Ingram, et al - "Hard Core Dharma" & claims of attainment

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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:42 am

Hi Upekkha,

upekkha wrote:So if one reaches these stages, one will know for oneself which descriptions in the suttas are more valid (there are quite a few contradictions, clearly written by different people)..


Could you point to an example or two of these contradictions in the suttas?

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: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Individual » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:51 am

upekkha wrote:Hello fellows,
This is bound to be a thread which will "spice" things up.

I have stumbled upon the website of an MD from the US who claims to be an arahant, at first glance i dismissed it.
Some weeks later I stumbled upon it again googling "nirodha samapatti", and he seems to give detailed descriptions of how it is entered, exited, etc, from personal experience.

In any case, after reading the book written by this man, I became thoroughly convinced he is speaking from actual personal experience.

the book is available freely here: http://www.interactivebuddha.com/mctb.shtml

Though it is indeed very uncommon for meditators in our day and age to talk about attainments, he claims during the time of the Buddha himself there were no such taboos, obviously starting with Gotama himself, who named himself "The Awakened One", and in the texts themselves attainments are thoroughly discussed.

This man also breaks the taboo that enlightenment is extremely impossible, or that it is only attained by people who have renounced the house hold life.

He has practiced according to the teaching of the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw from Burma (noting practice).

I highly recommend reading his book, and/or listening to these 'podcasts' in which he was interviewed, which I found to be very, very, helpful.

Podcast 1 / 3 ("You can do it!"): http://personallifemedia.com/podcasts/2 ... 20-do/play
Podcast 2 ("Enlightened teachers"): http://personallifemedia.com/podcasts/2 ... tened/play
Podcast 3 ("Models of enlightenment"): http://personallifemedia.com/podcasts/2 ... odels/play

'An essay about arahats' - http://www.interactivebuddha.com/arahats.shtml

I recommend that those wanting to listen to this podcast skip the first minute, which is basically some commercials by a sponsor of the 'radio'.

To those wanting to comment on this thread, you are certainly welcome to do so, but be aware that if you haven't read some of the book, or preferably listened to the 3 podcasts, you will be lacking much of the 'juice'.

be happy :)

I am an arahat with mastery of the formed jhanas, formless realms, Nirodha Samapatti, and a few other traditional attainments.

I am one of the few teachers I know of who will talk about high-level practice directly and unambiguously without relying on dogma, making things taboo or coating simple truths in mystery. I assume that most practitioners are mature enough to handle straight-forward and honest answers. My fundamental assumption is that many more people will be empowered to realize that they can master these things if they are out in the open.

I am interested in spiritual awakening, green building, medicine, dance, yoga, gardening, car repair, travel, music, poetry, and living a fun and useful life. Current projects include helping with the Dharma Overground, building a strawbale house, and learning about permaculture.

I draw primarily from the teachings of the Buddha as they have come down to us in the various traditions, particularly the Theravada, and have trained under teachers from all the major Buddhist traditions over the last 11 years. Within the Theravada, my primary influence is the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition of insight meditation from Burma, and I have been given permission to teach by Sayadaw U Pandita, Junior in that lineage.

I'm only slightly familiar with Daniel Ingram. I do know, however, that he has supported the idea of "lowering the bar," so to speak, when it comes to enlightenment. He doesn't believe Arahants and Buddhas should be put on a platform, because this is a hindrance to the attainment. If a person is always thinking that Arahants are holy god-like figures, who are so far above them, then it is impossible for them to ever achieve it. This seems well-intentioned, but when you look at the lives of the Arahants of the Tipitaka, they overwhelmingly exceed the standard of "Arahant" put forth by Ingram. Ingram seems to miss the fact that the problem is conceit. The Buddha taught that there are three kinds of conceit -- greater than, less than, and equality. Well, Ingram seems to have a preference for "greater than," but a person with discernment should abandon all conceit.

