Day 18: 3rd November, 2002 (Eighteen Days In Solitude-- Instructional Dhamma Talks in Retreat)

revised on 2020-06-25

Today is arriving to the last day. Let me give you the five precepts today. Because after arrive back home and you can take your dinner. So, it’s not the observance day precepts (i.e., the eight precepts). It’s the last day and the mind becomes restless. You may think I would not realize it. Even this state of mind was arising yesterday to some yogis. If I don’t get it this time and next time I’ll do it again. This is wrong thinking. The period you have from the morning until mid-day is very important. You only don’t know about it but the Dhamma develops regularly by itself. Here the point is, it still not arriving to the level it should be or turning point. In Mogok Sayadaw’s talks anubodha ñāṇa was like this or that nature when it arrives to this level. These kinds of knowledge talk by teachers.

(There are two knowledges, anubodha ñāṇa and pativedha ñāṇa or insight knowledges and the Path Knowledge.)

Without listening Dhamma talks you can’t do the practice. People who want to practice at my centre have to listen or study my Dhamma lectures on Dependent Origination (Paṭiccasamuppāda). These were seven days lectures. The knowledge comes from these are called ñāta pariññā – fundamental knowledge with full understanding.

(These are: knowledge about mind and matter, and the knowledge of cause and effect. In vipassanā practice there are three stages of full understanding. (tisso pariññā)

  1. Ñāta pariññā – knowing their natural characteristics – sabhava lakkhaṇas.
  2. Tīrāṇa pariññā – understanding with one’s own decision. Knowing with three characteristics, as insight knowledges: sammāsana ñāṇa and udayabbaya ñāṇa.
  3. Pahāna pariññā – knowing with gradual abandoning, as insight knowledges: from bhaṅga ñāṇa onwards.)

All these lectures explained what Dependent Origination was, what khandhas (groups of aggregates), āyatana (sense bases), etc., were. Talks were giving in details for seven days with 14 talks. (It is important as a true Buddhist to have these intellectual knowledges for all Buddhists; if not, they are just in names only. Mogok Sayadaw used it as suññatā dhammas.) With these talks khandha paṭiccasamuppāda processes are in the yogis’ minds. Mogok Meditation Centres are also teaching these things. But here I talk more widely and in details. Here, we have to use these knowledges. At First, dispel diṭṭhi by listening to Dhamma talks. After that, use them here during the practice. (This point is even more important for someone without a teacher or staying away from a teacher during the practice.)

First, work with to get the sacca ñāṇa. This is called anubodha ñāṇa. It’s practicing with the knowledge gaining from a teacher. I had been a teacher in the university before. In university there are curriculums, different course of study which are directions and how to do it with them in each level. There are three parts, here in our practice. The first part is satipaṭṭhāna – to develop a strong mindfulness (sati). We had been worked for seven days with Samādhi. What happened among the yogis? Some not practiced properly that not arrived to the level it needed. They didn’t arrive to the levels of upacāra and ekaggatā samādhi (access and one-pointedness of samādhi).

After seven days, we have to change for the development of insight. I have laid down the programme in this way; after this and that etc. If the yogis within the seven days not attaining the Samādhi by practicing loosely, then only wasting times without Samādhi. These yogis will encounter difficulties in the practice onward. For a meditation retreat, the yogis should prepare himself for it. Someone came here with other encouragement and practiced without the yogi standard couldn’t realize the Dhamma. This point is very important. Yogi must behave like a yogi. Therefore the yogi took it as not important and practiced loosely. Yogi has to live alone with one mind. He must live alone without companions, so looking for a quiet place. Where can you find it in Rangoon? Therefore don’t talk with others. In the past ages hermits and sages renounced the world for this purpose.

The yogi must practice with the supreme effort (sammāppaṭṭhāna) and with the spirit of without giving up. I was thinking about the differences between someone could attain the Dhamma and someone not. I found out a significant point. The one could realize Dhamma put his mind in the practice for the whole time. Every time if he had problems, came and asked me. It was seriousness in the practice. He had the desire (chanda) of using his whole mind and body in the practice. They had very strong interest in the practice. Therefore they were easy to realize the Dhamma.

In this retreat I have strong expectation, because seeing some yogis with their mature spiritual faculties. Yesterday already one person had appeared for the goal. This is the first time organized retreat in Rangoon. I have been worried that it wouldn’t go well. Yesterday with the success of a yogi and it was worthy for it. Now, the time still we have is valuable. It doesn’t need a lot of time for the Path and Fruit Knowledge to arise. If the time is right, it's instantly within a second. We have to practice continuously only we don’t know when it’ll arise. We must practice with anubodha ñāṇa. You must follow exactly what the teacher has said. You must have strong faith (confident in the Dhamma) and good health. With the practice we found out those yogis’ health was becoming better.

(Buddhists had many records on these cases. Because of the bojjhaṅga (factors of enlightenment or purification of the mind) the body illness coming from the mind or kammic illness can be cured.)

We didn’t find people became unhealthy. Practicing with straightforward mind is also important. You shouldn’t lie yourself and others. Don’t say which is not happening as it happens. During the interviews not deceive the teacher (most importantly for oneself). Practicing diligently all days and nights and the mind has to be in the practice. With these factors will discern impermanence (i.e., strong faith, good health, practice with straightforward mind, practice diligently and discern anicca).

(Mogok Sayadaw made it as some Dhamma verses for yogis. He said if a yogi developed these five factors would realize Dhamma.) Within ten days you’ll discern impermanence. (Maybe this is one of the reason Sayagyi U Ba Khin started the ten days retreat at his centre.)

