Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Abe_Dunkelheit
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

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

*

Assuming Daniel is right in his views,

which he holds in his combative way he is not going to have changed in any case,

(say never never),

but assuming he is right,

and I do not have any qualms with it,

because I do not have any investments into beliefs to the contrary,

but if he is right,

it would pretty much completely crash the whole edifice of what is currently going under the label ‘Buddhism’;

it would mean an Arahat is still enslaved to most of the 10 fetters;

and it brings me back to the point that I do not see much of a point in the whole enlightenment business;

from a utilitarian point of view,

I do not see for what it is good to be an Arahat;

or put differently:

would USD 10 million on the account not be of greater benefit?!

*

I had the impression that 'Buddhists' regard craving as that which holds the sense of I AM-ness, the sense of who I am; but if there is still craving in the Arahat even after having seen through the sense there is an independent observer --- that pretty much crashes everything I ever heard about it; b/c that would mean the sense of I AM-ness is still there even after the realization that there is no I AM in the first place;

that turns pretty much every spiritual teacher out there into an impostor;

what Daniel is saying is something like

‘you can have unprotected sex and worship the Devil and still being a good Christian,’

which is a cool thing!

Haha...

I would even go so far and say that if Daniel is right Buddhism is outright dead;

because it simply invalidates the attempt to pretend that there is a closed system of familiarities within which you can operate meaningfully,

and we are back in full circle to the fact of total existential uncertainty --- the last word in all questions, so it seems!
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"... but if there is still craving in the Arahat even after having seen through the sense there is an independent observer --- that pretty much crashes everything I ever heard about it; b/c that would mean the sense of I AM-ness is still there even after the realization that there is no I AM in the first place..."

Hello, Abe. Why do you suppose that in order to be fully realized you have to give up your most human attributes?
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Abe_Dunkelheit

Hi Chris,

I wrote:

"...that pretty much crashes everything I ever heard about it..."

which is not a supposition,

but an observation!

I am ASTONISHED, so to speak, about Daniel's claims, because they contradict everyting I ever heard about it.

If Daniel is right in his views,

based on the principle that something cannot be both itself and its opposite,

this means pretty much every commentator out there must be wrong in their views about 'Arahats'!

It is as simple as that!

*

I was also just thinking that Daniel rejects all limiting models, which implies that an Arahat is only limited by the conditions that happen to condition him; to the extent that these conditions are unique, the Arahat will be unique; hence the Arahat will be able to do what his conditions allow him to do; and will not be limited by anything else;

at best an Arahat should be less conditioned (read: have more degrees of freedom) than the average person;

to the extent that the Arahat's conditions are unkowable his action will be unpredictable;

so an Arahat could be a serial killer

IF

his conditions are such that they give rise to certain killing urges;

we basically don't know what any given Arahat can or cannot
do b/c we do not know his conditions;

and accordingly to Daniel all limiting models designed to predict the actions and abilities and conditions of an Arahat are

WRONG,

so we are left with an

NOT KNOWING ANYTHING,

really,

about the 'Arahat',

because every single one is different,

so this totally crashes all traditional views!!!

I am only pointing this out; am reasoning it through; I do not have any problem with it, or suppose anything; I simply find it all extremely ASTONISHING!
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi Abe,

First, the Buddha teach Dharma (what means in this case reality) and not Buddhism. Buddhism has to take care of previous masters, delivered suttas, traditions etc. That's why I think that traditions wherein the Dharma stay has to go to a scientific separation process. The same happens with the medicine of the Middle Ages. After this process (that is actually not finished now) we got the modern medicine of today.

It is also important because the Dharma is not only for religious people. If I give a modern western enlightened (in sense of "well-educated") person e. g. the book of Mahasi Sayadaw "The Progress of Insight",it is very likely, that, if he reads the first sentence, he will close it because he thinks that is only an extreme Cult. (That sentence is "Homage to the Blesses One, the Worthy One, the Fully Enlightened One")

I think after the scientific separation process we will have an easier way, a better understandable way, a better knowledge of the benefits and may be a better world too because more people would be enlightened (in sense of "liberated") etc.

