Practical Knowledge of Dukkha

revised on 2021-03-15

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 29th & 30th June (morning and evening) 1961, 1st July 1961

[Sayadaw gave four talks on Kicca Ñāṇa connection to the four functions of Dukkha Sacca; Pīḷanaṭṭha (oppressive), Saṅkhatatha (conditioning), Santāpatha (burning) and vipariṇāmatha (changing)]


[Sayadaw said; Kicca Ñāṇa was vipassanā ñāṇa so you had to develop for many times (bhāvetabba). By seeing anicca at the same time and discern the four truths. Seeing the Khandha (anyone of the five Khandhas) arises is dukkha arising, seeing impermanence is magga ñāṇa, taṇhā not arising is samudaya, and not creating another khandha is nirodha. ]

A person not knowing the truth is like a blind man moving around, walking around with two of the wholesome and unwholesome legs. That is avijjā paccaya saṅkhāra — ignorance conditions volitional formation. (Here the blind man is ignorance, moving around with two legs are positive and negative actions).

Can not every dāna (giving) realize Nibbāna? If, it is led by ignorance (including taṇhā itself), then you will not get it (Nibbāna is without them). Therefore these two legs (wholesome and unwholesome) are moving towards dukkha in the whole round of existence (saṁsāra).

It is like a blind man moving around. Blind man walking around and falling down is dukkha sacca (jāti) because of avijjā and saṅkhāra receiving birth (jāti) khandhas. After falling down and what happen to him? He gets injuries. Get it back again the sores of dukkha. Viññāṇaṁ paccaya nāma-rūpaṁ-rebirth consciousness conditions mind/body.

From nāma-rupaṁ paccaya saḷāyatanaṁ-mind/body conditions six sense-bases. Six sense-bases are like infested wounds with pus and blood oozing out. These are happening in the six sense-bases. Phassa paccaya vedanā-contact conditions feeling. Contact here means making your way in the thorny forest (Do not forget about the blind man is ignorance).

So, it is like a cane falling down on the wounds. And the feelings are arising. After knowing these things and the khandha’s nature you do not desire it again. Ignorance becomes knowledge (avijjā to vijjā). The mind becomes clean and pure. During listening to the talk, I am showing you the fault of the D. A. process. And you don’t have pleasure and enjoyment in it. Become not desiring this khandha and not wishing a new khandha. At that time have to analyze the truth. In the mind, knowledge of non-greed arises. In Sacca Ñāṇa have to know Dukkha and Samudaya arise. And to know their cessation (i.e., Nirodha). Knowing them is magga sacca. Every arising phenomenon has to know these four points.

Today I’ll talk about Kicca Ñāṇa; Dukkha, Samudaya, Nirodha and Magga, all four of them. You have to ask; “What are their function?” To know about them is Kicca Ñāṇa. This knowledge is more important than Sacca Ñāṇa. This is a very rare opportunity to hear about it. During listening don’t let other mind states come in.

This is an important time (Recounted the story of layman Peya during the time of Kassapa Buddha) At that time his mind was clean and pure. And then the Buddha was in ready to talk about sacca dhamma. But at that moment he had some business and got up and left the place.

Because of that he missed the chance for realization (He had to wait for another chance to come quite a very long time. This was at the time of Gautama Buddha) It’s the time of turning your mind on the khandha for practice. So, turn your mind on it. Now, you have already listening to the talk for 45 minutes. Feelings are arising in the khandha. These feelings are oppressing the body/mind.

This khandha has the power of oppression — Dukkhasa Pīḷanaṭṭho: it has the nature of oppression. This feeling arising is for the oppression of other khandhas. Whatever arises in the khandha and know it as oppressive. Knowing it thoroughly as except has the oppressive function and no other matters.

At that time of knowing, samudaya not arises and dies away This is called cessation by not arising — Anupada Nirodho. The function of knowing (Magga Sacca) is also doing the expelling function (of samudaya taṇhā). This is taṇhā nirodha (cessation of craving). Observing the oppression again and again is bhāvetabba.

