How to Use the Mirror? / Blind People

revised on 2024-06-09

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 9th to 10th September 1961

Tape 1

Diṭṭhi means wrong seeing, arising from wrong thought. It’s the greatest enemy. Pushing you down to apāyas (hell, animal, ghost) is this guy. Puṇṇa gave an analogy using a mirror with humans (He was known as Puṇṇa-mantāni-putta and the nephew of Koṇḍañña). If you stand in front of a mirror, a shadow appears in it. In the middle is the shadow and the other mirror. It doesn’t appear by itself (i.e., without any cause and reason). Its appearance is due to the mirror and includes the person. "Is this shadow oneself?" No, it isn't. If asking again; Is it another? And the answer is “no!” It becomes clear that the shadow is not oneself and others. If it were really you, the person standing in front of the mirror would be another person. I'll explain that the one in the mirror isn't anything else either, because the shadow looks the same as the one in front of the mirror. This is the shadow arising by looking at it. It’s a phenomenon which doesn’t belong to oneself and others or both. Looking at one’s body with the worldling eyes and Me arises with taṇhā and māna. It’s arising with the combination of the wrong eyes and wrong clinging (taking anicca, dukkha, anatta as nicca, sukka and atta).

Listen carefully. This Dhamma is quite beneficial for becoming a stream enterer. With the worldling eyes looking at (oneself and other) the shadows of taṇhā, māna and diṭṭhi arise (as the analogy of mirror). With diṭṭhi connects to diṭṭhupādāna and kamma and it sends to apāya. It falls away (ceases) and becomes a sotāpanna. With the correction of the eyes, the doors to apāya are closed. In one day how many times do you look at the mirror? It’s uncountable. If you looking at it once and three kinds of taṇhā, māna and diṭṭhi arise. The culprit of saṁsāra is wrong seeing. Because of the wrong seeing and diṭṭhi arises. So beings are going to apāyas. The arising of the khandha is the cause of kamma, citta, utu and āhāra. The arising of the mind is the causes of sense object and sense base (ārammaṇa and dvāra). It’s not Me, not Mine and not My thing. These phenomena are produced through conditioned reflexes. If you are watching and observing, it only has arising and passing away. Sayadaw gave the example of feeling (vedanā) it arises by contact (phassa) [Here Sayadaw gave the important cause of phassa].

This is not my feeling. It was done by others (not one cause) and after it arises and ceases. In the arising not include me and also in the passing away not include me.

So diṭṭhi falls away.

Tape 2

For the attainment of noble eyes, one must practice dhammānudhammappaṭipatti (practise according to the Dhamma). The knowledge (ñāṇa) arises with discernment and attaining the noble eyes. If you think— I am healthy, then you still have not attained noble eyes yet. It is true that the aggregates (khandha) have sores and are filled with piercing thorns. The Dhamma is the khandha body, and the khandha body is Dhamma.

(There is a remarkable teaching by Sayadaw to Dakar Sein who was a regular Dhamma listener in Amarapura. One time Sayadaw gave his last Dhamma talk in Amarapura and continued his teaching in Mogok. After the end of the talk Dakar Sein complained to Sayadaw, saying that after he left, they did not have the chance to listen to his talk, and then they got used to it. Sayadaw’s response was— This is not difficult. I’ll give the duty to the khandha. You have to listen to the Khandha Dhamma. It will teach you.)

Anudhamma means: practise accordingly. We are talking about feeling, perception, etc. (i.e., five Khandhas), in reality we must discern arising and passing away (anicca). If you discern this, you have the view in accordance with the Dhamma. You all see the arms, the legs, etc, these are not seen according to Dhamma. Your seeing and what is real are different. This is the seeing of a double blind man. If you don’t see the reality, your eye seeing will connect the round of existence - saṁsāra. In the whole of saṁsāra, your knowing and what is real do not fit together. People do not know the khandhas as diseases and sores that cling to them. Because of that they get back births and deaths.

The appearance of a Buddha as a Doctor aims to cure the blind people. He urged the blind 1,792 times in his life to look for teachers (It’s sure not for politicians and economists— see all the problems and sufferings at international levels). Why is that? Because humans’ blindness has a very long life history. Therefore, the Buddha has great compassion (mahā-karuṇā) for them.

(Here Sayadaw mentioned humourously some of the khandha dukkha and in many ways humans make adjustment and conditioning for the body.)

This body and all the belongings at home are the cause of birth (jāti) due to clinging (upādāna). It’s not easy to talk about ñāṇa. I have to talk about these things is for killing diṭṭhi-taṇhā. The khandha is telling you that I’ll go down there (i.e., apāyas— represent painful downfall, because it’s so heavy. Your kilesa is heavy if you still not practise in accordance with Dhamma your both eyes still not seeing the light yet. It must be treated with vipassanā medicine and path knowledge medicine.

(Sayadaw talked about contemplation of feeling) The khandha as the aggregate of feeling oppresses beings with different kinds of feelings. Because of the pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feelings that D.A. processes are continuing. Therefore, it becomes cool with no feelings— i.e., with no khandhas existing. Whenever a feeling (vedanā) arises, use the Five Path Factors to contemplate its impermanence (anicca) — At first you discern the feeling, and later the truth of dukkha (anicca is dukkha sacca). You all are dying with feelings. With no feeling, happiness will arise. All the 31 realms of existence are not free from feelings. Therefore, don’t make prayers for existence. Khandhas are like disease, thorns, etc. Being free from disease is Nibbāna, and having disease is to have khandha. With the cessation of birth and death, there will be no khandha existence.

revised on 2024-06-09

  • Content of Part 14 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

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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.

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