Ingram, et al - "Hard Core Dharma" & claims of attainment

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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Snowmelt » Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:26 pm

Individual wrote:Because I am a putthujana, know I am nothing like an Arahant, being a slave chained to craving is horrible, and yet I can't see how being "limited" by dispassion would be superior to being limited by craving.


I think this demonstrates how words can mislead us: "dispassion", I think, has a generally negative connotation in normal English usage. But it is not so to me, in the context of Buddhism. To me, it is a result of the calming and releasing of craving, the result of understanding and insight. It is not a quality that is added to a person's character, but one that results when negative qualities begin to disappear from one's character. It is not a limiting factor, but the result of the removal of a limiting factor. To give an example: a youthful parent is horrified and deeply distressed when their toddler says "I hate you" for the first time, whereas a grandparent, wise and equanimous with experience and insight, reacts calmly with "yes, dear, but you still won't get any dessert unless you eat your vegetables first". :)
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby upekkha » Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:32 pm

Snowmelt wrote:To put Daniel Ingram's utterances into perspective: it is like a Christian saying that the Bible is nonsense, or like a Muslim saying that the Koran is nonsense. Such an assertion would make it clear that the speaker belonged to neither religion.

I think that just letting your mind wander where it wants is highly detrimental to advancement on the Path, and reading endless texts purporting to be about Buddhism, particularly those whose authors contradict the most basic tenets of the Pali Canon, involves allowing your mind to do just that. I think the reason why people do this is because they haven't the wisdom to stay with the Pali Canon; in the best Western tradition, they want endlessly to leap to the next shiny bauble, hopelessly and desultorily searching for a magic bullet that will make them fully Enlightened without effort ("Quick, give me an Enlightenment pill, I've only got five minutes before the match starts on TV!") This is proliferation and distraction and delusion; it will *never* lead to Enlightenment. Or, they are like water boatmen: skating across the surface of Buddhism, never diving in; this is a complete waste of time and effort. I think the only people who can expose themselves to this kind of stuff without risking ill effects are those monastics who have thoroughly digested and comprehended the Canon and its implications over many years, and who live it every day, all day. "Books, books, books. Too many, too many, too many. Dustbin, dustbin, dustbin."


Hi Snowmelt,

You assume several things i don't agree with in your post;
the first one is that a person who attains arahatship must by definition be 'Buddhist', that is, defines oneself as Buddhist.
Remember, arahatship is complete liberation from ignorance isn't it? therefore, it is not bound up in these terms, specifically 'religion', 'buddhism', etc.

and second, you are assuming that the Buddha taught a religion, by using the analogy of Christianity, Islam, etc, and the Buddha actually taught a non-sectarian path to liberation and enlightenment which is not bound up in these worldly terms.

and lastly, the book in question is actually a guide to help people who are walking on this path..
Basically it concentrates on the three trainings, Sila, Samadhi, Panna, and it also contains advice for more advanced practitioners (sotapanna, sakadagami, anagami).

I recommend it to anyone walking on the path of Dhamma. besides being a source of inspiration, it is a very practical guide, specifically to those practicing in the Burmese tradition (importance on vedana, sensations)

all the best!
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Snowmelt » Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:58 pm

upekkha wrote:You assume several things i don't agree with in your post;
the first one is that a person who attains arahatship must by definition be 'Buddhist', that is, defines oneself as Buddhist.
Remember, arahatship is complete liberation from ignorance isn't it? therefore, it is not bound up in these terms, specifically 'religion', 'buddhism', etc.


I am certainly asserting that the Buddha Dhamma is the path to Nibbana, yes. The Pali Canon seems quite clear that there was no other way in the time of the Buddha, and I do not see that those religions that have arisen since even have Enlightenment as a goal. Also, Ingram says he was the student of a Buddhist, the implication being that he achieved arahantship through following the Buddha Dhamma; not that I believe he is an arahant - for one thing, it seems inconceivable to me that an arahant would repudiate the precepts as he does.

upekkha wrote:and second, you are assuming that the Buddha taught a religion, by using the analogy of Christianity, Islam, etc, and the Buddha actually taught a non-sectarian path to liberation and enlightenment which is not bound up in these worldly terms.


