Everyone Is a Stranger

revised on 2020-12-30

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 12th March 1962

Someone has sīla what kind of dhamma he has to contemplate? He has to contemplate anyone of the five khandhas as impermanent, suffering, disease, a tumor, a dart, misery, affliction, alien(stranger), disintegrating, empty and not-self will attain the path knowledge (magga-ñāṇa). You might say it’s too much. You don’t need to contemplate all of them. These are the three universal characteristics if you combine them. This is the knowledge of the teacher. At last, it falls into impermanence. It becomes clear that even have sīla you need right attention. It leads to truth (sacca) if you contemplate a lot of it. We handle one of them and finish the practice.

Contemplation of parato (alien or stranger) is very good. The contemplative knowledge is one thing and the impermanence is another. They are telling about their own things. You have to make a decision that they are nothing related to you. Your own khandha is an alien or a stranger to you that the other khandhas also become aliens. This way, it does not affect anyone. It happens by itself but the I-ness coming in to disturb that it doesn’t become a stranger. It becomes a self (attato) if not becomes an alien. And then it becomes me and mine—attaniyato. You go and disturb it and become unwise attention (ayoniso). Why dāyakas and dāyikās (lay-man and woman follower) are not becoming stream-enterers (sotāpanna)? You take the stranger as me and my own or mine, and the D. A. process of dukkha and domanassa (pain and distress—body and mental pains) etc. are following behind you. With the teaching we find out the fault. You make other property as one’s own that it becomes a fault.

It’s better to fall into the apāyas with one’s own properties; otherwise (with other’s properties), it was like a dharawan (i.e., Hindu word for a watchman) who has been killed at duty. It was better if the owner had been killed. It was too painful to be killed for things which were not his own. Here he also falls into apāyas for things which belong to others (animate or inanimate things). It becomes equanimous if you can contemplate with parato—stranger. It can develop to the level of knowledge of equanimity towards formations (saṅkhārupekkhāñāṇa). After this knowledge, it will come the path knowledge. The four painful existences (apāyas) became one’s home and property; it was the results of taking things as me and mine (i.e., diṭṭhi and taṇhā) by people. Diṭṭhi (wrong view), diṭṭhupādāna (clinging to view) and action (kamma) controlled by view were pushing down these beings into the apāyas.

Taking the stranger as one’s own is a great mistake which you have to remember it. During the period when whatever wholesome merit you are doing, the mind or consciousness is arisen by sense objects and sense doors; forms (rūpa) are arisen by kamma, citta, utu and āhāra (past volition, consciousness, temperature and nutriment). In the whole process there was no-thing which made by you. Therefore, beings committed the crime (theft) and entered into the prisons of painful existence (apāyas) (Sayadaw continued to talk about the family members whom we related to each other as me and mine, because without knowing them as strangers.) It becomes clinging to view (diṭṭhupādāna) if we strongly argue on things which belong to others. Don’t blame on kammas (actions) if beings fall into apāyas. These are the causes of wrong views and clinging to wrong views (most Buddhists blame their misfortunes on kammas, not on kilesas).

revised on 2020-12-30

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