Persons of the Path and the Paramis

A forum for members who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the Pali Canon and associated Commentaries, which for discussion purposes are both treated as authoritative.
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Coëmgenu
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Persons of the Path and the Paramis

Post by Coëmgenu »

Are particular paramis associated with particular persons of the path (i.e. stream-entrant candidate, stream-entrant, once-returner, etc. up to Arhat) in Theravada? Is a particular parami associated with stream-entry in Theravada, for instance, or is a particular one associated with arahatta?
The spotless mind,
the most highly pure, the tranquil,
all unspoiled phenomena supporting,
this name applying to the consciousness of the Tathāgata.

A bodhisattva, one of two vehicles, an ordinary person:
these are thrones which hold seeds subject to germination.
In acquiring the virtuous pure mind of a Buddha,
which is resolute suchness, the sūtra says:

The Tathāgata's spotless mind
is a pure place without outflows.
It is liberation from all bondage.
It is like a spherical mirror.
It is consciousness always in internal agreement.

(T1585.13a19 Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiśāstra)
Inedible
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Re: Persons of the Path and the Paramis

Post by Inedible »

Okay. No, there are no such associations.

Having collected more of the paramitas does help, but it is more of a Bodhisattva thing. In the Theravada we collect awakening factors. Mindfulness, investigation, energy, rapture, tranquility, concentration, and equipoise. Mindfulness is always good. The next three are energizing so you keep them balanced with the last three.
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Persons of the Path and the Paramis

Post by Coëmgenu »

When you say, "more of a bodhisattva thing," and then "In Theravada we," it implies that Theravadins, or 'most' Theravadins, don't practice their paramis. They just "have" them and don't "do" them. I am a bit skeptical. Are you sure you can speak with such authority in this subforum on the matter? If you're right, you're right. It doesn't strike me as likely an accurate statement. I understand practicing the paramis is not popular in the West and that a lot of Westerners are largely ignorant on the subject of the paramis in Theravada.
The spotless mind,
the most highly pure, the tranquil,
all unspoiled phenomena supporting,
this name applying to the consciousness of the Tathāgata.

A bodhisattva, one of two vehicles, an ordinary person:
these are thrones which hold seeds subject to germination.
In acquiring the virtuous pure mind of a Buddha,
which is resolute suchness, the sūtra says:

The Tathāgata's spotless mind
is a pure place without outflows.
It is liberation from all bondage.
It is like a spherical mirror.
It is consciousness always in internal agreement.

(T1585.13a19 Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiśāstra)
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Sam Vara
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Re: Persons of the Path and the Paramis

Post by Sam Vara »

Coëmgenu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 8:08 pm When you say, "more of a bodhisattva thing," and then "In Theravada we," it implies that Theravadins, or 'most' Theravadins, don't practice their paramis. They just "have" them and don't "do" them. I am a bit skeptical. Are you sure you can speak with such authority in this subforum on the matter? If you're right, you're right. It doesn't strike me as likely an accurate statement. I understand practicing the paramis is not popular in the West and that a lot of Westerners are largely ignorant on the subject of the paramis in Theravada.
I'm afraid I can't answer your original question, but can confirm that Theravadans do consciously strive to develop the Paramis. I was advised by a monk to study them and to reflect often on whether I was making progress in developing them.

I'm currently doing a Zoom course with the English Samatha Trust on the paramis, again with a view to their development. And a Thai friend is quite familiar with them; she doesn't see them as a Mahayana thing.

When I get to arahant, I'll let you know how many I've perfected! ;)
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Aloka
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Re: Persons of the Path and the Paramis

Post by Aloka »

Coëmgenu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 5:33 am Are particular paramis associated with particular persons of the path (i.e. stream-entrant candidate, stream-entrant, once-returner, etc. up to Arhat) in Theravada? Is a particular parami associated with stream-entry in Theravada, for instance, or is a particular one associated with arahatta?
Perhaps it might be helpful for you to have a look at Ajahn Sucitto's book "Parami, Ways to Cross Lifes Floods":

https://amaravati.org/dhamma-books/para ... es-floods/

:anjali:
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Dhammanando
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Re: Persons of the Path and the Paramis

Post by Dhammanando »

Coëmgenu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 5:33 am Are particular paramis associated with particular persons of the path (i.e. stream-entrant candidate, stream-entrant, once-returner, etc. up to Arhat) in Theravada?
I don't think the Pali texts ever make such a connection. I suppose it might be possible to do so inferentially on the basis of suttas like AN. 9.12, where a connection is made between the four stages and the degree of fulfillment of sīla, samādhi and paññā. The general conception, however, is that each of the stages is the outcome of development of all ten perfections.

