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Cloud
16 Mar 11, 06:55
I just finished reading this paper by Bodhiketu of the Western Buddhist Order (found it through Google), which examines our views on what the various stages of Enlightenment actually are like; what "enlightened people" might be like.

I was surprised when this paper began to speak of two different views expressed in the Pali Canon (Tipitaka) and Commentaries regarding the very first stage of awakening, called Stream-Entry (Sotapanna). Many times I've heard forum members declare that such a mind has near-perfect morality, and assumed they must be right, but how many of us know anyone with near-perfect morality? This makes stream-entry seem like it would be rare, and we'd easily be able to tell if a friend of ours "entered the stream". Maybe not so! After reading this, I'd be inclined to think that there might be such people even on this forum...

I have to warn everyone though, this is 10 pages long. It describes each of the four Theravada stages of enlightenment (stream-entry would be equivalent to the first bhumi in Mahayana), as well as tells us some of the reasons these people might not claim Enlightenment at all. It makes sense to me, but you'll have to judge for yourself.

Looking forward to comments!
(The web address is http://www.westernbuddhistreview.com/vol5/stages-of-the-path.pdf which is too big to attach...)

Cloud
16 Mar 11, 07:01
(By the way I don't buy the 20-30 years they say in this, I mean Ajahn Chah said 5 years. I guess it's no good putting any time expectation on it!)

srivijaya
16 Mar 11, 08:03
I'm no expert on this but I read someplace that a Sotapanna has cleared out some grosser defilements but not all.

Cloud
16 Mar 11, 11:04
Yeah it covers that in the paper/document. To my understanding, it's the awakening of the mind to reality, the point at which life is seen to be ownerless and transient and the self/soul seen as nothing but a thought. Someone could still act in worldly ways and suffer etc., but eventually has to face the facts. No runnin' away after that.

Element
16 Mar 11, 11:24
hi

There are certain passages in the suttas that align stream-entry with morality but the way these are spoken, to me, are merely to encourage morality.

Most passages align stream entry with the seeing of impermanence, the noble truths, not-self, etc

Imo, a geniune stream enterer has very good morality because their mind is seeing emptiness and the danger of attachment & the danger of positive & negative judgements.

Imo, a genuine stream enterer, whose mind is always letting go & reaping the benefits of letting go, naturally has strong hiri-ottappa

With metta

;D

Cloud
16 Mar 11, 11:26
What's hiri-ottappa?

Element
16 Mar 11, 11:27
Google it!

hiri-ottappa (hiri-ottappa): "Conscience and concern"; "moral shame and moral dread".

;D

Cloud
16 Mar 11, 11:28
I just did after I asked. Gotta love Google.

Cloud
16 Mar 11, 13:15
Stream-entry, at least from this document/paper, is said to be the point at which "wrong views" no longer arise.

From http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/intro_bud.htm (concerning Right View):
"The path to liberation from these miserable states of being, as taught by the Buddha, has eight points and is known as the eightfold path. The first point is called right view -- the right way to view the world. Wrong view occurs when we impose our expectations onto things; expectations about how we hope things will be, or about how we are afraid things might be. Right view occurs when we see things simply, as they are. It is an open and accommodating attitude. We abandon hope and fear and take joy in a simple straight-forward approach to life."

My working theory is that at this point their worldview shifts, they stop looking for some special/supernatural meaning or understanding and finally realize that things are just as they seem to be. Realizing this, there's no further question that the Buddha was right and his teachings are true (impermanence, not-self, conditionality, etc.), and the mind knows exactly what it has to do to abandon all suffering (by abandoning all the fetters, releasing all craving and attachment). This is the opening of the Dharma Eye, seeing the truth of reality directly and that delusions of a self/soul are false, no more than wrong thoughts the mind clings to.

Up until this point, it's all about this view or that view, with some element of clinging and delusion. After this, wrong views don't arise because the mind no longer looks to "think up" a reality, it sees the simple reality that's before thought. As "gross" as stream-entry is, with unwholesome mental states still quite capable of arising, at least that mind has found the truth and can't help but be honest with itself.

Edit Addition:
It would also seem that after this point, since the mind is firmly rooted in reality, the process of conditioning toward Nirvana is mostly on auto-pilot, as if the mind is being pulled instead of pushed toward the goal. It's the only real direction that the mind can go; it begins to unravel the deeper meanings, gain greater clarity, with frequent meditative fruitions that lead to once-returner and beyond without any great effort.