It is bhāvetabba by contemplation with magga sacca for many times on the oppression of dukkha. Kilesa also ceases for many times. At the same time is performing the four truths. Kilesa ceases by not arising is nirodha. Taṇhā nirodho Nibbānaṁ — Taṇhā extinguished is Nibbāna. You will finish your task by practice and not by pāramīs if you contemplate in this way.

T2 (morning talk)

In Sacca Dhamma; Sacca is truth and Dhamma also is truth. There is nothing truer than that. Other dhammas can be said as not truth. It will give you the result at some-time if you have done dāna (giving). But if other unwholesome dhamma comes in and destruct, it will not give the result.

Practice sīla (virtues) for long life but it becomes short life if other unwholesome kammas come in. (All these things are important for reflection. The functioning of law of kamma is not very simple. Only the Buddha fully comprehended it. If not we can be in misunderstanding and lost faith in it. The situations can be changed if some conditions come in.)

Samatha dhammas are also the same. (Sayadaw recounted back to the blind man simile in the first talk.) The blind man is looking for medicines after he is getting the different kinds of feeling but it will not be a good one.

Vedanā paccaya taṇhā — Feeling conditions craving. This is looking for medicines. Taking the wrong medicine and even the old wound is not cured, instead getting a new wound. Kamma paccaya jāti-Action conditions birth. This is a new wound. Your situation is like a monkey, gets a wound on the body. The wound is not cured and even becomes worse by scratching.

If you can’t find or get a good teacher, then it is developing of wounds and nothing. (Majority of people are thinking that indulgence in sensual pleasure is development. So they find ways to indulgence for sensual pleasures. This is the outcome of modern science and technology, with inventions for sensual pleasure).

In this 31 realms of existence and having different kinds of birth are blind people moving around there. It is not easy to teach people on truth because they had been blinded for a long time, for many lives, now. It will be quite difficult to cure them. Now you are coming here for listening talk is looking for the medicine.

This time is the best. You have to take the chance for treatment. If you do not, then next time will be not easy. Maybe you will not find a good teacher. Even have a good teacher, maybe you will not live for long enough.

(Sayadaw continued to explain the truth by using Cittānupassanā)

For example, seeing consciousness arises. Seeing consciousness is the wound with pus. This is dukkha sacca. Different kinds of mind arise and know them as dukkha sacca. It is Kicca Ñāṇa thoroughly to know them as diseases (rogato); as arising by the conditions of ignorance and craving of past life. The Kamma of past life made the arrangement to be here. Saṅkhatatho — this is the dukkha sacca of condition by taṇhā. The impermanence of minds are dukkha and conditions by taṇhā. Discerning impermanence every time is Kicca Ñāṇa. It’s also conditioning by kamma. The eyes are becoming not clear (ageing) and become damaged, etc. The khandha is talking about its function (Kicca). Knowing is Ñāṇa, therefore Kicca Ñāṇa.

Do you still desire these kinds of eyes? Taṇhā, upādāna and kamma not arise. The four truths are including in the Kicca Ñāṇa. So, just contemplate impermanence. Even you don’t know about them and all four truths are including in it.

T3 (evening talk)

The Buddha said that he was realizing enlightenment by knowing the causes of the arising of living beings and the cessation of them. It’s the arising of ignorance and the cessation of it. Today I’ll talk about the Kicca Ñāṇa of Santāpatha — Burning with kilesa fire. Dukkha Sacca of the khandha is always burning with kilesa. Beings are always burning with the kilesa fire (see the Fire Discourse to the Kassapa’s brothers of fire worshipping ascetics, SN.35.28 Ādittasuttaṃ).

Mind/body are burning with fire. This khandha is burning with 11 kinds of fire (lust — raga, hatred — dosa, delusion — moha, birth — jāti, ageing — jarā, death — maraṇa, sorrow — soka, lamentation — parideva, pain — dukkha, grief — domanassa, despair — upāyāsa).

So, it is dukkha sacca. It has the function of always burning with kilesa fire. Every phenomenon of arising and falling away has to be contemplated in this way. Prince Ajātasattu was burned by kilesa fire of greed and hatred, and killed his father. So his perfection of becoming a sotāpanna was also burned down by it. His good kammas were nullified (became ahosikamma).

