The Existence of Nibbāna / Diṭṭhi and Taṇhā

revised on 2024-06-10

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 24th to 25th, 26th June 1962

Nibbāna exists. It’s absent from the three periods of time for people who don’t practice insight. Nibbāna exists if you rub ñāṇa with the three universal characteristics of anicca, dukkha, and anatta together, and it appears. It was like rubbing two bamboos together until fire appears. If you're not separating from the khandha aniccas with ñāṇa magga, and as soon as the ending of rises and falls occurs, Nibbāna appears. If anicca and magga are not fitting in, you have kilesa. With the fitting in of anicca and magga, kilesa becomes thinner and thinner, and at last, it's finished; then Nibbāna appears as like the fire from the two pieces of bamboo: Don’t relax your desire (chanda) and effort (viriya). If you arrive at the knowledge of disenchantment (nibbidā), it becomes strong insight (balava vipassanā) that it's time for the fire to appear.

Doing vipassanā is our task. Changing knowledge of the process involves a lot of rubbing and it changes by itself. This change of knowledge is called developing of ñāṇa. If dawn arises, the sun is ready to come out. In the same way, with the forerunner of insight knowledge, the path knowledge of Nibbāna is ready for appearance. Therefore, if the yogi has the forerunner of insight, they must attain Nibbāna (from Mahāvagga Saṁyutta). With more practice, it abandons the khandha and runs towards Nibbāna.

Nibbāna is connected with the khandha (but not in the khandha). Therefore, by knowing the khandha, you can know Nibbāna. Only by knowing the khandha can you know dukkha sacca. Only by knowing it can you realize Nibbāna. Of the five khandhas, knowing one of them thoroughly means knowing sacca (Truth). Whatever arises with the arising, know it as dukkha sacca (here are cittas which Sayadaw gave instruction on minds). If you want to end dukkha, practice to know sacca. Knowing sacca becomes knowledge (vijjā), and not knowing it is ignorance (avijjā). You have to develop it (bhāvetabba). It cuts off past karmas, and prevents the present karmas from arising. It cuts off past vaṭṭas and prevents future vaṭṭas from arising so that a person is freed from the vaṭṭas. Contemplate all arising dhammas as Dukkha Sacca!

With wrong view (diṭṭhi), craving (taṇhā) is strong, and without it (i.e., diṭṭhi), taṇhā is weak. You have to fear Diṭṭhi and don’t fear Taṇhā. Why is that? Abandoning diṭṭhi is one kind of magga (path knowledge) and taṇhā is another kind. With the existence of "I" and "me," "this is mine" can arise (We can understand why today's world has so many problems and sufferings up to international levels created by humans). With no "I" and "me," then "mine" does not arise.

[i.e., why Aryans have no problems and sufferings. Therefore, Diṭṭhi and Taṇhā are the real weapons of mass destruction. If humans worship both, there is no hope for human beings.]

Diṭṭhi is the Leader! The coarsest and most violent dhamma is Diṭṭhi.

(It gives humans the coarsest and most violent Dukkha, as exemplified by woeful existences. See the many wars going on around the world with cruelty and atrocity. Even the U.N. can’t do anything to solve the problems.)

Whatever is happening in the khandhas, sometimes we interpret it as "me" and "I," and sometimes as "mine." If people don’t study the Dhamma (i.e., the suññatā dhammas of khandhas, āyatanas, dhātus, dependent co-arising, etc.), diṭṭhi will never fall away. Then, humans will strongly and deeply cling to them in accordance with the traditions.

Note: In the talk on Diṭṭhi and Taṇhā, Sayadawgyi discusses diṭṭhi for over 30 minutes before continuing with MN.143 Anāthapiṇḍikovāda Sutta (most of the talks last only an hour). Throughout his life in vipassanā teaching, Sayadaw consistently urged his listeners to uproot diṭṭhi first, hence his great compassion is evident. Only someone who has true compassion and wisdom, not derived solely from great vows, can achieve this. I have no doubt that Sayadawgyi possessed some spiritual powers, though he never openly and directly used them. Sometimes, he perceived hidden things that others could not detect. He clearly understood the dangers and sufferings in apāyas, therefore he urged people to eliminate diṭṭhi first before indulging in sense pleasures.

revised on 2024-06-10

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

  • Content of "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

  • Content of Publications of Ven. Uttamo

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