Fleas are trained not to jump by keeping them in a container with a lid. Once trained, they are harnessed by carefully wrapping a thin gold wire around the neck of the flea. Once in the harness the fleas usually stay in it for life. The harnesses are attached to the props and the strong legs of the flea allows them to move objects significantly larger than themselves.
When the five senses shut down, including all echoes of the five senses manifesting as thoughts, then one has left the world of the body and material things (Kamaloka) and entered the world of pure mind (Rupaloka). It is as if a huge burden has dropped away. Or, as Ajahn Chah used to describe it, it is like one had been enduring' a tight rope around one's neck for as long as one can remember. So long, in fact, that one had become used to it and no longer recognized the pain. Then somehow the tension was suddenly released and the rope removed. The bliss one would feel would be the result of a huge burden disappearing! In much the same way, the bliss of the First Jhana is caused by the complete fading away of the "tight rope," meaning all that one took to be the world.
Dhammanando wrote:Hi Peter,Peter wrote:I wonder if Sariputta knew the man's potential,
I don't think so.
Soon after the venerable Sāriputta had left, the brahmin Dhanañjānī died and reappeared in the Brahmā-world.
Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus, Sāriputta, having established the brahmin Dhanañjānī in the inferior Brahmā-world, rose from his seat and departed while there was still more to be done.”
Then the venerable Sāriputta went to the Blessed One, and after paying homage to him, he sat down at one side and said: “Venerable sir, the brahmin Dhanañjānī is afflicted, suffering, and gravely ill; he pays homage with his head at the Blessed One’s feet.”
“Sāriputta, having established the brahmin Dhanañjānī in the inferior Brahmā-world, why did you rise from your seat and leave while there was still more to be done?”
“Venerable sir, I thought thus: ‘These Brahmins are devoted to the Brahmā-world. Suppose I show the brahmin Dhanañjānī the path to the company of Brahmā.’”
“Sāriputta, the brahmin Dhanañjānī has died and has reappeared in the Brahmā-world.”
(Dhanañjānī Sutta, MN. 97)
From: Bhikkhu Bodhi's notes:
Sati uttarikaraṇīye ("while there was still more to be done"). Ven. Sāriputta had left without giving him a teaching that would have enabled him to arrive at the supramundane path and become fixed in destination for enlightenment. Compared to this even rebirth in the Brahmā-world is described as “inferior” (hīna). This remark has the force of a gentle reproach. The Buddha must have seen that Dhanañjānī had the potential to attain the supramundane path, since elsewhere (e.g., MN 99.24-27) he himself teaches only the way to the Brahma-world when that potential is lacking in his listener.
This episode is briefly alluded to in the Peṭakopadesa (Peṭ. 79; Piṭaka Disclosure 102-3), an early treatise on hermeneutics. It crops up in a discussion of which sayings of the Buddha's disciples should be accepted as Dhamma. Here the Buddha's words to Sāriputta are treated as a "non-congratulation", rather than a rebuke:
But there is also the kind of hearer (sāvaka) who knows the Ten Powered One's province, either limited or unlimitedly, yet he does not know that power [itself] at all beyond the hearing [of it]. As, for instance, in the case of the brahmin exhorted by the venerable Sāriputta. Now that venerable one lacked [the Tathāgata power of] knowledge of variety in faculties and powers (indriya-bala-vematta-ñāṇa), hence by his not knowing the encompassing of other persons, though the brahmin had more he could still have done [i.e. by attaining the noble path], he was instead made to reappear [after death] in the Brahmā-world, and so the venerable [Sāriputta] was not congratulated by the Blessed One.
The treatise then goes on to cite the Kassapagotta Sutta (SN. i. 199) as an example of a disciple (Mahākassapa) whose lack of the Tathāgata powers results in him giving his nephew a teaching that is too high for his capacity, with a similarly unfruitful outcome.or could have known if he thought to investigate.
There is a commentarial telling of the story in which Sāriputta does investigate as best he can, but unfortunately his best isn't good enough. I can't locate it at the moment, but it goes something like this: Sāriputta surveys the previous hundred thousand lives of the brahmin and in none of them can he detect any past action that could be a cause for awakening in the present life. And so he teaches him the way to Brahmā instead. But the Buddha —whose psychic powers can go further back than Sāriputta's— sees that in the brahmin's hundred thouand and first previous life he had heard the Dhamma taught by some past Buddha and in that hearing there was a sufficient cause for stream-entry in the present life. Except that it was too late.
Bhikkhu Bodhi says,"The Buddha... teaches only the way to the Brahma-world when that potential is lacking in his listener." I wonder if "potential" is the right word.
I wonder if it might be more a matter of readiness.
It seems to me that there are places in the Pali Canon that suggest that potential is not the problem, e.g., "This immortal state has been attained by many and can still be attained even today by anyone who makes an effort. But not by those who do not strive..." Therigatha 513.
Also, I wonder if anyone who loves the Dhamma, who is intelligent, diligent, and not overly proud isn't ready to follow the Eightfold Path or is truly "lacking in potential."
Why shouldn't we feel we are more capable than the laity of the Buddha's time? We (most of us, anyway) aren't struggling day in and day out for food and water! Western average life expectancy is what, double what it was in the Buddha's day? (70-something now vs. 30-something then?) Not only do we live twice as long, we have the internet!
