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Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower - Dhamma Wheel

Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
phil
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Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby phil » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:16 am

Hi all

Could it be said that it is a modern phenomenon for lay followers to have Ariyan aspirations, to have an interest in what constitutes being sotappanna for example? And could this essentially be a Western phenomenon, rooted in the tendency of Westerners to seek achievment in this one lifetime, to be the best, to do things other people don't or can't do, to compete, to strive for goals?

Of course I'm not saying that striving for goals is absent from the Buddha's teaching, there's a lot of it, and many clear admonitions to strive for improvement, but it seems to me that when I read suttas involving lay followers, there is an interest in behaving in a way that leads to favourable rebirth, and the Buddha teaches in a way that aims at "favourable destinations" and it is only after the person in question has gone forth into the homeless life that there is any reference to Ariyan attainments. Of course there are cases where lay followers have Ariyan attainments, I'm not denying that, but did a householder ever address the Buddha expressing a desire to achieve stream entry, for example?

I guess I feel deficient sometimes because the notion of becoming an Ariyan with the grossly defiled mind that I know I have (so to speak) seems a little absurd, but aiming for rebirth in the human or deva realms is not out of the question. Perhaps you can inspire me (and others like me, if they are here) to be a little more ambitious. :smile:

Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:34 am

Check out the Bodhipakkhiya Dīpanī by the late Venerable Ledi Sayādaw, especially the section on the , and .
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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retrofuturist
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:37 am

Greetings Phil,

There are many records in the suttas of lay followers attaining ariyan status, even if opportunities for arahantship are extremely rare.... hence that's the first major milestone I hope to come across in my travels. Why not, what is there to lose from such a goal, even if you fail?

If attempts to attain stream-entry in this lifetime fail, yet deliver some modicum of wisdom, would we have been better off instead doing meritorious deeds which lead to heavenly realms, but are devoid of wisdom of the way things are? Personally I don't think so, but it makes for an interesting question.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

nathan
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby nathan » Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:57 am

Here is a hypothetical answer to your question. It is natural in our times to question everything, this is the nature of modernity, post modernity and post post modernity. This questioning has an upside and a downside and I think it is beneficial to see that about it and apply whatever wisdom one can to that aspect of things because that is living in the present. So, globally, presently, it is natural to call everything into question, try to nail down answers, question those answers, find better questions, etc.. In traditional terms, this is trying to reinvent the wheel. Which is not going to happen in this case if the Buddha-sāsana is alive. I, for one, am convinced beyond questioning that it is.

So, if one were to hypothetically suggest that the east is actually producing sotāpannassa angāni by the gross tons on a regular basis and has been doing so for two and a half millennia, then we should all be on our knees in gratitude for this inestimable field of merit that has been sown in the world. That is one way of looking at it. Not where everyone is at I'm sure, but it is a fully integrated part of how I see things. We could suggest all kinds of further hypothetical things on this basis. Such as that there would be those out there in the world who would naturally be drawn back to Buddhadhamma because of past kamma and given the resources available today even those who would otherwise be entirely unable to make a meaningful connection with the Dhamma now can do so with ease. We live in very interesting times this way.
:smile:
metta & upekkha
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

nathan
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby nathan » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:08 am

One small thing came to mind upon further reflection. Pretty much every other worldview I know of still provides the means for a person to fall in love with themselves or stay in love with themselves somehow. Dhamma/Dharma is the only antidote I know of for this, so if it introduces even a hint of something more liberating and desirable than that kind of condition to anyone it is in itself purely beneficial for all people.
:namaste:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

phil
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby phil » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:49 am

Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

phil
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby phil » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:51 am

Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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Ben
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:27 pm

Hi Phil

I don;t think it was an aspiration peculiar to western practitioners who wanted to achieve sotapanna in this life. U Ba Khin exhorted his students to achieve sotapatti in this life.
My advice to you is to concentrate on getting your daily practice together, be more perfect in your sila, ensure your meditation is regular, attend retreats more frequently, and I think the results will just look after themselves.
Metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Rui Sousa
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby Rui Sousa » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:20 pm

With Metta

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kc2dpt
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:33 pm

- Peter


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Rui Sousa
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby Rui Sousa » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:46 pm

With Metta

phil
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby phil » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:14 pm

Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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retrofuturist
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:45 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Nadi
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby Nadi » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:07 pm

With Metta,
Nadi

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pink_trike
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby pink_trike » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:08 pm

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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kc2dpt
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:40 am

- Peter


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sukhamanveti
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby sukhamanveti » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:20 am

Sīlaṃ balaṃ appaṭimaṃ.
Sīlaṃ āvudhamuttamaṃ.
Sīlamābharaṇaṃ seṭṭhaṃ.
Sīlaṃ kavacamabbhutaṃ.


Virtue is a matchless power.
Virtue is the greatest weapon.
Virtue is the best adornment.
Virtue is a wonderful armor.

Theragatha 614


Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃ,
kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṃ,
etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ.


Refraining from all wrong-doing,
Undertaking the good,
Purifying the mind,
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Dhammapada v. 183/14.5

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retrofuturist
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:29 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Dhammanando
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:53 am


fijiNut
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Re: Ariyan aspirations and the lay follower

Postby fijiNut » Fri Apr 03, 2009 5:10 am

Phil,
It seems self-defeating to accept self-imposed limitations of ones ability. If we never try, we will never find out.

fijiNut


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