The Oppressor of Beings

revised on 2024-06-09

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 23rd to 25th February 1962

[These talks are based on the Mahāpuṇṇama Sutta, No. 109, Majjhima Nikāya]

Tape 1

(Sayadaw told the story of the Mahāpuṇṇama Sutta) The reason behind the senior monk asking the Buddha of the question which he had already known was wanting to get the confirmation for the other monks. What are these five clinging-aggregates rooted in? They come from craving and desire (taṇhā and chanda). In past lives, we clung to the khandhas with desire that now we get it and they do not arise by themselves (not by God, no such Being exists). Let's explain the clinging khandha (upādānakkhandha) and non-clinging khandha (anupādānakkhandha). If you cling to it, it becomes clinging-khandha, and with non-clinging, it becomes non-clinging khandha. I am going to explain it in general. For example, when feeling (vedanā) and attachment (upādānam) are mixed, it becomes the feeling aggregate (vedanupādānakkhandha) affected by attachment. Mixing them is not beneficial. Upādānam is neither the same as the khandha nor is upādānam something apart from the khandha. There are two khandhas—one with clinging is clinging khandha and one with non-clinging is non-clinging khandha. Without a good teacher you may not understand this. With clinging, you are bound by taṇhā, upādānam, and kamma. With no clinging, taṇhā, upādānam, and kamma cease. These are variances due to different people. If there is clinging, it becomes the clinging khandha; if there is no clinging, it becomes the non-clinging khandha. It is like an ox and the rope. There are two clinging khandhas related to happiness and unhappiness. For example, the difference is that if one is healthy, it becomes the aggregate of attachment to happiness (happy clinging khandhas); if it is unhealthy, it becomes the unhappy clinging khandhas. People pray for heavens with the desire for the clinging khandhas. This way does not lead to Nibbāna. Only the becoming of non-clinging khandha attains Nibbāna.

The clinging of khandha forbids Nibbāna, and non-clinging of khandha supports Nibbāna.

(Note: It's beneficial for contemplation on clinging khandha and conceptual khandha, non-clinging khandha, and non-conceptual (paramatā) khandha. Do they have any relationship between or among them? According to Sayadaw U Candima’s experiences, to penetrate the ultimate (paramatā) khandha, the mind has to be purified first (through samādhi practice). Only by achieving the 4th jhāna samādhi power can one discern the mind.)

You have to be aware of that point. Clinging dhamma is oppressing the world. Āyūhanāṭṭha (Āyūhana-aṭṭha)-Taṇhā— Craving creates dukkha things and matters. A person with the clinging khandha is able to live only with Dukkha (This can be directly seen in today's world, which is becoming chaotic with conflicts, destruction, and disasters in many sectors). With only Dukkha, they have satisfaction; if they separate from Dukkha, they can’t live on and become dissatisfied. They are only satisfied when busy with things and matters (Sayadaw’s many talks contribute a lot of Dhamma insights into human minds and their nature).

The senior monk continued to ask the Buddha, "How many kinds of khandha are there?" There are various kinds, e.g., many kinds of animals. These are from the external forms. Then he asked about Sakkāya-diṭṭhi. You must separate Sakkāya-diṭṭhi as before. Some have sakkāya only and no Diṭṭhi, and some have both of them. The differences stem from sutavā and asutavā (with learning and without learning from the wise—especially Dhamma from the Buddha). The most important point is the differences between ariya and puthujjhana (noble being and worlding; wise and fool).

