revised on 2019-12-05
This is like a preparation for climbing up a higher part of the mountain. It’s for the liberation from saṁsāricsaṁsāric dukkha. So, we must do the practice with the three governing principles (i.e., thinking about or contemplating on the repeated suffering – saṁsāric dukkha: Taking oneself as a governing principle (attādhipati), taking the worlds (lokādhipati) and the Dhamma as governing principles (Dhammādhipati). Here taking the worlds as governing principle means the living beings who have the ability to see and know other mind. See Aṅguttara Nikāya, III 40 Governing principles, AN.3.40 Ādhipateyyasuttaṃ.) Mogok Sayadaw said, “We could not do the practice in an ordinary way, but with the three governing principles (adhipati) and resolution.” The first one is making oneself as a governing (attādhipati). You can’t attain it with prayers, and must do it yourself. It needs the faith of I must realize it. You shouldn’t have this kind of thought, couldn’t I do it? You should have the determination of I must realize it with the practice. It can be happened that you retreat back or it takes more time.
We only have the 18 days limit and shouldn’t waste the time. From today onwards we must make the resolution for the practice. Practice with the resolution. Why are you coming here for the practice? Mogok Sayadaw said, “We didn’t come here because we have nothing to eat, or nothing to wear or nowhere to live; also we are not to come here and practice for the happiness of human and celestial beings (i.e., sugati – good rebirths).” (For example of human dukkha, mentioned the story of bhikkuni Patacara.) Round of existence (saṁsāra) was so long that every living being had shed tears more than the water in the four oceans. With deaths the bones were piling up like great mountains.
After birth even like a criminal has the death sentence with him. We’re afraid of death and planning in many ways not to die. However you’re doing it can’t free from aging, sickness and death. For a death-sentenced criminal, day after day the time to death is closer and closer and has more sense of urgency (saṁvega). But everyday most people are enjoying themselves with companions, sensual pleasures and eating and drinking. Their precious times are finishing in those ways. After deaths they will fall into the four woeful destinations like coconut fruits fall down at randomly. The dangers of change (vipariṇāma) and easily falling into painful destinations (vinipāta) are within us after births. This life can be used as to be free from these dangers. So, it’s very important for us. We had been as animals for foods to others in many lives. Therefore we come here for the practice to escape from these worse situations.
Approaching a good teacher is one of the causes for realization. It’s very difficult to get a good teacher to teach us. After finished his own practice, Mogok Sayadaw wanted others to know and practice the Dhamma. So, he was continuously teaching others without stopping. He was still teaching people until near his death. He gave the guarantee for his listeners and said, “If you practice with the three adhipatis in the evening and can realize it the next morning.” At least we should have the goal of not falling into bad destinations after death. This is the situation of a small stream winner (cūḷa-sotāpanna). Someone discerns impermanence is a cūḷa-sotāpanna.
We’re establishing Samādhi for the discerning of impermanence. Later you’ll know how much height this khandha mountain is. Only by practicing hard you can attain path and fruit within the 18 days. There are many practicing for ten years, 20 years already. Our groups had practiced seriously before (the yogis at his centre in Taunggnoo). Only a person with sharp faculty could realize it in ten days. (He was one of them and mentioned his experiences in his book- “A Man Walking on the Path of Spiritual Knowledge”.)
Most people are only discerning impermanence within ten days. It was impossible from the disenchanting of impermanence (i.e., nibbidā ñāṇa) to the ending of it (i.e., path knowledge) within ten days (i.e., among his yogis). Therefore I made a plan. (That was his successful khandha paṭiccasamuppāda lectures across Burma by using the way of Mogok Sayadaw’s teaching on this topic.) Discern impermanence within ten days and become cūḷa-sotāpanna. And it will take rebirths in sugati but still not be free from the dangers of plane of misery (apāyas). And then the yogi has the seed of mahā-sotāpanna for the next life. The tree will grow out in the next life, and will become a sotāpanna.
We’ll ascend the mountain with the three stages of knowledge as taught by Mogok Sayadaw. (This was also mentioned by the Buddha himself for many times in some of the suttas.)
