Anicca Ñāṇa, the Saviour

revised on 2020-12-30

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 10th January 1961

[Before the Buddha, until now, and even into the future; humanity has always looked externally for their creator and Saviour. Human beings will never find them, because it never exists outside them. Only the Buddha knew who were the real creator and the Saviour. It was like a king looking for the sound of a lute inside a lute by breaking it down into pieces, and then reduced them into splinters, and then burnt them with fire and reduced them into ashes, and then he winnowed the ashes in the strong wind and let them be carried away by the current of the river, but he never found the music in the lute. (from Saḷāyatana-Saṃyutta, the Simile of the Lute)

It was also like the following analogy. A philosopher (it seems an unwise person) postulated an idea or view such as—In Nature there could be some strange animals, as examples tortoise with hairs and rabbit with horns in the wild. He taught it to his students, and they believed in him because they thought he was wise. In their whole life they were always looking for it, only their life span came to an end and never found it because it was non-existence. This kind of searching will never come to an end, not only this life but also many future lives to come.]

It was like the rust corroded the iron, in the same way the things which had been searched would destroy us. By using and consuming the things which have been searched become craving, clinging and action (taṇhā, upādāna and kamma). We are suffered with our own properties. Why is that? Because we don’t know how to consume them. It will not become fault to us if we consume it for the practice. We don’t have right or proper attentions in using them.

We don’t contemplate anicca to the things and the mind during consuming. Therefore, the things we have searched is sending us to the four apāya like the rust corrodes the iron. By contemplating on the things and the mind as impermanence will fulfill our desire and at the same time lead to freedom. (Sayadaw continued to teach disciples on the reflection of the four requisites—foods, clothes, dwellings and medicines. If we don’t know the D.A. teaching, we take it as normal in all of our daily activities. In reality, we’re living with the three unwholesome dhammas of lobha, dosa and moha, nearly all the time. Therefore, the Buddha said that the frequent homes of living beings were the four apāya which mentioned it very often in his many talks.) The Buddha gave this talk to the monks and it related to the monk—Tissa (Sayadaw told the story in gist. The monk Tissa received a new robe, and he planned to wear it the next day. But that very night unfortunately he passed away. See Dhammapada verse and story—impurities/Malavagga, Dhp. 240).

At near death, the monk Tissa didn’t contemplate anicca to his new robes. Because of his attachment on the new robes and reborn as a louse in it. The louse was called as animal—tiracchāna because it was far away from the Path, Fruit and Nibbāna. After a man dies, made merit for him and share it with him. But if he was reborn as hell being, animal, human and heavenly being, he could not receive the merit. These beings have their own kinds of food or nutrient. Only the hungry ghosts (petas) who are living near it houses (i.e., attachment to their homes) and in the villages. They are eating and drinking excrement, urine, snots, etc. near houses and villages.

Only these beings receive the shared merits. Therefore, you all have to try hard in the practice. With one mistake you’re finished. At near death contemplate the impermanence of feeling, mind, etc. If you can’t contemplate anicca, then reflect it as loathsome (asubha) and dukkha sacca. You’ll attach to anything if you don’t reflect in these ways. Now, you still have the time and do practice for its readiness or preparation. At near death you can’t make it. In this talk, what you have to remember is the properties you have worked for are tormenting at you.

At near death except “Anicca ñāṇa” (knowledge of impermanence) there is nothing you can rely on it. Therefore, do the practice to discern impermanence for its readiness or preparation.

revised on 2020-12-30

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