Man’s Story and His Stupidity

revised on 2020-12-30

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 27th November 1961

I had told you very often that wrong view and doubt would arise without understanding of the D. A. process. You must remember it until the attainment of the path and fruit (i.e., magga and phala—until become a sotāpanna). Only by knowing about it is free from wrong view or have purified view (right view). After that with the contemplation on impermanence, suffering and not-self can attain the path knowledge (maggañāṇa). Only with the understanding of the D. A. process and you understand the khandha, its arising process and cause. You contemplate on the khandha but if you have wrong view and doubt, it become fruitless effort. D. A. is the cause of one’s khandha and its process. The cause and the process are different. The cause is “Why this present khandha arises?” and to know about it.

The process is— “Is it man or woman?” No! It’s not. These are consciousness, mind/body, sense bases, contact and feeling (section 2 of the 12 links, see the chart). To know them is knowing the process. (knowing the cause and effect dhamma). With the contemplation doubt and wrong view come in if you don’t know them. These dhammas forbid path and fruition knowledges. It forbids the first path. It’s doubt if you don’t know the cause and not knowing the result become wrong view. You can make the decision that in this life will end dukkha, if you know about them.

(Sayadaw based on a sutta about questions and answers on wrong view between Ven. Sāriputta and Ven. Mahākassapa). By asking like—“Does the being still exist after death?” It was asking with the wrong view of eternalism (sassata diṭṭhi).

There is no being to die and no being to arise. Therefore, no need to answer this type of question. In the process of cause, no being includes, and also in the process of result, no being includes. After the consciousness of death becomes section 2. (See the 12 links chart of D. A. process—i.e., rebirth consciousness, name and form, sense bases, contact and feeling). There is no answer for this question if you appreciate (understand). D. A. process with the cessation of past mind and body → the present mind and body arise. With the cessation of the present mind and body → the future mind and body will arise. Someone has knowledge should not answer to this kind of questions (even the Buddha himself did not answer to them). With the understanding of D. A. process, we gain these two knowledges of ① the discernment of mind and matter and ② the discernment of the conditions of the same mind and matter. These are the foundation knowledges of the path knowledge (maggañāṇa). This is quite valuable. (Most people may think there is nothing special about it. This is totally wrong. Only with the Buddha arose in this human world we have this great opportunity. Even most ordinary Buddhists never heard about it—i.e., traditional Buddhists.)

Another question should not answer is “Does the being not exist after death?” This is asking with the wrong view of annihilationism. With the understanding of the D. A. process we free from both views of eternalism and annihilationism. The bodhisatta became a Buddha with the contemplation on the D. A. process.

The 3rd question is—“Does the being both exist and not exist after death?” With the death consciousness arises, and passes away; rebirth linking consciousness arises. There is only the arising and passing away of one mind after one mind continuously. There is no living being in it (in the processes). But for the arahant—after the death consciousness and only Nibbāna arises (After the death of the arahant, it is not “nothing exist”).

The 4th question is—“Does the being neither exist nor not exist after death?” Why did Mahākassapa not answer all these questions? It was not beneficial, not leading to the knowledge of disenchantment (nibbidā ñāṇa), not freed from lust, not leading to the ending of defilements (kilesas) and not leading to Nibbāna. The Buddha himself and other noble beings (ariyas) also did not answer them. In this case how to ask the beneficial questions? What is the truth of suffering? What is the cause of the truth of suffering? What is the ending of the truth of suffering? Or What is Nirodha sacca? What is the path to the truth of the ending of suffering? Or What is the path or the way? Asking all the four questions are beneficial. With the discernment of the truth of dukkha become disenchanted, free from lust, extinguished defilements and realized Nibbāna. In the past life samudaya sacca had arisen (see the D. A. chart). You had lived with avijjā, saṅkhāra, taṇhā, upādāna and kamma. You only created samudaya sacca. Only the bad things were happening to you (wholesome or unwholesome which were leading to births). And then you know it that I had been so stupid before. Only these things do not happen again, it is good and you’ll do insight meditation (Vipassanā bhāvanā). With only that, the knowledges of the path and the fruit will arise and end dukkha. Asking about these kinds of questions is beneficial.

Nirodha sacca means with the contemplation of the khandha and it disappears. (It comes to an end). Dukkha disappears is nirodha sacca. Its disappearance is Nibbāna. In your whole life or in Saṃsāra never have been without dukkha and now don’t you know that I am free without it? (With the experience of it). Magga sacca arise only with the practice. Only the truth (sacca) exists and it is appropriate to ask for it. True Buddhists are very rare indeed. (It is true. How many Buddhists ask these kinds of questions?) Most of them are eternalists (sassata diṭṭhi) (God believers have both diṭṭhis—sassata and uccheda, like standing on two horses with each foot on it). In speech a being exists is all right (without it can’t communicate), but don’t take it in thoughts as a real existence. It’s not easy to pull out a few from a big crowd. The number of sentient beings that each Buddha in the past was able to save is like the amount of dust on a fingernail, and the number of sentient beings left behind is like the amount of dust on the ground. Even though so many Buddhas in the past had appeared before like the numbers of sand grains in the Ganges River, the numbers of living beings never came to an end.

[In the past and present some Buddhists making impossible and extreme vows to save all living beings until all the hells were empty.

Did they really know what they were talking about? They were cheated by craving and wrong view (taṇhā diṭṭhi) and got lost in craving for becoming (bhava-taṇhā). It was the same vow as—may I be forever in Saṃsāra with suffering forever? Even the Buddha could not save everyone. How could a bodhisatta who was unenlightened save everyone? It was like without any money wanting to give all people.]

This Dhamma is very difficult to hear and attain. Is it clear to you?

There are only more people in the world who are carried away by the waters of desire and anger (raga and dosa). For some, who are rare indeed to reach the safe shore.

Understanding of the letters and the chart of D. A. process is not a true understanding (i.e., study). The true understanding is to know the D. A. process of the khandha in oneself. It’s important to discern in the khandha in accordance with the chart. For example, in the khandha a feeling arises, and when you observe it and it’s not there anymore. Vedanā paccaya taṇhā—feeling conditions to craving not arises. The chart is just for example. You should know about the khandha is still there even though you know the chart. Also, observe the khandha is still there; and compare your own khandha with which is in the D. A. chart.

revised on 2020-12-30

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