Wise Attention and Effort

revised on 2021-03-15

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 9th January 1961

With wise attention (yoniso) and effort, wisdom (paññā) becomes sharp. Knowledge —ñā a cut off defilements of the mind if wise attention ṇ is good. With not good attention, you can’t see impermanence, and ñāṇa does not cut off kilesa.

You have to remember that including with both of wise attention and ñāṇa, kilesas will be cut off. Then, good yoniso is the helper of knowledge. With only ñāṇa it can’t do anything. With wise attention and ñāṇa becomes sharp. With the wise attention of anicca and ñāṇa is cutting kilesas.

With the wise attention of dukkha and anatta are also in the same way. With asubha and dukkha sacca are also the same. With wrong attention, ñāṇa doesn’t have the chances to come in. These points were the Buddha taught to Ven. Potthila (told the story of Potthila). An iguana was hiding in an earth mound with the six outlets. If you want to catch it, close the five outlets and waiting and watching at the opened one. In the same way close the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body, the five outlets. And then contemplate whatever arising from the mind outlet (mano).

“From the mind door contemplate of impermanence with good attention.” The Buddha taught to Ven. Potthila from the monastery. If you have right attention and wisdom develops. Wisdom dries up with wrong attention.

(These two points are very important for development of wisdom. In everyday life we should use the Buddha’s Teachings wisely to contemplate our experiences. Then we’ll see ourselves become wiser and wiser. Not just sitting there for meditation only. If we are watching the polluted media everyday for many hours or unwholesome educations and our mind becomes more defiled).

Anicca, dukkha, anatta, asubha and dukkha sacca; these are the five right attentions. It’s like cutting the rice plants. Wise attention is like the left hand collecting and grasping at the rice plants. And knowledge (ñāṇa) is like the right hand holding the sickle and cutting the rice plants in the left hand (a simile from the Milinda Pañha).

Different kinds of vedanā are arising in the body. Ñāṇa cuts off kilesas if you can contemplate impermanence of them. With wrong attention and taints – āsava arise. Remember these opposites; the results of wise and unwise attentions.

For example, seeing a flower and not contemplate it as anicca. And instead contemplate it as beautiful and desire (lobha) arises. It’s wrong attention and following with anger if you are looking at a person as disgusting.

(All these kinds of things are important in daily life. We built characters and habits by how we behave or react to the sensual worlds).

Taint of ignorance follows with wrong attention. With ignorance and lobha/dosa arise. Have to remember that, if taints arise and you’re far away from Nibbāna. If smell arises should not has wrong attention.

Contemplate it as impermanence and the D.A. process is cutting off there. If not, it will follow with anger. You all must remember is making effort with right attention and will cut off kilesas. It’s like holding the sickle firmly and cutting off the rice plants with force.

Therefore, there are two helpers for knowledge (ñāṇa); with right attention and practice with effort and ñāṇa will become sharp. For example, if you put down a sharp knife and it can cut things off by itself? These words are important, and have to remember it.

Ven. Potthila became arahant with these two points. Ñāṇa can’t be sharp if the mind is straying away to here and there with wrong attention. Contemplate them as not me, nor a person and not a being, only anicca if feelings are arising in the body.

After that, continue the contemplation as dukkha sacca. Rice plants are kilesas, the left – hand collecting and grasping the plant is right attention, right hand holding the sickle is effort and the sickle is knowledge/ñāṇa).

revised on 2021-03-15; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4241&p=36184#p36184 (posted on 2019-03-25)

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