Now, the traditional Theravadins, saying that there are things an Arahant "cannot" do, this contradicts the notion that enlightenment is a process of liberation, and this moral absolutism & dogmatism seems to treat the mundane right view of devotion to doctrine as superior to the ultimate right view, the actual attainment of prajna through meditation and practice. In this sense, Daniel might have a point, but probably not, because I see more people who don't take the Buddha seriously than those treating him like a god. Most Buddhists should pay him no mind, but for traditional Theravadins, who can be radically reverent, zealously devoted, for that certain minority, he's worth listening to. But they probably won't listen, Daniel should know this, so I think he's just saying these things out of pride and a subconscious desire for mischief.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby upekkha » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:10 am

rightly said nathan, all the views on the matter are definitely worth of respect.

Dhammanando, I found these descriptions which seem to be at odds with eachother in several suttas, but I understand I might have a better view once I realize the truth of things directly.. Quotations wont do us much good in this field.. so I best leave it at that.

good night to all it is quite late here.
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:43 am

Individual:
Now, the traditional Theravadins, saying that there are things an Arahant "cannot" do, this contradicts the notion that enlightenment is a process of liberation, and this moral absolutism & dogmatism seems to treat the mundane right view of devotion to doctrine as superior to the ultimate right view,


Awakening is, by very clear definition, a liberation from greed - grasping after that which reinforces a sense of self-, hatred - that which threatens an a sense of self -, and delusion - that there is an unchanging self agent thingie that is what we truly are, and the subtly of the latter is quite remarkable. It would seem, taking the suttas as a basis, which I would do before anything else, that an arahant cannot act in any sort of way that would indicate that there is some sort perception/assumption of a self behind the action no matter how subtle.

As for DhammaDan, I'll take the sutta as a basis for what is and is not awakening. In the 40+ years I have been stumbling on the path, I have seen, known, any number of people who based upon their meditative and "break-through" experiences thought themselves to be ariya. It is all too easy to fool oneself and to do so with great elaboration and supportive edifice. Meditative and "break-through" experiences, and the power that can come with them, are equine gifts whose oral cavities require careful examination, and anything that seems to sets oneself apart is just one more thing of which one needs to let go.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:45 am

upekkha wrote:Dhammanando, I found these descriptions which seem to be at odds with eachother in several suttas, but I understand I might have a better view once I realize the truth of things directly.. Quotations wont do us much good in this field.. so I best leave it at that.


Really, you need to back this up with examples, to let us actually see what it is you find at odds with each other.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:18 am

From Ingram's book, Mastering the Core Teachings, an account of the Limited Possible Action Model:


    The Action Models tend to involve certain actions that enlightened beings cannot commit or certain actions they must commit. Both types of models are completely ridiculous, and so we come now to the first of the models that simply has no basis in reality. The traditional Theravada models contain numerous statements about what enlightened being cannot do or will do that are simply wrong. My favorite examples of this insanity include statements that arahats cannot break the precepts (including killing, lying, stealing, having sex, doing drugs or drinking), cannot have erections, cannot have jobs, cannot be married, and cannot say they are arahats.

    [...]

    There is also another more subtle and seductive view, and this is that enlightened being somehow will act in a way that is better or higher, though they won’t define what those actions might be or what actions they might avoid. I consider this view very dangerous. While I wish to promote the shift in perception that I call awakening and other names, I don’t want to make out that somehow this will save anyone from stupid actions or make them somehow always know how to do the right thing or avoid screwing up. Such views are a setup for massive badness and huge shadow sides, as anyone who has spent enough time in a spiritual community knows all too well. As Zen says, “The bigger the front, the bigger the back.”

    The list of highly enlightened individuals who have bitten the proverbial dust by putting themselves up on high, screwing up and then being exposed as actually being human is remarkably long, and the list of spiritual aspirants who have failed to draw the proper conclusions about reality from the failures of the enlightened is even longer. There are many schools of thought on this issue, and I will give them formal names here, though in reality they don’t think of themselves this way.

    The Halfway Up the Mountain School essentially believes, “Those who screwed up and caused a scandal were only part way up the mountain, only partially enlightened, as anyone who was really enlightened couldn’t possibly have done those terrible things.” While clearly some were only partially enlightened, or perhaps not enlightened at all in the technical sense, a number of those who screwed up clearly knew ultimate reality inside and out, and so this model misses many important points.

