Conditioned Phenomena

revised on 2021-03-16

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; no date noted

A worldling monk didn’t know that conditioned phenomena (saṅkhāra dhamma) were perishing. Therefore he couldn’t overcome his doubts with the answers of the four arahants. (From the Riddle Tree Sutta of Saṁyutta Nikāya) If you don’t know clearly the saṅkhāra dhamma and also not appreciate its perishing.

Therefore I’ll explain clearly on saṅkhāra. All mind and matter are saṅkhāra dhamma. All of them are ending up with perishing. Saṅkhāra dhamma not arises by itself. They are arising by conditioning. Therefore they are the resultants. You have to contemplate on the arising dhamma and not on the conditioning dhamma (i.e., the causes).

Not knowing the arising and vanishing phenomena, will never free from the dukkha of ageing, sickness and death. If it arises and think about it as it’s there or not there. After thinking and not seeing it, is the nature of anicca. If you can catch on this one and it’s true insight (vipassanā).

Only seeing the arising and passing away phenomena can develop knowledge (ñāṇa). And don’t take other things. The arising nature can be known as soon as it's appearing. The passing away of its nature can be known only by thinking about it. If you still don’t know how to contemplate vipassanā and it’ll become difficult.

You don’t know its arising and either do not think about its passing away. Therefore you’re talking about is as not seeing it. You will not find it if you’re looking for it. You will see it after you know its arising and think it as exist or not exist. Therefore you will see it passing away by knowing the arising dhamma.

So, as soon as saṅkhāra dhamma arises and it is important to know its arising. Whatever dhamma arises, it’s only arising and passing away. You also don’t know the vanishing if you don’t know the arising.

In your body there are matter conditioning by action (kamma), mind (citta), temperature (utu) and food (āhāra). Therefore these are saṅkhāra dhamma and end up with perishing. Your minds are with mental factors (cetasika). With the food smell and the smelling consciousness, with the eating and the taste consciousness, with the joyful things and the joyful mind, etc. arise.

These different kinds of mind are conditioning by causes and will end up with perishing. You only have mind and body. These are saṅkhāra dhamma. So all are ending up with perishing. Therefore I am urging you not to pray for any mind and body existence.

(Sayadaw continued to explain the following well known verses on saṅkhāra dhamma)

① Aniccā vata saṅkhāra,
② Upāda-vayadhammino;
③ Uppajjitvā nirujjhanti,
④ Tesaṁ vūpasamo sukho.

① Anicca vata saṅkhāra – Conditioned phenomena are truly impermanent.

I am concerning that you’re just only reciting them and not practicing. Should you not practice to get the imperishable dhamma in your hand? If you’re praying for the perishable things and have to shed tear. You are falling in love with saṅkhāra dhamma and doing things to get the perishing.

Someone practices to know the arising will know the vanishing. You’re wandering in the anicca forest and don’t know anicca. It is Nibbāna that these two phenomena, the arising and passing away, come to the end. Hold the impermanence as a manual and follow with it.

You will see the ending of it if you’re seeing the beginning of saṅkhāra. The reason of not arriving to asaṅkhata Nibbāna is not seeing the beginning of saṅkhāra. Nicca vata asankhatā – unconditioned Nibbāna is truly permanent. Mind/body (nāma-rūpa) and Nibbāna can’t be mixed together. (But some Buddhists had the view of mixing together and it became atta. So that they can come and go as their wishes in saṁsāra).

② Upāda-vaya-dhammino – the phenomena of mind and body you have are arising and passing away.

③ Uppajjitva nirujjhanti – they are arising and passing away in your khandha.

④ Tesaṁ vūpasamo sukho – without the impermanent phenomena is happiness. Happiness (sukha) is Nibbāna (The Buddha described it as the supreme happiness or the unconditioned happiness).

revised on 2021-03-16; cited from (posted on 2019-04-12)

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