AN 8.12 Sīha

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AN 8.12 Sīha

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:50 am

AN 8.12 Sīhasenāpati [Sīha] AN iv 179
Translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi


http://suttacentral.net/an8.12/en

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Vesālī in the hall with the peaked roof in the Great Wood. Now on that occasion, a number of well-known Licchavis had assembled in the meeting hall and were sitting together speaking in many ways in praise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha. On that occasion Sīha the general, a disciple of the Nigaṇṭhas, was sitting in that assembly. It then occurred to him: “Doubtlessly, he must be a Blessed One, an Arahant, a Perfectly Enlightened One. For a number of these well-known Licchavis have assembled in the meeting hall and are sitting together speaking in many ways in praise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha. Let me go see that Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One.”

Then Sīha went to the Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta and said to him: “Bhante, I wish to go see the ascetic Gotama.”

“Since you are a proponent of deeds, Sīha, why go see the ascetic Gotama, a proponent of non-doing? For the ascetic Gotama is a proponent of non-doing who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of non-doing and thereby guides his disciples.” [1650]

Then Sīha’s determination to go see the Blessed One subsided.

On a second occasion, a number of well-known Licchavis had assembled in the meeting hall and were sitting together speaking in many ways in praise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha…. All as above, except this is now said to occur “on a second occasion.” … On a second occasion, Sīha’s determination to go see the Blessed One subsided.

On a third occasion, a number of well-known Licchavis had assembled in the meeting hall and were sitting together speaking in many ways in praise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha. It then occurred to Sīha: “Doubtlessly, he must be a Blessed One, an Arahant, a Perfectly Enlightened One. For a number of these well-known Licchavis have assembled in the meeting hall and are sitting together speaking in many ways in praise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha. What can the Nigaṇṭhas do to me whether or not I obtain their permission? Without having obtained the permission of the Nigaṇṭhas, let me go see that Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One.” [1651]

Then, with five hundred chariots, Sīha the general set out from Vesālī in the middle of the day in order to see the Blessed One. He went by carriage as far as the ground was suitable for a carriage, and then dismounted from his carriage and entered the monastery grounds on foot. He approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“I have heard this, Bhante: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of non-doing who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of non-doing and thereby guides his disciples.’ Do those who speak thus state what has been said by the Blessed One and not misrepresent him with what is contrary to fact? Do they explain in accordance with the Dhamma so that they would not incur any reasonable criticism or ground for censure? [1652] For we do not want to misrepresent the Blessed One.”

(1) “There is, Sīha, a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of non-doing who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of non-doing and thereby guides his disciples.’

(2) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of deeds who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of deeds and thereby guides his disciples.’ [1653]

(3) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an annihilationist who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of annihilation and thereby guides his disciples.’

(4) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a repeller who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of repulsion and thereby guides his disciples.’

(5) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an abolitionist who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of abolition and thereby guides his disciples.’

(6) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a tormentor who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of torment and thereby guides his disciples.’

(7) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is retiring, one who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of retiring and thereby guides his disciples.’

(8) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a consoler [1654]who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of consolation and thereby guides his disciples.’

(1) “And in what way, Sīha, could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of non-doing who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of non-doing and thereby guides his disciples’? For I assert the non-doing of bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct; I assert the non-doing of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome deeds. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of non-doing who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of non-doing and thereby guides his disciples.’

(2)“And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of deeds who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of deeds and thereby guides his disciples’? For I assert good bodily, verbal, and mental conduct; I assert the doing of the numerous kinds of wholesome deeds. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of deeds who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of deeds and thereby guides his disciples.’

(3)“And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an annihilationist who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of annihilation and thereby guides his disciples’? For I assert the annihilation of lust, hatred, and delusion; I assert the annihilation of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome qualities. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an annihilationist who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of annihilation and thereby guides his disciples.’

(4)“And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a repeller who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of repulsion and thereby guides his disciples’? For I am repelled by bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct; I am repelled by the acquisition of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome qualities. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a repeller who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of repulsion and thereby guides his disciples.’

(5)“And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an abolitionist who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of abolition and thereby guides his disciples’? For I teach the Dhamma for the abolition of lust, hatred, and delusion; I teach the Dhamma for the abolition of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome qualities. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an abolitionist who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of abolition and thereby guides his disciples.’

