Why So Much Sufferings?

revised on 2024-07-09

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 7th to 8th October 1961

Tape 1

Which way is the quickest way to end taṇhā? With taṇhā ends arriving at Nibbāna. (Contemplation of feelings (vedanās) is the quickest way to end Taṇhā or Dukkha). If I have to talk about Nibbāna, there is no need to carry around the khandha burdens, and no feeding and cleansing of its 'bitterness' (Dukkhas). ??] Thus, there is no quest for wealth and property (power). There is no "suffering" of remaining in someone else's womb (birth). There is no suffering (dukkha) caused by disease. There is also no dukkha of relying on others during sickness, and no dukkha of sorrow, lamentation, pain and grief at near death (seeing signs of unwholesomeness with painful destinations and attachment to wealth and family members). Why I have to exhort you every day is because I want you to die with a smile.

(Sayadaw mentioned the terrible dying moment and painful situations). The Buddha himself was warning us 32 times in his life: Don’t be heedless; practise diligently until your bones and flesh are worn out, and your blood is dried up. The wealth and possessions (powers) which you earned cannot even stop the dying sickness and disease. The truly reliable thing is only maggaṅga (the path factors). (Mentioned the sufferings of Hells. This is not like the mythology of God and Creation. With Dhamma practice, one can find it out by oneself.

Kanni meditation develops light nimitta which can discern the 31 realms of existence. There are two books that I know of that mentioned the yogis' experiences about these realms. The strange thing is most of the world religions accept the existence of hells).

You don’t need to spend money for it, you only have to use your nyan (ñāṇa). Only have to nod your head at what the khandha is telling you. There is no khandha that does not talk about their stories. (Sayadaw told about Sakka—King of the 33 gods in the Cūḷataṇhāsaṅkhaya Sutta, Sutta No. 37, Majjhima N.) If vedanā arises, you have to observe whether it’s still there or not. You’ll have the path factors if you discern it not there anymore. You insert the knowledge of seeing the dissolution of vedanā. Then the feeling conditions that taṇhā does not arise (vedanā → taṇhā) (The Buddha gave the instruction to Sakka) The knowledge which discerns the dissolution comes in and cuts off the process. vedanā paccaya taṇhā is the Pāli word which refers to people not doing vipassanā. (feeling conditions taṇhā) vedanā paccaya paññā—feeling conditions wisdom is someone discerning anicca. Taṇhā disappears by discerning anicca. Vedanā nirodha taṇhā nirodho—with the cessation of feeling, taṇhā (craving) ceases. If you can make feeling cease, it becomes path factors. The task of no sympathy to oneself is business matters, but the task of practicing the path is having sympathy for oneself. Therefore, in the world, there are more people who have no sympathy for themselves. (This is not an exaggeration; the Buddha himself admonished us as the permanent homes of living beings are the four woeful planes of existence).

Tape 2

Where does Taṇhā stay? It’s at one’s khandha. You want the khandha to be good. Therefore, taṇhā will be cut off if you kill feelings. This is a very important point. If you want taṇhā to die, then contemplate feelings. Discerning the impermanence of feelings and taṇhā will die. (Retold the Sakka’s story) You have to note that whatever suffering in the world is given by taṇhā. With more riches or wealth, there is more dukkha. You have to work more than others, and also endure more than others. Therefore, with more taṇhā, there will be more sufferings.

(If you have more, you have more suffering; with little, you have little suffering; with nothing, you have no suffering— this is the saying of the Tibetan yogi Milarepa. But humans want or crave more and have no limitations; if the gods rain down precious jewels from the sky, they are still discontent, especially politicians and economists—their slogan is power and more money! Money! Money! and the world becomes crazy.)

The human world is full of suffering, and after death, one goes to HELL! Do you have any profits? You’re seeking suffering for yourselves. Is it clear? If I do not explain to you, all these things are inspiring (nourishing taṇhā and Dukkha); and then you will expect sufferings (fools teach people to become fools, blindness leads to darkness). [Here Sayadaw’s talk becomes humorous]. All the sufferings come from Taṇhā. Where is taṇhā coming from? It’s from feelings.

Let us insert path factors between feelings and taṇhā. Becoming a Buddha is not under the Bodhi Tree, but between vedanā and taṇhā. Any Buddha is found here. Becoming a sotāpanna to arahant is also found here. Asking you to contemplate your mind also includes vedanā. Mind and feeling are sampayutta dhamma— phenomena associated together. They are like fire and light, which arise together. Mind and feeling arise together. Contemplate it as you prefer. There are two happiness (sukha) of mind and body (Sayadaw gave worldly examples for them). There are two dukkhas (sufferings) of mind and body (Sayadaw gave examples for them). There are two states of neither sukha nor dukkha of mind and body (i.e., upekkhā— Sayadaw gave examples. Check the Cūḷataṇhāsaṅkhaya Sutta). Taṇhā ceases by contemplating feelings. With taṇhā dying, Dukkha ceases. If you’re praying for becoming a human being, it is the same as— "Let me run from ageing to sickness and from sickness to death" (So silly!) The Khandha is proving this to you.

Knowledge can arise following the anicca of feelings. If you are discerning anicca, you arrive at the halfway point of the journey. Vedanā is abandoned by discerning the anicca of vedanā (since vedanā is one of the khandhas, this also means abandoning khandhas). Taṇhā also cannot follow because it involves the abandoning of taṇhā. You must remember that vipassanā practice is the task of abandoning both khandha and taṇhā—the abandonment of khandha is the ending of Dukkha. The abandonment of taṇhā is the ending of the cause (condition) of Dukkha. Vipassanā is highly beneficial, and vipassanā knowledge testifies to this point. (The explanation of the 12 links as representing three lives' time is valid.)

revised on 2024-07-09

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