gradual awakening

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.

gradual awakening

Postby befriend » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:14 pm

Hi everyone,
does enlightenment happen all of a sudden? do the defilements get less and less to where they dont exist anymore, or do they after some deep insight suddenly vanish? thank you, with metta, befriend
befriend
 
Posts: 794
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 11:39 am

Re: gradual awakening

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:23 pm

The moment of enlightenment is sudden but the process of getting to that stage is gradual.

The Buddha said, ‘Little by little and from time to time the wise person should remove his/her defilements the way a smith removes dross from silver’ (Dhp.239).

In another place he says, ‘Just as the ocean slopes away gradually, tends down gradually without any abrupt precipice, even so this Dhamma and discipline is a gradual doing, a gradual training, a gradual practice. There is no sudden penetration of knowledge’ (Ud.54).

See also: http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Vibhajjavada
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8015
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: gradual awakening

Postby IanAnd » Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:31 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:The moment of enlightenment is sudden but the process of getting to that stage is gradual.

The Buddha said, ‘Little by little and from time to time the wise person should remove his/her defilements the way a smith removes dross from silver’ (Dhp.239).

In another place he says, ‘Just as the ocean slopes away gradually, tends down gradually without any abrupt precipice, even so this Dhamma and discipline is a gradual doing, a gradual training, a gradual practice. There is no sudden penetration of knowledge’ (Ud.54).

See also: http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Vibhajjavada

Nice one, David. :goodpost:
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
User avatar
IanAnd
 
Posts: 399
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:19 am
Location: the deserts of Arizona

Re: gradual awakening

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:04 pm

It is possible to have sudden insight (say into non-self) -the mind being released is a sudden occurance. However all these come about because the path factors have been gradually developed over many months if not years.

The lamp suddenly going out, a thunder strike are all theravada similies for release of mind (through wisdom), by breaking the fetters. These hint at its sudden nature.

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK

Re: gradual awakening

Postby manas » Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:00 am

Hi befriend,
your question was a good one.
I just wanted to add, that while length of time spent in the practice, ardency, etc would all logically draw us closer towards insight, and that it is by all accounts a gradual process, that we should still not place any limitations on it. It could happen in this moment, in an hour, in a year, in a lifetime, or in several lifetimes...the time and place is not for us to know beforehand. If we practise with an underlying presumption / belief that 'it must be a long way off for me, since I haven't done enough work yet', I'm not sure that this is a good mindset to have. Better just to remain open, I feel.

'Just do the practice' I keep reminding myself, whenever I begin to speculate about when 'it' will happen. Thinking about this is just another obstacle to be overcome.

:anjali:
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2104
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: gradual awakening

Postby cooran » Sun Jun 19, 2011 5:35 am

Hello befriend, all,

Awakening is a gradual process that needs to be worked at consistently, until the 'seemingly' sudden break-through:

Excerpt from The Nava Sutta SN 22:101

''……… Suppose a hen has eight, ten, or twelve eggs that she covers rightly, warms rightly, & incubates rightly: Even though this wish may not occur to her — 'O that my chicks might break through the egg shells with their spiked claws or beaks and hatch out safely!' — still it is possible that the chicks will break through the egg shells with their spiked claws or beaks and hatch out safely. Why is that? Because the hen has covered them, warmed them, & incubated them rightly. In the same way, even though this wish may not occur to a monk who dwells devoting himself to development — 'O that my mind might be released from effluents through lack of clinging!' — still his mind is released from the effluents through lack of clinging. Why is that? From developing, it should be said. Developing what? The four frames of reference, the four right exertions, the four bases of power, the five faculties, the five strengths, the seven factors for Awakening, the noble eightfold path.

"Just as when a carpenter or carpenter's apprentice sees the marks of his fingers or thumb on the handle of his adze but does not know, 'Today my adze handle wore down this much, or yesterday it wore down that much, or the day before yesterday it wore down this much,' still he knows it is worn through when it is worn through. In the same way, when a monk dwells devoting himself to development, he does not know, 'Today my effluents wore down this much, or yesterday they wore down that much, or the day before yesterday they wore down this much,' still he knows they are worn through when they are worn through.

"Just as when an ocean-going ship, rigged with masts & stays, after six months on the water, is left on shore for the winter: Its stays, weathered by the heat & wind, moistened by the clouds of the rainy season, easily wither & rot away. In the same way, when a monk dwells devoting himself to development, his fetters easily wither & rot away."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---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 ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7486
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: gradual awakening

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:05 am

:goodpost:

Yep... that and Ud.54 (as reference above by David) are the definitive suttas on the matter, in my opinion.

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)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14650
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: gradual awakening

Postby BlackBird » Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:37 am

David N. Snyder wrote:In another place he says, ‘Just as the ocean slopes away gradually, tends down gradually without any abrupt precipice, even so this Dhamma and discipline is a gradual doing, a gradual training, a gradual practice. There is no sudden penetration of knowledge’ (Ud.54).

See also: http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Vibhajjavada


Who translated this one? I know Ven. Thanissaro can sometimes have a rather liberal interpretation of certain suttas, but in this case I think his translation makes perhaps a bit more sense. Especially considering the nature of oceans and continental shelves, which most certainly do have abrupt precipices.

"[1] Just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual slope, a gradual inclination, with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch, in the same way this Doctrine and Discipline has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual progression, with a penetration to gnosis only after a long stretch. The fact that this Doctrine and Discipline has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual progression, with a penetration to gnosis not just after a stretch: This is the first amazing and astounding fact about this Doctrine and Discipline that, as they see it again and again, has the monks greatly pleased with the Doctrine and Discipline.

- Udana 5.5: Uposatha Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

We've covered this in the Dhamma study group right? brb.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
User avatar
BlackBird
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: gradual awakening

Postby ground » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:55 am

befriend wrote:Hi everyone,
does enlightenment happen all of a sudden?


Obviously it does since this is preported in some suttas where it happened through merely listening to a teaching.

Kind regards
User avatar
ground
 
Posts: 2592
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:01 am


Return to Discovering Theravāda

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests