The Greatest Enemy

revised on 2024-07-10

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 30th June 1960

Strip off wrong views first and contemplate anicca later. Today I’ll talk about diṭṭhi and taṇhā. After you have exterminated wrong views first, then exterminate craving later. Why is that? It is because you want to become a stream enterer. If you want to become a non-returner and arahant, you should exterminate craving. Before me, people used to talk about the extermination of craving, and not about the killing of wrong views. You have to note that the process of the practice is straying away from the main point. Only after killing the wrong views will you attain higher knowledge (i.e., from once-returner to arahant). You have to climb up step by step, unable to skip it. If not, your time is wasted and you will not reach the goal. If you kill wrong views, the coarser forms of craving, including wrong view, will be eradicated by itself. Craving will drift you away at its will if wrong views are not killed. If you exterminate wrong views, craving will be unable to drift you to the four apāyas. You have to remember that the worldlings who take the khandha to be me are the biggest enemy. If you exterminate craving first, it is like killing someone who is not an enemy first. Knowing how to exterminate it will free you from the enemy. Drifting beings to the four apāyas is not the nature of craving. It is the work of wrong views. Diṭṭhi is the most fearsome enemy. Sassata and uccheda views will arise if you take the khandha as me every time it arises.

If you exterminate something which should not be exterminated first, it will increase the dangers, otherwise, it will free you from them. With the companion of diṭṭhi, craving will send beings wherever it likes in the 31 realms of existence. From sotāpanna to anāgāmi, one can’t fall into the apāyas because they have no wrong views (they still have some forms of craving).

You have to understand the D.A. process of your khandha if you want to exterminate diṭṭhi. The disappearance of a person or a being is the disappearance of diṭṭhi. You’re killing diṭṭhi if you know your khandha D.A. process. There are many types of mind arising, not a person nor a being (Sayadaw gives examples of them). There are many types of feelings arising, not a person nor a being. Diṭṭhi will fall away if you know the phenomena that arise from the khandha. You make it fall away by mindfulness and wisdom. The fall of Diṭṭhi is number one. Contemplation of arising and falling is number two. If you know whatever is arising, there is no I-ness in them. This is the stripping away of diṭṭhi. Knowing one’s mind is knowing the D.A. process. Diṭṭhi will stick with you if you see whatever is arising as – this is me, this is me, etc. If your knowledge is not mixed up with the I-ness, it is good enough. Don’t fear greed and anger. You have to fear becoming the I-ness. If you say – “Don’t challenge me”. Then your anger becomes you. If you say, I want to have it, then greed becomes the I-ness. Sotāpanna still has greed and anger, but they will not fall into the apāyas. Why is that? It is because there is no I and me inside them.

(Sayadaw continues with the Anurādha Sutta, SN 22. 86, in the Khandhavagga Saṃyutta). Why are there three different knowledges? (this refers to anicca, dukkha, and anatta ñāṇas). The real existence is only arising and vanishing phenomena. These three ñāṇas are clear to each person differently in their contemplation. The object is not different, but dhamma is only one – whatever is arising in the khandha, rising and falling is dukkha sacca, knowing it is magga sacca, taṇhā not arising is samudaya sacca, and the cessation of dukkha is nirodha sacca. It only has the four truths. Is there any I-ness and me included in the process? Only dukkha arising and dukkha ceasing exist in the process. No person nor a being is there.

The monk Anurādha had a wrong view and doubts, so he couldn’t answer the questions posed to him by the followers of wrong views (outside faith).

revised on 2024-07-10

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