Is there any dhamma not vanishing in the khandha? Contemplate every arising and vanishing phenomenon as burning with fire and disappearing. Then you get the Santapattha Kicca Ñāṇa. You see the mind and body dhammas as after burning and vanishing is Kicca Ñāṇa.

After that you don’t see any function of the burning process. The function of burning with fire is gone. This is seeing Nibbāna, the fuels (khandhas) are consumed and fire (kilesas) extinguished. It’s Kata Ñāṇa.

Mind and body are not arising as before is the fuels are consumed. Craving and clinging are not following after is the fire extinguished. Kicca Ñāṇa is seeing the fuels and fire are burning. In the Saṃyutta Nikāya the Buddha said; “If someone gets Kicca Ñāṇa and Nibbāna is near to him.”


Arriving to the hell and the hell fire there is so strong that it nearly blinds the eyes. By hearing the crying of the hell beings and ears are nearly deaf. The smell there is also so terrible that the nose nearly falling off. The hell foods and drinks go into the mouth are burning the small and large intestines and falling out at the bottom. The clothes in the hell are touching the body also burn it down.

Even thoughts are burning in the hell. Nothing is good there. It is called Mahā Pariḷāha Hell — The Hell of Great Burning. Even though the hell beings will still have the chances to be free from there. But not knowing the truth is more terrible than that. Why is that? It's because not knowing-ignorance (avijjā) is establishing these hells. These do not naturally appear. These are the works (kammas) of people who do not know the truths. The things in Hell and fall into it are creating by one’s own unwholesome kamma (not created by God). Wanting to go to Hell is very easy and also easy to cut it off.

Everything of arising must know as dukkha sacca. You have to be afraid of not knowing to cut off your own D. A. process. Do not be afraid of the Hell. The doors to the planes of misery are closed by knowing the truths. Kammas are opening the doors and Ñāṇa closing it. Kammas opened the doors did not mean it normally opened by itself.

Taking it as one’s own kammas is making ready for it. (This is one of the important points that we can change our kammas. For example, Subrahmā devata and his 500 celestial nymphs’ kammas were making ready for them to go there after death. They were listening to the Buddha’s teaching and nullified its result. In the same way by wholesome merits celestial mansions were appeared in the heaven, e.g., Nandiya upāsaka (Dhp 219~220; DhA. iii. 290ff, Vv. PTS:#862).

One’s dukkha is establishing by one’s D. A. process. It can’t do anything by kamma alone. Kamma do the jobs with the arrangement of kilesas. Do not be afraid of kamma but to kilesas. For example, the arrow and the shooter, arrow is like kamma and the shooter is kilesas. Between them, you have to be afraid of the shooter and not for the arrow.

The Buddha never taught not to think about things but just thought about the truths (for Nibbāna) if you wanted. Thinking with greed, hatred and harmfulness, then craving, conceit and wrong view (taṇhā, māna, diṭṭhi) will arise.

Today I will talk about change (vipariṇāma) in Dukkha Sacca. Change exists is Dukkha Sacca and not exists is Nirodha Sacca. Arising and vanishing are called vipariṇāma-changing or discarding one’s nature. If you can observe the change becomes Kicca Ñāṇa.

The arising and vanishing are the functions (Kicca) of the mind/body process. The knowing is Ñāṇa. Changing and destruction are not happening without causes. It happens by aging and death (jarā and maraṇa) in itself.

revised on 2021-03-15; cited from (posted on 2019-01-11)

  • Content of Part 6 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

  • Content of "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

  • Content of Publications of Ven. Uttamo

According to the translator— Ven. Uttamo's words, this is strictly for free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma—Dhamma Dāna. You may re-format, reprint, translate, and redistribute this work in any medium.

據英譯者—鄔達摩比丘交待,此譯文僅能免費與大眾結緣,作為法的禮物(Dhamma Dāna)。你可以在任何媒體上重新編製、重印、翻譯和重新發布這部作品。