Do you believe in Arahants?

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Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:13 am

I was on Amazon reading reviews for a book on meditation. The authors of the review were giving the book very high marks for being clear and uncommonly useful. The authors of the book reviews on Amazon were also disturbed that the author claimed to be an arahant.

I can't imagine arahants caring to impress others, but I can't see them going out of their way to hide it either.

I understand the suspicion of anyone claiming any kind of "divinity". I'm an atheist.

However, if Buddhism is your religion and you really truly believe that becoming an arahant is an achievable goal wouldn't you eventually expect to learn of the existence of one?
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby cooran » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:20 am

Hello Jhana4,

Which book?

How would you tell if someone who claimed to be an arahant was telling the truth? And what does it matter?

Those of us who have been knocking around the buddhist internet discussion groups for years, are used to various people claiming different forms of attainment. I haven't met one yet whom I believed.

with metta
Chris
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:28 am

I guess this must be Daniel Ingram and if you search here, you'll see we've had long threads on him.

I do believe that nibbana/nirvana is a very real possibility and that the Buddha and many masters who followed have not been lying to us.
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby chownah » Mon Apr 04, 2011 12:57 pm

It might be that arahants do not view their condition as being an "achievable goal" and this is why you don't see them claiming it to be so.....
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby Guy » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:44 pm

Hi Chownah,

chownah wrote:It might be that arahants do not view their condition as being an "achievable goal" and this is why you don't see them claiming it to be so.....
chownah


I thought that in the Suttas it is considered an achievable goal...the pursuit of which "clansmen rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness"...or something like that...I could be wrong.

Metta,

Guy
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2) Throwing things away
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby kirk5a » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:50 pm

Yes. But what I find personally convincing are the writings (and recorded speech) of some Thai forest bhikkus of the past century. Ajahn Mun, Ajahn Boowa, Ajahn Lee, Ajahn Chah... They don't come out and proclaim "I am an arahant!" in so many words. But they don't make any bones about talking about all the phases of practice, including very detailed aspects leading to arahantship. In ways that clearly have not come from reading texts, but from personal experience. There is no question to me that they are saying they achieved it. (Achieving "divinity" is actually lower than arahantship btw) :smile:
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby chownah » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:52 pm

Guy wrote:Hi Chownah,

chownah wrote:It might be that arahants do not view their condition as being an "achievable goal" and this is why you don't see them claiming it to be so.....
chownah


I thought that in the Suttas it is considered an achievable goal...the pursuit of which "clansmen rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness"...or something like that...I could be wrong.

Metta,

Guy

Huy Guy,
I don't know about your quote but it seems like it is talking about becoming a monk which would in my view be more righly seen as an achievable goal than becoming an arahant. Also note that what it says in the Suttas might not be what arahants' experiences might lead them to say....in the Suttas it might be that the Buddha is talking to people who (hopefully) are still clinging to the raft while arahants have already abandoned it....
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby Monkey Mind » Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:51 pm

The Bhikkhu I meet with, he claims to know living arahants. I am choosing to believe this, it inspires faith.

I personally know lay people who claim to be "enlightened", not through Buddhism but through New Age spiritual paths or cult activities. I feel really uncomfortable when they talk about this, I want to whistle a little tune while I wait for the space aliens to land... Seriously, how does one respond to that? I think this is why Daniel Ingram is so controversial. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't, but it amounts to an unverifiable and grandiose claim.

With that, I defer to the many many posts/threads that already exist about the topic.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby Aloka » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:38 am

I remember during a question and answer session, someone asking Ajahn Sumedho if there were any living arahants.

He replied that he was sure there must be....and then started laughing and said that he didn't think we'd find them on Facebook though !

.
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby LastLegend » Sun May 08, 2011 9:18 am

Claiming to be enlightened but still here is highly questionable. Then there are those who claim to be enlightened but don't condemn sexual activities.
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby Sambodhi in Oz » Sun May 08, 2011 12:47 pm

Dont know of Arhants in today's time but surely sotapannas do exist and therefore Arhants can too. Why they dont proclaim the same, it is probably because of humility that arhants or for that matter even sotapannas do not announce their attainments publicly. But nibbana remains a very much achievable task even today. A book worth reading is "•Living This Life Fully: Stories And Teachings Of Munindra".

Regards

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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby Ben » Sun May 08, 2011 1:11 pm

Hi Parth,
parth wrote:Why they dont proclaim the same, it is probably because of humility that arhants or for that matter even sotapannas do not announce their attainments publicly.
Its to do with a rule within the Vinaya that a monastic may not disclose his attainment to a lay person. In Buddhist countries what has developed is a culture that disapproves of anyone claiming attainment states. I remember reading an account of an elderly monk in the Light of the Buddha magazine (commemorating the 6th Buddhist Council) that within his memory (early 20th C), it was still an offense punishable by the severing of the right hand, of anyone claiming one of the ariyan attainments in Burma.
kind regards

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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby bodom » Sun May 08, 2011 3:45 pm

4. Above & beyond words

A well-read layman was conversing with Luang Pu, saying, "I firmly believe that in our present day and age there are not just a few monks who have practiced to the point of reaching the paths, fruitions, and nibbana. So why don't they make their knowledge public, so that those who are interested in the practice will know of the levels of Dhamma they have attained, as a way of giving them encouragement and hope so that they'll accelerate their efforts to the utmost of their ability?"

Luang Pu answered,

"Those who have awakened don't talk of what they've awakened to, because it lies above and beyond all words."


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby lyndon taylor » Mon May 09, 2011 7:10 am

one of the problems with people claiming to be arahants or enlightened is we ourselves are usually bad judges of our own character, far better to let our actions speak louder than words and let others judge us enlightened.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby Sambodhi in Oz » Mon May 09, 2011 1:43 pm

Dear Lyndon,

dont think that an Arhat would be bothered about being recognised as an Arhat. If he is bothered about it, he probably is not yet an Arhat.

Metta

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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby daverupa » Mon May 09, 2011 9:39 pm

I expect it isn't a matter of not caring to reveal one's attainment, it's simply that ariyasavakas see paticcasamuppada directly and, thus, would only convey their attainment if they saw it was a cause and condition of some benefit.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby ricketybridge » Mon May 09, 2011 10:38 pm

This is slightly OT, but I don't really understand why it's expected or desirable for an arahant to be all coy about their enlightenment. I certainly understand the impulse to judge and be suspicious of anyone who claims such a thing, but if the Buddha himself didn't make it such a secret, why should we assume other arahants should?

But to answer the original question, I would imagine that yes, there must be living arahants in the world today (the Dalai Lama, for instance?), and yes, it must be possible, or else it means that the Buddha and every subsequent arahant were basically lying, which I find pretty far-fetched.
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby Kenshou » Mon May 09, 2011 10:56 pm

I think the Dalai Lama would be a little disappointed if he were an arahant, don't you think? Kind of throws off the Mahayana path, and that would be the end of the dalai lamas too!
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby ricketybridge » Mon May 09, 2011 11:00 pm

Kenshou wrote:I think the Dalai Lama would be a little disappointed if he were an arahant, don't you think? Kind of throws off the Mahayana path, and that would be the end of the dalai lamas too!


lol, enlightened, whatever.
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Re: Do you believe in Arahants?

Postby kirk5a » Mon May 09, 2011 11:59 pm

The title "The Path to Arahantship" is not what I would call being coy. :smile: I think it is clear from what is in there that Ajahn Maha Boowa was saying he was an arahant and he was describing in detail the practice to get to that point. And he just died a few months ago so.. there ya go.

http://www.forestdhammabooks.com/book/3 ... amagga.pdf
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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