Jhana4 wrote:One of the things that has been blowing my mind in reading the book "The Broken Buddha" by Ven Dhammika is his claim that many Asian monastics don't think it is possible for anyone to become liberated.
As with other views, one has to keep to the middle way.
One extreme is that its impossible, the other is that its relatively easy.
From my experience of those who seemed to have gained the genuine nibbāna, and who behaved appropriate to that attainment, I would say that it is certainly still possible, but that it requires a lot more effort than most of us are willing to make. It requires a "do or die" effort, not just a lot of effort, and then it would also require the necessary potental (pāramī).
No one could say that failure was due to lack of potential unless they had failed in spite of striving throughout their entire life with the utmost effort. By making strenuous efforts, even weak potential gets stronger, and may later be sufficient while it is not yet good enough at the moment.
When the Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw started teaching in Rangoon in 1949, the schedule was from 3:00 am to 11:00 pm — allowing only four hours for sleep. When I was there, it had been relaxed to 4:00 am until 10:00 pm — allowing six hours for sleep.
Most meditators I have taught are neither willing nor able to undertake even that less strict schedule for one day, let alone for one month or longer. One of my students went to Asia and practised for a month or so, then decided that the method was wrong and gave up. Maybe that was due to an unskilled teacher or a lazy student — it is hard to know the truth of the matter in such cases.
The method of cutlivating mindfulness is undoubtedly the right method, but attaining the right method (ñāyassa adhigamāyo)
is synonymous with attaining the path and its fruition. Prior to that point, while developing the preliminary path of insight, the method is not yet quite right. Many do not get beyond the basic path, which means dispelling wrong views, a prerquisite to even beginning to strive for the goal.
As said above, if you don't think its possible to attain enlightenment, why would you bother? Giving up sensual pleasures for months at a stretch, the loss of income, separation from loved ones, tolerating the pain and discomfort entailed by long hours of meditation. All of these require faith and mundane right view as a necessary condition.