Enlightenment in Theravada

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Sunrise
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Re: Enlightenment in Theravada

Post by Sunrise »

Dhammakid wrote: Are there sudden realizations along the gradual path?
Through hearing this brief explanation of the Dhamma from the Blessed One, the mind of Bahiya of the Bark-cloth right then and there was released from the effluents through lack of clinging/sustenance.

Bahiya Sutta
Although some scholars think that Bahiya was not actually enlightened when he died.
Hoo
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Re: Enlightenment in Theravada

Post by Hoo »

Dhammakid wrote: I'm also slowly learning that even the basics of Buddhism are different between the two branches.
Hi Dhammakid. I don't intend to turn this into a Theravada Vs Mahayana argument. JMHO that the Buddhist Councils seem to be looking at the similarities of all who claim to be Buddhist. My brief experience with one Chan group is that the similarities are what is emphasized, etc. The differences I see, I set aside for later consideration. I have just a touch of exposure to other traditions. In most cases, I see the teachings of the Buddha come through. I admit that in some other cases I scratch my head and wonder where "that" came from :) I think that both branches retain the basics. I also think it is the nature of humans to improve on things, so maybe the differences are human ones :shrug:
Hanzze wrote:Do not get in that mood, no different. We use to say "combat for the beard of the emperor" a combat that can be resolve by the proverb "In emptiness (where is nothing), the empire loses his right".
No emperor in a combat of emptiness, no ruling and no to be, just freedom :-)
Well said Hanzze. In emptiness there is no "Dharma dueling." There is nothing to win, nothing to lose, no duelists, just the empty concept of a duel, held by an empty self.

Made up by Hoo, Oct 10, 2010, and probably plagarized but I can't remember reading it anywhere. :reading: :coffee: :?:
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Dhammakid
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Re: Enlightenment in Theravada

Post by Dhammakid »

David:
"My thinking is that it means the enlightened one at death has no fuel remaining (for continued existence as we know it), much different from even an anagami or sakadagami and as such 'enters' Nibbana but there is no swelling or diminishing in the property of Unbinding meaning no eternalism and no annhilation, but even that does not do it proper justice because of the constraints of language since Nibbana is neither existence, non-existence, both, or neither existence nor non-existence."

That makes a lot more sense. Thanks for clearing it up.

:anjali:
Dhammakid

Sunrise:
Through hearing this brief explanation of the Dhamma from the Blessed One, the mind of Bahiya of the Bark-cloth right then and there was released from the effluents through lack of clinging/sustenance (Bahiya Sutta)
"Although some scholars think that Bahiya was not actually enlightened when he died."

This sounds like it goes along with what Individual and David are saying about sudden realizations along the gradual path. I'm guessing we're supposed to assume Bahiya had been practicing in many former lives before being released upon hearing the Buddha's teaching.

Hoo:
"Hi Dhammakid. I don't intend to turn this into a Theravada Vs Mahayana argument. JMHO that the Buddhist Councils seem to be looking at the similarities of all who claim to be Buddhist. My brief experience with one Chan group is that the similarities are what is emphasized, etc. The differences I see, I set aside for later consideration. I have just a touch of exposure to other traditions. In most cases, I see the teachings of the Buddha come through. I admit that in some other cases I scratch my head and wonder where "that" came from I think that both branches retain the basics. I also think it is the nature of humans to improve on things, so maybe the differences are human ones "

Thanks for reminding me to remain open-minded and see things as they are, especially since I can't really claim to know what I'm talking about when it comes to Mahayana practices. I dabbled in both Zen and Vajrayana for a short period, and even attended teachings from a Rinzai monk regularly, but many of the concepts are still hard for me to grasp. But you're right - there are many similarities that are forgotten when comparing the two, especially among devoted members of each.

:anjali:
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Sunrise
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Re: Enlightenment in Theravada

Post by Sunrise »

Dhammakid wrote:This sounds like it goes along with what Individual and David are saying about sudden realizations along the gradual path. I'm guessing we're supposed to assume Bahiya had been practicing in many former lives before being released upon hearing the Buddha's teaching.
Well, we can only speculate.