To me it is a path; it is convenient to call it a religion. Whatever we want to call it, its foundation in this Buddha-less age is the Pali Canon, which Ingram tosses out as casually as yesterday's garbage. An arahant, it seems to me, would be likely to consider the effect this would have on the world before doing so. This also leads me to wonder why this particular "arahant" behaves so differently from every other I have ever heard of.

upekkha wrote:and lastly, the book in question is actually a guide to help people who are walking on this path..
Basically it concentrates on the three trainings, Sila, Samadhi, Panna, and it also contains advice for more advanced practitioners (sotapanna, sakadagami, anagami).

I recommend it to anyone walking on the path of Dhamma. besides being a source of inspiration, it is a very practical guide, specifically to those practicing in the Burmese tradition (importance on vedana, sensations)


The ultimate practical guide and source of inspiration has already been provided: it is the Pali Canon. *Everything* required to become Enlightened is in there. Why look elsewhere? The notions that the Canon is deficient or insufficiently inspiring are just incomprehensible to me; I sometimes shed tears of joy and relief when I read it. This discontent with the fundamental source of the Dhamma, this proliferation and repudiation, may well be what leads to the eventual extinction of the Dhamma. I reiterate that people endlessly seek out modern texts through lack of the wisdom to see that the Pali Canon is all that is needed. It is a form of materialism, among other things.
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby nathan » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:42 pm

On the Arahat thing, I don't think the Buddha ever said 'anyone can do this' I recall comments to the effect that 'this teaching is for those with little dust in their eyes' implying that those who could penetrate it's depths are actually quite rare.

I think the character assassination has gone far enough. The man isn't deliberately trying to hurt anyone or start a new religion with stolen fragments of pali text. We've looked at very little of the book itself which is primarily about vipassana. A lot of people have difficulty with vipassana. Is there anything useful in the book regarding vipassana? Is there anything misleading about vipassana in the book? These are things that it would actually be beneficial to know and even Dr. Ingram might appreciate it if there is something that could be better about his discussion of vipassana.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:07 pm

Hi Snowfelt,

Snowmelt wrote:Also, Ingram says he was the student of a Buddhist, the implication being that he achieved arahantship through following the Buddha Dhamma; not that I believe he is an arahant - for one thing, it seems inconceivable to me that an arahant would repudiate the precepts as he does.


To be fair, what Ingram repudiates is the Sutta teaching that arahants are incapable of transgressing certain precepts. As far as I know, he doesn't repudiate the precepts themselves. The exposition of sīla in his book is pretty much like that which one would get from Kornfield or any of the fluffier sort of North American vipassanā teachers. Which is to say, it's a bit woolly and lacking in clearcut descriptions of what each precept entails, but nonetheless not actually misleading.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Individual » Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:46 pm

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Individual,

Individual wrote:If Arahants are the same as Buddhas, then it seems to be an imponderable. Am I wrong?


The imponderable is "the Buddha-range of Buddhas" (buddhānaṃ buddhavisaya), which is understood to refer to that of Sammāsambuddhas, not their arahant disciples.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

Why is it understood this way if the range of their enlightenment is the same? Is the "buddhavisaya" of Buddhas the same as the buddhavisaya of Arahants?
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:12 pm

Hi Individual,

Individual wrote:Why is it understood this way if the range of their enlightenment is the same? Is the "buddhavisaya" of Buddhas the same as the buddhavisaya of Arahants?


In the case of arahants one speaks of a sāvakavisaya ("disciple's range"), not a buddhavisaya. The sāvakavisaya, even in the case of the most accomplished arahants, will not include all of the ten Tathāgata powers (though some of these are attainable), nor knowledge of omniscience, nor unimpeded knowledge.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Individual » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:19 pm

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Individual,

Individual wrote:Why is it understood this way if the range of their enlightenment is the same? Is the "buddhavisaya" of Buddhas the same as the buddhavisaya of Arahants?


In the case of arahants one speaks of a sāvakavisaya ("disciple's range"), not a buddhavisaya. The sāvakavisaya, even in the case of the most accomplished arahants, will not include all of the ten Tathāgata powers (though some of these are attainable), nor knowledge of omniscience, nor unimpeded knowledge.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

Why can Arahants not attain these things?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby green » Sat Mar 07, 2009 1:23 am

TheDhamma wrote:
Ben wrote:
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.

