revised on 2019-10-02
Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 21st April 1962
[There are two causes for yogis not realize Nibbāna. 1. Not following the practice to the end. 2. Association with bad companions. These yogis are sure for enlightenment because they have the potentiality for it. But the above two factors spoil their realization.
In the Kandaraka Sutta, Majjhima Nikāya (MN.51 Kandarakasuttaṃ), the Buddha taught Pessa, the elephant driver’s son on the four kinds of person found in the world. 1. Doing things torments and tortures oneself. 2. Doing things torments and tortures others. 3. Doing things torments and torture oneself and others. 4. The one who torments neither but lives a truly holy life.
What are these things? 1. Someone has lobha, dosa and moha and doing things affect oneself and nothing to do with others, for example, extreme ascetism. 2. Wrong livelihood — micchā ajiva, such as fishing, animal farming, stealing, robbering, etc. 3. Sacrifice of animals for spirits. 4. Satipaṭṭhāna practice. After giving this talk in gist and the Buddha asked Pessa’s opinion on it. He gave answer for the 4th.
And the Buddha began to explain in details for them. But as that time someone came and informed him on business. He got up and left the place. After he left the Buddha said to the other listeners that Pessa was in great loss. Because if he continued to listen the talk and in the end would enter the stream (Will become a sotāpanna).
(Here was quite an interesting point to contemplate. The Buddha had great compassion for living beings and why he didn’t stop Pessa to get up and let him continued to listen his talk. Pessa had the potentiality for enlightenment if he continued to listen, may be his mind couldn’t concentrate in the talk.
So the Buddha couldn’t do anything about it. Some Buddhists are making vows to encounter outside powers for their enlightenment. But, the sure thing for enlightenment is to rely on one’s own power because Buddha and arahants are only showing the way).
In Pali, it was kāriya parihani — declining in actions which should have to be done. For the second cause of association with bad compassion and destroy one’s own potentiality of enlightenment was King Ajātasattu. He killed his father King Bimbisara because of Devadatta’s advice.
Sayadaw taught how to practice vipassanā. The yogi must know three points: 1. Anicca — impermanence, 2. Anicca lakkhaṇa — characteristic of impermanent, 3. Anicca lakkhaṇa ñāṇa— the knowledge of the characteristic of impermanent. He said, during watching with sati and whatever arises know it as anicca. ]
The Buddha taught sabbe saṅkhāra anicca: 1. Therefore, whatever dhamma arises is anicca. 2. After arising and passing away and not existing is anicca lakkhaṇa 3. After anicca and ñāṇa can follow behind is anicca lakkhaṇa ñāṇa. Anicca and ñāṇa can’t happen at the same time. Ñāṇa can’t parallel with anicca. Ñāṇa must parallel with lakkhaṇa. Practitioner has to catch on lakkhaṇa with observing.
Only lakkhaṇa and ñāṇa can be in parallel. Dhamma (The arising dhamma) shows its lakkhaṇa and ñāṇa knows it. Only the arising dhamma not exists and ñāṇa can come in. If the lakkhaṇa and ñāṇa (the knowing) are in parallel, and to become a stream enterer is easy.
Only the contemplative object not exists is its lakkhaṇa. The differences between anicca and lakkhaṇa are become clear. Anicca lakkhaṇa means without the khandha is its characteristic. Asking you contemplate the not existing lakkhaṇa. But it’s not asking you to contemplate not existed thing which is abhava paññatti (a thing not really exists, only exists as a concept).
Asking you to contemplate lakkhaṇa is concept or ultimate reality? If you contemplate the concept can’t see Nibbāna. Asking you to contemplate from the existence to non-existence is not concept. For example, in contemplation of the mind, contemplative knowledge (ñāṇa) is aggregate of mental formation (saṅkhārakkhandha). Two khandhas can’t in parallel.
Only viññāṇakkhandha disappears and saṅkhārakkhana can come in. Two minds can’t in parallel that you can’t see the lakkhaṇa at the same time. You can follow after with ñāṇa and this is the lakkhaṇa of not existing. You can’t catch the anicca but only the lakkhaṇa. (The arising phenomenon is anicca, and after disappearing is lakkhaṇa).
What are the benefits of lakkhaṇa? It abandons khandha and taṇhā. In front no khandha exists and behind taṇhā can’t come in. No khandha and taṇhā is Nibbāna. Therefore discerning anicca is like a momentary Nibbāna. Khandha extinction is Nibbāna. Abandon taṇhā also Nibbāna. Therefore, during the time of seeing impermanence is getting momentary Nibbāna.
(So, what are the differences between momentary and permanent Nibbāna?) (These are the explanations from the Saṃyutta Nikāya Commentary. You have to continue the contemplation. At the time of khandhas are ended, abandon khandha and taṇhā and experience Nibbāna.
You will experience Nibbāna Element clearly if all the khandhas are ended. This is path knowledge. Lokiya vipassanā magga and lokuttara magga are different in this way (i.e., mundane insight knowledge and supramundane Path Knowledge).
In this life, even people have the potentiality to get the path and fruition knowledges; by not following the dhamma to the end, and association with bad friends, with these two reasons can’t realize the Dhamma.
(Sayadaw told the stories of Pessa and King Ajātasattu, referred to these two points. The Buddha discussed four kinds of persons found in the world to Pessa the elephant driver’s son and Kandaraka the wanderer) Doing things torment and torture oneself. It's dissatisfied with oneself with lobha, dosa and moha. It’s nothing to do with others about wasting time by doing unsatisfactory practices.
Give you an example, the Hindu practices of diving in the river, sitting near fire, etc. (extreme asceticism) by tormenting and torturing oneself. At first, the Buddha told it in gist and wanted to comment in detail. But at that time someone came and informed Pessa on his home business.
How anicca appears in knowledge (ñāṇa)? Watching and observing the khandha and it arises as a blip. Note the arising dhamma as anicca because the five khandhas are anicca. What is anicca lakkhaṇa? Does the arising dhamma disappears and still exists? After disappears and not exists is anicca lakkhaṇa. The not existed nature is anicca lakkhaṇa. The arising dhamma is anicca but not shows its lakkhaṇa yet. After the disappearance and its lakkhaṇa appears.
Therefore, knowledge can’t parallel with anicca. It only can parallel with lakkhaṇa. Anicca lakkhaṇa means not the dhamma still exists, but not exists. Refer to the object of contemplation not exist anymore is anicca lakkhaṇa. If you contemplate totally non-existing things are not anicca lakkhaṇa. To contemplate from the existing thing is anicca lakkhaṇa. Concept is totally not existing dhamma.
For example, contemplation on mind, the arising is viññāṇakkhandha and the contemplative mind is saṅkhārakkhandha. Two khandhas can’t be in parallel. If you contemplate the existence, ñāṇa can’t follow behind. Therefore, the existence is anicca, vanishing is lakkhaṇa and knowing is ñāṇa. You cannot catch on anicca but only on lakkhaṇa. The contemplative knowledge extinguishes khandha and taṇhā.
The root is still not cutting off yet. But you get the momentary Nibbāna. It’s abandoning khandha and taṇhā. You are getting the forerunner of Nibbāna. Therefore, insight knowledge has great benefits. The path knowledge abandons khandha and taṇhā and at the same time seeing Nibbāna.
revised on 2019-10-02; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4192&p=35941#p35941 (posted on 2019-02-14)
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