Crushing by Ageing and Death

revised on 2024-06-10

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 15th September 1962

(Based on the sutta – the Simile of the Mountain, Kosalasaṁyutta, SN 3. 25)

There were many lives now and with many kinds of life (i.e., existences). Only Nibbāna is a place we have never been to before. (mostly in apāya bhūmis as our frequent homes). In every life, we are crushed to death by two mountains of jara (ageing) and maraṇa (death). After the jara mountain of pounding and crushing becomes broken and the maraṇa lets consciousness cease. According to the saying 'khandha nirodho nibbānam', the cessation of khandha is Nibbāna. Only with the cessation of the khandha are we free from the crushing of the mountain. The mountains of jara and maraṇa come from this khandha. Only by following the way of no khandha can we be freed from it.

The great confusion arises with the question – How can I live with no khandha? Taṇhā comes in with reasoning.

(This point is extremely important. Taṇhā is very clever and exceeds any politicians, economists, and tycoons. It’s the kilesa Māra and his three daughters – Taṇhā, Arati, and Rāga can lead humans to become crazy, insane, and mad. Even humans cling to the pithy body like a vulture clings to the putrid carcass. Human bhava-taṇhā has no limit. Therefore, with wrong views creeping in, 'popular Buddhism' has become popular).

The culprits of the khandha are also taṇhā and avijjā. Transforming avijjā and saṅkhāra into vijjā and visaṅkhāra (i.e., sec. 1). In a past life, you didn’t address this, resulting in acquiring the khandha in this life (i.e., sec. 2). Therefore, you must be crushed by the jara and maraṇa mountains that the khandha brings here.

[Continuing on cittānupassanā.] Contemplate all the minds arising in sec. 2. You observe only anicca (arising and vanishing). It’s acknowledging the sacca-truth. Past life avijjā turns into present life vijjā after encountering a good teacher (kalyaṇa) and seeing anicca. Saṅkhāra becomes visaṅkhāra because taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma do not arise (taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma are saṅkhāras; without them, it is visaṅkhāra).

Therefore, the contemplative mind (the five maggaṅga) is vijjā and also visaṅkhāra. To be free from the crushing of the mountains, except for the five maggaṅga and eight maggan, there is no other way. This is maggabrahmacariya practice – the path of the holy life. The true refuge or reliability is only maggin-dhamma. Whatever other things you rely on have to be crushed by mountains (all the outside powers – God or gods).

You have to check yourself. There is a lot of ageing, sickness, and death in the khandha. Therefore, dukkha sacca arises or becomes clear. With thinking (i.e., right thought) the dhammas to Nibbāna arise. The khandha brings ageing and death to you. The khandha comes from the prayers of taṇhā (sec. 3, Taṇhā is the Creator). Reflecting in the reverse order (paṭiloma of D.A process), the dhammas for practice appear (searching for the causes). Therefore, I have a warning for you – whatever kinds of merit you’re doing, don’t make prayers for khandhas. If you do, you only get ageing, death, and Dukkha.

Again, Taṇhā arises from piyadāsa (affectionate objects – here is the khandha) [i.e., sec. 2, the whole process from sec. four to sec. 2, if we reject the 12 links of the D.A process as three periods of time, then it becomes meaningless]. Affection comes from not knowing (avijjā). Then it’s only necessary to discern it as worthless of affection (to discern it as dukkha sacca – useless and disgusting). Section two is originally dukkha sacca. You blindly take affection for the khandha not knowing about it. Therefore, you have to correct section 2, thinking of the real Dukkha as Sukha. The Buddha describes it as Dukkha Sacca, but you all are calling it Sukha. Therefore, in the whole of saṁsāra, you have to cry for it.

(Dukkha may be the most difficult dhamma to understand. Sayadaw himself also mentioned this point in his talks. It seems to me that without Taṇhā, humans can’t survive. They are always looking and searching for ways to nourish it all the time. Without taṇhā, they become bored. Therefore, Buddha dhamma is difficult to accept or appreciate by the majority. It requires intelligence and wisdom.)

revised on 2024-06-10

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