Two questions on stream entry and nibbana

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Two questions on stream entry and nibbana

Postby Sati1 » Thu May 01, 2014 3:18 pm

Hello,

After reading Mahasi Sayadaw's The Progress of Insight, I got the impression that it is pretty easy to attain stream-entry by merely spending some time (weeks?) doing insight meditation, and that advancing further even up to arahantship is also straightforward and only involves repeating the same steps again. From chapter 19:

"When the meditator has thus become skilled in achieving the fruition attainment, he should resolutely set his mind upon the task of attaining to the higher paths and fruitions. What should now be done by one who has set himself that task? Just as before, he should carry out the practice of noticing (anything occurring) at the six sense doors."

My questions are these: (1) Is it really that straightforward? and (2) suppose one reaches enlightenment after devoting one's life to the task - then what? Is life then just happy ever after, or will the arahant seek new challenges for himself?

Many thanks,
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: Two questions on stream entry and nibbana

Postby indian_buddhist » Thu May 01, 2014 3:41 pm

Buddha's teaching reading, learning, comprehending, understanding is also important apart from meditation. Morality - Right speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood is also important apart from the above 2. (Right View and Right Meditation/Mindfulness).

Stream-entry is just the beginning. Once-returner, Non-returner follows leading upto Arhant which is the end. Please read about Stream-entry from Nikayas. Also when one has attained Stream-entry he realizes that he has achieved it. I think he would need no conformation about it..
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Re: Two questions on stream entry and nibbana

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu May 01, 2014 9:09 pm

Easy and difficult are relative terms.

For example, for an athlete, running a mile in five minutes is not at all difficult. For me, it would be impossible. For a few, running a mile in four minutes is not difficult. Others cannot even walk a mile unaided.

So developing all of the progressive stages of insight right up to the first Path and beyond may only take a few weeks for rare individuals, while a dedicated average meditator would need at least a few months or a few years. An average Buddhist might need a few lifetimes. For those with obstructive kamma, wrong views, or strong defilements, it may be impossible in this lifetime however hard they strive. Of course, I have no powers to know the perfections of others. Only a Buddha, or one like him, could know an individual's potential for realisation. The best I can do is make an educated guess based on learning and hearsay.

The Puggalapaññati defines four kinds of individuals:
  1. Those who attain the Path on hearing a short verse (e.g. like Sāriputta and Moggallāna)
  2. Those who attain the Path on hearing a longer exposition of the Dhamma
  3. Those who attain the path after striving for some period (7 years, or 7 months, or 7 weeks, or 7 days, or 1 day, or half a day according to the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta)
  4. Those who cannot attain the Path (e.g. Ajātasattu or Devadatta)
The consensus seems to be that only the latter two types exist nowadays.
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Re: Two questions on stream entry and nibbana

Postby cooran » Thu May 01, 2014 10:53 pm

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Two questions on stream entry and nibbana

Postby Sati1 » Fri May 02, 2014 3:11 am

Hello,

Thank you for the answers and for the very useful link. I guess the guidelines provided in The Progress of Insight cannot be taken to conclude that it will be easy for everyone (even if it may read like that). What else to do but keep practicing!

:anjali:
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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Re: Two questions on stream entry and nibbana

Postby indian_buddhist » Fri May 02, 2014 4:10 am

I think right view (three marks of existence ) and right awareness is paramount.

Meditation only serves a basis to reach calmness of mind to penetrate the right view.

lot of people give importance to meditation . Here people in india have mastered meditation but once they have finished their meditation they are prone to fits of anger. so what use is the meditation without the object of meditation beimg right view.
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Re: Two questions on stream entry and nibbana

Postby Ananda26 » Thu May 08, 2014 2:35 pm

Sati1 wrote:Hello,

After reading Mahasi Sayadaw's The Progress of Insight, I got the impression that it is pretty easy to attain stream-entry by merely spending some time (weeks?) doing insight meditation, and that advancing further even up to arahantship is also straightforward and only involves repeating the same steps again. From chapter 19:

"When the meditator has thus become skilled in achieving the fruition attainment, he should resolutely set his mind upon the task of attaining to the higher paths and fruitions. What should now be done by one who has set himself that task? Just as before, he should carry out the practice of noticing (anything occurring) at the six sense doors."