It is possible that he was not enlightened but experienced a momentary realization of emptiness or maybe his mind attained a jhana. Moments after talking to the buddha, he was killed by a cow. It sounds like he was unaware of the happenings around him as if in a jhana state.
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Dhammakid
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Re: Enlightenment in Theravada

Post by Dhammakid »

Sunrise wrote:
Dhammakid wrote:This sounds like it goes along with what Individual and David are saying about sudden realizations along the gradual path. I'm guessing we're supposed to assume Bahiya had been practicing in many former lives before being released upon hearing the Buddha's teaching.
Well, we can only speculate.

It is possible that he was not enlightened but experienced a momentary realization of emptiness or maybe his mind attained a jhana. Moments after talking to the buddha, he was killed by a cow. It sounds like he was unaware of the happenings around him as if in a jhana state.
Ahh. That seems more likely.
plwk
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Re: Enlightenment in Theravada

Post by plwk »

Is there a concept of sudden enlightenment or realization in Theravada? If so, how does this fit in with the Buddha's gradual path approach?
Capacities? Capacities? Capacities?
Consider these...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 90.html#ii" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Anguttara Nikaya, Catukka-nipata, No. 167.
...once the Venerable Maha Moggallana went to see the Elder and said to him:
"There are four ways of progress, brother Sariputta:
difficult progress, with sluggish direct-knowledge;
difficult progress, with swift direct-knowledge;
easy progress, with sluggish direct-knowledge;
easy progress, with swift direct-knowledge.
"By which of these four ways of progress, brother, was your mind freed from the cankers without remnants of clinging?"
To which the Venerable Sariputta replied: "By that of those four ways of progress, brother, which is easy and has swift direct-knowledge."

The explanation of this passage is that if the suppression of the defilements preparatory to absorption or insight takes place without great difficulty, progress is called "easy" (sukha-patipada); in the reverse case it is "difficult" or "painful" (dukkha-patipada).
If, after the suppression of the defilements, the manifestation of the Path, the goal of insight, is quickly effected, the direct-knowledge (connected with the Path) is called "swift" (khippabhiñña); in the reverse case it is "sluggish" (dandabhiñña).
In this discourse the Venerable Sariputta's statement refers to his attainment of arahantship.
His attainment of the first three Paths, however, was, according to the commentary to the above text, connected with "easy progress and sluggish direct-knowledge."
http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Susima_Sutta" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Then the Blessed One said thus to venerable ânanda: "ânanda, is Sàriputta pleased with you too?"
"Venerable sir, how could venerable Sàriputta be displeased with someone, who is not a fool, not corrupt, not erring and thinks in a constructive way? Venerable sir, venerable Sàriputta is very wise, has a wide understanding, is quick witted, has keen intelligence, has sharp and penetrating wisdom, has few desires, is satisfied, is secluded and without associations, with aroused effort, particular about his observances, speaks gently, exhorts reprovingly, disapproves evil, so why should venerable Sàriputta be displeased with someone, who is not a fool, not corrupt, not erring and thinks in a constructive way."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#fn-14" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The wanderer replied: "I am called Upatissa, friend. Please tell me according to your ability, be it much or little. It will be my task to penetrate its meaning by way of a hundred or a thousand methods." And he added:
"Be it little or much that you can tell,
the meaning only, please proclaim to me!
To know the meaning is my sole desire;
Of no avail to me are many words."

In response, the Elder Assaji uttered this stanza:
"Of all those things that from a cause arise,
Tathagata the cause thereof has told;
And how they cease to be, that too he tells,
This is the doctrine of the Great Recluse."

