We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:23 am

retrofuturist wrote:I don't know Uggasena, but I'll look him up later.


Uggasena:

http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Suttas/Dha ... a.html#348

Uggasena was a lay man with the householder responsibilities with family and work as an acrobat in side shows.

But that doesn't necessarily refute your point, since there are only a few lay people at the most who attained enlightenment as lay people, compared to thousands of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis who attained full enlightenment (in the Pali Canon).

My post is just to say that it is not impossible. But is it likely? Probably not.
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:07 am

I remember reading some suttas somewhere that claimed that lay people don't become arahants.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby ground » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:34 am

Jhana4 wrote:I remember reading some suttas somewhere that claimed that lay people don't become arahants.

That's true but attaining the other Ariya levels appears to be quite good already.

Other than bhikkhus, and bhikkhunis. Is there a single lay disciple of Gotama, who wearing white clothes had led the holy life, has destroyed the five lower bonds to the sensual world, and is born spontaneously, not to proceed?'
`Vaccha, not one, not one hundred, not two hundred, not three hundred, not four hundred, not five hundred. There are many more lay disciples of mine, who have destroyed the five lower bonds to the sensual world, and born spontaneously would not proceed,'
`Good, Gotama, wait! Other thanbhikkhus, bhikkhunis and lay disciples of Gotama, who wear white clothes and lead the holy life. Is there a single a lay disciple, who wears white clothes, leads the holy life, while partaking sensual pleasures, and doing the work in the dispensation has dispelled doubts. Has become confident of what should and should not be done, and does not need a teacher any more in the dispensation of the Teacher.
Vaccha, not one, not one hundred, not two hundred, not three hundred, not four hundred, not five hundred. There are many more lay disciples of mine, wearing white clothes leadingthe holy life, while partaking sensual pleasures and doing the work in the dispensation have dispelled doubts Have become confident of what should and should not be done and do not need a teacher any more,'

http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ta-e1.html



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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:58 am

TMingyur wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:I remember reading some suttas somewhere that claimed that lay people don't become arahants.

That's true but attaining the other Ariya levels appears to be quite good already.


Which sutta?

The reference you quoted shows that well over 500 lay people reached anagami, but that does not say that lay people cannot become Arahants.

In the example I quoted, there is at least one example of a lay person with family and career who did become an Arahant -- ordination after enlightenment, but enlightened while still a lay person.
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby ground » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:19 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:I remember reading some suttas somewhere that claimed that lay people don't become arahants.

That's true but attaining the other Ariya levels appears to be quite good already.


Which sutta?

The reference you quoted shows that well over 500 lay people reached anagami, but that does not say that lay people cannot become Arahants.

In the example I quoted, there is at least one example of a lay person with family and career who did become an Arahant -- ordination after enlightenment, but enlightened while still a lay person.

Well obviously it is such a rare case that it was not mentioned in the sutta I quoted which implies what a lay practitioner may achieve depending on living a celibate life or not.

Anyway I think one should not harbor hope based on such narratives but let go of hope and investigate into one's attachments in the context of lay life which may actually prevent even the smallest attainments.


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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:31 am

If a layman attains arahant-ship, only two destinations
await him; either he must enter the Order that
very day or else he must attain parinibbàna

Milindapanha III.19
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/milinda.pdf (page 98)

“You say that if a layman attains arahantship he must either
enter the Order that very day or die and attain
parinibbàna.199 Yet if he is unable to find a robe and bowl
and preceptor then that exalted condition of arahantship is a
waste, for destruction of life is involved in it.”
“The fault does not lie with arahantship but with the
state of a layman, because it is too weak to support
arahantship. Just as, O king, although food protects the life
of beings it will take away the life of one whose digestion is
weak – so too, if a layman attains arahantship he must,
because of the weakness of that condition, enter the Order
that very day or die.”

Milindapanha III.62
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/milinda.pdf (page 138)

The Milindapanha, which is almost as old as the [rest of (Burmese ed.)] Pali Canon above implies that lay people do/did attain enlightenment. It is just that they all ordained or died within 7 days or less.

No, it is not easy, but still possible.
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby Zom » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:21 am

http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Suttas/Dha ... a.html#348

Uggasena was a lay man with the householder responsibilities with family and work as an acrobat in side shows.

But that doesn't necessarily refute your point, since there are only a few lay people at the most who attained enlightenment as lay people, compared to thousands of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis who attained full enlightenment (in the Pali Canon).


This is a Dhammapada Commentary, I wouldn't trust it too much ,)

In the suttas and in the Vinaya there are no evidences that a layman could become an arahant. Except Bahiya, who was an ascetic with, seemingly, supernatural powers ,) And, together with that, perhaps that 500 ascetics of Uruvella. Guess they were not ordained at the moment they reached arahantship. So these 500 could also be considered as "lay people", but only in a sense, that they were not Buddha's monks.
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:04 pm

Zom wrote:This is a Dhammapada Commentary, I wouldn't trust it too much ,)

In the suttas and in the Vinaya there are no evidences that a layman could become an arahant. Except Bahiya, who was an ascetic with, seemingly, supernatural powers ,) And, together with that, perhaps that 500 ascetics of Uruvella. Guess they were not ordained at the moment they reached arahantship. So these 500 could also be considered as "lay people", but only in a sense, that they were not Buddha's monks.


