I am an arahat with mastery of the formed jhanas, formless realms, Nirodha Samapatti, and a few other traditional attainments.
I am one of the few teachers I know of who will talk about high-level practice directly and unambiguously without relying on dogma, making things taboo or coating simple truths in mystery. I assume that most practitioners are mature enough to handle straight-forward and honest answers. My fundamental assumption is that many more people will be empowered to realize that they can master these things if they are out in the open.
I am interested in spiritual awakening, green building, medicine, dance, yoga, gardening, car repair, travel, music, poetry, and living a fun and useful life. Current projects include helping with the Dharma Overground, building a strawbale house, and learning about permaculture.
I draw primarily from the teachings of the Buddha as they have come down to us in the various traditions, particularly the Theravada, and have trained under teachers from all the major Buddhist traditions over the last 11 years. Within the Theravada, my primary influence is the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition of insight meditation from Burma, and I have been given permission to teach by Sayadaw U Pandita, Junior in that lineage.
It seems to me, through my own inconsequential experience, but also the experiences of other people who have walked on the path, is that humility seems to be a bi-product of progress.
upekkha wrote:'An essay about arahats' - http://www.interactivebuddha.com/arahats.shtml
The Dharma Wheel forum is by no means Dr. Ingram's personal and private domain. He appears to be pleased to deal with all of these personal issues comfortably there. I advise we do likewise, take such questions to him, and not add to anyone's discomforts here or elsewhere unnecessarily. I'm not advocating or endorsing any one persons point of view, anywhere. As a member of several online communities I attempt to foster only respectful and kind hearted discussions where and how it is appropriate and suitable.Ben wrote:With all due respect to Mr Ingram, its not my cup of tea.
I think there is a bit more than dogma behind the embargo of ariyans declaring their attainment. It seems to me, through my own inconsequential experience, but also the experiences of other people who have walked on the path, is that humility seems to be a bi-product of progress.
For those of you who find inspiration in Mr Ingram's words, I wish you every success.
but I don't think its particularly useful to either speculate about a teacher's attainment or make it known as it is a distraction from the main game, that is, one's own practice.
Thank you for making this clear Ven. Dhammanando. It has been my thinking also however I see no merit in taking issue with others over their thinking on this. These models are always limited models next to the teachings on the eightfold path to my conceptions of the teachings and of the nature of a perfect freedom from being and becoming, that is all I know and I long for the release that is free in all ways. It would be most beneficial to have made clear what freedoms pertain to those with the full awakening.Dhammanando wrote:
In short, the Limted Emotional Range Model, the Limited Possible Action Model, and the Limited Possible Thought Model of enlightenment are all completely off the mark and have nothing to do with actual perception of the Truth of Things.
Since the three "models" dismissed by Ingram constitute most of what the suttas have to say about the character of arahants, the "arahantship" of which he speaks cannot be that taught by the Buddha.
As I have mentioned in similar situation on another blog, if Theravada Buddhism is so unlikely to be effective in your opinions, why follow it? If the most taboo topic is success, doesn't that seem strange? If freedom is actually viewed instead as bondage and limitation, doesn't that strike you as odd? If all things are empty before, aren't they just as empty after? If you unsure of the time of your death, do you want to have spent it practicing and inquiring or acting like juveniles on a junior high school playground?
For those interested in the story about Sayadaw U Pandita, Junior, (not to be confused with Sayadaw U Pandita of Panditarama in Burma, though they are in the same lineage) he was the abbot of the Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Centre in Penang, Malaysia (a Mahasi Center) when I did my last retreat there in April, 2003, and during that time I made very good progress. I told him that I hadn't really taught much for 6 years and was thinking of teaching again. He looked me straight in the eye, and with an unusually loud voice said, "GOOD!" That's the story of getting permission to teach.
Now, it might be mentioned that the Mahasi tradition considers second path to the the minimum requirement to teach. Later, on that same retreat, he told a long story of a monk in Burma, and at the end looked at me (there were only two of us there for that dharma talk), and said, "So, the moral of that story is, don't go around saying you are an arahat or have powers." I failed to follow his advice on that point, and the outcome has been very mixed, as noticed here. Thus, consider that perhaps, just perhaps, you are maligning someone who is, in fact, not completely delusional, and just might actually have some insights, and might actually be enlightened, offenses that traditional Buddhism considers to have karmic consequences. I am not saying don't be reasonably skeptical, but perhaps some sense of basic human respect might be valuable, perhaps even on its own merits.
Anyone interested in talking about meditation? I don't tend to stick around for long on these types of sites if I am not welcome, but I do know a lot that is practical about how to do insight and concentration practices, should someone be interested.
If you have any questions or thoughts on them, let me know. I know more than most the full force of how bad an idea it can be to claim the things I do, but so far the bad has been outweighed by the good, in general terms, and it does select for a certain audience of adults that can get over that point and move on to how to practice well. And so you find me here, at nearly 5am, having just worked hard for 12 hours as an attending physician in the 9th busiest trauma referral emergency department in the US, trying to find a few people who care about applying the dharma and mastering what the Buddha said should be mastered and are not freaked out by the concept that it can actually be done and there are those of use who have done it.
I dream of the good old days, when the Buddha and the others sat around talking about these things in straightforward terms, people were open about what they had attained, what strengths they had to offer the community, and everything was very practical and down to earth.
