Questions about stream-winners

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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:59 pm

vinasp wrote:" I am saying that there are things "hidden" in the teachings which only reveal themselves after many years of study". What is wrong with that ?

Nothing in itself. After many years of study and meditation the subtleties in the teachings start to make more sense. How could anyone disagree? That would apply to anything significant.

Where we appear to differ is your claim that the sense that the rest of us think that we are making out of the Buddha's teachings is somehow deficient, and you've spotted something that everyone else has missed.

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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:25 pm

Hi everyone,

I am not going to say anything more, on this thread, about things being hidden or secret. I apologise if this means that some good questions are not answered.
How do we continue this thread in a constructive way ? Do we go back to the original topic ? Or is there some issue that has already arisen that others would like to continue to discuss ?

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby fivebells » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:16 am

When I read vinasp's concern, another explanation occurred to me. I didn't see it in the portions of the thread I read, and I am interested to hear what others think of it.

As I understood him, vinasp objected that there seem to be scriptural cases of people following the 8-fold path who are still training to abandon self-concept and attain stream entry. But the idea of stream-entry as a terminal state which one achieves, perhaps gets confirmed by a teacher, and then maintains for the rest of one's life, seems like a contradiction of the doctrines of nonself and impermanence. That is, it seems that a stream-enterer is conventionally conceived to have an identity as a stream enterer (nonself), and that state does not decay (impermanence?)

Is there actually a stream-enterer? If there is only this moment, then isn't the stream-enterer a construction from memory? If there is no stream-enterer, just a moment connected to a series of other putative moments which are imputed from memories, then couldn't there be stream entry in one moment, then delusion of self in another, subsequent moment? There certainly seem to be times in my own practice when there is no self-concept, which are then followed by times like now, when there is clearly a self-concept behind this post. Does this kind of fluctuating presence of self-concept have a place in the theravada framework? It constitutes a neat explanation for vinasp's observation, and fits well with my own experience in meditation practice.

My experience of theravada teachings is very limited, so basic jargon-free explanations will reach me best. (But I will do my best to understand regardless.)

I apologize in advance if I'm saying something redundant. This thread has grown rather long, and I don't have time to read it all.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:22 am

Greetings Fivebells,

Sotapanna and sotapatti are conventional, conceptual designations that only point to a certain ultimate reality.

The same applies also to even more fundamental concepts like person (puggala)

Be careful not to get the two types of reality confused and unnecessarily intertwined, and (a note to Vincent, more than you) to think that the truth of one type of reality, precludes the truth of the other.

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:32 am

Hi Vincent,
vinasp wrote: How do we continue this thread in a constructive way ?

Why don't you try just making some posts where you either express your opinion about certain parts of the Tipitika, or (better, because it's easier to gracefully back down) ask questions about them? You keep veering off into a meta-discussion of what to do on this board rather than just discussing something.

In other threads where people disagree with standard interpretations, such as "the great rebirth debate" thread viewtopic.php?f=16&t=41 members just post. They don't spend time asking whether they can disagree or not...

Metta
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:35 am

Hi everyone,

Here are two paragraphs from a sutta called "Exploration".

"Bhikkhus, whatever ascetics and brahmins in the past regarded that in the world with a pleasant and agreeable nature as permanent, as happiness, as self, as healthy, as secure : they nurtured craving. In nurturing craving they nurtured acquisition. In nurturing acquisition they nurtured suffering. In nurturing suffering they were not freed from birth, aging, and death ; they were not freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair ; they were not freed from suffering I say".

"Bikkhus, whatever ascetics and brahmins in the past regarded that in the world with a pleasant and agreeable nature as impermanent, as suffering, as nonself, as a disease, as fearful : they abandoned craving. In abandoning craving they abandoned acquisition. In abandoning acquisition they abandoned suffering. In abandoning suffering they were freed from birth, aging, and death ; they were freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure and despair ; they were freed from suffering, I say".

