Questions about stream-winners

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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby cooran » Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:35 pm

Hello vinasp,

vinasp says: ...the higher path beyond the noble eightfold path, which I do not know if Bhikkhu Bodhi was/is aware of.


Chris said: A higher path beyond the Noble Eightfold Path?
and Bhikkhu Bodhi isn't aware of this?

vinasp said: You say that you would like to know more about the higher path. Can you tell me how many asava's there are ? And how many are eliminated by the noble eightfold path ? Lets call this clue number one.


This is what I have been taught:

āsava
(lit: influxes), 'cankers', taints, corruption's, intoxicant biases.
There is a list of four (as in D. 16, Pts.M., Vibh.):
the canker of sense-desire (kāmāsava)
of (desiring eternal) existence (bhavāsava)
of (wrong) views (ditthāsava)
of ignorance (avijjāsava)
A list of three, omitting the canker of views, is possibly older and is more frequent in the Suttas, e.g. in M.2, M.9, D.33; A.III.59, 67; A.VI.63.
In Vibh. (Khuddakavatthu Vibh.) both the 3-fold and 4-fold division are mentioned. The fourfold division also occurs under the name of 'floods' (ogha) and 'yokes' (yoga).
Through the path of Stream-Entry, the canker of views is destroyed; through the path of Non-Returning, the canker of sense-desire; through the path of Arahantship, the cankers of existence and ignorance. M. 2 shows how to overcome the cankers, namely, through insight, sense-control, avoidance, wise use of the necessities of life, etc. For a commentarial exposition, see Atthasālini Tr. I, p. 63f: II, pp. 475ff.
Khīnāsava, 'one whose cankers are destroyed', or 'one who is canker-free', is a name for the Arahat or Holy One. The state of Arahantship is frequently called āsavakkhaya, 'the destruction of the cankers'. Suttas concluding with the attainment of Arahantship by the listeners, often end with the words: "During this utterance, the hearts of the Bhikkhus were freed from the cankers through clinging no more" (anupādāya āsavehi cittāni vimuccimsū'ti).
http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/a/aasava.htm

What is your understanding? And how does this support your statement about a "higher" path that Bhikkhu Bodhi may not even know about?

metta
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:39 pm

Hi Jechbi,

Thanks for joining in the discussion. I am not sure why you think we should focus on asava's rather than the aggregates.
Thank you for the link to the book by Mathieu Boisvert. I already have it, but i did not know that the text was online. That might be of interest to anyone following this thread. Although I must admit I do not agree with Boisvert's conclusions.
On the question of why I am giving hints, rather than just saying what I mean. Perhaps you are very open to radical ideas about the Buddha's teaching. Are you sure that others are as open-minded as you are ? PM me if you want a more explicit information about the higher path. I am trying not to upset or disturb people.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:14 pm

Hi Chris,

You did not answer my questions, but those links will be helpful to those following this thread. Here is the problem with the asava's. In DN 16. 1.12 The Buddha speaks of four asavas, this passage is then repeated , I think, seven times.
See : 1.14 , 1.18 , 2.4 , 2.10 , 2.20 , 4.4 ( and perhaps three more times see 4.5 )
Now this is the Mahaparinibbana Sutta one of the most important, which every monk would know. The problem is that in the rest of the five Nikaya's whenever the asava's are mentioned and named , or a number given, there are only three. Do you see a problem ? Of course there is more than one way to resolve this apparent contradiction. My explanation is that there is no problem, the noble eightfold path eliminates three asava's , the higher path eliminates the fourth. But you may wish to solve this problem another way. I am saying that there are things " hidden " in the teachings which only reveal themselves after many years of study. The teachings are deep and profound. They are not straightforward or simple.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:20 pm

vinasp wrote: I am saying that there are things " hidden " in the teachings which only reveal themselves after many years of study. The teachings are deep and profound. They are not straightforward or simple.


There are no secret, esoteric, or hidden teachings in Buddhism, certainly not in Theravada:

"Three things shine openly, not in secret. What three? The orb of the moon, the orb of the sun and the Dhamma and discipline taught by the Tathàgata"
(Anguttara Nikaya I. 283).

