Arahants

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Arahants

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:10 pm

Isn't revealing attainments a problem if you are deceiving someone? Ie you tell a lay person of an attainment that you haven't got.
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Re: Arahants

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:38 pm

rowyourboat wrote:Isn't revealing attainments a problem if you are deceiving someone? Ie you tell a lay person of an attainment that you haven't got.

Yes it is a parajika four offence!
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Re: Arahants

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:30 am

Greetings RYB,

As cittasanto says, for the ordained, it is a parajika offense.

A lay arahant could do what they like in that regard... have you got something you wish to tell us? :D

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Re: Arahants

Postby Ytrog » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:08 am

I heard someone say that you should let go of your own attainments as well. I personally think it would be a wise thing to do. :sage:

In other words: don't cling to a label on either someone else or yourself.
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


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Re: Arahants

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:23 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings RYB,

As cittasanto says, for the ordained, it is a parajika offense.

A lay arahant could do what they like in that regard... have you got something you wish to tell us? :D

Metta,
Retro. :)

Hi Retro,
maybe a breach of the pacittia offense is possible for all (remember Ajahn Maha-Bua) which is about declaring ones actual attainments, but I highly doubt the Parajika would be broken as it is part of the Musavada precepts which would mean they are lying.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: Arahants

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:05 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings RYB,

As cittasanto says, for the ordained, it is a parajika offense.

A lay arahant could do what they like in that regard... have you got something you wish to tell us? :D

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi Retro,

My point being it is a problem only if it is a deliberate lie.. (you might wish to avoid saying it even if it is true due to other complications 'may no one know I am an arahanth' the seven year old samanera is said to have thought. Arahanths are truly constrained by very little, I suspect, least of all by what other people think of them).

The Buddha often calls himself an arahanth etc. It is true. It is stated for a reason that is wholesome.
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Re: Arahants

Postby janoodot » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:05 am

There is a famous monk in Sri Lanka who claims he had attained to the "Sakurdhagami hood". His name is Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma thero aka Sirisamantha baddhra thero.

Some people accuse him as a fraud monk. While some people follow him.

There are lot of videos of his dhamma speeches in youtube (in Sinhala Language though). I can't confirm he has really attained to the Sakurdhagami hood. But his teachings are interesting and make sense to me.

According to him "Any one who attained the Sothapanna, Sakrudagami, Anagami or Arahathhood, will declare that they achieved the goal for the betterment of other people but not keep silent and hide what he attained.
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Re: Arahants

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:51 am

I think declarations of attainment should be best kept within the teacher-student relationship and not uttered elsewhere. If your teaching is SO good (because it is coming from an attained person) then it will become popular in its own right.
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Re: Arahants

Postby DAWN » Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:16 pm

Ajahn Chah said that :
"If your mind tries to tell you it has already attained the level of sotapanna, go and bow to a sotapanna. He’ll tell you himself it’s all uncertain. If you meet a sakadagami, go and pay respects to him. When he sees you, he’ll simply say, "Not a sure thing!" If there’s an anagami, go and bow to him. He’ll tell you only one thing, "Uncertain!" If you meet even an arahant, go and bow to him. He’ll tell you even more firmly, "It’s all even more uncertain!" You’ll hear the words of the Noble Ones: "Everything is uncertain. Don’t cling to anything!"

There are no any Arahant in the World, just some kamma, who like a rain's drop that slide down the window glass. Is it an Arahant ?

Anywere, I think that if some one believes that his teacher is an Arahant, I think that there are some reasons to say that, and I think that this reasons are good, not bad, so anywere it's will be benificial to be lead by that person, and is not benificial to someone else trying to distroy this believe in some teacher who gives motivation end exepmle to enybody.
May be this exemple is not perfect, and we will find many reasons to say that this teacher is or is not an Arahant, but who can be perfect in Dhamma after The Buddha parinibbana?
If someone who is seeking the liberation have some wisdom, he can take what is good and drop what is bad. If he takes all, why he is called a seeker?
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
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Re: Arahants

Postby hermitwin » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:10 pm

The simple answer is we dont know bcos it takes an arahant to know another.
But logically there are arahants in this world, unless you believe that the true teachings of the Buddha no longer exist.
As long as the true teachings of the Buddha exist, there will be arahants in this world.
Where can we find one?
I suspect in the forests of Thailand, burma, sri lanka.
Once(2011) a monk was asked if he was enlightened. his answer, "try and make me angry".
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Re: Arahants

Postby whynotme » Wed Aug 22, 2012 4:43 pm

reflection wrote:According to Ajahn Brahms, only the Buddha can know someone else's attainments for sure. I also think it is very common for people to mistake their own attainments. For these two reasons, I think any claim -be it directly or indirectly- of any attainments should be taken with a grain of salt, always.