> I do not see for what it is good to be an Arahat;
> or put differently:
> would USD 10 million on the account not be of greater benefit?!

I am not enlightened but I can easy imagine the benefits:
You got an basic deep understanding what you are and what not (a very important right view). And with this new knowledge there will be a complete change of such structures of the mind which was based of your old wrong view.

The enlightened persons here could describe the benefits better than me. I imagine e. g. the following:
- no fear of existence
- a better ethik (which means a better together, may be if we have enough enlightened persons we could overcome the war)

Paticca
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Abe_Dunkelheit

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

Here are a number of bogus myths and falsehoods about arahats; [they are] simply being untrue:

Arahats must ordain within 7 days of becoming an arahat in the Buddhist order of monks or they will die.

Arahats cannot feel the following emotions: lust, hatred, irritation, restlessness, worry, fear, pride, conceit, desire for the formless realms, desire for the formed realms, or any other "bad" emotion.

*

Bhante Vimalaramsi at the Chuang Yen Monstery in New York (Feb 25, 2008) during his Dhamma Talk on MN 148 The Six Sets of Six said the following:

http://video.google.de/videoplay?docid=-6699525614694657028

See from 7:00min --- “All of the fetters will disappear if they are an Arahat; that means they … never again have doubt arise in their mind; never, they know the path, they know that is right; they experience the cessation of all hatred; that will not arise in their mind again; they experience the cessation of all lust; that will not arise in their mind again; they will let go of --- restlessness will disappear, no more restlessness, more slope and torpor; no more desire to experience higher realms; you lose all pride; no pride will ever arise again; and all ignorance disappears. Those are the ten fetters; when you have the fruition of Arahatship that means those things will never arise again.”

See from 9:20min --- “What happens for people if they are laymen, and whey become an Arahat; they have a decision that needs to be made, and I know a awful lot of people don’t like that idea, but that is what it is. You either become a monk or in seven days you will die from cyclical existence but you won’t be reborn again – so you make a decision what you want to do.”

See from 10:50min --- “When you attain Nibbana you don’t have any more craving arise ever again; … ;
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Abe_Dunkelheit

So where do these direct contradictions leave us?! It would be hilarious if it was not so disconcerting; after 2500 yours there is no consents about most fundamental questions as to what or what not Arahatship entails.

Daniel’s recommendation to “get enlightened to a high degree,” as “only [that] will end the debate” is fair enough, but still, I am left with great ASTONISHMENT as to the contradiction b/w highly accomplished meditation practitioners! Are they all making up the rules as they go along?!

I cannot know who is right, but I can know that Daniel and BV cannot be both right at the same time; at least one (if not both) cannot be as accomplished has he claims to be; or is self-deceived, or tells deliberate lies;

and that is SHOCKING!!!
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Abe_Dunkelheit

Hi Paticca,

I definitely agree that there is a need for a 'scientific separation process' with regard to what the Dhamma is and what it is not!

As to your imagination of what the benefits are of becoming an Arahat; there is certainly still fear, and other undesirable things, otherwise Daniel could not have written in his article that it is a bogus myth that

"Arahats cannot feel the following emotions: lust, hatred, irritation, restlessness, worry, fear, pride, conceit, desire for the formless realms, desire for the formed realms, or any other ‘bad’ emotion."

Notice especially:

“[T]the mind and body of the being that has realized the Truth of Things is completely bound up in the same conditions and causality as before.”

Daniel holds “the process of falsely imputing a ‘self’ from the sensations that make up the body, mind, and world has stopped [in the Arahat] because these sensations have been directly perceived as they are [by the Arahat]” --- BUT, and that seems to be the important point, this does not stop these sensations from arising!!!

What is then the advantage of Arahatship, after all?!