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha : Bhikkhu Bodhi. page 605.
The Samyutta Nikaya. Part II Book of Causation. Part VII 66 (6) Exploration.

This is what I see in these passages :

1. a) Regarding things as self causes craving, clinging and suffering.
b)The view of self is the origin or source of craving, clinging and suffering.
c)Removing the view of self removes craving, clinging and suffering.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Abandoning craving

Postby suriyopama » Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:20 pm

This makes me think about one question: is there a difference in between "craving" and "having or taking things without craving"?

In other words: Is it possible to take and possess things temporarily without craving to them? Being conscious that they don't belong to "you" or to anyone, that they are impermanent and a cause of suffering, and they can dissapear at any moment.

Even a bhikku has to pick the food from the plate and put it in his mouth. He do it with mindfulness and he is aware of wathever arises to the mind before volition and action occurs. I understand that this deep mindfulness is what keeps him away from craving when he performs actions and takes things. To what extension is it possible to apply this mindfulness to all the objects and actions around us?

"In abandoning craving they abandoned acquisition" That's the second step. It looks to me even more complicated than the first one. I'm wondering where is the "middle way" line in practical terms.

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Re: Abandoning craving

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:02 pm

suriyopama wrote:Is it possible to take and possess things temporarily without craving to them?

craving depends on the "belief in a self", when there is ignorance the whole dependent origination takes place. when there is a "self" there is craving. what I'm trying to say is: when there is a "self" everything appears in the way of "this is mine, this am I, this is my self" when there is no ignorance, there is not: "this is mine, this am I, this is my self". Then things are just things as they are, no craving, "no one" to take and possess things temporarily without craving to them - just things as they are.
This is the middle way.

best wishes, acinteyyo
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:48 pm

Hi everyone,

Here are some of my thoughts about the sutta above called : Exploration.

It looks like an early sutta, note the use of the term "acquisition" where we would expect "clinging". It is probably from a period before the development of the doctrine of the five aggregates of clinging. The view of self is probably the simple atta-ditthi. After the doctrine of aggregates was developed this simple view of self was analysed into a set of twenty components, which was called sakaya-ditthi. There are four views for each khandha making twenty in all. The five aggregates of clinging are called sakaya. So sakaya-ditthi could be the view which is the origin of sakaya, or the five aggregates of clinging.
Where is this view of self in relation to other things such as craving? I think that it is at the level of the six sense-spheres, in the dependent origination formula. That would mean that the sequence is : view of self, contact, feeling, craving, clinging, existence ........this whole mass of suffering.

This gives rise to a serious problem, since it would mean that sakaya-ditthi is only completely eliminated with the completion of the noble eightfold path. In fact, the path would be nothing but the removal of the view of self, by replacing it, gradually, with the view of no-self. Why is this a problem ? Because it is said of the stream-winner that he has eliminated sakaya-ditthi, and yet, he is only at the start of the path. He still has craving and clinging which are yet to be eliminated, at some higher stage. This makes no sense at all, if the view of self is the origin of craving.

Clearly, something is wrong. Either the view of self is not where we are supposing it to be, or the teaching on the stream-winner is wrong. An interesting feature of this is that if the teaching on the stream-winner is wrong, then it would not prevent a monk from becoming a stream-winner. If he were serious he would understand sakaya-ditthi and start trying to remove it. But this would be to start to make progress on the path, so he would be a stream-winner according to our alternative understanding.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Oct 03, 2009 10:48 pm

I made a mistake. I should not have said "craving depends on 'belief in a self'" craving (taṇhā) originates out of feeling (vedana) as described in the dependent origination and when there is feeling then there is contact (phassa) and so on...
I should have said "self" depends on craving. craving for existance (bhava-taṇhā). ignoranca (avijja) is it, where it starts.
avijja shall be replaced through vijja.
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Both formerly, monks, and now, it is just suffering that I make known and the ending of suffering.
Pathabyā ekarajjena, saggassa gamanena vā sabbalokādhipaccena, sotāpattiphalaṃ varaṃ. (Dhp 178)
Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven or lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 03, 2009 10:51 pm

