Do you think you ever met Arahant?

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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby BlackBird » Wed Apr 14, 2010 5:27 am

I think what I'm about to say is only partially on topic, so I apologise if isn't agreeable to you.

I think this whole "arahant" thing can be a source of doubt to many practitioners:


"They say Bhante X is an arahant. Is he really? What about when he did Y. Bhante A has been in the robes for 40 years and he's not an arahant, we know that for sure... Is there any arahants left at all? There are so many doubts! Can we still get enlightened? Maybe... Probably not. Oh, well why is that? Mustn't have enough parami...All the arahants are gone! What am I going to do? Well what's the point if I can't get enlightened, maybe I'll just keep the 5 precepts and meditate every so often and that will be okay!"


But this is just papanca, this is the mind wandering off and proliferating about unnecessary things. We know that life is Dukkha, that's self evident, we know that our suffering is caused by craving, that too we can see. So it must therefore follow that if these first two of the Four Noble Truths can be experienced by all humans, even on the superficial and conceptual level of our understanding, then the cessation of Dukkha (Nibbana) must be possible, and the way to reach it must also be possible.

Ajahn Jayasaro puts it like this:

The Buddha teaches us, that we don't really know what's what, but we do have the innate capacity to know what's what. The faith and the confidence that we have in the Buddha and his enlightenment is one and the same thing as our faith and confidence in our capacity to know what's what. This is because the Buddha was enlightened as a human being, and through his enlightenment he demonstrated and proved the capacity of human beings for enlightenment. We can say he became enlightened as a 'representative' of the human race, as it were. If we have faith in the Buddha's enlightenment, then we also by implication have faith in the human capacity for enlightenment. Therefore the next logical step is that we have faith in our own capacity for enlightenment. So faith in the Buddha means faith in ourselves, faith in our capacity to realize the truth of things. Not only can we realize the truth of things, but we should.

- Transcribed from 'Anatta and the sense of Self' - Ajahn Jayasaro, England (2005) emphasis partially mine.

So really we should put a side all of the questions about attainability, and who's got it and who doesn't and why not etc. Putting all the proliferations a side we should come to see things as they really are. The Buddha encourages us to put the Dhamma to the test, but so often people can't find an Arahant in their back yard and so they give up striving saying: "It's impossible". In fact, finding an ariyan isn't the point, what are you going to do when you find one anyway? You're going to practice the Dhamma. As Venerable Pesala pointed out a while back, the only person who can't reach nibbana is the lazy person.

metta
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby Moggalana » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:57 am

:goodpost:
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.
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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby PeterB » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:01 am

Thai_Theravada wrote:Do you think you ever met Arahant?, and if you think you do.
Let's share your experience.

:smile:

I think that in the context of a Theravada forum this is a perfectly proper question to ask.
The fact that there may not be a clear cut answer, or hesitation at answering at all, not withstanding.
Even if the ulimate usefulfulness of the question is to turn us back to our practice, in never imo hurts to be reminded what is possible.
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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:39 pm

PeterB wrote:
Thai_Theravada wrote:Do you think you ever met Arahant?, and if you think you do.
Let's share your experience.

:smile:

I think that in the context of a Theravada forum this is a perfectly proper question to ask.
The fact that there may not be a clear cut answer, or hesitation at answering at all, not withstanding.
Even if the ulimate usefulfulness of the question is to turn us back to our practice, in never imo hurts to be reminded what is possible.

of course it's a valid question because at some level it is really asking us if this practice we are involved with actually has the promised result, the only problem with the question IMO is there's no real way to answer it unless one is 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: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:16 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:the only problem with the question IMO is there's no real way to answer it unless one is an arahant.


Hi JC,
I disagree, the subtect line is "do you think you ever met Arahant?" not 'are there arahants' so it is quite open to belief in the existence or a person being thought of as enlightened.

sure I do agree we don't know if who we think or believe to be an Arahant, is actually one, but it isn't if they actually are or aren't that is being asked.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby Dan74 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:33 am

Ben wrote:
Dan74 wrote:If that person is indeed close to arahatship, then placing your trust in him or her and worshiping them as a living embodiment of the ideal one is striving toward may actually be really helpful for practice (e.g. guru devotion).


