Every Buddhist Should Know

revised on 2024-06-09

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 11th October 1961

There are two kinds of knowledge; the knowledge of inside and outside sāsanas (i.e., two main right views—sammā-diṭṭhi). When doing dāna (giving, charity), if someone takes it as—"I do it so I get the result," then sakkāya-diṭṭhi (self—atta) is sticking with the merits. The self-view of I and me is interfering with the merits. Although it’s right, self-view atta-diṭṭhi has combined with it. This is called the taint of the wrong view—ditthāsava. In this case, it will give the result inside the province of taint—āsavas. This knowledge is called kammasakkata ñāṇa, and it can’t strip off wrong view. Freedom from taints (āsavas) is Nibbāna. Nibbāna does not accept the wrong view with it. You have to do merits but with the knowledge of saccānulomika ñāṇa—knowledge in accordance with the truth. This is the knowledge of contemplation with insight into the khandha (knowledge discerning the truth). You have to change your mind to wanting to be free from the impermanence of the truth of Dukkha, by giving or making this merit. In this way, both knowledges of kammassakatā ñāṇa and saccānulomika ñāṇa are included in this merit. It will give the result of vivaṭṭa-nibbāna—freedom from rounds of existence, which is Nibbāna. This is the merit of the Buddha-Sāsana (never found in any other worldly or faith). You have to make merits with insight contemplation. This is done by dāna after stripping off diṭṭhi (the kind of merit that gives the result of Nibbāna). Every day I am reminding you to pay attention to your khandha with ñāṇa, which means giving with saccānulomika ñāṇa. This is the task every Buddhist should know about. It will be beneficial up to Nibbāna.

(continued the Sakka’s story on Taṇhā) Taṇhā is extinguished by contemplating whatever three feelings (Sukha, dukkha, and neutral feelings) are arising. At the six sense doors, totally nine kinds of feeling can arise (see the Cūḷataṇhāsaṅkhaya Sutta). With the insight knowledge of → anicca, after the preceding khandha ceases (seeing its disappearance) and is followed by the ending taṇhā (taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma do not arise (See the 12 links of D.A).

Therefore, the task of insight is the abandoning of khandha and taṇhā (at the time of the insight). Alive in the middle with the knowledge (ñāṇa). Khandha disappeared— and is alive with knowledge (ñāṇa)— taṇhā ceased (no arising) [Sayadawji describes it as momentary Nibbāna]. If you have not yet attained Nibbāna with the practice and are near death, die with anicca by contemplating the khandha. Then at near death, you can realize Dhamma by abandoning the khandha and taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma. In the past, (monks and people) normally encouraged the dying person to remember the merits he/she had done before. This is the distant cause; instead, we have to contemplate the anicca of the khandha. During the contemplation, kilesa has no chance to arise, thus attaining the momentary Nibbāna. This is not the permanent cessation of taṇhā. It’s the tadaṅga cessation and attaining the momentary Nibbāna. Someone with no practice … connects to taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma continuously (So saṁsāra is very long). Even with death, I want you to die by attaining momentary Nibbāna. This person dies by attaining Nibbāna (for a short period). Don’t worry, momentary Nibbāna is assured. After death, you arrive at sugati heaven sent by the cause of discerning anicca. This process is the proximity condition (anantara paccayo) or without delay (i.e., no intermediate state as some Mahāyanists believe, such as 49 days, etc.).

Between the two, no other mind exists. Contemplating knowledge of anicca instantly arises and seeing rise and fall, disenchantment of anicca and the ending of anicca leads to becoming a sotāpanna. This was a dying person with momentary nibbāna as described by the Buddha; so don’t give up the practice. Therefore, you have to try to discern anicca to attain it, at least near death. According to the Buddha, becoming a sotāpanna in heaven occurs sooner than the being realizing himself as a devatā (The mind process is very quick. In a sutta, there was a practicing monk who died with the practice and instantly became a devatā in heaven. But he didn’t know that he was there and thought himself as still a monk. This evidence supports the non-existence of an intermediate state). Dying with momentary nibbāna here and attaining permanent Nibbāna there. I am only worried that you don’t practice. This is the great benefit of discerning anicca.

(Sayadaw gave a very simple example of vedanā anicca). You scratch your arm with a finger. You’ll find out that after arising, it does not exist. It’s arising there and disappearing or vanishing at the same place without changing places. This is insight knowledge—vipassanā magga. I’ll continue to talk about supra-mundane knowledge— lokuttara magga. This knowledge abandons khandha and taṇhā and sees Nibbāna. The seeing of Nibbāna is the only thing greater than insight knowledge. If you discern aniccas, you have to follow it until its end (no more arising). With anicca, there exists and also there is the existence of its end. You’ll not see the abandonment of taṇhā (i.e., anusaya is extinguished or there is no anusaya). With the ending of anicca, you see that no khandha exists. So, the ending of khandha is Nibbāna. This is the signpost of the vipassanā process. The practitioner himself can know whether he is there or not. Sakka asked the Buddha about the quickest way to Nibbāna which transcended the destruction and vanishing of phenomena. Insight knowledge performs two duties, while the path knowledge has three duties.

revised on 2024-06-09

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

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