Greetings Vincent,

vinasp wrote:This gives rise to a serious problem, since it would mean that sakaya-ditthi is only completely eliminated with the completion of the noble eightfold path. In fact, the path would be nothing but the removal of the view of self, by replacing it, gradually, with the view of no-self. Why is this a problem ? Because it is said of the stream-winner that he has eliminated sakaya-ditthi, and yet, he is only at the start of the path. He still has craving and clinging which are yet to be eliminated, at some higher stage. This makes no sense at all, if the view of self is the origin of craving.

Clearly, something is wrong.


The stream-entrant has broken wrong view, but that doesn't mean that habitual tendencies (anusaya) towards thinking in terms of self and other (conceit / mana) will instantly stop. That said, the wrong view has been broken and that's why full enlightenment is at that point an inevitability. It's just the strength of those tendencies which needs to be weakened and ultimately destroyed. That is the task of a sekha.

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Sun Oct 04, 2009 12:46 am

Hi retrofuturist,

I agree in part, but also dissagree on details. I think that you have overall picture correct. I would say that the stream-winner has realised that sakkaya-ditthi is wrong, at least at a surface level. This means that no self must be true. But habits of thinking ( seeing ) in terms of self persist. It therefore takes time to completely eliminate these habits of seeing a self. We differ in that I regard these habits as still being sakkaya-ditthi. There can be deep views, the " view and conceit " I am " ", for example.
You say : " The stream-entrant has broken wrong view ..." , but has he completely eliminated the first fetter which is sakkaya-ditthi ?

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby cooran » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:38 am

Vincent,

This question was answered in links you were given back on Sept 24.

Qualities of Ariya Persons
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/ariyas4.htm

metta
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby jhana.achariya » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:18 am

retrofuturist wrote:Sotapanna and sotapatti are conventional, conceptual designations that only point to a certain ultimate reality.

Hello Retro

You may consider finding the Parable Of The Log Sutta. The is more to 'stream-enterer' than conceptual designation.

Alan Watts truely said: "The word is not the thing". Yet what remains is the 'thing' that can be described.

You may wish to consider the word 'Nibbana'. Negating the word 'Nibbana' does not negate the reality that is the absense of pain and torment. Yet the word 'Nibbana' literally fulfills its meaning.

'Stream-entry' is the same. Like Nibbana, it has a literal meaning embedded in reality able to be described.

With metta

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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Tue Oct 06, 2009 1:34 am

Hi Retrofuturist,

Thank you for drawing my attention to the anusaya's. I did not think that they were relevant to this question. In fact, I did not regard them as of much importance in the teachings. Perhaps I was wrong, I am having another look at them. I first checked the Digha Nikaya, they are only mentioned once :
DN 33. 2. 3. (12) There are seven, one of which is "views". But when I looked at Majjhima Nikaya I found six references, all in suttas which I regard as being important. The first was MN 9.8 which includes: "... he extirpates the underlying tendency to the view and conceit "I am"...".
So the anusaya's are connected with what I am calling "deep views".
In MN 18.8 all seven are mentioned as things eliminated by an enlightened person. In MN 32.4 Ananda says that all seven should be eradicated. In MN 44. 25 three are discussed in relation to feelings. Further MN references are 64. 3, 64. 6, and 148. 28.
It is not clear to me yet how these anusaya's should be understood, I will continue to reflect on the problem. Since views, for example, are already a sankhara ( habit, conditioning ) they will recur repeatedly, until the habit is eliminated. Does anusaya just mean this tendency to recur ?
Also, did I misunderstand you, are you saying that the stream-winner has eliminated the view of self but still has conceit ? I agree that he still has conceit, but I think he still has a view of self also. I do not think that conceit is eliminated on the noble eightfold path. The higher path is discussed on my
other thread.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:21 am

