The First Talk on The Four Noble Truths

The Venerable Mogok Sayadaw

No. 1, from The Four Sacca series
(Dhamma Talk delivered by the Venerable Mogok Sayadaw to U Than Daing and U Tun Yin)
Translated by Jenny Ko Gyi
ITBMU, Myanmar

‘Do you aspire to be a Buddha? Or will you accept Nibbana quickly if you can attain it (this life)?’
‘I don’t aspire to be a Buddha. I will try to attain Nibbana (as soon as possible).’
‘What about you?’
‘I cannot wait like this. I am not brave enough (to inspire to be a Buddha).’
Then let’s do it this way. Everybody knows that, of the four path magga, sotapatti magga is the first magga (path). What does this first magga have to eradicate? Only after eradicating what is the first magga attained? Only when ditthi and vicikiccha (wrong views and doubt) are dispelled is the first magga attained.
The potential of the first magga (path) is achieved only when wrong view and doubt (ditthi vicikiccha) are dispelled. The first magga (path) cannot be attained if wrong view and doubt (ditthi vicikiccha) are not dispelled. Not attaining the first magga, Nibbana cannot be attained either.
Therefore what is the function of the first magga? It is to get rid of wrong view (ditthi). Take note of this. What is to be got rid of if the first magga is to be attained? Get rid of ditthi. Nothing else is needed. Where does this ditthi (wrong view) to be got rid of arise from? Ditthi (wrong view) arises from (wrongly viewing) khandha. Of the five aggregates (khandha) ditthi (wrong view) (arises) clinging to all five aggregates.
Not knowing khandha (aggregates), ditthi (wrong view) arises. Not knowing the anicca (impermanence) of khandha (aggregates), ditthi arises. Not knowing the truth of suffering (dukkha sacca) of khandha, ditthi arises.
Ditthi (wrong view) is dispelled through vipassana, through magga (path). First it is to be dispelled through vipassana. Developing the practice, it is to be dispelled through magga (path). There are three stages of knowledge, nyata parinnya, tirana parinnya, pahana parinnya.
Let us dispel ditthi (wrong view).
Where does ditthi arise from?
Ditthi arises from (wrongly viewing) five aggregates (khandha).
If ditthi is to be dispelled, khandha (five aggregates) are to be taught. To study the five aggregates, the Paticcasamuppada (The Dependent Origination) will be taught first.
To understand khandha (aggregates), the Paticcasamuppada (The Dependent Origination) will be taught.
Where does ditthi (wrong view) dwell?
(It dwells) in the five aggregates. From hearsay, it is known that rupakkhandha, vedanakkhandha, sannyakkhandha, sankharakkhandha, vinnyanakkhandha, (the aggregate of matter, the aggregate of feeling, the aggregate of perception, the aggregate of volition, the aggregate of consciousness), comprise the five aggregates (khandha).
Even if the five aggregates are known, if it is not known how khandha (aggregates) arise, if the cause of aggregates is not known, if it is not known how aggregates pass away, wrong view will still be there. Therefore to understand aggregates (khandha), the Paticcasamuppada (The Dependent Arising), how cause and result connect, are to be known.
Where does ditthi (wrong view) come from? It comes from five khandha (aggregates). Though it may be known that wrong view comes from (dwells in) aggregates, if it is not known how aggregates arise, how they pass away, there will be doubt (vicikiccha) wondering where aggregates come from. If it is so wondered, the Paticcasamuppada will have to be taught.
To become a sotapanna (the first stage stream enterer, one who has entered the stream of noble persons), wrong view and doubt (ditthi vicikiccha) are to be dispelled. To become a true sotapanna for whom the door to the four woeful states (apaya) is closed, wrong view and doubt are to be dispelled. Where do wrong view and doubt come from (dwell in)? They come from (dwell in) (wrongly viewing) five aggregates (khandha).
Where do the five aggregates come from? How will they pass away? The Paticcasamuppada must be understood. There is one kind of Paticcasamuppada that can be read in books. There is another kind of Paticcasamuppada that is taking place in khandha (aggregates) right at the present moment. There are two kinds of Paticcasamuppada.
We shall not get far by merely understanding the Paticcasamuppada in books. It will be okay only if the Paticcasamuppada taking place in khandha (aggregates) is understood.
