Where Is Dukkha Coming from?


revised on 2024-07-10


Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 28th May 1961

[This talk was based on – Sammasana Sutta, SN 12. 66, and Nadī Sutta, SN 22. 93]

Birth, ageing, and death are the greatest Dukkha. Where are they coming from? You have to investigate them. They come from the five khandhas. The five khandhas are dukkha sacca. They have many kinds of dukkha. They are dukkha themselves and support dukkha. Again, where’s the khandha coming from? It comes from making prayers due to taṇhā. (so taṇhā is the creator, to worship the creator is to worship taṇhā) Therefore, if taṇhā exists, then khandha exists. Only kamma cannot create the khandha. Taṇhā is the basic cause for becoming a khandha (or a being). Therefore, taṇhā is more important than kamma. Don’t say that due to not having good kamma (bad luck), dukkha comes to me. Instead, you have to say it is due to the existence of the khandha. It is like water existing in a pot (profound analogy). Through the contemplation of truth, you will arrive at Nibbāna. From the khandha, dukkha becomes multiplied. (ageing, sickness, death, etc.) The khandha is dukkha sacca and taṇhā is samudaya sacca. There is no kamma included. Due to taṇhā, the khandha arises. Because of the khandha, you experience many kinds of dukkha. (with modern material progress it has increased and become more complicated).

With no cutting off of kammas, you only get dukkha. But people prefer good kammas. Whoever is expecting that, when I will have good kamma means, it is the same as expecting when I will have to encounter sufferings. Only when taṇhā ends, kammas will end. But you think, “I have to rely on kamma, mother, and father.” If you rely on kamma, your parents will get Dukkha.

Again, where is this taṇhā coming from? It comes from affectionate things (beings and objects). In another way, it comes from the present khandha. Does taṇhā come from the five khandhas? No, it doesn't, it comes only from someone who has a wrong view of this khandha. Taṇhā arises when you take it as lovely and affectionate. It arises when you take the khandha as stable, pleasant, etc. If you think of it as unstable and suffering, etc., taṇhā will not arise. For example, this khandha is like liquor mixed with poison. If you thirst for it and go and drink, you will suffer. If you can contemplate its anicca by not drinking, taṇhā will die. It’s important not to drink it. You’ll drink it if you have affection. In this way, it has only two truths (dukkha and samudaya). In the whole of saṁsāra, it will be dukkha sacca (sec.2) → samudaya sacca (sec.3) → dukkha sacca (sec.4).

(Here, the recorded tape of the sound or voice is not very clear. According to Sayadaw, the 12 links of the D.A. process come from the Sammasana Sutta. Whatever one does with taṇhā becomes dukkha sacca. (After talking about the Sammasana Sutta, Sayadaw continues to talk about the Nadī Sutta).

Note: I have translated a Dhamma talk based on the Nadī Sutta, Khandhavagga-Saniyutta, by Sayadaw, which can be found in part II with the title – Bond with Diṭṭhi Rope and Carrying Away by Taṇhā Water.


revised on 2024-07-10


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