monks the only ones capable of attaining Arahant ?

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monks the only ones capable of attaining Arahant ?

Postby Arab Buddhist » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:35 am

Hello dhamma friends

I read in book this statemnt :
Theravada buddhism emphasizes on the Bhikkhu’s (Sangha) are the only ones capable of attaining Arahant. The laity supports them in the hope of receiving a favorable rebirth, like Sotapanna and Cula Sotappana .

So are monks only who capable of attaining Arahant ?
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Re: monks the only ones capable of attaining Arahant ?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:35 am

The statement is quite wrong. The stages of Sotāpanna and Cūḷasotāpanna are not rebirths, but attainments that are possible in this very life.

Arahantship is also attainable, but extremely rare. For a lay person to attain it would be ever rarer, but theoretically possible.

Being a monk, or a lay person, is just a choice of vocation, and has little to do with spiritual attainments.

Monks and nuns can be greedy, angry, conceited, deluded, just like lay people. Or they can be generous, kind, humble, and wise, just like lay people.

It is mental purity that leads to spiritual attainments like Stream-winning (sotāpanna), or lesser Stream-winning (cūḷasotāpanna).

The Progress of Insight enumerates the requisite stages that anyone must pass through, and of those a Lesser Stream-winner would, I believe, have attained at least Purification by Overcoming Doubt, while a Stream-winner has attained right up to Path Knowledge and Fruition Knowledge follows on inevitably from that.
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Re: monks the only ones capable of attaining Arahant ?

Postby Arab Buddhist » Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:56 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The statement is quite wrong. The stages of Sotāpanna and Cūḷasotāpanna are not rebirths, but attainments that are possible in this very life.

Arahantship is also attainable, but extremely rare. For a lay person to attain it would be ever rarer, but theoretically possible.

Being a monk, or a lay person, is just a choice of vocation, and has little to do with spiritual attainments.

Monks and nuns can be greedy, angry, conceited, deluded, just like lay people. Or they can be generous, kind, humble, and wise, just like lay people.

It is mental purity that leads to spiritual attainments like Stream-winning (sotāpanna), or lesser Stream-winning (cūḷasotāpanna).

The Progress of Insight enumerates the requisite stages that anyone must pass through, and of those a Lesser Stream-winner would, I believe, have attained at least Purification by Overcoming Doubt, while a Stream-winner has attained right up to Path Knowledge and Fruition Knowledge follows on inevitably from that.


Thank you very much
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Re: monks the only ones capable of attaining Arahant ?

Postby fivebells » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:18 pm

I had not heard of Cūḷasotāpanna before. What distinguishes it from Sotāpanna? Any sutta references?
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Re: monks the only ones capable of attaining Arahant ?

Postby culaavuso » Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:42 pm

Many sutta references about lay people attaining various stages of awakening can be found at the lay arahant page on dhammawiki.
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Re: monks the only ones capable of attaining Arahant ?

Postby waterchan » Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:08 pm

What about the commentarial statement that a lay arahant must ordain immediately or he will die?
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Re: monks the only ones capable of attaining Arahant ?

Postby santa100 » Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:18 pm

waterchan wrote: What about the commentarial statement that a lay arahant must ordain immediately or he will die?

Ven. Bodhi's footnote in MN 68:
Note that whereas the declaration of attainment made by monks/nuns begin with arahantship, those for lay followers begin with non returning(in para. 18, 21). While it's possible for lay people to attain arahantship, they do so either when on the verge of death OR just before requesting admission into the Sangha.

It's very difficult to practice complete non-attachment while remaining in lay life. Afterall, one still has to look after their families, possessions, occupations, paying all kinds of bills, etc.. That's why there's that common stock phrase in many suttas:
..it's not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell. What if I were to shave off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness..
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Re: monks the only ones capable of attaining Arahant ?

Postby happylotus1 » Mon Apr 21, 2014 2:31 pm

There are few instances mentioned in sutta where lay persons became arahant in the Buddha's time. One example I can remember is that of a minister who became arahant in lay cloth. However, after becoming arahant one cannot remain in lay life. Either they take pabbaja or they die due to their natural death. But as compared to thousands of monks who achieved arahanthood, the number of laypeople attaining arhanthood was very few which indicates that although it is possible to attain arahanthood in lay life, it is extremely rare.
A householder or householder's son, hearing the Dhamma, gains conviction in the Tathāgata and reflects: 'Household life is confining, a dusty path. The life gone forth is like the open air. It is not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell. What if I were to shave off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness?
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Re: monks the only ones capable of attaining Arahant ?

Postby SarathW » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:24 am

fivebells wrote:I had not heard of Cūḷasotāpanna before. What distinguishes it from Sotāpanna? Any sutta references?


viewtopic.php?f=13&t=434
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