Don't trust the Dhammapada Commentary? :o Zom is that you? (just kidding)

On e-sangha there was a thread about lay arahants and I remember Bhante Dhammanando listing about 4 to 6 lay arahants in that thread. Unfortunately that data base is gone. Were those arahants that he listed also from the Commentaries?
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby daverupa » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:08 pm

Perhaps this essay by Piya Tan (Laymen Saints) will be of use.

In any event, here is an old topic on the matter: ta-da
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby nameless » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:31 pm

I think the significance of renunciation is not just the 'not doing' of something, but also the attitude of renouncing. In the sense that, when you are not renouncing, you are clinging to the idea that "if only I do/get/avoid this, I will be happier in the future". If you do/get/avoid whatever it is, the reality is you create an impermanent group of conditions that you perceive as 'good' or at least 'better than the (imagined) alternative. But if you get in the habit of creating conditions to suit your taste, you will never be satisfied, because conditions keep changing, and your desire keeps changing, and you will expend effort to maintain conditions until you inevitably fail because of the impermanence of things.

As for the idea of duty, it is often a conditioned response. I'm from a Chinese background, and in more traditional families, the eldest son has a 'duty' to do things like take over the family business and whatnot. Note that both 'eldest' and 'son' carry significance. Responses to this very specific role will probably range from "what, you mean that's not a universal truth?!" to people who can't understand it to people who understand it but don't subscribe to it to who knows what. It's probably not helpful to try and convince someone that what they think is their duty actually isn't, and I will not try, but I think it's something useful to keep in mind the next time one tells oneself that "I have to do this because it's my duty", because it can be a good excuse, especially in the social climate that shares the same idea of duty.
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby Zom » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:37 pm

Don't trust the Dhammapada Commentary?


Well, though I didn't read it from the beginning to the very end, I found it quite strange and noticed at least one contradiction with the suttas. That is the story about the dumb (fool), who became an arahant. And I remember I saw a sutta where Buddha says that it is impossible for the dumb to become an arahant =) But anyway, that is just my personal attitude, if someone trusts this commentary, it's okey -)
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:46 pm

daverupa wrote:Perhaps this essay by Piya Tan (Laymen Saints) will be of use.

In any event, here is an old topic on the matter: ta-da


Thanks, that is a good essay, well-researched by Piya Tan.

From that essay on pages 23-24 a list of 21 lay arahants are mentioned from the Suttas: AN 6.131 - 151 / 3:450 f; PTS ed AN 6.119-120

One is listed as a doctor, others as householders, so it does not appear they were all ascetics.

Piya Tan shows that it is not quite the distinct divide between monastics and lay and that there was/is more of a blur between the two, with examples of lay people teaching Dhamma even in the time of the Buddha.
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby Zom » Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:55 pm

Piya Tan shows that it is not quite the distinct divide between monastics and lay and that there was/is more of a blur between the two, with examples of lay people teaching Dhamma even in the time of the Buddha.


I remember a sutta where layman Citta (anagami) teaches Dhamma to the monks.
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby altar » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:35 am

it goes, for arahants, "having laid down the burden," and they "walk evenly admist the uneven." :buddha1: :anjali:
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby Ben » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:49 am

Zom wrote:
Piya Tan shows that it is not quite the distinct divide between monastics and lay and that there was/is more of a blur between the two, with examples of lay people teaching Dhamma even in the time of the Buddha.


I remember a sutta where layman Citta (anagami) teaches Dhamma to the monks.


Indeed. Within my own tradition, Ledi Sayadaw authorised the layman U Po Thet to teach and before the Sayadaw died in the early 1920s told the monks at his monastery to listen to Saya Thetgyi. Since then, monastics have been going to Saya Thetgyi's meditation centre in Pyebwegi for insight meditation retreats.
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:36 pm

Great discussion (so far).

It has inspired me to compile this article, which is not as good or detailed as Piya Tan's Laymen Saints, but a short summary of some main points.

Lay arahant
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby Prasadachitta » Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:59 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Great discussion (so far).

It has inspired me to compile this article, which is not as good or detailed as Piya Tan's Laymen Saints, but a short summary of some main points.

Lay arahant


Thanks David,

I was aware of most of this in passing but its nice to see it all in one place.

My take away is that its best not to discount the potential of any level of engagement with Dhamma practice while always looking towards the ultimate example of practice which of course is the Buddha and how he lived.

Metta

Prasadachitta
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby ezzirah » Sun Aug 14, 2011 12:56 am

While reading through this thread I could not help but think of Dipa Ma. Never took up robes (that I know of), but is considered a great Buddhist teacher. So it makes me wonder about renunciation and what it is we are really renouncing. I have said many times on various posts what gets renounced is suffering, not the responsibilities of this life.

Just my 1 1/2 cent....
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Aug 14, 2011 2:28 pm

ezzirah wrote: I have said many times on various posts what gets renounced is suffering, not the responsibilities of this life.

Just my 1 1/2 cent....


Hi ezzirah,

I think we need to find out in our experience what the cause of suffering is. Then renounce that. Its easy to think about renouncing suffering but the causes are more difficult to discern.

Metta

Prasadachitta
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:28 pm

Prasadachitta wrote:
ezzirah wrote: I have said many times on various posts what gets renounced is suffering, not the responsibilities of this life.

Just my 1 1/2 cent....


Hi ezzirah,

I think we need to find out in our experience what the cause of suffering is. Then renounce that. Its easy to think about renouncing suffering but the causes are more difficult to discern.

Metta

Prasadachitta


So true!
With Metta

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