Arahants in Early Buddhism

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby vinasp » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:51 pm

Hi Kevin,

Yes, you are correct.

The problem seems to be that those who attain temporary release are not
called arahants in the Theravada school, but they are so called in some
of the other schools. How did that difference arise?

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby vinasp » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:06 am

Hi Retro,

Quote:"and is suggestive to me of agendas to diminish the status of the arahant"

I agree with most of what you say in that post. My only comment would be that
for schools such as the Pudgalavadins, they were not saying that all arahants
regress, some do, but others are "permanently" liberated.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby Virgo » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:15 am

vinasp wrote:Hi Kevin,

Yes, you are correct.

The problem seems to be that those who attain temporary release are not
called arahants in the Theravada school, but they are so called in some
of the other schools. How did that difference arise?

Regards, Vincent.

Hi Vincent,

I am not sure. And I am not sure that there is a direct correlation betwixt the two. The misunderstanding may have arisen due to other things.

Kevin
Last edited by Virgo on Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby vinasp » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:24 am

Hi Cittasanto,

Quote:"You answer your own question here! #2 is the answer to #1"

Yes, it could be.

Quote:"but I understand that the early schools were consistent in that Enlightenment isn't something you can rejoin samsara from, you are either enlightened or not."

Yes, where true enlightenment is meant. The problem may have arisen from the
designation of the jhanas as a series of liberations.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby vinasp » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:24 am

Hi everyone,

The KS i 150 reference is SN 4.23 - Godhika - Here is part of the PTS English
translation by Mrs. Rhys Davids, page 149-150:

"The Exalted One was once staying at Rajagaha, in the Bamboo Grove, at
the Squirrels Feeding-ground. And on that occasion the venerable Godhika
was staying at Black Rock, on the slopes of Seers Hill. And he, abiding
in zealous, ardent and strenuous study, touched (2) temporary (3)
emancipation of mind, and then fell away therefrom. And this befel him
a second, and yet a third time, yes, even six times (4).
Then he thought: 'Up to six times have I fallen away from temporary
emancipation of mind. What if I were now to use the knife?' (5)."

[ The "knife" is a symbol of insight or wisdom - typical word play. ]

Notes:

2. Comy: patilabhi.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby Virgo » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:19 am

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

The KS i 150 reference is SN 4.23 - Godhika - Here is part of the PTS English
translation by Mrs. Rhys Davids, page 149-150:

"The Exalted One was once staying at Rajagaha, in the Bamboo Grove, at
the Squirrels Feeding-ground. And on that occasion the venerable Godhika
was staying at Black Rock, on the slopes of Seers Hill. And he, abiding
in zealous, ardent and strenuous study, touched (2) temporary (3)
emancipation of mind, and then fell away therefrom. And this befel him
a second, and yet a third time, yes, even six times (4).
Then he thought: 'Up to six times have I fallen away from temporary
emancipation of mind. What if I were now to use the knife?' (5)."

[ The "knife" is a symbol of insight or wisdom - typical word play. ]

Notes:

2. Comy: patilabhi.

Regards, Vincent.

Hi Vincent.

In this case it was jhana too. And the knife was a razor he used to cut his throat with.

Kevin
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby vinasp » Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:41 am

Hi Kevin,

According to the commentary. But you should not believe everything that
they say. In MN 23.4 we find:

"The knife is a symbol for noble wisdom."

The commentators have a problem when a sutta text has a double meaning. They
usually play safe and explain it the way that a puthujjana is intended to
understand it.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:26 am

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

The KS i 150 reference is SN 4.23 - Godhika - Here is part of the PTS English
translation by Mrs. Rhys Davids, page 149-150:

"The Exalted One was once staying at Rajagaha, in the Bamboo Grove, at
the Squirrels Feeding-ground. And on that occasion the venerable Godhika
was staying at Black Rock, on the slopes of Seers Hill. And he, abiding
in zealous, ardent and strenuous study, touched (2) temporary (3)
emancipation of mind, and then fell away therefrom. And this befel him
a second, and yet a third time, yes, even six times (4).
Then he thought: 'Up to six times have I fallen away from temporary
emancipation of mind. What if I were now to use the knife?' (5)."

[ The "knife" is a symbol of insight or wisdom - typical word play. ]

Notes:

2. Comy: patilabhi.

Regards, Vincent.

Hi Vincent,
I found another version of this text here for comparison.
Translation by Bhikkhuni Uppalavanna wrote:8. For the sixth time venerable Godhika while abiding diligent to dispel touched the release of mind in concentration. For the sixth time venerable Godhika fell away from that release of mind in concentration.