Hi Vincent, yes, it's the recurrence that's the problem...

http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... tm#anusaya
Anusaya: The 7 'latent tendencies', hidden inclinations, or latent liabilities are:

1: The latent tendency to sense-greed kāma-rāga samyojana,
2: The latent tendency to aversion patigha,
3: The latent tendency to speculative opinion ditthi,
4: The latent tendency to skeptical doubt vicikicchā,
5: The latent tendency to conceit & pride māna,
6: The latent tendency to craving for continued existence bhava-rāga,
7: The latent tendency to ignorance avijjā D. 33; A. VII, 11, 12.

These things are called 'latent tendencies' since, in consequence of their endurance, they ever and again - life after life- tend to become the conditions for the arising of ever new sense-greed, etc. Vis.M XXII, 60.

Yam. VII, first determines in which beings such and such latent tendencies exist, and which latent tendencies, and with regard to what, and in which sphere of existence. Thereafter it gives an explanation concerning their overcoming, their penetration, etc. Cf. Guide VI vii. According to Kath. several ancient Buddhist schools erroneously held the opinion that the anusayas as such, meant merely latent, hence kammically neutral qualities, which however contradicts the Theravāda conception. Cf. Guide V, 88, 108, 139.

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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:47 pm

Hi everyone,

More on the anusaya's ( underlying tendencies ).
MN 148. 28 talks about the anusaya's in relation to the three feelings.
MN 64. 3 and 64. 6 are very relevant to this discussion. This sutta seems to be mainly about the five lower fetters, and the path to their abandonment.
64.3 : Explains that there is an anusaya for each of the five lower fetters. A "young tender infant" is said to have these anusaya's, but not yet the five lower fetters.
64. 5 : Talks about the "untaught ordinary person" and says that he :
"..abides with a mind obsessed and enslaved by identity view, and he does not understand as it actually is the escape from the arisen identity view ; and when that identity view has become habitual and is uneradicated in him, it is a lower fetter" ( identity view = sakkaya ditthi ).
64. 6 : Compares the preceding with " the well-taught noble disciple", he :
"... does not abide with a mind obsessed and enslaved by identity view ; he understands as it actually is the escape from the arisen identity view, and identity view together with the underlying tendency to it is abandoned in him".

Quotations are from : Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha. Bhikkhu Bodhi. 1995. Wisdom Publications. Boston.

So, sakkaya ditthi ( view of self ) arises and when it becomes habitual then it is the first of the five lower fetters. The problem is in the next section about the "well-taught noble disciple", who is meant here ? It can not be a stream-winner because all five fetters have been abandoned. It must be either a non-returner or an arahant. If, as I suspect, it is an arahant which is meant, then it tells us nothing about when or where on the path view of self is abandoned. Except that those who have completed the noble eightfold path have abandoned the view of self.
So these passages can be understood in two ways. The puthujjana can see here a non-returner who has broken the five lower fetters. He understands this to be a "stage" on the noble eightfold path. On the other hand, the ariya savaka can see here an arahant, which fits with his understanding that there are no "stages" on the noble eightfold path.
These passages appear to be an explanation of the non-returner, as a stage on the noble eightfold path, intended for puthujjana's, but open to another interpretation.
Those of you who have read my other thread will know that I reject the four paths and four fruits, and the four pairs of noble persons. Also, I reject the explanation of these four "stages" by means of the five lower, and five higher fetters.
The noble eightfold path is just the elimination of sakkaya ditthi - nothing else, although everything which depends on it is also eliminated.