My questions are these: (1) Is it really that straightforward? and (2) suppose one reaches enlightenment after devoting one's life to the task - then what? Is life then just happy ever after, or will the arahant seek new challenges for himself?

Many thanks,


Especially with the excellent teaching of the Buddha available to practice it is feasable to gain these attainments.

If you are intent on becoming an Arahant you should prepare to become a monastic because it is the nature of an Arahant to like a monastic way of life.

An Arahant lives for the welfare and happiness of beings, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, welfare, and happiness of devas and humans. So he is happy about attaining the highest goal. He is happy with the dhamma.

With the abandoning of 3 fetters, one is no longer subject to rebirth in hell, no longer subject to rebirth as an animal, no longer subject to rebirth as a peta ghost, fixed in destiny with enlightenment as destination.

Buddha instructed his monks in Long Discourse of the Buddha #22 and Middle Length Discourse of the Buddha #10 that whoever practices the 4 foundations of mindfulness for a range of 7 years...6 years...5 years...7 months...6 months...7 days may expect either final knowledge in this life or if there be a trace of clinging left the state of a Never Returner.
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Re: Two questions on stream entry and nibbana

Postby Mkoll » Thu May 08, 2014 2:45 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Easy and difficult are relative terms.

For example, for an athlete, running a mile in five minutes is not at all difficult. For me, it would be impossible. For a few, running a mile in four minutes is not difficult. Others cannot even walk a mile unaided.

So developing all of the progressive stages of insight right up to the first Path and beyond may only take a few weeks for rare individuals, while a dedicated average meditator would need at least a few months or a few years. An average Buddhist might need a few lifetimes. For those with obstructive kamma, wrong views, or strong defilements, it may be impossible in this lifetime however hard they strive. Of course, I have no powers to know the perfections of others. Only a Buddha, or one like him, could know an individual's potential for realisation. The best I can do is make an educated guess based on learning and hearsay.

The Puggalapaññati defines four kinds of individuals:
  1. Those who attain the Path on hearing a short verse (e.g. like Sāriputta and Moggallāna)
  2. Those who attain the Path on hearing a longer exposition of the Dhamma
  3. Those who attain the path after striving for some period (7 years, or 7 months, or 7 weeks, or 7 days, or 1 day, or half a day according to the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta)
  4. Those who cannot attain the Path (e.g. Ajātasattu or Devadatta)
The consensus seems to be that only the latter two types exist nowadays.

Well said, Bhante. :goodpost:
Peace,
James
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Re: Two questions on stream entry and nibbana

Postby Sati1 » Thu May 08, 2014 3:16 pm

Ananda26 wrote:
If you are intent on becoming an Arahant you should prepare to become a monastic because it is the nature of an Arahant to like a monastic way of life.

An Arahant lives for the welfare and happiness of beings, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, welfare, and happiness of devas and humans. So he is happy about attaining the highest goal. He is happy with the dhamma.

With the abandoning of 3 fetters, one is no longer subject to rebirth in hell, no longer subject to rebirth as an animal, no longer subject to rebirth as a peta ghost, fixed in destiny with enlightenment as destination.

Buddha instructed his monks in Long Discourse of the Buddha #22 and Middle Length Discourse of the Buddha #10 that whoever practices the 4 foundations of mindfulness for a range of 7 years...6 years...5 years...7 months...6 months...7 days may expect either final knowledge in this life or if there be a trace of clinging left the state of a Never Returner.


Dear Ananda26,

Many thanks for the encouraging comments. Exactly today I will, in fact, travel to Sri Lanka to visit a few monasteries and explore the possibility of ordaining. It is good to know that the monastic life is the most favourable way of living for those intent on dedicating themselves to the Path.

:anjali:
Sati1
London, UK

----
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)
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