True Refuge

revised on 2024-06-09

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 28th Feb 1959

[Note: The following two talks are Mogok Sayadaw’s answers to U Pe Win who was a Christian. In Mogok Sayadaw Biography by Sayadaw U Gosita, he made mistakes about the date and place of their discussion. Actually, it happened in Mandalay at U Chit Swe’s home. It seems to me that U Pe Win was U Chit Swe’s friend, and both of them were businessmen.]

Tape 1

Answers to U Pe Win— There are two kinds of faith. ① Believe in what others have said. ② Believe in one’s own critical analysis. If you believe in what others say and end up believing them, it can be wrong or right. It’ll be most true only with critical analysis and one’s own experience (here referred to as direct knowledge— ñāṇa). Here, you need the help of a teacher. There are also two kinds of teachers, i.e., wrong and right teachers. You have to make a critical analysis with your own knowledge of what both of them have said. You can take it as true only if it fits with your own direct knowledge. (This is the Buddhist faith, and also taught by the Buddha. Not many Buddhists follow this instruction nowadays because there is superstition and blind faith among Buddhists who do not have knowledge about the Pāli Nikāyas.)

U Pe Win: It’s true, Venerable. As you said, it’s without one’s own knowledge. The God said, “Believe in Me without any exception. If you believe in me without any exception, I’ll save you.” (This is spoken by God at the time of Judgement Day leading to Heaven.)

(And then Sayadaw explained to him the mind process at near death.)

There are the last seven javana minds at near death (It can be said as seven active mind moments). The first five javana minds see the destination of rebirth. After the five mind moments come, the 6th mind moment arises, and a being dies. When the 6th javana mind moment arises and no one can help (even the Buddha can’t help).

After the 6th expired mind and the 7th javana mind of birth arises. (therefore, there is no intermediate state such as 49 days).

The creator God is like a supernatural Doctor and Sammā-sambuddha is like a medical Doctor. Every disease can’t be cured by just saying, Go away! (for example, with mantras, tantra etc.) It can only be cured by using the medicines according to the prescriptions given by the medical Doctor. The path of old age, sickness and death is the path of the wrong view. Freedom from aging, sickness and death is the path of the right view. Taṇhā is the cause of aging, sickness and death. It’s free from aging, sickness and death if taṇhā dies. These are one’s own direct experiences and are not heard from others. This is not the creation of a Eternal God. If there is Darkness and there is Light. In the same way, with aging, sickness and death, there is a place free from them.

These are the nature of phenomena (dhamma nature), i.e., not created by God.

Tape 2

[Sayadaw gave instructions on the Contemplation of mind (cittānupassanā) to U Pe Win. He explained the vipassanā process and the three universal characteristics to him.]

U Pe Win: The Buddhist communities know the Buddha-dhamma (i.e., Nibbāna) and can’t free themselves from worldly matters, and does it mean they don’t believe in the Dhamma?

Sayadaw: They know Nibbāna Dhamma exists, but don’t know the cause of the dhamma arriving there. Not knowing the cause of arriving there despite the common knowledge of doing dāna and sīla and making prayers for it. This is the far cause of it and they don’t know the near cause. They don’t know the root of this matter. They don’t get a good teacher and are just happy in the world, by sinking in the Taṇhā mud. The teachers whom they rely on lack these qualities. (This is a very important remark because most teachers before him only taught the ordinary dhammas and ended up as ordinary Buddhists. With an understanding of Mogok Dhamma people become true Buddhists.) They only know about taṇhā, which is like Fire but don’t know about the Coolness of Nibbāna.

[Note: In the above talk, Sayadaw talked about a leper who was cauterizing his sores near the fire in the Māgandiya Sutta to U Pe Win, and he asked this question to him.]

They know about the Fire with distortion as Coolness. They have kilesa sores with them and don’t know about it or the cause of cure. They have no knowledge of the sores and have no desire to heal them. They know about it from hearsay and have no penetration by themselves. First, you have to cure his disease, and he has no desire to go near the fire. They know about kilesa in accordance with the world, and each person has it. It becomes normal for all. Therefore, they are ending with each other's words. They never heard about the words of someone who had cured it. There are two causes for this matter: never heard about the cause of cure; heard about these things and practiced them but did not follow them to the end. (Sayadaw using the Māgandiya Sutta explained some dhammas to him. For example, this khandha body is not healthy in many ways.)

Q: People listening to your talks and responding as yes, Venerable, Sir! Do they really know about it?

A: Most of them are following with ordinary knowledge. It needs to become direct knowledge.

Q: With the extinction of taṇhā and the reduction of taṇhā, why are we still enjoying family members and wealth?

A: Sayadaw explained the abandoning of kilesa by stages with the four paths (magga). Listening repeatedly to sacca-dhamma (teachings on truth) is like sharpening the knife repeatedly and making it sharper. It makes the mind sharp.

U Pe Win compared his situations to those of like a pig that enjoys itself in the mud. Sayadaw corrected for him as— Because of ignorance (moha), the pig is happy, but he enjoys the world (lokiya), which he is not able to abandon with knowing. There are differences.

U Pe Win asked other questions and the answers are as follows:

Q: Are kilesas extinct not by listening to Dhamma?

A: No, not by listening only, it’s still in learning the method or way. It’ll happen only by practice.

Q: Does it need to stay in a cave or go to the forest for practice?

A: If you can’t control your mind, you can do it. But the practice is observing what the khandha body shows you.

Q: In the case of seeing Nibbāna, does it need to recite parittas with dāna and sīla?

A: These are the supporting factors and it can’t arrive there directly. Sayadaw explained to him that he had come to him because of the wholesome merits of dāna and sīla. In doing dāna with the sole intention and desire of Nibbāna to end Dukkha. In this way it will give the direct result.

revised on 2024-06-09

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According to the translator— Ven. Uttamo's words, this is strictly for free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma—Dhamma Dāna. You may re-format, reprint, translate, and redistribute this work in any medium.

據英譯者—鄔達摩比丘交待,此譯文僅能免費與大眾結緣,作為法的禮物(Dhamma Dāna)。你可以在任何媒體上重新編製、重印、翻譯和重新發布這部作品。