Nanavira Thera writes that “suicides – with the attainment of arahatta - were fairly common amongst the bhikkhus in the Bhuddas day.” [L. 94]

HOW ENCOURAGING!!! < I have a cynical day.>
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Dear Abe,

Once again I think it's worthwhile for someone to point out--and not because I think my comment is going to change your way of thinking, but rather because I think other people may already be thinking this--is that your simple dichotomizing logic just doesn't hold up. The "this vs. that" model of reasoning, especially in this case, just isn't sophisticated or useful enough to lead to anything helpful. Your assumption that both can't be right, that one is right and one is wrong, is to me, the only SHOCKING thing I can see in your arguments. More shocking, is that piting people's views about arhantship against one another, really doesn't do much to support one in awakening. All it does is stir up theoretical controversy, about which, only a few here are qualified to say much about. The rest is projection, interpretation, idealizing, and posturing.

A developmental perspective--one that recognizes evolving worldviews--or even a perspective that can conceive of their being multiple ways of interpreting the same change would re-frame the whole conversation in such a way as to immediately make your reasoning obsolete. And again, I don't say this because I think I'm going to change your mind, but because there are others here who are already able to see the debate in these terms, and hence for the them there is no debate, at least not in the way you're framing it.

My suggestions would be to echo Daniel's, and suggest that the benefits of awakening are to be known by those who have awakened. It's easy to dismiss that point, as you've done several times, but no amount of arguing or working your thoughts out here, will do it for you.

Best,

-Vince Horn
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Abe_Dunkelheit

Nanavira Thera writes In L. 50 :

I venture to think that if you actually read through the whole of the Vinaya and the Suttas you would be aghast at some of the things a real live sotápanna is capable of. As a bhikkhu he is capable of suicide (but so also is an arahat); he is capable of breaking all the lesser Vinaya rules (M. 48: i,323-5; A. III,85: i,231-2); he is capable of disrobing on account of sensual desires (e.g. the Ven. Citta Hatthisáriputta -- A. VI,60: iii,392-9); he is capable (to some degree) of anger, ill-will, jealousy, stinginess, deceit, craftiness, shamelessness, and brazenness (A. II,16: i,96). As a layman he is capable (contrary to popular belief) of breaking any or all of the five precepts (though as soon as he has done so he recognizes his fault and repairs the breach, unlike the puthujjana who is content to leave the precepts broken).

There are some things in the Suttas that have so much shocked the Commentator that he has been obliged to provide patently false explanations (I am thinking in particular of the arahat's suicide in M. 144: iii,266 and in the Saláyatana Samy. 87: iv,55-60 and of a drunken sotápanna in the Sotápatti Samy. 24: v,375-7). What the sotápanna is absolutely incapable of doing is the following (M. 115: iii,64-5):

To take any determination (sankhára) as permanent,
To take any determination as pleasant,
To take any thing (dhamma) as self,
To kill his mother,
To kill his father,
To kill an arahat,
Maliciously to shed a Buddha's blood,
To split the Sangha,
To follow any teacher other than the Buddha.

All these things a puthujjana can do.

*

Daniel writes:

"peaking in generalities, realized beings are capable of doing, saying, feeling and thinking anything that non-realized beings are capable of. "

So does this mean Arahats CAN actually kill their fathers, mothers, their fellow arahats, and even Buddhas?!
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
Thank you, Vince.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"I am ASTONISHED, so to speak, about Daniel's claims, because they contradict everyting I ever heard about it."

And as we all know, Abe, what really matters in investigating these things is what we hear others say about them. Not what we experience directly. Not what we find through meditation. Not what the evidence shows us. Nope, what matters is what other people say.

Bye, Abe.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Abe_Dunkelheit

Vince,

with all due respect; what kind of thinking then would reconcile the irreconcilable?! It is all fine and well to take into account developmental perspectives; but does this mean in New York it is ‘you die in 7 days” and in Northern Alabama it is ‘you do not die in seven days’, because the people in New York are no yet as developed as the people in Northern Alabama?!

