Waiting for Dangers

revised on 2024-07-10

Dhamma Talks by Mogok Sayadaw; 25th February 1961

The Buddha said that if one does not practise vipassanā, it is like waiting for dangers (from Aṅguttara). Number one – this khandha is going toward the danger of ageing. Is it good to wait for the danger of ageing? Or is it good to finish the practice before arriving there? We’re tricked by taṇhā. The danger of ageing gives you a bad result. In vipassanā, you have to persevere with good kamma and good ñāṇa; and with poor kamma and poor ñāṇa, it is impossible.

Number two – this khandha is going toward the danger of sickness. To be free from sickness, you must do the practice before. Every time you are in good health, you have to work hard quickly.

Number three – it’s not good to wait for the danger of death (at that time, it is more difficult to practice while dying).

Note: This point is not in the original sutta. Instead of death, it mentions the danger of famine.

Number four: Because of differences in doctrines and views, people are dwelling in discord, disharmony, dispute, etc. This will be the danger of the future (already happening).

Number five: There will come a time when there will be a schism in the saṅgha.

If you don’t cultivate the spiritual life, you are waiting for the five future dangers. At Dhamma chanting (Dhamma Pūjā), people are making prayers to be free from dangers. In reality, they’re waiting for all these dangers to arise. Their talkings and doings are not in accordance. About humans, the most difficult thing is admonishing oneself. Waiting for these dangers makes it difficult to admonish.

(Sayadaw continues to talk on the contemplation of feeling) Three types of feeling are murderers. As an example – a fish sees a bait and goes near it to gulp the food. It is then pulled up on the boat and killed by the fisherman. Only by contemplating to the ending of Vedanā will one be freed from the murderers. With the ending of Vedanā, the other khandhas also come to an end.

Some reflections on this talk

There are four suttas related to the future dangers. All of them are related to the monks. Of the four suttas, sutta no.2 is also related to lay Buddhists. Therefore, Sayadaw is using this sutta to exhort and warn the listeners, most of whom are lay people. See – Book of the 5s, sutta no.77 to 80, Aṅguttara Nikāya .

The dangers of ageing, sickness and death are natural ones from which no one can escape. But the dangers of famine and human discords and disputes are related to human views, thinking and actions, which are human -made; so these are in our hands and we can control them.

It’s quite interesting to read what the Buddha mentioned about the future dangers of famine and human discords and disputes in the sutta. All these things have already happened in this 21st century, up to the international or global level. Because of greed, hatred, and delusion, the human mind is polluted and creates a lot of problems, dangers and disasters in societies and natural environments.

revised on 2024-07-10

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