Cloud
16 Mar 11, 13:52
Also something else of note, that we don't want to put such people up on a pedestal, this won't help us:

"If we put people up on pedestals and worship them and try to turn them into saviours, we will only be disappointed. Nobody can save us. Nobody can live our life for us. Our spiritual friends are part of the conditions which help us to make an effort with spiritual practice but the effort is all our own. We can draw inspiration from the lives of others, past and present, but we have to act from that inspiration. We need to become Stream Entrants. In that way we become a refuge unto ourselves." from http://ratnaghosa.fwbo.net/sanghatwo.html

They may be able to help steer us straight, but we shouldn't make them out to be special. Any kind of thought like that means that we expect ourselves to be "special" when we enter the stream. No good. :)

Okay I've said enough. Plenty to comment on now! =P

srivijaya
16 Mar 11, 14:34
As "gross" as stream-entry is, with unwholesome mental states still quite capable of arising, at least that mind has found the truth and can't help but be honest with itself.

It would also seem that after this point, since the mind is firmly rooted in reality, the process of conditioning toward Nirvana is mostly on auto-pilot, as if the mind is being pulled instead of pushed toward the goal. It's the only real direction that the mind can go;
That's my understanding of it too.

Cloud
16 Mar 11, 14:49
I'm glad of that! Usually you can't find two people who agree, when it comes to stuff like that. Well that's my experience anyway. It's fighting an uphill battle most of the time to try and explain (my understanding). I've even had trouble with more basic stuff, one person who couldn't comprehend that since the mind is where all things are experienced, in realizing Nirvana the mind no longer experiences dukkha. He was stuck on saying that pain still caused suffering to that mind, and I'm like nooo it's a sensation indicating damage, it doesn't disturb an enlightened mind, the whole point is to overcome dukkha and that's what Nirvana accomplishes! ;)

AnonOfIbid
19 Apr 11, 02:48
Best part of this article: "[T]he nature of Insight is such that the deeper one's Insight becomes, the less inclined one becomes to make such claims."

Esho
21 Apr 11, 13:22
Best part of this article: "[T]he nature of Insight is such that the deeper one's Insight becomes, the less inclined one becomes to make such claims."

Tastes like Tao-ism... :P

JadeRabbit
21 Apr 11, 13:41
From Page 8:


There is an interesting Sutta relating to the recognition of Insight17 in which a wanderer called Sandaka asks the Buddha if an Arahant is always aware of his Insight. The Buddha says that he is not aware at the time of arising of Insight, but only when he reviews it. This demonstrates that the nature of Insight is such that it leads one to be more fully engaged in what one does and less likely to ask oneself if one has it. One is less likely to be aware of Insight as an object or category than, perhaps, as a vision which we are living out, or even as a vision living through us!
It is also notoriously difficult to evaluate the depth and degree of Insight in either ourselves or others. Traditionally the Buddha claimed that only he was able to determine with certainty the level of an individual’s attainment. This alone should give us pause for thought.

With the above in mind, do you think that one would still clearly know that they had reached stream entry?


To Upali the householder, as he was sitting right there, there arose the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation. Then — having seen the Dhamma, having reached the Dhamma, known the Dhamma, gained a footing in the Dhamma, having crossed over & beyond doubt, having had no more questioning — Upali the householder gained fearlessness and was independent of others with regard to the Teacher's message.
— MN 56
Part of what makes the arising of the Dhamma eye such a powerful experience is that the realization that "Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation" must follow on a glimpse of what stands in opposition to "all that is subject to origination," i.e., a glimpse of the Unconditioned — deathlessness.
[Immediately after attaining the stream] Sariputta the wanderer went to Moggallana the wanderer. Moggallana the wanderer saw him coming from afar and, on seeing him, said, "Your faculties are bright, my friend; your complexion pure & clear. Could it be that you have attained the Deathless?"
"Yes, my friend, I have..."
— Mv 1.23.5


Is was mooching around and read the above from Access to Insight, based on that, it would indicate that it's a 'yes'

Link -> http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/stream2.html

Element
21 Apr 11, 21:12
...do you think that one would still clearly know that they had reached stream entry?

Is was mooching around and read the above from Access to Insight, based on that, it would indicate that it's a 'yes'
I agree. Yes

;D

Element
21 Apr 11, 21:23
From Page 8:
Hi

My personal view is the writer of the article has misinterpreted the meaning of the text here.

Firstly, the speaker in the text was Ananda and not the Buddha.

Secondly, the question asked to Ananda was in relation to omniscience, which means having knowing & seeing (nanadassana) 24/7.

Naturally, Ananda said the Buddha or an arahant is not omniscient 24/7, including in relation to their insight and state of mind.

The writer of the article has used the word "Insight" for nanadassana, which is not correct.

In some contexts, nanadassana has a similar meaning to insight (eg. in the First Sermon) and in other contexts it does not (eg. in relation to the Divine Eye).

Contrary to the writer's interpretation, the sutta does not state:


The Buddha says that he is not aware at the time of arising of Insight, but only when he reviews it.

In summary, the sutta passage is not about insight. It is about being aware of one's state of mind 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Kind regards

;D

http://i52.tinypic.com/2m5f228.jpg

JadeRabbit
25 Apr 11, 09:10
Ah, I see that now, thanks for the clarification Element

:hands: