The Three Knowledges in the Suttas

revised on 2019-09-12

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 15th December 1961

Your body is conditioned aggregate (saṅkhāra khandha). And after the conditions (saṅkhāra) finish and it ceases. Before they finish we can listen talks, eating, selling and buying. We can die because of kamma. If not conditioning by temperature (utu), or not connecting with it or it finishes will also die.

One also will die when next mind does not arise after this mind moment. One must die if one of these four nutriments — kamma (past kamma), mind (citta), temperature (utu) and foods (āhāra), ceases. Before death they are supporting for it. Do you have the chance for relaxing? If foods not produce the food elements also die.

So we must eat foods and we will die if the group of form (rūpa kalāpa) do not develop. It’s like the simile of a wooden doll (a puppet) with the four strings. It will perish if one of them going wrong. Can you say the body is your own and belongs to you? It’s conditioned body. It suffers according to their conditioning. From the side of the mind phenomena, they arise by sense objects and sense doors.

Therefore mind and body are conditioned aggregates (saṅkhāra khandha) and will end up with impermanence. So we had never been had a stable life. If can’t get out from conditions and we are just ready for death. By coming out from them will arrive to unconditioned Nibbāna. Have to contemplate a lot of the impermanence of conditioned phenomena (saṅkhāra anicca).

Arising is saṅkhāra and vanishing is anicca. One’s own khandha is these two. You are conditioning and vanishing. If you discern this and get the knowledge of as it really is (yathābhūta ñāṇa). Have to continue to contemplate its disenchantment. Seeing a lot of impermanence become disenchantment. For example, if a mother every time gives birth and the baby dies.

Does she have any desire for giving birth again? Yathābhūta ñāṇa becomes mature and develops to the knowledge of disenchantment. In the beginning, it needs to discern saṅkhāra and anicca in the body. In the body it doesn’t have anyone of the hand, feet, hair, etc., but only has impermanence. You get the yathābhūta ñāṇa if you know this. It is developing into the knowledge of disenchantment at the time when you don’t want to see impermanence (The mind becomes disenchanted with the process by contemplation a lot of anicca such as you become disenchanted with it if you eat lemons continuously. Khandas are always anicca, only the mind changed.).

If you develop to this point and I want to remind you beware for one thing. Your mind doesn’t want to continue the practice. Don’t get up and go away. Also don’t move from your place. Continue to contemplate with patience. Let the knowledge develop to until not wanting it.

If you contemplate patiently on disenchantment and it develops into the knowledge of not wanting it. Surely it will develop (It’s a natural process). The knowledge of not wanting is Path Knowledge. In anywhere of the Pali suttas the Buddha described the development with these three knowledges.

If you discern impermanence both of your eyes are gaining light. Your craziness and blindness is gone. Craving reduces with the becoming of disenchantment. The knowledge of not wanting will come if you become more and more disenchanted. At that time impermanences disappear.

That is dukkha sacca disappearing, because impermanence itself is dukkha sacca. Dukkha nirodho nibbānaṁ — with the ending of impermanence of dukkha and Nibbāna arises. Contemplate anyone of them you prefer (i.e., one of the four Satipaṭṭhāna). The mind ends if the form (rūpa) ends. The form ends if the mind ends. (They are arising together and vanishing together). At the time of seeing the ending, there rises up to the three knowledges of Path, Fruit and Reviewing Knowledges (Magga, Phala and Paccavekkhana Ñāṇas) respectively.

(continued the Mahā-parinibbāna Sutta) At the Nādikā Village, Ven. Ānanda asked the Buddha where about some of the lay disciples’ destinations after passing away (This was on the subject of Dhamma Mirror). A person knows him himself as never being going to fall into hells again, and also never becoming again as animals and hungry ghosts after entering the stream; he do know it that he is free from the dangers of uncertainty. (This is one of the terrible and frightening situations of the dangers of uncertainty).

A person whose dukkha has ceased knows himself. A very strong respect and veneration of mind arises to the Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha. With moral precepts (sīla), taking the life of beings and stealing things never arise. Wanting to take intoxicants never arise. It happens naturally. A person realizes the Path Knowledge knows it by himself. These are the mirror of the Dhammas, so knowing by oneself.

These are the check lists of a sotāpanna:

① Will never fall into the 4 planes of misery
② Unshakable faith and respect to the Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha
③ Stable in the 5 precepts (pañca sīla) in his whole life. Will never break it by knowingly.
④ By taking birth can never be born in these six places. (The four planes of misery; the place where the Buddha’s teaching can’t reach, born into a family with wrong views).

After becoming a sotāpanna what should one have to do? Don’t worry, when the time comes, it will continue. It will be encouraged by the already gained Path and Fruit Knowledges. Only this Path Knowledge is important (i.e., sotāpatti magga). The higher levels of Path Knowledges are not important. Where are you going after death if you don’t get this Path Knowledge yet? You have to practice for making the sure decision of that I will never fall into the planes of misery if I die.

revised on 2019-09-12; cited from (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.

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。