On Vipassanā Bhāvana

revised on 2021-03-26

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 1st to 2nd September 1961


Where does the khandha come from? It has the cause. It comes from taṇhā (craving). With an object, taṇhā (craving) can arise. It has a lot of objects. There are six types of objects (form, sound … mind objects). From the affection, craving taṇhā arises.

The most affectionate thing for oneself is our own khandhas. With affection to oneself and we get the khandhas. With the khandhas, we have ageing, sickness and death. In vipassanā contemplation, we have to contemplate our most beloved khandhas. Use the four Satipaṭṭhāna in the vipassanā contemplation.

Kaya, vedanā, citta, and dhamma all are in the khandhas. No need to contemplate all of them. I’ll show you only with the mind. With the contemplation of mind, the other three also included. I’ll talk about the contemplation. We have the identity view of my mind − sakkāya diṭṭhi.

There are more wrong views on the mind than others (khandhas). Wanting to become a sotāpanna, first contemplate the mind. This is to cut off diṭṭhi. The Buddha said we took the mind as mine. So we attach to it with wrong view and craving.

Therefore, we get the khandhas with ageing, sickness, and death. It was like an alcoholic drink mixed with poison. We didn’t know it and drank it with affection and had to die. The Buddha taught us to contemplate the mind as impermanent, suffering, not-self, disease and danger.

The Buddha taught different ways. Contemplate anicca — impermanent also fulfill the task. If you don’t contemplate and taking it as permanent, bliss, self, healthy, and safety, will have affection for it. With affection you get the khandha and encounter the dangers of ageing, sickness, and death.

How many types of mind? You have to note it down carefully because you will go back. (These lay people were new yogis and came to practice under Sayadaw’s guidance from lower Burma). There are not many minds. ① Seeing (consciousness) ② Hearing ③ Smelling ④ Tasting ⑤ On the body is unpleasant consciousness. Such as itches, pains and aches, etc. ⑥ On the body is pleasant consciousness. These are six external guest minds; arising at the external.

Internally, ① greed ② hatred ③ deluded mind ④ non-greed (want to give) ⑤ non-hatred (love, compassion). These arise at internal. So there are five internal guest minds. Amoha is non-delusion, so not including here. (This is the contemplative mind).

There are two host minds: breathing in mind and breathing out mind. Don’t take the physical air. Take the mind; wanting to breathe in and breathe out minds. This is cittānupassanā — Contemplation of minds and can’t take the air element.

Amoha — non-delusion is not only one, but has five factors: ① right view ② right thought ③ right mindfulness ④ right effort ⑤ right samādhi. These are the five path factors (maggans). If seeing, hearing, etc. arising, contemplate its impermanence. Contemplate as anicca. Contemplate whatever is arising. On the whole body, it’ll arise anywhere.

Sometimes minds of greed, anger, and restlessness arise. Whatever arising is only one. Contemplate them with the five maggans (i.e., amoha). With the contemplation, and they become maggans. That’s what it means, you get the maggans.

For example, greed arises and you observe. And then it’s not there. It’s impermanent. (Two minds can’t arise at the same moment. Greed is not there anymore when the observing mind comes in.) The contemplative mind is magga. Impermanence and magga (anicca / magga) have to be in line (one after another and not let other kilesa come in between them).

At the time of arising, contemplate it. If nothing arises, just contemplate the host minds (minds of in and out breaths). If anicca / magga are in line, the I-ness (identity view) does not come in between them. Without the contemplation of the arising dhamma, taṇhā and diṭṭhi will follow behind it. With them, you will get khandha. With the five khandhas, ageing and death follow.

It’s cutting off taṇhā, ageing, and death with the contemplation. The contemplative mind can be called amoha or right view. With the contemplation, taṇhā and diṭṭhi die away. No khandha arises when clinging with (taṇhā) and wrong view (diṭṭhi-upādāna) die away. It’s impossible not to do the practice. If you don’t have foods to eat, never mind. But you must do the practice.

Right view and right thought are vipassanā. Sati, viriya and samādhi are samatha. So it’s the contemplation with samatha and vipassanā. Knowing the arising is sati. You know it because you have samādhi. You are making effort that you know it. Therefore, it includes samatha. Knowing as these dhammas are unstable. This is paññā knows it. Sending sati and paññā towards anicca is samatha / vipassanā. Don’t establish samatha separately.

The Buddha taught three ways: ① Samatha the first and follow with vipassanā, ② vipassanā first and follow with samatha and ③ samatha and vipassanā together. Now I teach you samatha and vipassanā together. Why is that? The others are practicing separately and it takes longer time. Your life span is short.

So it is good to combine together. If knowing the every arising dhamma, samādhi knows it. If knowing the every passing away dhamma, vipassanā knows it. Therefore, with the knowing of impermanence, they are together. By seeing the arising dhamma and uccheda view dies away. By seeing the passing away dhamma, sassata view dies away. By seeing both of them, sakkāya view dies away. By seeing both of them, know that it’s not me and not mine. So identity view dies away. Three wrong views fall away. With diṭṭhi and taṇhā die and cutting off saṁsāra. This magga is cutting it off. The cessation of taṇhā and khandha is Nibbāna. The cessation of ageing and death is Nibbāna.

In the contemplation, anicca and magga have to be in line. Don’t let other dhammas come in between. Don’t let greed, hatred, etc. come in. If they come in, can’t realize Nibbāna in seven days. Without then, even practice in the morning, and can realize it in the evening. (These were mentioned in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta.) If discerning of impermanence and you have three wholesome roots (Tihetuka person), and will realize Nibbāna in this life.

