revised on 2024-07-10

This is the end of Mogok Sayadaw’s Dhamma Talks. I hope that in the future some Burmese Buddhists will come forward to translate the entire talks to preserve the Dhamma. Here, I also want to sort out some misunderstandings regarding these translations. These could come from Burmese Buddhists who have the chance to listen to and read Mogok Talks in Burmese.

I have to say it again, these translations come from my own transcriptions of Sayadaw’s talks on disks. See the Translator’s Notes. I have written four books; only Mogok Talks are the most difficult for me, and they also take a lot of my time for tasks such as transcriptions, translations, checking with some suttas, corrections, etc. It takes some years to finish them.

Sayadaw gives his talks mostly in short sentences and very rarely uses pronouns. Therefore, I add some pronouns to the sentences where needed. The readers can also distinguish some of my notes and contemplations from Sayadaw’s ones by the written marks of brackets – ( ) and [ ]. Without these brackets are Sayadaw’s own words.

There are two kinds of monks whose contributions made the Dhamma and the world shine brightly. The first kind is someone who has great learning in Dhamma and also penetrates the Dhamma with practice – such as Ledi Sayadaw and Mogok Sayadaw. Their teachings on Sacca Dhamma help Buddhists to understand the Dhamma profoundly and clearly.

The second kind is someone without much great learning but who possesses a lot of experience and knows how to live the holy life according to the Buddha's instructions.

For example, the Thai Forest Tradition – such as Laun Pu Sao Kantasilo, Laung Pu Mun Bhuridatto, and their disciples, Laung Por Chah, etc. We need both types of monks for the Buddha Dhamma to last long and for the welfare of human beings, especially Buddhists.

Without Dhamma education and knowledge, humans don’t know how to behave and live their lives, leading to more sufferings and problems in their present lives and future. They also don’t know how to solve human and environmental problems and disasters.

If we observe animals, whether as pets or for consumption, we will see or discover human nature and habits in them. Most humans think we are superior to them. So we exploit and misuse them for sensual pleasures. We will never realize that in the future, we ourselves are sure to encounter these kinds of fate and misfortune. In the future, humans born as animals will suffer more than before because no more natural forests exist and water is polluted and poisonous. So most humans, after death, will end up in animal farms for meat production, and the violent, cruel humans will be in hell realms.

The doors to hell and ghost realms are also widely open for humans, to welcome them. Human beings are more and more greedy with anger and ill-will than before. Disputes and conflicts are becoming more violent and cruel. Humans have developed brains but mostly misuse them. They only know how to indulge in sensual pleasures and do not know how to develop their minds to find true happiness and peace.

Human evolution is only possible with Dhamma education and training of body, speech, and mind. Material progress and indulgence in sensual pleasures alone are not real evolution and progress. A mind defiled and rotten inside will never lead to true progress and happiness; instead, it creates problems, dangers, destructions, and sufferings. These things are also mentioned in some of the suttas. At the time of Doomsday, even if humans can survive, it is a natural disaster. So why can’t humans survive and escape from man-made dangers, disasters, and sufferings? Human destiny is in their own minds and hands. How you view, think, and act is what you are. This is the law of kamma and dhamma nature. It’s interesting to study the Cakkavatti-Sῑhanāda Sutta with contemplation. There, when human moral behavior plunges to the lowest level, it is the darkest time in human history. At that time, the human lifespan is only 10 years. Is it possible? Why not? At that time, human beings were more like animals. A female would give birth to many babies like an animal. They would grow up quickly like cats and dogs.

The interesting part is the seven days war of humans. It might be the greatest world war, which would wipe out 90% of humans on earth. Their weapons of mass destruction could excel those of today's man. The arms competition of super-powers shows their foolishness and shamelessness. In these darkest times, humans don’t have any moral standards at all. All the 10 wholesome dhammas disappear, and unwholesome dhammas prevail. After the darkest time in human history, 10% of the world population starts to correct their wrong views, thinking, and actions. With good moral standards and behavior, the lifespan increases back again slowly to many thousands of years. And then it falls back to 10 years.

At the time when the human lifespan is 80 thousand years, Buddha Metteya will arise in the world. Nowadays, Buddhists who want to meet him should diligently practice sīla, samādhi, and paññā. The best way is to end dukkha in this Sāsana.

We should not take the incidents mentioned in this sutta as myth. Some phenomena already happened in the past, and the future ones are predictions of the Buddha. If we have common sense, it is not difficult to understand them. These are according to the law of nature – dhamma nature. Today, world society and natural phenomena all support it. The three lokas mentioned by the Buddha are connected. The saṅkhāra loka is the superior one. One protects oneself and protects others and nature. This is an unfailing truth.

It is beneficial to use some suttas to contemplate human nature, its situation, and essence. What are humans doing and searching for on this earth? This is a very important question for every human being. This is related to human well-being, happiness, and peace. There are two types of human beings – blind worldlings and wise worldlings. They have nothing to do with their worldly knowledge, status, and wealth – such as politicians, economists, billionaires, scientists, AI technicians, etc. This mostly depends on Dhamma Knowledge and Dhamma Education.

