OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom
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James the Giant
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OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby James the Giant » Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:52 am

I'm wondering where my various teachers are in terms of attainments. I mean, what vipassana nana they have got to.

It's ALL about attainments, baby!
Nah, yeah, I know there's more to it than that.
But I'd like to know, just to see how experienced they were on that scale.

However, it's not the done thing to ask, right?
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

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tiltbillings
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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:55 am

Seriously, if you want to know ask. And then let us know what the answers are.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:32 am

the best way to know is to just hang out with them, see how they act, spend lots of time with them. and also sit sit sit, have some experiences yourself and ask about them. it no use to know what your teachers can and can not do, or have attained if you yourself aren't putting in the work and attaining things yourself.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:34 am

jcsuperstar wrote:the best way to know is to just hang out with them, see how they act, spend lots of time with them. and also sit sit sit, have some experiences yourself and ask about them. it no use to know what your teachers can and can not do, or have attained if you yourself aren't putting in the work and attaining things yourself.
You are such a spoil-sport. More fun to just ask and see what happens.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby Annapurna » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:37 am

Sounds like you're questioning your various teachers attainments.

Don't they show in action?
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:38 am

Annapurna wrote:Sounds like you're questioning your various teachers attainments.

Don't they show in action?

we need that story Bhikkhu Pesala always posts about the monk who didnt know his teacher was an arahant...
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:43 am

jcsuperstar wrote:
Annapurna wrote:Sounds like you're questioning your various teachers attainments.

Don't they show in action?

we need that story Bhikkhu Pesala always posts about the monk who didnt know his teacher was an arahant...
See. If you don't ask, you'll never know.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:45 am

jcsuperstar wrote:[
we need that story Bhikkhu Pesala always posts about the monk who didnt know his teacher was an arahant...

Or the one where the student became an arahant then realised that the teacher was NOT....?

Mike

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby Ben » Tue Aug 24, 2010 5:49 am

Hi James

I was with Goenkaji about 20 years ago when somebody asked him if he was enlightened. t was after the last meditation session, just before bed and it was when students could come to the front and ask questions. Answering the question, Goenkaji just smiled and then said no. And then said something that made everyone laugh. Then said something about focusing on one's own efforts. But the way he said it was pretty amazing. Whenever you sat in front of Goenkaji, either for checking or asking a question in the hall before bed time or during a private interview, it was sitting in front of someone who turned the metta fire-hose on full. And when he said humourous things, it was never at the expense of the person asking the question. I can only imagine that the person was thoroughly sand-blasted by Goenkaji's loving kindness.
But as JC has said - you'll know a person of integrity by the way they act. Mangling the words of Forrest Gump "Ariya is what Ariya does"
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:25 am

Ben wrote:Hi James

I was with Goenkaji about 20 years ago . . . "Ariya is what Ariya does"
kind regards

Ben
That is the whole point: you have to ask. If you don't ask, you don't get the good stories.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby Annapurna » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:26 am

According to Venerable Phra Kru Kraisavilasa Metthavihari in Vipassana meditation a teacher is not allowed to speak about his attainments....
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby PeterB » Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:32 am

Anyone who has actually met a few instead of reading about them will know that teachers frequently make statements that indicate their realisation...it tends though to be indirect and not to be about their status.

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:09 am

Annapurna wrote:According to Venerable Phra Kru Kraisavilasa Metthavihari in Vipassana meditation a teacher is not allowed to speak about his attainments....

It's a vinaya offence for a bhikkhu (though a minor one) to reveal his attainments to lay people.

Mike

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby James the Giant » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:13 am

Well, at an appropriate moment I took a deep breath, and asked.

The answer was quite unequivocal; "You just focus on your own progress, don't worry about anyone else's attainments.
Besides, we don't like talking about that."

Humpf! I wanted to compare and contrast, make a league table, etc etc.
I hate it when teachers confirm my expectations of reasonableness and sensible answering.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby PeterB » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:16 am

Many Vipassana teachers are of course not monastic. And even those who are indicate their attainment in the sense that they talk with authority. That though is a matter of discernment by the listener, not a claim by the speaker. I would be most concerned if I attended teachings and heard claims of attainment. I would in fact check the exits.

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby pilgrim » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:27 am

Its dangerous to ask this of a monk. If he makes a momentary slip and makes a false claim, its a parajika and he's no longer a monk.

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:29 am

pilgrim wrote:Its dangerous to ask this of a monk. If he makes a momentary slip and makes a false claim, its a parajika and he's no longer a monk.
Best, then, to pester only lay teachers with such questions.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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mikenz66
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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:39 am

pilgrim wrote:Its dangerous to ask this of a monk. If he makes a momentary slip and makes a false claim, its a parajika and he's no longer a monk.

I don't think it's that bad:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ti.html#pr
4. Should any bhikkhu, without direct knowledge, claim a superior human state, a truly noble knowledge and vision, as present in himself, saying, "Thus do I know; thus do I see," such that regardless of whether or not he is cross-examined on a later occasion, he — being remorseful and desirous of purification — might say, "Friends, not knowing, I said I know; not seeing, I said I see — vainly, falsely, idly," unless it was from over-estimation, he also is defeated and no longer in affiliation.

It's minor if it's true:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/vin/sv/bhikkhu-pati.html#pc
8. Should any bhikkhu report (his own) superior human state to an unordained person, when it is factual, it is to be confessed.

Mike

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Re: OK or not OK to ask about teacher's attainments?

Postby Ben » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:49 am

Hi James,
James the Giant wrote:The answer was quite unequivocal; "You just focus on your own progress, don't worry about anyone else's attainments.
Besides, we don't like talking about that."

As a matter of interest, who was it?
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia
e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com


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