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Thread: Is There a Criterion?

  1. #11
    Forums Member Polar Bear's Avatar
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    Sep 2017
    Quote Originally Posted by philg View Post
    The sutta was the one under discussion, so I was talking about that particular one which was about identifying someone who may be enlightened, not about what enlightenment might be. If you are bringing in other suttas, it's clear that the Buddha offers no description of the identifying features of such a person, so that a statement of what may be going on internally is not the same as someone on the outside noticing external factors. The thread is about criterion whereby others may affirm the attainment of enlightenment in someone they meet, not about what destination they may have reached.
    The sutta is not about identifying someone else who may be enlightened but about developing the skill to know whether oneself is enlightened.

    "In this, monks, a monk seeing an object with the eye recognizes within himself the presence of lust, hatred or delusion, knowing 'Lust, hatred or delusion is present in me,' or he recognizes the absence of these things, knowing 'There is no lust, hatred or delusion present in me.' Now, monks, as regards that recognition of the presence or absence of these things within him, are these matters to be perceived by faith, by persuasion, by inclination, by rational speculation, by delight in views and theories?"

  2. #12
    I found two other translations of SN 35.152 at Sutta Central.

    There's this one by Bhikkhu Bodhi:

    "For What Purpose The Holy Life"

    and also there's a draft from Bhikkhu Sujato:

    "What's The Purpose of the Spiritual Life?"

  3. #13
    Interestingly, there's also a Bhikkhu Bodhi translation of SN 35.153 "Is There a Method?"

    ....which is very similar to the translation of SN 35.152 by Maurice O'Connell Walshe which I posted in the OP #1 of this topic.

  4. #14
    Global Moderator
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    Mar 2017
    Good comments here from everyone on this important subject. I had assumed we were talking about identifying criteria in other people, since if you are uncertain whether you yourself have been through enlightenment experiences then you certainly haven't, although I have read the opposite, that it is possible for you not to know, but I don't really buy into that. Of course, insight experiences along the way can be pretty powerful things, so I guess it's not surprising if people get a little carried away sometimes. Note I don't say identifying whether you are a fully enlightened being, ie a Buddha.

  5. #15
    Forums Member ancientbuddhism's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Direct experience over inference.

    Compare the Atthinukhopariyāya Sutta (SN. 35.153), given to an audience of monastic contemplatives, to the Kālāma Sutta (AN. 3.65) given to laypeople. Both begin in a similar manner and both are with reference to direct experience over inference of the kilesa. But where the Kālāma S. is aimed at the idea of the presence, absence and respective attributes of the basic kilesa; greed, anger, delusion (lobha, dosa, moha), the Atthinukhopariyāya S. discusses how these are experienced as present with sensate consciousness. It is the ‘Is there a method?’ approach of SN. 35.153 where the essential work of letting go of kilesa is found, whereas when the kilesa are directly experienced with consciousness, their arising and disappearance, the manner of their release presents itself.

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