The Great Benefit of Anicca

revised on 2024-06-10

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 13th October 1962

People living the careless life are going towards Death. With the knowing of the truth (sacca), they die but are excepted from reaching a bad destination (dugati) and instead arrive at a good destination (sugati). A person who knows the truth is already discerning the rise and fall of phenomena, which is anicca. The rise and fall are dukkha sacca. The rises and falls of mind, feeling, etc., are also dukkha sacca. The person knowing the rise and fall of phenomena knows the truth. He has not yet abandoned diṭṭhi with its root (i.e., temporary abandoning). Do not feel sadness because of the temporary abandonment of it, and you’ll arrive at sugati. As soon as you arrive there, the discerning of anicca and dukkha sacca quickly appears in his/her mind.

Even if this yogi takes rebirth there, he doesn’t know it yet because ñāṇa appears first, before he knows himself as a devata (this has to die with anicca dukkha sacca). Dukkha sacca arises first, and he enters the stream instantly. You may ask, “Why is it so quick?” This is because they (devatas) don’t have pancreas, phlegm, blood, oil, etc.

① Therefore, the yogi (devata) continues to discern the rise and fall (anicca) more clearly and progresses from sotāpanna to arahant. (If one becomes anāgāmī and arahant, one can’t stay in heaven. Anāgāmī has to pass away and take new rebirth in the Brahma realm. For an arahant, it becomes the Nibbāna element. This is my reflection. Sayadaw did not mention these in the talk.) A person who knows about the truth (sacca) will not fear death.

A pain appears and disappears, as do goodness, itching, etc.; these are also examples of the rise and fall (anicca). Knowing this is knowing the truth (sacca). At that time, kilesa is extinguished. If you die with this awareness and arrive at sugati, you might become a sotāpanna instantly. If you don’t, also don’t worry about it. A hundred years of human life is equal to one day in heaven. (100 years on Earth = 1 day in Heaven). A Sāsana year of over 2500 is equivalent to 25 days + hours in Heaven.

② At the meeting of devata, some devatas deliver Dhamma talks (Sacca Dhamma) and the yogi devata, by listening to their Dhamma talks, also can realize Dhamma. If you don’t know sacca, you can be in low spirits. Here, every day, you all are listening to sacca Dhamma and contemplating them, thus knowing about the Truth. (Mogok Sayadaw’s Sacca Dhamma Talks are importantly valuable) The Buddha himself mentioned, “If you know about Sacca, don’t worry.” I am not encouraging you, but talking about it according to the Aṅguttara Nikāya Pāli (i.e., directly from the Buddha).

③ If it’s not in this way (i.e., the second point above), some of your Dhammic friends (kalyaṇamittas) who died before you and arrived there as devatas, will remind you of your practice and you can contemplate anicca and thus enter the stream. (This is more likely if the yogi as a devata has not been there very long. Otherwise, they might indulge in celestial pleasure and get lost. See: Subrahma Devata and his consorts). Therefore, live and die courageously (i.e., with Sacca Dhamma). There is nothing to be afraid of. (Sayadaw’s words are uplifting).

④ If not in this way (i.e., the third point), and some devatas' lifespans expire, they die in a blip and disappear. The yogi devata sees this, having also heard and seen Sacca Dhamma before that. By seeing the devatas encounter sufferings (at the time of dying) and contemplating anicca, he can enter the stream.

These four factors are clearly mentioned by the Buddha in the Aṅguttara Nikāya; people who don’t yet know them must learn them through the practice (i.e., sacca mentioned above). Now, if you have experienced the magga and then die, that is also good.

(Sayadaw continues to explain the D.A process). Vipāka vaṭṭa refers to the round of existence. (He then explains the three vaṭṭas: kilesa, kamma, and vipāka vaṭṭas, respectively.)

You should contemplate vipāka vaṭṭa as dukkha Sacca (i.e., the five khandhas); otherwise, it will lead to taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma. This, in turn, will lead back to kilesa and kamma vaṭṭas. Consider whatever arises as Dukkha Sacca, because the whole body is dukkha sacca. Seeing, hearing, goodness, etc., are dukkha sacca because they are anicca.

Never think about, “What will I become if I die?” Die knowing the truth, which leads exclusively to sugati and not elsewhere.

[This talk was delivered four days before his Parinibbāna. Sayadaw is encouraging and uplifting the disciples not to become low-spirited and worry about their practice.]

For example, “What things are coming out from an asubha-corpse?” From the nature of asubha, only asubha will come out. In the same way, at the present moment of this khandha, whatever arises from it is only dukkha sacca that rises and falls. If you die with this kind of knowledge, there is no seriously ugly death, because the magga comes between sec. two and sec. 3. Then vedanā paccaya taṇhā does not arise and only paññā arises, and samudaya sacca ceases (taṇhā ceases), i.e., the cessation of sec. 3. Section four does not arise and saṁsāra is cut off (i.e., different stages of saṁsāra, e.g., for a sotāpanna, the four apāya saṁsāra). You have to instruct your family members that if I die, do not make merits for me. (For most worldlings after death, becoming hungry shades is more likely.)

Even though you are not a slave to others, you are still a slave to your khandha. Therefore, you suffer vaṭṭa dukkha (i.e., Vipāka vaṭṭa).

[Here Sayadawgyi refers to looking after and conditioning of the khandha in many ways.] You have to urinate and excrete; run here and there; eat and drink, etc. Do you have any free time? You’re a slave to the khandha, encountering Vaṭṭa. A vipāka vaṭṭa being is dukkha sacca. Therefore, every time with the contemplation, you attain lokiya-magga. How do you attain lokuttara magga? You have to contemplate until its ending.

revised on 2024-06-10

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