The Catusacca Dipani

The Manual of the Four Noble Truths

by Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw | 1903 | 11,997 words

The Catusacca-Dipani The Manual of the Four Noble Truths By Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw, Aggamahapandita, D.Litt. Translated into English by Sayadaw U Nyana, Patamagyaw of Masoeyein Monastery Mandalay Edited by The English Editorial Board Note to the electronic version: This electronic version is reproduced directly from the printed version the te...

It is said in the commentaries as follows: 'There are eight kinds,of hells, each of which is as big as Jambudipa and is about 1000 yojanas in extent. The lowest of these eight hells is Maha Avici where the inhabitants are packed to the full like mustard seeds in a bamboo tube. All those beings who have committed the evils of the deepest dye usually take rebirth in Avici, the most frightful of the many hells. If Avici alone is packed so much, just consider how many beings there will be in the seven other major hells and many other minor hells. Thus, if compared with the inhabitants of a single hell, the number of inhabitants in the other twenty-seven planes of the happy course of existence is insignificant. Extend this to the cases of petas (ghosts) and asuras (demons).

Only the three kinds of wholesome kamma--alms-giving, morality and mental development--can cause a being to arise in the happy course of existence, and only when a being can objectify a wholesome kamma at the moment of death will he be able to take in the happy course of existence.

On the other hand, if he objectifies an unwholesome kamma at the moment of death, he will as a matter of course be reborn in the four lower worlds. A countless number of acquatic and land animals pass away in one day in Burma alone. Of these very few would be able to objectify a wholesome kamma at the moment of death. There will be not even one in a hundred thousand. The same is the case with all beings in the lower worlds.

How can the beings who do not know what is wholesome kamma, objectify such kamma at the moment of death? A being who is reborn in the four lower worlds usually takes rebirth there for many existences, and when his old accumulated kamma wane, the apara-pariya-vedaniya-kamma (kamma ripening in successive births) comes into play and he has no, chance to arise in the happy course of existence.

Those who are able to use logic and reason and those who are ignorant think that there are very many people in this world. By seeing the planets or constellations high above the sky, they think that there are many inhabitants in the deva-worlds. They have not the slightest idea as to how difficult it is to have become a man. They have heard the discourses about the blind turtle and the yoke[1] and the comparison of the small piece of earth on the fingernail and the great earth itself,[2] but do not realise their truth.

This is the answer to the question raised by an ignorant person as mentioned above.

Here ends the exposition as to how the beings who wander in this round of rebirths are burdened by the groups of existence to show that this is purely dukkha-sacca (the Noble Truth of Suffering).

Here ends the exposition on dukkha-sacca.

Footnotes and references:


Samyutta-Nikaya, Mahavagga-Samyutta, Saccasamyutta, Papatavagga, Chiggalayuga Sutta. 6th syn. Edition. p. 397.


Samyutta-Nikaya, Nidanavagga-Samyutta, Opammasamyutta (2) Nakhasikha Sutta 6th syn. Edition. p. 454.

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