The Last Teaching of the Buddha

revised on 2021-03-15

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 3rd November 1961

According to the Buddha, the best way of worshipping to him was with Dhamma. It was not reciting Dhamma. By practicing Dhamma and the ending of dukkha was the realization of Nibbāna. This was the greatest worship. It’s also the same to a teacher.

I am teaching to you with saṅkhāra dhamma. And you are also listening to me with saṅkhāra dhamma. (Sayadaw was using the last words of the Buddha to teach vipassanā). This physical body exists by kamma, mind, temperature and foods. It’s conditioned, so end up in ageing, sickness and death. This is referring to the relative truth (sammuti sacca).

According to the ultimate reality, now in the khandha, dhammas are arising by conditions and seeing their impermanences. These are seeing with the five path factors. Vaya-dhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādetha — Saṅkhāra dhamma are have the nature of vanishing. Don’t be forgetful!

After the Buddha had passed away, the following verses were recited by Sakka (King of the Tāvatiṃsa Heaven): Anicca vata saṅkhāra uppāda-vaya-dhammino; Uppajjitvā nirujjhanti, Tesaṁ vūpassamo sukho — Saṅkhāra dhamma are impermanent. The ending of them is Nibbāna.

(In most of his talks, Sayadaw never translated the Pali, word by word. He took the main points for teaching. Here Sayadaw made a very important point of the last day of the Buddha. The Buddha reminded the monks on practice and Sakka pointed out the end of the practice, i.e., Nibbāna).

Sakka was already a sotāpanna. So, he talked about followed to the end of the saṅkhāra dhamma. But most of you, after a person dies and say it’s saṅkhāra dhamma. So, it’s unstable and use it for reflection on death (maraṇānussati).

[This point is true in Thai tradition. Thai monks always chant these verses in funerals.]

The right place to use is in one’s own khandha. You have to use it for yourself when still alive. It is not for after death. At the end of saṅkhāra is Nibbāna exists (He explained the saṅkhāra dhamma had the nature of vanishing. By clapping two hands and sound arose and vanished.) In a being whole life and the whole of saṁsāra was with conditioning and vanishing.

We are going like this without beginning and ending. In your daily life just searching and eating, searching and eating etc. and it will never end for the whole life. (It’s very important not to forget the true nature of dukkha; i.e., oppressive, conditioning, burning and changing. Need to reflect them very often with our own experiences in life. Then we can easily to let go of attachment.)

It becomes clearer by explaining with the D. A. process. It’s not killing the past ignorance and volitional formation. But to kill what is arising in the present of ignorance and volitional formation which are arising by causes. Because of ignorance and volitional formation the five khandhas of dukkha sacca are arising all the times.

A person contemplates impermanence is doing the work of abandoning avijjā and saṅkhāra. From ignorance and it becomes knowledge. Only ignorance arises that volitional formation comes into being. Vijjā (knowledge) is the contemplative right view of the path factor.

The Buddha said not to be forgetful was reminding us to do vipassanā. Asking you for the practice is to make avijjā and saṅkhāra cease. Only with practice and reach our goals. When the path knowledge is reaching to the khandha and taṇhā also ceases. Without practice is except developing dukkha and no other thing.

If you really look at this khandha, it does neither include any personal being nor an affectionate thing in it. You will only find out the arising and passing away of phenomena. Therefore the ending of impermanence is true happiness.

The reason I am asking you; “Do you see the ending of impermanence?” This is asking you of seeing Nibbāna or not. Don’t ask me what Nibbāna is. It means doesn’t has this khandha. This khandha is dukkha sacca. Therefore you know it as doesn’t has one’s dukkha.

That’s the real happiness. Are you satisfied with Nibbāna existing at the end of impermanence? The Buddha and I myself taught you to see impermanence, its disenchantment and its ending (i.e., Yathābhūta, NIbbida and Magga Ñāṇas). Dukkha covers up the process that can’t see Nirodha.

Consume the five khandhas with the five maggaṅga (path factors). After it becomes the eight path factors and the consuming process is finished. At this place Nibbāna arises. You can’t see head, body, hands and feet. The two armed length body does not exist. At the place of two armed length body Nibbāna appears. Therefore dukkha sacca khandha covers up Nibbāna.

Even a person can’t see impermanence is covering up with ignorance (i.e., ignorance or kilesa covers up impermanence or dukkha. Again dukkha covers up Nibbāna). Therefore wanting to become a sotāpanna it needs a teacher. I am giving you the way of removing ignorance. By listening the dhamma and know the way of uncovering. This duty is the teacher’s duty.

To remove dukkha is your duty (i.e., following to the end of the process). Nibbāna is connecting with the five khandhas (i.e., close to the khandha).

The five khandha disappear and Nibbāna appears. Condense the whole teaching; the Buddha asked for practice to develop insight knowledge (i.e., the last verses of the Buddha). Sakka urged the yogis following it to the ending (i.e., Path knowledge). If you combine the verses of the Buddha and Sakka, they were only vipassanā knowledge and the Path knowledge.

revised on 2021-03-15; cited from (posted on 2019-01-14)

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