On Insight Knowledge

revised on 2019-11-05

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 27th November 1960

[ Here Sayadaw delivered an interesting talk on insight knowledges. Usually he didn’t mention ten or 16 knowledges as mentioned in the commentary on Abhidhamma. He only followed or talked about them which were mentioned in the suttas.]

(Told the story of Ven. Susīma, who came in and ordained for the purpose of stealing the teachings)

Contemplation of impermanence is including samatha and vipassanā, because it has the five path factors (i.e., three samādhi factors + two wisdom factors). Insight knowledges come before and then followed after with The Path Knowledge.

In the Buddha’s Teachings samatha practices were not the main point. With insight realize Nibbāna. In the Paṭisambhidā Magga; bhāvetabba – developing was referring to lokiya magga – mundane knowledge or insight knowledges.

It’s the five path factors. In the five path factors are not including the sīla factors. Because the sīla are not stable, coming in and out.

Between the last insight knowledge (vipassanā magga) and the Path knowledge (lokuttara magga), even no bhavaṅga citta comes in. it’s anantarapaccayo – proximity condition. Up to gotrabu ñāṇa – change of lineage (from a worldling to become an ariyan) are the five path factors because all of them are with the impermanence.

It completed with the eight path factors (five path factors + three sīla factors) only at the Path Knowledge because sīla becomes stable at that time. All the insight knowledges are only changing the views step by step. But the process is only with the five path factors.

There were only two stages of knowledge (i.e., insight knowledge and the Path Knowledge) what the Buddha taught Ven. Susīma. In the Anattalakkhana Sutta (SN.22.59 Anattalakkhaṇasuttaṃ) – The Discourse on the Universal three characteristics, taught three stages of knowledge; i.e., discerning impermanence, its disenchantment and the ending of it.

In reality the knowledge is not changing but the views are. All insight knowledges are with impermanences, but the views are as danger, fear, disenchantment, not wanting, etc. You just doing the practice and kilesas will become thin out (told the simile of the handle of an adze).

You’ll have the Path Knowledge if kilesas are gone. Changing of views are taking as changing knowledges. I am concerning that you may taking it as your knowledge not develops (Because only just seeing impermanence). Kilesas become thinner means the development of knowledge.

Whatever view is changing and your duty is contemplating the impermanence of the saṅkhāra dhamma. After the knowledge becomes mature and it disappears in a blip and substitutes with the Path Knowledge. We just do the contemplation whatever the object is showing.

For example, could Suramutta (a drunkard layman) know the insight knowledges? Suppabuddha the leper was also in the same situation. The insight knowledges were related to Ven. Sāriputta because he had the sharp knowledge (second after the Buddha, but later Buddhists had looked down on him).

Nobody knows the process of the knowledges. Whatever object is showing only impermanence exists. (Sayadaw compare Ven. Sāriputta with Ven. Mahā-moggallāna) Ven. Sāriputta took two weeks for full enlightenment and Ven. Mahā-moggallāna only seven days. Why was that? Ven. Sāriputta had many records. He was analyzing the knowledges and it took longer time.

In the questions and answers between Ven. Sāriputta and Ven. Mahā- koṭṭhita; Start with impermanence (also, up to arahantship.) if you want to become a sotāpanna. Therefore you shouldn’t have many teachers and many ñāṇas processes. People will have no shame and fear (hiri-ottappa) for wrong doing if he has ignorance – avijjā.

[The Buddha said hiri-ottappa dhammas were the protective Dhamma of the world (lokapāla dhamma). If we observe today modern world, human beings are going the way of no shame and fear of wrong doing.]

Only without ignorance (become knowledge – vijjā) has shame and fear of wrong doing (Sayadaw gave the story of Ven. Patācārā Therī. Here we can see the importance of wholesome education, including all media)

The main point is reaching the top of the mountain. It's not the main point whether you are ascending there with two or three knowledges. Ven. Sāriputta said that he was the only one and should not follow him (in regarding with the 16 knowledges).

revised on 2019-11-05; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4241&p=36223#p36223 (posted on 2019-04-01)

  • Content of Part 10 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

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