    There is the Crazy Wisdom School that believes, “Enlightened beings transcend ordinary reality and with it ordinary morality, so that they are the natural manifestation of a Wisdom that seems crazy to us foolish mortals but is really a higher teaching in disguise!” While not entirely absurd, as there are many cultural aspects and societal rules that can seem a bit childish, artificial, unnecessary, unhelpful or naive in the face of realization, the Crazy Wisdom School provides too easy an excuse for plenty of behavior that has been and is just plain bad, irresponsible, stupid and needlessly destructive.

    Then there is my school, for which I don’t have a catchy name, and it promotes the view that, “Enlightened beings are human, and unfortunately humans, enlightened or otherwise, all screw up sometimes. There is nothing special or profound about this.” In short, my school categorically rejects the specific lists and dogmas of the traditional Action Models in all forms, from the preposterous lists of the Theravada to the subtle sense that enlightened beings somehow are guaranteed to perpetually act in “enlightened” ways, whatever those are.



And on the Limited Emotional Range Model:

    The Emotional Models are so fundamental to the standard ideals of awakening as to be nearly universal in their tyranny. You can’t swing a dead cat in the Great Spiritual Marketplace without hitting them. Almost every tradition seems to have gone out of its way to promote them in the most absurd and life-denying terms available, though there have been attempts at reform also. I must give thanks for the attempts, however ineffective, bizarre, mythologized, cryptic, and vague, that the Tibetan and Zen traditions have occasionally made in this regard, and morn their nearly perpetual failure to make these issues clear. At least they tried, whereas the Theravada basically has really not tried in any significant way in 2,500 years so far as I can tell. If I am wrong, please let me know.

    These emotional models basically claim that enlightenment involves some sort of emotional perfection, either gradually or suddenly, and usually make these dreams the primary criteria for their models of awakening and often ignoring or sidelining issues relating to clear perception of the true nature of phenomena. Usually these fantasies involves elimination of the “negative” emotions, particularly greed, hatred, anger, frustration, lust, jealousy, and sadness. At a more fundamental level, they promise the elimination of all forms of attraction and aversion.

    As I am sure you can already tell, I am no fan of these models of enlightenment.
    ...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: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:21 am

And an Ingramist assessment of the Arahant Chapter of the Dhammapada:


    Arahantavagga

    1. The fever of passion exists not for him who has completed the journey, who is sorrowless and wholly set free, and has broken all ties.

No passions!? No sorrows!? Limited Emotional Range Model.

    2. The mindful ones exert themselves. They are not attached to any home; like swans that abandon the lake, they leave home after home behind.

Don’t stay in one place!? Limited Possible Action Model.

    3. Those who do not accumulate and are wise regarding food, whose object is the Void, the Unconditioned Freedom — their track cannot be traced, like that of birds in the air.

Don’t accumulate!? Limited Possible Action Model

    4. He whose cankers are destroyed and who is not attached to food, whose object is the Void, the Unconditioned Freedom — his path cannot be traced, like that of birds in the air.

Cankers destroyed!? Limited Emotional Range Model.

    5. Even the gods hold dear the wise one, whose senses are subdued like horses well trained by a charioteer, whose pride is destroyed and who is free from the cankers.

Senses subdued!? Pride destroyed!? Limited Possible Thought Model.
Free from the cankers!? Limited Emotional Range Model.

    6. There is no more worldly existence for the wise one who, like the earth, resents nothing, who is firm as a high pillar and as pure as a deep pool free from mud.

Resents nothing!? Limited Emotional Range Model.

    7. Calm is his thought, calm his speech, and calm his deed, who, truly knowing, is wholly freed, perfectly tranquil and wise.

Calm thought, speech and deeds!? Perfectly tranquil!? Aagh, this one’s a real bummer. Limited Possible Action Model and Limited Emotional Range Model and Limited Possible Thought Model.

    8. The man who is without blind faith, who knows the Uncreated, who has severed all links, destroyed all causes (for karma, good and evil), and thrown out all desires — he, truly, is the most excellent of men.

Thrown out all desires!? Limited Emotional Range Model.

    9. Inspiring, indeed, is that place where Arahants dwell, be it a village, a forest, a vale, or a hill.

Ah, now that’s a cool verse!