So, based purely on the tangible advantages we enjoy, it makes perfect sense to me that we should have higher expectations of ourselves today than the laity of the Buddha's time. Imagine an admittedly optimistic not-too-distant future (say several hundred years), where the average productive life-span is well over one hundred, work/life/spiritual balance is the norm, and the impact of near-immediate global knowledge transfer has had decades to refine and perfect meditation techniques for each individual's fully mapped genome! I would certainly expect someone living in that time to be more capable of greater achievement than we are!
Only humans conceived with a triple-rooted relinking consciousness (i.e., one accompanied by all three kusala roots: non-greed, non-hate and non-delusion) have the possibility of attaining jhāna or the noble path in their present life. Those with fewer kusala roots than this are all padaparamas.....
One can know that certain individuals are padaparamas (e.g. those who've commited certain kinds of very weighty akusala kamma), but there isn't any outward sign by which one can discern if a person is a neyya.
fijiNut wrote:Correct me if my logic is wrong, so would somebody who can attain Jhana be definitely or possibly a neyya?
Dhammanando wrote:Hi Ed,Bhikkhu Bodhi says,"The Buddha... teaches only the way to the Brahma-world when that potential is lacking in his listener." I wonder if "potential" is the right word.
Most certainly it's the right word.
In the Ugghaṭitaññū Sutta (AN. ii. 135) the Buddha says that there are four kinds of person found in this world: those who are quick in acquiring, those who learn by means of a detailed exposition, those who may be guided, and those for whom the letter [of the Teaching] alone is the highest thing. In the Abhidhamma Piṭaka these are defined as follows:
What sort of person is quick in acquiring (ugghaṭitaññū)?
The person for whom there is penetration of the Dhamma at the very time when it is being taught is called “quick in acquiring.”
What sort of person is one who learns by means of a detailed exposition (vipañcitaññū)?
The person for whom there is penetration of the Dhamma when the meaning of what has been taught in brief is later analysed in detail is called “one who learns by means of a detailed exposition.”
What sort of person is one who may be guided (neyya)?
The person for whom penetration of the Dhamma comes gradually by means of recitation, questioning, proper attention, and by serving, cultivating and waiting upon kalyānamittas is called “one who may be guided.”
What sort of person is one for whom the letter alone is the highest thing (padaparama)?
The person for whom penetration of the Dhamma will not come in this life, however much [of the Teaching] he may hear and speak and bear in mind or recite, is called to be “one for whom the letter alone is the highest thing.”
(Puggalapaññatti 41-2; Designation of Human Types 58)
Regarding the fourth type, the padaparama, his lack of potential for awakening in the present life may be due to a number of factors. Most padaparamas were already such before they were even born, when still in their mothers' wombs. Only humans conceived with a triple-rooted relinking consciousness (i.e., one accompanied by all three kusala roots: non-greed, non-hate and non-delusion) have the possibility of attaining jhāna or the noble path in their present life. Those with fewer kusala roots than this are all padaparamas.
Even those who have been reborn with such a consciousness may still be padaparamas. In the Puggalapaññati Atthakathā (PuggA. 184-5) Buddhaghosa lists six causes for incapacity to attain the paths and fruits in the present life; in each case the state is reckoned as one that lacks the requisite decisive support condition (upanissaya-paccaya). A similar list is also given in the Paṭisambhidāmagga (Paṭi. i. 123), but here I will use Buddhaghosa's as the Paṭisambhidāmagga's version does not supply any explanation.
1. Obstruction by kamma (kammāvaraṇa); meaning those who have committed one of the five anantariyaka kammas.
2. Obstruction by defilement (kilesāvaraṇa); meaning those who hold to any of the ten niyata wrong views ("there is no giving, no sacrifice... etc.").
3. Obstruction by kammic ripening (vipākāvaraṇa); meaning those who were reborn with only a double-rooted or a rootless relinking consciousness.
4. Lack of faith (assaddha); "one lacking faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha."
5. Lack of zeal/desire-to-act (acchandika); defined as being one who either lacks chanda in the sense of desiring to undertake what is kusala.
6. Being weak in wisdom (duppañña); defined as those in whom the bhavaṅga-citta of that lifetime lacks the mental factor of paññā (this in fact overlaps with #3, for it is the relinking consciousness that determines the character of the bhavaṅga-citta in any lifetime).I wonder if it might be more a matter of readiness.
It might be in part, but clearly the texts don't limit it to just that.It seems to me that there are places in the Pali Canon that suggest that potential is not the problem, e.g., "This immortal state has been attained by many and can still be attained even today by anyone who makes an effort. But not by those who do not strive..." Therigatha 513.
This is De Silva's mistranslation. It should read "anyone who strives rightly" (yo yoniso payuñjati). The translator has ignored the word yoniso (rightly, properly). For the reasons stated above, the padaparama in her present life is limited in her capacity to strive rightly, even if she wants to.Also, I wonder if anyone who loves the Dhamma, who is intelligent, diligent, and not overly proud isn't ready to follow the Eightfold Path or is truly "lacking in potential."
Well, all beings have the potential for eventually awakening. Even padaparamas are not like the so-called 'icchantika' described in some Mahayana Yogacarin texts, who is eternally cut off from the possibility of awakening. So the question is whether a person has the potential for awakening in the present life. This will depend upon whether he or she is a neyya or a padaparama (ugghaṭitaññūs and vipañcitaññūs are generally held not to exist any more), but this isn't easily known. One can know that certain individuals are padaparamas (e.g. those who've commited certain kinds of very weighty akusala kamma), but there isn't any outward sign by which one can discern if a person is a neyya.