Say it again. What are to be dispelled if sotapanhood (the first stage entering the stream of liberation from suffering) is to be attained? Wrong view and doubt (ditthi vicikiccha) are to be dispelled. Where do wrong view and doubt come from (dwell in)?
If the cause of arising of aggregates, if the passing away is not known, will wrong view and doubt be dispelled? They will not be. From the past, cause and its results have been connected.
Don’t desire for others to become sotapanna (first stage stream enterers). Wish for your own attainment of sotapanhood.
Listening about others becoming sotapanna, and saying sadhu (well done) is nothing. For (you) to become sotapanna (stream-enterers) yourselves, to test yourselves, is important.
What are to be dispelled to become a sotapanna?
Ditthi and vicikiccha (wrong view and doubt) are to be dispelled, venerable sir.
If wrong view and doubt are to be dispelled, this can be done only when their dwelling place is known. Where do they dwell (arise from)? They arise from (not knowing) (dwell in) five aggregates. These five aggregates are the (dwelling places) (site) of wrong view and doubt.
Not knowing the cause of arising of five aggregates, wrong view arises, doubt arises. Not knowing the cause of arising of, passing away of, five aggregates, ditthi vicikiccha (wrong view and doubt arise). It will be first mentioned how five aggregates arise, how they pass away.
Because of avijja sankhara (ignorance and conditional activities) in the past, aggregates passed away. These took place in the past, and do not concern us. Paticcasamuppada in the past does not concern us. Future Paticcasamuppada in the future has not taken place yet, and also does not concern us.
What is the Paticcasamuppada that should be understood?
There are three types of Paticcasamuppada. Learned scholars teach you Paticcasamuppada, but those that took place in the past do not concern us. You also have not encountered the future Paticcasamuppada that will come later.
So is it possible for you to chase it and get rid of it? Is it beneficial to get rid of things of the past?
The Paticcasamuppada that is taking place at this moment is important.
I’ll say this thrice.
What are to be got rid of if sotapanhood (first stage of stream-entry) is to be attained?
Wrong view and doubt (ditthi vicikiccha). To become a sotapanna, apart from wrong view and doubt, there is nothing else to be dispelled.
Sahavassa dassanasampadaya,
tayassu dhamma jahita bhavanti,
sakkayaditthi vicikiccitanca,
silabbatam vapi yadatthi kinci.
The paritta says wrong view and doubt are to be dispelled if sotapanhood (first stage stream entry) is to be attained.
Is there a difference between, ‘may I attain nibbana’, and ‘may I become a sotapanna’, and ‘may I attain the first nibbana’?
Wrong view and doubt are the first to be dispelled to become a sotapanna. Where do wrong view and doubt to be dispelled (dwell). They (dwell) in five aggregates.
Five aggregates are the (dwelling place) of wrong view and doubt.
‘Whose hair is this? My hair’. Wrong view (ditthi) arises from (dwells in) the aggregate of matter (rupakkhandha) that is hair.
‘Who enjoys the meal? I enjoy it’. It (dwells in) the aggregate of feeling (vedanakkhandha).
‘I remember a lot of lessons. I have a lot of knowledge. Remember this’. There is clinging as ‘I’ upon perception (sannya). Wrong view and doubt (dwells in) sannya (perception).
‘Those who have knowledge as mine are rare’. ‘I’(dwells in) (arise upon) aggregate of perception (sankharakkhandha).
‘Don’t (you dare) provoke me’. This is on aggregate of consciousness (vinnyanakkhandha). It is the ‘mind’ and it is ‘I’ (dwelling on) vinnyanakkhandha (aggregate of consciousness).
Now are you satisfied that five aggregates are the (dwelling place) of wrong view and doubt. Wrong view and doubt are to be separated from aggregates. If there are the aggregates, wrong view and doubt will arise from (wrongly viewing) it.
Where do wrong view and doubt (dwell in)? In the five aggregates. Why do they (arise from) (dwell in) the five aggregates? Because the cause of arising of five aggregates is not known, because the passing away is not known.
Not knowing the cause of five aggregates, wrong view and doubt take place. Not knowing the passing away of five aggregates, wrong view and doubt take place.
Paticcasamuppada of the cause of arising will be shown. Paticcasamuppada of the passing away of khandha will be shown. Without teaching you these two, without Paticcasamuppada, it may be possible to swallow a cocoanut, but wrong view will not be dispelled at all.
