Khandha Train and Life Stations

revised on 2024-07-09

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 2nd to 3rd December 1960

This khandha is like a train. As a train, it has to arrive at different stations. It’s its duty. Initially, you arrive at the station of the mother’s womb. (Sayadaw talks about the unclean place of the mother’s womb). The birth station is a station for dukkha. A person who doesn’t know sacca (noble truth) has to arrive there. (mentioning about some dukkhas in the womb) Because you don’t know about jātipi dukkha sacca – birth is the truth of dukkha. Now! Staying in there for even a second is unbearable. You have to stay there as a Vipāka vaṭṭa being. Isn't it clear that the start of this life is not good? At the time of delivery, being forced to come out through the narrow hole. (gives an example of a mouse being forced to come out from a small iron net) Is it happiness or suffering? Wanting to come back here again is too foolish. (continues to talk about the sufferings after delivery).

Now you can be happy because you don’t know or remember the path you have traveled. By knowing of dukkha sacca, the knowledge of not wanting to be born again will arise. After coming out, you arrive at the ageing (jara) station and become a disabled small baby. Even though you have feet and hands, you can’t do anything. You're thirsty for water and bitten by mosquitoes but can't say anything and are unable to do anything. You even don’t know what is happening to you.

I am talking to you about the Abhiṇha Sutta (Aṅguttara N., AN.5.57.) with reflections. (Then Sayadaw continues to talk about old age, sickness, and death) If you still don’t know Sacca Dhamma and risk changing your head and arriving back at these stations again, such as different kinds of animal (dog, pig, etc.) heads, human heads, devata heads, etc., what kind of head do you still want to become again? Which stations do you like? – such as jāti, jara, vyādhi, and maraṇa stations. If you don’t like any of them, you have to pray for liberation from dukkha. (most Buddhists make prayers for taṇhā, which is the source of all these Dukkhas – such as long life, beauty, health, wealth, power, etc.) You also have to practice which is the cause for not arriving there (i.e., all sorts of Dukkha). I’ll continue it tomorrow.

From the ageing station before arriving at the sickness station, you must look for the maggan path of a separate route. If you’re sick, you can’t do it. Now you can practice means not arriving at the sickness station yet. If you’re sick, then only go to the death station, with serious illness and after that with serious death. Observe and contemplate the ageing khandha. From the five khandhas, contemplate one of them. If you discern anicca, maggan will arise. You have to watch and observe the khandha and it’ll tell you the truth. For example, in the darkness of the night with a mosquito bite, it’s painful and itching. And then the hand arrives there. The mind arrives there first and is followed by the hand. Dhamma is calling at you as ehi-passiko – come and contemplate me! Don’t go there with the hand but go there with ñāṇa-knowledge. Going with the hand is going with Dosa. Going with ñāṇa is going with Maggan. Going with Dosa is going to apāya (to hell).

Vedanā already ceases before ñāṇa goes there. If you go where anicca is calling, you will see anicca. Going with Dosa becomes sakkaya diṭṭhi. If you go with ñāṇa, you will find your own death. Your death is anicca, and finding this out is magga.

Sandiṭṭhiko samāpatti sabbo – seeing it by oneself because your ñāṇa is going toward ehi-passiko, which is calling at you, inviting you to come and observe me. You’re lacking these two factors that have not found Nibbāna, and not arriving at the maggan path [instead of micchā-magga (defiled paths). There are many in worldly knowledge.] If you’re following behind ehi-passiko, you will realize the first magga, the 2nd magga, etc. Paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhī – you will realize and experience them respectively.

How do you experience them? Ageing, sickness, and death do not come back again. If you contemplate a lot, lokiya magga becomes lokuttara magga. If it becomes the eight path factors, the khandha disappears (the five khandhas vanish). So, no more deaths are calling at you. You have found out by yourself the place of freedom from Deaths. At the ending of Anicca → Nicca Nibbāna exists. At the ending of Dukkha → Sukha Nibbāna exists.

At the ending of Anatta → Anatta Nibbāna exists.

Note: Nibbāna is Atta or Anatta? I have heard from a Forest Thai Ajahn that Nibbāna is neither Atta nor Anatta. It makes sense because there are no worldly designations for it. Some Buddhists, whose Diṭṭhi-Taṇhā are so strong, postulate Atta Nibbāna with a permanent Heaven for coming and going to save all beings, similar to Hindu Avatars. Additionally, some Buddhists interpret Suññatā as meaning nothing exists. Thus, the defilement of bhava-taṇhā was terrifying for worldlings. Thus, Nibbāna being anatta is especially relevant for these rāgūmmattakas (rāga-ummattakas) and mohūmmattakas who prefer the ways of drifting and sinking in saṁsāra with their Attas.

revised on 2024-07-09

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

  • Content of "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

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