Therefore, the most important question for humans is:-What are humans searching/questing for? The answer is also not an easy one because the human defiled mind is complicated and extensive.

The human quest and search have many levels – from the coarsest, most inferior to the most refined and noblest things. This is similar to human views on Blessings – Maṅgalas. It depends on their interests and desires. The results will differ, from the lowest hell to permanent Peace and Happiness. In the same way as the teaching of Maṅgala, the Quest/Search – (Pariyesanā) of Dhamma teaching only the Buddha can give the clear-cut answer.

The following reflections are based on Sayadaw U Uttama’s talks and some suttas.

In the Majjhima Nikāya is the Ariyapariyesanā Sutta – the Noble Search, Sutta no. 26. There the Buddha mentioned two kinds of search: ignoble search and noble search. What is ignoble search? Someone, being himself subject to birth, seeks what is subject to birth. In relation to aging, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, he seeks what is also subject to these things.

What is the noble search? Someone, being himself subject to birth, understands the dangers and seeks the unborn security from bondage, i.e., Nibbāna. In relation to aging, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, he seeks the un-aging, unailing, deathless, sorrowless, undefiled security from bondage, Nibbāna.

And then the Buddha continues to talk about his search for enlightenment.

In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Book of the Fours is a sutta called the Quests, sutta no. 255. Here the Buddha only mentioned four of them, excluding birth and sorrow.

In the Maggasaṃyutta, a group of suttas mentioned searches. There the Buddha mentions three searches: the search for sensual pleasures, the search for existence, and the search for a holy life.

The above lists of ignoble search and noble search are as far as I know in the suttas. I am not a scholar monk, so my knowledge about them is very limited.

I will use the sutta lists to contemplate them roughly. If we contemplate on Dhamma deeply and extensively, there is a lot to do, because human kilesas have no limits. Therefore, their dukkhas also have no limitations.

The ignoble search in the Ariyapariyesanā Sutta includes six kinds – birth, aging, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement. From birth to death, humans can’t stop it. But sorrows and defilements can be overcome by knowledge of Dhamma and Dhamma practice. So, Dhamma education is very important.

I am more interested in the three searches in the Maggasaṃyutta. There is a lot for contemplation in this list. These are the search for sensual pleasures, for existence, and for a holy life. If we investigate them, the search for sensual pleasures to holy life becomes more and more difficult. The searches for sensual pleasures to existence overlap, e.g., someone desires to become a U.S. President, a millionaire, billionaire, etc. in this present life. Humans seeking sensual pleasures are too extensive and complicated; no other living beings excel them in this, and the same goes for becoming. Therefore, their minds are more defiled than other beings. But there are exceptions if they use wholesome ways to get the results and not only for themselves but also to help others, e.g., a U.S. President and a billionaire. If they get what they desire in unwholesome ways and harm others, it is like Honey on the Tip of the Razor Blade. Seeking to become is very difficult to give up, and only arahants are immune from it.

Next, I want to describe a story that really inspires me and demonstrates the powers of the Buddha and Dhamma. Most Buddhists are also familiar with this story, but only a part of it and not the whole story. This is about the 30 princes who were the sons of King Mahākosala. Their first encounter with the Buddha is mentioned in a Dhammapada story. The Buddha, after his enlightenment, spent the first vassa near Varanasi. After the vassa, he continued his journey toward Uruvela. On the way, he went to a certain forest grove and sat down at the root of a certain tree. At that time, a group of 30 princes, the Bhaddavaggiyas, were entertaining themselves with their wives in the forest grove.

One of them had no wife, so they brought a prostitute. As they were heedlessly entertaining themselves, the prostitute took the man’s belongings and ran off. They were searching for the woman and saw the Buddha sitting at the root of a tree. They went to the Buddha and asked him if he had seen a woman. Instead of giving an answer, the Buddha asked a counter question – what did they want with a woman? They told the Buddha what happened to them. The Buddha asked them an important question.

“What do you think, young men, which is better for you; that you search for a woman or that you search for yourselves?” They gave the right answer that it was better to search for themselves.

Then the Buddha gave them a graduated talk, a talk on dāna, sīla, and on heaven. He proclaimed the drawbacks of, degradation in, and defilements in sensuality and the reward of renunciation. When their minds were ready, malleable, unhindered, exultant, and confident, he proclaimed the four noble truths. At the end of the talk, all entered the stream.

They entered the Buddhist monk order with the ehi-bhikkhus formula. Then the Buddha resumed his journey to Uruvela to teach the three Kassapa brothers.

The above story of the 30 bhikkhus continues in the Anamataggasaṃyutta, the Thirty Bhikkhus Sutta, Sutta no. 13. Now at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, these 30 bhikkhus from Pava went to see the Buddha. They were forest dwellers, alms-food eaters, rag-robe wearers, and triple-robe users. The Buddha gave the following talk to them.

