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Aloka
21 Jul 12, 09:17
Dear friends,

Do the ideas of "sudden" and "gradual" enlightenment exist in all Buddhist traditions ?

I'd also be interested in your own opinions about these concepts.

with kind wishes,

Aloka :hands:

andyrobyn
21 Jul 12, 09:38
I think this is a good discussion question.

My own understanding is that it must be a process - it may appear sudden, however clearly all the necessary causes and conditions were present.

I understand proponents of various Zen and Vajrayana traditions claim certain practices are a direct path to enlightenment. My understanding is that the practitioner must have the necessary prerequistes, and focus on the shortest possibly time rather than developing the necessary knowledge and skills seems unskillful.

Deshy
21 Jul 12, 16:11
Dear friends,

Do the ideas of "sudden" and "gradual" enlightenment exist in all Buddhist traditions ?

I'd also be interested in your own opinions about these concepts.

with kind wishes,

Aloka :hands:

According to my understanding, one should develop the 8-fold path to attain enlightenment so it has to be a gradual practice.

However, we find references to sudden enlightenment in suttas. But, if I am not mistaken, all of them were either ascetics (like Bahiya) or monks. So it is possible that their minds were already developed to a certain extent when they received the specific liberating teachings from the Buddha.

Deshy
21 Jul 12, 16:54
From Bahiya sutta


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.

There is also this question, like in the case of Bahiya. How did his mind fully release while listening to dhamma when suttas like MN 64 state that to even reach anagami (non-returner), jhana is required. How a person listens to dhamma while attaining to jhana absorptions is a question.

Esho
22 Jul 12, 00:31
Isn't both needed...? Can be that after some time of gradual training, a sudden glimpse of deep understanding opens the door to awakening?

:dontknow:

Deshy
22 Jul 12, 03:13
Isn't both needed...? Can be that after some time of gradual training, a sudden glimpse of deep understanding opens the door to awakening?

:dontknow:

Yea but the point is without sila, samma samadhi is not possible, without samma samadhi, wisdom is not possible. That is the 8-fold path.


what is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding? Precisely this Noble Eightfold Path

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.than.html

andyrobyn
22 Jul 12, 03:42
I have just an article from Pema Chödrön which talks about spiritual progress being a " gradual awakening, a gradual learning process. By looking deeply and compassionately at how we are affecting ourselves and others with our speech and actions, very slowly we can acknowledge what is happening to us "

from page 2 of the article here


http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=2284

Aloka
22 Jul 12, 07:14
Regarding "sudden" enlightenment, there's a story in Tibetan Buddhism that the (enlightened)Indian teacher Tilopa hit his pupil Naropa on the head with a shoe and knocked him unconscious and that when Naropa recovered he had the same realisation as Tilopa.

There's a version of the story here in "Advice on Guru Practice"




The whole point is that without a single exception, Naropa did exactly what his guru told him to do. Like the time they came across a royal wedding, where a king was getting married. There was a magnificent procession with the bride on horseback. Tilopa said, “The disciple who wants enlightenment in this life should go grab that bride.” Naropa thought, “That’s me,” and without any hesitation or doubt went straight up to the wedding party, pulled the woman off the horse and tried to drag her away. All the people immediately jumped on Naropa, bashed him up and even cut off some of his limbs.

Again, Tilopa left him for three days and finally returned to ask, “What’s the matter with you?”

“This happened because I followed my guru’s orders.” Once more Tilopa healed Naropa just by touching him and his severed limbs were miraculously restored.

There’s another story about the day that Tilopa hit Naropa on the head with his shoe so strongly that he passed out. When Naropa came to, his mind and his guru’s holy mind had become one; whatever knowledge Tilopa had, so did Naropa. This was the result of his impeccable guru devotion and doing exactly what Tilopa told him to do.

As the teachings explain, you have to decide completely that the guru is definitely buddha. If you don’t come to that conclusion, then no matter what Dharma practices you do, they won’t be of much benefit; they won’t become a quick path to enlightenment.


http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=408




I also found this article at the Urban Dharma site: "Sudden and Gradual Enlightenment" by a Zen teacher Rev Vajra Karuna, in which he states :


In contrast to most other forms of Buddhism which are usually called Gradual Schools of Enlightenment, Zen (which from now on means Rinzai Zen), is called Sudden Enlightenment School.

All Buddhist schools accept that the enlightenment experience at the very moment it occurs is a sudden event, but this is not the only meaning of Sudden in the Sudden Enlightenment School context.

http://www.urbandharma.org/ibmc/ibmc2/sudden.html


~

Deshy
22 Jul 12, 13:34
All Buddhist schools accept that the enlightenment experience at the very moment it occurs is a sudden event, but this is not the only meaning of Sudden in the Sudden Enlightenment School context.

This probably answers what Esho is asking

jason c
22 Jul 12, 23:45
Dear friends,

Do the ideas of "sudden" and "gradual" enlightenment exist in all Buddhist traditions ?

