Contemplation of Mind

revised on 2024-07-10

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 11th October 1961

Five external guest minds:

1. seeing consciousness
2. hearing consciousness
3. smelling consciousness
4. tasting consciousness
5. bodily consciousness

Bodily consciousness has two types: unpleasant and pleasant experiences.

Six internal guest minds:

6. greed
7. anger
8. delusion
9. non-greed
10. non-anger
11. thinking mind

Two host minds:

12. breathing in mind
13. breathing out mind

For a worldling, there are only 37 minds that arise for contemplation (see the Abhidhamma). They’ll arise in turn. Contemplate the preceding mind with the following ñāṇa. What will happen? For example, the wanting to eat mind arises.

Its life span only has ① and ②. At ① it arises, and at ② it dies (vanishes). Therefore, it exists as arising and vanishing. You have to follow the arising with the five path factors (i.e., samādhi and paññā). You have to follow the non-existing mind with knowledge. This is where the five path factors appear. Right view is right seeing. Right thought is exposing the object for observation. Mindfulness is being careful of whatever arises. Samādhi is staying with the object. Viriya is making effort on the object. The arising mind will tell you – I am anicca. At the time when you are contemplating it, it’ll tell you – I have died. You have to follow it with ñāṇa in your heart. These phenomena will tell you anicca, dukkha, anatta, and dukkha sacca. The contemplative five path factors are seeing it. If there’s no mind, you’ll die. Therefore, the minds are always arising one after another. You only have to observe them with contemplative knowledge.

The arising minds are aniccas, and the contemplative mind is magga. Therefore, contemplative knowledge is anicca-ñāṇa, dukkha-ñāṇa, anatta-ñāṇa, and dukkha-sacca-ñāṇa respectively. ① is contemplating objects and ② is the contemplative mind. If you can practice and let ① and ② fit together, by practicing in the morning, you’ll attain Dhamma in the evening. ① has already arisen. If ② is a little late for contemplation, it means between the two minds, other minds have already arisen. Then you become aware and the contemplation misses the first object. For example, after three minds arise, there are three minds between them (you miss two of them). And then according to the Buddha, progressing from the five path factors to complete eight path factors will become slow.

The five path factors are mundane knowledge, and the eight path factors are supramundane knowledge. Kilesa coming in between the contemplation is the biggest enemy. If you do not contemplate with insight, only defilements arise. Even with the practice, defilements still come in between the practice. Defilements are the evil one (Mara).

(Sayadaw recites the 10 kilesas of Mara). It doesn’t take long to complete the eight path factors and become a stream enterer if no kilesas come in. The knowledge of arising and vanishing phenomena is gained with the five path factors. This is vipassanā magga. The 13 kinds of mind will arise in turn. You have to contemplate without missing anything that arises.

In the beginning, you contemplate the mind wanting to breathe in and out (not the sensations). (Sayadaw explains the way of practice with the simile of a spider). If defilements do not come in between the practice, even half an hour of practice can help you realize Dhamma. You have to practice firmly. Contemplate the anicca of these 13 kinds of mind and anything else that arises. If there is nothing, return to the host minds (i.e., breathe in and out minds). Practicing vipassanā frees you from the three vaṭṭas (see the D.A Chart). Without practice, one is going to apāyas at any time. It’s terrible. If you have sympathy for yourself, you must practice. If you are only feeding the body and looking after it, you have no pity on yourself.

revised on 2024-07-10

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

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