Falsely claiming Attainments

Michael Spurrier, modified 8 Years ago.

Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 6 Join Date: 4/10/13 Recent Posts
What did the Buddha say about falsely claiming attainments?
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

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First, why do you ask?

Second, I think it's best that people not claim attainments for themselves, but describe what is going on in their practice and their lives, and allow a teacher to make a judgment about it. Teachers may disagree, of course. But I'm coming belatedly to the view that a fascination with who's on first and I-don't-know's on third can become a source of confusion rather than enlightenment. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sShMA85pv8M
Michael Spurrier, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 6 Join Date: 4/10/13 Recent Posts
I was just wondering and I thought many on this site are very well read and might know a few suttas where its brought up - I've seen bits in Pattimokkha but not a lot else......

Thanks.
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tom moylan, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Howdy,
i've seen things about it in the Vinaya such as here.

or more fully here in point 4.
cheers

tom
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 196 Join Date: 12/29/10 Recent Posts
Thanks, Tom. The Buddha seems to be referring to people who knowingly claim attainments they don't have, not people who make honest mistakes in claiming attainments.
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tom moylan, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

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Jane Laurel Carrington:
Thanks, Tom. The Buddha seems to be referring to people who knowingly claim attainments they don't have, not people who make honest mistakes in claiming attainments.


Hi Jane,
yes, thats a really good point thanks. i would guess that way back then the same mechanics were at work on every level but i've never seen the question addressed in either the suttas or vinyana. i think there are manifold cautions, implicit or explicit in almost every tradition (are we a tradition here yet?) which warn against claiming whatever level of attainment. we all know how tricky it is to assess in any case but are really well served by the knowledge of "attainments being real and doable" being made available here.

tom
Michael Spurrier, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 6 Join Date: 4/10/13 Recent Posts
Hi Tom,
I agree that we are really well served by the knowledge of "attainments being real and doable" - even though I would prefer to give credit to the Buddha for that rather than this website.

Stream Entry is quite a big deal from what the Buddha is reported to have said, so to see so many claiming it and more is quite amazing to me...

Sole dominion over the earth,
going to heaven,
lordship over all worlds:
the fruit of stream-entry
excels them

.
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Nikolai ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Michael Spurrier:
Hi Tom,
I agree that we are really well served by the knowledge of "attainments being real and doable" - even though I would prefer to give credit to the Buddha for that rather than this website.

Stream Entry is quite a big deal from what the Buddha is reported to have said, so to see so many claiming it and more is quite amazing to me...

Sole dominion over the earth,
going to heaven,
lordship over all worlds:
the fruit of stream-entry
excels them

.


Hello Michael,

Doing the following is beyond your own practice?

[Ven. Sariputta:] "A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. Which five? The form clinging-aggregate, the feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness clinging-aggregate. A virtuous monk should attend in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. For it is possible that a virtuous monk, attending in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant... not-self, would realize the fruit of stream-entry."

Silavant sutta


How is what Daniel describes in MCTB and the description of others' practices here at the DhO different from what Sariputta advises above? If you are not doing the above whether it be via Goenka sweeping, mahasi noting, or some other vipassai approach, why not? If you think it is beyond your current practice, I would investigate any locked in thought loop (belief) that is conditioning such inaction.

Nick
Michael Spurrier, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 6 Join Date: 4/10/13 Recent Posts
Thanks Nick, what do you think Sariputta meant by in an appropriate way? Do you think you have freed yourself from clinging to the five aggregates - how does that show in your life?
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Nikolai ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Michael Spurrier:
Thanks Nick, what do you think Sariputta meant by in an appropriate way?

Do you think you have freed yourself from clinging to the five aggregates - how does that show in your life?


Pretty much how thanissaro bhikkhu talks about here.

Not yet. Dont consider myself 'done'. My perceptual baseline has shifted somewhat resulting in suffering levels dramatically shifting as well over the past few years. Two hands typing by themselves type stuff. What is your practice , michael?

This place is all about that. From the DhO home page:

The Dharma Overground is a resource for the support of hardcore meditation practice. It is a place where everything related to the support of practice may flourish, including where to go on retreats, what techniques may lead to what, an in depth look at the maps of possible states and stages, discussions about how to determine what experience was what, and in general anything that has to do with actually practicing rather than what typically occurs in standard meditation circles. Here you will find a robust and variable community of people with a wide range of experience levels, perspectives and interests, though all loosely bound by the same basic principles of empowering, helpful, engaged dharma and exploration of the possibilities of the mind.

