A Slave with Six Masters

revised on 2024-06-09

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 26th November 1961

You all are serving the desires of the six senses of the door. The herder is only one, and the animals to herd are six. They make you overtired. The herder is always following behind the strongest, pulling in one’s direction. It's really not easy to herd the six animals whose natures and preferences are quite different, but we're happy like a slave.

Even not safe and sound at death, because you're following its desire. We're always busy with these six senses of the door. Dying with worry, and all go to apāyas.

Because people die with lobha, dosa, and moha dhammas. (If people are not Dhamma practitioners, most of them will die with these states of mind). They have to die with worry and confusion. Do you see your difficult death? Because of these six animals, living beings are not in right living and dying.

Do you attain a good human life? It does not include your own desire and nature. Take other natures as my nature and me. You don’t have free time (This extraordinary talk shows the extensiveness of khandha saṅkhāra dhamma and also the greatness of Dukkha-dhammas).

If you can't control these six senses of the door, it can't be good living and dying. If you die with discontent (domanassa), you have to go to apāyas. Because you can't overcome dukkha vedanā and worry. This dhamma talks about the six kinds of D.A. processes (i.e., in our daily life experiences—it’s about all dhammas).

You have to listen with big ears (ñāṇa ears). If not, you don’t know what I am talking about. It was looking very much like a Slave very busy doing things for his six masters. Here are not included other extra things and matters yet, only talking about the primal things. I am talking about only the existence of the six doors which fulfill your prayers (with merits). It's a difficult living and dying, and never free from business. You have the six Taṇhā masters and it’s not possible that you don’t serve them. How do you deal with them? What would you say about ageing and illnesses before arriving at the stage of ageing? (i.e., people who are busy and have a lot of stress).

You have satisfaction with what Taṇhā is asking but can’t opt for the perfection (pāramī). Even you can’t bear a mosquito bite. Do you have any merit with you? Even if you have it, they must be the merits asked by Taṇhā (i.e., Diṭṭhi-Taṇhā merits). The merits of what you have done following the desire of the six animals. For these merits, you’re asking humans and devatās to say sadhu! (well done in Pāli). I am talking like this because it’s not the kind of merit free from the round of existence. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make merits. It's a bit better if each sense door pulls you in turn. If they pull you all together, it will be a disaster (e.g., using a smartphone while driving the car or crossing a highway, etc.).

At last, according to the Buddha, you can’t attain Nibbāna until you are able to control the six animals. It becomes clear why you don’t have time. You don’t have a permanent place and a permanence of not dying (i.e., Nibbāna). Every life is this way. Don’t ask me, “What happened to me in past life?” The answer will be: Bad living and Bad dying. You have to think about it carefully. You’re always becoming a Slave! You’re the Slave of the six doors of taṇhā. Only by overcoming these six animals will you have a good living and good dying.

Note: This talk is based on the Saḷāyatanasaṃyutta, the Simile of the Six Animals; a snake, a crocodile, a bird, a dog, a jackal, and a monkey, which represent the six sense-faculties of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind (doors) respectively.

revised on 2024-06-09

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