Don’t Live and Die with Ignorance

revised on 2019-12-02

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; no date noted

Listening to the dhamma talks are the same as study the Teachings. By turning inwards to the khandha with knowledge and attaining yathābhūta ñāṇa is quite beneficial (i.e., the knowledge of as it really is or rise and fall) The Buddha was concerned for the monks and giving the four types of rain as examples to teach them (from the Aṅguttara Nikāya).

These four types of rain are:

① With thundering and not raining
② Without thundering and raining
③ Not thundering nor raining
④ With thundering and raining.

The Buddha taught with compassion and wanted them to practice. The first one is someone has dhamma knowledge but not practice. The second one is someone not has much knowledge but practice intensively what he has known. Let’s say with one of the satipaṭṭhānas and getting the result. The third one is someone without knowledge and practice. The fourth one is someone has dhamma knowledge and practice.

You older people must practice like the rain without thundering and raining (most older people were sitting close to Sayadaw). You shouldn’t behave like the third person. The fourth person is a very good one. There are more second type of people; therefore, no need to be in low spirit.

When did the letters start to appear? It arose only after the Buddha was passing away. At the Buddha’s time (before letters arose) there were more people attaining liberation. Wisdom has the powerful quality of penetration.

If we are choosing something in the world, wisdom is the noblest and sharpest thing. We have to be born and died in the darkness if we’re not doing the task of wisdom. This saying is you’ll die with ignorance – avijjā. Also it’s starting with ignorance (i.e., The D.A. process).

King Milinda asked Ven. Nāgasena; “What are the differences between wisdom and knowledge?” (paññā and ñāṇa). They are the same. Non-delusion (amoha) is also paññā. It’s paññā if you know the three characteristics. Anicca exists and you know anicca, it is paññā.

Other characteristics are also in the same way. Anicca, dukkha and anatta are objects of conditions – ārammaṇapaccaya, and because of them knowledge on the objects – ārammaṇika arises. Because of dukkha, the knowledge of dukkha arises; because of anicca, the knowledge of anicca arises, etc.

Paññā can’t arise if no-one teaches anicca, dukkha and anatta. (Therefore only a Buddha had arisen and beings had the knowledges). Ignorance covers up the three characteristics. We are born with ignorance. I am asking you to do vipassanā is to know the reality.

Therefore never forget that the knowing has to be in accordance with the reality. The darkness of ignorance will be ceased if the light of wisdom appears. Both of wisdom and ignorance are in the process of cessation (i.e., wisdom cut off the D.A. and ignorance continues it) .

What are the differences? Their cessations are not the same. For example, the mind of wanting to eat arises; it’s paññā if you know its cessation. If you don’t know and other minds continue to arise, it’s ignorance. For example, I’ll go and buy this food. For a vipassanā yogi, knowing dhamma arising here and vanishing here is paññā.

With the disappearance of ignorance, you see the existence of impermanence. If not seeing the impermanence, it is not a good long life even living for one hundred years. And at near death, it becomes sorrow, lamentation, etc.; it is the cause of not knowing (avijjā / ignorance). Therefore, one will die with ignorance and take rebirth in the wok (hell cauldron).

(Here, Sayadaw was reminding and encouraging his disciples with saṁvega not to waste their times and did the practice). An earthworm was born in the darkness and died in darkness. It represents ignorance/avijjā. We are living with ignorance if we are not seeing impermanence yet.

You’ll see it if I explain. For example, a sound arises and passes away. The thought that it’s nice to hear will arise (for a pleasant sound) if you don’t pay attention to hear and its vanishing. In the case of paññā, it happens also after seeing the vanishing and ceasing (the contemplative mind/ñāṇa). But the kamma of paññā bhavana is not ceasing. (the potential energy of ñāṇa). It arises again and you know it.

I am talking about the power of vipassanā ñāṇa with one discerning. King Milinda not cleared about this point, so Ven. Nāgasena gave an example. At night wrote a letter under a light. After finished the letter and the light went out. But in the morning went to see the letter and the words were still there. It was like the energy of kamma. Each time with the discerning and the paññā energy are leaving behind with the mind.

Therefore, you will see impermanence if you continue with the contemplation. So discerning of impermanence is very important. If not, you’re an earthworm. Mostly you lose the attention of rising and passing away because it’s covered up with ignorance/avijjā. I am urging you that practice hard to become paññā when you are still healthy.

(Continued to talk on Satipaṭṭhānasaṁyutta) For example, wanting to eat something arises and if you only know the wanting to eat mind, it’s satipaṭṭhāna. It’s not becoming bhavana yet. Only after the arising and knowing the ceasing becomes bhavana. Whatever mind arises and observe to know its vanishing.

Vedanā are also in the same way. A person with samādhi will know its arising every time. Satipaṭṭhāna bhavana is called magga (the path factors which see impermanence) Even you don’t have book knowledge; you can contemplate to discern it. You will attain Nibbāna if you see impermanence. (Sayadaw continued to talk other things; about impermanence with the simile of dawn time, and then listening to sacca dhamma and wise attention.)

revised on 2019-12-02; cited from (posted on 2019-04-12)

  • Content of Part 11 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

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According to the translator— Ven. Uttamo's words, this is strictly for free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma—Dhamma Dāna. You may re-format, reprint, translate, and redistribute this work in any medium.

據英譯者—鄔達摩比丘交待,此譯文僅能免費與大眾結緣,作為法的禮物(Dhamma Dāna)。你可以在任何媒體上重新編製、重印、翻譯和重新發布這部作品。