Entering the stream

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Re: Entering the stream

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:08 am

I think it means that one will not have doubts about past future and also will have no need to look towards past or future.
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Entering the stream

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:26 am

Hi Element,

Element wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:It does not mean that a sotāpanna does not think at all about past or future lives.

Dhammanando

What you have stated clearly contradicts the quote, which states: "Not running after the past" or "running into the future".


What I stated accords with the commentarial understanding of the quote, which is what this Classical Theravada Forum is concerned with. (If you have no interest in this, then it would be better for all of us that you stop posting here, as your posts will merely serve to distract from the sub-forum's proper focus). But even if there were no commentary, it still would not prove that my take on the passage is wrong. It would merely mean that we would have no criterion to decide what the scope of the word "running" is. We wouldn't know whether it encompasses any directing of one's mind to the past and future or just certain modes of directing the mind.

One seeking stream entry or arahantship should abandon all existential thoughts about the future.


You have mistaken an 'is' for an 'ought'. The sutta says that noble disciples do not... It doesn't say that worldlings should not... In fact worldings will..., since they are still fettered by doubt (vicikicchā). The abandoning of doubt requires the development of insight, but insight isn't developed by any contrived adherence to a supposed imperative not to think about past and future.

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: Entering the stream

Postby cooran » Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:56 pm

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Craig,

clw_uk wrote:We all know that it is said that when one becomes a stream-winner that they are certain to attain nibbana in no less than seven lives. How is this possible though? If one dies and is reborn then they would have forgotten all the teachings, practice etc in the past existence so wouldnt they be starting again from scratch?


One wouldn't be starting from scratch because the fetters abandoned in the life when stream-entry is attained remain abandoned throughout whatever subsequent lives remain. One wouldn't, for example, be able to fall into wrong view.

Also, although it is theoretically possible for a stream-enterer to be reborn as a human being, there don't seem to be any accounts of this happening in Pali literature. All the stream-enterers who fail to attain arahatta in the same life are reported to have been reborn in one or another of the heavenly realms. Being reborn in such places they have a perfect recall of their former life, and of the teachings, practice etc. that they had learned.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu


Hello Ajahn,

I wasn't aware that those who have attained the status of stream-enterer and nothing further before they die are not likely to be born again in the human realm. Interesting.

I recall a comment in Sutta study with Bhante Dhammasiha a few weeks back, where (my recall - possibly incomplete) it was stated that the attainment of Stream Entry was not the 'walk in the park' many people thought it was ~ in fact, as Arahantship followed in no more than 7 rebecomings after Stream Entry, and as we have been Wandering-On through Beginningless Time, it follows that Stream Entry is the most difficult achievement of all. A little depressing for those of us still suffering from attraction to worldly activities and wandering-mind in meditation. :(

metta and respect,
Chris
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Re: Entering the stream

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:00 am

Dear Chris,

Chris wrote:I wasn't aware that those who have attained the status of stream-enterer and nothing further before they die are not likely to be born again in the human realm. Interesting.


Well, I really don't know whether it's likely or unlikely. It's just that I've never come across any accounts of it happening in the Pali texts, and nor have any of the more learned monks whom I've asked about it. But we shouldn't read too much into that, for even in the case of the sotapannas reborn as devas, the accounts are rather few in number and in most cases they only get their names in the books because they came back to visit the Buddha after death, or because they had been unusually close to him in their human life, or because their progress happens to make an unusually edifying (or unusually entertaining) story.

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: Entering the stream

Postby amrit » Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:30 am

As far as I can see you're all entangled in a great tangle, and too far away from attaining at least the first jhana. :cry: Don't waste your time arguing with each other. Not many people have courage and luck to become Theravada Buddhist Monk. A rare chance. Keep aside everything. your heads burning in fire. Hurry yourselves to extinguish it...!!!
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Re: Entering the stream

Postby Heavenstorm » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:04 am

amrit wrote:As far as I can see you're all entangled in a great tangle, and too far away from attaining at least the first jhana. :cry:


