Importance of Samādhi

revised on 2021-07-28

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 16th January 1961

[Here Sayadaw gave a talk on the importance of samādhi for wisdom development. If we don’t listen to many talks left behind by Sayadaw, sometimes we can misinterpret some of his teachings, samādhi is one of them. Sayadaw gave many talks on practice and talked extensively about it.

He stayed in a cave for practice from 1942 to 1945 during the war periods. At that time the worldlings of the world killed each other as enemies; but Sayadaw killed his inner enemies, the Mara and its hordes – defilements.

A man may conquer a million men in battle, but who conquers himself is, indeed the greatest of conquerors. After the war, he came out and started to teach mind development. Before the war he taught Abhidhamma to monks and novices. Sometimes gave Abhidhamma talks to lay people.

From 1945 to 1953, the nine years of his talks were not recorded. In 1954 it was started to record his talks. Without the skill of recording and preserving most of the talks were damaged. Only in 1955 onwards recordings were successful.

Once time, Sayadaw mentioned on the recording of dhamma talks to a lay man. He said to him; “Maung Tun Tin, it’s now with the development of science and sound can be recorded. It can lead to Nibbāna if we know how to use it. But if we don’t know how to use it and leading into the woks (Hell Cauldrons). Sayadaw’s words were like a prediction on science and technology. We can see a lot of mind and environmental pollutions going on by misusing them.]

The Buddha said; “Samādhiṁ bhikkhave bhavetha – Let us develop samādhi before.” Samādhi means concentrate on an object and the mind not running away from it. It is not only on the ānāpāna practice (mindfulness of the breathing).

You are looking at an object and concentrate on it. And you get samādhi if the mind not running away to anywhere. If you don’t have samādhi, the intention is one place and the mind falls upon is at another place. Therefore we have to take samādhi first.

People don’t have any experience in the practice, just know the in and out breaths, when it is coming in and going out. For about 15, 20, 30 minutes, it can say as you have samādhi if the mind not going anywhere.

(in most of his talks to general audience he asked them to establish samādhi for sometimes with the breathing. But for yogis came to his place for practice under his guidance, he asked them to establish strong enough samādhi for insight practice.)

Let the mind stays at the entrance of the tip of the nostril. Knowing the air comes in and goes out. This is knowing the in breath and out breath. Breathing in and out normally; if the mind not running away after 15, 20, 30 minutes, then you are overcome your mind.

Why the Buddha taught us to do this? With the rope of sati and binds the wild bull of the mind. It is binding at the post of the air. You have to use this mind. If, it’s running away and how can you use it. You can’t use it for the contemplation of the impermanence.

Having samādhi and what’ll happen? Samadhito yathabhūtaṁ pajanati – A person with samādhi, knows what’s happening in the khandha rightly with knowledge. Knowing it clearly as there are impermanences in the khandha.

Why we don’t know it? Because you need samādhi. Not practicing samādhi and don’t know what’s happening in the khandha. Therefore you have to develop samādhi.

Whatever happening in the khandha and you know all of them. Every time whatever arising you know all of them as mind, mental states, etc., e.g., the arising and passing away of form. You know how feeling is arising and passing away, in the khandha.

So you know the impermanence of the five khandha. If still not discern anicca, dukkha and anatta and should go back to samādhi. (Some people think if you are developing insight shouldn’t go back to samādhi.)

Re-establish samādhi again. Give you an example, at midnight even a small lizard falls from a ceiling and the sound is quite clear. Why is that?

Because it’s too quiet. You know a little itching. You also know a medium and a big itching. Mind of lobha and dosa arise and you also know it because you have samādhi. Why you can’t see impermanence? Because you haven’t samādhi yet.

First develop samādhi, and after that using knowledge. Turn the mind at the entrance of the nostril towards the khandha. It is becoming clear that after the samādhi practice and to do the paññā. Let samādhi to be number one, and paññā as number two. There are a lot of benefits if you have samādhi.

You know about yourself. Knowing the anicca khandha as anicca khandha is quite valuable. Seeing of everything with the eyes is visual form. With the seeing comes as pleasant and clinging in it will arise. After kamma arises and birth, ageing and death, all of them will follow.

Why is that? Because no samādhi and not knowing about the arising and passing away of them. So these things are following us. It becomes clear that uncountable dukkha are coming to us. If not coming now and it’ll be after death because the sec ③ of D.A. process (i.e., taṇhā, upādāna and kamma → jāti) will follow.

A person with samādhi comes to anicca/magga, and taṇhā, upādāna and kamma cease to arise. Knowing rightly is magga. Someone having no samādhi sees only feeling, but don’t know rightly as anicca. So he follows with taṇhā, upādāna and kamma, and saṁsāra becomes long because he does not have samādhi and paññā.

It is not knowing rightly without samādhi, and will be sent by kamma to rebirth. Arriving into the cow dung, it became a dung beetle. Queen Upari didn’t understand this kind of dhamma; she died and became a dung beetle. Kamma sent her there because it was following with taṇhā, upādāna and kamma.

Isn’t frightening? (Also mentioned about the monk Tissa became a louse and told the story of Queen Upari reborn as a dung beetle) Your affection to wife and children is like a dung beetle.

(After Queen Upari died and the king had strong attachment to her and couldn’t discard the dead body. But the female dung beetle (i.e., Queen Upari) was very happy with her new partner the male dung beetle)

You don’t know where you came from; therefore, you are happy like a dung beetle. You’re happy wherever you are. Even before death you are clinging to the nearest person. Not realization of the Path everything can be happened.

Without taṇhā, upādāna and kamma will not become dung beetle and louse. Except the Path there is no other refuge. By developing anicca/magga and supra – mundane knowledge arises. Don’t think as I’ll practice it later for the Dhamma which ends dukkha.

You know that the wound will grow out. Shouldn’t you do the thing which can prevent it? You rely on husband, money and wealth. (This talk was to Daw Tin Hla, a lay woman). These things can’t prevent you becoming a louse, a dung beetle and falls into hell. If you rely on them, and it means you want to cry and go to the woeful plane.

revised on 2021-07-28; cited from (posted on 2019-03-29)

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