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Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)

Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
stream entry pure righteousness sri lanka theravada truth
Answer
6/17/10 2:13 PM
Dear Followers of the Gautama Buddha,

I'm a Sri lankan Buddhist following the theravadic tradition.

I'll get straight to the point;

I once personally inquired a respected and a famous monk in Sri Lanka, on the subject of stream entry, and why real ''Stream enterers' never openly admits his achievement, Because I always wondered what's wrong in doing so.

The venerable sir responded by explaining that its for the own good of the public. At first I couldn't fathom this logic, So i asked him to explicate this matter further.

I'll try to recall his answer to the best of my ability.

He said ' Ok, lets say that person is actually a stream enterer ( A person who has firmly and undoubtedly established himself on the Noble eight fold path), and he openly claims that he is a 'Sotapanna'. The public, on the receiving end of this communication
will accept or reject this message,depending on his or hers personal interpretation. Those who reject and develop 'Dvesha'( Hatred) towards this Stream enterer, i.e. calling him a fraud, will gain astronomical amounts of bad karma, because it's an immense 'Akusala'( un-wholesome thought) to formulate 'Dvesha' towards a stream enterer or any other noble person (Sakadagami (Once returner), Anagami (Non- returner) and Arahant (Fully enlightened). Therefore, because of the loving kindness towards them, he would not openly announce his achievement'.

Fair enough, so how would a person know for sure whether he is actually a Stream enterer?

First up, If you are not sure, then i'm afraid you are not one. We know when we have a cold, and we 'Know' when we are cured. Like wise a Sotapanna realizes that he has abandoned the following three characteristics.

1. "Sakkaya ditti'- Existence of a self in the Five aggregates.
2. ''Vichikichcha'- Doubtfulness of the Buddha and his teachings.
3. ''Seelabbhatha paraamaasa'' - Belief on rites and rituals.

There is also a common false view on the procedure of achieving this stage of enlightenment, which is the belief that Stream entry is a junction of the usual jhanic meditation process. Yogis who are unaware of buddhas teachings are also capable of going into jhanas. But are they on the noble eightfold path? (The ONLY Path to Nirvana), most certainly not. However jhanas provide the platform to contemplate on the 'Anicca', 'Dukka' and 'Anatta' nature of the Five aggregates ( Rupa, Vedana , Sanna, Sanskara, vinyana).

More information later. Please join in.

May the noble triple gem bless you!

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/17/10 4:44 PM as a reply to Sithum Lalinda Rajakaruna.
Hi Sithum,

Please read what is written at these links and tell us what you think. Have you heard of the mushroom factor? I mean no disrespect against the theravada tradition, good stuff there. But I whole heartedly disagree with the venerable monk you talked to. The whole "it's bad, bad karma to diss a stream enterer and above" screams of dogma to me. It's all speculation and I seem to be very anti-speculation these days...could be a 3rd path thing. Things are changing and full disclosure is the new movement. I am all for talking about enlightenment out in the open, normalizing it and making it accessible and understandable to all who are interested, no secrecy. All this out in the open like Daniel Ingram and Kenneth Folk who both came out of the closet, claimed arahatship, people got the idea that they could do it too and now they are getting it done as well. This place is so not traditional Theravada in that respect. Sorry if this ruffles anyone's feathers but I prefer for teachers to tell me that they have gotten stream entry and beyond and how they did it to crawling around in the dark a la mushroom factor style, speculating and blindly guessing as to what to do and if it is something that can really be attained. Sorry if this seems too straightforward but it is what a lot of people who come here and who go over to Kenneth Folk's site are attracted to and benefitting from. Full honest disclosure and how to get it done too, without any mysticism and unproven speculations.

http://bit.ly/c4gJpM

http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/thread/3858629/the+anti-mushroom+culture



Nick

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/17/10 8:26 PM as a reply to Sithum Lalinda Rajakaruna.
Sithum Lalinda Rajakaruna:
He said ' Ok, lets say that person is actually a stream enterer ( A person who has firmly and undoubtedly established himself on the Noble eight fold path), and he openly claims that he is a 'Sotapanna'. The public, on the receiving end of this communication will accept or reject this message,depending on his or hers personal interpretation. Those who reject and develop 'Dvesha'( Hatred) towards this Stream enterer, i.e. calling him a fraud, will gain astronomical amounts of bad karma, because it's an immense 'Akusala'( un-wholesome thought) to formulate 'Dvesha' towards a stream enterer or any other noble person (Sakadagami (Once returner), Anagami (Non- returner) and Arahant (Fully enlightened). Therefore, because of the loving kindness towards them, he would not openly announce his achievement'.