Dear reflection,

What did you mean when you said only the Buddha can know someone else's attainments for sure? Didn't arahant know for sure he is arahant, and some arahants know others as arahants? I.e ven Anuruddha know two other monks are arahants, somewhere in scripture?

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Re: Arahants

Postby ohnofabrications » Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:04 am

I personally know someone who has told me that he/she is an arahant. he/she is a lay buddhist with a commitment and discernment I have never otherwise seen. I will not reveal his/her identity, but I will try to relate what he/she has told me both about her experience and how he/she practiced. he/she told me mainly for purposes of motivating me, describing his/her experience as a carrot on a stick like the buddha's 'practice as if your hair were on fire.' I am very grateful that he/she told me as it has massively improved my faith and persistence... it is one thing for some guys thousands of years to have done it, but apparently god's son was walking around too and there were dragons and shit. :tongue:

What he/she has told me of his/her experience:
An ever-present perfect equanimity and awareness of all conditions as well as a certain quality of 'joy' with regard to all of them. he/she reports that he/she is always aware of the occurrences at all 6 sense-doors simultaneously at all times. he/she reports a lack of emotion, the compassion inherent in her experience are experienced not as emotion but rather as an automatic tendency in action. Another aspect he/she reports is a complete lack of a feeling of 'presence' or 'being' or 'agency' rather thoughts, words, and deeds occur as if out of nowhere. Another aspect is that there is absolutely no sense of time passing, rather just a continuous moment. basically her experience is one of six senses, no emotional feelings, no tension, no control or agency, just the six senses occurring.

What he/she has told me of his/her practice:
He/she began practicing with body scanning and anapana. He/she didn't aim for absorption in his/her practice, just being undistracted such that he/she could observe sensations continuously with the aim of maximizing equanimity and seeing impermanence. He/she started with scanning, but eventually found it and anapana unnecessary due to his/her progress in equanimity and mindfulness (though she recommends using those methods until one is pretty far along), he/she switched then to a more all encompassing and fully accepting style of attention mimicking the state at which he/she was moving towards. One day while practicing in daily life off the cushion his/her experience shifted (after gradual increases over 10+ years) to fully selfless, fully equanimous, fully compassionate, fully without a sense of control, fully aware, all in complete continuousness at all times. He/she believes that practicing via attention and equanimity will cause a meditator to continue progressing as long as the meditator doesn't rest content at any stage short of perfect, continuous alertness and attamaya-uppekha. The person's #1 most stressed practice advice would probably be continuousness of attention.

I have known this person for some time and I find all their statements and actions to be congruent, their actions matching with their reports (constant compassion[in action] towards what he/she can control and constant equanimity towards what he/she can't). I have of course no certainty, but I also have no certainty of even the buddha's awakening or that arahantship and nibbana exist, regardless I think his/her advice is far from controversial, but perhaps it is good to know that there really are arahants out there.

I will answer any questions I can unless they in any way would help divulge the identity of this person. They have not asked me to conceal there identity nor do they know I am posting this or that I use this forum, and I don't think they would object even if I divulged their identity but regardless I will not do so. (you would almost definitely not know them by name anyway)

edit: another thing - this person said that it is likely due to their conditioning that they revealed their status, but they believe that there are plenty of arahants around just that their conditioning informs their decision not to share. they said that an arahants compassion is directed by their life experiences and intelligence, what they think will work and what they think won't, they don't know what the most compassionate thing to do for sure is but they do always do what seems to be the most compassionate thing.

