With More Wavering and More Sinking / With Big Taṇhā Comes Big Cauldron

revised on 2024-06-10

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 5th to 6th May 1962

[These two talks are based on the Channovāda Sutta, sutta no. 144, Majjhima Nikāya, MN 144 ]

Ven. Channa considered himself an arahant before his suicide. Sāriputta was checking his view with Dhamma. The contact of physical object (arom, ārammaṇa) and eye sensitivity or eye clear form (cakkhu-pasādarūpa / eye sense-door) and eye consciousness arises. "Do you take the eye consciousness as 'this is mine, this I am, this is myself'?" Sāriputta asked him if he clung to them with taṇhā, māna, and diṭṭhi. He discerned it with anicca and answered that taṇhā, māna, and diṭṭhi had not arisen for him. This is still insight knowledge, and not the path knowledge yet. He only discerned the arising and its vanishing. "I am now teaching you how to practice it. Every time something arises, you must see it as not there." His seeing was only insight knowledge, but he thought it was the path knowledge. Therefore, after his suicide, he would not take rebirth.

Ven. Cunda (Sāriputta’s younger brother) reminded Ven. Channa: The Buddha has said, "There is wavering in one who is dependent, there is no wavering in one who is independent." Painful feelings were arising in him, and he could not bear it because he still had affection for the khandha. Dependence on the khandha with taṇhā-diṭṭhi leads to wavering. Therefore, if the khandha becomes afflicted (changed) and wavered, only the afflicting taṇhā dies and will not waver. If people are not wavering, letters and telegrams would disappear (with computers and the internet, they have also nearly come to demise). When the letters are coming, there is wavering with the gladness of taṇhā, and with no letters, there is wavering with dosa. "Do you have any time for not wavering?" (Sayadaw mentioned some of them) If your mind is never in the state of equanimity, it will be wavering. Even after someone’s death and still in wavering, so no need to say when someone is still alive. Therefore, you all are a species that wavers. Wavering isn’t good. Wavering with lobha leads to taṇhā, upādāna, kamma, and with dosa comes soka, parideva, etc., and with moha leads to avijjā, saṅkhāra. With more wavering, you sink deeper into apāyas (hells, animals, and ghosts). The minds of noble beings do not waver anymore.

Do the Buddha and arahants waver when disciples informed the Buddha about their passing away or when Mahāmoggallāna was beaten by bandits? With wavering, one has to sink and drift away. Only with practice will it not waver. I’ll talk about the practice tomorrow.

As the mind moves, it continues the D.A process. After Sāriputta and his brother left, Channa killed himself with a razor. He was seeing the mental sign (nimitta) for rebirth. If he were an arahant, he wouldn’t see it, and would only see Nibbāna. (Sayadaw mentioned some of the signs at dying). After his enlightenment, the Buddha lived for 45 years and warned us 1792 times to practice. So at near death, do not become remorseful. Immersed in pleasures now, you have to shed tears at dying. Only the path knowledge can help you. (Sayadaw talked about the terrible situations during the dying process). Practicing with a strong mind and body is quite important. (Here, Sayadaw gave the example of his old disciple U Hlaing, who was a gem businessman.)

At the age of 85-86, his mind was in confusion and couldn’t discern the changing nature of the khandha body. Avijjā overwhelmed his mind, even though he practiced for 4-5 hours every day and didn’t understand what the khandha was indicating. He met me at the age of over 50 and has listened to my talks ever since. However, he decided to delay his practice, and his time was wasted. It's a great loss.

So I urge all of you to practice now. Ven. Channa, upon seeing his mental sign, put forth great effort quickly in his practice and became an arahant before death. He achieved this attainment because of his prior preparation and habitual practice.

(Here again Sayadaw mentioned his new disciple U Aung Zan Wai, who was a government minister and is now retired. General Ne Win recently executed a coup, seizing power and dismantling parliamentary democracy.)

U Aung Zan Wai spent most of his time as a minister. If he had practiced earlier, it would not have taken long for him. If he puts a lot of effort like now, he will also make it. Ignorant people are taking the place of a teacher and fools are following their advice (this refers to some people who encourage others in worldly affairs).

Don't think, 'I’ll do it later.' You have to practice fervently. People are wasting their precious time on Taṇhā (i.e., the Master). All are misusing it! (Sayadaw showed his compassion and care for the disciples because after a few months, he would leave this world.) With Big Taṇhā comes the Big Hell Cauldron! These are the dhammas (i.e., defilements) that contribute to the perpetuation of Saṁsāra (previously it was Westerners, now it's all humans).

Your status and situation being lower than others is not so important. Falling into apāyas is really bad. You’re not afraid of falling into Hells, but you fear having a lower status than others. If you finish the practice now, it is better; if not, at near death you can still enter the Stream (become a sotāpanna). It’s still beneficial (the practice). It’s becoming clear that insight practice needs to be habitual (i.e., āciṇṇa-kamma, Ven. Channa was a very good example for yogis). The greatest fault is dying from this life and taking rebirth in the next, as said by the Buddha.

Whatever dhamma is arising, know it as 'not there, not there,' etc. (i.e., anicca).

revised on 2024-06-10

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

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