In some ways this makes sense to me, but in other ways it doesn't. Here's a counterargument. Suppose a person is a stream-enterer, and proclaims it. Some people will disbelieve this or not care about it either way, and some people will believe it or be interested in investigating it further. For the latter types of people, they may ask "how did you become a stream-enterer?", and then would receive very practical instructions on how it was done. Some of these people, hearing these instructions, would gain faith in the possibility of attaining stream-entry and go on to attain it, whereas without having ever met a person who claimed to be a stream-enterer they might not have such faith and therefore might not practice and might not ever attain stream-entry themselves. So out of concern for the wellbeing of these people, a stream-enterer would proclaim it.

This is especially true, in my opinion, in societies like the United States where Buddhism is uncommon and most people are nonreligious or Christian. In other words, societies where most people do not believe there is any such thing as stream-entry and would be surprised to hear that there are practical instructions that can be given on how to attain it. Hearing those practical instructions is a cause by which a person attains faith in the dhamma.

Perhaps things are different in Sri Lanka? Do most people there believe that there is such a thing as stream entry and that it can commonly be attained today by an everyday person who is devoted and practices with diligence?

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/17/10 11:13 PM as a reply to Sithum Lalinda Rajakaruna.
This is total crud. Any person has a right to question the attainments of others. Any person projecting 'bad karma' onto someone who questions or rejects certain claims to attainments has a lot of his self wrapt up in his small egoic fears. What he is afraid of is being judged by others. Being judged by others is part of life - no one likes it, but there it is, we all do it and we all have it done to us. Sometimes those judging you are correct, sometimes they are incorrect - but who fucking cares? He who cares the most is the furthest from enlightenment. And yet this guy is shouting "I AM BETTER THAN YOU! I MEDITATED FOR 10 YEARS, AND YOU BETTER RESPECT ME FOR IT!". His attainments amount to nought. Tripe.

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/17/10 11:43 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Hi Nikolai,

Thank you very much sir, for the links. I'll look into this 'mushroom factor' matter, and then share my thoughts on that later. Because I have to learn extensively about Kenneth Folk and Ingram and see whether i could identify any one (or all) of the characteristics of an arahant.

About disclosure, I have to say it might depend on the culture of a particular country as well. And most of the time people who openly announce their achievements are being driven by other factors (money, ego, recognition etc).

I need some time to conduct a research on the above mentioned 'Arahants'. I'll try and complete it.

Is it possible for you to share the email addresses of kenneth and ingram with me? Thanks in advance.

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/17/10 11:42 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
@ C C C

You type with a lot of 'dvesha' in your heart. So its impossible for us to take you seriously. Sorry!

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/17/10 11:56 PM as a reply to Sithum Lalinda Rajakaruna.
Who is this "us" you speak of? You and your guru and other sycophants?

Or do you say "us" so as to try and recruit others to your way of thinking?

Don't be sorry. Just lose the ego pal, then someone might take you seriously.

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/18/10 1:49 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
Hey friend,

Good to hear you are interested in these matters. This whole community has built up around the principle that it is better to talk about this stuff than to hide it. First of all--you need to know that the Arahatship that Kenneth and Daniel claim is probably not consistent with your idea of what a Arahat is. Daniel talks about Arahatship as untying the final knot of perception. Kenneth talks about 4th path as being comfortable knowing that you have 'done what needs to be done.' Neither one of them will claim to have perfect conduct etc. Which is fine because the old text have a lot of eccentric Arahats who people believed were behaving in undignified ways. For me the idea of insulting a stream winner being negative karma... I don't believe that. Its your right to believe that if you want. But I follow the Kalama Sutra--I don't believe things just because some scripture says so. I investigate for myself. My advice? Work diligently along the 16 stages of insight and become a stream winner. (you might already be one--you say yourself you are unsure about weather or not one should claim it)... It helped me so much to have people tell me Honestly you can get stream entry. Go do it! I did it. You can too...

Metta,

Clayton

Edit: Buddhism is not the only way to Nirvana. I am sorry that is just not true. Once you experience Nirvana you realize that a some people from every religion have experienced it although its not that common... Buddhism is probably the quickest path at least for me... but Nirvana is not just a Buddhist thing just a Buddhist term for a human experience...

check out this article... http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/06/on-enlightenment-an-interview-with-shinzen-young/

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/18/10 4:00 AM as a reply to Sithum Lalinda Rajakaruna.
"it's bad, bad karma to diss a stream enterer and above"

Although this might sound like a piece of dogma, it is really very rational if you define your terms properly. Define bad karma as "past action leading away from enlightenment," i.e., preferences you acquired that prevent you from deciding to go for enlightenment.