What exactly do you mean by “multiple ways of interpreting” that would make my reasoning obsolete?! Are you thinking in terms of exoteric vs. esoteric resp. literal vs. symbolic meanings?! So that when one person talks about ‘you have to die in 7 days’ this is symbolical, but means literally ‘you do not have to die in 7 days’? Or are you talking in terms of a dichotomy of laity vs. monk elitism, so that you would allow a monk like BV to use ‘expedient means’ [euphemism for lying], a kind of Dhamma politics, to spread interest in the Dhamma across the laity?!

Also, I am not debating anything here; I do not have any investment into any of these beliefs on Arahats that Daniel disputes; but he wrote the essay or didn’t he?! I do not have any opinion about who is right or wrong, or what an Arahat can or cannot do; I am also not “piting” [?] people’s views about arahatship against one another, all I am making is a COMPARISON!!! I am trying to get a grasp on all the CLAIMS on ‘Arahats’ by sifting through the literature. And these claims are very CONTRADICTORY.

I do not see at all why you would say that “all it does is stir up theoretical controversy, about which, only a few here are qualified to say much about. The rest is projection, interpretation, idealizing, and posturing.”

There is something like rational communication; and this does not have to stir up anything! As I said, I do not have made up my mind and am totally open as to what you and others have to say; how best to look at these contradictions I stumbled across.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Abe_Dunkelheit

I am also not dismissing the point that “the benefits of awakening are to be known by those who have awakened.” I AM WONDERING what these benefits could possibly be, b/c Daniel denies all the benefits that are generally pointed out to be there (like cessation of the 10 fetters) in his essay to be the benefits! So what are the benefits?! ---

I would have been fine if you had said something along the line:

“I do not know; and Daniel knows but he cannot explain them in a way that it would satisfy your curious mind; so you have to believe him (like I do) that there are benefits (and it is not the one’s people tend to believe in like he expounds in his essay) that make it worth to put all your time & effort into the awakening practice.”
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"I am trying to get a grasp on all the CLAIMS on ‘Arahats’ by sifting through the literature. And these claims are very CONTRADICTORY. "

Then do what people here have been exhorting you to do -- practice! Find out for yourself and stop the swirling and confusion that plagues your mind. The ONLY way to get to the root of these dilemmas is to experience the Dharma for yourself.

Over and out.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Abe_Dunkelheit

Chris,

if you had not heard what others had to say you would not even know your own name, let alone the Dhamma or anything else that matters about the Buddha; but you certainly have the right to deny rational communication,

best,

Abe

*

I really have to wonder; there is Daniel who writes essays, and there are monks who give Dhamma talks, but when a guy like me comes along who actually reads the essays and listens to the Dhamma talks and does active enquiries, compares notes, makes observations, aks questions etc. he is faulted by the rest of the community.

*

It appears to me of the utmost importance to gain a perspective on what 'Arahatship' entails; that is not a theoretical question at all; I am not impressed that you would take no issue with the suggestion that a lay person attaining Arahatship would have to die within 7 days unless he ordains as a monk; I know --- "go and experience directly"! Haha... but wait, we know Daniel is an Arahat and he confirms to us that we will not die; we are not as stupid as Abe; we have mastered the art of "multiple ways of interpreting" and therefore applaud BV's affirmation that we all will die when not ordaining; and of course there is nothing wrong in in BV saying 99% do not do the meditation the Buddha taught, because it is all the same; hello, Abe, .... mediate more and you too will master the art of "multiple ways of interpreting"; and anyway even if we die --- everything will be alright; b/c that proofs we are Arahats!!! Get it? It's a win:win situation, no matter what! We are always right! Everybody is right, just do not question that! Meditate upon it. We of course do not know for what this is good to be an Arahat, but we know that it is good for whatever we believe it is good, but it is not what you can understand! Meditate upon it... and everything will be just fine!
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Abe,

I don't simply believe Daniel, I followed the practices and realized them for myself. I found his models helpful, and I've found that they hold up to reality testing better then any of the other models that explain the benefits of awakening (at all of their various stages). I am not an Arhant yet, but I know enough about the path (nearly up to that point) to know that much of it is simply dogma and doesn't hold up to reality testing. All of the dogma you referenced about Sotapanna's is completely ridiculous.