In general our basic principles and attitudes favor:

pragmatism over dogmatism: what works is key, with works generally meaning the stages of insight, the stages of enlightenment, jhanas, freedom from suffering in what ways are possible, etc.
diligent practice over blind faith: this place is about doing it and understanding for yourself rather than believing someone else and not testing those beliefs out
openness regarding what the techniques may lead to and how these contrast or align with the traditional models
personal responsibility: you take responsibility for the choices you make and what you say and claim
a lack of taboos surrounding talking about attainments
the assumption that the various aspects of meditative development can be mastered in this life
the spirit of mutual, supportive adventurers on the path rather than rigid student-teacher relationships
and the notion that the collective wisdom of a group of strong practitioners at various stages and from various traditions and backgrounds is often better than following one guru-type.
There are lots of ways up the mountain, and many interesting skills and insights to develop using many traditions and paths. Make yourself at home. Discover the possibilities of how straightforward, down-to-Earth, and practical the Dharma can be. May all find something here that is of value and contribute to the wisdom represented and conveyed here.


Nick
Michael Spurrier, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 6 Join Date: 4/10/13 Recent Posts
Thanks Nick, I'll get round to listening to Thanissaro Bhikku a little later I hope. As for my practice there's that which I do and that which I aspire to ( which I do know is possible even in my current circumstances - though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak, my spirit is a bit weak too at times). At the moment I am learning that trying to perfect moral conduct is as important as any meditation practice or at least that the two go hand in hand. As you said its continually shifting, as is my daily practice I'm just sort of with it........

May I, you Nick and all on the website attain freedom from delusion.......
An Eternal Now, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 638 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Michael Spurrier:
Hi Tom,
I agree that we are really well served by the knowledge of "attainments being real and doable" - even though I would prefer to give credit to the Buddha for that rather than this website.

Stream Entry is quite a big deal from what the Buddha is reported to have said, so to see so many claiming it and more is quite amazing to me...

Sole dominion over the earth,
going to heaven,
lordship over all worlds:
the fruit of stream-entry
excels them

.
Stream entry is a big deal but also very common in Buddha's times.

http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Lay_arahant

Lay arahant
From The Dhamma Encyclopedia

One of the misconceptions about Buddhism, especially early Buddhism / Theravada is that only monks and nuns can become Arahants, fully enlightened.
Contents
[hide]

1 Lay Dhamma teachers
2 Sotapanna Lay followers
3 Sakadagami Lay followers
4 Anagami Lay followers
5 Arahant Lay followers
6 Likelihood of enlightenment for lay people
7 References

Lay Dhamma teachers

In the Anguttara Nikaya, Book of Tens, Anathapindika and Vajjiyamahita, both lay followers teach the Dhamma by refuting the wrong views of a group of wanderers. At the end of the discourse, the Buddha praises Anathapindika for defending the teaching against misrepresentation. (AN 10.93)

The householder Citta attained to the high spiritual level of anagami (non returner) and taught Dhamma even to monks. (SN 4.282)
Sotapanna Lay followers

In the Pali Canon, thousands of lay followers are mentioned as having reached the status of Sotapanna (stream entrant), guaranteed no more than 7 future lives before attaining full enlightenment. The Digha Nikaya, parinibbanana sutta mentions "over 500" lay followers who attained stream entry. The Digha Nikaya, chapter 18 mentions "over 2,400 Magadha followers" who attained stream entry.
Sakadagami Lay followers

In the Pali Canon, at least 90 lay followers are mentioned as reaching the status of Sakadagami (once returner), guaranteed to attain enlightenment in the next life as a human or deva. (DN 16)
Anagami Lay followers

Over 50 lay people are mentioned as reaching Anagami (non returner), guaranteed full enlightenment in the next existence in the Pure Abodes deva realm. (DN 16)

Majjhima Nikaya 73 mentions over 500 lay followers who have attained Anagami:

Other than bhikkhus, and bhikkhunis. Is there a single lay disciple of Gotama, who wearing white clothes had led the holy life, has destroyed the five lower bonds to the sensual world, and is born spontaneously, not to proceed?'

`Vaccha, not one, not one hundred, not two hundred, not three hundred, not four hundred, not five hundred. There are many more lay disciples of mine, who have destroyed the five lower bonds to the sensual world, and born spontaneously would not proceed,'

`Good, Gotama, wait! Other thanbhikkhus, bhikkhunis and lay disciples of Gotama, who wear white clothes and lead the holy life. Is there a single a lay disciple, who wears white clothes, leads the holy life, while partaking sensual pleasures, and doing the work in the dispensation has dispelled doubts. Has become confident of what should and should not be done, and does not need a teacher any more in the dispensation of the Teacher.

Vaccha, not one, not one hundred, not two hundred, not three hundred, not four hundred, not five hundred. There are many more lay disciples of mine, wearing white clothes leadingthe holy life, while partaking sensual pleasures and doing the work in the dispensation have dispelled doubts Have become confident of what should and should not be done and do not need a teacher any more'
Arahant Lay followers

The Commentaries mention some lay followers who attained full enlightenment, such as Uggasena who was a lay man with the householder responsibilities with family and work as an acrobat in side shows.

