Extinguish Your Hell Fire

revised on 2024-07-09

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 26th to 27th April 1962

[In the beginning, the explanation was about the five khandhas.] Five khandhas arise by taṇhā-chanda – craving and desire. Someone who clings to the khandhas becomes identified with clinging khandhas (upādānakkhandhas), while without clinging, they are merely khandhas. There are many kinds of khandha according to the desire of beings, and they are not created by anyone (for example, human khandhas, deva khandhas, etc.). Material form (rūpa) arises from the four great elements, mind (nāma) from contact (phassa), and consciousness (viññāṇa) from mind and form (nāma-rūpa). How do we prevent craving, conceit, and wrong view from arising? You have to contemplate the five khandhas as follows: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.' Then, all of them become non-self, as I am explaining from the text. In real contemplation, you contemplate only one of the four satipaṭṭhānas. The Buddha asks us to contemplate in this way. One monk thought, 'If all the five khandhas are unreliable, what can I rely on?' Lacking wisdom, covered in ignorance, and having strong craving, he looked for something reliable. Thus, he chose to rely on kamma, making it 'mine,' which became a wrong view. Believing kamma as not perishing, that kamma becomes self (atta). Every Buddhist who had not encountered a good teacher previously relied on kamma, believing it does not perish. This is kammavadi sassatadiṭṭhi – a belief that holds a permanent wrong view on kamma. Kamma is like father and mother, and beings have to suffer according to its arrangement. If it decides you should live, you live; if it decides you should die, you die. This is akin to the faith in God, where He determines everything for you. Both are considered wrong views.

The Buddha teaches Dhamma in two ways, making it easy to see and understand. He taught with similes, analogies, etc. (e.g., Kamma follows behind like a shadow; these are conceptual dhammas). The other way is directly through suññatā-dhammas (emptiness of dhamma or paramatā-dhammas). Believing in kamma and its results cannot dispel diṭṭhi (self-view), as discussed in these Pāli textbooks. Then, do the kammas that have been done become defunct? This is easy to answer. During the performance of kamma, mind and form exist. At death, also new mind and form arise. The mind and form of this life do not follow into the next life. Until after the attainment of Nibbāna, all the kammas will continue to yield results. Believing that the mind and form here follow to there is sassata-diṭṭhi.

If you take it that the mind and form here do not follow there, that also is uccheda-diṭṭhi. The same kind of mind and form that arise there is called giving the result (Sayadaw Dr. Nanda Malarbhivamsa gives the example of the internet being ON LINE). The Buddha continued the talk with Q and A to dispel diṭṭhi, and all the monks became arahants.

[In the beginning, Sayadaw talked about how to tune or adjust the five spiritual faculties.] Khandha stays with its own nature, but we go and mix the self into it. For example, the seeing consciousness sees it (the object) and we interpret it as 'I see it.' Seeing consciousness is sakkāya (an existing phenomenon in nature) and 'I see it' becomes sakkāya diṭṭhi (wrong view of identity of self which is a non-existing phenomenon). Contemplating with the identity of self view prevents one from attaining Nibbāna. Speaking in this way is alright for communication with concepts, but when you contemplate, don’t mix it up. Another example is when hearing, the hearing consciousness hears it (the sound) and not 'I hear it' (I, me, he, she, etc do not really exist). It doesn’t matter when you’re talking with others, but don’t take it as real. Taking it as real leads to apāya jāti (births in bad existence). Mind dhamma is the foreman and form dhamma is the worker. In there, no I-ness is included. Only mind and form exist. A person, a being, does not truly exist there. This is achieved with the help of a teacher dispelling wrong view with the knowing consciousness. It is better to let it fall away with contemplation. For example, consciousness arises. It doesn't exist merely by observing; after arising and vanishing, there is no I-ness. A guest arises and a guest dies. There is nothing to do with the I-ness.

(Sayadaw continued to discuss how to practice cittānupassanā). It frees from doubt by allowing doubt to fall away through contemplation, because one discerns anicca independently. When free from doubt, it cuts off the D.A process. (He continued to discuss the insight process.) The disappearance of arising dukkha and vanishing dukkha is Nibbāna. What are the benefits of knowing the cessation of dukkha? All the unwholesome actions from past lives and the present life become defunct because the path knowledge cuts them off so that they can’t give results (i.e., apāya dukkha for the future). Therefore – do you want to repay your demerit with the khandhas or with path knowledge? (This is a very important question for everyone.) If there is a disease, there is medicine. Everyone has demerits (akusala dhammas). Do you want to offset them with kamma or ñāṇa? However, your knowledge should not be too late; if you die earlier, it becomes too late. The unwholesome actions you have done are fueling the hell fire even before you die. (Sayadaw gave the example of Upāsaka Nandiya’s merits, which results were already appearing in the deva-realm while he was still alive.) Before his death, celestial mansions were appearing there (Mahāmoggallāna himself saw them there). In the same way, because of the demerits of beings, the hell realms are arising there! (not by God).

Therefore, you can extinguish the hell fire and keep away the hell cauldrons from here. At least, extinguish the hell fire first and attend to your business later. (This was the last time in his life teaching at Mogok. So, he encouraged them to practice seriously with a lot of compassion for them.) If you don’t believe these things, at near death you’ll know about them. (He mentioned the dying experiences.) Don’t be in the mind state of 'I'll correct it later.' You all have to prepare for it now! In this way, you really have sympathy for yourself.

revised on 2024-07-09

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

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據英譯者—鄔達摩比丘交待,此譯文僅能免費與大眾結緣,作為法的禮物(Dhamma Dāna)。你可以在任何媒體上重新編製、重印、翻譯和重新發布這部作品。