I'll have to disagree with you on that one Dan.
kind regards

Ben


No worries!

Here's a good article on the subject:

http://viewonbuddhism.org/spiritual_teacher_guru.html
_/|\_
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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby plwk » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:45 am

How does an Arahant look like?
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby PeterB » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:04 am

They look like you plwk.
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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:34 pm

If there is anybody who thinks he or she has ever met an Arahant I would be curious to know why he or she didn't stay with "him" or "her"?

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby PeterB » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:41 pm

What do you mean by "stay with " acinteyyo ?
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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:27 am

PeterB wrote:What do you mean by "stay with " acinteyyo ?

stay with "him or her" in order to practice, learn how to end suffering and take advice
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby PeterB » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:33 am

You mean become a monk or nun ?
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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Apr 16, 2010 3:38 pm

no
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby Annapurna » Fri Apr 16, 2010 3:47 pm

BlackBird wrote:
Wind wrote:But it is rather discouraging that none of us have met one with full confidence


It might be helpful to remember that monastics are bound by the Vinaya not to speak of their attainments with lay people.

metta
Jack


Good post, Jack.

It may also be helpful to remember we have a few monastics on this very board....

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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby PeterB » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:21 pm

acinteyyo wrote:no

In that case I am not sure what you mean.
I have met someone as I said, that many believe to be an Arahant, and It seems to me that he fits all the descriptions.
I am inclined to accept that he might be. Other than on occasion sitting at his feet I am not sure how I can "stay" with him, apart from in the sense of seeing him as an inspiration. Which I certainly do.
When I back at home,or even when with him, he cant sit on the cushion for me. Or eat for me, or go to the loo for me, or relate for me.
He is an inspiration to attempt to do those things in a mindful way.
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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:28 am

PeterB wrote:
acinteyyo wrote:no

In that case I am not sure what you mean.
I have met someone as I said, that many believe to be an Arahant, and It seems to me that he fits all the descriptions.
I am inclined to accept that he might be. Other than on occasion sitting at his feet I am not sure how I can "stay" with him, apart from in the sense of seeing him as an inspiration. Which I certainly do.
When I back at home,or even when with him, he cant sit on the cushion for me. Or eat for me, or go to the loo for me, or relate for me.
He is an inspiration to attempt to do those things in a mindful way.

I just think, if I knew that I met an arahant, I would try to practice under his guidance until the point where guidance would not be necessary anymore. Of course he cant practice for you, but isn't it advantageous to have an arahant around as a teacher instead of practicing on your own? It sounds to me like if someone who seriously practices the dhamma by meeting an enlightend one says: "Okay I met an enligthend one, but I prefer practicing at home." Then I would call his motivation and intention into question. You know what I mean?

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby Annapurna » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:26 am

The Arahant must be willing to accept "disciples"...
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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby PeterB » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:32 am

The particular person in question ( whether Arahant or not ) can be visited anytime..he is about 40 minutes away by car from here.
I dont get the question.
Even if he is an Arahant he can only teach what he is teaching at any given time.
He doesnt hold secret classes in Arahanthood. He just teaches Dhamma to all who come.
What he definately is , is a Theravadin monk.
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Re: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:39 am

Greetings Annapurna,

Annapurna wrote:The Arahant must be willing to accept "disciples"...


Not necessarily... there's a pacceka-buddha that doesn't have disciples.

Being an arahant doesn't necessarily guarantee excellent communication skills.

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: Do you think you ever met Arahant?

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:50 am

PeterB wrote:The particular person in question ( whether Arahant or not ) can be visited anytime..he is about 40 minutes away by car from here.
I dont get the question.
Even if he is an Arahant he can only teach what he is teaching at any given time.
He doesnt hold secret classes in Arahanthood. He just teaches Dhamma to all who come.
What he definately is , is a Theravadin monk.
So the question then is quite simple. If you think the person in question is an arahant why didn't you stay there? Is it so difficult to answer this question?
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

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