    10. Inspiring are the forests in which worldlings find no pleasure. There the passionless will rejoice, for they seek no sensual pleasures.

Passionless!? Seeking no sensual pleasures!? Bah, we’re back again with the Limited Emotional Range Model.

All in all not a very reliable text: nine obviously apocryphal verses and just one that might have come from the Buddha.

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: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby clw_uk » Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:43 am

This man also breaks the taboo that enlightenment is extremely impossible,



Ive never come accross a teaching or teacher that states that enlightenment is extremely impossible, most that i have come accross actually say that with right effort in practice anyone can reach it


As for the Taboo of Arahants declaring themselves, i dont see why they would want or need to



:anjali:
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby upekkha » Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:33 am

clw_uk: Like the Buddha said "Well, I've done it, and you can do it too, and here's you do it", I view this the same way.. I also find it very helpful.

anyway, in regards to the suttas, let me quote one passage which I find to be of utmost importance in this discussion:

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

If he was to say "don't believe anything until you've realized it for yourself, but you must believe the Suttas 100%, they are always right" that would have been different,
but the man is clearly telling us to take ANYTHING we've heard with a grain of salt until we've realized it, the Suttas included.

Basically that sums it up for me.. practice well. :namaste:
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Ben » Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:23 am

Hi Upekkha

The Kalama Sutta was uttered by the Buddha, with a specific message tailored to the needs of a specific audience.
A Look at the Kalama Sutta by Bhikkhu Bodhi: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_09.html
It is well worth the read.

In this issue of the newsletter we have combined the feature essay with the "Sutta Study" column as we take a fresh look at an often quoted discourse of the Buddha, the Kalama Sutta. The discourse — found in translation in Wheel No. 8 — has been described as "the Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry," and though the discourse certainly does counter the decrees of dogmatism and blind faith with a vigorous call for free investigation, it is problematic whether the sutta can support all the positions that have been ascribed to it. On the basis of a single passage, quoted out of context, the Buddha has been made out to be a pragmatic empiricist who dismisses all doctrine and faith, and whose Dhamma is simply a freethinker's kit to truth which invites each one to accept and reject whatever he likes.

But does the Kalama Sutta really justify such views? Or do we meet in these claims just another set of variations on that egregious old tendency to interpret the Dhamma according to whatever notions are congenial to oneself — or to those to whom one is preaching? Let us take as careful a look at the Kalama Sutta as the limited space allotted to this essay will allow, remembering that in order to understand the Buddha's utterances correctly it is essential to take account of his own intentions in making them.


Kind regards

Ben
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Snowmelt » Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:40 am

I composed a number of passionate, immoderate responses addressing the assertions of Daniel Ingram. The only thing I can feel pleased about at this point is that I did not actually post them ("... good is restraint in speech ..."). Suffice it to say that I will not be following any of his recommendations. I am blessed beyond words that those who drew me to Buddhism in the first place - Ajahn Chah, his students, and their students - continue to hold my heart in their hands. Kindly they are, dignified, quietly-spoken and simple.
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby upekkha » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:34 pm

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

I understand the Sutta does not mean to support the position that the Dhamma is a freethinker's kit to truth which invites each one to accept and reject whatever he likes,
though I am sure you would agree with me on the matter that until one reaches at least stream-entry, one can only speculate on what it is to be enlightened, and so we can certainly look at the Suttas, see what they describe, and that would still be in the field of speculative thought, which the Buddha was very clear about.

I am not saying we should dismiss every belief, but being aware of our own limitations as unenlightened worldlings and keeping in mind that we are in the field of speculative thought is something I think is very helpful in dealing with such issues.

:namaste:


Ben wrote:Hi Upekkha

The Kalama Sutta was uttered by the Buddha, with a specific message tailored to the needs of a specific audience.
A Look at the Kalama Sutta by Bhikkhu Bodhi: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_09.html
It is well worth the read.

