Modus.Ponens wrote:I've read somewhere that if a monk comits an offense that results in expulsion (parajika? I'm not sure of the name), he loses all his attainments. Can someone explain what exactly this means? I imagine that if a monk is a sotapanna he doesn't transform into a regular person if he is (correctly) expeled.
According to Theravada teaching all ariyan attainments are irreversible. They cannot be lost.
Skill in jhāna is easily lost, and supernormal powers even more easily. Devadatta, for example, is reported to have lost all his powers just by conceiving a thought of malice towards the Buddha. Proficiency in jhāna can decline if one is indolent about maintaining it, or living in circumstances that are not optimal for it, or if one’s sīla is not sufficiently pure.
As for pārājika offences, I don’t know of any text states that one will necessarily lose jhānas or powers in this way, but as it amounts to a very grave decline in sīla it does seem rather likely to be the case. What the texts do say is that if people are “in communion by theft” (i.e., pretending to be bhikkhus or bhikkhunīs when they are not) then this will impede realization (abhisamaya), here meaning stream-entry. So if a bhikkhu committed a pārājika offence but concealed it and remained in the robes, then he would be cut off from any possibility of progress.