Upon hearing the first two lines, Upatissa became established in the Path of stream-entry, and to the ending of the last two lines he already listened as a stream-winner.
Contrast with Story of Culapanthaka Thera
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Dhammakid
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Re: Enlightenment in Theravada

Post by Dhammakid »

plwk wrote:
Is there a concept of sudden enlightenment or realization in Theravada? If so, how does this fit in with the Buddha's gradual path approach?
Capacities? Capacities? Capacities?
Consider these...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... 90.html#ii" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Anguttara Nikaya, Catukka-nipata, No. 167.
...once the Venerable Maha Moggallana went to see the Elder and said to him:
"There are four ways of progress, brother Sariputta:
difficult progress, with sluggish direct-knowledge;
difficult progress, with swift direct-knowledge;
easy progress, with sluggish direct-knowledge;
easy progress, with swift direct-knowledge.
"By which of these four ways of progress, brother, was your mind freed from the cankers without remnants of clinging?"
To which the Venerable Sariputta replied: "By that of those four ways of progress, brother, which is easy and has swift direct-knowledge."

The explanation of this passage is that if the suppression of the defilements preparatory to absorption or insight takes place without great difficulty, progress is called "easy" (sukha-patipada); in the reverse case it is "difficult" or "painful" (dukkha-patipada).
If, after the suppression of the defilements, the manifestation of the Path, the goal of insight, is quickly effected, the direct-knowledge (connected with the Path) is called "swift" (khippabhiñña); in the reverse case it is "sluggish" (dandabhiñña).
In this discourse the Venerable Sariputta's statement refers to his attainment of arahantship.
His attainment of the first three Paths, however, was, according to the commentary to the above text, connected with "easy progress and sluggish direct-knowledge."
http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Susima_Sutta" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Then the Blessed One said thus to venerable ânanda: "ânanda, is Sàriputta pleased with you too?"
"Venerable sir, how could venerable Sàriputta be displeased with someone, who is not a fool, not corrupt, not erring and thinks in a constructive way? Venerable sir, venerable Sàriputta is very wise, has a wide understanding, is quick witted, has keen intelligence, has sharp and penetrating wisdom, has few desires, is satisfied, is secluded and without associations, with aroused effort, particular about his observances, speaks gently, exhorts reprovingly, disapproves evil, so why should venerable Sàriputta be displeased with someone, who is not a fool, not corrupt, not erring and thinks in a constructive way."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#fn-14" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The wanderer replied: "I am called Upatissa, friend. Please tell me according to your ability, be it much or little. It will be my task to penetrate its meaning by way of a hundred or a thousand methods." And he added:
"Be it little or much that you can tell,
the meaning only, please proclaim to me!
To know the meaning is my sole desire;
Of no avail to me are many words."

In response, the Elder Assaji uttered this stanza:
"Of all those things that from a cause arise,
Tathagata the cause thereof has told;
And how they cease to be, that too he tells,
This is the doctrine of the Great Recluse."

Upon hearing the first two lines, Upatissa became established in the Path of stream-entry, and to the ending of the last two lines he already listened as a stream-winner.
Contrast with Story of Culapanthaka Thera
Wow, very helpful sutta references, plwk. Thanks.

:anjali:
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Goedert
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Re: Enlightenment in Theravada

Post by Goedert »

Dhammakid wrote:Hello all,
While doing some random thinking, it has occurred to me that I can't think of an actual concrete concept of enlightenment in the Theravada tradition. As a matter of fact, with most of the literature from the Theravada tradition, the term "enlightenment" is rarely used (at least in my experience). I find the term used much more often in the Mahayana schools.

And yet, the basic story of the life of the Buddha remains the same for all traditions, each one talking about the Buddha attaining enlightenment as if it was a single event in time that happened in a flash of realization. The Theravada clearly takes the "gradual" stance on this issue, I suppose.

Is there a concept of sudden enlightenment or realization in Theravada? If so, how does this fit in with the Buddha's gradual path approach? If not, from where does the Mahayana derive this concept?

:anjali:
Dhammakid
Every one that try to concept nibbana fail. Even the openner of the path the Tathagatha, did not concept it.

Describing the abiding in emptiness and non-attachmment is very difficult. The majority of people will not comprehend it.

A good mahayana work that is very similar to the concept of enlightenment is the Maha-Prajnaparamita Sutta. Where Manjushri describes the perfection of wisdom. But as always, everything in life can be dangerous, someone reading it can misunderstand the whole thing and start a new wrong behaviour.

One forum member named tiltbealings said once upon time: "Enlightenment is to light up".
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