The Quickest Way to End Taṇhā

revised on 2024-07-10

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 22nd December 1960

I’ll teach about the Cūḷataṇhāsaṅkhaya Sutta (this is the shorter discourse on the destruction of craving, sutta no.37, Majjhima Nikāya, MN 037). This is the discourse on the destruction of craving. How should one practice to make the destruction of craving quickly? It’s not enough if you only see the khandha. You can arrive at Nibbāna with the discerning of perishing and vanishing (khaya and vaya). If we analyze feeling, there are no more than three types. Firstly, you must discern their perishing and vanishing (by explaining this system of contemplation of feeling). When feelings are arising, you have to see their perishing and vanishing. You see their arising and vanishing with the five path factors (samādhi and paññā). Do you see the feeling as anicca with magga? You don’t find feelings (at the time of contemplating). The destruction and vanishing of feeling is nirodha (cessation). So you find out about the cessations (of feelings).

Vedanā nirodha taṇhā nirodho – with the cessation of feeling, craving ceases – Following the cessation of craving is following the five path factors. When taṇhā is not arising, do action (kamma), birth (jāti), ageing (jarā), and death (maraṇa) still arise? (No! Ven. Sir). Instead, in the place of taṇhā not arising, the path factors appear (arise). You have to note about taṇhā nirodho – the cessation of craving in two ways: the cessation where no taṇhā arises and the cessation where taṇhā arises but is stopped.

The cessation that occurs after taṇhā arises is found in the contemplation of the mind – cittānupassanā (see the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta). After the lobha (greedy) mind rises, by contemplating it ceases (not leading to action). In the contemplation of feeling, both the cause and result cease; sec.3 and sec.4 do not arise. Therefore, the Buddha teaches Sakka that the contemplation of feeling is the quickest way to end taṇhā.

(After listening to the Buddha’s teaching, Sakka went back to Heaven and indulged in sensual pleasures, and he forgot about the teaching. We can see the great fault of kāmaguṇa.) If the bad objects come in, the good ones disappear. Whatever you’re contemplating, the important point is seeing its perishing and vanishing (i.e., the importance of anicca). With the destruction of feeling, taṇhā does not exist. Therefore, if you can contemplate the ending of feeling, taṇhā will be finished quickly. (We can see this point illustrated by some Burmese enlightened monks who finished their practices within short periods. For example, Nyaung Loont Tawya Sayadaw (1867-1933) became a stream enterer, and within 10 days, he became an arahant. Soon Loon Sayadaw (1877-1952) – From sotāpanna to arahant (four months) U Manisara (Soon Loon Sayadaw’s disciple) became an arahant in seven days. Thae Inn Gu Sayadaw (1913-1973) went from satapaññā to arahant within two years.)

Therefore, near death, if you can contemplate all the arising of feelings to their ending, you can become a stream enterer and to arahantship. Do you appreciate it? If you contemplate the three feelings in turn, D.A. process is cut off in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end. This is the cessation of samudaya and dukkha. With the four noble truths, the cessation of two truths leads to nirodha and magga. All the cessation of feelings is Nibbāna. Seeing Nibbāna is the path of knowledge.

revised on 2024-07-10

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