In books it will be written that wrong view and doubt are dispelled when mind and matter (namarupa) are understood. But it is not so. There is a step in between. Aggregates will be understood only when Paticcasamuppada is understood. From (wrongly viewing) khandha (aggregates), wrong view and doubt arise.
Therefore the cause of arising of aggregates is the cause of arising of Paticcasamuppada. The passing away of aggregates is the passing away of Paticcasamuppada.
Only when the arising of Paticcasamuppada is understood, when the passing away of Paticcasamuppada is understood, both wrong view and doubt will be eradicated.
If so, are aggregates are to be taught first, or is the Paticcasamuppada to be taught first?
The Paticcasamuppada is to be taught first, venerable sir.
If asked what this khandha (aggregates) is, this is the khandha where the Paticcasamuppada cause and results are linked. (We say) this is the khandha of the monk, the khandha of U Than Daing, of U Tun Yin.
Not understanding (the Paticcasamuppada), will your task get done (by understanding only) the aggregates? Not understanding both the arising and passing away of aggregates, you do not understand both Paticcasamuppada (of arising and of passing away).
Not understanding, wrong view and doubt (arising from) (dwelling in) aggregates, are not uprooted. Wrong view and doubt will remain.
Studying Paticcasamuppada where do we start with?
With ignorance (avijja), venerable sir.
No. Ignorance took place in the past. It is not concerned with you. It is over. Khandha (aggregates) has already taken place because of avijja sankhara (ignorance and conditional activities). You cannot go back. Is it not said aggregates have taken place dependent upon ignorance and conditional activities? This is what the Buddha has originally taught us.
But for you to get rid of wrong view and doubt, it is not like this. These (ignorance and conditional activities) are those that took place in the past existence.
There was ignorance in the past existence that was ignorant of the four noble truths. Not being able to part with ignorance, you nurtured this ignorance in the past life, and there arose attachment (craving) (tanha). Meritorious acts (kusala) were done wishing for existences. Because of these meritorious acts, there arise the five aggregates in this existence called rebirth consciousness, mind-matter, sense-bases, contact, feeling (vinnyana, namarupa, salayatana, phassa, vedana).
The five aggregates (in the present existence) arise. Can ignorance and conditional activities be got rid of now? It’s over. Caused by them, there is the result now. Because of the potential of ignorance and conditional activities of the past, we are now here in the present as results.
Dependent upon the potential of the past, the results take place here in the present which we shall have to bear. The past was the cause, and we bear its results. What we have to get rid of now are the ignorance and conditional activities that will arise from these results. We cannot get rid of the past that has been over.
The past even the Buddha cannot get rid of. We suffer because we cannot get rid of the past. Because we cannot get rid of the past, the khandha (aggregates) now has to live with the dangers of ageing, ailing, death.
The result is the khandha (aggregates) in the present. In this present khandha there are ignorance and conditional activities. Being together with khandha, together with ignorance (avijja), ditthi (wrong view) arises. With ignorance (avijja) there arises doubt (vicikiccha).
If it is known that there is wrong view and doubt, will ignorance in the present still be there?
It becomes vijja (wisdom/knowledge). Will one with wisdom commit further conditional activities?
If wrong view and doubt (ditthi vicikiccha) are dispelled, ignorance and conditional activities (avijja sankhara) are automatically dispelled.
Wrong view and doubt in the present khandha (aggregates) are to be eradicated. How? Dispel ignorance and conditional activities. Not committing conditional activities (sankhara), it becomes asankhara (unconditioned).
Now do you understand how we leave out ignorance and conditional activities of the past? We leave them out because the past is over. But we are not getting far (in the practice) yet.
The seed is already sown here in the present. From this seed, let the ignorance fruit and the fruit of conditional activities be not borne. From this khandha it is important that avijja fruits and sankhara fruits do not come out. Dependent upon avijja sankhara (of the past), here (in the present) is the khandha (aggregates) tree.
If from here come avijja and sankhara fruits, then will it ever end?
By knowing this khandha it is to be done so that avijja and sankhara fruits are not born, so that there will be vijja and asankhara.
Avijja is to be turned to vijja, sankhara to asankhara. Asankhara so that it becomes unconditioned.
It is important to understand the Paticcasamuppada in the present.