9. For the seventh time venerable Godhika while abiding diligent to dispel touched the release of mind in concentration. For the seventh time.

10. Then it occurred to venerable Godhika, up to the sixth time I fell away from that release of mind in concentration. What if I take my life?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:26 am

Hi Cittasanto,

It is always good to compare different translations. That version is a
reasonable one.

The problem arises when the Pali includes an idiomatic expression which
also has a double meaning. Bhikkhu Bodhi's version has:

"Then it occurred to the venerable Godhika:"Six times already I have
fallen away from temporary liberation of mind. Let me use the knife." 309

Note 309 reads:"Sattham ahareyyam. A euphemistic expression for suicide ..."

Full enlightenment is "psychological death" and since they are so fond of
double meanings and "word-play", it is not surprising that they take
advantage of the opportunity to have monks "die" and "commit suicide"
with alarming frequency. This stuff is not meant to be taken literally,
no doubt it was a great joke at the time.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby Virgo » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:58 am

vinasp wrote:Hi Cittasanto,

It is always good to compare different translations. That version is a
reasonable one.

The problem arises when the Pali includes an idiomatic expression which
also has a double meaning. Bhikkhu Bodhi's version has:

"Then it occurred to the venerable Godhika:"Six times already I have
fallen away from temporary liberation of mind. Let me use the knife." 309

Have you guys read the Sutta?

Kevin
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:54 am

As Kevin says:
Virgo wrote:Have you guys read the Sutta?

In the context it seem extremely unlikely that "the knife" is talking about wisdom.

:anjali:
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:26 am

Hi Kevin,

You ask: "Have you guys read the Sutta?"

yes, I have, it looks like a fairy tale to me.

regards, Vincent.
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:17 pm

Hi everyone,

From: The Literature of the Personalists of Early Buddhism by
Bhikshu Thich Thien Chau, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1999.

The secondary theses of the Pudgalavadins - number 13 -The Arhat is
susceptible to regression. [ page 205 ]

NOTES.

Part of note 756:

The Sarvastivadins had the same opinion as the Pudgalavadins on the
regression of the Arhat. Kosa VI, 56, admits that among the six kinds
of Arhat able to exist in the three worlds (dhatu), the first five
(except he who is immovable - akopyadharman, since he is not susceptible
to falling, cf. Kosa VI, 57) are all susceptible to regression: four
(except he-who-regresses - parihanadharman) fall from the family (gotra),
five fall from the fruit (cf. Kosa VI, 58). Nonetheless, they do not fall
from the first family or the first fruit (cf. ibid.)

The Theravadins always considered that to admit the regression of the
Arhat is a false view (cf. Kathavatthu, pp.69, 398, Points of Controversy,
pp.34, 228). In Pug. pp.5, 11, 12, 14, the term parihanadhamma is applied
only to practitioners who acquire the absorptions (jhana) of the world of
form (rupadhatu) and the attainments (samapatti) of the formless world
(arupadhatu), but not in relation to the Path (magga). Furthermore, the
words sekkhassa parihani in AN III, 116, only designate the regression of
those who have not yet obtained the Arhat fruit. The Petakopadesa II, p32,
counts he-who-regresses (parihanadhamma) [one of the texts in Burmese
characters contains aparihanadhammo instead of parihanadhammo] or he
who-attains-both-aims-simultaneously ( the destruction of impurities and
and the end of life (samisisi)) as one of the nine categories of Arhat
(cf. Pug. p.13, Nettipakarana, p.190) ..............

The schools which accepted regression of the Arhat: Pudgalavadins,
Sarvastivadins, Purvassailas, a section of the Mahasamghikas.

The schools which rejected the regression of the Arhat: Theravadins,
Sautrantikas, Mahasamghikas, Mahisasakas, Vihajyavadins.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:52 pm

Thanks for the detailed quote, Vincent.

Ven Huifeng mentioned this list here: http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 831#p86721 but not so many details. He does mention that the Mahāsāṃghikas had stream enterers falling back...

As I said at the start of this topic, it is interesting that what is a very fundamental Theravada doctrine was the subject of disagreement among early schools. Not that it makes any practical difference to me at this point....