(6)“And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a tormentor who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of tormenting and thereby guides his disciples’? For I assert that bad unwholesome qualities—bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct—are to be burned up. I say that someone is a tormentor when he has abandoned the bad unwholesome qualities that are to be burned up; when he has cut them off at the root, made them like a palm stump, obliterated them so that they are no more subject to future arising. The Tathāgata has abandoned the bad unwholesome qualities that are to be burned up; he has cut them off at the root, made them like a palm stump, obliterated them so that they are no more subject to future arising. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a tormentor who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of tormenting and thereby guides his disciples.’

(7)“And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is retiring, one who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of retiring and thereby guides his disciples’? For I say that someone is retiring when he has abandoned the production of renewed existence, the future bed of the womb; when he has cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, obliterated it so that it is no more subject to future arising. The Tathāgata has abandoned the production of renewed existence, the future bed of the womb; he has cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, obliterated it so that it is no more subject to future arising. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is retiring, one who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of retiring and thereby guides his disciples.’

(8)“And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a consoler, one who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of consolation and thereby guides his disciples’? For I am a consoler with the supreme consolation; I teach the Dhamma for the sake of consolation and thereby guide my disciples. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a consoler, one who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of consolation and thereby guides his disciples.’” [1655]

When this was said, Sīha the general said to the Blessed One: “Excellent, Bhante! Excellent, Bhante! … Let the Blessed One accept me as a lay follower who from today has gone for refuge for life.”

“Make an investigation, Sīha! It is good for such well-known people like yourself to make an investigation.” [1656]

“Bhante, I am even more satisfied and pleased with the Blessed One for telling me: ‘Make an investigation, Sīha! It is good for such well-known people like yourself to make an investigation.’ For if the members of other sects were to gain me as their disciple, they would carry a banner all over Vesālī announcing: ‘Sīha the general has become our disciple.’ But the Blessed One rather tells me: ‘Make an investigation, Sīha! It is good for such well-known people like yourself to make an investigation.’ So for the second time, Bhante, I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha of bhikkhus. Let the Blessed One accept me as a lay follower who from today has gone for refuge for life.”

“Sīha, your family has long been a fountain of support for the Nigaṇṭhas; hence you should consider continuing to give alms to them when they approach you.”

“Bhante, I am even more satisfied and pleased with the Blessed One for telling me: ‘Sīha, your family has long been a fountain of support for the Nigaṇṭhas; hence you should consider continuing to give alms to them when they approach you.’ For I have heard: ‘The ascetic Gotama says thus: “Alms should be given only to me, not to others; alms should be given only to my disciples, not to the disciples of others. Only what is given to me is very fruitful, not what is given to others; only what is given to my disciples is very fruitful, not what is given to the disciples of others.”’ [1657] Yet the Blessed One encourages me to give to the Nigaṇṭhas, too. We’ll know the right time for this. So for the third time, Bhante, I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha of bhikkhus. Let the Blessed One accept me as a lay follower who from today has gone for refuge for life.”

Then the Blessed One gave Sīha the general a progressive discourse, that is, a talk on giving, virtuous behavior, and heaven; he revealed the danger, degradation, and defilement of sensual pleasures and the benefit of renunciation. When the Blessed One knew that Sīha’s mind was pliant, softened, rid of hindrances, uplifted, and confident, he revealed that Dhamma teaching special to the Buddhas: suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the path. Then, just as a clean cloth rid of dark spots would readily absorb dye, so too, while Sīha the general sat in that same seat, there arose in him the dust-free, stainless Dhamma-eye: ‘Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.’ Sīha the general became one who had seen the Dhamma, attained the Dhamma, understood the Dhamma, fathomed the Dhamma, crossed over doubt, gotten rid of bewilderment, attained self-confidence, and become independent of others in the teaching of the Teacher. He then said to the Blessed One:

“Bhante, please let the Blessed One together with the Saṅgha of bhikkhus accept tomorrow’s meal from me.”

The Blessed One consented by silence. Having understood that the Blessed One had consented, Sīha rose from his seat, paid homage to the Blessed One, circumambulated him keeping the right side toward him, and departed. Then Sīha addressed a man: “Go, good man, find some meat ready for sale.”

Then, when the night had passed, Sīha the general had various kinds of excellent foods prepared in his own residence, after which he had the time announced to the Blessed One: “It is time, Bhante, the meal is ready.”