The five aggregates (khandha) arising now. The five aggregates (U Than Daing, U Tun Yin) sitting now is the present. The Paticcasamuppada that is taking place now is important. Paticcasamuppada of the past is not important. The Paticcasamuppada of the future is also not important. If the present is clearly understood, the future will be cut off.
How many kinds of Paticcasamuppada are there?
The Paticcasamuppada of the past, not concerning us, is not needed in the practice. The future Paticcasamuppada, being not here yet, needs not be cut off. For evils not to grow in the present Paticcasamuppada, for the good to grow, these I shall give you the answers.
Craving/attachment, clinging, kammic deeds (tanha, upadana, kamma bhava) are not to arise from the present Paticcasamuppada khandha. If there is craving/attachment (tanha), there will arise clinging/grasping (upadana). If there is clinging (upadana), kammic deeds will be committed (kamma bhava). If kammic deeds are committed, in the future (existence), there will be rebirth, ageing, ailing, death (jati, jara, marana). This much (you) may have studied, so I shall not go into details.
It is important for ignorance, craving, kammic deeds (avijja, tanha, kamma) not to arise from present khandha. If from present aggregates, ignorance, craving do not arise, if kammic deeds are not committed, future aggregates will not take place. Future aggregates will be cut off.
Let us talk about present Paticcasamuppada, present aggregates. I do not want to talk about the aggregates that took place at birth. Ignorance and conditional activities (of the past) were causes, so I do not want (to discuss) them either. I want (to discuss) the five aggregates that arise right now.
The five aggregates that arose when you were born had passed away. So I do not want (to discuss) them. Why? Because they are not here at present.
The five aggregates when you came out from your mother’s womb had arisen and had passed away. Not a trace follows into the present. The five aggregates I want (to talk about) are the aggregates that are now here listening to the dhamma, the khandha that is here right at this moment, not the others. You have known that the present result arises dependent upon the past cause. With the arising of present result, in the wink of an eye, more than fifty billion resultant (aggregates) had arisen (and had passed away). Not a trace follows (you) to the present. They cannot be found. It is over.
(I shall discuss) the Paticcasamuppada that arises at this moment. The Paticcasamuppada that arises now is to coincide with wisdom/knowledge that arises now. The past is no more. To practice vipassana, it should be the moment arising right in the present.
The (you) that came out of mother’s womb is not here. It does not exist at all. So it is not worth mentioning at all. What arises now is found now. This is very important.
The khandha that arises on getting up was not there when (you were) sitting. The khandha that arose (when you came out) from mother’s womb cannot be taken into account at all. Vipassana cannot be contemplated on it then. If you go and pour water on what has already been burned down, you will only be wasting water. Having been burned down, and not even ash remains; and if you go and pour water, (they) will say you have gone insane.
You come here to get rid of this insanity. Khandha-aggregates, arising right at the present moment is important.
Do not think your teacher’s is a new dhamma, unlike others’. This is in line with sabhava - nature. Do not think this (dhamma) is new.
Practising vipassana means getting rid of wrong view and doubt from aggregates arising in the present, the aggregates arising right at this moment. The past is only an image on the film. (The Sayadaw was using examples easily recognized in his days, viz., the sixties).
Watch the background that is being shown now. Do not go and watch those (images of the past) in the film roll.
Observe the five aggregates in the present with knowledge/wisdom in the present. If (you) do not know how it arises, how shall I teach (you) how to observe it? How (aggregates) arise will be mentioned first.
For example, houses, shops, children, of U Than Daing. Merchandise from U Than Daing’s shop impinge upon U Than Daing’s eyes; eye-consciousness arises. This everyone knows.
Is this eye-consciousness the one that came with you from home? It is the eye-consciousness that arises only now.
Is the eye the one that came with you from home?
The eye from home does not last even a moment of lightning. It is the eye that arises only when you get near (your) shop. Are the merchandise those from yesterday? The four major elements (mahabhuta) are in a state of flux that keep passing away with each moment; therefore the merchandise are those that arise only now in your presence.
The merchandise are those of the present, momentary, arising right at this moment.
The eye is not the eye that came (with you) from home. It is a new eye, it arises only here. The consciousness is new. Feeling (vedana) that decides good or bad is also new, and arises only now. Perception (sannya) is also new. There is nothing that came (with you) from home.
Volition (cetana - sankharakkhandha) that prompts, that wants to see, is also new, it also arises only now.