:anjali:
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:34 pm

Hi everyone,

The reference to AN III, 116 seems to be AN Book of Fives # 89
- The monk in training. Here is the PTS English text by E.M. Hare:

"Monks, these five conditions lead to the decline of a monk in
training. What five?
Delight in business, delight in gossip, delight in sleeping,
delight in company, and he does not reflect on the mind as
freed. Monks, these are the five conditions ...
[ The five opposite conditions do not lead to the decline of
a monk in training.] [ Gradual Sayings III, page 91 ]

The term "trainee" or "learner" (sekha) is defined as anyone who
"possesses the Noble Eightfold Path."

The traditional interpretation is that the term includes the first
seven, of the eight noble persons, but excludes the Arahant (asekha).

There are two ways of looking at this:

1. All monks are on the noble eightfold path, and therefore, all monks
are noble disciples and sekha's. In which case, some are certainly
capable of regression, and some are not.

2. Only those monks who are noble disciples are really on the noble
eightfold path, and are therefore, sekha's. They are not capable
of regression. But, there is a complication here, which is that
the puthujjana monks almost certainly think that they are also
on the noble eightfold path, so they think that they are noble
disciples and sekha's. At which point things get very confusing.
These puthujjana monks are capable of regression.

As the Sabbasava Sutta makes clear, the three principle asava's are
eliminated by seeing (dassana). That which is eliminated by seeing
is permanently eliminated.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby vinasp » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:00 pm

Hi everyone,

From: Designation of Human Types, (Puggala-Pannatti), English translation
by B.C. Law, PTS Oxford 1997.

Chapter 1. [ the first two paragraphs.]

1. What sort of person is one emancipated at times?

Here a person goes on experiencing the eight stages of emancipation
from time to time, and he having seen them through insight, some of
his asava's are completely destroyed. Such a person is said to be
emancipated at times.

2. What sort of person is one emancipated not (only) at times?

Here a person goes on experiencing the eight stages of emancipation
though not from time to time, and having seen them through insight,
his asava's are completely destroyed. Such a person is said to be
emancipated not (only) at times. Indeed, all persons who are Ariyas
(noble or elect) are so emancipated in matters of the higher
emancipation.

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby vinasp » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:32 am

Hi everyone,

Some passages which might be relevant to this topic:

1. "Just as, Nandiya, a monk who is definitely released (asamaya-vimutto)
observes in the self no more to do, observes no need for repeating
what is done, even so ..." [ PTS, Gradual Sayings, V, page 215.]

[ AN Book of Elevens # 14 - Nandiya.]

The phrase "No more to do" suggests that asamaya-vimutto here means the
completely liberated one.

2. "Bhikkhus, just as a pot that has been turned upside down gives up
its water and does not take it back, so a bhikkhu who develops and
cultivates the Noble Eightfold Path gives up evil unwholesome states
and does not take them back."

[ part of SN 45.153 - The Pot, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Connected Discourses,
page 1555.]

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby vinasp » Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:56 pm

Hi everyone,

Could it be that some passages in the Nikaya's were misinterpreted?

"Good, good Anuruddha. But is there any other superhuman state, a
distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones, a
comfortable abiding, which you have attained by surmounting that
abiding, by making that abiding subside?"

"Why not, venerable sir? Here, venerable sir, whenever we want, by
completely surmounting the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception,
we enter upon and abide in the cessation of perception and feeling.
And our taints are destroyed by our seeing with wisdom. .......
And, venerable sir, we do not see any other comfortable abiding higher
or more sublime than this one."

"Good, good Anuruddha. There is no other comfortable abiding higher
or more sublime than this one."

[ Bhikkhu Bodhi, Middle Length Discourses, page 304, MN 31.18 ]

Elsewhere, for example MN 8.11 the Buddha explains:

" He might think thus: 'I am abiding in effacement.' But these attainments
are not called 'effacement' in the Noble One's Discipline: these are
called 'peaceful abidings' in the Noble One's Discipline."

But the Noble Eightfold Path does lead to effacement.

Who thinks that Anuruddha is an Arahant?

Regards, Vincent.
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:34 am

Virgo wrote:Have you guys read the Sutta?

Kevin

what sort of question is that?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Arahants in Early Buddhism

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:36 am

vinasp wrote: Who thinks that Anuruddha is an Arahant?

Regards, Vincent.

it would depend when you are talking about, and which one?

And thus Ven. Anuruddha became another one of the arahants. Then, on attaining arahantship, he uttered this verse:

there apears to be two, one the brother of Ven. Ananda who this verse is about, and another. have a look at the proper names, I do not see any MN texts pointing to them on Access to insights list to say.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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