The accessibility of arahantship today

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The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby Dhammakid » Sat Aug 08, 2009 10:20 pm

Hello all,
I pray this reaches you in good spirits.

I read somewhere that arahantship is no longer accessible today, and that we are essentially practicing to gain the good fortune of being born as a human during the dispensation of Maitreya Buddha.

Is this true? I understand it's probably harder to practice today than in the Buddha's time, but is it really impossible to gain liberation in today's world? I realize this has a lot to do with the "Dharma Ending Age" idea which has been discussed at length multiple times here, so I'll understand if you just want to post links to other threads.

:anjali:
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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby appicchato » Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:21 am

Dhammakid wrote:Is this true?


True, or not, it's all speculation...not a good idea...carrying on with our practice on the path...that is (a good idea)...
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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby Dhammakid » Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:29 am

appicchato wrote:
Dhammakid wrote:Is this true?


True, or not, it's all speculation...not a good idea...carrying on with our practice on the path...that is (a good idea)...


Thank you Venerable.

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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:30 am

Some believe it is true.
Some believe it is not true.
Maybe it is and maybe it isn't.
Who knows?
Does it matter? Does our practice change?
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby adosa » Sun Aug 09, 2009 2:30 pm

I've asked that question before and it just led to consternation.

To paraphrase Ajahn Chan. Let go a little, good. Let go a little more, better. Let go of it all, best. This whole speculation thing to me is a little like a golfer worrying about his final score of a 72 hole tournament before even beginning play. It leads to a terrible result. It's much better to have practiced before hand then focus on one shot at a time, doing the best you can with each situation.


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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Aug 09, 2009 5:35 pm

The teaching of the Buddha is
Sanditthiko
Opanayiko
Paccatam
Veditabbo
vinnuhi ti

It is well communicated, Immediately apparent, always applicable, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, and to be understood individually by the wise.


This is from the Ti Ratna Vandana which I regularly recite.

Part of what the Buddha taught is that total relinquishment is possible. I have confidence that this part of his teaching like all the rest is immediately apparent and always applicable. Even if I fall short of of what I am taught and do not see what is immediately apparent.

Kindly

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby Dhammakid » Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:38 pm

Thanks for your responses everyone. Looks like I'm getting the same answer from everyone, so I'll take it at that.

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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby Individual » Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:21 am

Dhammakid wrote:Hello all,
I pray this reaches you in good spirits.

I read somewhere that arahantship is no longer accessible today, and that we are essentially practicing to gain the good fortune of being born as a human during the dispensation of Maitreya Buddha.

Is this true? I understand it's probably harder to practice today than in the Buddha's time, but is it really impossible to gain liberation in today's world? I realize this has a lot to do with the "Dharma Ending Age" idea which has been discussed at length multiple times here, so I'll understand if you just want to post links to other threads.

:anjali:
Dhammakid

If it were true, how would anyone know? Prophecies, whether Buddhist, Christian, whatever, tend to be unreliable. We choose how to live our lives and bear the responsibility for our decisions, and are not bound by predestination.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby Ordinaryperson » Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:56 am

Dhammakid wrote:Hello all,
I pray this reaches you in good spirits.

I read somewhere that arahantship is no longer accessible today, and that we are essentially practicing to gain the good fortune of being born as a human during the dispensation of Maitreya Buddha.

Is this true? I understand it's probably harder to practice today than in the Buddha's time, but is it really impossible to gain liberation in today's world? I realize this has a lot to do with the "Dharma Ending Age" idea which has been discussed at length multiple times here, so I'll understand if you just want to post links to other threads.

:anjali:
Dhammakid


Hi Dhammakid,

I read this recently http://www.usamyanmar.net/Buddha/.../Buddha%20Sasana%20Life.pdf. In this article it looks like we are in the 3rd 1000 years where the best for householders will be Sotapanna ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sot%C4%81panna ) at best but monks & nuns are still capable of becoming a non-returners.

However, I am confident that few of the monks my father met in the past attained arahantship in this lifetime but trying to find one now is increasingly difficult according to my father as nobody knows where or how to recognise one. Even if you find one do you know how to communicate with him? I don't think you should worry too much about attaining arahantship in this life time but rather keep up your practice as much as possible.

As far as I am concerned (my view) if one is diligent in practice one should perhaps reach a level where one should not worry too much. Assuming that Buddha's teaching will last for another 2000 years reaching/entering the 5th 1000 years where the Sangha will disappear in the era and human average life span of say 77 years, one should have another 25.9 rebirth cycle (assuming one is lucky to be born in Human Realm) to escape the "ending" of realm destruction.

I cannot remember which plans of existence one must reach to avoid the "ending" but as long as one is above that level (not arahant yet), one will just have to take rebirth again once everything has gone back to "normality". Just keep up the practice and if one does not meet the next Buddha one shall just have to wait / meet the future future Buddha or longer. There will never be a shortage of Buddhas in infinite time (time does not stop?) but it might take a very very long time to meet one. I am sure if one has cultivated the teaching of Buddha all these time one will escape rebirth.

I was also looking at the plans of existence and I am not sure how to calculate the time ...