I'd also be interested in your own opinions about these concepts.

with kind wishes,

Aloka :hands:

hi aloka,
theravaden buddhism teaches 4 stages of enlightenment, i believe enlightenment is a process. but like ananda he was sotapanna and with his realization he was not an arahant before his head hit the pillow he became an arahant, his process was also gradual. the process of ripening(becoming ready) is gradual but the experience leading to enlightenment is sudden.
jason

Element
22 Jul 12, 23:51
like ananda he was sotapanna
there is one sutta that asserts ananda was sotapanna but when appraising the vast majority of ananda's episodes in the suttas it appears doubtful his mind was sotapanna


the process of ripening (becoming ready) is gradual but the experience leading to enlightenment is sudden.
sotapanna is enlightenment and yes it is sudden. the moment the mind can genuinely let go, stream entry happens

but after it happens, we do not want to then run around advertising "i am enlightened" because "i am" is the contrary to enlightenment

;D

Element
22 Jul 12, 23:57
like ananda he was sotapanna and with his realization he was not an arahant before his head hit the pillow
we talk about buddha not teaching "religion" but then regurgitate all kinds of superstitions, myths & legends

i very much doubt arahantship can be acheived in a moment by a stream enterer . stream entry could be reached when the head hits the pillow but not arahantship

;D

jason c
23 Jul 12, 00:06
there is one sutta that asserts ananda was sotapanna but when appraising the vast majority of ananda's episodes in the suttas it appears doubtful his mind was sotapanna


sotapanna is enlightenment and yes it is sudden. the moment the mind can genuinely let go, stream entry happens

but after it happens, we do not want to then run around advertising "i am enlightened" because "i am" is the contrary to enlightenment

;D

ananda did not remain sotapanna he was a sotapanna while the buddha was alive he became arahant after the death of the buddha when he was afforded the time to practice. while the buddha was alive ananda was tending to the buddhas needs he had no time to practice, but he was perfecting his parmis so when the buddha died and he had time to practice he had reached a stage where he was ripened to attain arahantship.
at the time of the buddha the monks were aware of their own and others levels of attainment there is no ego involved, it is simply fact. to become sotapanna is available to all who practice properly, all levels of enlightenment are available to all who wish to practice.

jason

Element
23 Jul 12, 00:12
ananda was a sotapanna while the buddha was alive he became arahant after the death of the buddha
according to the myths and fairy tales but when the suttas are actually read (rather than listening to fairy stories by grandpa goenka) the impression gained of ananda was his mind was puthujanna


but he was perfecting his parmis so when the buddha died and he had time to practice he had reached a stage where he was ripened to attain arahantship.
please quote the suttas rather than spin santa stories from grandpa goenka


at the time of the buddha the monks were aware of their own and others levels of attainment there is no ego involved, it is simply fact.
the mind gains attainment. please. no excuses for the inability to drop ego


to become sotapanna is available to all who practice properly, all levels of enlightenment are available to all who wish to practice.
sure. but enlightened comes from not clutching strongly at 'self' and wishing to be known & recognised

:flower:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1FPK5-Rm38

jason c
23 Jul 12, 00:29
hi element,
i didn't realize you had the ability to read minds. i'm not sure why you have such a strong distaste for goenka, have you any experience with one of his courses?
anyway the topic is if enlightenment is sudden and i believe in a round about way we are in agreement of the process of becoming enlightened.
and i fully understand that you believe very strongly that i am delusional and not in any way enlightened. your message is not a subtle one. is there any way you can get past this and move on?
jason

Element
23 Jul 12, 00:33
i'm not sure why you have such a strong distaste for goenka, have you any experience with one of his courses?
"courses" or sensory deprivation cult?

my posts cannot be anymore clear. if goenka asserts stream entry occurs from the senses ending then this does not accord with Dhamma


and i fully understand that you believe very strongly that i am delusional and not in any way enlightened. your message is not a subtle one. is there any way you can get past this and move on?
yes...when your posts can stick to the topic and cease the constant 'self' references

:hug:

Esho
23 Jul 12, 00:35
This probably answers what Esho is asking

Yes and no.

The Urban Dhamma link has a good explanation but I need to give a thought to this so to explain my self better about this issue.

Until now, what I can say is that non Soto Zen has a lot of this thing about 'Sudden' enlightenment.

Even when I can say that Zen teachings can give us 'sudden' moments of clear understanding, I can't consider that as Enlightenment or even a real progress because most of that can not endure for a long time because of a lack of methodology so to sustain it.

I tend to be more into the Gradual enlightenment and along with it, we can have sudden moments of clear and deep understanding as when we verify a teaching; and this is one aspect -of many others- I value of the teachings of Gotama Buddha.

Nobody can just 'suddenly' do mathematical modeling just with the knowledge of addition and subtraction. It is needed maturity and practice.

Aloka
23 Jul 12, 01:13
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