Leading by Wisdom

revised on 2024-06-10

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 3rd October 1962

Look at the circle of the D.A chart. You’ll see the 12 kinds of the mind (i.e., seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, bodily consciousnesses, greed, anger, delusion, non-greed, non-anger, thinking minds, breathing mind – wanting to breathe in and out minds). The nature of the mind is running toward sense objects. After becoming aware of the objects, it passes away. As an example of the seeing mind – it knows the object and then it passes away. Knowing the object is its arising and not knowing the object is its vanishing. This is the nature of the mind. A mind arises or does not arise; you have to decide based on the sense objects. Without an object, it cannot arise. It arises by a sense-object, and with its lifespan ending, it vanishes. In the five path factors, right view is the leader of all. With mind consciousness, the whole khandha group also passes away. The leader consciousness vanishes clearly; the others do not vanish clearly. In the five path factors, only right view (sammā-diṭṭhi) really sees it. The others are only helping it to see it. Here, paññāmaggan are the main factors (i.e., right view and right thought), and samādhi-maggan are not the main factors. Only paññā-maggan discerns anicca, and samādhi-maggan does not see it but helps paññā-maggan. Paññā and samādhi maggaṅgas combined together in discerning anicca. Contemplating anicca, led by wisdom, does not connect section two to section three, that liberation from kilesa with paññāmaggan. Even though samādhi-maggan is included here, it’s not the main point. With samādhi alone, one cannot discern anicca and arrive at Nibbāna. Only with wisdom and the seeing of sacca can one arrive at Nibbāna. These are not small words. Samādhi only directs the mind toward anicca, and it doesn’t know what is there. Samādhi can manifest psychic power in worldly matters but cannot liberate from saṁsāra. Thus, samādhi is not much different from those who don’t have it, and is similar to animals. Because samādhi is not free from birth, aging, sickness, and death.

[Note: In this talk, Sayadawgyi strongly emphasizes paññā over samādhi. If we continue to listen, we will understand the reason. With paññā, one can develop vipassanā samādhi. See the teachings of Sayadaw U Candima.]

Therefore, when Dakars and Dakarmas (lay people) come here, I mainly teach them to contemplate anicca. I don’t want them to practice samādhi separately because it’s not only external sāsana dhamma, but I also don’t want them wasting time. With the discerning of one anicca one is freed from one kilesa, and with a lot of seeing anicca, one will be far away from kilesa. Being far away from kilesa and its disappearance is the task of wisdom. The Buddha also said that wisdom is the noblest thing in the world.

It was never for samādhi (i.e., the noblest in the world). Wisdom is able to penetrate things which others are unable to penetrate. (Here Sayadaw gave an example of the Brahma gods who can’t discern anicca because they don’t have wisdom.) Only wisdom (paññā) knows anicca, dukkha, sacca. Only wisdom is worthy and reliable. These teachings come from Suttanipāta.

When the Buddha was teaching the wanderer Susima, he used wisdom to teach him. (This was from Nidānasaṁyutta and Sayadaw told the story of Susima). I am urging you to use wisdom for practice. The Buddha gave the following instruction to Susima: First, practice with vipassanā ñāṇa, and later the knowledge of seeing Nibbāna will arise (i.e., Path knowledge). After vipassanā ñāṇa, magga ñāṇa arises. Vipassanā ñāṇa is discerning of anicca, and magga ñāṇa is not seeing of anicca (or the ending of aniccas). These are the differences between them.

If anicca and magga fit together, then right attention and ñāṇa also fit together. Yonisomanasikāra and paññā come together. Yoniso pays attention to anicca, and paññā sees it. Therefore, right attention and ñāṇa fit together. In this way, sāvaka paramīs (ordinary disciple’s perfections) are fulfilled, and it can lead to stream entry and arahantship. This was said by the Buddha. These Pāli words describe the main necessity of Vipassanā – Insight in practice (i.e., not those of Mogok Sayadaw’s own ideas).

[There are some controversies between jhāna samādhi based and insight – vipassanā samādhi based practice. Some reject the second way as invalid without jhānic samādhi. However, there are many pieces of evidence in the suttas and modern day yogis’ experiences which support the second way. Many had realizations by listening to the Buddha’s teachings in the Buddha’s time (lay people, monks, devatas, and Brahmas). The Buddha also taught dying monks vipassanā practice at their deathbeds. Vipassanā Yanika practice seems to yield quicker results than jhāna-based practice, which takes a long time to develop jhānas. These two ways of practice are more distinctive within Thai Forest Tradition and Burmese Tradition. Sayadaw U Candima’s teachings also support these two views of practice.]

revised on 2024-06-10

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