In this issue of the newsletter we have combined the feature essay with the "Sutta Study" column as we take a fresh look at an often quoted discourse of the Buddha, the Kalama Sutta. The discourse — found in translation in Wheel No. 8 — has been described as "the Buddha's Charter of Free Inquiry," and though the discourse certainly does counter the decrees of dogmatism and blind faith with a vigorous call for free investigation, it is problematic whether the sutta can support all the positions that have been ascribed to it. On the basis of a single passage, quoted out of context, the Buddha has been made out to be a pragmatic empiricist who dismisses all doctrine and faith, and whose Dhamma is simply a freethinker's kit to truth which invites each one to accept and reject whatever he likes.

But does the Kalama Sutta really justify such views? Or do we meet in these claims just another set of variations on that egregious old tendency to interpret the Dhamma according to whatever notions are congenial to oneself — or to those to whom one is preaching? Let us take as careful a look at the Kalama Sutta as the limited space allotted to this essay will allow, remembering that in order to understand the Buddha's utterances correctly it is essential to take account of his own intentions in making them.


Kind regards

Ben
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:49 pm

upekkha,

You have said a number of times now that as unawakened beings we do not know for certain if the suttas are true. I do not think any one here disputes this idea. But the fact that you seem to be overlooking is that this is a discussion forum for Buddhists. A Buddhist is one who tests the suttas to see if they are true. This testing is done by implementing the teachings found within the suttas and seeing where they lead. Likewise, if one rejects the suttas then they are not practicing Buddhism. That's fine if that's what one wants to do but then it makes no sense to say "I'm a Buddhist and I teach Buddhism but I reject the suttas." This is simply a nonsensical thing to say.

If you keep wanting to address every argument in every thread here with the response "Well, we don't know if the suttas are true" then you might want to ask yourself why you are participating in a Buddhist discussion.

Relevant to this thread, if one rejects all the Buddha's descriptions of arahantship then one cannot reasonably claim to be an arahant. It would be like saying "I reject the teaching that apples are red and have edible skin. I believe they are yellow and have inedible skin." What you're talking about is not an apple but rather a banana. Likewise, Ingram is clearly not talking about Buddhism but rather a religion of his own making. I think it is clear he is in fact saying Buddhism is false.

Rather than saying this is a book written by an arahant, it seems to be more accurate to say this is a book written by one who rejects the notion of arahantship as a false path.
- Peter

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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby upekkha » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:21 pm

Hi Peter,

This really depends on how you define Buddhist but the title of this forum is 'a discussion forum on the Dhamma of the Buddha'.. not only for Buddhists.. A wise man once told me that Buddhism and the teachings of the Buddha have been at odds for 2000 years...

I am certainly not rejecting anything my friend, I am simply admitting to the fact I have not realized them completely (ie, not enlightened), and therefore aware of my limitations.
Some Buddhists might not agree with you that a Buddhist is one who tests the suttas to see if they are true.. many are just Buddhists by faith, but thats another topic we could go on about for ages.

In regards to religion.. I'm not quite into that, I'm looking to realize the entire truth of mind , matter, and beyond by personal experience, and I believe this is exactly what the Buddha was encouraging people to do.. not to call themselves Buddhists or to adhere to certain dogmas, or to believe his descriptions of what it is to be an arahant, he encouraged others to become arahants and realize this for themselves.

And finally in regards to Daniel's website.. you're certainly welcome to have your own view on the man or what he is saying, I just thought some people might find it helpful for their practice to explore that website.


Peter wrote:upekkha,

You have said a number of times now that as unawakened beings we do not know for certain if the suttas are true. I do not think any one here disputes this idea. But the fact that you seem to be overlooking is that this is a discussion forum for Buddhists. A Buddhist is one who tests the suttas to see if they are true. This testing is done by implementing the teachings found within the suttas and seeing where they lead. Likewise, if one rejects the suttas then they are not practicing Buddhism. That's fine if that's what one wants to do but then it makes no sense to say "I'm a Buddhist and I teach Buddhism but I reject the suttas." This is simply a nonsensical thing to say.

If you keep wanting to address every argument in every thread here with the response "Well, we don't know if the suttas are true" then you might want to ask yourself why you are participating in a Buddhist discussion.