Except that one can enter the stream without Jhanas, even the some hardcore Theravadins will agree that access concentration is enough for the entry and at that instance, supermundane Jhana will arise along with knowledges or discernments on the characteristics of the four Noble Truths and the end of the first three fetters.
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Re: Entering the stream

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:10 am

Hello amrit, HeavenStorm,all,

I think I've posted this somewhere here already.
The Jhānas and the Lay Disciple According to the Pāli Suttas ~ Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
http://mail.saigon.com/~anson/ebud/ebdha267.htm

metta
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Re: Entering the stream

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:06 am

Hi Amrit,

Welcome to Dhamma Wheel. I hope you'll benefit from your stay here. In the meantime I should like to ask you to please read the terms of service before posting again. The Classical Theravada Forum is not a suitable venue for delivering homilies.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

amrit wrote:As far as I can see you're all entangled in a great tangle, and too far away from attaining at least the first jhana. :cry: Don't waste your time arguing with each other. Not many people have courage and luck to become Theravada Buddhist Monk. A rare chance. Keep aside everything. your heads burning in fire. Hurry yourselves to extinguish it...!!!
    ...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: Entering the stream

Postby Heavenstorm » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:57 pm

Chris wrote:I think I've posted this somewhere here already.
The Jhānas and the Lay Disciple According to the Pāli Suttas ~ Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
http://mail.saigon.com/~anson/ebud/ebdha267.htm


Thanks for the articles, it confirms my previous guess that practitioners don't require any forms of Jhanas to enter into Stream enterer and once returner.

The article goes on to suggest that a first jhana is required to attain the stage of non returner. I have doubts on that claim given the fact that in the Buddha's discourse in Satipatthana Sutta entitled "The Discourse on the Arousing of Mindfulness". Never did He once mention about Jhanas in it and yes, concentration as a factor of enlightenment was mentioned but whether that equates to Jhana remains to be seen.

Furthermore, its mentioned in abhidharma that to be reborn in a fourth dhyana heaven, one require to cultivate a level of concentration reaching the same, that is the fourth jhana. Given the fact that the non returners dwells in the pure abodes which are among the fourth dhyana heavens, its rather strange that article suggested the first jhana as a requirement for attaining non returners since it would not be enough for the aryans to get rebirth in pure abodes. So, the likely alternative is that either the fourth jhana is the true requirement for attaining anagamis or that the supramundane jhana, which comes with the attainment of anagamis, is equivalent to the fourth jhana in quality and characteristics.

I tend to believe in the latter given a host of reasons like the one mentioned earlier (Satipatthana Sutta discourse), possibility of the existence of "dry insight" Arahants and Arahants that only attains the first form Jhana, etc.

What do you guys think?
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Re: Entering the stream

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:20 pm

Hi Heavenstorm,

Heavenstorm wrote:Furthermore, its mentioned in abhidharma that to be reborn in a fourth dhyana heaven, one require to cultivate a level of concentration reaching the same, that is the fourth jhana. Given the fact that the non returners dwells in the pure abodes which are among the fourth dhyana heavens, its rather strange that article suggested the first jhana as a requirement for attaining non returners since it would not be enough for the aryans to get rebirth in pure abodes. So, the likely alternative is that either the fourth jhana is the true requirement for attaining anagamis or that the supramundane jhana, which comes with the attainment of anagamis, is equivalent to the fourth jhana in quality and characteristics.

I tend to believe in the latter given a host of reasons like the one mentioned earlier (Satipatthana Sutta discourse), possibility of the existence of "dry insight" Arahants and Arahants that only attains the first form Jhana, etc.

What do you guys think?


1. As with all the ariyan paths and fruits, the supramundane jhāna at the moment of attaining the path and fruit of non-returning may be at the level of any of the five jhānas.
2. The fact that non-returners are reborn in the Suddhāvāsas is due to their eradication of all the causes for rebirth in the Kāmaloka, but their non-eradication of attachment to the refined material and immaterial spheres.
3. The level of Suddhāvāsa in which a non-returner is reborn is conditioned by his/her development of mundane jhāna in the case of those who have done this.
4. In the case of those who haven't (the bare insight workers), the level will be the lowest, i.e., the Avihā Suddhāvāsa.

