The Beginning and the Ending

revised on 2019-08-12

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 2nd September 1961

You all knew the verses recited by Sakka after the Buddha passed away (He was king of the Tāvatiṃsa Heaven). It expressed the beginning and the ending of the practice. Aniccā vata saṅkhārā, uppādavayadhammino; Uppajjitvā nirujjhanti, tesaṃ vūpasamo sukho. These verses are expressing the knowledge of insight and the Path Knowledge.

You will reach toward the goal if you practice according to these verses. Anicca vata saṅkhāra — telling the truth whatever arises in the khandha has to pass away. (Sayadaw sometime quoted the Pali words in the suttas or commentary for his teachings. But he never translated them as a scholar. Instead he explained it only and not exact translations).

It is important for you to watch and observe whatever arises with knowledge. Where the arising dhamma will end? After arises has to pass away. Vipassanā practice is watching and observing with knowledge. Just observe feeling (vedanā) if you observe feeling; just mind if mind. Just observe the arising and vanishing.

When he was still alive taught only that. We are talking about the Parinibbāna of the Buddha. In reality only formations (saṅkhāra) ceased. Nobody falls from the sky. Everything arises by conditions. The first parts were describing vipassanā and the latter part Nibbāna.

In the beginning, see saṅkhāra and anicca (i.e., arising and passing away). For example, with your finger nail scratch your arm. Feeling will arise. With the conditions of arm and finger nail, feeling of saṅkhāra arises. The main cause is finger nail. Whatever arising of itch, pain etc. are saṅkhāra dhamma. These are an assemblage of saṅkhāra dhamma. Man and woman are only in speech. Nothing exists in the khandha except an assemblage of saṅkhāra.

I am speaking clearly for you that originally there is no existence of a person, a living being, a man and a woman. Man and woman are concepts (saññā). The existences of paramattha dhamma (ultimate phenomena) are saṅkhāra (formations). This is referring to our khandhas. You do not see the mind and matter. Only seeing their arising and passing away.

This was not parinibbāna of the Buddha. Instead saṅkhāra dhamma were ending at anicca. The desire for becoming a human or a celestial being is wanting to die. Therefore I am warning you do not want to become anything. No desire for becoming and has no perishing. Do you understand that? Do not desire for saṅkhata (conditioned, i.e., khandha). But try to get the asaṅkhata (unconditioned, i.e., Nibbāna).

Someone only shows you the beginning and not the ending. And you get it by making merits and prayers. It means you want for sickness and death. It's like the example of a razor blade with honey on it. It is sweet but will cut your tongue. You do not see it.

Another example is that no separation and sorrow will arise if you live a bachelor life. For the desire of wanting for dukkha or saṅkhāra, people have families. At last, with the separation from son, daughter and wife, and you'll encounter suffering. Becoming a saṁsāric traveler is the result of craving for saṅkhāra. The oppression of saṅkhāra is clear to you now. You must listen with the ear of knowledge. You are shedding tears by the oppression of saṅkhāra.

The reason behind is the appreciation for the new arising. It becomes closer to shed tears and far from Nibbāna. Saṅkhāra becomes bigger and the oppression heavier. For example, you lost 100 dollars or 100,000 dollars, which dukkha is bigger? You have many children and more dukkha. I’ll show you the practice. Follow with knowledge whatever saṅkhāra shows up. Contemplate the impermanence.

Uppāda and vaya — only rising and falling exist. There is neither person nor being in it. Identity view is falling away. Uppajjitvā nirujjhanti — after arises and ceases. The Buddha was continuing to talk impermanence. Aniccā = uppāda-vaya = uppajitvā nirujjhanti; (These three Pali words referred to impermanence) he was continuing to talk three times, because it was important. Tesaṁ vūpasamo sukho — These two of ending or cessation (i.e., rise and fall) is the supreme happiness. Following to the end of impermanence was coming from this verse. The Buddha here taught only two knowledges: first seeing impermanence, their disenchantment and ending. It is at insight knowledge if you still only discern impermanence.

After the impermanence ends will see the permanent Nibbāna. Saṅkhata ends and asaṅkhata arises. And you see asaṅkhata Nibbāna. Without seeing impermanence and will never see Nibbāna, Therefore it is nothing to do with about the prayers.

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

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