The Power of the Dhamma

revised on 2021-03-26

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 14th March 1962

It’s like a man builds up a fire. We have to practice until defilements are dried up. By listening the dhamma talk once and not understand, continue to listen it again and again. Listening dhamma talk is worldly merit. After listening and contemplation is transcendental merit. After becoming a sotāpanna and don’t satisfy with it.

What should one has continued to do for becoming a once-returner (i.e., sakadāgāmin). Continue to practice with these 11 points (Contemplate the five khandhas) as, impermanence, suffering, disease, a tumour, a dart, misery, affliction, alien, disintegrating, empty and not self).

There is no other strange dhamma for it. A sotāpanna only abandons wrong views, doubt and wrong practices. He still has defilements for the blissful existences. This means still has birth, ageing and death. For an example, first time shaving the head hairs of a baby the coarse hairs are gone, but still has the refined hairs are intact.

So, you have to sharpen this knife (the knife of the eight path factors) again and continue to shave the refined hairs. Ven. Ānanda was already a sotāpanna when he entered among the arahants, but Ven. Mahā-Kassapa ridiculed him as a smelly ram. You all think yourselves as not smelly, but for the ariyans you are smelly. (Sayadaw continued to explain the eradication of successive kilesas).

The kilesas of the higher existence have to be eradicated with its own knowledges. Therefore, it’s clear that continue to develop their own knowledges. After becoming an arahant and not just sleeping and doing nothing. Continue to do the same practice. Arahants still continue to have the dukkha sacca of the khandha of this life.

Therefore, the khandhas are still arising and passing away, with pains and aches. Still has the bodily dukkha, but not the mental dukkha. The physical body pains, but no mental pains. So, he is thinking as I must incline towards the freedom of dukkha. And he makes his mind inclines towards the freedom of dukkha which is no connection with the khandhas.

By doing the same practice only can enter the fruition state. No connection with the khandhas is freedom from the burdened khandhas. (For this point sayadaw explained the famous saying of the Ven. Sāriputta on the Burdened Khandhas).

Here is to start again from impermanence, but no Path Knowledge arises. (Each Path Knowledge arises only with each realization). And then it turns towards Nibbānic element. Without the arising of Path and Fruition Knowledges (as in the moments of realization) and it is seeing Nibbāna.

After seeing impermanence comes fruition knowledge (This is not the fruition knowledge arises after the Path Knowledge). After that it is inclining towards Nibbānic element. With these fruition knowledges and the mind is staying with Nibbāna for a long time. If looking at the body it’s clear and light with healthy form (rūpa).

Therefore, arahant to arahant asking to each other after they emerged from the fruition state, by seeing their bright clear complexion. These forms are free from kilesas and no connection with them. Even the Buddha asked his monks in this way. Just think about it, the heart without the form of lobha, dosa and moha and instead with the form of fruition mind.

These are the supramundane form. The cause is pure and the result is pure. We can saw this in the attainment of cessation (nirodha samāpatti). By giving dāna to an arahant after came out from this attainment gave the result instantly. These attainments were using for the staying away from the burdened khandha and helping other. For example, Ven. Mahākassapa was helping the poor.

(Told the story of Sakka, king of the Tāvatiṃsa Heaven deceived him as a poor old man for the benefit). Connection with defilements is the form and mind of painful existences. When someone becomes very angry the form are very coarse. (In a documentary film of a crown prince with his facial appearance before the assassination of his royal family was quite shocking).

Even before death people faces have their predictions (In a documentary film in China, a middle aged wealthy and good looking woman died with cancer in the hospital looked like a ghost). Only leading by wholesome dhammas and life becomes bright. In the worldly matters also have to search wealth, happiness and prosperity with wholesome dhammas, and not with greed. One of the attributes of the ariya saṅgha is like a fertile soil for good merits.

Even ariyas are different from the sotāpanna to arahant; their qualities for making merits are like the different qualities of soil for the crops. Like the different qualities of the crops grow from a bad soil and good soil. At any place giving people troubles are coming from kilesa. This is making you in stress and strain. Whoever welcomes it has disadvantages.

It rejects everything which is good. It hinders the Path and Fruition Knowledges and reduces your advantage. Staying away farther and farther from kilesa is more and more beneficial. But you all don’t know in this way. By sīla we get the human khandhas. Wholesome dhammas are feeding and looking after us. But we think it as taṇhā done it for us.

Every of us are not clear between the main and the secondary causes. You may reach the goal by knowing the main cause only. Everything of goodness comes from the base of practice (i.e., need to always develop the practice of wholesome and ariya dhamma in our daily life).

Note: This talk on the power of Dhamma is very good for reflection. It is food for thought and the heart. Sayadawji’s had penetrative wisdom which was very rare in Dhamma teachers. Here I gave an example of the angry person (a crown prince) and his very coarse facial form (rūpa) in the documentary film. He could not fulfill his kāmataṇhā for a woman and killed his royal family members. His face became red with anger and hatred like a fearful spirit (yakkha).

Even before death, people have their predictions on their faces. Here I gave the example of a middle-aged woman Miss Chen who facial expression was frightened with fear at the moment of death. Her eyes were opened with a twisted lip, and it seemed her eyes were looking at somewhere. Her whole complexion was an ashen gray color. At the time of death, she was only 41 and a beautiful woman with a husband and no children. They were rich and leaving behind a very big house. Her husband also did not dare to stay there, because he knew that her wife became a ghost after death. This is also kāmataṇhā clinging to wealth and property. The crown prince’s situation was worse than her, because his action was matricide and patricide. The result of it was after death fell to the great hell (mahā-avici) as a hell-being.

Without the education or knowledge of Buddha-Dhamma, human beings will do many foolish and useless things, and the result will be very painful. Even Buddha-Dhamma cannot be called as religion because it never teaches about the creator or outside power. It is on human or mind centered teachings. Without the Buddha we never understand on humans and the mind. Although the Earth is not the center of our solar system, as living beings (31 realms of existence), the human plane is the center of them. From Earth humans create all kinds of action (mental, verbal or bodily) and taking rebirths everywhere. Therefore, humans should not misuse their rare births as humans. If not as the Buddha warned us our permanent and frequent homes were hells, animal realm and ghost realm.

revised on 2021-03-26; cited from (posted on 2019-02-13)

  • Content of Part 8 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。