Importance of Feeling


revised on 2019-09-12


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 25th November 1961

In the Vedanāsaṃyutta, the monks asked the Buddha; “We want to know the differences between how the worldling (puthujjana) and noble person (ariya) react to feeling.” If you contemplate feeling and mind also are included together (sahajatā).

In the worldling, if the unpleasant feeling (dukkha vedanā) of pain and aches arise and follow with displeasure (domanassa vedanā). This is normal. Domanassa is mind of anger.

For example, with the mosquito bites and it becomes itchy. And then you slap the mosquito. A worldling hits by an arrow has suffered twice. It means internal and external sufferings. It is not only that much. Also he follows with desire (taṇhā) for the unpleasant feeling to go away.

In this way the worldling doesn’t know the impermanence of unpleasant, displeasure and joy feelings (dukkha, domanassa and somanassa vedanā). The unknowing latent disposition of ignorance (avijjānusaya) is latent in the mind. Therefore for a worldling unpleasant feeling arising is terrible for him.

Most people are taking this as normal. A person without any knowledge is following with all the three latent defilements (i.e., lobha, dosa and moha). According to the D. A. process, it follows in the beginning, middle and the end (see twelve links).

The D. A. process continues. Bitten by a mosquito, three of the D. A. processes arise. Mosquito bites me but I can’t do anything for it. It means you want to go to the plane of misery. Is it good with a mosquito biting and going there? Those who has no experience without a mosquito bite is very rare indeed.

(Some teachers observed their yogis who could stay in the fruition states didn’t see mosquitoes bite them. But instead normal yogis were bitten by mosquitoes. Kilesa smells attract mosquitoes).

The Buddha mentioned that after about 100,000 people's death, there was not one of them born in the blissful existences (sugatis). This was not an exaggeration (You can check your mind with the D. A. process and will know it). A lot of people don’t know what’s happening.

So don’t perform the transferring of merits for the dead person. It’s only just for a show. D. A. process will drag him down there. People without knowledge have to be followed this path.

(In the great religions of the world, Buddhists are small group. Again very few Buddhists know these things. Therefore it will be very frightening for wandering in the rounds of existence).

Samāhito yathābhūtaṁ pajānāti. Understand it as it really is with Samādhi. No Samādhi and paññā, you don’t know it. It’s very clear that without understanding of feeling it becomes quite difficult. Even I have to teach you how to deal with mosquito bite? The mosquito comes and disturbs you or you go to the plane of misery (apāya).

Without the knowledge and you take it as a disturbance. It happens here and has to solve the matter here. Don’t get up and run away. Die with greed (lobha) become hungry ghosts (peta). Die with delusion (moha) become animals. Die with anger (dosa) become hell beings (These are generally happening to living beings when they die).

Therefore knowledge is very important. So, vipassanā has to be done later (i.e. after the learning knowledge). Only by knowing it, you can practice properly (i.e., ñāta-pariññā). For a noble being (ariya), when a feeling strikes him and he strikes it back (i.e., feeling arises and he contemplates its impermanence).

Those three kinds of D. A. process can’t follow behind you if you become the disciple of the ariyas. Only you contemplate impermanence, it'll become vipassanā if you are patient with painful feeling and only in the stage of sīla.

You have to be patient with it or contemplate impermanence. If you can contemplate feeling and just contemplate feeling. If you can’t overcome it and the desire arises for it to go away. Then you contemplate the desire (taṇhā). With knowledge three types of latent defilement cease.

By doing the job of sutavā ariya sāvaka (a learned disciple of noble beings) one will become ariya. The process is: from worldling (puthujjana) to → disciple of ariya (ariya sāvako) to → ariya (noble being). With the contemplation of feeling is also connection with mind and form (i.e., physical sensation — kayika vedanā, bodily consciousness — kāya viññā and bodily sensitivity — kāyapasada).

Contemplation of impermanence is also dhamma-nupassanā. Feelings arise by conditions and saṅkhata dhamma. Therefore it ends up with anicca. The Buddha also said that feeling was like a bubble. Feeling is paṭicca-samuppanna dhamma — resultant phenomena and vaya dhamma — vanishing phenomena.

So it must become the assemblage of dukkha — Dukkhakhandhassa dhamma. Therefore, it also can be contemplated as truth of dukkha (dukkha sacca).

Today I am teaching feeling and mind together. Why the Buddha taught them separately in four groups? (i.e. the four Satipaṭṭhāna). It's because of human characters. A person with strong taṇhā and contemplates feeling has the quick result. In the end whatever you are contemplating, converging at samudaya and vaya-arising and vanishing.

Therefore the Buddha in the Saṃyutta Nikāya divided insight contemplation into three stages. ① Satipaṭṭhāna ② Satipaṭṭhānabhavana ③ The end of Satipaṭṭhānabhavana. Knowing the arising is satipaṭṭhāna. Seeing the arising and vanishing become Satipaṭṭhānabhavana. The ending of bhavana is — it comes to the end after the Path Knowledge arises by not wanting of the impermanence.

In sati sampajañña — mindfulness and clear comprehension, sampajañña comes later. In the satipaṭṭhāna sutta, the Buddha taught that when feeling arises just know its arising. There is not impermanence included, so identity view did not fall away.

(Therefore he continued to talk about samudaya and vaya (anicca) to strip off Sakkāya diṭṭhi.) There is nothing of me and mine exist. It is only the existing of impermanent phenomena. After that it develops into truth (sacca). Then contemplate it as dukkha sacca. It’s bhāvetabba — have to contemplate for many times. This refers to mundane knowledge (lokiya magga).

Real knowledge arises is satipaṭṭhāna bhavana. Sati steps back and led by paññā in the series of bhavana. There are three stages of development of satipaṭṭhāna at what I have taught today: worldling → ariya sāvaka → ariya. All of these teachings are according to the Saṁyutta Nikāya.


revised on 2019-09-12; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4091&p=35845#p35845 (posted on 2019-01-18)


  • 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.