There are ten kinds of kilesas (greed, hared, delusion, conceit, wrong views, doubt, sloth, restlessness, shamelessness, fearlessness of wrong doing). If you can practice anicca / magga in line, none of them can come in. Increase your effort. In this way of practice in the morning, and realize it in the evening. These were taught by the Buddha.

If you are sharp in knowledge (ñāṇa), you will make it. If it’s weak, it takes seven days. And if very weak, it takes longer. It depends on your ñāṇa. After knowing the way of practice, it’s important not let kilesa come in. Increasing your sati, samādhi, viriya, and it cannot come in. If you discern impermanence, the first stage is successful. And continue the contemplation.

Impermanence is one’s own death. After sometime, become disenchantment. With disenchantment develop to the second stage. You don’t need to ask someone about it. You all have to go back, so I’ll explain you to the end of process. Even you are disenchanting with the process and must continue with contemplation.

Even not wanting, just try to do it. And will develop to the third stage. You see them as dukkha sacca in your knowledge. This is developing to the third stage. All will disappear if you know them thoroughly as dukkha sacca. This is the knowledge of seeing Nibbāna.

The eight path factors are completed. All the saṅkhāra dhammas cease. Ñāṇa is seeing the cessation of saṅkhāra. The cessation of saṅkhāra means khandha disappears. And become a sotāpanna. After that Fruition knowledge arises. After come reviewing knowledge.

The root of wrong views disappears and no more khandhas to woeful planes. You realize the first Nibbāna. Return to the 13 objects of contemplation if you want to realize the second Nibbāna. And will see impermanence, their disenchantment and ending. The higher path knowledge is also in this way. No other special dhamma for it.


The Buddha taught two knowledges; insight knowledge (vipassanā ñāṇa) and Path Knowledge (magga ñāṇa). Except seeing the impermanence of the five khandhas, insight knowledge does not see other things. Insight knowledge has the five path factors. As knowledge it’s only one. That’s right view.

During discerning of impermanence, the other four factors are also including. Vipassanā ñāṇa observes the khandha and not see other things and only seeing the arising and passing away. Go and ask the practicing yogi. He’ll answer you as seeing the arising and passing away. Not seeing of mind, feeling, etc. only seeing the arising and passing away. Then can decide as you get the insight knowledge.

Seeing arising and passing away dhammas and in this life will get the liberation. The only existence is only that. Body, feeling, etc. only exist as names. If you see this, you have right view; whereas if not seeing this, you have not arrived here yet. Insight knowledge is seeing sa khāra and anicca ṅ (conditioned phenomenon and impermanent).

The lower knowledge sees the five khandhas. Therefore, they are quite different. Seeing the body, feeling, etc. are lower knowledge. It’s nāmā-rūpapariggaha ñāṇa — Discernment of mind and matter. In the Nidanavagga Saṃyutta — the Buddha taught Susīma only two knowledges for realization of Nibbāna.

These were insight knowledge and Path Knowledge. It needs to explain for clearer. How do the yogis see it? If seeing impermanence, it’s insight knowledge. Don’t be in confusion with knowledge of rise and fall, knowledge of dissolution, etc. Combine all of these knowledge is insight knowledge.

With short life span and for the realization of Nibbāna, just try for these two knowledges. Vipassanā ñāṇa is the forerunner knowledge to Nibbāna. It’s clearing away kilesas before. Nibbāna exists, but not seeing is the cause of kilesas. Nibbāna always exists to someone with the practice.

Why can’t we see it? It’s covering up by kilesas. If you say you are contemplating but still can’t see it yet. It is still covered with kilesas if the impermanence of saṅkhāra can’t be seen with contemplation. The khandha is piling up with impermanence.

Doesn’t it exist because you can’t see it or because it is covered with kilesas? It’s the cause of been covered with them. Vipassanā ñāṇa is clearing up for these things. The Buddha taught the five khandhas were anicca dhammas. This was by someone who discerned it. Ignorance, greed, hatred, and delusion, all these dhammas are covering it.

To show an example, the moon always exists and not seeing is hidden by clouds. You have to blow it away with vipassanā ñāṇa. It’s like this simile. If discern it slowly, your kilesa is thick. Practice with the four supreme efforts − sammappadhānā, kilesas being blown away and you will see impermanence (The same as the four right efforts).

When is the insight knowledge coming to an end? If the impermanences are disgusting and disenchanting to you, it’s still insight knowledge. See them as dukkha sacca and it’ll end. It can’t be ended with your desire. If it’s coming to an end, impermanences are disappeared. It meets with the Path Knowledge.

Here is completion with the eight path factors. Not seeing impermanences, instead see Nibbāna without them. Vipassanā ñāṇas change into Path Knowledge. Vipassanā ñāṇas open the kilesa cover. Path Knowledge opens the saṅkhata anicca cover. These points are quite important. And then you'll see Nibbāna. These are important for yogis.

Even can open the kilesa cover is quite good now. This is the most important point for yogis. By opening the kilesa cover and meet with anicca. Again anicca covers Nibbāna. Therefore, have to practice and make vipassanā ñāṇa become maturity. When the Path Knowledge arises, the anicca cover is opened and you'll meet with asaṅkhata.

Only have these knowledges. Do you satisfy with it? Firstly, it’s important to see impermanence. With the opening of kilesa cover and will see impermanence. Therefore, samādhi is important. And again the cover of impermanence is opened and will see asaṅkhata—Nibbāna.

revised on 2021-03-26; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4202&p=36007#p36007 (posted on 2019-02-22)

  • Content of Part 9 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

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