The Mind at Dying

revised on 2019-09-12

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 29th May 1961

Dying is no inbreathing comes in after the out-breathing goes out and then it is death. The Buddha said that all living beings without seeing the next rebirths at the dying moment would never die. They are seeing it with the five dying mind moments. Death consciousness arises (cuticitta) after these minds come. This mind is the last mind of this life. After that comes the rebirth consciousness.

The five dying mind must be anyone of the wholesome or unwholesome dhammas. These are arising continuously and passing away one by one for five times. What are these five minds are seeing? For example for the unwholesome mind, it sees the lying and cheating of others; or remembering them, seeing the unwholesome kamma one's had done before. For the wholesome mind, it is by seeing having made offering things to the monks.

For the practising yogi, he sees the impermanence of phenomena whereas for a stream enterer (sotāpanna), the impermanence of phenomena reappears. Therefore beings are seeing what they are used to do it (This point is very important to everyone in his daily life or whole life.

We should develop wholesome mind and kamma all the times and these become a habit.) So everyone seeing his or her actions has done before and dies. Some see huge black dogs, hell cauldrons (woks).

They become frightened and tears flow down from their eyes. We had lived our lives in wrong ways and arrive to the wrong places. They know these by themselves. The Buddha had spoken about these things. Some see celestial nymphs, celestial mansions and chariots of the heaven. A person who sees forest, hills and steep cliff will be born as a ghost.

Family member and others are surrounding and talk to him but he doesn’t hear it. Some are crying out with fright. Family members are near but they can’t help him. After the five mind moments and will die. There is no time to make correction. Therefore we have to make preparations earlier before death.

In 100,000 incidents with these kinds of situations, only one case could be made the correction. (Don’t know where Sayadaw got this information. It seems to be from the sutta and a story from Sri Lanka. An old novice was helped by his son who was a monk. In these kinds of situations, it's very difficult to help the dying person.)

It was very few indeed. Someone who sees the womb of an animal will be born as animal. Some fell into hell directly even did not have the chances of questioning by King Yama because their kammas were very heavy (Such as the five heavy kammas) (King Yama was like a judge in hell. A good-hearted being that helped the hell beings to remember some of their goodness by questioning them.)

How to correct it? The Buddha warned us — Practice vipassanā. Don’t be headless! Someone, with the knowledge of impermanence, sees it as anicca khandha and dies. After death, he instantly arrives to the good destination (sugati), or he can enter the stream before death (according to the Aṅguttara Nikāya).

The Buddha lived for 45 years (as an enlightened Buddha) and warned the Bhikkhus for 1792 times of the above warnings (Practice vipassanā. Don’t be heedless!) Everyone without the practice of vipassanā, the Teachings of the Buddha is extinct for him. Therefore we should often practice vipassanā and it becomes a habitual kamma by without stopping it (Sayadaw continued the Mahānāma’s story to give the example of the benefit of the practice).

This task is no need to spend money. Only to sit down and observing the impermanence of the khandha. It is not a burden at all (Human beings are sometime very stupid. They can spend a lot of money and times doing foolish things; even giving up their lives for this stupidity). If you are afraid of dying and death that only get the knowledge of sense of urgency (saṁvega).

If you do the practice will free from dukkha. By knowing these things clearly, and the desire for the practice will arise. You already have the perfections (pāramī) for yourselves. Because you meet the Buddha’s Teachings, encounter a teacher who can teach the sacca dhamma (teachings on truth) and possess the ears for listening them. (The last point may seem insignificant. Most people taking interest and pleasure to listen gossips and frivolous talks on sensual pleasure. Just examine the nowadays media.)

(Sayadaw continued on the contemplation of feelings-vedanā). Every itching, pain and aching etc. … arise, and with the contemplation will see their arising and passing away. From the three feelings (pleasant, unpleasant and neutral) one of them will always arise. With mindfulness, persistent effort and observe with wisdom (paññā).

Whatever arising in the khandha everything is impermanent. By showing their impermanence, we just following with, that’s right, that’s right. This is right seeing and even before death getting the path factors (maggaṅga). Nibbāna is covering up by conditioned phenomena. It is covering up with permanence.

King Milinda asked Ven. Nāgasena; “Does Nibbāna always exist or not?” Nibbāna is not connecting with everyone. Only the practicing yogi can see it. Today talk has three points. I talk about the good and unpleasant deaths. Nibbāna is covering up by conditioned phenomena.

In referring with the feeling, all three types of feeling are covering up Nibbāna. In referring to the mind, all minds are covering up Nibbāna. Therefore I urge you all for the practice.

revised on 2019-09-12; cited from (posted on 2019-01-11)

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