Now I shall analyse the five aggregates (khandha). This visible object – matter (rupa) and this eye of yours are new aggregates of matter (rupakkhandha). They are new rupakkhandha (aggregate of matter/physical phenomenon) that arises only (when you reach) shop.
These four namakkhandha (aggregates of mind-matter; mind and mental phenomena) consisting of vedanakkhandha, sannyakkhandha, sankharakkhandha, vinnyanakkhandha (aggregate of feeling, aggregate of perception, aggregate of volition, aggregate of consciousness) are also mental phenomena that arise only now.
Let us say this is one physical phenomenon. This one is not concerned with the Paticcasamuppada, ignorance (avijja) of the past. These are five aggregates in the present (called) U Than Daing, U Tun Yin.
These are five aggregates that arise only now. Not a trace of that which came (with you) from home. They are not connected with ignorance and conditional activities (causes) of the past. They arise only when (you) get to the shop; the five aggregates that arise only when (you) get to the shop.
Your knowledge (of five aggregates) has to develop. Are these five aggregates connected to the past cause? Or to the future?
These are the five aggregates that have only just arisen, newly arisen.
Text books say there is seeing. Mental phenomena see. On seeing, if (it is thought) that some goods have not been sold, there will be displeasure (dosa).
It is displeasure (dosa) that comes out of aggregates in the present, not from anywhere else. In books it is said, ‘tinnam sangati phasso, phassa paccaya vedana, vedana paccaya tanha’. (In reality) the four (mental phenomena) arise simultaneously.
They arise simultaneously, they perish simultaneously.
Physical phenomena together cause four mental phenomena to arise.
Two physical phenomena together means the eye base is physical phenomenon (rupakkhandha), visible object (goods displayed) in shop is physical phenomenon. These two physical phenomena (rupakkhandha) together gives rise to four mental phenomena (namakkhandha).
Matter and matter (rupa and rupa) together make physical phenomena (rupakkhandha); mind and mind (nama and nama) together make mental phenomena (namakkhandha). Mind-matter arises from mind-matter (namarupa).
Is it the past? Is it the present?
It is purely the present. It is not connected with ignorance (avijja).
It is not connected with the past cause, not with the future. It is momentary, only at this moment.
The five aggregates we are living with now are not the aggregates that came (when you came out) from mother’s womb. These are not the five aggregates that have been created by anyone. These are only five aggregates when object arises and comes into contact. This is sense base. This is object. When there is impingement between object and sense base, there arise the four mental phenomena (namakkhandha). Four mental phenomena (namakkhandha) and physical phenomenon (rupakkhandha), combined, give rise to five aggregates (khandha).
The five aggregates (khandha) in the present.
Now you know the arising of aggregates (khandha). Now if you know the passing away (of aggregates) (khandha), you will have vipassana knowledge (nana) right away.
There are things that cannot be said strictly according to written texts.
Of course the Buddha’s teachings are in texts. But the Buddha taught us through (His knowledge of) aggregates (khandha). But the Buddha did not (directly) leave written texts. Written texts appeared only seven years after the Buddha had entered parinibbana.
‘What about sankhara nyana, venerable sir?’
Sankhara nyana (knowledge of conditioned things), avijja paccaya sankhara, dependent upon ignorance, there arise conditional activities. I shall not explain this in sankharakkhandha (aggregate of volition). Ask. It is precious when I have to answer because you ask.
This is (the eye) given by kamma only now. This is the eye (by kamma) that takes place only on arrival at shop. The eye (given) by past kamma has passed away.
This is the eye that abruptly appears only on arrival at shop.
All merchandise also have undergone changes – heat, cold, etc. Matter which is heat element has changed (and passed away). Matter which is cold element has changed (and passed away). All have perished.
The bundle in front of you is the one in the present. This one in the present and this in the present come into contact ‘cakkhumca paticca rupeca uppajjati’.
Only then there arises eye-consciousness cakkhu vinnanam.
Can the four mental phenomena be separated?
Ekuppada, ekanirodha, ekalambana, ekavatthuka, so it has to come together with feeling (vedana), perception (sannya), volition (sankhara). They have to come together. I am only telling you they come together. But this is not enough to know cause and effect.
I have not explained how doubt (vicikiccha) is dispelled.
I am only explaining the arising (of khandha aggregates).
