Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta & Household Life

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Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta & Household Life

Postby Refugee » Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:14 pm

:namaste:
Please, I need some clarity with regard to the Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta, more specifically this paragraph:
Mahanama, that very mental quality [viz., greed, aversion, or delusion ] is what is unabandoned within you so that there are times when the mental quality of greed... the mental quality of aversion... the mental quality of delusion invades your mind and remains.[3] For if that mental quality were abandoned in you, you would not live the household life and would not partake of sensuality. It's because that mental quality is not abandoned in you that you live the household life and partake of sensuality.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.014.than.html
I tried paraphrasing this paragraph as best as I could and it seems to be indicating that the mental quality of greed, aversion, or delusion cannot be abandoned (at least not completely) by a person living a household life. Hence, it seems almost impossible for such person to become an arhant. However, I had searched other threads in the forum and it was pointed out that evidence exists in other suttas that householders can in fact become arhants. Now, I'm thinking that maybe I'm not understanding the above paragraph in the Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta correctly. I will appreciate it if someone can assist me. Metta.
My practice is simply this: Avoid evil, do good, and purify the mind.
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Re: Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta & Household Life

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:39 pm

Refugee wrote::namaste:
Please, I need some clarity with regard to the Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta, more specifically this paragraph:
Mahanama, that very mental quality [viz., greed, aversion, or delusion ] is what is unabandoned within you so that there are times when the mental quality of greed... the mental quality of aversion... the mental quality of delusion invades your mind and remains.[3] For if that mental quality were abandoned in you, you would not live the household life and would not partake of sensuality. It's because that mental quality is not abandoned in you that you live the household life and partake of sensuality.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.014.than.html
I tried paraphrasing this paragraph as best as I could and it seems to be indicating that the mental quality of greed, aversion, or delusion cannot be abandoned (at least not completely) by a person living a household life. Hence, it seems almost impossible for such person to become an arhant. However, I had searched other threads in the forum and it was pointed out that evidence exists in other suttas that householders can in fact become arhants. Now, I'm thinking that maybe I'm not understanding the above paragraph in the Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta correctly. I will appreciate it if someone can assist me. Metta.

Hi,

I can only give you my interpretation. As I see it, the paragraph doesn't imply that greed, aversion and delusion cannot be abandoned by a person living the household life. What we can find in that paragraph is, that the Buddha says that Mahanama lives the household life and partakes of sensuality because he has not abandoned greed, aversion and delusion. Not the other way round.

I think these paragraphs and comments are also important (emphasize added):
"Mahanama, that very mental quality[2] is what is unabandoned within you so that there are times when the mental quality of greed... the mental quality of aversion... the mental quality of delusion invades your mind and remains.[3] For if that mental quality were abandoned in you, you would not live the household life and would not partake of sensuality. It's because that mental quality is not abandoned in you that you live the household life and partake of sensuality.

"Even though a disciple of the noble ones has clearly seen as it actually is with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, still — if he has not attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that[4] — he can be tempted by sensuality. But when he has clearly seen as it actually is with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, and he has attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that, he cannot be tempted by sensuality.

[2] I.e., greed, aversion, or delusion.
[3] This sentence is mistranslated in both MLS and MLDB. Its point is that the mental qualities that invade Mahanama's mind are precisely the ones he has not yet abandoned. In practical terms, this means that he does not have to look for another quality lurking behind them, but instead can focus his attention on abandoning these qualities directly as they arise. The remainder of the sutta gives a lesson in how greed, aversion, and delusion can be abandoned by understanding the object on which they most frequently focus: sensuality.
[4] The rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, is a factor of the first or second jhana. "Something more peaceful than that" would be any attainments higher than the second jhana.


Hope it helps.
best wishes, acinteyyo
Last edited by acinteyyo on Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta & Household Life

Postby Hanzze » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:23 pm

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta & Household Life

Postby bodom » Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:29 pm

Hanzze wrote:The broadly known Theravada way does not provide a way for a householder...


What exactly do you mean by this?

: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: Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta & Household Life

Postby Hanzze » Sat Jan 29, 2011 4:49 pm

_/\_
Last edited by Hanzze on Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta & Household Life

Postby Refugee » Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:45 pm

Hi Acinteyyo

Thank you for your response. Having considered it carefully, the answer to my question is perhaps in this sentence:

"But when he has clearly seen as it actually is with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, and he has attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that, he cannot be tempted by sensuality."
[4] The rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, is a factor of the first or second jhana. "Something more peaceful than that" would be any attainments higher than the second jhana.