https://suttacentral.net/an9.12/en/sujato
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
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Re: Persons of the Path and the Paramis

Post by Inedible »

All my Theravada experience is from books, but I have been reading Buddhism since starting in 1989. The only groups I have connected with have been Mahayana, including the one Zen group. I liked the Zen one best when they still spent a lot of time meditating. So perhaps I should have just said that the paramitas are the main point of that famous book by Shantideva on how to be a Bodhisattva.
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Aloka
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Re: Persons of the Path and the Paramis

Post by Aloka »

Inedible wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 1:13 am All my Theravada experience is from books, but I have been reading Buddhism since starting in 1989. The only groups I have connected with have been Mahayana, including the one Zen group. I liked the Zen one best when they still spent a lot of time meditating. So perhaps I should have just said that the paramitas are the main point of that famous book by Shantideva on how to be a Bodhisattva.
I think what you're refering to is "A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life" (Bodhisattvacharyavatara) by Shantideva (written approx. 700 AD)....and probably the best English translation of that is by Stephen Batchelor.

https://www.tibethouse.jp/about/buddhis ... nglish.pdf

.
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Coëmgenu
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Re: Persons of the Path and the Paramis

Post by Coëmgenu »

Inedible wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 1:13 amSo perhaps I should have just said that the paramitas are the main point of that famous book by Shantideva on how to be a Bodhisattva.
It is called Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra, and IMO it is a masterpiece of human literature. All the same, it appears that you may be right in saying that there is no connection between the pāramīs and the pudgalamārga that are defined in such a way that X pāramī corresponds to Y person in Theravāda.

Edit: as I wrote this, Aloka specified the text. I prefer the Padmakara Translation Group's translation.


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The general context of the OP was asked because I've been recently studying an anomalous set of 10 perfections from Vairocana-related apocrypha and another yet from early Prajñāpāramitā material and also came across the anomalous 10 perfections in the Mahāvastu. Extended discussion on these is unrelated to the subforum, but the Theravādin pāramīs came under my list of "other perfections" other than the "standard six" from Sarvāstivāda Buddhism. I'm wondering if these perfections are Mahāsāṁghika, and how similar those 10 perfections are with the Theravādin version. So far, the only thing in common is they both share the sequence "dāna, sīla, nekkhamma." If I find anything interesting, I'll make a post in a different subforum.
The spotless mind,
the most highly pure, the tranquil,
all unspoiled phenomena supporting,
this name applying to the consciousness of the Tathāgata.

A bodhisattva, one of two vehicles, an ordinary person:
these are thrones which hold seeds subject to germination.
In acquiring the virtuous pure mind of a Buddha,
which is resolute suchness, the sūtra says:

The Tathāgata's spotless mind
is a pure place without outflows.
It is liberation from all bondage.
It is like a spherical mirror.
It is consciousness always in internal agreement.

(T1585.13a19 Vijñaptimātratāsiddhiśāstra)
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Dhammavamsa
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Re: Persons of the Path and the Paramis

Post by Dhammavamsa »

Coëmgenu wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 5:33 am Are particular paramis associated with particular persons of the path (i.e. stream-entrant candidate, stream-entrant, once-returner, etc. up to Arhat) in Theravada? Is a particular parami associated with stream-entry in Theravada, for instance, or is a particular one associated with arahatta?
Well, if you read the Suttas and commentaries, you will know building Paramitas is necessary for achieving Buddhahood, be it Sammasambuddha, Paccekabuddha, or Savakabuddha (Arahanta).

Just look at Arahanta Sivali, MahaKaccayana, and others. Through numerous lifetimes, they develop themselves and building Paramitas , only then have the conditions to meet the Gotama Buddha and gain arahantship under His guidance.

But I don't say one must meet the Buddha in order to be Arahant. It is not necessary too. If we have sufficient merits, Paramitas, right condition, able to hear true Dhamma, practice well according to Dhammavinaya, we can also get attainment in the absence of Buddha.
"Sīle patiṭṭhāya naro sapañño cittaṃ paññañ ca bhāvayaṃ, Ātāpi nipako bhikkhu so imaṃ vijaṭaye jaṭanti." - Gotama Buddha, in Jaṭā Suttaṃ (Devatā-Saṃyutta)

Let me have unwavering confidence in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha.
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Re: Persons of the Path and the Paramis

Post by Inedible »

It is progress through the ten fetters which determines if a person is a Stream Enterer or higher. Building the Awakening Factors helps to overcome the fetters by concentration and insight. Yes, you could also say that developing the Six (or Ten) Paramitas gets the job done. That doesn't change the fact that the fetters are the measuring stick and you can't just choose a different one you like better.
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