Second, make preparation for climbing the mountain. For this we must make two resolutions (adhiṭṭhāna). The first one is we’ll do the practice with sitting, walking, standing and lying down in each posture exactly for an hour without changing. It doesn’t mean we have to do it in the extreme way but in the middle way. And it’s painful and become unbearable for you. The reason is you don’t know how to contemplate by separating from it. We must make a test for how much can we bear it. This practice makes us to have the quality of endurance. The practice is not only to have Samādhi but also to make the mind has patience. It’s also testing for oneself how much could you do with patience in dealing of with pain – dukkha. After half an hour painful sensations – dukkha vedanā will arise. If it arises, you want it to disappear. You want to change the posture due to wanting it to disappear. Then you have to make this determination. Whenever get this body – khandha, and this suffering dukkha will continue to come. If I change the posture, it’ll torture me again in next posture. So, I’ll not change and try up to 40 minutes. I will increase another five minutes if I pass it. After overcome it with 45 minutes and I’ll increase to the maximum. There is nothing without ending. If anything has the beginning and it must has the ending.
By following and observing the most painful one and at the end of it, you will find out the most pleasant one. At the end of suffering, happiness exists. I thought it would torture me continuously. After the worst things finish the good things exist. Here the yogis have to know one thing. You shouldn’t go in and feel the feeling – vedanā unbearably. You were seemed to be in comfortable posture to someone nearby. This is the battle between the body – khandha and knowledge. A laywoman in Minbu City (in Central Burma) was used to talk bluntly. At her retreat and said to me, “Ven. Sir, during the practice there are three enemies attacking me and quite unpleasant. The air element tortures me, and the heat element is very hot. Enemies are three and I’m the only one. But still I overcome them.” If the khandha is attacking us, we must conquer it. Today onwards we should have this kind of spirit. It doesn’t mean that not to change at all. Develop bit by bit and do it as much as you can. There is no difficulty anymore if you overcome once. With one success, you'll have strong confidence.
Next resolution is noble silence. For the mind to be calm, you can’t be in talking. Even can’t talk about Dhamma between each other. It needs to make the mind has strength. With talking and Samādhi has fallen apart. And then has difficulty to establish again. Also, make others as a governing principle (i.e., lokadhipati). Don’t think that whatever is arising in my mind others don’t know and only I know about it. If the spirits at the surroundings know, others also know it. At my retreats someone comes in and protecting the place. Even we don’t know about it the spirit is watching at us. If you’re yawning very often, the spirit comes and makes it to you because the yogi is thinking this and that without any control. And so he comes in doing it by let me know this.
(This being was a tree spirit – rukkha devatā as mentioned in the Metta Sutta. In a talk the venerable mentioned his experiences under a big tree in a deep forest after ordaining; at that time with three robes, alms bowl and only living under a tree. This tree spirit was living there and later became his Dhamma protector.)
If you’re near the realization, there are some beings have strong relationship with you. These are beings from the different dimensions (paraloka – it was also confirmed by scientific researches).
Another point is taking the Dhamma as a governing principle. Ehi-passiko- it means come and contemplate. You must have confidence that these are Dhamma leading to Nibbāna. For attaining Dhamma, it needs a good teacher and system. It happens to us quite rare indeed. You can try it out. You can’t encounter it as you want to be. We have past connection with each other. You have to be careful about not to talk. If you’re getting lost in talking and will never attain the path and fruit. It’s a big fault. You are far from path and fruit if you’re breaking your resolution.
I had never found someone who had realized Dhamma with talking. We’re practicing among people but have to behave like alone person. The Bodhisatta renounced the world was for this purpose. It was the practice of renunciation. (This was renunciation, and one of the ten paramis. If we check the Jātaka stories we’ll find out that the bodhisatta and some of his great and chief disciples were fulfilling this parami for many times. Without it, realization is impossible.)
revised on 2019-12-05; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4021&p=35455#p35455 (posted on 2018-12-14)
- Content of "Eighteen Days in Solitude"
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