 2021-03-15; cited from (posted on 2019-01-10)

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