As to following the advice of the wise, as per the other post, in general I did follow his advice with everything I had for around 20-22 hours a day during that retreat. He kept basically asking me to go ahead and finish the thing up, and so I did. Curious that it should be such a source of controversy when all I want to do is help people do exactly the same thing.
Further, if you begin to look at what realization entails, the maps are not all the same. There are the limited emotional range models, such as those you speak of, in which the 10 defilements are eliminated progressively in the four paths. There are the limited possible action models, in which enlightened beings progressively seem to lose the ability to engage in very specific and somewhat arbitrary acts, though seem to be able to engage in others, such as eating. Then there are the models that are not so straightforward, such as that found in the Shorter Discourse on Voidness, and these require a more sophisticated understanding to make good sense of, particularly lines such as that relating to the arahat, where it says, "however there remains that suffering inherent in the six sense doors and conditioned by life." And finally we have models that are purely non-dualistic, such as those that say, "In the hearing just the heard, in the seeing just the seen, in the thinking, just the thought," etc.
The problem comes when one actually begins to make progress, and things get tricky once one has completed a second insight cycle and gotten to second path. One begins to notice: "cycling effortlessly through the ñanas occurs, Fruitions occur, my understanding of ultimate reality is far beyond those who have not come this far, my direct perception of the Three Characteristics is far beyond those who have not come this far, and so clearly I have attained to insights on that front, let me see what is true relating to the emotions, and investigate is something different, and if so, does if clearly fit the dogma of the standard models, or, if not, what is true?" When one gets to anagami, when one's direct perception of emptiness, luminosity, no-self, impermanence, etc. encompasses naturally and without effort the vast majority of sensate experience, then when one asks that same question, are there still the emotions, and if so, how are they different, then one begins to have to realize that the old texts where they use those models were getting at something, but they do not address it well, or perhaps something is lost in translation, as what is true is that by seeing thoughts as small, transient, part of the field of experience, causal, empty, naturally a part of life, no more and no less, just as they are, then emotions can move through in a way that is very different, much more spacious, clear, clean, quick, precise, not so prone to being contracted into them or identified with them, but that is not quite the same thing as those thoughts and emotions not arising.
upekkha wrote:Hi Ben,
I just finished reading it a few days ago,
I can quote it later if you wish but he describes something as (in his own words) "the moment of my enlightenment" and "the experience of nirvana", and describes how U Ba Khin instructed him on how to teach Vipassana to others.. so.. you might have forgotten or missed that part
It basically makes much sense to me that U Ba Khin would only authorize people who are highly realized.. or atleast entered the stream.
upekkha wrote:anywho,but I don't think its particularly useful to either speculate about a teacher's attainment or make it known as it is a distraction from the main game, that is, one's own practice.
I agree with you on this one. but I think as the Buddha found it useful to proclaim he was enlightened, and so were the other students of his.. same goes for today for me anyway.
upekkha wrote:Ofcourse that being said, we can only speculate. In regards to the quote.. the models of enlightenment, it certainly makes sense to me that an arahant is not limited in action, thought, etc.. ofcourse you would probably not kill people or do immoral things, not because one is simply limited..
It is supposed to be liberation..
these models such as the limited possible action model, or limited possible thought model sound more like bondage to me.
However, we do have within the vinaya the rule that a monk not disclose to a layperson their attainment. While we are not talkng about ordained teachers in this thread, it is my belief that the rule sets a 'golden standard' for behaviour for all. And it seems as though some traditional Buddhist cultures have adopted it. I know of one instance, in Burma, where the declaration by a layperson of sotapanna or other fruition state was punishable by the removal of the right hand. This law was in place until at least the early 20th Century.
Dhammanando wrote:Hi Upekkha,upekkha wrote:Ofcourse that being said, we can only speculate. In regards to the quote.. the models of enlightenment, it certainly makes sense to me that an arahant is not limited in action, thought, etc.. ofcourse you would probably not kill people or do immoral things, not because one is simply limited..
In the suttas where the Buddha lists the actions that will never be performed by a sotapanna, and in those where he does the same for an arahant, the word he uses is "incapable" (abhabba). If one is incapable of killing, stealing etc., and not merely refraining from these out of choice, then one's range of actions can correctly be termed "limited". The arahant is incapable of these unwholesome actions because he has eliminated the mental causes that would give rise to them.
On the other hand, the arahant also becomes capable of actions that are impossible for a non-arahant, namely, non-kamma-creating beneficial actions that proceed from kiriya-cittas. And so arahantship limits one's range of actions in one respect and expands them in another. Such cittas don't arise in non-arahants.It is supposed to be liberation..
From defilements and suffering.these models such as the limited possible action model, or limited possible thought model sound more like bondage to me.
This may have more to do with Ingram's tendentious choice of terms to characterize the models than with the models themselves.
It seems quite clear this 'stuff' was passed on to Arahats, many Arahats and that they codified it and gave it the seal of their authority since which time it has been carefully tended by many fine and capable disciples since. If there are those who are said to be Arahats today then very high standards applying to fully awakened Noble Beings are rightly applied to them and no one appears to stand up to such scrutiny so when we do this we need to be very clear about what it is that we expect to note about such a one. So long as these fine points are made clear I welcome this perspective as it informs me about the teachings without the need to pass judgments on any one else. I would like to know what people have to say about their own practice but I would also like to know what the Sangha bhikkhus of the Theravada tradition have to say about what the teachings teach us as well.upekkha wrote:This stuff has been passed on by so many people, with varying experience and background.