Check this out on the calculation.

http://www.basicbuddhism.org/index.cfm?GPID=52

Extract:

MK = Maha Kappa, AK = Asankheyya Kappa, CY = Celestial Year
There are 3 kinds of kappas - namely, antara kappa, asankheyya kappa, and maha kappa.

The interim period when the age limit of human beings arises from ten to an indefinite time and then falls to ten again, is known as an antara kappa.

Twenty such antara kappa equal one asankheyya kappa, literally - an incalculable cycle.

Four asankheyya kappas equal one maha kappa.

Books state that 50 human years equal one celestial day.
The age-limit of gods of the realm of Four Kings is 500 celestial years,
that is, according to human cycle reckoning 9,000,000.


Or this website which is very interesting.

http://www.buddhistpilgrimage.info/buddhism_course_08.htm

So there you go basically just keep up your practice and you should be fine.

:smile:

p/s: just checked and the destruction or world ending cycle will reach level 14 on plans of existence where Maha Brama (Great Brama) resides.
pp/s: just double checked again and the destruction is even more ... so we should strive with our best now to avoid all and escape while we still can.
~Actively trying to destroy the Three Unwholesome Roots of Greed, Hatred and Ignorance~
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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:50 am

This has been mentioned in another thread, but not here yet; that the 5,000 year Dhamma ending-age period is only in the Commentaries, not in the Suttas.

In the Suttas the Buddha did not give a specific time and now with the information age that we live in, with the internet, there appears to be no sign of the Dhamma ending anytime soon. In terms of Arahants in this time period, the Commentaries say non-returner is the highest, but some monks and teachers have at least talked of being near / knowing Arahants. S. N. Goenka, has stated that he had the pleasure of knowing several Sotappanas and other noble ones and one Arahant, who he was very close to (I assume his teacher, but he did not specify).
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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby Ordinaryperson » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:16 am

TheDhamma wrote:This has been mentioned in another thread, but not here yet; that the 5,000 year Dhamma ending-age period is only in the Commentaries, not in the Suttas.

In the Suttas the Buddha did not give a specific time and now with the information age that we live in, with the internet, there appears to be no sign of the Dhamma ending anytime soon. In terms of Arahants in this time period, the Commentaries say non-returner is the highest, but some monks and teachers have at least talked of being near / knowing Arahants. S. N. Goenka, has stated that he had the pleasure of knowing several Sotappanas and other noble ones and one Arahant, who he was very close to (I assume his teacher, but he did not specify).


Yes, the information age is here but it is also a double edge sword where information might be translated or interpreted differently from one website to another thus unable to find the authentic ones in the long run. Personally I think there is a high possibility I met one in my teen but I was very young then and could not communicate with him. As for Sotapanas there should be many around but again finding them is not easy.
~Actively trying to destroy the Three Unwholesome Roots of Greed, Hatred and Ignorance~
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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby BlackBird » Mon Aug 10, 2009 11:38 pm

The Buddha has said that the Dhamma exists whether or not a Tathagata arises in this world.
The Fourth Noble Truth states that the Noble Eightfold Path is the way to put an end to suffering for good, to realise Nibbana.

Seems pretty clear cut to me.

In my opinion, the idea of 'letting it go' does not simply apply to whether or not there are Arahants in the world today. It applies to any intelectual sticking point. If you make a habit of letting go then sooner or later all your questions will answer themselves.
"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
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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby BudSas » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:29 am

From Mahaparinibbana Sutta (D.16, translated by Bhikkhu Thanissaro):

... the Blessed One said, "In any doctrine & discipline where the noble eightfold path is not found, no contemplative of the first... second... third... fourth order [stream-winner, once-returner, non-returner, or arahant] is found. But in any doctrine & discipline where the noble eightfold path is found, contemplatives of the first... second... third... fourth order are found. The noble eightfold path is found in this doctrine & discipline, and right here there are contemplatives of the first... second... third... fourth order. Other teachings are empty of knowledgeable contemplatives. And if the monks dwell rightly, this world will not be empty of arahants."

Cheers
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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby Pannapetar » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:42 am

There are plenty of arahants in the jungles of Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia, in the mountain ranges of India, Tibet, and China and in other places. They are usually not in the limelight as they prefer a simple and unassuming life style. They are often in remote places.

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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby Dhammakid » Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:00 am

BudSas wrote:From Mahaparinibbana Sutta (D.16, translated by Bhikkhu Thanissaro):

... the Blessed One said, "In any doctrine & discipline where the noble eightfold path is not found, no contemplative of the first... second... third... fourth order [stream-winner, once-returner, non-returner, or arahant] is found. But in any doctrine & discipline where the noble eightfold path is found, contemplatives of the first... second... third... fourth order are found. The noble eightfold path is found in this doctrine & discipline, and right here there are contemplatives of the first... second... third... fourth order. Other teachings are empty of knowledgeable contemplatives. And if the monks dwell rightly, this world will not be empty of arahants."

Cheers
BDS


This really says it BDS. Thanks.

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Re: The accessibility of arahantship today

Postby Dhammakid » Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:02 am

Thanks for your replies everyone. You've put this question into perspective for me.

Back to the cushion for me :smile:

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