Dāna and the Ending of Dukkha

revised on 2021-03-15

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 22nd November 1961

[This was a dhamma talk at the ceremony of Kaṭhina Robes offering]

Offering with the desire for the becoming of human being or heavenly being is for the cause of dukkha (Samudaya Sacca). Even becoming the blissful khandha, it is still the truth of dukkha. (Dukkha Sacca). With the giving (dāna) still get lost in dukkha. The truth has to be based on the khandha for becoming the knowledge of seeing.

During the giving we have to enrich with insight. Wanting to be free from the direct experience of dukkha and make the offering must contemplate the khandha in this way. The precepts (5 here) have been established already.

No contemplation of the khandha and just giving is an ordinary dāna. It is not the best dāna. With much capital (investment) and get little profit we should not do this business. (The donors were business people). Let contemplate on the khandha for five minutes.

(Sayadaw was quite different from other teachers. If anyone wanted to perform a big dāna, such as building a sālā, dwellings, etc., Sayadaw asked them to practice vipassanā for some times before the offering; and with the offering ceremony transformed into a vi-vaṭṭa dāna — Dānas transcend the round of existence).

Do you see the impermanence of dukkha sacca? Without the path factor of samādhi you can’t see it. And also without the path factor of wisdom (paññā) you can’t see it. Now, you already completed with samādhi and paññā. (Sayadaw asked the disciples to follow him as he recited the Pali and translation for the vipassanā dāna offering. Before the water pouring ceremony, he asked disciples to observe the khandha at the same time by listening to the talk; if the hindrances come in, also observe them.)

(Sayadaw talked about the beginning of human being, starting from the combination of sperm and ovum, with them together were nāma (mind) dhamma.) You should offer things with the desire of ajāti Nibbāna ("no rebirth" Nibbāna) and with the fear of birth. It is for vi-vaṭṭa dāna, so it's not the main point for which kinds of things to offer. It is important to have a noble mind.

(And then continue to talk about old age and sickness.) From the past life with ignorance, volitional formation conditioned this present life, starting from birth to ageing, sickness and death. Now, I am not talking about apuññabhisaṅkhāra yet (demeritorious deed). Even puññabhisaṅkhāra is very bad indeed (meritorious deed).

The situation in sickness is taking off the good clothes (when people are oppressing by sickness and disease, they can’t wear any good clothes). It’s also in the state of hunger. (Because can’t eat good foods or no desire to eat). The state in sickness is disgusting by others (Because the disease has bad or disgusting smell)

Are these things given to you by others? Or you make it for yourself (by kamma and prayer)!? Ignorance → volitional formation → rebirth consciousness. These situations are known by others and it becomes a shame and without any benefit. Those who lives with a bad life till death will have a bad dying. The sick person sees hell and other bad destinations and in crying at dying.

This offering is for fear of dukkha sacca and it becomes offer with knowledge. Let us do the water pouring ceremony. Our job is already completed even we don’t do this. We do this just for sharing the merit with others. We are afraid and disenchanted of ageing, sickness and death of the saṁsāra and perform this offering.

You also should have the three qualities from your side: you must have strong volition (cetanā) before, during and after the offering. From the side of the monks, we should receive these offerings with the spirit of practicing to be free from lust, hatred and delusion. The results are unspeakable if it’s in accordance with these six points. Offering without any clinging to personality, then it frees from wrong view. This is the kaṭhina ceremony of killing taṇhā and diṭṭhi — so it has a lot of benefit and is leading to NIBBĀNA.

[Note on the conception of a human embryo:

The beginning of human being starts with the combination of sperm, ovum and the rebirth consciousness. We should not take it literally because some doubt about these three combine together at the same time. This is not important for a yogi but he should not take them as a soul or a self, otherwise it becomes wrong view. To understand the real picture, we can consult the information in the suttas, stories in the texts, modern stories (yogis' experiences) and medical science. We can have the right answer by research, investigation and contemplation.

In Burma, most Abhidhamma teachers who talked about rebirth started with the combination of these three together: sperm, ovum and rebirth consciousness. But story in the Pali texts were different. One of the Dhammapada Stories was about a gem-polisher. He killed his pet crane which died and conceived by his wife. It meant the sperm and ovum were combined before the crane death.

In Ajahn Mun's biography, it mentioned an old nun who sat in meditation and had the following experience. A white thread came out from her heart and went into her niece's womb. She told Ajahn Mun about this experience. He suggested her to cut off this white thread with her samādhi power next time. She did it what he said. Later she asked her niece whether she had any pregnancy before. She gave the positive answer and now it was aborted.

According to the embryology, the being in the womb starts breathing after two or over two months (I don't know the exact time). This can be counted as the rebirth consciousness arises at that time. It also make reasonable because mind and matter are changing in different rates. Mind is seventeen times faster than matter. ]

revised on 2021-03-15; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4091&p=35774#p35774 (posted on 2019-01-14)

  • Content of Part 7 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。