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: Entering the stream

Postby Heavenstorm » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:23 pm

Dhammanando wrote:1. As with all the ariyan paths and fruits, the supramundane jhāna at the moment of attaining the path and fruit of non-returning may be at the level of any of the five jhānas.
2. The fact that non-returners are reborn in the Suddhāvāsas is due to their eradication of all the causes for rebirth in the Kāmaloka, but their non-eradication of attachment to the refined material and immaterial spheres.
3. The level of Suddhāvāsa in which a non-returner is reborn is conditioned by his/her development of mundane jhāna in the case of those who have done this.
4. In the case of those who haven't (the bare insight workers), the level will be the lowest, i.e., the Avihā Suddhāvāsa.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu


Thanks for explanation, but there is a question still bugging me. I can roughly understand how ariyan paths and fruits are corresponded with fivefold material jhanas. However, the question is why leave the immaterial jhanas out? Aren't them supposed to be regarded as higher meditative concentrations and hence part of the Buddhist eightfold path as well?
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Re: Entering the stream

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:00 pm

Hi Heavenstorm,

Heavenstorm wrote:Thanks for explanation, but there is a question still bugging me. I can roughly understand how ariyan paths and fruits are corresponded with fivefold material jhanas. However, the question is why leave the immaterial jhanas out? Aren't them supposed to be regarded as higher meditative concentrations and hence part of the Buddhist eightfold path as well?


I don't recall seeing any discussion of why path and fruition consciousnesses are always at the level of rūpa and not arūpa jhāna. My guess would be that it's because the arūpa cittas are not capable of taking any object but the conceptual ones of infinite space, infinite consciousness etc.

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: Entering the stream

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:57 pm

i think how a stream entrant has only 7 lives left (at max) belongs to those aspects called 'acinteyya' or unknowable/unthinkable- and is in the real of a buddhas understanding but not those of a mere mortals like us! trying to make sense of this will drive us around the bend! :cookoo:
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Re: Entering the stream

Postby amrit » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:24 am

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Amrit,

Welcome to Dhamma Wheel. I hope you'll benefit from your stay here. In the meantime I should like to ask you to please read the terms of service before posting again. The Classical Theravada Forum is not a suitable venue for delivering homilies.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu



Dear Dhammanando Bhikkhu,
I think I made a big mistake by adding that post. I arguments lead you nowhere. Knowledge is everywhere and one’s path has to be found by himself or herself, and that’s what I believed. Anyway, I profusely apologize if my statement offended you. I’m leaving this site. May you attain Nibbana soon.
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Re: Entering the stream

Postby robertk » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:41 am

Dhammanando wrote:
1. As with all the ariyan paths and fruits, the supramundane jhāna at the moment of attaining the path and fruit of non-returning may be at the level of any of the five jhānas.
2. The fact that non-returners are reborn in the Suddhāvāsas is due to their eradication of all the causes for rebirth in the Kāmaloka, but their non-eradication of attachment to the refined material and immaterial spheres.
3. The level of Suddhāvāsa in which a non-returner is reborn is conditioned by his/her development of mundane jhāna in the case of those who have done this.
4. In the case of those who haven't (the bare insight workers), the level will be the lowest, i.e., the Avihā Suddhāvāsa.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

Thank you venerable. Do you have teh referecne for this, teh topic often comes up - especially among doubters of the way of dry-insight.
with respect
Robert
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Re: Entering the stream

Postby Dhammanando » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:26 am

Hi Robert,

robertk wrote:Thank you venerable. Do you have teh referecne for this, teh topic often comes up - especially among doubters of the way of dry-insight.
with respect


I was actually going from memory, but it's lucky you asked because after checking with Gethin's Summary of the Topics of Abhidhamma I now think I've made some mistakes. I'll post a corrected version this evening.