I agree. I think the reason the Buddha mentions that he is fully awakened is because the Dhamma had died-out and he was restoring the Dhamma. But now we are in his dispensation and there is no need to announce attainments and in fact I am sure those with attainments would not have an interest in proclaiming their status either.


The 4 saints arise for the good of the world. If you can't proclaim your attainments and other Buddhists can't verify your attainments, then you are not doing Buddha Dhamma any good.

A true Arahant MUST declare that he has succeeded, but there must be others who will be able to verify -- and it is in the verification process that there is a problem.
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby green » Sat Mar 07, 2009 1:25 am

upekkha wrote:
Snowmelt wrote:To put Daniel Ingram's utterances into perspective: it is like a Christian saying that the Bible is nonsense, or like a Muslim saying that the Koran is nonsense. Such an assertion would make it clear that the speaker belonged to neither religion.

I think that just letting your mind wander where it wants is highly detrimental to advancement on the Path, and reading endless texts purporting to be about Buddhism, particularly those whose authors contradict the most basic tenets of the Pali Canon, involves allowing your mind to do just that. I think the reason why people do this is because they haven't the wisdom to stay with the Pali Canon; in the best Western tradition, they want endlessly to leap to the next shiny bauble, hopelessly and desultorily searching for a magic bullet that will make them fully Enlightened without effort ("Quick, give me an Enlightenment pill, I've only got five minutes before the match starts on TV!") This is proliferation and distraction and delusion; it will *never* lead to Enlightenment. Or, they are like water boatmen: skating across the surface of Buddhism, never diving in; this is a complete waste of time and effort. I think the only people who can expose themselves to this kind of stuff without risking ill effects are those monastics who have thoroughly digested and comprehended the Canon and its implications over many years, and who live it every day, all day. "Books, books, books. Too many, too many, too many. Dustbin, dustbin, dustbin."


Hi Snowmelt,

You assume several things i don't agree with in your post;
the first one is that a person who attains arahatship must by definition be 'Buddhist', that is, defines oneself as Buddhist.
Remember, arahatship is complete liberation from ignorance isn't it? therefore, it is not bound up in these terms, specifically 'religion', 'buddhism', etc.

and second, you are assuming that the Buddha taught a religion, by using the analogy of Christianity, Islam, etc, and the Buddha actually taught a non-sectarian path to liberation and enlightenment which is not bound up in these worldly terms.

and lastly, the book in question is actually a guide to help people who are walking on this path..
Basically it concentrates on the three trainings, Sila, Samadhi, Panna, and it also contains advice for more advanced practitioners (sotapanna, sakadagami, anagami).

I recommend it to anyone walking on the path of Dhamma. besides being a source of inspiration, it is a very practical guide, specifically to those practicing in the Burmese tradition (importance on vedana, sensations)

all the best!


Buddha taught the Dhamma, which relies on the teachings and faith in the Triple Gem without which one cannot actualize Buddha's teachings.
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:09 am

Hi Individual,

Individual wrote:Why can Arahants not attain these things?


I think it's attributed to arahant disciples not having developed the perfections for as long a time or to the same degree as a Sammāsambuddha.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Individual » Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:05 am

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Individual,

Individual wrote:Why can Arahants not attain these things?


I think it's attributed to arahant disciples not having developed the perfections for as long a time or to the same degree as a Sammāsambuddha.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

Why have they not developed the perfections for as long a time or to the same degree as a Sammāsambuddha?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:36 am

Hi Individual,

Individual wrote:Why have they not developed the perfections for as long a time or to the same degree as a Sammāsambuddha?


I guess they weren't qualified for the task. That is to say, on the occasion when they encountered a Buddha they had the necessary qualities to undertake the path of discipleship, but lacked the requisite qualities that would have made them fit for undertake the Bodhisatta career.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Individual » Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:58 am

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Individual,

Individual wrote:Why have they not developed the perfections for as long a time or to the same degree as a Sammāsambuddha?


I guess they weren't qualified for the task. That is to say, on the occasion when they encountered a Buddha they had the necessary qualities to undertake the path of discipleship, but lacked the requisite qualities that would have made them fit for undertake the Bodhisatta career.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

What are the requisite qualities that make one fit to undertake the Bodhisatta career, which the past Arahants lacked?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Dhammanando » Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:05 am

Individual wrote:What are the requisite qualities that make one fit to undertake the Bodhisatta career, which the past Arahants lacked?