Then, in the morning, the Blessed One dressed, took his bowl and robe, went to Sīha’s residence along with the Saṅgha of bhikkhus, and sat down on the seat prepared for him. Now on that occasion a number of Nigaṇṭhas went from street to street and from square to square in Vesālī, thrashing their arms about and crying out: “Today Sīha the general has slain a plump animal to prepare a meal for the ascetic Gotama! The ascetic Gotama knowingly uses meat obtained from an animal killed especially for his sake, the act being done on his account.”

Then a man approached Sīha the general and whispered into his ear: “Sir, you should know that a number of Nigaṇṭhas are going from street to street and from square to square in Vesālī, thrashing their arms about and crying out: ‘Today Sīha the general has slain a plump animal to prepare a meal for the ascetic Gotama! The ascetic Gotama knowingly uses meat obtained from an animal killed especially for his sake, a deed done on his account.’”

“Enough, good man. For a long time those venerable ones have wanted to discredit the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha. They will never stop [1658] misrepresenting the Blessed One with what is untrue, baseless, false, and contrary to fact, and we would never intentionally deprive a living being of life, even for the sake of our life.” [1659]

Then, with his own hands, Sīha the general served and satisfied the Saṅgha of bhikkhus headed by the Buddha with the various kinds of excellent food. Then, when the Blessed One had finished eating and had put away his bowl, Sīha sat down to one side. Then the Blessed One instructed, encouraged, inspired, and gladdened Sīha with a Dhamma talk, after which he rose from his seat and departed.

Notes

[1650] It is strange that Mahāvīra (the Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta) is depicted as making such a statement. The Jains certainly must have known that the Buddha also taught a doctrine of kamma, though different from their own. Mp says that Nātaputta was extremely displeased at Sīha’s request and thought to prevent him from going. His words “destroyed the joy that had arisen in Sīha, as if striking a stray bull with a stick, extinguishing a burning lamp, or turning over a bowl of food.”

[1651] I read with Be and Ee: yannūnāhaṃ anapaloketvā va nigaṇṭhe, as against Ce yannūnāhaṃ anapalokitā va nigaṇṭhe. In the previous sentence, with nigaṇṭhā as subject, the past participles apalokitā vā anapalokitā vā are appropriate as nominatives in agreement with the subject. In this sentence, where ahaṃ is the subject, an absolutive signifying an act of Sīha is preferable.

[1652] Kacci tete bhoto gotamassa vuttavādino ca bhavantaṃ gotamaṃ abhūtena abbhācikkhanti, dhammassa cānudhammaṃ byākaronti, na ca koci sahadhammiko vādānupāto gārayhaṃ ṭhānaṃ āgacchati. So all three editions, but some variants have vādānuvādo in place of vādānupāto. I have discussed the formula in detail in CDB, p. 747, note 72, but I now believe that the Pāli commentaries err in taking vādānupāta (or vādānuvāda) to mean “consequence of their assertion.” I now take this term to be simply a synonym of gārayhaṃ ṭhānaṃ.” In support of this change, see 5:5, where sahadhammikā vādānuvādā gārayhā ṭhānā āgacchanti and its opposite, sahadhammikā pāsaṃsā ṭhānā āgacchanti, occur without reference to any prior assertion. Chinese parallels to AN 3.57 support this interpretation. SĀ 95 (at T II 26a11–14), reads: (“How is it? Gotama, does one who says this speak truthfully? Is it the case that he does not misrepresent Gotama? Does he speak in accordance with what was said, in accordance with the Dharma, in line with the Dharma, so that other people cannot criticize him in terms of that same Dharma?”). Another parallel at T II 493b19–21 is similar, with nothing that corresponds to “consequence of an assertion.”

[1653] In 8:11 accusations §§1, 3–7 are leveled against the Buddha

[1654] Ce and Be have assāsako; Ee reads assattho, which means “consoled.” I am not quite sure how this is intended as a criticism.

[1655] Mp: “Supreme consolation (paramena assāsena): the four paths and four fruits.”

[1656] What follows here, up to “and become independent of others in the teaching of the Teacher,” closely matches Upāli’s experience at MN 56.16–18, I 379,2–380,10.

[1657] This charge is also addressed at 3:57.

[1658] Ce and Ee jīranti; Be jiridanti. Mp: “They do not limit their slander (abbhakkhānassa antaṃ na gacchanti). Or else, this word jiridanti means shame (lajjanatthe). The meaning is that they are not ashamed (na lajjanti).”