It seems that the householder will have to attain a "direct insight" into the nature of phenomena and also at least the second jhana to pass beyond sensual temptation. But, as Hanzze stated, sooner or later s/he would be leading an ascetic life rather than an householder's life.

Being a beginner, I am quite content to leave it here for the moment. As I practice and gain some experience, maybe I will be more able to absorb the finer points of the Dhamma.

Thanks all :anjali:
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Re: Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta & Household Life

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:58 am

Refugee wrote:Hi Acinteyyo

Thank you for your response. Having considered it carefully, the answer to my question is perhaps in this sentence:

"But when he has clearly seen as it actually is with right discernment that sensuality is of much stress, much despair, & greater drawbacks, and he has attained a rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, or something more peaceful than that, he cannot be tempted by sensuality."
[4] The rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality, apart from unskillful mental qualities, is a factor of the first or second jhana. "Something more peaceful than that" would be any attainments higher than the second jhana.

It seems that the householder will have to attain a "direct insight" into the nature of phenomena and also at least the second jhana to pass beyond sensual temptation. But, as Hanzze stated, sooner or later s/he would be leading an ascetic life rather than an householder's life.

Being a beginner, I am quite content to leave it here for the moment. As I practice and gain some experience, maybe I will be more able to absorb the finer points of the Dhamma.

Thanks all :anjali:

Hi Refugee,

Yes, I think your on the right way, friend. Leaving the householder's life can be the direct consequence of insight and the attainment of rapture & pleasure apart from sensuality.
Be confident with your experience, practice and insights and you will know for sure, don't go for speculations.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

:anjali:
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Re: Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta & Household Life

Postby ground » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:37 am

It is impossible that one becomes an arhat and continues household life. Somewhere I have read that such a person either dies or goes forth. If such a person does not go forth then she/he will die because of outer behaviour being incompatible with worldy life. She/he will be expelled from society. But since dying is no issue for an arhat who cares?

Kind regards
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Re: Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta & Household Life

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:00 am

I think it is important to bear in mind that Buddhism is not an 'All or Nothing' religion. Clearly lay people can traverse 75% of the path (to become a non- returner) -never returning to this world and the human realm again. This is a high exalted state, and that being will go onto attain full enlightenment in that realm. If a goal is required then becoming a non-returner is a very worthwhile goal- one that you can do while being a lay person. There are many instances in the suttas (like Citta) who were non-returner lay people. They have removed vast amounts of suffering from their minds in this lifetime and are destined for enlightenment after living in a heavenly realm - not a bad thing to aspire to!

With metta

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Re: Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta & Household Life

Postby Refugee » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:46 am

rowyourboat wrote:I think it is important to bear in mind that Buddhism is not an 'All or Nothing' religion. ... ...

That is a valid point.
rowyourboat wrote:Clearly lay people can traverse 75% of the path (to become a non- returner) -never returning to this world and the human realm again. ... ...

I'm curious to know the significance of 75% of the path.
:anjali:
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Re: Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta & Household Life

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:56 pm

Refugee wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:I think it is important to bear in mind that Buddhism is not an 'All or Nothing' religion. ... ...

That is a valid point.
rowyourboat wrote:Clearly lay people can traverse 75% of the path (to become a non- returner) -never returning to this world and the human realm again. ... ...

I'm curious to know the significance of 75% of the path.
:anjali:


The Buddhist path has some mile-stones along the way. These are signs of the gradual development of the path. They are four attainments:
1) stream entery (sotapanna)
2) Once returner (sakadagami)
3) Non-returner (anagami)
4) arahanth or one who has reached enlightenment, and no further practice is required.

These are irreversible attainments.

They are defined by the fetters (kinds of unwholesome states of mind) which bind us to this existence of suffering. By breaking these fetters (samyojana) progressively, the practitioner attains these states. To break these fetters it takes a certain degree of development of mental faculties. A75% development (approximate, of course) would take you up to the non-returner state. This would be a 'rule of thumb' to measure development, and there are other ways to conceptualize this gradual development.

I hope that is clear enough for now. :smile:

with metta

Matheesha




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Re: Cula-dukkhakkhandha Sutta & Household Life

Postby Refugee » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:41 pm

Thank you, Matheesha, for that clarification. Yes, its clear to me now.
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