The Worst Danger

revised on 2021-01-27

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; (no date)

The first important matter is closing the doors of woeful existence—apāyas. (i.e., hells, animals and hungry ghosts) What is the reason? When the causes are there, lobha, dosa, moha, diṭṭhi, etc., arise in the heart (mind). These unwholesome mental states arise because the seed of hells is in the mind. Don’t be afraid and fear of other things. Diṭṭhi—wrong view is the real seed of hell. (Sayadaw gave some suttas to support this point.) After diṭṭhi falls away (i.e., sotāpanna) even lobha, dosa, moha are still there these can’t send one to hells (with diṭṭhi the three coarsest unwholesome roots are eradicated except the mild ones).

Even sotāpanna still makes khandha and goes to the good destinations (sugati); but never creates khandha and goes to dugati—the bad destination. So it becomes clear that only this one (diṭṭhi) needs to be abandoned. You don’t need to be worried if diṭṭhi falls away. In the Mahā-vedalla sutta (MN 43) of Majjhima Nikāya, the Buddha mentioned as after eradicating diṭṭhi, beings did not fall into apāya dugati—painful destinations. To strip away diṭṭhi is the task of sotāpatti-magga—the path knowledge of the stream-enterer. Dāna, sīla and samatha can’t make diṭṭhi fall away. For example, “Do you have diṭṭhi or not, if I do it, then I’ll get it?” (i.e., on dāna). If I have sīla, in next life I will have long life. In the Suttanipāta, the Buddha mentioned that with the attaining of sotāpatti magga would not fall into the four painful existences (apāya). There are many suttas on this point that refer to it.

Without knowing the natural process of the mind and body with its impermanence, people are stuck by the diṭṭhi.

There are two ways to strip off diṭṭhi: 1. Temporary and 2. Destroy the cause. The temporary way has clear knowledge on the nature of mind and body and discerning of impermanence is called cūḷa-sotāpanna—small stream-enterer. In the next life he will not fall into apāya, but he will be unsafe after the following life. The Buddha preferred the second way for us all. The way of destroying the cause because diṭṭhi arises by cause. This is the destruction of the underlying tendency (anusaya) with the path knowledge. The temporary way of stripping off diṭṭhi is by insight knowledges. It’s temporary cessation by discerning of impermanence.

(Continued to talk about three kinds of diṭṭhi.)

The wrong view you all don’t have is the view of annihilation—uccheda diṭṭhi. So, only two wrong views are left for you. Having the identity view—sakkāya diṭṭhi that view of eternalism arises. With the falling away of identity view the other two are also gone. Even seeing a lot of aniccas in the khandha in full volume if having a teacher who can’t explain it very well and sassata-diṭṭhi not fall away. Therefore, the method of stripping off the wrong view is very important.

(Even in the Buddha’s time some of his disciples had the wrong views that the Buddha himself or other great disciple helping them to have the right view. Nowadays many yogis also had this problem. Sayadaw’s Dhamma talks are very good to deal with this problem.)

There are two phenomena—the mind and the body (nāma and rūpa) that are capable of knowing and be known. However, you are looking for the weight in mind, and it doesn’t have it. What can be weighted is the body or form (rūpa). Only you go in and disturb them that diṭṭhi arises. It’s clear by itself. Both of them (i.e., mind and body) are the real existence of sakkāya

(Phenomenal existence and not the personal existence. It seems to be as wrong view, sakkāya has to be translated as personal existence and as a reality may be translated as phenomenal existence.)

You all go in and confusing them with the I-ness, it becomes wrong view (diṭṭhi). You have nothing to fear from them, except diṭṭhi.

Even the Buddha had the sakkāya (i.e., mind/body) but he didn’t have diṭṭhi. In the mind dhamma lobha, dosa and moha are included in it, but they are real phenomenal existence—sakkāya, if the I-ness goes in and makes it become confusion and diṭṭhi arises. Then take sakkāya as I, me, etc. (phenomenon becomes personality) You all are always connecting or pairing them together (maybe like a beloved couple). Therefore, the Buddha had reminded us to destroy identity view (sakkāya diṭṭhi). Using them as language is all right, the point here is taking it as a reality in thoughts and views.

You all are mixing it up although it can’t be mixed-up together. Mind/body are impermanent phenomena, so it never mix-up with the I-ness in any ways. If you want to them mix sakkāya with sammā-diṭṭhi (right view) but never with wrong view (micchā-diṭṭhi). Therefore, without the help of a teacher is impossible. (A Buddha had arisen to the world was for this important purpose or task.) Mind and body exist that seeing only as mind/body become right view. That is seeing the reality of what is really having of it. Wrong view never runs away if right view not arises. It’s not easy to rise sugati (good destinations) directly if falling into apāyas.

[It’s especially here mentioned beings become man and deity from hell. Usually, beings are from hell to animal and then become hungry shades, but it could be directly from deity to hell—see Subrahmā deity and his 1000 celestial nymphs. (SN. 2.17 Subrahmasuttaṃ; SA. i. 88f; DA. iii. 750; MA. i. 190f)]

The life span in hells is no limit. You are succeeding of the first stage if you understand mind/body and discern impermanence.

[The life span in hells depends on the person and its type of action. Here, I would like to include a story in gist as food for thought. After the hermit Sumedha had the confirmation that he would become Gotama the Buddha in the future, his friend Megha left the lay life and became a hermit and student of Bodhisatta Sumedha. Past is a memory, now is the knowing and future is unknown. Unluckily for his downfall, a bad hermit went to their area and Megha met him and became a friend. Later he had disillusioned with the hermit life and returned to lay life. His life became worse and at last became an alcoholic and committed the heavy action of killing his own mother. After death, he fell into Mahā avīci hell.

Bodhisatta Sumedha became Gotama the Buddha after he fulfilled the ten pāramīs for four incalculable and 100,000 aeons. At that time Megha was born as a big fish in the sea—possibly a whale. A boat carrying Buddhists encountered this huge fish in the sea; facing with this perilous situation, they cried out for help, calling out the name of Gotama the Buddha. After hearing the name of Gotama the Buddha, the animal went away. The name of the Buddha stirred up memories of his past; clinging to the Buddha, he passed on and was reborn as a human being in Bārāṇasī. He became a novice arahant with the name of Dhammaruciya. (Dhammaruciyattheraapadāna, Ap.ii.429f) There are many profound Dhammas for contemplation. Here I only want to mention two of them—wrong view and the uncertainty in saṃsāra.]

revised on 2021-01-27

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

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