It is different from canonical texts. Canonical texts say phassa paccaya vedana, dependent on contact, there arises feeling. But it is not like this. Four mental aggregates arise together, ekuppada, ekanirodha, ekalambana, ekavatthuka.
There is physical phenomenon, rupakkhandha. Four combined with one, it becomes five. This is the khandha (aggregate) arising at this moment. Vipassana is to be contemplated on this (khandha). Those that arose the day before, or two days before, etc., those that will arise the next day, in future, cannot be contemplated in insight meditation practice. Knowing the khandha (five aggregates) in the present, it is sure that this is not khandha that came along from the past.
Cakkhumca paticca, dependent upon (eye), it is also cause. These bundles (of merchandise) are also causes. Dependent upon these two causes, eye and visible object, eye-consciousness (cakkhuvinnyana) arises. Therefore (consciousness) cannot arise alone. Four mental aggregates (four namakkhandha) arise. Here aggregate of consciousness (vinnyanakkhandha) is the leader, vedanakkhandha, sannyakkhandha, sankharakkhandha (the aggregate of feeling, the aggregate of perception, the aggregate of volition) remain dormant.
Take soup, that one which is salty. (You will say) ‘It’s so salty, venerable sir.’ Here salty taste is dominant. What will the answer be when asked if sweet taste also is not there? It (sweet taste) is there. (Sweet taste) is there, but is dormant. This soup will also have tomato, fish sauce, sweetening powder in it.
You will say only the leader, salty taste, is mentioned. The answer is that the others’ potency is not as evident (as salty taste). The others are also there in the soup, but they are not as powerful (as salty taste).
I am explaining this only ordinarily.
Without being prompted by cetana, the eye will not fall straight (on the object).
(During arrow-shooting), cetana aims an arrow toward target, sankharakkhandha (aggregate of volition) turns the arrow toward target. ‘This is the target you will have to shoot’, and vedana feels, sanna perceives (remembers), cetana sankhara prompts. Vinnanakkhandha knows, ‘this is the target I’ll have to shoot’.
Phassa forms contact between the two, so sankharakkhandha (aggregate of voliton) is there also, though it is not dominant. Vinnana, consciousness, is the leader, and remaining dormant are the other three.
It is like taking soup where salty taste is the leader.
Sometimes salty taste may not be the leader. Spicy hot taste of chili may be dominant. While on a pilgrimage tour, cetana (volition) is the leader. Volition dominates. Here consciousness lies dormant.
All five aggregates are there.
(Eye and visible object) are both rupakkhandha, aggregates of matter. Keeping the two matter in the same category, it becomes one. Rupakkhandha, with four namakkhandha (aggregates of mind), gives rise to five khandha (five aggregates). Is this khandha of the past? Or of the present?
Khandha of the present can be found through knowledge wisdom.
If you look for khandha of the past, you cannot find it, because you are looking for (something) which is not there. If you say it is there, then (you are) wrong. (If you say), it is there, then you are crazy.
(Now you know) khandha (aggregates) arising at this moment.
Two matter are rupakkhandha (aggregates of matter), rupa. Four are namakkhandha (aggregates of mind), nama. Two matter are causes, they are paticcasamuppada. Four are mind, they are results, paticcasamuppanna.
Are these cause and effect, or are these five aggregates (khandha)? They are cause and effect.
There is only cause and effect. Then (vicikiccha) doubt wondering, ‘where will I be?’ is dispelled.
There is only cause and effect. Individuals, beings are not there.
There are only two causes and four results.
Knowing there is only cause and results, doubt (vicikiccha) wondering, ‘where do I come from?’ is dispelled.
There is only matter, rupa. There is only mind, nama. Do not let ‘I’ come in and mess things up. When cause and effects were understood, doubt, vicikiccha, was dispelled. Dependent upon two causes, four results take place. Knowing that it is not creation of deity king, brahma, or almighty god, knowing there is only arising of four mental phenonmena, dependent upon two physical phenomena, doubt is dispelled. There are only the five aggregates.
Eye base, cakkhu pasada, is matter caused by kamma, kammic deeds. Merchandise is matter caused by weather, utu. Then these are four mental phenomena, cause by kammic deeds, and weather.
Two are causes, four are results. Knowing these, doubt will not arise. Knowing cause and results, doubt (vicikiccha) is dispelled.