With this definition, if it had happened at some point that you met a self-proclaimed stream-enterer or some such, and you decide you don't like him or her at all, to the point of getting aversion to this person, and if, furthermore, you somehow associate this with his meditative attainment, then you have acquired some "bad karma."

Of course, if you think of bad karma as imoral behavior or something similar, then the statement doesn't make sense.

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/18/10 5:05 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
I like your point of view Bruno--very middle way...

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/18/10 7:17 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
Who is this "us" you speak of? You and your guru and other sycophants?

Or do you say "us" so as to try and recruit others to your way of thinking?

Don't be sorry. Just lose the ego pal, then someone might take you seriously.


Please don't let this become a flame war here. There is no need to insult eachother at all. We all have different views. Let's express them with respect.


And I think I agree with Bruno's middle way view of bad karma to stream enterers etc. I guess it could result in someone turning away from teachings and advice on how to get it done too.

Nick

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/18/10 7:42 AM as a reply to Sithum Lalinda Rajakaruna.
Sithum Lalinda Rajakaruna:
Hi Nikolai,

I need some time to conduct a research on the above mentioned 'Arahants'. I'll try and complete it.

Is it possible for you to share the email addresses of kenneth and ingram with me? Thanks in advance.


Hi Sithum,

I gather you may be following the traditional orthodox Theravada view on what an arhat is supposed to be and do and not supposed to be and do. You will probably whole heartedly disagree with Kenneth and Daniel's views on what an arahat is. It doesn't match up to the traditional limited action and limited emotional model of enlightenment that is adhered to in Theravada traditions.

Here are some more links to familiarize yourself with their views. I happen to agree with them from my experience of at least 1st, 2nd and now possibly 3rd path. A lot of the traditional views are a little dogmatic with threads of truth. A little exaggerated in my opinion, especially as it was monks who were doing the describing. They live lives of renunciation so are not exposing themselves to situations that may show them the traditional views are not exact. And the laypeople are attached to those views too so the monks are just going to have to go with it rather than say the truth so as not to cause people to reject them. The times have changed and we are not monks so there is no danger in saying the truth about enlightenment. More laypeople, are getting path and arahtship and no, you don't die after 7 days if you don't become a monk, that is pure dogma.

I also held all these traditional views until I got to 2nd path and now at possible 3rd (I have 3rd path symptoms, nirodha samapati, 2 jhanas after the 8th Jhana (pure abodes) and perception is different, the self is not as sticky anymore, very aloof). The traditional descriptions don't always match up.

I hope you aren't scared off by all this. This is a great open source of Dhamma here. You can PM Daniel Ingram here at the DhO. You can post a thread asking questions to Kenneth (They've already been asked there though) or send PM to him at his website. www.kennethfolk.com

http://www.interactivebuddha.com/arahats.shtml

http://kennethfolkdharma.wetpaint.com/page/What+is+an+arahat%3F+(A+letter+to+a+friend)

Metta,

nick

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/18/10 11:03 AM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Hi friends,

This is a unique place, and i feel a lot of love even through the virtual realm

Please Forgive me If i hurt feelings of anyone. I never intended to do so.

I'll follow the Ancient path of Buddha and try my best to understand the four Noble truths, within this life time.

I wish all the best on your spiritual journeys.

I won't be conducting the research on kenneth and ingram, since ultimately we believe and accept what we want to.And id rather meditate on loving kindness in that time.

''(4 x 10^142) x 100,000 aeons= is the time that took for Gautama to attain 'samma sambuddhaship' ( The noble, fully enlightened one who understand the 4 noble truths without the help of a teacher, and has the ability to teach it to others so they can be Arahants, Anagamis, Sakadagamis, Stream enterers). In this Gautama Buddhas period , the first Arahant was the 'great Kondanna'
The noble eightfold path ( The middle way) is not taught in any other religion or philosophy. This path is only revealed by a Buddha who appear in this 'loka'. People call it buddhism, which (the term) is actually dampening the meaning of this 'truthful way of living'.''- Knowledge from ancient texts.


May the triple gem ( Buddha , Dhamma , Sanga) Bless you!

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/18/10 11:10 AM as a reply to Sithum Lalinda Rajakaruna.
Hello Sithum,

As you may have noticed, one of the main things about this forum is that it favors personal, pragmatic, derived from personal experience, posts, rather than ones based on dogma or suttas for that matter.

So if a person on this forum says "I have attained arahatship by doing this and this and this, I can help you attain this yourself in your own experience with some practice tips" then it is favored over posts which are just quoting suttas or dogma.