[1659] See the Jīvaka Sutta (MN 55) for the Buddha’s position on meat-eating. It is curious, indeed almost disingenuous, that the Buddhist texts depict the Jains as criticizing the Buddha for eating meat from an animal killed especially for him. This charge plays right into the Buddhists’ protest that the Buddha is being slandered and their rejoinder that he would never intentionally have a living being killed for his meal. But as the Jains were strict vegetarians, we can be almost certain that they criticized the Buddha and his disciples, not for having an animal killed for their meal, but simply for consuming meat. On the Jain prohibition of meat-eating, see http://www.jainworld.com/jainbooks/guideline/28.htm.
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Re: AN 8.12 Sīha

Postby Sam Vara » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:14 am

Many thanks, Mike. This is another new one for me, although it seems to cover similar ground to some other Suttas.

I like the way in which the Buddha allows that certain epithets could justifiably be applied to him. It seems to suggest an historical background in which the religious groups labelled one another (as annihilationists, abolitionists, tormentors, etc) in an attempt to maintain their "market share" and prevent followers from investigating other claims. This ties in with the Buddha's invitation to
“Make an investigation, Sīha! It is good for such well-known people like yourself to make an investigation.”

and the whole exchange seems to be about looking beneath the labels and words and focusing on the actual practice. This is a bit like saying that to this day we could call Buddhism literally anything, providing we recognise that we are merely using words.

Richard Gombrich (in "What the Buddha Thought") is good on this courteous and non-confrontational method of explaining. The Buddha will frequently agree with what his interlocutors say, and then suggest that there is a better meaning which can be given to the words being used.

The bit about "tormenting" or burning up the defilements (#6) reminds me of Upasikaa Kee Nanayon. She often asked practitioners to "put the heat on the defilements" - to starve them out, and not to listen to their complaining.

Finally, the generous bit about continuing to support the Niganthas is interesting. I have sometimes seen people puzzled about the Buddha's claims about the merits of giving.
I have heard: ‘The ascetic Gotama says thus: “Alms should be given only to me, not to others; alms should be given only to my disciples, not to the disciples of others. Only what is given to me is very fruitful, not what is given to others; only what is given to my disciples is very fruitful, not what is given to the disciples of others.”

This Sutta makes it clear that there is virtue in giving to others outside of the Buddha's sangha.
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Re: AN 8.12 Sīha

Postby culaavuso » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:09 pm

AN 8.12: Sīha Sutta wrote:I assert that bad unwholesome qualities—bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct—are to be burned up. I say that someone is a tormentor when he has abandoned the bad unwholesome qualities that are to be burned up; when he has cut them off at the root, made them like a palm stump, obliterated them so that they are no more subject to future arising.


This seems to be an interesting parallel to the notion of burning up kamma in meditation. Suppressing the hindrances and cultivating insight would be a way to "burn up" these unwholesome qualities, and since the qualities are defined in terms of misconduct it is implied that burning up these qualities is putting an end to unwholesome kamma.
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Re: AN 8.12 Sīha

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:56 am

Well spotted!

:anjali:
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Re: AN 8.12 Sīha

Postby starter » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:11 am

Greetings!

I wonder what's the Pali for "attained self-confidence" in the following passage:

"Sīha the general became one who had seen the Dhamma, attained the Dhamma, understood the Dhamma, fathomed the Dhamma, crossed over doubt, gotten rid of bewilderment, attained self-confidence, and become independent of others in the teaching of the Teacher."

I tend to think that it might mean "attained full confidence [on the Buddha]", which is a kind of synonym of "crossed over doubt, gotten rid of bewilderment".

Metta to all!
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Re: AN 8.12 Sīha

Postby culaavuso » Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:23 am

starter wrote:I wonder what's the Pali for "attained self-confidence" in the following passage


vesārajjappatto

starter wrote:I tend to think that it might mean "attained full confidence [on the Buddha]", which is a kind of synonym of "crossed over doubt, gotten rid of bewilderment".


