The Nature of Vipassanā

revised on 2021-01-27

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 22nd June 1961

I urge you to try hard in vipassanā practice. Why? You should do it if you have compassion to yourself. Tigers used to get their prey by hiding themselves. It can succeed only by hiding and catching. The tiger can’t catch the prey by chasing it. The nature of the khandha is changing.

You can’t see it normally. Only by watching and observing you’ll see it. For example, you don’t know that a mosquito is biting at you if you are talking. You know it only after the bite and it becomes itching. It's because the mind is floating around somewhere.

If you contemplate on feeling just on feeling, and on mind just on mind by watching and catching of them. They are arising by the contact of sense objects and sense doors. The arising phenomenon is the object of vipassanā contemplation. You have to aim at them with sati, samādhi and paññā.

Khandha will tell its nature: arising and disappearing, anicca and magga — impermanence and knowing accordingly. You didn’t know before because of not watching and observing them. After sometime you don’t need to watch. Because the khandha is showing it nature again and again, at that time let go of the watching and observing only at the mature stage.

Feeling arises and by watching and catching it, not becomes vedanā paccaya taṇhā (feeling conditions craving). Instead it becomes vedanā nirodha (with the cessation of feeling) and taṇhā nirodho (craving also ceases). Here taṇhā ceases by not arising at all. In the mind only path factors exist (magga).

By seeing impermanence, you do not find the feeling and craving. But only find out the feeling disappears and the path factors arise. With the substitution of the path factors and craving can’t arise. Therefore vipassanā contemplating yogi truly becomes vedanā nirodha — taṇhā nirodho (with the cessation of feeling and craving also ceases).

In the practice if you are still seeing feeling is not right yet. These words are very important. Feeling arises and ceases but craving ceases by not arising. These are: the cessation of the arising and the cessation of non-arising (upādā nirodho and anupādā nirodho).

The main thing in vipassanā is to know impermanence (anicca). Which one vanishing is not the main point (e.g., vedanā or mind etc. ). Knowing about death is the main one. If you practise without any doubt, then if you practise in the morning, you will realize the Dhamma in the evening; if you practise in the evening, you will realize the Dhamma in the morning. It’s very quick if you get the Yathābhūta Ñāṇa (The knowledge of things as it really are, i.e., anicca).

Looking for it in contemplation is thinking-vitakka (Like a tiger is chasing its prey). Knowledge and thinking are not the same. Following with chasing is vitakka. By knowing that it’s not there is right view. It’s knowing nirodha (Temporary cessation, so sometimes using as tādinga nibbāna).

By seeing the feeling arises and then you are alive with the feeling (at that moment). By seeing as it’s not there and then you are alive with magga (at that moment with the path factors). These are quite different. Vedanā nirodha, taṇhā nirodho — Feeling ceases, so do craving ceases.

Therefore taṇhā can’t arise. It will connect to taṇhā if the future causes are not dying away, and then it will get a new khandha. It’s a great fault because it’s dukkha (Taught by the Buddha in the Majjhima Nikāya). By seeing impermanence, there is no solid and stable happiness. Perversions fall away is freedom. (Sayadaw continued to Channovāda Sutta, MN.144 Channovādasuttaṃ, recounting the story of Ven. Channa who killed himself).

Ven. Sāriputta asked to Channa on his experience of the practice. He answered that seeing the cessation of feelings and didn’t have taṇhā, māna and diṭṭhi (claimed as an arahant). This was one of the evidence that seeing nirodha is on the right track.

Therefore vipassanā contemplation is watching and observing of the cessation of phenomena. I want to tell you to see the cessation of all the saṅkhāra dhammas. In a Dhammapada verse the Buddha taught to the 1500 monk as — sabbe saṅkhāra aniccati — All conditioned phenomena are impermanent. Here, he didn’t make any division on the khandha. Taṇhā has to cease without arising. If after arising and ceasing, then becomes kamma. (Continue to talk vipassanā on unpleasant and neutral feelings) In the Cha-chakka Sutta (Majjhima Nikāya, MN.148 Chachakkasuttaṃ), The Buddha said that after the feeling without the cessation of lobha, dosa and moha, dukkha would never end.

This was another evidence. Seeing the arising and ceasing moment to moment is seeing one’s own death. It is Yathābhūta Ñāṇa. After a long time and become disenchantment with it. It is Nibbidā Ñāṇa. Later making one’s own decision about it as the truth of dukkha and nothing is desirable.

The khandha vanishes with the contemplation of impermanence. Ñāṇa turns towards the state which is without arising and ceasing. This is seeing Nibbāna. During alive the khandha still exists (This seeing Nibbāna came from the Ven. Nāgasena’s answer to King Milinda.)

revised on 2021-01-27; cited from (posted on 2019-01-11)

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