“Saṁsāra is without a discoverable beginning. With ignorance and craving, the first point is not discerned of beings roaming and wandering. The stream of blood that they have shed when they were beheaded as they roamed and wandered through this long course is more than the water in the four great oceans. For a long time, they have been cows, goats, buffaloes, sheep, deer, chickens, etc., in the same way.

For a long time, they have been arrested as burglars, highwaymen, and adulterers, and when they were beheaded, the stream of blood they shed was greater than the water in the four great oceans. Saṁsāra is so long without a discoverable beginning. It is good for them to be liberated from it.” At the end of the talk, all became arahants

Humans measure wealth and treasure by how much sensual pleasure one can enjoy, how much money one can make, and how much power one has. According to the Buddha, these things are filthy pleasures, without essence, and empty. They take these things as real happiness. So humans have disputes, conflicts, and fights with each other to get these things.

Wealth, treasure, and happiness as defined by the Buddha are as follows.


1. Faith is a man’s best treasure.
2. Dhamma practised well brings happiness.
3. Truth is the best or the sweetest of tastes.
4. Life with wisdom is the best living.

(from Devatāsaṃyutta)

Wealth or Noble Growth

There are five kinds of wealth:

1. Faith – on Buddha, Dhamma, Saṅgha and law of Kamma
2. Virtuous behavior (at least five precepts or 10 wholesome dhamma)
3. Learning – suta (on Buddha Dhamma or Dhamma Education)
4. Generosity – cāga
5. Wisdom

(From the Aṅguttara Nikāya, Book of Fives, Sutta no. 47)

Seven Noble Wealth or Treasures

There are seven kinds of noble wealth or treasure:

1. Faith
2. Virtuous Behaviour
3. Moral Shame
4. Moral Dread
5. Learning
6. Generosity
7. Wisdom

(From Aṅguttara Nikāya, Books of Sevens, Sutta no. 5 and 6)

The Buddha states that sensual pleasures (worldly wealth, treasure, and power) provide little gratification, much suffering, and despair, and the danger in them is great and more. The Buddha compares the following similes to sensual pleasures. These are: -1. The simile of the skeleton or bone 2. the simile of a piece of meat 3. the simile of the grass torch 4. the pit of coals 5. the dream 6. borrowed goods 7. fruits on a tree 8. the butcher’s knife and block 9. the sword stake 10. the snake’s head. (See the Simile of the Snake, Sutta no. 22, and its detailed explanations in the Potaliya Sutta, Sutta no. 54, both in the Majjhima Nikāya.)

It is important for every human to contemplate the dangers, problems, destruction, and suffering of sensual pleasures. I will only use one or two of them relating to today's human situations briefly. Their power and suffering are not small things.

A dog, overcome by hunger and weakness, gets a meatless bone smeared with blood. This dog gnaws the bone for some time and reaps weariness and disappointment. It is the same as today; humans' excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures never satisfies their hunger and thirst for them. So humans, with their brains and worldly knowledge, seek ways to indulge more and more. They never have contentment. Therefore, the earth is becoming more and more polluted with climate changes, and many problems, dangers, and disasters arise. It provides much suffering and despair.

The simile of a vulture, heron, or hawk seizing a piece of meat and flying away: the others pursue it and peck and claw at it. If the vulture or hawk does not quickly let go of that meat, it could incur death or deadly suffering. Similarly, if we observe today's world at international levels, we see a lot of competition in many sectors for sensual pleasures, wealth, and power, etc. There are a lot of disputes, conflicts, wars, arms races, trade wars, and territorial disputes, etc. It becomes more and more violent, cruel, and destructive to human life, properties, and the natural environment.

The Buddha calls sensual happiness in sensual pleasures low, vulgar, the way of worldlings or fools, ignoble and vain. Therefore, all these searches, quests, and seeking are ignoble, inferior, and will never end, making the human mind more defiled and rotten.

On the other hand, the noble search will lead to true happiness, which never changes and transcends all suffering. With the noble quests, we can achieve the noble wealth or growth and attain the seven noble wealth or treasures.

Every human being on earth, day in and day out, is getting closer to aging, sickness, death, and rebirth. All these natural processes are very painful and unpleasant. Everyone will encounter them. The most important moments are near death and rebirth. To have a good death and rebirth is very important. To achieve this, at least we should possess the noble growth, which will lead to a good death with a good rebirth or even could transcend death by attaining the seven noble treasures.

I hope these translations of Mogok Dhamma may help people on the way to true happiness and peace. I will end my work with a Dhammapada Verse in the Appamādavagga for contemplation.

Verse: 28

When the wise person drives out
with heedfulness,
having climbed the high tower
of discernment,
he observes the sorrowing crowd –
as the enlightened man,
having scaled
a summit,
sees the fools on the ground below.

May all being be well and free from suffering!

revised on 2024-07-10

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

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According to the translator— Ven. Uttamo's words, this is strictly for free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma—Dhamma Dāna. You may re-format, reprint, translate, and redistribute this work in any medium.

據英譯者—鄔達摩比丘交待,此譯文僅能免費與大眾結緣,作為法的禮物(Dhamma Dāna)。你可以在任何媒體上重新編製、重印、翻譯和重新發布這部作品。