I do not understand MN 64. it raises many problems, could it be that five fetters were introduced first, as an explanation of the non-returner, intended for puthujjana's ? And that it was later elaborated, first by saying that the stream-winner has broken the first three fetters. Then by the addition of the five higher fetters, and finally an extra stage was squeezed in, the once-returner. Who knows ? Perhaps a more important question is why is all this false teaching needed. If we could understand that, then perhaps everything would become clear.

I still do not understand the anusaya's, but it seems clear that they are not relevant to our main problem on this thread.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:59 pm

Hi mike,

Thank you for the info on the anusaya's. I have Nyanatiloka's Buddhist Dictionary, it is very usefull, but includes a lot of later stuff, so I do not rely on it for understanding the five Nikaya's. Your post should help those who are trying to follow this difficult enquiry. If anyone is.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Sat Oct 10, 2009 3:40 am

Hi everyone,

Here is a sutta which I think is relevant to this thread.

At Savatthi. "Bhikkhus, I will teach you the way leading to the origination of identity and the way leading to the cessation of identity. Listen to that ...
"And what, bhikkhus , is the way leading to the origination of identity ?
Here, bhikkhus, the uninstructed worldling ... regards form as self ...feeling as self ...perception as self ...volitional formations as self ... consciousness as self ... or self as in consciousness. This, bhikkhus, is called the way leading to the origination of identity. When it is said, "The way leading to the origination of identity", the meaning here is this : a way of regarding things that leads to the origination of suffering.
"And what, bhikkhus, is the way leading to the cessation of identity ? Here, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple ... does not regard form as self ...nor feeling as self ...nor perception as self ... nor volitional formations as self ... nor consciousness as self ... nor self as in consciousness. This, bhikkhus, is called the way leading to the cessation of identity. When it is said, "The way leading to the cessation of identity", the meaning here is this : a way of regarding things that leads to the cessation of suffering".

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha. Bhikkhu Bodhi. page 883.
Samyutta Nikaya, Part III Khandhavagga, Division I. V. 44 (2) The Way.

Remember, identity is sakkaya , which means the five aggregates of clinging. These are called suffering in the first noble truth. Regarding form as self, and so on , is sakkaya ditthi ( see MN 44 ) twenty views in all ( abbreviated here ).
So, sakkaya ditthi leads to the origination ( arising ) of sakkaya - the five aggregates of clinging - suffering. Training oneself to not see a self in these things eliminates sakkaya-ditthi, and sakkaya - the five aggregates of clinging, and suffering.

There is a version of the four noble truths in which the first truth is just the five aggregates of clinging, nothing else. All the other truths are the same as in the normal version. This would mean that the noble eightfold path leads to the cessation of the five aggregates of clinging.

Connected Discourses. Bhikkhu Bodhi. page 1847.
Part V. Mahavagga . Chapter XII The Truths. part II 13 (3) Aggregates.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:52 pm

Hi everyone,

Here is an interesting passage :

"The uninstructed average man does not understand views, does not understand the origin of views, does not understand the cessation of views, does not understand the way leading to the cessation of views. For him views grow ; and he is not freed from birth, old age, death, from sorrows, griefs, ills, tribulations ; he is not freed from suffering, I say".
"But the instructed noble disciple understands views, understands their origin, their cessation and the way leading to their cessation. For him views cease ; and he is freed from birth, old age, death, from sorrows, griefs, ills, tribulations ; he is freed from suffering, I say". G. S. IV pages 39 - 40.

This is Bhikkhu Nanananda's own translation from his Concept and Reality, in early Buddhist thought, BPS Kandy Sri Lanka,1986, page 19.

The path which leads to the cessation of views? This is more proof that "deep views" of self (sakkaya-ditthi) are eliminated by the noble eightfold path. Those on the noble eightfold path develop the views of no-self to eliminate sakkaya-ditthi (views of self). The views that cease are wrong views, the views that are developed are right view. The word ditthi (view) means both beliefs and seeing things as they really are. So one could also say that those on the noble eightfold path develop the seeing of no-self to eliminate views of self.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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