Relevant to this thread, if one rejects all the Buddha's descriptions of arahantship then one cannot reasonably claim to be an arahant. It would be like saying "I reject the teaching that apples are red and have edible skin. I believe they are yellow and have inedible skin." What you're talking about is not an apple but rather a banana. Likewise, Ingram is clearly not talking about Buddhism but rather a religion of his own making. I think it is clear he is in fact saying Buddhism is false.

Rather than saying this is a book written by an arahant, it seems to be more accurate to say this is a book written by one who rejects the notion of arahantship as a false path.
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby clw_uk » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:27 pm

its important with the Kalama Sutta that it doesnt urge you to follow what you like, it does advise you to heed the advice of the wise



not to call themselves Buddhists or to adhere to certain dogmas,


These are conventions, i dont think anyone who has a good grasp of Dhamma would think "I am a theravadin" and take this as real and accept something just because it is written and is a "dogma"


You seem to be saying that because we say "i am a buddhist" or have descriptions of arahantship then we are on the wrong track, just because we say these things doesnt mean we take them as reality


:anjali:
“ 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: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby upekkha » Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:59 pm

clw_uk wrote:its important with the Kalama Sutta that it doesnt urge you to follow what you like, it does advise you to heed the advice of the wise



not to call themselves Buddhists or to adhere to certain dogmas,


These are conventions, i dont think anyone who has a good grasp of Dhamma would think "I am a theravadin" and take this as real and accept something just because it is written and is a "dogma"


You seem to be saying that because we say "i am a buddhist" or have descriptions of arahantship then we are on the wrong track, just because we say these things doesnt mean we take them as reality


:anjali:


Oh.. Sorry, I don't mean that at all!
I don't mean to suggest anyone is on the wrong track or criticize anyone or anything of that nature, my intention was to share what I see at this moment, and recommend some reading material which I found useful, and thats it.

may all here be successful. :namaste:
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Individual » Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:05 pm

Dhammanando wrote:And an Ingramist assessment of the Arahant Chapter of the Dhammapada:


    Arahantavagga

    1. The fever of passion exists not for him who has completed the journey, who is sorrowless and wholly set free, and has broken all ties.

No passions!? No sorrows!? Limited Emotional Range Model.

    2. The mindful ones exert themselves. They are not attached to any home; like swans that abandon the lake, they leave home after home behind.

Don’t stay in one place!? Limited Possible Action Model.

    3. Those who do not accumulate and are wise regarding food, whose object is the Void, the Unconditioned Freedom — their track cannot be traced, like that of birds in the air.

Don’t accumulate!? Limited Possible Action Model

    4. He whose cankers are destroyed and who is not attached to food, whose object is the Void, the Unconditioned Freedom — his path cannot be traced, like that of birds in the air.

Cankers destroyed!? Limited Emotional Range Model.

    5. Even the gods hold dear the wise one, whose senses are subdued like horses well trained by a charioteer, whose pride is destroyed and who is free from the cankers.

Senses subdued!? Pride destroyed!? Limited Possible Thought Model.
Free from the cankers!? Limited Emotional Range Model.

    6. There is no more worldly existence for the wise one who, like the earth, resents nothing, who is firm as a high pillar and as pure as a deep pool free from mud.

Resents nothing!? Limited Emotional Range Model.

    7. Calm is his thought, calm his speech, and calm his deed, who, truly knowing, is wholly freed, perfectly tranquil and wise.

Calm thought, speech and deeds!? Perfectly tranquil!? Aagh, this one’s a real bummer. Limited Possible Action Model and Limited Emotional Range Model and Limited Possible Thought Model.

    8. The man who is without blind faith, who knows the Uncreated, who has severed all links, destroyed all causes (for karma, good and evil), and thrown out all desires — he, truly, is the most excellent of men.

Thrown out all desires!? Limited Emotional Range Model.

    9. Inspiring, indeed, is that place where Arahants dwell, be it a village, a forest, a vale, or a hill.

Ah, now that’s a cool verse!

    10. Inspiring are the forests in which worldlings find no pleasure. There the passionless will rejoice, for they seek no sensual pleasures.

Passionless!? Seeking no sensual pleasures!? Bah, we’re back again with the Limited Emotional Range Model.

