Humans Take Dukkha as Sukha

revised on 2024-06-09

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 15th November 1961

Discerning things by yourself means seeing through ñāṇa. This khandha is the connection of cause and effect of paṭṭhāna khandha (conditional relations), dependent co-origination khandha, and sacca khandha (samudaya and dukkha). If you still have not found a teacher, you only have these truths (dukkha and its cause). These are fuel and fire burning around within you. Turning around with burning and emptying, burning and emptying, etc., is called Saṁsāra.

In this world, craving (taṇhā) requires having more and more things. This is called happiness. In reality, it is suffering. How do you live in Saṁsāra? This is like the ignorance (avijjā) of the owner of the ox-cart asking the driver (taṇhā) to always use the suffering ox—the saṁsāric traveller (i.e., a good analogy). In saṁsāra, the ox always dies from exhaustion due to being overburdened. This is you never owning (or) having seen sandiṭṭhiko before (not seeing the reality by oneself).

Someone without possessions (grimaced person) thinks about and takes Sukha as Dukkha and wants to die (takes wealth and possession or power as Sukha and, without any of them, as Dukkha, so this person doesn’t want to live on). But someone with possessions (smiling person) takes Dukkha as Sukha (the opposite of the above person). Humans are getting lost.

(It makes me remember Tibetan Yogi Milerepa’s words: "If you have more, you have more Dukkha; having little, you have little Dukkha; and with none, you have no more Dukkha." What he taught was how he lived it. He only possessed a small bowl for eating and a piece of white cloth to cover the body. True happiness only comes from the purity of mind. Arahants are the true happiest people in the world.)

Wandering in saṁsāra, there are only smiles and grimaces. To put an end to the dhamma of smiling and grimacing, there is only sandiṭṭhiko—visible here and now. If you are skillful and have this one, you'll become a stream enterer. The grimaced person is an atta-kilamathānuyoga-yogi and the smiling person is a kāma-sukhallikanuyoga-yogi (kāma-yogi). Neither the smiling nor the grimaced person is a majjhimapaṭipadā-yogi. The smiling and grimaced people can’t see Dukkha Sacca (They can only see ghosts, animals, hell fire, and wok). Someone walking between these two extremes can discern it. In the cycle of existence, we have never traveled the middle path, and thus we are still not liberated. When the Dhamma calls us, we sometimes follow kāma-sukhallika and sometimes atta-kilamatha (i.e., greed and anger (lobha and dosa)). We cannot follow it correctly and have never been in the middle of the way. We have been on the wrong path.

We should not follow lobha and dosa but instead follow the magga. For example, if you have an itch on the body, don’t respond with your hand. When you follow with ñāṇa—ehi-passiko is the caller with anicca, and the following ñāṇa is the discernment of sandiṭṭhika. Lobha and dosa do not arise, and this is the middle way. If you follow the middle way, then you are sure to achieve Nibbāna. Your discernment of anicca dukkha sacca with ñāṇa magga sacca is the middle way of seeing the truth. If you can follow behind ehi-passiko, the calling with sandiṭṭhiko for discerning is the true middle way. Mind, feeling, whatever dhamma is calling at you with its calling and vanishing is not a person, not a being, and not me. Lastly, what you must remember is that it's impossible for ehi-passiko not to call you. You only become your own biggest enemy by not following it. What is the reason to become your enemy? Because you're forgetful or heedless. Heedlessness is avijjā: -avijjā → saṅkhāra → etc. (see D.A. chart) If you can follow its calling, and taṇhā, māna, and diṭṭhi die by magga coming in.

revised on 2024-06-09

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

  • Content of "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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