Though there are benefits to awakening, things DO fall away, and at a fundamental level there is less craving/aversion/etc. that isn't the same as not feeling the full range of human emotions. But this isn't theory to me Abe, this is the years of dedicated practice, and of deciding that theory-alone wasn't enough. If you don't want to wake up, no worries. If you do, get to it. No amount of theorizing will do it for you, as several very smart, and very realized people have already told you here on this forum.

Best,

-Vince
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Abe_Dunkelheit

But I am practicing at least 2 hours per day; and have been doing this for good 4 months now; there is THEORY and PRACTICE; so what is your issue in me trying to gain a perspective on what Arahatship entails?!

And even if I did not mediate, what I do not do, I repeat I DO MEDITATE, but even if I did not meditate, I still could become an Arahat, because the Buddha confirms that next to serenity & insigt there is another way, which is SEIZURE BY AGITATION ABOUT THE TEACHING (see An 4:170; II 156-57)

But who knows, maybe I am just an unlucky guy and that is one of the fake Suttas! So I hedge my bet and meditate; but I will certainly not stop enquiring only because you guys twist and whine like Christian Bible fundamentalists.

*

Hokai, Daniel, Vince,

You have, of course, the right to deny rational communication and censor me from the Dhamma Overground and turn back to the quiet times when there was 1 posting per day; I do not take offense;

but I would recommend you guys to have a look into the mirror from time to time:

"I do this because the false dogmas hinder and obscure the development of wisdom that comes from seeing life directly as it is." (Daniel)

Sure, but Vince tells me that there are not false dogmas ---- there are only "multiple ways of interpreting" things! And Hokai applauds; and Chris is appalled!

And I still do not know whether I will or will not have to die in case I attain Arahatship, which I still do not know what it is good for, but I at least am assurred in Daniel's essay it is not good for what people tend to think it is good for, which is ok when you see it in terms of a 'developmental perspective"; but then Vince's "multiple ways of interpreting" things makes me less confident I actually understand what Daniel reassures his readers in his essay; but it does not matter --- because there is no contradiction. So just meditate!
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: Abe_Dunkelheit

Vince,

That is a helpful reply, but as I also pointed out a couple of times I DO MEDITATE; I am somewhat confused about you guys or maybe I do miss the point of this forum; there is PRACTICE and THEORY; all my "theoretical" question ALWAYS have a practical background; besides, it is not theoretical at all whether one will or will not die or will or will not lose one's fetters! So I would hope you correct your views I AM NOT THEORY ONLY --- but of course I cannot meditate in this forum; I can ask questions about things that bother me about the Dhamma etc;

granted you guys are highly realized, I am happy for you and happy for me that you are, but there is something not quite right in the way communication takes place here,

so maybe it is best you guys tell me what you are willing to discuss / not discuss, b/c I would have thought my questions are all very relevant, but if you do not think so, that is fine, just tell me the limits of what can / can not be discussed.

Best,

Abe
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Thank you Abe. We will be working on putting together some helpful guidelines for discussion soon. And please understand I'm not saying that you don't practice at all, but rather that your interest in theory seems extremely excessive (much of which doesn't seem to have an impact on practice, including whether or not you think you'll die if you attain arhantship, which based on what you've said about your practice you are in no danger of doing anytime soon). We will hammer out some guidelines to clarify that, but for the time being, please tone it down.

Best,

-Vince
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi Abe,

> As to your imagination of what the benefits are of becoming an Arahat; there is certainly still fear,...

