Faith in Kamma and Dukkha Sacca

revised on 2024-06-09

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 29th to 30th October 1961

Tape 1

I am worried about you that the khandha encounters the Buddha-sāsana but not the knowledge (ñāṇa) encounters it. Then you’re still outside the Sāsana. That people are only satisfied with kammassakatā ñāṇa means the khandha only meets with sāsana and not ñāṇa meets it.

There are two ñāṇas— belief in kamma and its results; and it's Dukkha Sacca. With ñāṇa and observing the khandha men and women vanish and its true nature arises. Itching, pain, etc., arise and vanish. There are vibrations (sensations) here, vibrations there, and mind phenomena arise and vanish.

Therefore, whatever arises from the khandha is rising and falling. Khandha tells you that I am Dukkha Sacca— the truth of being Disgusting and Useless. Ñāṇa is nodding its head with observation.

This is the knowledge of knowing the truth. You have to take the saccānulomika ñāṇa as the main point. The arising and vanishing of phenomena that do not exist is the truth of cessation (nirodha sacca), which ñāṇa discerns it; otherwise, you don’t see the beginning and also not see its ending.

This is the beginning of vipassanā ñāṇa and the end of magga ñāṇa. Good kamma (in Burmese, good luck) is not enough for reaching Nibbāna; only with good ñāṇa. They are totally different things. The Kam (kamma) way is a supporting factor (condition) and the ñāṇa way is a producing factor.

In this case, kamma and ñāṇa are together. Kamma can’t cut off kamma but ñāṇa (magga ñāṇa) can cut off kamma. Saccānulomika ñāṇa is the task of putting ñāṇa effort on the khandha. Only from that darkness does dawn arise. Kammassakatā ñāṇa is still in the darkness.

If dawn arises, the sun will come out. The knowledge of seeing and knowing anicca is the knowledge of the dawn arising. The darkness of ignorance prevents you from seeing what the khandhas have. If it’s like this, we are born in the darkness and die in the darkness, and don’t have the chances for dawning. In this life, if with the dawning, in the next life the sun will come out.

You don’t have to worry (Sayadawji’s guarantee gives us a lot of strength. The Buddha himself also mentioned this point in a sutta. However, it’s more likely to die with anicca). You all have to be glad about it (i.e., discern anicca). The important point is, don’t let your death come before dawn (it means discerning anicca quicker is better).

Go and observe the eyeless earthworms. They don’t know where the chicken is and are going towards the chicken. Why is that? Because they were born in the darkness and live in the darkness. The objects of children and possessions represent darkness. If you pay attention to them, saccānulomika ñāṇa disappears and you can fall into the Wok (i.e., hell cauldron).

You all are happy in the darkness. Only with the attainment of the path knowledge (magga ñāṇa) will you never be in darkness and stumble on things.

(Sayadaw continued with the Mahāvedalla Sutta, Sutta No. 43, Majjhima Nikāya.) This sutta features the question and answer session between Mahā Koṭṭhika and Sāriputta.

Q: Who is the one who is unwise? (With reference to what is this said, 'one who is unwise'?)

A: One who doesn’t know anicca dukkha sacca. In essence, one who doesn’t know the four noble truths.

Q: Who is the one who is wise? (With reference to what is this said, 'one who is wise'?)

A: The one who knows the four noble truths.

If someone discerns anicca, he’ll become wise.

Q: Viññāṇa (consciousness) and paññā (wisdom) are known to be the same. What are the differences between them?

A: Wisdom is to be developed and consciousness is to be fully understood. Wisdom is the right view—hence, it needs to be developed. Consciousness is among the five khandhas that pertain to the Dukkha Sacca, and it has to be fully understood with the three universal characteristics: as inconstant, dukkha, and non-self.

(Note: Sayadawji never uses a sutta fully; he only takes some points to explain his talks. Those who want to know the sutta fully, please check the sutta.)

Tape 2

[These two talks are based on the Mahāvedalla Sutta.]

Diṭṭhi— the wrong view arranges the sufferings of the woeful existences (apāyas). (Sayadaw talked about some of the sufferings of ghosts and animal lives.)

Diṭṭhi is eko me attā— clinging to the five khandhas as my atta (self). Diṭṭhi is making the whole body as me with no spaces left over for a small needle hole. The whole body is bound by diṭṭhi rope, making sammā-diṭṭhi ñāṇa unable to enter it.

If you bind a living being with diṭṭhi rope and float it down in the taṇhā river, even if he meets with a raft or river bank, he can’t climb on it. Which one of them do you fear— diṭṭhi (rope) or taṇhā (water)? After you kill diṭṭhi, taṇhā is still left; if you find the bank, you can still climb on it.

Therefore, diṭṭhi is the most fearful entity that the first path knowledge has to eradicate. The second and third path knowledges have to eradicate taṇhā. Only ignorance dies with the last path knowledge.

(Note: Before Mogok Dhamma, it was very rare to talk about the dangers, destruction, and their serious and terrible effects on humans. We can discern the dangers, destruction, and sufferings around the world today. Diṭṭhi-Taṇhā or the capitalist syndrome, or the global money syndrome of insatiable growth, profits, competition, etc., is the main cause of these things happening.

We can also feel Sayadaw’s great compassion for humans to transcend diṭṭhi. All of his Dhamma Talks never stray from the eradication of the wrong views and taṇhā, especially diṭṭhi. At least, he planted the seed of wisdom into the hearts of his listeners.)

If diṭṭhi dies, beings will not be pulled into a whirlpool and cannot sink downwards to apāyas. You don’t have to fear the whirlpool and the strong current of water. It’s important not to be bound by diṭṭhi (rope).

For the vipassanā yogis— Samādhi, ñāṇa, and viriya are important. On the samādhi sharpening stone, you are sharpening the ñāṇa knife until it becomes sharper and sharper with full effort (viriya). (This is a very good analogy for practicing yogis.)

Therefore, the samādhi factor is very important. (Sayadaw continued with the Mahāvedalla Sutta). One who does not know the Truth (sacca) does not become a wise man or woman. (Therefore, there is no wise man or woman in other teachings—secular or spiritual).

Saccānulomika ñāṇa is the knowledge of cutting the Rope (Diṭṭhi). Wisdom (paññā) is critical knowledge. In the world, people talk as if the mind itself is knowing. Ordinary knowing is viññāṇam— the consciousness of knowing.

Do paññā and viññāṇa know together or separately? Paññā involves knowing with development, and viññāṇam is analytical knowing.

Paññā is a mental factor (cetasika), and viññāṇam is mind or consciousness. Mind and mental factors can never be separated. Paññā knows the arising and vanishing, and viññāṇam analyzes this process. To analyze arising is to see Dukkha, and to analyze vanishing is also to see Dukkha. Paññā and viññāṇam arise together.

revised on 2024-06-09

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