edit2: I'd prefer to answer questions here so that I don't have to repeat myself, also I don't really care too much about defending this person's claim, I can't give anyone certainty about anything. as I said his/her advice is fairly non-controversial and I posted what I did mainly as a source of motivation for people, I don't want this to turn into a debate or a look-at-me thing... just as a source of faith that arahantship is possible and as a source of motivation from that faith. Don't wait around for certainty that it is possible, I don't think you will find any.
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Re: Arahants

Postby purple planet » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:54 am

Hi - thanks for answering my private messages - i think you are right just didnt want to push you to put things public you dont want to


for me its great to hear that its reachable - even though i am not sure



does he do stuff for fun ? does he have hobbies ? and is he trying to "convince" as much people as possible to reach nirvana?
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Re: Arahants

Postby Hanzze » Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:53 am

a short story (original from Hellinger, free and not so well translated) which might be useful:

The insight

A group of like-minded people, still on the beginning of their journey, gathered together and discussed their concepts for a better future. They agreed that they would make it differently. The ordinariness and the run-of-mill-ness and its endless circle was to banal for them. They searched for the unique, the wideness and they hoped to find to them self like no one before. In they mind they saw them selfs already at the aim, imagined how it would be and agreed to put it into action. “First of all”, they said, “we need to search for the great master, as all starts with it.” Then they started their journey.
The master lived in another country and belonged to a different folk. Many quaintness was reported about him, but it seems that nobody really know exactly. From the usual way they had already escaped, as everything here was different: the customs, the landscape, the language, the ways, the purpose. Sometimes they came on a place, where it was told that the master should live there. But as soon as they liked to come to know more detail, they have been told that he is currently gone and nobody knew which direction he toke. However, but one day they fond him.

He was with a famer on the field. In that way he earned his livelihood and the lodging in the night. First they didn’t liked to believe that he was their longed master, also the farmer was astonished that the man who was working on his field, was esteemed as somebody special. But he said: “Yes, I am a master. If you like to learn from me, stay one week on my side. Then I would teach you.”
The like-minded people hired out by the same farmer and gained food, potion and lodging. On the eight day, when it was already dark, the master called them together, sat down with them under a tree and told them a story.

Long time ago, a young man was thinking about what he should make out of his live. He was from a distinguished family, was spared of enforcement and affliction and felt obliged to higher and better. So he left his father and mother, joined a group of ascetic, left them also, found after that the Buddha in person, but also this was not enough for him. More higher he wanted to go, till there where the air is thin and the breath heavy to bear: where nobody else ever was before. As he arrived there, he paused for thoughts. It was the end of this way and he saw that it was a meander.

Now he wanted to take the other direction. He descended, came to a town, conquered the most beautiful courtesan, reached company share of a wealthy businessman and soon was rich and respected himself.

But he didn’t descended till the finally valley. He was just at staying at its upper edge. He missed courage for the full effort. He had a concubine but no wife, he got a son but was no father. He had learned the art of love and life, but not about love and life itself. All which what he hadn’t accepted jet, he started to disobey and ignore till he was disgusted about himself and left even this.”
On this point the master made a break: „Maybe you recognice this story“, he said, „and you know also its end. Its told that the man grow humble and devoted to the ordinary at the end. But what does that mean, he had neglected so much. Whoever trust in life, for him the near isn’t the porridge which he orbit stealthy in the far. He masters the mundane first. Otherwise also the unusual – thought it exist – would be like a hat on a scarecrow.”
It has become silent and also the master remained still. Then he stood up without a word and went on. In the next morning it was not possible to find him. Still night he walked his way and told nobody where he liked to go.

Now the like-minded people stood on their own dependence again. Some of them didn’t want to realize it that the master had left them and walked on to search once more for him. Others couldn’t hardly different between their wishes and fear and searched haphazardly for any way.
But one of them bethought. He walked once more to the tree, sat down and looked into the far till his inner was calm. Whatever plagued him, he took out of himself and putted it in front of him, like somebody had done a long walk and putting down his rucksack before he takes a rast. And he was light and free.
There they stood in front of him: his wishes – his fears – his aims – his real requirements. And without looking in detail or wanting something special – like somebody trusting a stranger – he waited that it would happened by itself, that everything confirm on its place, the place where it belongs seeing the whole according to its weight and range.
It didn’t take a long time and he realized that outside all was grown less, like if some had steal away like detected thieves seeking for the far. And it becomes clear inside him: what he had seen as his wishes, as his fears, as his aims, was never been his own possession. All that came from somewhere else and had crept in. But now this time was over.
It seems that movement comes into the things which are left. What he really owned came back to him, took its right place. Power gathered in his middle and he recognized his own and proper aim. He waited on a little till he was sure. Then he stood up and went on.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Arahants

