Vipassanā is Ñāṇa or Kamma?

revised on 2019-08-12

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 16th August 1961

Do not mix up these two right views. These are right views on kamma and insight (kammassakatā sammādiṭṭhi and vipassanā sammādiṭṭhi). Right view on kamma can’t dispel wrong view and insight right view can dispel it. The right view of believing in the results of kamma and the right view of seeing the true nature of khandha are not the same.

We know the differences only by comparing their ability to dispel wrong view or not. Right view of the Path Knowledge (magga sammādiṭṭhi) can root-out wrong view in a moment. The majority of Buddhists die only with one knowledge. You only know ① and ② types of kamma. Your intelligence can’t reach toward the other ③ and ④ types of kamma.

(Sayadaw continued to explain the four types of kamma. This talk was based on the Majjhima Nikāya, the Dog Ascetic Discourse (MN.57 Kukkuravatikasuttaṃ). The Buddha explained four types of kamma to a Dog Ascetic and Cow Ascetic, who were practicing the ways of dog and cow. The four types of kamma were: ① wholesome kamma, ② unwholesome kamma, ③ mixed kamma, i.e., wholesome and unwholesome mix together, ④ neither wholesome nor unwholesome kamma).

Is Nibbāna the result of vipassanā (path factors) or the way to arrive there? You have to take it as the path to arrive there. Other phenomena (dhamma) are arising by causes and the result of causes. Path factors are the way to Nibbāna and not the causes of it. It connects with the other three types of kamma that take it as kamma. In reality it is led by knowledge (ñāṇa).

There are no dhamma for the causes of Nibbāna. And if it exists, then after causes are vanishing and it must also vanish. The kammas to hell finished and the hell vanished. Hells appear by the causes of unwholesome kammas. These are causes and effects.

So, we can take Nibbāna as a place to arrive there by the way (i.e., path factors). (Here saydaw explained Nibbāna as causeless Dhamma. A place to arrive by the way was just explaining with concept and should not take it as literally).

By reading book you can’t get these things. Talking with kamma together and we take it as kamma. Among the four types of kamma, ①, ② and ③ are the causes for something to arise. The ④ is the cause of the way to arrive there. It is not becoming but to send you there. (Here Sayadaw was using the two Burmese words (phit) for the arising and (yauk) for the arriving.

The arising is for conditioned phenomena and the arriving is for unconditioned Nibbāna. Something can be arisen only by causes. Nibbāna is something already existing and no need for the causes to make it arise, so unconditioned. There were some talks on Nibbāna by him and mentioned that it was covering up by two dhammas, i.e., kilesa and dukkha. First have to uncover kilesa and dukkha appears. And then continue to uncover dukkha and Nibbāna appears. So, we need to walk the Noble Eightfold Path and will arrive there. This is my understanding of it). It’s really not easy to explain it. Next important thing to note is ①, ② and ③ kammas can be changed or destroyed by the coming in other kammas because of their impermanent nature.

Other kammas can’t come in to stop or destroy the ④ kamma. Sammatta niyata dhamma — It’s stable and without changing phenomenon. If someone was sure for the realization, and even before the attainment of Nibbāna nothing could destroy it. For example, fire couldn’t burn or kill novice Sankicca (ThagA. i. 533). He was sure for the arahantship that Dhamma protected him from danger. How much powerful the Dhamma is quite evident.

Queen Mallikā had done the great white kamma but near her death the black kamma came in and she fell into hell. A sotāpanna is stable in the five precepts. Path factors are leading to Nibbāna and cutting off ①, ② and ③ kammas. So the always reliable thing is maggaṅga dhamma.

It’s the permanent thing for us. It’s terminating kammas and leading to Nibbāna without change. Remember this point with care. It’s the thing we should not be without it. We should try hard for this dhamma as the truly reliable thing. Even jhāna and Nibbāna are very different in nature.

Jhāna can be perishable whereas Nibbāna as after seeing once (at Path Knowledge) is never perishable. You can always enter into the fruition state. We should also perform white kammas for the ending of dukkha (For supporting Nibbāna and not for enjoyment of the result).

But don’t let it stops at ordinary merits. Let's make some observations whether Path factors cutting off kamma are true or not (Sayadaw mentioned a few of them. The Bodhisatta’s good kammas were immeasurable. After enlightenment and became a Buddha all his good kammas were ended and for no more future birth. The great bandit Aṅgulimāla had many black kammas by killing a lot of people. There is no more future birth after he became an arahant. Ālavaka the fearful spirit had mixed kamma. There are no more than seven future births after he became a sotāpanna).

We still have time; let us fulfill the path factors. Let us cut off our kammas. We have to start from insight knowledge, i.e., udayabbaya ñāṇa — knowledge of rise and fall. But you may also ask me what about the lower knowledge of mind and matter now. I am talking to people who already know these things, therefore no need for you to start from them.

You have already differentiated mind/body. Also already understand the connection of cause and effect. (Sayadaw continued the instruction of cittānupassanā). Here, not including non-delusion mind. This is the contemplative path factors (maggaṅga). It’s not the object of insight, and also wisdom (paññā).

Contemplate impermanence at the arising place. Follow with the non-delusion mind. Seeing impermanence does know the not existing of the object. You must know the not existing of the objects. In that way you are free from becoming a blind crazy worldling.

Because you know the not existing as not existing and know what is existing as existing (The same meaning as yathābhūta ñāṇa — knowledge of the way as it really is). This is knowing impermanence; before you are wasting your time as a blind crazy person.

It is not only for this life but also for many life times before. Between your death and other death which one is more disenchanted for you? Surely it is your death because it can’t separate with you. Therefore you become disenchanted with it. Then you know the truth of dukkha.

After thoroughly penetrate the truth of dukkha and the contemplative mind changes from the existing of dukkha to non-existing of dukkha. Ñāṇa is changing. Your duty is have to contemplate from impermanence to disenchantment and from disenchantment to until not wanting of them.

revised on 2019-08-12; cited from (posted on 2019-01-14)

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