The Hidden Nibbāna

revised on 2021-01-27

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 28th September 1962

[This is a Dhamma talk on Nibbāna based on the practice and paṭiccasamuppāda (D. A. process). Sayadaw gave quite a few talks on Nibbāna; his intention was wanting the yogis to have the right view on Nibbāna. With the wrong view it can be a hindrance for the practice. Most of the references were from the Pāḷi Suttas and sometime also referred to the commentary. In the later Buddhist traditions, they used quite a few terms for Nibbāna, and their origin could be connected with Indian philosophy and its religion, such as original mind or nature, Buddha nature, non-dualism, etc. The majority of Buddhists have misunderstanding and misinterpretation with Nibbāna. Actually, understanding of dukkha is more important than Nibbāna. Only by understanding of dukkha we can appreciate Nibbāna and want to free from dukkha and will endeavor on the path. Sayadaw’s talks are very important for this purpose.]

Your teacher relies on the Dhamma according to what the Buddha has taught. Even though you didn’t encounter the Buddha incline your mind on the Buddha and listen to this talk. The Buddha has practiced and know it by himself and taught it to us. Without any doubt and if you follow and practice it will free from the three rounds of existence (three vaṭṭa). The Buddha said that he himself didn’t know the four Noble Truths and, in every life, has to make companions with the dangers of ageing, sickness and death. Discerning of the beginning of D. A. process is seeing dukkha sacca. Discerning of the ending of the process is seeing nirodha sacca. In this way he became a Buddha. It only has been seen by oneself, it becomes diṭṭhadhamma, and finish the practice (Sayadaw was reminding his disciples by making decision with one’s knowledge, i.e., referred to diṭṭhadhamma) You have to practice and get the knowledge of making your own decision.

Where is Nibbāna? The answer is; it exists at the end of the khandha. Therefore, you have to note as the ending of khandha is Nibbāna. In Aruṇavatī Sutta (in Saṃyutta N., SN. 6.14) the ending of dukkha is Nibbāna. People think that Nibbāna is far away. It exists here (i.e., referred to the khandha). The khandha which you have attained is covering on Nibbāna. You will find Nibbāna if you get the knowledge which can penetrate it. It exists at the ending of two armed-length khandha. With the khandha covered on it that not see Nibbāna. Form, feeling, saññā, etc. the five khandhas are arising continuously that it’ll never end. Without the ending of the five khandhas can’t see Nibbāna. You can’t see it because it’s covered by the revolving of khandha machine. Nibbāna arises at the place where covered by the khandhas if the khandhas stop or cut off there.

As an example, you’re watching at a movie—The motioned pictures are always arising there that you can’t see the white screen. It’s covering by pictures and the background white screen not appears. In the same way it’s covered with khandha’s saṃsāra that can’t see Nibbāna. Dāyaka Kywe—you can’t find it in the Pāli texts. (He was a regular listener.) To a practicing yogi, with a blip, the khandha ceases—Nibbāna appears.

Even though Nibbāna is near us the khandha covers on it that can’t see it. Again, you can’t see the khandhas because it’s covered up with ignorance (avijjā). We take the khandhas as man and woman because ignorance covers on it. Therefore, we can’t see the khandha’s machine revolving one by one with cessation. (Because of ignorance, we can’t see the arising and passing away of the khandha.) Uncover ignorance with knowledge (vijjā) you’ll see the khandhas. You’ll see the khandha’s machine. After with the penetrative knowledge (ñāṇa) of impermanence and the knowledge of knowing dukkha arises. At the end of the knowledge of knowing dukkha, Nibbāna arises. Nibbāna is covered by the khandha which is also covered by ignorance.

(There are double covers on it. Two different sizes of boxes can be exemplified—one is small and the other is bigger. A jewel is in a small box and again the small box is inside the bigger one. The bigger one is avijjā, the smaller one is khandha and inside the smaller one is the jewel—i.e., Nibbāna. This is my own metaphorical terms for avijjā, khandha and Nibbāna here should not take it directly. If not, we can be mistaken with the concept of the original mind which is similar to Sāṃkhya philosophy of Kapila—the first cause or root cause. There is no first cause or root cause. Nibbāna is not in the khandha.)

