Cessation of the Taints


revised on 2019-11-05


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 19th September 1962

The ending of the taints − āsava is the ending of its causes. If you ask the result, it’s the realization of Nibbāna. There are two kinds of realization (e.g., an arahant still alive and after passing away). In the Saṃyutta Nikāya, the Buddha taught how to end āsava.

These kilesa dhammas are floating and sinking down living beings from the highest plane − the realm of neither perception nor non-perception − nevasaññā — nāsaññāyatanabhūmi to the lowest plane — the Great Hell is called taints − āsava.

Condense them and these are greed, hatred, and delusion — lobha, dosa, and moha dhammas. Condense the four and become 2, lobha and moha dhammas. Taints of sensuality (kāmāsava) and taints of becoming (bhavāsava) are greed (lobha).

Taints of wrong views (diṭṭhāsava) and taints of ignorance (avijjāsava) are delusion (moha). Human and celestial planes are kāmāsava. The fine material-sphere planes (rūpāvacarabhūmi) and immaterial-sphere planes (arūpāvacarabhūmi) are bhavāsava, and the four woeful planes (apāyabhūmi) are diṭṭhāsava.

Floating and sinking up and down, all the living beings in different realms is avijjāsava. If there are taints, their ending also exists. What kinds of person end āsava? Jhānato- passato -āsavakhayam-vaddami — the person with contemplation sees taints come to an end.

If you can discern with contemplation, taints will come to an end. Separate the five khandhas into four satipaṭṭhāna and contemplate one of them can fulfill the satipaṭṭhāna practice. If you know whatever phenomenon is arising and has the two processes of rise and fall, taints will end.

For example, greed arises and then vanishes. All the other dhammas are also the same. So don’t name it as greed, etc., instead take it as arising and vanishing dhamma. All are arising and vanishing phenomena. If you see these ignorance becomes knowledge (avijjā → vijjā).

Taṇhā (craving) not arises and kāmāsava, bhavāsava, and diṭṭhāsava cease. Craving, clinging, and action cease without arising. Therefore, there are two kinds of cessation: cessation by discerning and without arising. The four āsavas cease by discerning impermanence. You all are praying for the ending of āsavas.

But with no practice and only having desires. The Buddha taught the ending by contemplation. And then he said that the ending of dukkha — peaceful Nibbāna couldn’t be realized with relaxed effort but with only full effort.

Therefore, you have to make full effort. The goal of knowledge must work with knowledge. That’s only realized Nibbāna. With only dāna, sīla, and samādhi can’t get it. These are only support for it.

(Sayadaw gave the simile of a hen and some eggs from the sutta to explain on the realization of Nibbāna with practice and not by prayers. He told the duties of the hen). For this point, the Buddha gave the simile of a hen and eggs. With the contemplation of impermanence, kilesa becomes thinner.

It was like the hen sat on the eggs very often and dried up the liquid of kilesa inside it. And also the avijjā shells were becoming thinner. The darkness of avijjā disappears and the light of vijjā appears. Practice with the three jobs of anicca, dukkha and anatta, contemplate it over and over, and the shell of ignorance will thin out.

And then taṇhā liquid will dry out. And will see the Nibbāna light element. These are the result of the contemplation of impermanence. Except this job and there is no other refuge. Shell of ignorance and taṇhā liquid cover up the knowledge (ñāṇa).

Therefore, knowledge can’t sharp. Without the contemplation, every day taṇhā liquid cover up thicker and thicker. (If the mind has smell like the body, it may be very unbearable). With the contemplation, it becomes vijjā udapādi — knowledge arises.

Human beings are every day covered up with ignorance and craving, and their minds are over-polluted. (Medias and environmental problems support this point). Therefore, not become aloko udapādi — light can’t arise. The function of knowledge is bhāvetabba — continuous contemplation and development.

It happens only by development, not by praying or prayers. (Later Buddhists do a lot of prayers to get outside powers). Even wanting to be born in the brahma worlds has to practice. So no need to mention about Nibbāna with prayers. You can ask how long have to contemplate.

With example, wise people can know it. The Buddha gave the simile of an adze. Your duties are not separating from impermanence with the knowledge. (i.e., anicca/magga) Magga is vijjā. Therefore, knowledge is doing the job of trimming out ignorance. Here nothing to do with the perfection (pāramī).

If you use the handle of an adze to strike things a lot, the handle will be eroded. Seeing impermanence a lot, avijjā and taṇhā become thinner and āsava will come to an end. With the less contemplation, kilesa come in between the practice. And then avijjā and taṇhā are becoming thicker.


revised on 2019-11-05; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4202&p=35988#p35988 (posted on 2019-02-20)


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