The Importance of Spiritual Friend

revised on 2024-07-10

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 17th January 1961

[This Dhamma talk is delivered to a lay disciple U Ba Yin on the practice of contemplation of the minds. It describes the importance of meeting a spiritual friend as mentioned before by the Buddha. It also supports the 2nd blessing of consorting with wise men in the Maṅgala Sutta, which every human being should know and follow. This is the best form of noble education for humans by all the Buddhas.]

(Firstly, Sayadaw mentions birth from a mother’s womb and continues to explain about ageing, sickness, and death – the whole mass of suffering). This happens due to not encountering a good teacher and being unable to find him by oneself. Therefore, you’re turning around with these four dukkha saccas – pīḷanaṭṭha – oppressive, saṅkhatatha – conditioning, santāpatha – burning with taṇhā fire, and vipariṇāmatha – changing or afflicted. In a past life you were also with these four factors of dukkha. If you can’t free yourself in this life, then in the next life you also will turn around with these dukkhas. You have to find a different route before you arrive at ageing and sickness. (Here Sayadaw talks about the importance of a spiritual friend – kalyāṇa-mitta, and the two jhāna teachers of the Bodhisatta). There’re many disadvantages to dying early and not finding a kalyāṇa-mitta. It’s important to attain the Dhamma.

(Sayadaw continues to talk about the practice) What are the nature and function of the five khandhas ? Their nature is sabbe saṅkhāra anicca – arising and vanishing, arising and vanishing all the time. Their duty is only this! The khandha’s task is to be impermanent. (Sayadaw gives him the example of an electric light continuously lighting). Mind and form (rūpa) are arising and vanishing in this way. If you look at it in a normal way, it looks like a lump of mass. You can’t see its true nature (with a defiled mind) [continues on the practice of the mind] You can’t see the continuous arising due to the velocity of form in section by section. But you can see the changing of the mind. You have to work with contemplation of the mind. You must look at your mind arising with your ñāṇa – knowledge.

Firstly, you should practice samādhi. (Sayadaw continues to talk about how to develop samādhi with ānāpānasati as yesterday. I have translated it before with the title Importance of Samādhi – 16th January 1961, in Partlo) If you have samādhi, use this samādhi to work on the khandha. For example, there’s a seeing mind that arises, and then a hearing mind arises. When the hearing mind arises, the seeing mind no longer exists. If you have samādhi, you know the arising and vanishing of the mind. So whatever mind arises, you know it’s arising and also vanishing. (Knowing all of the minds from the six sense doors. Sayadaw gives the simile of a spider for insight practice). They are all vanishing, and the contemplative mind becomes magga – insight knowledge. You have to make an effort to let vanishing dhamma and path factors of dhamma fit in together. We’re contemplating 13 types of mind; citta here means 13 kinds of mind and anupassanā means contemplating. So it’s cittānupassanā. What’s the benefit of this way of contemplation? It leads to anicca and magga. You attain magga. Magga cuts off all taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma. Does it still connect to the round of existence? Therefore, I am asking you to do it. You have to note down two ways of contemplation.

(Sayadaw explains the two ways of contemplation to U Ba Yin. These are the two qualities of the six Dhamma attributes – ehi passiko; sandiṭṭhiko). Ehi means come! And passa means contemplate me. Contemplate whatever is arising. They are the callers (dhammas). Sandiṭṭhika is the followers (yogis), i.e., contemplating. What’s the benefit of magga continuously meeting with the vanishing phenomena? It becomes akāliko – apparent here and now, non-temporal (another attribute of Dhamma). This is the result of the diṭṭha dhamma – seeing Dhamma directly by oneself. So it cuts off defilements of the mind. If there is no contemplation, the mind connects to defilements by following one of the lobha, dosa, and moha kilesas. With contemplation, these enemies die. The extinction of defilements is Nibbāna. Therefore, someone who contemplates will be closer to Nibbāna. If you follow it, you will get the five path factors. (Sayadaw explains them). They can’t be separated in (samādhi and paññā during vipassanā). It’s Kālika – time consuming if you don’t follow it. It continues the D.A. process. It’s Akālika – timeless if you follow it. It cuts off the D.A. process. (See my translation on the talk – Time Consuming and Timeless, 8th December 1960, Part 4).

The following mind is one mind (i.e., maggaṅga), and the vanishing mind is one mind (object). A being can’t be alive with two minds at the same moment. It has to be alive with only one mind from moment to moment. Therefore, you find out that the mind object does not exist there. In this way, you’re looking at your own death. You are following behind the dead mind with the living mind. Similarly, we can customarily follow the dead person with the alive person (in a funeral to the cremation). Do you want to see your own death? If you can focus on one Dhamma, you will arrive at Magga. No need to talk about all of them.

revised on 2024-07-10

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據英譯者—鄔達摩比丘交待,此譯文僅能免費與大眾結緣,作為法的禮物(Dhamma Dāna)。你可以在任何媒體上重新編製、重印、翻譯和重新發布這部作品。