I don't mean that you have no fear anymore but e. g. all fear depends of a wrong view of a self will disappear. Every insight even a normal worldly insight will change your mind (even a simple thought will do that).


> Nanavira Thera writes that “suicides – with the attainment of arahatta - were fairly common...

If that is true and this arahats are not terminally ill, I think they have a theoretical lack of moral otherwise he would not do that. This shows me that a parallel theoretical education is important too. I think if someone have a simple mind he can awake but the mind will stay simple even now.

As in every Knowledge you need to know the benefits to have a motivation and you need a theoretical and practical education. There is no rational reason why not to ask for benefits in Awakening. More, my own experience shows me it is dangerous not to ask. Most Cults will tell you "Follow only our way and you will get it." This is only blind faith. If you find the right people then you have good luck only.

Fortunately in the Theravada-Suttas are many benefits told because they knew that not all people are motivated by faith. I think why here in this forum faith should be the only motivation is because the people don't know to explain the benefits well.

To me this is really a strong motivation to go on with the pactice because if I am enlightened I will workout it exactly.

vjhorn does it a little bit (thanks):
>Though there are benefits to awakening, things DO fall away, and at a fundamental level there is less craving/aversion/etc...

Paticca
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 74 Join Date: 5/13/09 Recent Posts
Abe, have you really meditated so much and have not a single question about your actual practice? Did I miss it in the deluge of your other posts? No questions at all about technique, approach, experiences, sticking points, or next steps? What are you actually doing in your practice? Based on my own meditation experience and extrapolating what I reckon I'd be able to accomplish (and all the questions I'd have) with 2-4 hours a day for four months, I'm guessing you're spending most of your time thinking about ideas about meditation and attainment: agitating yourself about the teachings.

It's fine to be agitated about the teachings. I was there not too long ago, trying very hard to suss out just what all those authors and ideas really meant. What idea are they trying to articulate; what understanding? ("I know *I* could say it clearly and get the real meaning across! What's wrong with these people!? I'll figure it out!")

Practice and attainments are not an academic research project, not a set of mathematical or logical proofs, and not ideas you can think. Persisting in the mistaken notion that the rigorous application of reason is the ultimate arbiter of what's acceptably sensible, logical dharma -- apart from being the wrong tool for a job that doesn't need doing -- is like showing up at a salon of realized masters and presuming to lecture them about all the ways that this or that dharma doesn't suit you. No one benefits.

Yeah, it's crappy to realize that all the study you've done just isn't going to allow you skip ahead six spaces. Get over it.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 5 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
I find myself in sympathy with you Abe, at the heart of it.

But to get there I have to assume that you are lying when you say things like "I do not have any problem with it, or suppose anything". I'm guessing that, in fact, you're f**king floored by the implications of it all! (Which, if true, would have been a much more honest statement to make.)

So when faced with these contradictions what do you do? Do you search for another authority's writing on the matter? Do you give up completely? Do you ask for help? Do you just keep plugging along?

As you are digesting all of this, please don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Be good to yourself and best wishes. I really mean that.


P.S. If you can find a tiny slice of humor in this all, it might be in the thought that in the "Zen and the West/And So?" thread, you were talking about how traditions have a habit of creating a charismatic authority figure and endowing that person with extreme virtues and abilities. It's a little funny that having the rug pulled out of the "perfection" of Arhats has had this effect! (Isn't it at least a little funny?)
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 0 Join Date: 5/12/09 Recent Posts
Hi Abe,
You wrote:
"I do not see for what it is good to be an Arahat; or put differently: would USD 10 million on the account not be of greater benefit?!"

As your double punctuation (?!) indicates, you are highly agitated. Those hours of daily meditation you say you've been doing for a mere 4 months are clearly insufficient and/or incorrectly done. But on a more fundamental level, let's consider your question about the value of Arahantship or Enlightenment. Perhaps you cannot see its value, which is not surprising. The proper way to answer your question is to ask Enlightened people this: What would you trade for your Enlightenment? In other words, would they accept, say, 10 million dollars in exchange for becoming un-Enlightened?

