A Tame Mind and Untame Mind


revised on 2024-06-10


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 29th and 30th September 1962

This khandha body originally has sores, and with the entry into the thorny wood, more sores and pains arise. This is dukkha adding upon dukkha. With the present khandha, kusa thorns prick the feet and the reed blades slash the limbs, and the saṁsāric sores and pains continue to grow. Sec. two is the body sores; with the external thorns of āyatana — sight, sound, etc., that hit or prick the sense bases of eyes, ears, etc., new sores of lobha, dosa, and moha arise (i.e., sec. 3); that again increase the sores and pains (i.e., sec. 4). The six senses of the door are pricked with the thorns of the six sense-objects, and as lobha, dosa, moha new sores arise which again increase future sores. You’re able to open the eyes for Dukkha but not its cessation. The ariyas and worldlings use the six senses of the door in different ways. With wise friendship (kalyaṇa-mitta), arrival to Nibbāna becomes apparent. Without kalyaṇa-mitta (or Dhamma), you have to suffer in the present and also in saṁsāra. Sayadaw gives the example of a man seeing a woman and ending up in family life, and many kinds of suffering follow afterward. And then he was complaining about his misfortune due to bad kammas. In reality, it’s the fault of entering into the thorny wood of sense objects. Sayadaw continues to talk about the sufferings with each sense door. Each day, every day, uncountable new sores arise.

From each of the senses of the door, we’re receiving the three kinds of new sores related to lobha, dosa, and moha. It happens because the mind door is muddy (kilesas). Of the three types of kamma, mind action is the greatest fault. Closing your eyes can't attain Nibbāna. Going the wrong way will lead to Dukkha. Knowing how to open it to attain Nibbāna (Here the talk relates to Indriyabhāvanā Sutta, MN 152). Therefore, how to open or be able to open your eyes is even quite important. If the seeing mind, hearing mind, etc., arise, contemplate anicca; this is not insignificant. It's with the path factors (maggaṅga) that cut off the three kinds of the D.A process. Thus, it cures the kilesa sores with the magga-medicine.

(This point is not only important for transcending Dukkha but also to protect and look after the environments and nature nowadays. 21st-century human beings create a lot of dangers and problems for mother Earth.)

Sayadaw continues the talk by giving the similes of the 6-animals to the sense-doors. It was like a human being looking after the six animals. He was always dragged away by one of the strongest animals. Therefore, his living and dying are unstable. It doesn’t follow his own desire (i.e., for worldlings). Not because they have free time but because they have to follow behind due to its pulling. If you see them with the ñāṇa-eyes, they appear very ugly. (i.e., always burning with kilesa fires). Therefore, Nibbāna is the non-existence of these six animals. Only by arriving at a stable (nicca) Nibbāna can one have stable living and dying. Carrying the unbearable burden is also Dukkha Sacca. We think arriving in the human realm is happiness (because of a sugati existence – good destination). In reality, it happens because of not recognizing dukkha sacca. Because you have to look after the six animals. It’ll be peaceful only by striking a peg and binding them there. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about how to strike a peg and bind the animals there (i.e., the way of insight).

Practising Dhamma means being able to control one’s mind and using it for one’s desires. If you can’t overcome the mind, what’ll happen to it? The mind is used to seeking pleasures in unwholesome matters (untrained or uncultured mind). The mind itself is not only a leader but also takes pleasure in unwholesomeness which makes life disordered and confusing. If you can’t control the mind, suffering is certain. Don’t forget this important point (this is the main point for living beings mostly encountering apāya dukkha in saṁsāra). Therefore, living beings can’t be seen as arriving at a peaceful Nibbāna. If you are unable to tame the mind, you will become a drifting and sinking man in saṁsāra (i.e., sugati and dugati, mostly in dugatis). Don’t doubt about this point. Those who cannot control the mind will never attain Nibbāna. The contemplation of cittānupassanā disperses the companions of the mind with anicca, dukkha, and anatta, and taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma can’t arise. Even if you contemplate the mind, if you discern anicca, it becomes dhammānupassanā. It's no longer the mind, and you get the yathābhūta-ñāṇa; because you discern the original nature of its anicca. While sīla is controlling the mind, insight destroys the mind so that it can’t do whatever it likes. Whatever actions are done by following the mind only are going wrong.

[Continues the six animals.] The worldling was like a man who bound the six animals of the six senses of the door with taṇhā ropes (i.e., six ropes) that were tied into a knot (avijjā) together and then he was harnessing them. If you can’t control them (i.e., the sense door-animals) you are left with a bad living and dying, whereas controlling them leads to a good living and dying. Being unable to control the mind means that it does not have the nature of being stable and calm. The noble dhamma or Dhamma and the ignoble dhamma (worldly and worldling) are quite far apart. Every mind that arises must contemplate as anicca or engage in cittānupassanā. The minds are the six animals. Bind all the animals at the post (peg) of sati and they cannot run away. With the contemplation of cittānupassanā, taṇhā is cut off and avijjā becomes vijjā. If you can insert the path factors (maggaṅga) between sec. two and sec. three, it becomes sāsana Dhamma. Therefore, dāna, sīla, and Samatha are the dhammas of external sāsana. The beginning of Sāsana starts from Vipassanā. (Sayadaw gives some examples for the external sāsana – the dāna of the Velāma brahmin; the jhāna teachers of the Bodhisatta — Uddaka Rāmaputta, and Āḷāra Kālāma.)

No-one or nobody could teach inserting the path factors between sec. two and sec. 3 (i.e., before the Buddha arose). The Bodhisatta became Buddha because he could insert maggaṅga between vedanā and taṇhā, and not under the Bo Tree. If you prefer the mind and contemplate the minds, if on feeling then contemplate feelings, if on dhamma then contemplate truths (saccas), etc. The 'I'-ness of wrong view is the strongest clinging to the mind. With the contemplation of anicca in the mind, diṭṭhi can’t stick to it. After achieving success with the minds (cittānupassanā), then proceed to vedanānupassanā. Proceeding successively makes the way straight (We never know about Mogok Sayadaw’s own way of practice because he never mentioned it. His instructions to Yogis are cittānupassanā and vedanānupassanā).

Only by attaining the knowledge of saccānulomika-ñāṇa does one truly engage in sāsana Dhamma (i.e., anicca). If you ask me – what are the differences between the outside sāsana and inside sāsana dhammas? The answer is the outside sāsana dhamma only has kammassakatā-ñāṇa. The inside sāsana Dhamma has both knowledge of kammassakatā-ñāṇa and saccānulomika-ñāṇa. The knowledge of anicca is important. Through the discernment of anicca only, do the knowledges of disenchantment and its ending arise.


revised on 2024-06-10


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