How to Think?

revised on 2021-03-16

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 1st July 1960

Worldlings have two kinds of thinking. With thinking that sorrow, lamentation, pain and grief arise. There is also with thinking sorrow, lamentation, pain and grief not arise or can extinguish them. At what time sorrow and grief arise?

We are thinking about this and that when we are staying alone. At the times of sleep and waking up, we are thinking about family and business matters. It’s like looking for one’s own dukkha. (Many human beings are like this). We are thinking about things which are not good and follow with sorrow, lamentation and grief.

One’s own thoughts are tormenting oneself. One’s khandha and others’ khandhas are not-self. Not self becomes self and you can’t ‐ sleep. Also you are thinking on suffering (dukkha) as happiness (sukha). You are thinking about the impossible so that pain and grief arise. (Here we can see the super‐stupidity of human beings with their super‐taṇhā.)

The Buddha taught us how to think (from the Saṁyutta Nikāya). All thoughts come from wrong views (diṭṭhi). For example, if I am old it’s quite difficult for me. This is thinking with diṭṭhi. You’re going to the apāya (woeful plane) from the sleeping bed. With thinking and not-self becomes self is thought of wrong view. In the Saṁyutta, the Buddha taught us to think for Nibbāna and not to think for apāyas (painful births).

Start with thinking: Where do ageing and death (jarā, maraṇa) come from? Where do these two dukkhas come from? Then, it becomes right view (sammādiṭṭhi). The ageing and death are dukkha sacca and thinking is becoming magga sacca.

It comes with right thought. This is thinking what is existing and not with what is not existing. Ageing and death arise by birth (jāti). Here jāti becomes samudaya sacca (the cause of dukkha). Again; where is birth coming from? Birth is dukkha sacca and thinking is magga sacca.

And then if you ask; “Is thinking a practice?” my answer is, if kilesas not arise, it’s a practice. Diṭṭhi / taṇhā, upādāna not arise. It becomes magga sammā – diṭṭhi (path factors right view). Birth also ceases. And it’s knowing nirodha sacca.

In the future you must think in this way. With this D.A. process is sure to cut off. Because no kilesas come in. Why does it not include anicca, dukkha and anatta? You have to note it as the contemplation of the mind – cittānupassanā.

Where is kamma (dukkha sacca) coming from? Kamma is dukkha sacca and thinking is magga sacca. Diṭṭhi/taṇhā samudaya not arise. It’s killing diṭṭhi and taṇhā. It’s practicing to know sacca, developing the truths (bhāvetabba). You should note it as practice with developing – bhāvetabba.

(Here Sayadaw taught how to use the twelve links of D.A. process for thinking. We have to contemplate the whole series in the same way.)

This method is reflecting the D.A. process in the reverse order (paṭiloma) and getting the path factors. Where is taṇhā coming from? It’s from feeling. Feeling can’t arise by itself. It is arising together with the other four khandhas. Feeling arises depending on the body.

Therefore if you can contemplate feeling to the extinction (i.e., the ending of feeling) and dukkha totally ceases. With thinking in backwardly and the object of contemplation appears to us. With the contemplation of feeling is seeing its impermanence, its disenchantment and its ending become the eight path factors.

And then feeling ceases and Nibbāna arises. With the contemplation, the cessation of feeling comes; it’s called uppāda nirodho – the cessation of the arising dhamma. The cessation of taṇhā, upādāna, kamma and jāti without arising is called anuppāda nirodho.

Therefore these are the cessation of the khandha and kilesa. (Vedanā and jāti are khandhas; taṇhā, upādāna and kamma are kilesas). The Buddha gave the example of firing a clay pot. During firing the pot and it’s hot. After finish and put it outside become cooling down.

Here also the same. The pot in the fire stove with heat is like the khandha with kilesa heat. After outside the stove and cooling down is like the khandha without kilesa. This is saupādisesa Nibbānaa – Nibbāna with the khandha, but without kilesa.

Even though still has the khandha the yogi sees Nibbāna, with the cessation of kilesa. This is called Nibbāna element with the khandha.

revised on 2021-03-16; cited from (posted on 2019-04-01)

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