Diṭṭhi And Apāyas

revised on 2024-07-10

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 27th, 28th May and 2nd June 1960

(wrong views and woeful existences)

There’re six phenomena leading to woeful existences (apāyas). These are – diṭṭhi, vicikicchā, sīlabbata-parāmāsa (clinging to wrong practices), lobha with diṭṭhi, dosa with diṭṭhi, and moha with diṭṭhi.

There is no other thing more important than the extermination of diṭṭhi. You have to know about this point early. Diṭṭhi arises from not knowing about the five khandhas. You all have to look for a teacher who is able to teach you about them. With his knowledge, the Buddha observes humans and finds out that hundreds of thousands of human beings die and no one is reborn at good destinations (sugati). That is from the Saṃyutta Nikāya. What he found out is that with the cause of diṭṭhi, beings fall into apāya existences.

In the Dhammapada, the Buddha teaches that people who are heedless to anicca, the four apāya bhūmis are their permanent homes. A stone normally stays on the ground, but if someone throws it up, it goes up for a short period, and after that, it falls down again. The life of living beings is in the same way. Why is that? Because the whole day, people are identifying themselves as "this is mine, this I am, and this is myself." They’re always living with diṭṭhi. From the six sense doors, only diṭṭhi, taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma are arising.

There are countless kammas leading to apāyas throughout the whole day. Originally (mostly), they come from apāyas, and after arriving here, they’re collecting diṭṭhi kammas that lead to apāyas again. Where’s diṭṭhi coming from? It comes from not knowing about the khandha. If diṭṭhi arises, then taṇhā, upādāna, and kamma also arise. For someone with diṭṭhi intact, the cauldron is waiting for him/her. (For this point, Sayadaw gives the example of Upāsaka Nandiya who made merits and had heavenly mansions appear in heaven with celestial nymphs waiting for him).

The ultimate reality of phenomena is correct and unchanging. You have to catch on to anicca when feeling arises. Diṭṭhi falls away by knowing it as feeling. Diṭṭhi also falls away by discerning anicca (rise and fall) [The first one is identity and the 2nd one is sassata and uccheda.] Knowing rise and fall becomes knowledge (vijjā). Therefore, ignorance also falls away. Knowing about feeling and its rise and fall by contemplation, the D.A. process is cut off in the beginning and the middle. This is contemplating with the five path factors but not including the sīla factors, because it is not complete yet. It’s still contemplation as a worldling.

The Buddha mentioned to the monks that he used to teach the true Dhamma to them correctly for once. If he taught them about the development of insight 1,972 times throughout his life, it means it is a very important matter. Obtaining this khandha and obtaining it again in the future is the greatest fault. There are five javana minds (i.e., active phase of the cognitive process) that arise near death.

And then the cuti mind arises (i.e., the last mind moment at the time of death). This is the last mind of this present life. The dying person has to abandon this life’s khandha. The new khandha starts to arise. This is birth – jāti. The dying person sees the mental images (nimittas) from the first mind to the 5th mind. He sees these before death and doesn't have time to correct the nimittas. Therefore, the practising of vipassanā is one’s own matter.

Therefore, the Buddha exhorts us to practice 1792 times in his 45 years of teaching. Some people are crying near death, with tears flowing down their faces, because they are seeing the dugati nimittas (bad destinations – such as hell, ghost, animal realms). How terrible is that? This is not an ordinary matter, but the most important matter. Therefore, don’t give any excuses and reasons for your practice. If you say "I have no time" it means you don't have any sympathy for yourself.

Some Refections

If we never study the Buddha Dhamma, we will never know the dangers of saṁsāra while carrying with us the latent defilements of the three unwholesome roots – greed, hatred, and delusion, along with its other companions. The untrained mind mostly inclines toward unwholesome dhammas. Most ordinary Buddhists do not know the dangers and its consequences of Diṭṭhi. For worldlings, there are only two kinds of kamma – unwholesome and wholesome. Throughout their whole day and whole life, all their actions (mental, speech, and body) are of these two kinds, mostly the negative ones. This happens to world leaders, politicians, economists, scientists, etc. If we do not study the Buddha's teachings, apply it in daily life, and practice the noble eightfold path, the frequent homes of all worldlings will be the four apāyas. This is not an exaggeration. We can check ourselves with the standard law of the D.A. process. The Buddha also warns us.

A student asks a teacher, “Do we have any chances of going between the unwholesome and the wholesome?” The answer is, “No, you don’t have one.” It is like a person who has no experience walking on a tight rope; he is bound to fall to the left or right. The straight line of the rope is like the Buddha’s middle way. The left and right are the negative (wrong practices) and positive (sensual pleasures) ways. Not creating any negative or positive kammas is possible only for an arahant.

The Buddha also warns and exhorts that wrong view leads to the arising and increase of unwholesome qualities, and in the same way, right view leads to the arising and increase of wholesome qualities. Therefore, wrong views lead to dangers, destruction, and sufferings, while right views lead to the opposite results.

Why do so many sufferings and problems arise in this 21st century? The answer is quite clear. Some leaders and governments struggle for power and wealth, with both sides killing and harming a lot of citizens. A superpower's arms industries and businesses are not only killing their own citizens, but also creating crimes, drugs, and violence in its neighbouring countries. These countries then smuggle narcotics and drugs back to the superpower, whose government admits the great harm affecting their citizens. Among the deaths of people, 40% are related to these poisonous drugs. This is karmic retribution.

Right views, right thoughts, and right actions are related to wisdom – right knowledge. Wrong views, wrong thoughts, and actions are related to ignorance – wrong knowledge. Therefore, generally, humans live their lives driven by greed, hatred, and delusion. Without the Buddha Dhamma, humans do not have the right knowledge to follow the right path.

revised on 2024-07-10

  • Content of Part 16 on "Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw"

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