The entire phrase seems to be a long list of terms that all refer to the attainment of stream entry. It apparently refers to the attainment of full confidence in the Dhamma with the arising of the "dust-free, stainless Dhamma-eye". It seems this direct and personal experience of the Dhamma is what would thus make him "independent of others in the teaching of the Teacher".
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Re: AN 8.12 Sīha

Postby starter » Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:23 pm

culaavuso wrote:
starter wrote:I wonder what's the Pali for "attained self-confidence" in the following passage


vesārajjappatto


Hello culaavuso,

Thanks for your help. What's the direct translation of vesārajjappatto? The translation of "attained self-confidence" could be misleading -- one might think that one can be confident in himself instead of the others including the Buddha. I once heard a teacher saying that a stream enterer needs no more teacher (including the Buddha) to reach nibbana since he has seen the Dhamma, which I don't agree. A stream enterer has only comprehended the first one of the three ways, and the first 4 folds of the 12 folds of 4 NT (he found the path but hasn't fully understood/developed the path). He still needs to rely on the Buddha's teaching to fathom and walk the noble path, and to realize the rest of the two ways and eight folds of the Four Noble Truths.

Metta to all!
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Re: AN 8.12 Sīha

Postby culaavuso » Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:18 pm

starter wrote:Thanks for your help. What's the direct translation of vesārajjappatto?

The direct translation is "attained self-confidence".

starter wrote:The translation of "attained self-confidence" could be misleading -- one might think that one can be confident in himself instead of the others including the Buddha. I once heard a teacher saying that a stream enterer needs no more teacher (including the Buddha) to reach nibbana since he has seen the Dhamma, which I don't agree.

The confidence attained at stream entry is described as confidence due to direct experience confirming the Buddha's teachings, which seems like something that could be expected to also inspire confidence in the Buddha through seeing his teachings validated. The suttas seem to suggest that, while a stream entrant can benefit from further teachings and has faith in the Buddha's awakening, they also directly know with certainty the True Dhamma and will eventually reach unbinding from that point whether further teachings are received or not. A stream entrant is defined in the suttas as having no more than seven lives remaining and no longer being at risk of rebirth in states less conducive to practice than a human birth. As already mentioned in the quote above, this is described specifically as being "independent of others in the teaching of the Teacher". The state described is one where the teaching has been internalized and is known in sufficient detail and with certainty that it can and will continue to be practiced regardless of the availability of any teacher.

AN 4.184: Abhaya Sutta wrote:Furthermore, there is the case of the person who has no doubt or perplexity, who has arrived at certainty with regard to the True Dhamma.


SN 12.68: Kosambi Sutta wrote:"Yes, Pavittha my friend. Putting aside conviction... preference... tradition... reasoning through analogies... an agreement through pondering views, I do have truly personal knowledge that, 'From birth as a requisite condition come aging & death.'"
[likewise for the rest of dependent origination]
...
"My friend, although I have seen properly with right discernment, as it actually is present, that 'The cessation of becoming is Unbinding,' still I am not an arahant whose fermentations are ended. It's as if there were a well along a road in a desert, with neither rope nor water bucket. A man would come along overcome by heat, oppressed by the heat, exhausted, dehydrated, & thirsty. He would look into the well and would have knowledge of 'water,' but he would not dwell touching it with his body. In the same way, although I have seen properly with right discernment, as it actually is present, that 'The cessation of becoming is Unbinding,' still I am not an arahant whose fermentations are ended."


SN 13.1: Nakhasikha Sutta wrote:In the same way, monks, for a disciple of the noble ones who is consummate in view, an individual who has broken through [to stream-entry], the suffering & stress that is totally ended & extinguished is far greater. That which remains in the state of having at most seven remaining lifetimes is next to nothing: it's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth, when compared with the previous mass of suffering. That's how great the benefit is of breaking through to the Dhamma, monks. That's how great the benefit is of obtaining the Dhamma eye.


Another way to understand this is to ask "what is the stream that is entered?" The answer given in the suttas is that the stream is the noble eightfold path.

SN 55.5: Sāriputta Sutta wrote:"Sariputta, 'The stream, the stream': thus it is said. And what, Sariputta, is the stream?"

"This noble eightfold path, lord, is the stream: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration."

"Very good, Sariputta! Very good! This noble eightfold path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration — is the stream."


The Buddha is quoted in the suttas to have said that anywhere the eightfold path is found, stream entrants, once-returners, non-returners, and arahants are also to be found:
DN 16: Maha-parinibbana Sutta wrote:In any doctrine & discipline where the noble eightfold path is not found, no contemplative of the first... second... third... fourth order [stream-winner, once-returner, non-returner, or arahant] is found. But in any doctrine & discipline where the noble eightfold path is found, contemplatives of the first... second... third... fourth order are found. The noble eightfold path is found in this doctrine & discipline, and right here there are contemplatives of the first... second... third... fourth order.


