Any speculations about modern-day Arahants?

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Any speculations about modern-day Arahants?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:40 am

Who do you think in contemporary times would be someone you'd guess is an Arahant?

I'd like to see if you could name particular people, general people, or talk about specific qualities.
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Re: Any speculations about modern-day Arahants?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:48 am

Why speculate on something like that. It is more than a bit cheesy.
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Re: Any speculations about modern-day Arahants?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:33 am

If we believe and acknowledge that liberation is achievable in this time and age, we must also grant the idea that Arahants exist among us. Speculation about people who might be one helps expand our ability to recognize it as opposed to self-proclaimed messianic kooks.
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Re: Any speculations about modern-day Arahants?

Postby cooran » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:42 am

Hello all,

A previous thread on Dhamma Wheel:
Arahants http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=1323

And , of course, there is always <whisper> Daniel Ingram …

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Re: Any speculations about modern-day Arahants?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 18, 2010 6:45 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:If we believe and acknowledge that liberation is achievable in this time and age, we must also grant the idea that Arahants exist among us. Speculation about people who might be one helps expand our ability to recognize it as opposed to self-proclaimed messianic kooks.
It is just speculation; it just guessing; it is nonsense and anyone who I thought was awakened to that level, I would not name. And there is no reason to assume that such speculation is going to help us weed out kooks. It would have been far better to ask who, from one's experience, are good teachers rather than going down road of this rather high schoolish business of trying to guess who is an arahant. You might speculate here that I do not think much of this line of speculation.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Any speculations about modern-day Arahants?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:12 am

As the Buddha explained to King Pasenadi,

Your majesty, as a layman enjoying sensuality; living crowded with wives and children; using Kasi fabrics and sandalwood; wearing garlands, scents, and creams; handling gold and silver, it is hard for you to know whether these are arahants or on the path to arahantship.

Link.

Or, as they say in Chinese, 知者不言,言者不知, "Those who know, do not speak; those who speak, do not know".
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Re: Any speculations about modern-day Arahants?

Postby Annapurna » Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:12 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:If we believe and acknowledge that liberation is achievable in this time and age


Is there any doubt in you...? Only asking. :anjali:

we must also grant the idea that Arahants exist among us. Speculation about people who might be one helps expand our ability to recognize it as opposed to self-proclaimed messianic kooks.


I understand your wish. But speculation is something teachers warn of. I think especially speculations about the achievements of others, but I don't recall where I read this. So I can't give you a source. But I'm sure someone else can.

There is something else you may wish to consider:

The Buddha said, that it is impossible for an average individual, to even imagine the faculties of a Supreme Buddha.

It is a fact, that we can't judge the potential of anybody, who is more advanced than we are.

We can only see the stages we have left behind, and reach out a helping hand to those who are still there.

So, necessarily, all discussion about who we suppose to be on a higher level than we are, is purely guessing.

And as such, it could easily become idle chatter.

So, a little caution is recommendable here....

However, I understand your wish to find Buddhists to look up to and have as your inspiration.

In this case, don't listen so much to what others say, much rather find them by yourself.

Perhaps you worry about falling for the wrong ones.

In this case I recommend you go to a temple, to ask ordained persons, and share your wish

I'm sure they can help you. :anjali:

If you don't have that option, you will certainly get recommendations for good teachers here, but I would leave out the "title" Arahant altogether, because this is, for most of us, not to know.

For some it might be, but since I am not an Arahant, I can't tell you who is and who is not, until I become one.

I hope my reply was helpful for you. :smile:

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Re: Any speculations about modern-day Arahants?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:33 am

If you did know for sure that a particular teacher was an Arahant would it make you any wiser at all?

I know of some people who are convinced that their teacher is an Arahant, and they might be right for all I know, but they're none the wiser for believing firmly that their teacher is an Arahant.

I am convinced that the Buddha was an Arahant, but how does that help to remove my defilements?

Check out the Culahatthipadopama Sutta.

There is also this story that I have quoted a few times before:

A certain monk was living in dependence on an Arahant. Living in dependence meant that he shared the same room as his teacher, did all the duties for him, and carried his almsbowl for him while walking behind for alms. One day, while walking for alms, the pupil asked, “Venerable sir, how can one know whether another person is an Arahant?”

The Arahant replied, “It is not easy, friend, to know if another person is an Arahant. Even if one lived in dependence on an Arahant, did all the duties for him, and carried his almsbowl while walking behind him for alms, one might not know that his teacher was an Arahant.”

Even when given such a broad hint as this, the pupil did not realise that his teacher was an Arahant. The Arahants have stainless minds free from all pride and conceit. They do not boast of their attainments, unless there is no other way to help people.
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