Day 8: 24th October, 2002 (Eighteen Days In Solitude-- Instructional Dhamma Talks in Retreat)


revised on 2019-12-05


Today we’re on the path of insight knowledge. We have to go on according to the purification process. For five days, we were working with the samatha practice of applied thought (vitakka), sustained thought (vicāra), rapture (pīti), bliss (sukha) and one pointedness of mind (ekaggatā) which were the five jhanic factors. On the sixth and seventh days we were working with the purification of view and overcoming doubt. With wrong views can’t develop insight, and will make mistakes. So, can’t attain path and fruit. To be free from the identity view (sakkāya diṭṭhi), eternality view (sassata diṭṭhi) and annihilationism (uccheda diṭṭhi); we were practicing to see the Dependent Arising of the khandha.

If we get the knowledge of discerning of mind and matter, with the knowledge of conditions for mind and matter becomes a cūḷa-sotāpanna (has the same view as the stream winner). With the purified view becomes a learned disciple of the noble beings (ariyans). In the world there is no existence of a person or a being as conceptual living beings. It’s only the existence of mind and matter process; only exist as now arising and now vanishing phenomena. Knowing the arising of mind and matter as causes and effects relationship is the knowledge of conditions for mental and material phenomena – paccayapariggaha ñāṇa.

Today we’ll develop insight. And there will be arisen of not real path knowledge which can be confused the yogis with the view of knowledge. We’ll practice to attain the knowledge of distinguishing the wrong path from the right path of contemplation. It’s called the purification of path and not path (maggāmaggañāṇadassana-visuddhi). The word vipassanā is: vi means special, passana means contemplation. So, it means contemplate in a special way. Mogok Sayadaw made the differentiation between the objects of contemplation and the contemplating mind. Contemplate with the five factors of knowledge (ñāṇa or mind). The object of contemplation also has five kinds (i.e., the five khandhas or the four satipaṭṭhāna). The contemplating mind completes with the five path factors and contemplates with this polished mind.

The contemplating mind is only one but included with the five path factors. These are:

  1. Right View – Sammādiṭṭhi, abandon the wrong views and become right view. If contemplate with the wrong views and it makes mistakes. For example, looking an object with a green colour glasses and the object and the whole world become green.
  2. Right Thought – Samma saṅkappa, not only have right view but also thoughts and thinking must be right. These two are wisdom factors. Interviews are checking for your views and thoughts. In case, if you’re practicing with wrong views and thoughts, so that I can make the corrections.
  3. Right Exertion – Sammāvāyāma, vāyāma means exertion. It must be right perseverance. You will not achieve it if put exertion with greed. We have to practice in a harmonious way.
  4. Right Mindfulness – Sammā-sati, we must have right mindfulness. You can’t achieve it if you lost your sati. If you lost your sati, what’ll happen? This you’ll know it later.
  5. Right Concentration – Sammā-samādhi, you also can’t get the result without it.

During the practice you don’t have the stable sīla. You only have the restrained sīla. Only attaining the path knowledge of the stream entrance (sotāpatti magga) that sīla is stable. All these five factors must include in the contemplating mind as insight knowledge. What are the objects of contemplation? These are the five khandhas. As satipaṭṭhāna only have four types. If you contemplate the body (kāya) and it’s kāyānupassanā. If you contemplate the mind (citta) and it’s cittānupassanā. If you contemplate the feeling (vedanā) and it’s vedanānupassanā. If you contemplate the volitional formations (saṅkhāra) and perceptions (sañña) and it’s dhammānupassanā. (This was the commentary view. It was all phenomena in the sutta.) During the contemplation only contemplate one kind and not all together. We must select accordingly to our characters. Our time is neyya era (i.e., the yogis need a lot of practice and time).

In the time of the Buddha, Ven. Sāriputta and Ven. Mahā-Moggallāna had very sharp knowledge (ñāṇa) and only heard a verse (a gāthā) and realized Dhamma. It’s called uggatitañu. By listening to talks and at the same time contemplated their khandhas. Nowadays we don’t have these kinds of people. Another type was people liked pañcavaggiya (the first five disciples listened to the first Discourse and the second Anattalakkhaṇa Sutta, SN.22.59 Anattalakkhaṇasuttaṃ). They were also had sharp knowledges. By listening to one or two talks became noble people. Nowadays also we don’t have these types of people. In this era we must have good teachers and systems; Also, also have to listen Dhamma talks. People who could realize Dhamma without a teacher were the Buddha and Paccekabuddha. You must approach a good teacher, listening to sacca dhamma and practicing diligently