The Milindapanha mentions by implication that lay people can attain full enlightenment:

"If a layman attains arahant-ship, only two destinations await him; either he must enter the Order that very day or else he must attain parinibbàna"

Milindapanha III.19

"You say that if a layman attains arahantship he must either enter the Order that very day or die and attainparinibbàna. Yet if he is unable to find a robe and bowl and preceptor then that exalted condition of arahantship is a waste, for destruction of life is involved in it."

"The fault does not lie with arahantship but with the state of a layman, because it is too weak to support arahantship. Just as, O king, although food protects the life of beings it will take away the life of one whose digestion is weak; so too, if a layman attains arahantship he must, because of the weakness of that condition, enter the Order that very day or die."

Milindapanha III.62

The Milindapanha, which is almost as old as the [rest of (Burmese ed.)] Pali Canon above implies that lay people do/did attain enlightenment. It is just that they all ordained or died within 7 days or less.

Many of the arahants mentioned in the Pali Canon who attained enlightenment were either monks or nuns or ascetics from other traditions, so technically, perhaps the ascetics were not lay followers.

But there is a list of 21 lay followers in AN 6.131 - 151 / 3:450 f; PTS ed AN 6.119-120 who attained full enlightenment. One is listed as a doctor, others as householders, so it does not appear they were all ascetics.
Likelihood of enlightenment for lay people

Although there are about 3,000 lay sotapannas mentioned in the Pali Canon, at least 90 sakadagamis, at least 500 anagamis, and about 21 lay arahants mentioned in the Pali Canon, there are far more monastic monks and nuns mentioned as reaching full enlightenment. This appears to be due to the fact of the life of renunciation of monastics, which is more conducive to the highest noble states.

"There are not only one hundred . . . or five hundred, but far more bhikkhunis, my disciples, who by realizing for themselves with direct knowledge here and now enter upon and abide in the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom . . ." (repeated for bhikkhus too, in MN 73)

Although it is unlikely, it is still possible and the distinction between monastic and lay is not quite as sharp as some have believed in the past. Piya Tan's essay, Lamen Saints (see references) goes into greater detail on this subject.

In the previous few centuries the thinking and practice has been that there is a sharp distinction between lay and monastic, with lay people basically serving monastics for their requisites and just hoping for a better rebirth, while the monastics work on their salvation. But Piya Tan and other scholars are now showing that it is more of a blur and that in the time of the Buddha, as evidenced by the Pali Canon, the divide was not that sharp.
References

Milindapanha, an Abridgment edited by Bhikkhu Pesala
Laymen Saints
Uggasena
Michael Spurrier, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 6 Join Date: 4/10/13 Recent Posts
Thanks an enternal now, thats an interesting read.....
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 196 Join Date: 12/29/10 Recent Posts
The ultimate fruit of stream entry is enlightenment; SE is the first entry into full awakening. I quote Shinzen Young on what that is like:

"Being enlightened is being totally dead and totally alive. It’s both at the same time. It’s absolute devastation and absolute empowerment. Because of the (justifiably) negative language used by some teachers…you might get the impression that enlightenment isn’t any fun. So here’s the take-away message: If I was given the choice of living one more day experiencing life the way I experience it, or living 20 more years as a wealthy, healthy, celebrity sexual athlete, beloved by everybody, but not experiencing what I experience (vis a vis enlightenment), the decision would be a no-brainer–I’ll take the one day of enlightened living. IT’S THAT GOOD DUDE."
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Dan from Virginia, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 25 Join Date: 3/21/13 Recent Posts
Jane Laurel Carrington:
First, why do you ask?

Second, I think it's best that people not claim attainments for themselves, but describe what is going on in their practice and their lives, and allow a teacher to make a judgment about it. Teachers may disagree, of course. But I'm coming belatedly to the view that a fascination with who's on first and I-don't-know's on third can become a source of confusion rather than enlightenment. Who's on First?


OMG Jane, that clip, Who's on First?, is SO perfect. Thank you for posting it!

Dan
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 196 Join Date: 12/29/10 Recent Posts
Dan from Virginia:
Jane Laurel Carrington:
First, why do you ask?

Second, I think it's best that people not claim attainments for themselves, but describe what is going on in their practice and their lives, and allow a teacher to make a judgment about it. Teachers may disagree, of course. But I'm coming belatedly to the view that a fascination with who's on first and I-don't-know's on third can become a source of confusion rather than enlightenment. Who's on First?


OMG Jane, that clip, Who's on First?, is SO perfect. Thank you for posting it!

Dan


Glad you liked it. It's an old classic, and as you said perfect for this place. emoticon
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fivebells ., modified 8 Years ago.

RE: Falsely claiming Attainments

Posts: 563 Join Date: 2/25/11 Recent Posts
Speaking as a 12th-level Buddha, I can tell you with confidence that false claims of attainment are a noble, productive path, and worrying about other people's flaws instead of one's own is base and destructive. So stop worrying about it.

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