    In the developed form of the ideas regarding Bodhisattas, a Bodhisatta's career started with his making a resolution before a Buddha (abhinīhārakarana or mūlapanidhāna) to become a Buddha for the welfare and liberation of all creatures. In later literature, the abhinīhāra is preceded by a period during which the Bodhisatta practises manopanidhi, when he resolves in his mind to desire to become a Buddha without declaring this intention to others.

    For the abhinīhāra to be effective, eight conditions should be fulfilled (Bu.ii.59; explained at BuA.75f. and SNA.i.48f): the aspirant should be

    * (1) a human being,
    * (2) a male,
    * (3) sufficiently developed to become an arahant in that very birth,
    * (4) a recluse at the time of the declaration,
    * (5) he should declare his resolve before a Buddha,
    * (6) should be possessed of attainments such as the jhānas,
    * (7) be prepared to sacrifice all, even life, and
    * (8) his resolution should be absolutely firm and unwavering.


    (from the Dictionary of Pali Proper Names, entry for Bodhisatta
    http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_names/b/bodhisatta.htm)

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:46 am

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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Snowmelt » Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:51 pm

nathan wrote:I think the character assassination has gone far enough.


I have reviewed my posts in this thread and I don't think you can be referring to me with this sentence. However, if someone calls himself an arahant and someone else tries to refute the statement, I suppose the refutation might possibly indirectly redound upon the former's character. Is that what you mean?

That aside, Ingram's actions are questionable. If he is an arahant, I would expect him to steer his - incredibly revolutionary! - course with a great deal more circumspection, if only to avoid comparisons with the numberless corrupt gurus who have come and gone in the last sixty years or so. It is for this reason, and for others, that I am still firmly convinced that he is not an arahant, of any kind. If this is character assassination, then so be it.
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Snowmelt » Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:56 pm

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Snowfelt,

Snowmelt wrote:Also, Ingram says he was the student of a Buddhist, the implication being that he achieved arahantship through following the Buddha Dhamma; not that I believe he is an arahant - for one thing, it seems inconceivable to me that an arahant would repudiate the precepts as he does.


To be fair, what Ingram repudiates is the Sutta teaching that arahants are incapable of transgressing certain precepts. As far as I know, he doesn't repudiate the precepts themselves. The exposition of sīla in his book is pretty much like that which one would get from Kornfield or any of the fluffier sort of North American vipassanā teachers. Which is to say, it's a bit woolly and lacking in clearcut descriptions of what each precept entails, but nonetheless not actually misleading.


Thank you, Venerable. I accept your correction and I apologise to anyone who considers it appropriate. Nonetheless, a form of Buddhism in which the behaviour of arahants cannot be taken as an example to those who wish to let go of greed, hatred, and delusion is to me a very strange form of Buddhism indeed. One wonders how one would proceed on such a path - the expression "do as I say, not as I do" is generally used ironically rather than instructionally.
Last edited by Snowmelt on Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Snowmelt » Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:00 pm

green wrote:
TheDhamma wrote:
Ben wrote:
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.

I agree. I think the reason the Buddha mentions that he is fully awakened is because the Dhamma had died-out and he was restoring the Dhamma. But now we are in his dispensation and there is no need to announce attainments and in fact I am sure those with attainments would not have an interest in proclaiming their status either.


The 4 saints arise for the good of the world. If you can't proclaim your attainments and other Buddhists can't verify your attainments, then you are not doing Buddha Dhamma any good.

A true Arahant MUST declare that he has succeeded, but there must be others who will be able to verify -- and it is in the verification process that there is a problem.


I deny this. The Buddha forbade his monks from talking about their accomplishments. It is not required for an aspirant on the Buddhist path to know such things, anyway. The suttas set out how such an aspirant is to proceed, which I would sum up as saying, "study, practice, and if your activities confirm the efficacy of the teachings, then you can be confident that you are on the right track".

PS: Who are the "four saints"?
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby kc2dpt » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:28 pm

upekkha wrote:arahatship is complete liberation from ignorance isn't it?

The Buddha taught a path to a goal and defined that goal. If one presents a definition of that goal which is at odds with the Buddha's definition then we are not talking about the same goal. If we are not talking about the same goal then it is highly unlikely we are taking about the same path either.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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