And then a female devotee (upāsikā) came and asked me; “Ven., could we discern impermanence?” I told her “I promise, you can do it. But I can’t promise you for the disenchantment of impermanence and its ending.” (i.e., nibbidā ñāṇa and the Path Knowledge.) Discerning impermanence is call cūḷa-sotāpanna. The doors to woeful planes are closed for one life time. This is a state of a three rooted person. (Born with three wholesome roots: non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion.)

Before, I had arranged ten days retreats and I only found one yogi had the attainment. After the yogis were discerning impermanence, ten days had come to an end. They didn’t have the chances and times to follow for disenchantment and its ending. Then we’ll try for 18 days (such as now here). If we can’t have the results, then we maybe try for 27 days. With the arrangements for 18 days and found two or three yogis had the results. At one time even found 15 yogis at my centre in Taunggnoo. Someone with sharp knowledge (wisdom faculty) and can be practiced like a genuine yogi will realize it. It’s impossible for all the yogis.

For yogis still not get the results this time is very important. With the maturity of the anubodha ñāṇa and pativedha ñāṇa arises. The yogis have to practice like rubbing two pieces of bamboos. What are the differences between anubodha and pativedha ñāṇas? Anubodha ñāṇa has two points. In theory there are a lot to say. This khandha is inconstant. You have to discern impermanence. This is not me and mine. What did the engineer who came yesterday and said to me? He said to me; “I’m contemplating but don’t believe in impermanence, inconstant anicca.” This is the nature of someone couldn’t realize Dhamma. He was growing up all the times with the stable constant nicca.

And then I gave him an example; “Today you’re getting older than yesterday.” “Are they the same, between the khandha of today and the khandha of yesterday?” He answered that it couldn’t be the same. If it was not the same, then there was a lot of impermanence arising and passing away between yesterday and today. During the practice he couldn’t see it. But thinking with knowledge he could see it. I asked him again; “Now, you’re sitting here. What happen to the floor and the khandha? Are they at a stand-still?” He answered that they were at a standstill. I told him; “They are not in a standstill and moving with the earth. Can’t you see it?” “Yes, I am” “But you couldn’t see it with the eyes. So, look at it with knowledge. Which one is more right?” He answered that looking with knowledge is more right. These are the things blocking your way.

Climbing up to the second level is dukkha sacca (the truth of dukkha). In the khandha only dukkha exists. I had seen yogis oppressed by air element (vāyo dhātu). You only see the movements of the air element and not as oppression by them. In the khandha, there are stiffness, tension, pain, etc. Many kinds of oppression arise. Is it suffering or happiness? It’s suffering. Do you see it? No! I don’t see it. Why don’t you see it? It’s good to ask this question. You had been taught to live with dukkha in your life. There are a lot of economic difficulties and problems in Burma (i.e., from 1962 onward). But still you know how to live with it because you had been taught about dukkha sacca. Therefore with these attachments, even encounter with dukkha and don’t know to resist it. Khandha only shows you one thing. Whatever arises is dukkha.

The layman U Myint Htoo, his under feet were like cutting open with razor blades. Every time he practiced and it happened to him. Who knows! What he had been done in his past lives? Is it good to feel it? Is it not suffering? Sometimes a yogi’s head was hitting the floor with “bang! bang!” by the air element. It was oppressing the yogi. The oppressive dhamma is its original nature. Having it, and you have been oppressed by it. We don’t have yogis with water element here (āpo dhātu).

There was a Shan woman practicing with standing meditation and all the urines fell out. Her whole body was wet with sweats. All the liquid came out from the body. (Shan State is in N.E of Burma and known as Thai Yai in northern Thailand.) Khandha only shows you one thing which is dukkha. It’s impermanent, dukkha and not self (anicca, dukkha and anatta), actually they are one. How does anubodha ñāṇa change into pativedha ñāṇa? There is knowing it with penetration. How to know it with penetration? Making a decision with your own knowledge as truly dukkha and completely believe in it. During the practice you feel pains and aches and may think it as dukkha. After you take it off and not think in that way anymore. So, you have been like this before and now (also in the future). Never convince you that it’s dukkha. At the time you penetrate it as truly dukkha and ceases with a blip! Why the Path Knowledge not arises? Because anubodha ñāṇa is not mature yet.

First, factors of enlightenment arise (i.e., bojjhaṅga dhammas). And then the spiritual faculties (indriya) become mature. After that it becomes powers (bala). We have to make it strong for leading to the Path Knowledge. Early before, your knowledge came from the teacher. Now, you know it by yourself. You’re still wanting because not disenchanting with it. The reason is you don’t believe in dukkha. If you have confidence in it as truly dukkha, then diṭṭhi falls off and the Path Knowledge arises. Why you have been so long in saṁsāra? Because you’re concerning for the khandha. Whatever you’re feeding the khandha and at last it becomes useless. This mouth is wasting the money which you have been earned.

(The Ven. told the story of Mandalay U Gyaw and an old beggar. U Gyaw was a rich man in Mandalay and a contemporary of Ledi Sayadaw. His name was mentioned in Ledi Sayadaw’s biography. One day an old beggar was passing by his house. He invited him in and served with delicious foods. After finishing, he asked him how he felt about the foods. The old beggar’s answer was: “I don’t know it’s good or not. But what I know is they are the same, becoming excrements, whatever good or bad is.” Human beings are wasting their times, energies and natural resources for sensual pleasures. The outcomes are natural disasters and many problems in societies.)

revised on 2020-06-25; cited from (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.

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。