This is what makes this forum special, and so far, and as far as I can tell, 99% of those who participate in this forum have gained much from this sort of attitude. So basically, since people are talking about what they believe their attainments are (stream entry and beyond) from personal experience, others are able to "get more done" in their practice.

So while I respect what you quoted that Sri-lankan monk saying, it simply doesn't apply here. The fact that people report their attainments openly here is the main strength of this forum and "we" all highly benefit from it.

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/18/10 12:07 PM as a reply to Sithum Lalinda Rajakaruna.
How much is an aeon, exactly? emoticon

Dude, we're in the information age, (4 x 10^142) x 100,000 aeons go by very quickly these days...

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/18/10 12:46 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno Loff:
How much is an aeon, exactly? emoticon

Dude, we're in the information age, (4 x 10^142) x 100,000 aeons go by very quickly these days...


Lol. I agree. Btw I'm feeling like a christian on an atheist forumemoticon. Anyways its all for the good of our spiritual awakening.

Gautama Buddha gave an example which could help us fathom the duration or to get an idea of how long an aeon would be.

"Imagine a cube with equal sides of 10 miles, and throwing in a mustard seed in there every 100 years. An aeon is even longer than the time it takes to fill the whole cube with mustard seeds with the above mentioned 100 year intervals between each throw''

For us humans this seems like an infinity but for Brahmas ( Especially in 'Arupa' worlds) this is quite understandable since their lifetimes are given in number of aeons as well. ( The number of aeons vary depending on the Plane of existence of the brahmas)

Hope this helped.

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/18/10 12:34 PM as a reply to Yadid dee.
Hi Yadid,

Your post hit the nail on the head! That's exactly what ive learned from the responses.


May you attain nibbana soon!

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/18/10 7:51 PM as a reply to Sithum Lalinda Rajakaruna.
Hi, and welcome! Just think of us as Christians who believe that there was a guy named Jesus who had a lot of extremely powerful advice for how to live a good life and go to heaven (though we think the common idea of heaven is somewhat inaccurate and exaggerated in order to get people to follow his teachings -- a fault of the people who do the exaggeration, not a fault of the teachings or practices themselves). However, we don't think that people who mix the threads in their fabrics, men who lie with men as if with a woman, people who sometimes say "goddamn," or people who work on Sundays are going to suffer forever if they don't repent.

At any rate, I don't think anyone here would actually have a problem with whether or not you believed in what we consider the Theravada orthodoxy. I mean, if you're doing Buddhist meditation and you come here to ask questions about your practice, and share your experiences and answers to questions that you've found the answers to, and everyone benefits from it, how can that be anything but good? I'm sure everyone on this forum disagrees with every other member on some certain points. However, we all agree to help each other out, and it works out in the end.

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/18/10 9:11 PM as a reply to Sithum Lalinda Rajakaruna.
I see another advantage of not proclaiming attainments. It insulates the Buddhist community somewhat against charlatans and otherwise delusional people. With other religions it's so easy for people to say "I am an incarnation of this or that deity", and people tend to believe these sorts of claims, which can cause a lot of damage.


Fair enough, so how would a person know for sure whether he is actually a Stream enterer?

First up, If you are not sure, then i'm afraid you are not one. We know when we have a cold, and we 'Know' when we are cured. Like wise a Sotapanna realizes that he has abandoned the following three characteristics.

1. "Sakkaya ditti'- Existence of a self in the Five aggregates.
2. ''Vichikichcha'- Doubtfulness of the Buddha and his teachings.
3. ''Seelabbhatha paraamaasa'' - Belief on rites and rituals.

There is also a common false view on the procedure of achieving this stage of enlightenment, which is the belief that Stream entry is a junction of the usual jhanic meditation process. Yogis who are unaware of buddhas teachings are also capable of going into jhanas. But are they on the noble eightfold path? (The ONLY Path to Nirvana), most certainly not. However jhanas provide the platform to contemplate on the 'Anicca', 'Dukka' and 'Anatta' nature of the Five aggregates ( Rupa, Vedana , Sanna, Sanskara, vinyana).


People around here tend to be skeptical of a lot of dogma. I think every statement that you made in the quotes, although correct by traditional Theravada standards, would be regarded with suspicion by this board's members.

RE: Why not? ( Theravadic perspective)
Answer
6/18/10 11:36 PM as a reply to Dan K.
Dan K:
I see another advantage of not proclaiming attainments. It insulates the Buddhist community somewhat against charlatans and otherwise delusional people. With other religions it's so easy for people to say "I am an incarnation of this or that deity", and people tend to believe these sorts of claims, which can cause a lot of damage.


This is wonderful, thank you for the contribution!