He reiterated this same point just before his final passing when he said; "I have proclaimed the Dhamma without any idea of a hidden and open teaching. I do not have the closed fist of the teacher who holds anything back" (Digha Nikaya II. 100).
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:39 pm

Greetings TheDhamma,

You are right in one sense. I think we need to distinguish between secret in the sense of a separate teaching which is only given to selected people, which is what the Buddha was refering to when he speaks of the " closed fist of the teacher ..". And secret in the sense that not everyone will be able to understand it , did the Buddha not say that Dependent Origination was a deep and profound teaching ? Does everyone understand it ? It is all there in the five Nikaya's for anyone to see , but are they capable of seeing ? Sometimes someone who has seen can point out things to others and thus help them to see also. I hope this helps to avoid any mis-understanding on this point.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:49 pm

Hi Vincent,

Saying that the teachings are profound and difficult to understand is one thing; but saying that there is a higher path beyond the Noble Eightfold Path is quite another. As Chris asked, what is this "higher path" you refer to that Bhikkhu Bodhi and probably the rest of us do not know about?
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:10 pm

Greetings TheDhamma,

Since this is your site and I am only a guest I must respect your wishes. Here is The best explanation of the higher path which I have written so far. It is not perfect. It may upset some people so I am taking a chance of being banned with this.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This reply is just on the topic of the higher path, which I need to explain better, replies to your other points will follow. Can I start by including here a recent post on the Nanavira forum.

Hi _ _ _ _ _

The four paths and four fruits are wrong. The four noble persons ( four pairs ) are wrong. The teaching on the five lower, and five higher fetters is wrong. All this is a false description of the path intended for the puthujjana. Remember he thinks that the three realms really exist, he thinks that nibbana is a place beyond the three realms. He only knows temporary liberation so he mis-understands the Buddha's liberation. Within this false world view it is not possible to give a true description of the path. So a false description is given so that he can think that he knows.
The true path starts when the puthujjana drops ignorance and attains wisdom, becoming an ariya savaka. This is the same as the move from wrong view to right view. It is the attainment of the path, which is the stream, so it is stream-winning. The same as the opening of the dhamma eye. These are all the same thing. The noble eightfold path does not arise until one attains right view.
Once one is a stream-winner what comes next is explained by the Buddha in M. 10. "One of two results can be expected, knowledge here and now, or the state of a non-returner if there is a residue remaining". In other words, some become fully enlightened, some attain a stage slightly lower. So the true picture is one path and one fruit - for some. Two paths and two fruits for others. This is because the non-returner goes on to complete his task fairly soon, and so ends up fully enlightened just the same.
There is, for some, another path beyond the noble eightfold path. Sometimes called the asekha's or the arahants path. In this alternative interpretation the non-returner has completed the noble eightfold path. This alternative understanding takes some time to become clear. At first it must seem to be completely wrong. It may not make sense until more things are explained.
Kind regards, Vincent.

Now, you may say which is it , one path and one fruit, or two paths and two fruits? The answer is it depends on the method of training for those on the path. The earlier teachings seem to use the one path one fruit model, while later discourses seem to assume two paths and two fruits. This is because the method of training was changed. You are trying to fully understand no-self and no "I am" at the same time, this is like the earlier method of teaching. If you succeed it will be full enlightenment by one path one fruit. The later teaching method separates these two things in order to make it easier for those with a lower capacity for insight. So those on the noble eightfold path are taught to see no permanence, no pleasure and no self in all things. Full realization of no self ends craving, clinging and suffering. This is completion of the noble eightfold path. But it leaves the conceit "I am" still remaining, this is then removed on the higher path.
This higher path is hidden in the teachings, for example the term arahant is used for both stages of enlightenment. The higher path can be seen in those passages which speak of a path with ten limbs. Also the distinction between sekha and asekha reveals the higher path. The asekha is a higher stage and is connected with a path having ten limbs, the extra two being right knowledge and right liberation.
There are many things in the teachings which point to the need for this higher path, I will briefly describe two here:
1. There are four asava's and yet the noble eightfold path only removes three of them. Clearly another path is needed.
2. The detailed description of the noble eightfold path found in the path section of the Samyutta Nikaya shows that the conceit "I am" is not removed by this path. Again, it is clear that another path is required.

Some references:
D. II.217 ten path factors. D.III.271 ten qualities of an asekha.
M.I.42 tenfold wrong factors, and tenfold right factors.
In M.117 section 34 there is a reference to the learners path (sekha) having eight limbs and the arahants path having ten. ( arahant here used instead of asekha ).

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby appicchato » Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:12 pm

vinasp wrote:I think we need to distinguish between secret in the sense of a separate teaching which is only given to selected people, which is what the Buddha was refering to when he speaks of the " closed fist of the teacher ..". And secret in the sense that not everyone will be able to understand it...


Apples and oranges...what's a level of understanding got to do with secrecy?...
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:23 pm

Hi appicchato,

Perhaps you are right. I think the word I used was "hidden". But niether word is quite right since there may be no intention to conceal. That does not alter the fact that some things are not seen by most people. What is the correct word ?