The Buddha also is quoted in the suttas as explaining that the path does not depend on him personally (other than teaching it at a time when no one else knew it), but is something he discovered and taught to others:
SN 12.65: Nagara Sutta wrote:It is just as if a man, traveling along a wilderness track, were to see an ancient path, an ancient road, traveled by people of former times. He would follow it. Following it, he would see an ancient city, an ancient capital inhabited by people of former times, complete with parks, groves, & ponds, walled, delightful. He would go to address the king or the king's minister, saying, 'Sire, you should know that while traveling along a wilderness track I saw an ancient path... I followed it... I saw an ancient city, an ancient capital... complete with parks, groves, & ponds, walled, delightful. Sire, rebuild that city!' The king or king's minister would rebuild the city, so that at a later date the city would become powerful, rich, & well-populated, fully grown & prosperous.

In the same way I saw an ancient path, an ancient road, traveled by the Rightly Self-awakened Ones of former times. And what is that ancient path, that ancient road, traveled by the Rightly Self-awakened Ones of former times? Just this noble eightfold path: right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. That is the ancient path, the ancient road, traveled by the Rightly Self-awakened Ones of former times.



starter wrote:He still needs to rely on the Buddha's teaching to fathom and walk the noble path

Yes, the stream entrant still has much work left to do, but as the quotes above seem to show the stream entrant has become independent of others in his ability to understand what needs to be done and do it. A stream entrant has fully understood the path through direct experience, which would explain the description of being "consummate in view" in SN 13.1 quoted above.

One could perhaps compare the confidence of stream entry to the confidence that a professor has in their subject. They learned their subject initially in dependence on other teachers, but eventually they came to a point where they knew it well enough that they were independent of others in understanding the subject. As a student, they would have had confidence in a text book because they had faith the author was skilled in the subject. However, as an expert, they would have confidence in the text book because they themselves know the contents are correct. As a result of knowing the textbook is correct, they would have a faith in the author as skilled because the verified correctness of the text book proves it. This is a very different sort of confidence in the author of the text book than what a student initially has since it is an informed confidence rather than a blind confidence.
culaavuso
 
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Re: AN 8.12 Sīha

Postby starter » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:55 pm

Hello culaavuso,

Thanks for the helpful information. Indeed the direct translation of "vesārajjappatto" is "attained self-confidence":

Vesārajja:
Vesārajja (nt.) [abstr. formation fr. visārada, i. e. *vaiśā- radya] (the Buddha's or an Arahant's) perfect selfconfidence (which is of 4 kinds), self-- satisfaction, subject of confidence. The four are given in full at M i.71 sq., viz. highest [by the way, which are the 4 kinds of selfconfidence?]

In the context of AN 8.12 Sīha sutta, it's a synonym of "having gained independence from others with regard to the Teacher's teaching", which I interpret as:

"he'll not be misled by others with regard to the Teacher's teaching". [But it's only my personal understanding.]

However, I don't think gaining such confidence and independence means that he doesn't need any teachers (including the Buddha's teaching) to develop/walk the path. Ananda and many other sekhas, who had attained stream entry, had been continually instructed by the Buddha, such as:

"Brahman, such is my instruction for those monks who are learners (sekha) who, perfection being not yet attained, dwell longing for the incomparable security from the bonds. …” (MN 107)

"Then venerable Ānanda, after entering the living place, and leaning against the door-lintel, stood there crying: “The Teacher will attain Final Emancipation while I am still a Trainee with much to do, he who has compassion for me!” (DN 16)

I believe that the whole MN was taught to the sekhas. I also believe that the following teaching applies to the sekhas -- in fact it was taught to the sekhas including Ven. Ananda, who was a stream winner then (the lowest among those monks that the Buddha addressed the teaching to):

"Now the Blessed One spoke to the Venerable Ananda, saying: "It may be, Ananda, that to some among you the thought will come: 'Ended is the word of the Teacher; we have a Teacher no longer.' But it should not, Ananda, be so considered. [color=#000080]For that which I have proclaimed and made known as the Dhamma and the Discipline, that shall be your Teacher when I am gone." [/color](DN 16)

I'll stop my participation in this discussion because the stream winners should know how to continue their practice. I was only trying to be of help to some deluded "sekha".

Metta to all!

Starter :anjali:
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