There is only mind and matter (namarupa). In (mind and matter), there is no ‘I’. Knowing these, wrong view (ditthi) is dispelled.
Wrong view and doubt (ditthi vicikiccha), are now dispelled. This is only theoretically dispelling. There is theoretically dispelling, dispelling through practice, dispelling through eradication.
At first it is dispelling theoretically. Then it will be through practice. Afterward it will be like commanding (wrong view and doubt) not to come at all (complete eradication).
I’ll say it again. Eyes are those given by kamma. Kamma repeatedly gives rise (to eye base). Eye (base) passes away, (kamma) replaces (it) with eye (base) again. It is pasadarupa; it is eye base that arises dependent upon kammic cause. Rolls of textiles are (matters) that arise dependent upon weather, utu.
When kamma and weather combine, there arises mind, nama. ‘cakkhumca paticca rupeca uppajjati cakkhu vinnanam’. There arise four namakkhandha (mental phenomena).
The impingement of two rupakkhandha (aggregate of matter) gives rise to four namakkhandha (aggregate of mind). The contact of two hands gives sound.
Is it the present, the past, the future?
Now khandha in the present is understood.
At the ear-door, now the fan is turning.
Ear-base, combined with sound, gives rise to vinnana (consciousness), four namakkhandha (mental aggregates).
On hearing there will arise five aggregates.
On smelling, on cognizing taste, five aggregates will arise.
For example, examining textiles, five aggregates arise. Five aggregates arise at kayadvara, body door.
When you are in bed, thinking, feeling sorry, five aggregates arise at manodvara, mind-door.
Five aggregates keep arising, one after another, at six sense-doors. Five aggregates pass away. Another five aggregates arise, and go on being alive. If five aggregates at eye-door pass away, five aggregates may arise at ear-door, and go on living. If five aggregates at ear-door pass away, there may arise five aggregates at nose-door, and go on being alive.
Sometimes there may arise five aggregates at nose-door again, and living may be again with five aggregates at nose-door. Then living may be with five aggregates at tongue-door. Being alive may sometimes be with five aggregates at body-door. Sometimes it may be with five aggregates arising at mind-door.
How many times do five aggregates arise each day?
Innumerable, venerable sir.
It is important that we follow the arising of aggregates with wisdom. Following (contemplating) aggregates with wisdom, U Than Daing sees U Than Daing’s death. (With each passing away of five aggregates, there is death). Whenever passing away of five aggregates (is contemplated), know it is death. Now do you see your own death? When you contemplate (passing away of aggregates), do you not see your own death?
When (you) see death (in passing away of aggregates), do you see your own death, or do you see others’ death?
(We) see our own death, venerable sir.
You have attended funerals of others’ deaths. But you have never attended your own funeral. Now do you want to attend a funeral? Do you get the idea?
Do not be thinking of home.
How many five aggregates arise and pass away each day?
Over five billion.
Whenever each of the aggregates pass away, know that all five aggregates pass away. But all five of the aggregates cannot be contemplated (at the same time).
At the eye five aggregates arise. Various five aggregates arise and make replacements. At the ear, aggregates keep arising and replacing. If there is continuous hearing, there are five aggregates arising in succession.
Can deaths be counted then?
Observing innumerable deaths, contemplating knowledge that knows death, this is practising vipassana. This is observing one’s own death.
What then is vipassana? Is it a practice merely to gain merit, or is it contemplation of one’s own death?
Observe your own death.
The Buddha can only say that the samsara cycle (of death and rebirth) begins with ignorance and conditional activities. But He cannot tell us the origin of beings.
The Buddha can only say that ignorance and conditional activities are the beginning of samsara. But He says He will only be tired when the origin of beings is asked.
Pubbekotina pannyayati.
The beginning cannot be seen. He only knows the dhamma that is the beginning. The samsara is so long that deaths (passing away of aggregates) that have taken place throughout cannot be seen.
There is no wisdom that can see deaths (of aggregates) that have taken place in the beginningless samsara. .
Now I have taught you knowledge that sees your own death.
Eye-consciousness arises at the eye. It passes away at the eye. Seeing is no more, consciousness has passed away. Passing away (of consciousness) is contemplated by wisdom, then one’s own death is understood.
(Seeing one’s own passing away), seeing one’s own death, future khandha is not desired. Not desiring (future khandha), there will be no arising. Then this is the end of death.