Tape 2

At the time of contemplation of vedanā, the process should be with one feeling and following with one knowledge, etc. Taṇhā, māna, and diṭṭhi will cease by contemplating with one of the three characteristics of anicca, dukkha, and anatta. One of the monks among the listeners is thinking that all is becoming anatta and there is nothing to rely upon. If all the five khandhas become anatta, what is there to claim as mine? Kamma follows beings all the time, so he takes kamma as atta. You have to be careful about this point. Many Buddhists take kamma as Atta; such as kam mother and kam father (kam is the short form of kamma in Burmese, relying on kam as a mother and father) and kam is my property, etc. Kamma is a mental formation (saṅkhāra) or volition (cetanā). The Buddha taught—sabbe-dhamma anatta—all phenomena are non-self. Even though people make kamma as atta, this is self-view (atta-diṭṭhi) in Buddhism (on kamma). Kamma following behind means it has the nature of stability. This is taken as the method of suttanta and not the method of Abhidhamma. It becomes the nature of the preceding phenomenon not to cease nor does the following one. This is teaching with examples and not directly. If the monks are not teaching them separately all lay people will take it wrongly (I myself had misunderstood them before I knew the Mogok teachings). Kamma becomes sakkāya-diṭṭhi and sassata-diṭṭhi (identity and permanent views). Teaching with examples and it’s easy to know them but taking it directly becomes wrong. People take the examples and similes as real. This teaching is for the knowledge of kamma sakkata ñāṇa. With this ñāṇa, you can’t arrive at Nibbāna. (Here we know the importance of Abhidhamma teachings to understand more clearly about the suttanta teachings. I have never seen anyone who knows Abhidhamma becoming stupid; only the opposite is possible). After the kamma and nāma-rūpa here are ceased and next nāma-rūpa are arising there (i.e., after death and rebirth process). The NĀMA-RŪPA here can’t follow to there!

Tape 3

The senior monk asked the Buddha, "How can one contemplate so that sakkāya-diṭṭhi falls away?" You must contemplate the five khandhas as anicca, dukkha, and anatta.

Among the monks, there is a man who seeks pleasure and something to rely on in the "places of becoming" (bhūmi-bhāva, Burmese - bhum-bhāva). Thus, he took cetanā-kam as a refuge. He finds pleasure in the realms of kamma that rely on karmas.

He regarded kamma as permanent, sassata-diṭṭhi, due to ignorance (avijjā) and craving (taṇhā) that depend on kamma.

Near death, living beings cling to anything. At that time, they rely on the wholesome merits they had previously earned, which send them to good destinations (sugati) [These conditions are also not very safe because near death, it is difficult to determine what kind of mind state arises]. This does not lead to Nibbāna. For those who do not know the truth (saccas), one must rely on merit to teach them. Practitioners must contemplate their khandhas and die with knowledge. Therefore, the Buddha instructed Bhikkhu Phagguna (see Aṅguttara Nikāya, AN 6:56) in this manner. Near death, one could become a sotāpanna to an arahant (Phagguna became an anāgāmī), and not connect to becoming (bhāva).

Yesterday, I didn’t end the talk. Today, I want to talk about it. It’s very important. Near death, the best approach is discerning impermanence or the ending of it (i.e., anicca). If you have sassata-diṭṭhi and sakkāya-diṭṭhi, they never fall away. The Buddha wanted to strip off the monk’s wrong view and asked the monks in the form of questions and answers for insight practice, such as: "Is form (rūpa) permanent (nicca) or impermanent (anicca)?" etc. At last, all the monks benefited from the instruction. The Buddha was teaching on the three characteristics again for this one monk. Actually, when the Buddha taught about taṇhā, māna, and diṭṭhi falling away, but because of this one monk, the Buddha had to restart it again.

I have told you very often that the ending of the khandha is Nibbāna. Only when you can uncover the two coverings that conceal the khandha, will you find Nibbāna. First, avijjā and taṇhā cover up the khandha. When you uncover it, anicca saṅkhāra dukkha covers it again. After you follow to the end of anicca, and no desire of the dukkha, Nibbāna arises. Nibbāna is near and becomes far away because you do not know how to uncover things. Firstly, you have to strip off ignorance and find out the khandha, and then you must contemplate it until you desire it no longer, becoming disenchanted with the khandha. When you no longer desire it, then Nibbāna arises. It’s true that Nibbāna exists at the End of the Khandha.

revised on 2024-06-09

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

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