Arahantship already here?

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Arahantship already here?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:56 pm

Greetings


Ive recently come to an understanding that Arahantship is something thats already here in the moment its just we dont see it or realize it because of the defilements, i was hoping to get the Classical teaching on this (if there is one). Is this in line with Classical Theravada teachings or not?



Metta


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Re: Arahantship already here?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:36 pm

What is the basis for your understanding? Knowing that, it would help to respond to what you are asking.
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: Arahantship already here?

Postby cooran » Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:37 pm

Hello clw_uk.

How did you come to this understanding? Which teachings in Theravada triggered it?

metta
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Re: Arahantship already here?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:51 pm

Greetings Craig,

Arahantship is the permanent eradication of greed, aversion or delusion.

Moments in which these factors are not present could rightly be called vipassana (seeing things as they really are) but there is nothing permanent about this.

Not that it's relevant to Classical Theravada (though it may be related to the confusion, as far as I can tell) the Zen tradition often takes moments of "seeing things as they really are" as 'enlightenment' even though they too will concede such 'enlightenment' is temporary.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Arahantship already here?

Postby cooran » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:08 pm

Hello Retro,

Not that it's relevant to Classical Theravada (though it may be related to the confusion, as far as I can tell) the Zen tradition often takes moments of "seeing things as they really are" as 'enlightenment' even though they too will concede such 'enlightenment' is temporary.


Do you mean, these 'moments' though not related to Classical Theravada, are related to Modern Theravada? :o

metta
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Re: Arahantship already here?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:14 pm

Greetings Chris,

No... only modern Zen.

:sage:

It's always seemed an inappropriate use of the term 'enlightenment' to me.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Arahantship already here?

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:45 pm

yeah this is a mahayana teaching, though i think some forest ajahns have said similar things,
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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: Arahantship already here?

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:52 pm

Hi all

I have not encountered any evidence within what is Classical Theravada.
The view that 'samsara is nibbana' or enlightenment is accessible within an instant, seems to be a later, Mahayana, teaching.

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Re: Arahantship already here?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:08 pm

Hi all


As im aware this is the classical forum im not trying to contradict orthodoxy so the following is just an explanation to help understand how i reached this understanding


The main reason i have this understanding is from the fact that one doesnt "become" a stream-winner through to Arahantship

Since one doesnt become them they can be seen as stages of letting go and thus realizations of reality that already exsists

Arahantship is the understanding of reality, since reality cant be created it must be there just hidden because of the defilements of the mind which cloud vision


So basically i see arahantship/nibbana as a truth that is there to be uncovered (via the removing of the defilements) and so is something that is there, present in everyone (in conventional speak) they just have to work to realize it via meditation, morality and wisdom


I feel this is in line with the Buddhadhamma from this quote


"Then the thought occurred to me, 'This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise.


The important words here, the ones that helped lead me to this understanding, are "Subtle", "hard to see" and "hard to realize"

If something is subtle its easily overlooked, when something is overlooked it implies that its there all a long we just dont realize it

the same for hard to see and hard to realize, its there all a long but because its subtle its hard to see and realize


Metta


: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: Arahantship already here?

Postby cooran » Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:21 pm

Hello clw_uk,

The Buddha taught that there is an orderly process which must happen to attain any of the Ariya stages. These involve the progressive extinguishing of unwholesome qualites.
Maybe read these teachings:

From Puthujjana to the Buddha
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/ariyacht.htm

QUALITIES OF ARIYA PERSONS
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/ariyas4.htm

Ariyas (Noble Persons)
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/mtinmon4.htm

metta
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: Arahantship already here?

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:30 am

clw_uk wrote:Arahantship is something thats already here in the moment its just we dont see it or realize it because of the defilements

This is no different than saying "Underneath all these weeds, the garden is free of weeds."

I feel this is in line with the Buddhadhamma from this quote:

"Then the thought occurred to me, 'This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise."

Arahantship is not the Dhamma. Arahantship is not insight. Insight into the dhamma (the way things really are) comes from development of the dhamma (the path as taught by the Buddha) and leads to the eradication of the defilements. The state of defilements being eradicated is what is called arahantship.

So you see, it is just as if you said "Complete absence of defilements is already here; it's just we don't see it because of the defilements."

Or if we look at it from the perspective of what people do rather than what they are...

"We are completely free from suffering; it's just we don't see it because of all the suffering we keep creating."
Last edited by kc2dpt on Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Arahantship already here?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:25 am

On a kind of a side note, I recall Ajahn Brahm saying in one of his talks that in the hell realm the door out is always there.

In the prison where I come as a chaplain, one of the guys recalled a near-death experience where he did find himself at one stage in something like a hell realm. He was suspended in midair in a pitch dark space. All he could see is chains hanging and people screaming. He was overcome by fear. Then eventually he recalled a prayer and was instantly transported towards a bright light. Well, that's his story anyway.