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: Entering the stream

Postby Element » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:08 pm

Chris wrote:I recall a comment in Sutta study with Bhante Dhammasiha a few weeks back, where (my recall - possibly incomplete) it was stated that the attainment of Stream Entry was not the 'walk in the park' many people thought it was ~ it follows that Stream Entry is the most difficult achievement of all. A little depressing for those of us still suffering from attraction to worldly activities and wandering-mind in meditation. :(

metta and respect,
Chris

Hello Chris

In the suttas, most accounts of stream entry I can recall occured from listening. For example, Kondanna in the First Sermon, Upatissa (Sariputta) when listening to Assaji or Upali listening to the Buddha in MN 56. All of the these stream enters had the same realisation of: "All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation." It therefore appears the suttas disagree with your opinion Stream Entry is the most difficult achievement of all.

Regarding wandering-mind in meditation, clearly the suttas say sensual desire or attraction to worldly activities are a hindrance to meditation. However, as one makes a conscious choice to both partake in worldly activities and ignore the advice of the Buddha, then I cannot see what there is to be depressed out. Buddha taught about equinimity, to reflect: "I am the heir to my actions, born of my actions".

Whilst stream entry has never been declared to be difficult in the suttas, Buddha did say an effort must be made. In the Saccasamyutta in the SN, there is a series of suttas for which the Buddha ends with the exhortation: "Therefore monks, an effort should be made....regarding the Four Noble Truths...this is your duty".

In the Noble Eightfold Path there is the teaching of the Four Right Efforts. Also, in the suttas there are many teachings to help with attraction to worldly activities, such as MN 22, MN 54, AN 5.57 & the meditations on loathsomeness & contemplation of death. Buddha has advised implicity AN 5.57 should be reflected upon, whether one is a woman or a man, lay or ordained.

In Classic Theravada, there is the teaching about giving a suitable meditation object to a person based on their tendancies. For example, clearly one with a sensual or accumulative tendencies should be meditating upon, studying and practising in a way that is non-accumulative. For example, study and reciting large tracts of Abidhamma may possibly not be suitable for one with accumulative and sensual tendencies.

The Buddha strongly recommended the contemplation of impermanence as the way to stream entry, as found in the Viññana Sutta and other suttas in the Okkanta-samyutta on Entering.

With metta

Element

[Flippant comment on Abhidhamma deleted. Element, please read the terms of service. — Dhammanando]
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Re: Entering the stream

Postby Ben » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:33 pm

Element wrote:In the suttas, most accounts of stream entry I can recall occured from listening. For example, Kondanna in the First Sermon, Upatissa (Sariputta) when listening to Assaji or Upali listening to the Buddha in MN 56. All of the these stream enters had the same realisation of: "All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation." It therefore appears the suttas disagree with your opinion Stream Entry is the most difficult achievement of all.


Hi Element

I disagree with the logic of your assertion.
...the striking feature which runs through many of the biographical sketches that we will encounter in this volume: the astonishing speed and suddenness which the great disciples attain realization. The wanderer Sariputta, for example, on his first meeting with a Budhist monk, became a stream-enterer while listening to a four-line stanza. Mahakaccana, while still a court brahmin, attained arahantship at the end of a discourse by the Buddha. The royal consort, Khema attained arahantship even while still wearing her regal attire. At first impulse one might be tempted to dismiss such rapid attainments as just another example of hagiographic fervor, but when we take the samsaric background into account we can then see that such instances of 'sudden enlightenment' are by no means as fortuitous as they might appear. Their abrupt occurrence is not a defiance of the normal laws of spiritual growth but the culmination of a long, slow process of prior preparation - spread out over countless lives against a vast cosmic backdrop - that nurtured all the requisites of enlightenment to maturity. It was because the disciples brought along, unknown even to themselves, such rich accumulations of merit and wisdom from their past existences that their initial encounter with the Buddha and his Dhamma could prove so immediately efficacious.

-- Great Disciples of the Buddha: their lives, their works, their legacy, by Nyaniponika Thera, Hellmuth Hecker and edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi, Wisdom Publications
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Entering the stream

Postby Element » Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:17 am

Ben wrote:Hi Element

I disagree with the logic of your assertion.

Hi Ben

I disagree with the logic of your assertion.

At the moment craving & attachment are abandoned, natural law follows the mind must enter the stream to Nibbana.

I do not mean craving & attachment are suppressed. I mean abandoned.

Kind regards

Element
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