(The four factors for becoming a sotāpanna are:

1. Association with wise person.
2. Listening Dhamma.
3. Wise attention – yoniso.
4. Discerning of impermanence.)

I had tested with yogis on contemplative objects before. Cittānupassanā and vedanānupassanā were easy for Mogok Sayadaw because of his great wisdom. However, it's not easy for common people; for most people, it is not easy and unable to contemplate. We can’t work with them. Therefore we use the very distinctive kāyānupassanā and contemplate form (rūpa).

Rūpakkhandha – materiality aggregate is not the body we see here. Let’s say, hearing consciousness arises. Are you hearing the sound or khandha arises? Knowing as khandha arises and become right view. If you’re hearing a car sound and then sticking with wrong view. In the yogi’s mind knows it as hearing khandha arises. And if you see something, then it’s diṭṭhi. Seeing as khandha arises is the right one. Let’s take an example, wanting to lift the foot. It’s the aggregate of mental formation (saṅkhārakkhandha); and then lifting the foot. It’s the aggregate of materiality (rūpakkhandha). And put it down; touching and knowing. Knowing is the aggregate of consciousness (viññāṇakkhandha). During the touching; hardness, softness, warm, cold, etc., the physical sensations are the aggregate of feeling (vedanākkhandha). Note these things are the aggregate of perception (saññakkhandha).

Within one step the five khandhas arise and vanish. For example, a mosquito bites you. Is it a mosquito bites or a khandha arises? You must know it as khandha arises. If not you’ll continue to make mistakes. (Such as ill will arises and kill the mosquito.) In Mogok Sayadaw’s talk, he said that whatever khandha arose and followed with knowledge. Ehi-passiko – Come and see (contemplate). Someone hits by a thorn and it’s painful or khandha arises? It’s khandha arising and following with knowledge. When a mosquito bites you, don’t scratch with the hand, but with knowledge. We’ll contemplate rūpakkhandha.

What is rūpakkhandha? Not this solid physical body. And if you contemplate it and end up with concepts, such as pretty, ugly, fat, thin, etc. I am asking you to contemplate its intrinsic changing nature.

There are four kinds of great elements. (Rūpakkhandha has 28 types, but contemplating the four great elements is enough for insight.) The earth element (paṭhavī) has the qualities of hardness, softness, solidity. You will find these nature if you’re handling the chair. If you feel the warm and coolness, then contemplate heat element. If you’re lifting your feet and it’s air element. It has movement, pressure, distention, etc. The air element on a car wheel can support many tons of weight of the body and heavy objects.

The water element has the qualities of cohesion, fluidity, trickling, oozing, etc. During the practice sweat comes out. Have to contemplate the changes of the elements and not the bodily parts, such as head, hand, feet, etc. In vipassanā practice, we’re talking about contemplation of form, feeling, and mind, but actually not them. Contemplate their arising and vanishing nature. For example, contemplate the impermanence of the changing forms. Contemplation of form, feeling and mind are to know mind and matter. For vipassanā, contemplate the impermanence of mind and matter.

Therefore Mogok Sayadaw said to contemplate and see one’s own death. It's still not vipassanā if not discern impermanence. You will arrive to the knowledge of rise and fall of formations (udayabbaya ñāṇa) if you discern impermanence. Sabbe saṅkhāra aniccati yada paññāya passati – All conditioned phenomena are impermanent, when one sees this with insight. You have to contemplate and see the impermanence of the arising phenomena. Yogis establish their Samādhi at the entrance of the nostrils and make the mind calm. If the mind stays calm at the entrance of the nostrils and move the mind on the head. Pay attention there and observe.

Vipassanā is not make things happen. It’s observing. You’ll see the sensations like vibrations which are the changing of the elements. Sometimes it seems prickling with needles or become tense by sticking with a wooden plank. These are not ordinary pains and aches. You see the changes of elements. Later you’ll see the whole body of them changing like even can’t put a needle between them. This body becomes old is the cause of change (vipariṇāma). You’ll see it directly.


revised on 2019-11-13; cited from https://oba.org.tw/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4021&p=35458#p35458 (posted on 2018-12-14)


  • Content of "Eighteen Days in Solitude"

  • Content of Publications of Ven. Uttamo

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.