As for the Mahayana and Zen perspective that was mentioned, once one realises that the habits and what fuels them (the notion of a self that gains or loses) are empty, that is a mental fabrication without any inherent quality, this is called enlightenment. The difference can be between a glimpse and a full realisation. Glimpses are held to be a first step. As for realisations, some masters taught that there needs to be a period of stabilisation and others have argued that if this is a real enlightenment then there needs to be no further work to stabilise or refine it.

Nevertheless, defilements are not really defilements, they are just perceived as such because we do not have insight. In this sense everything that happens beckons us towards realisation. And everything is in this ultimate sense perfect, just as we are at this very moment doing our best. The best we know how. And tomorrow that will be different of course. After the realisation these habits (defilements) hold no sway over us since the wind has gone from the sails, so to speak. Instead one is driven by one's Bodhisattva Vows, ie compassion. This is the doctrine as I understand it.

In a sense it is sudden - a sudden insight just like the Buddha on seeing the Morning Star. And in another sense there is some work that lays the foundation. Or so it appears to the unenlightened.

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Re: Arahantship already here?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:28 am

Greetings Dan,

Thanks for sharing the perspective.

However, best I think now that we've covered the "this is where clw_uk may have gotten this impression from" angle, we can safely return to responding to, and discussing his question from a Classical Theravada standpoint.

:anjali:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Arahantship already here?

Postby cooran » Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:38 am

Hello Retrofuturist, Dan74,

If Dan's post is going to remain, then it would be good if you and Dan74 would say how the Buddha's teachings in the Pali Canon support such beliefs and how His teachings don't support them?

metta
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Arahantship already here?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:44 am

Greetings Chris,

As you can see from my last post, I'm try to get this conversation...

:focus:

Dan's post helped to close the door on some issues that had arisen regarding the similarity between clw_uk's opening statement and the beliefs and interpretations of some other traditions. Dan's post is causing no harm. No one is being deceived into thinking it represents Classical Theravada and he is making no attempt for it to look that way.

As I said..

Now that we've covered the "this is where clw_uk may have gotten this impression from" angle, we can safely return to responding to, and discussing his question from a Classical Theravada standpoint.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Arahantship already here?

Postby clw_uk » Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:08 pm

Greetings


Is there anything in the commentaries or in the general orthodoxy that states that enlightenment or nibbana cannot already be present (i think i made a mistake using the word arahantship)?



Metta
“ 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: Arahantship already here?

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:54 pm

clw_uk wrote:Is there anything in the commentaries or in the general orthodoxy that states that enlightenment or nibbana cannot already be present (i think i made a mistake using the word arahantship)?

Again, it simply makes no sense.
I am already enlightened, if only I would just stop being unenlightened.
I am already awake, if only I would just stop being asleep.
Suffering has already ceased, if only suffering would just stop arising.

"This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Nibbana." — AN 3.32

The end of craving is already present, if only craving would just stop arising.
Dispassion is already present, if only passion would just stop arising.

Do you understand the goal of the path? The end of craving, the end of ignorance, the end of suffering. It simply makes no sense to say these things are already present when they aren't.

Sure, we do not need to acquire some physical thing we presently do not have - a book, a zafu, a house. Rather we need to stop doing something. We need to stop craving, stop becoming, stop repeating bad habits, etc. So I suppose we could say "Everything you will have as an arahant you presently have, the same arms, the same legs, the same sense of smell, etc." But that's really not much of a statement.

Still, there is plenty we do need to acquire: insight, persistence, effort, mindfulness, concentration, conviction, and more.
- Peter

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Re: Arahantship already here?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:22 pm

Peter wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Is there anything in the commentaries or in the general orthodoxy that states that enlightenment or nibbana cannot already be present (i think i made a mistake using the word arahantship)?

Again, it simply makes no sense.
I am already enlightened, if only I would just stop being unenlightened.
I am already awake, if only I would just stop being asleep.
Suffering has already ceased, if only suffering would just stop arising.

"This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Nibbana." — AN 3.32

The end of craving is already present, if only craving would just stop arising.
Dispassion is already present, if only passion would just stop arising.

Do you understand the goal of the path? The end of craving, the end of ignorance, the end of suffering. It simply makes no sense to say these things are already present when they aren't.

Sure, we do not need to acquire some physical thing we presently do not have - a book, a zafu, a house. Rather we need to stop doing something. We need to stop craving, stop becoming, stop repeating bad habits, etc. So I suppose we could say "Everything you will have as an arahant you presently have, the same arms, the same legs, the same sense of smell, etc." But that's really not much of a statement.

Still, there is plenty we do need to acquire: insight, persistence, effort, mindfulness, concentration, conviction, and more.


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