Postby ohnofabrications » Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:38 pm

purple planet wrote:Hi - thanks for answering my private messages - i think you are right just didnt want to push you to put things public you dont want to


for me its great to hear that its reachable - even though i am not sure



does he do stuff for fun ? does he have hobbies ? and is he trying to "convince" as much people as possible to reach nirvana?


Often for fun he/she just does 'nothing' but if he/she is with other people he/she will join in, and yes he/she does talk to practitioners and often stresses that one of the most important things is believing than you can do it, but he/she isn't really on a huge 'mission'... some arahants in the suttas didn't teach at all, i think there is a wide range of conditioning that causes different people to do different things even though their only response to the world is compassion as ajahn maha boowa said. Look at the huge differences between chah and maha boowa for example, they acted totally differently.
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Re: Arahants

Postby twelph » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:19 pm

ohnofabrications wrote:He/she started with scanning, but eventually found it and anapana unnecessary due to his/her progress in equanimity and mindfulness (though she recommends using those methods until one is pretty far along), he/she switched then to a more all encompassing and fully accepting style of attention mimicking the state at which he/she was moving towards.


Out of curiosity, does the person ever mention any specific books/teachers/suttas that helped this transition? Some teachers state that anapana can be taken all of the way to the end, while it also seems skillful that there is a transition that takes place.
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Re: Arahants

Postby ohnofabrications » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:32 pm

Hi twelph,

This person practiced with basically no guidance other than goenka retreats and his/her ingenuity. He/she believes that anapana can be taken all the way, as can body scanning and noting, but also finds it more effective at a certain point to do the all-inclusive/shikantaza-like practice.
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Re: Arahants

Postby twelph » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:23 pm

ohnofabrications wrote:Hi twelph,

This person practiced with basically no guidance other than goenka retreats and his/her ingenuity. He/she believes that anapana can be taken all the way, as can body scanning and noting, but also finds it more effective at a certain point to do the all-inclusive/shikantaza-like practice.


It almost seems like no matter what "method" that you use, continuity of practice/attention is the only thing that matters. In order to accomplish this, strong faith is required. I agree with the OP that being able to observe a person who has been able to reach the final realization would induce quite possibly the strongest faith possible.

The way I seek out faith hinders my continuity of practice. I enjoy reading books and listening to teachers to combine with the faith that I get through the practice itself. But what tends to happen is, I hear something that seems intellectually sound to me and I try to fit that teaching into my practice while comparing it to what I was already doing. Then while attempting to decide which option is better if the new data conflicts, I am more interested in cementing my view on the best way to practice than actually practicing. It's a slippery slope indeed, and I find myself realizing that I am doing it, knowing that it's a hindrance, but my "intellectual" side keeps winning.

Hopefully the more awareness I bring to the process, the more likely I will be able to stop it in the future.
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Re: Arahants

Postby Billymac29 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:09 pm

ohnofabrications wrote:Hi twelph,

This person practiced with basically no guidance other than goenka retreats and his/her ingenuity. He/she believes that anapana can be taken all the way, as can body scanning and noting, but also finds it more effective at a certain point to do the all-inclusive/shikantaza-like practice.

would this person consider retreats a must??

He/she believes that anapana can be taken all the way, as can body scanning and noting,
Is this the Mahasi noting method?

with metta
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"
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Re: Arahants

Postby ohnofabrications » Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:59 pm

Billymac29 wrote:
ohnofabrications wrote:Hi twelph,

This person practiced with basically no guidance other than goenka retreats and his/her ingenuity. He/she believes that anapana can be taken all the way, as can body scanning and noting, but also finds it more effective at a certain point to do the all-inclusive/shikantaza-like practice.

would this person consider retreats a must??

He/she believes that anapana can be taken all the way, as can body scanning and noting,
Is this the Mahasi noting method?

with metta


Insofar as anything can be a "must" other than paying attention, retreats would be a must.
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