Passing away (death) is the truth of suffering (dukkha sacca), knowing it is the truth of the path leading to cessation of suffering (magga sacca).
With magga sacca, craving for future existence, cannot take place.
Magga cuts off Paticcasamuppada.
If not there will be phassa paccaya vedana, vedana paccaya tanha, dependent upon contact, there arises feeling, dependent upon feeling there arises craving. Then there will be upadana paccaya kammabhavo, dependent upon clinging, there arise kammic deeds.
Craving, clinging, kammic deeds are causes for future (rebirth).
You who have (donated monasteries), if there is future khandha, there will arise dukkha khandha. If there is desire, this will go on.
Here with (appearance of) magga (path), there, without interval, will be phala (fruition). Craving, clinging, kammic deeds do not arise. Why do they not arise?
Seeing one’s own death is magga. This magga cuts off all future (rebirth) in Paticcasamuppada.
Magga (path) works two ways. It knows the truth of suffering. It cuts off craving that follows. Knowing one’s own death as truth of suffering, dhamma niyama (law of nature) usually follows. Knowing the Buddha’s teachings, dhamma niyama (magga) will take place. If the Buddha had not appeared, will magga arise?
Now that the Buddha has appeared, there will be no dukkha sacca (truth of suffering) in future existence. Why does dukkha sacca not arise in future? Seeing death here, death over there will not take place.
Vipassana is contemplation of one’s own death.
There will be no attachment for khandha that has arisen. Seeing death stops desire from arising. Seeing death is vipassana magga. It is not true magga (path) yet.
Two matter, eye-base and visible object, are causes. Four namakkhandha (aggregates of matter) are results. Wrong view and doubt are dispelled when cause and result (of aggregates) are known.
In cause, is there ‘I’ or is it matter (rupa)?
It is matter.
In results, is there ‘I’ or is it mind (nama)?
It is mind.
(Knowing that) mind and matter arise at the same time, wrong view and doubt are theoretically dispelled.
This is not dispelling through practice yet.
With ordinary teachers, you may go wrong. It may be said that sotapanhood has been attained.
(Knowing cause and effect/result) is only nataparinna stage of knowledge. There should come tirana parinna, knowledge through development of practice. Then there should be tirana parinna (stage of eradication).
Seeing the wrong teacher, (one) may take theoretical knowledge to be the stage of eradication. When vipassana is being practised, there are only five magganga (path). Eightfold path is not complete yet.
During vipassana, there is mindfulness (sati), concentration (samadhi), effort (viriya). With right thought (samma sankappa), right view (sammaditthi), together there are five magganga (path). Five magganga can dispel (wrong view, doubt) only temporarily, they cannot dispel (wrong view, doubt) from the roots.
Teachers who teach the easy way may say, ‘You have become a sotapanna. You may go, it will not matter, no matter what.’ I am very much worried that you may end up with such a teacher.
I am worried. It will be a loss throughout the samsara. Only dispelling (wrong view and doubt) temporarily, and you may be in trouble seeing the wrong teacher, who will praise you when in reality, your work has not been done.
Today it is (dispelling wrong view and doubt) only theoretically. How many times do five aggregates arise and replace (those that have passed away) each day?
Whenever it arises (and replaces) know with wisdom that there is arising (and replacement in place of those that have passed away). Follow it only as much as a worldling’s knowledge will permit (you). Only the Buddha can know the arising and passing away of all five billions (of aggregates). This is not what you or I can know.
(If your teacher asks you) if you can see five billion (khandha) arise and pass away in the wink of an eye, and (if you answer) you do not, and (if he says) you are still not competent, then it will be trouble. This the Buddha sees only after attaining Buddhahood. Following what is written in canonical texts, trying to see what is seen only after attainment of Buddhahood, you will only be exhausted.
I shall say only two words today. The practice before attainment of Buddhahood is one, that after the attainment of Buddhahood is another. What you will have to follow is the practice before attainment of Buddhahood.
Only after attainment of Buddhahood, (the Buddha says) a million million nama arise and pass away, and five billion rupa arise and pass away (in a wink of an eye).
When a learned scholar says this, he himself is confused.
With what view was Buddhahood achieved? Did he become a Buddha only when he saw (arising and passing away of) a million million nama and five billion rupa?
With his knowledge He (merely contemplated) the present, and attained Buddhahood..


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