(Sayadaw continued to use the D. A. Chart to explain the Dhamma process) Did we become man or woman in the past? Don’t guess in this way (i.e., wrong thought). Instead think about dhammas (phenomena) arise in us (right thinking). In past life we were moving like a double-blind man [i.e., the example for avijjā → saṅkhāra (section 1)]. This was also we had done samudaya sacca—the truth of the cause of dukkha. We had wasted our time in this way as a double-blind man. After death in this life, we get section 2 (i.e., viññāṇa, nāmarūpa…vedanā). We take this as good luck (as human being). It was the falling down of a double-blind man from walking, that was dukkha sacca. We get dukkha sacca because it’s bad luck. It’s the khandha with many kinds of disease (rogato). Is there any time the khandha frees from disease? (Sayadaw explained some of them.) Nibbāna exists at the ending of dukkha. The dhamma for practice is at section 2 (viññāṇa, nāmarūpa, etc.; i.e., the five khandhas), and if you follow it to the end will see it. By knowing section 2 as the five khandhas, and diṭṭhi falls away with the concept. Whatever phenomenon you discern in this section, you know it as dukkha sacca. With this knowledge, ignorance is blown away.

(continued to Cittānupassanā) Mind base (manāyatana) is the mind which extends the round of existence (Saṃsāra). Seeing consciousness, hearing consciousness, etc. can arise. It will cut off section 3 (taṇhā, upādāna and kammabhava) if you discern impermanence of the five khandhas with the path factors (maggaṅga). If section 4 (jāti, jarā, etc.) does not arise, the samudaya (section 3) ceases and dukkha (section 4) ends. No khandha in section 4 (i.e., jāti) demonstrates Nibbāna.

There are two Nibbānas appear; sa-upādisesa-nibbāna (Nibbāna with residue) or at section 2 still has the mind and body, and anupādisesa-nibbāna (Nibbāna without residue) or at section 4 without mind and body. With the attainment of present Nibbāna that the result Nibbāna is sure. With Nibbāna arises in section 2 and the khandhas not arise in section 4.

Contemplate the impermanence of seeing consciousness is dukkha sacca and magga sacca. The death of craving—taṇhā and not arising of it is samudaya sacca and nirodha sacca.

Whatever mind arises at other sense doors, it also has to be contemplated. Seeing impermanence is yathābhūta- ñāṇa—the knowledge of seeing it actually is. The ignorance (avijjā) which covered on the khandhas is blown away. We can alive only with one mind each that if we can contemplate every mind arises and seeing one’s own death. All the deaths are dukkha sacca and all the seeing are magga sacca. This is diṭṭhadhamma—seeing dukkha sacca personally. With the continuous contemplation see one’s own corpses and become disenchantment with it. Vipassanā is seeing the death with the alive mind. Even though you disenchant with it, you still have to contemplate it as before. With the continuous contemplation on disenchantment and the not-wanting mind arises. At that time the khandhas will disappear (the whole section 2 disappears). With the disappearance of dukkha sacca and the cessation of dukkha nirodha sacca arise (dukkha nirodho sacca). Seeing Nibbāna is maggañāṇa (the path—Noble Eightfold Path). You have to contemplate dukkha sacca until it becomes dukkha nirodha sacca (dukkha ends).

[ Note: In this talk and other talks, we can see Sayadaw’s skill and penetrative knowledge on the teaching of Dependent Co-arising. As the Buddha himself told Ven. Ānanda that it was deep and profound. Therefore, some well-known Buddhist scholars (east and west) misinterpreted the 12 links separated into three periods of time (past, present and future) as wrong. Still they had their followers in the east and west. Sayadawji talks can clear away this misinterpretation and misunderstanding. ]

revised on 2021-01-27

  • Content of Part 13 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

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