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:34 pm

Hi Vincent,

Perhaps you are referring to the 10 factors of Arahants? That is not really a higher path, just a designation of factors found in Arahants.

Ten factors found in Arahants:
1. Right Understanding
2. Right Thought
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration
9. Right Knowledge
10. Right Deliverance
(from Khp. 4, Majjhima Nikaya 117)

Completing the Path gives them the final two, not a separate "higher" Path, just the completion of the same Path.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Sep 26, 2009 11:48 pm

Hi Vincent, This thread seems to be slowly turning into a revisiting of your previous thread on
what is "esoteric buddhism"?
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2106&p=28288#p28292

In my opinion it is better to just tell us what you think, rather than circling around the issue asking us what we think about this and that.

Metta
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby appicchato » Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:56 am

vinasp wrote:I think we need to distinguish between secret in the sense of a separate teaching which is only given to selected people


vinasp wrote:I think the word I used was "hidden"
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:55 pm

Greetings TheDhamma,

Yes, of course, the ten path factors. Everyone will at first think that these extra two factors just represent the completion of the path. There is no need to think anything else if one is satisfied with ones understanding of the teachings. It is only when further study reveals a number of serious problems that one is forced to re-examine the ten path factors. When one discovers that all these problems are solved by interpreting the ten factors as a separate path, then why not do so ? There is nothing in the teachings to say that such an interpretation would be wrong. Of course, if one has not yet encountered these problems then the idea may seem improbable. In which case it is perhaps best to put the issue aside. Do you think I should stop talking about it ? I am quite willing to stop if you think I should.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:10 am

Greetings Vincent,

To save this topic going off track, I have split your last post off into a new topic...

New Theravada interpretation
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2298

You've got enough ideas in there to warrant a new topic, and a new topic will make such exploration more focused.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:29 am

Hi retrofuturist,

That is a good idea, thank you. I do not seem to be able to control my threads. They seem to veer off - then crash !

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby suriyopama » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:08 am

vinasp wrote:What if one reads everything about stream-winners and still one does not understand. Are the teachings complete? Are they holding something back? People today expect a teaching to explain things, not to stop short just when it gets to the essential thing. Perhaps they are leaving an important step for us to understand for ourselves. Or it could be to enable them to test those who claim to have become stream-winners. It could even be essential things are missing in order to prevent the teachings from being stolen. You need the "keys" as well.


Hi Vincent.

The same happened to me: the more i read, the more I thought that there was a missing key, or that there was something that I could not understand, or that I had to find a qualified teacher that could open the lights.

Now I'm still reading a lot, but I don't expect to find ultimate light from my thinking about what is written on the books or from a teacher. Now I try to put all my effort to switch on my "Mega-Watt Power Mindfulness" as Ajahn Brahm calls it at his book "Mindfulness Bliss and Beyond". I believe that there are no external hidden keys; it is my sole responsibility to achieve enough mindfulness to see the things clear for myself. And if I don't get it, it will probably be my only fault (because not rightly following the eightfold path makes the hindrances an impediment), not the fault of the scriptures or the interpretations.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:28 pm

Hi suriyopama,

Yes, I think I agree with you. One must develop powerful insight into ones own mind. This is what Buddha did, there were no teachings at that point. The path is made by oneself. But now we have the Buddhas teachings as well. They can help to guide us in our investigation of our own mind. For me, the path is knowing and seeing things as they really are. Most of the work is removing the view of self.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:54 pm

Greetings,

appicchato wrote:
vinasp wrote:I think we need to distinguish between secret in the sense of a separate teaching which is only given to selected people, which is what the Buddha was refering to when he speaks of the " closed fist of the teacher ..". And secret in the sense that not everyone will be able to understand it...


Apples and oranges...what's a level of understanding got to do with secrecy?...


:clap:

:goodpost:

:anjali:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby Jechbi » Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:39 pm

btw, this talk and the one after it both touch on the topic of this thread.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:18 pm

Hi retrofuturist,

Yes, you are right. That was a good post by appicchato. My argument was weak on the alternative kind of secrecy - if there is one. I have not replied yet because I am still considering the issue. And also because I do not want this thread to become a repeat of my earlier thread, on esoteric Buddhism.
Here is what I said in my first post which used the word "hidden" :
" I am saying that there are things "hidden" in the teachings which only reveal themselves after many years of study". What is wrong with that ? Why does that word upset people ( even when put in quotation marks ) ? I meant hidden only in the sense which should be clear from the whole sentence.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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