All in all not a very reliable text: nine obviously apocryphal verses and just one that might have come from the Buddha.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

If Arahants are the same as Buddhas, then it seems to be an imponderable. Am I wrong?

Arahants are good, free, happy, equanimous, devoid of craving, etc., etc.., all of that is good enough for me. Any virtuous, pleasing description of Arahants seems justified, but any unpleasing, contentious description of Arahants seems unjustified. I would not like to hear that Arahants are either slaves to dispassion, chained to dispassion, merely puritanistic robots with kiriya cittas, nor would I like to hear that they are actually not much different from putthujanas. Because I am a putthujana, know I am nothing like an Arahant, being a slave chained to craving is horrible, and yet I can't see how being "limited" by dispassion would be superior to being limited by craving.

Different people seem to be inspired in different ways. If hearing, "Arahants are just like you, but only choose to think and act differently," inspires you, then great. If hearing, "Arahants have kiriya cittas, can't do X, Y, and Z unwholesome actions," inspires you, then great. Neither statement does anything for me.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Mar 06, 2009 5:56 pm

you know i never even considered this in any indepth sort of way. but you have a very valid point, if a person doesnt accept what a religion teaches then why would they consider themselves a part of that religion?
Peter wrote:upekkha,

You have said a number of times now that as unawakened beings we do not know for certain if the suttas are true. I do not think any one here disputes this idea. But the fact that you seem to be overlooking is that this is a discussion forum for Buddhists. A Buddhist is one who tests the suttas to see if they are true. This testing is done by implementing the teachings found within the suttas and seeing where they lead. Likewise, if one rejects the suttas then they are not practicing Buddhism. That's fine if that's what one wants to do but then it makes no sense to say "I'm a Buddhist and I teach Buddhism but I reject the suttas." This is simply a nonsensical thing to say.

If you keep wanting to address every argument in every thread here with the response "Well, we don't know if the suttas are true" then you might want to ask yourself why you are participating in a Buddhist discussion.

Relevant to this thread, if one rejects all the Buddha's descriptions of arahantship then one cannot reasonably claim to be an arahant. It would be like saying "I reject the teaching that apples are red and have edible skin. I believe they are yellow and have inedible skin." What you're talking about is not an apple but rather a banana. Likewise, Ingram is clearly not talking about Buddhism but rather a religion of his own making. I think it is clear he is in fact saying Buddhism is false.

Rather than saying this is a book written by an arahant, it seems to be more accurate to say this is a book written by one who rejects the notion of arahantship as a false path.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:09 pm

Hi Individual,

Individual wrote:If Arahants are the same as Buddhas, then it seems to be an imponderable. Am I wrong?


The imponderable is "the Buddha-range of Buddhas" (buddhānaṃ buddhavisaya), which is understood to refer to that of Sammāsambuddhas, not their arahant disciples.

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: Dhamma book written by arahat?

Postby Snowmelt » Fri Mar 06, 2009 7:15 pm

To put Daniel Ingram's utterances into perspective: it is like a Christian saying that the Bible is nonsense, or like a Muslim saying that the Koran is nonsense. Such an assertion would make it clear that the speaker belonged to neither religion.

I think that just letting your mind wander where it wants is highly detrimental to advancement on the Path, and reading endless texts purporting to be about Buddhism, particularly those whose authors contradict the most basic tenets of the Pali Canon, involves allowing your mind to do just that. I think the reason why people do this is because they haven't the wisdom to stay with the Pali Canon; in the best Western tradition, they want endlessly to leap to the next shiny bauble, hopelessly and desultorily searching for a magic bullet that will make them fully Enlightened without effort ("Quick, give me an Enlightenment pill, I've only got five minutes before the match starts on TV!") This is proliferation and distraction and delusion; it will *never* lead to Enlightenment. Or, they are like water boatmen: skating across the surface of Buddhism, never diving in; this is a complete waste of time and effort. I think the only people who can expose themselves to this kind of stuff without risking ill effects are those monastics who have thoroughly digested and comprehended the Canon and its implications over many years, and who live it every day, all day. "Books, books, books. Too many, too many, too many. Dustbin, dustbin, dustbin."
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