Why Become Living Beings?

revised on 2019-12-02

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 9th October 1962

It need to ask the question; “Why become human and heavenly beings.” If living beings exist, ageing, sickness and death exist. If living beings don’t exist, ageing, sickness and death don’t exist. Craving to sense objects (ārammaṇa) and become living beings. Become living beings and ageing, sickness and death arise.

Therefore, the beginning of living beings is not knowing (avijjā) and craving (taṇhā). The culprits constructing living beings are ignorance and craving. With the causes of avijjā and taṇhā, the result of living beings comes into existence. (Continued to talk the story of Ven. Rādha)

Ven. Rādha asked the Buddha, “Why is it called living beings?” The Buddha answered, “Craving to all the five khandhas is called living being.” After getting the five khandhas, craving arises. And then do the causes for the five khandhas again. In this way the machine of samudaya and dukkha is turning on and on. If you are taking off the craving, living being will disappear. Therefore, the Buddha taught vipassanā dhamma.

The Buddha asked Ven. Rādha to discern the impermanence of each of the five khandhas. Arising and passing away is dukkha sacca. Knowing it is magga sacca. In this way taṇhā in sec ③ is cut off. The nature of the khandha is always disintegrating and perishing. Seeing of this is the view of the path factors — right view. If not seeing it, then samudaya and dukkha are revolving.

A grown-up person is more foolish than a child because man and woman can’t throw things away. A child attaches to his or her things only in short time. Craving on whatever seeing is called living being, i.e., on oneself, others, and possessions; and after, born attached to any place (i.e., round of existence)

Avijjā and taṇhā are like the axle of a wheel cart. Khandha is the body of the cart. It’s like the cart is moving around with the turning of the axle. Therefore, you can’t move what you like. You arrive to human world, heavenly world, etc. Wherever arriving at, it will end up with ageing, sickness and death. Both of them are in the khandha and beings are suffered according to their arrangements. Don’t know how to break the axle of the taints (āsavas) that living beings are in random situations.

There are four āsavas: ① attachment to wife, children, home and possessions is kāmāsava — taint of sensuality. ② Taking pleasure in this and that worlds (round of existence) is bhavāsava — taint of becoming. ③ Attachment to one’s own view is diṭṭhāsava — taint of view. ④ Without knowing the four Noble Truths and wasting time is avijjāsava — taint of ignorance.

When the four wheels are moving and the body of the cart has to move with them. Kāmāsava sends beings to sensual world. And diṭṭhāsava sends being to woeful planes. Avijjāsava sends beings to 31 realms of existences. Condensing the four āsavas; ① + ② + ③ are taṇhā and ④ is avijjā (continued to talk about the contemplation of the mind).

Every time mind arises, have to contemplate and discern dukkha sacca. And have to contemplate and discern impermanence. If seeing impermanence, avijjā becomes vijjā and the axle of avijjā is broken. Without taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma does not arise. The three axles − ①, ② and ③ are also broken. So only by knowing the truth, āsavas will end.

Dukkha sacca is not my teaching. It was in the Pali Text. In the khandha, only arising dukkha and vanishing dukkha exist. Therefore, it doesn’t mix with any happiness (sukka) at all. Know dukkha sacca thoroughly and samudaya ceases. Also let nirodha sacca arises. So contemplate to know arising dukkha and vanishing dukkha thoroughly.

revised on 2019-12-02; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4202&p=35999#p35999 (posted on 2019-02-21)

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