Enlightenment is the treasure beyond price. To know with perfect certainty, with blatant obviousness, that one is fundamentally untouched by birth, death and every phenomenon in between is worth more than anything else, or everything else, in this world and beyond it.

Regards,
Gozen
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
I understand your frustrations, Abe. I really, really do. What I don't understand is your ongoing inability - or unwillingness - to describe in detail just what it is you're doing on the cushion.

What is it you pay attention to when you meditate? The impression I get from your comments is that you are churning wildly over philosophy. I love philosophy. I like talking about it, arguing about it, thinking about it. When I started to practice it become clear only after months of frustration that there was something more to this path than thinking. And, frankly, the more frustrated I got the more willing I was to find out what that other part was all about. Sure, it takes quite some time to "get it" to the point that you just KNOW that thinking and philosophizing and comparing this and that concept is not the path. Philosophy is fun, but it's not meditation. It's not the way to realization.

As for creating rules for this message board, I'd argue the fewer the better.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
vince and abe,

'Once again I think it's worthwhile for someone to point out--and not because I think my comment is going to change your way of thinking, but rather because I think other people may already be thinking this--is that your simple dichotomizing logic just doesn't hold up. The "this vs. that" model of reasoning, especially in this case, just isn't sophisticated or useful enough to lead to anything helpful. Your assumption that both can't be right, that one is right and one is wrong, is to me, the only SHOCKING thing I can see in your arguments. '

actually i think in questioning whether a lay arahant will die within 7 days or not, abe's simple dichotomising logic holds up just fine. daniel has been a lay arahant for several years and is not dead. bhante vimalaramsi clearly doesn't know what he's talking about and is probably just quoting the texts. now, what is the difficulty of just putting it like that?
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
from what i've read here, it looks to me like a bunch of you guys - vince, hokai, cmarti, did i miss anybody? - jumped on abe here cos the patience you've been fronting so far in order to deal with his intellectual circles crap ran out. for the reactionary response that's drawn out, i think the comparision he makes with twisting and whining bible fundamentalists is rather deserved.

'multiple ways of interpreting' is useful in many places but total bullshit in others, including right here. i share the hope that abe ends up agitated less and practising more, especially since in order to get to equanimity regarding formations he's gonna have to accept the sensations that make up his 'either/or' stuff instead of trying to reason through them. but thats insight time, not reasoning time. its absurd to tell him that his reasoning is obsolete when he's asking about something as concrete and real-world as whether attaining arahatship will kill him or not.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 3183 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Thanks to all for bearing with this process.

I think that Abe has good points: things should be able to be hashed out, particularly when the controversies are so stark, as theprisonergreco points out. That said, there also should be some way to get out of our heads and back to practice, as so many have rightly pointed out. Discussions have occurred about having some limits, but, while Abe's predicament is frustrating, hopefully this place can accommodate people who are squarely stuck in the tyranny of the logical, existential mind and trying to hash out the theory that underlies all this.

Abe: consider a retreat of a few months duration at a place like MBMC, IMS, or some other place, practicing all day according to the instructions and leaving the philosophy on hold for that time, just to see what happens. At least get stream entry: you will have no theoretical risk of death any time shortly thereafter, and it will help a lot, though a basic knowledge of the stages before stream entry can help one avoid common traps. This is my best advice.

As to the conflict between the texts, traditional teachers, and myself, it is stark, absolute, and a true contradiction, as you point out. There it stands. Do the experiment and see what happens. Really you could go as far as anagami in relative safety, as it is a bit of a trick to get from anagami to arahatship, and so you could be safe from the 7-day threat for some long period of time if you stopped practicing, but be close enough to see what holds up to reality testing and what is just old, if beautiful, lies, dreams and dogma.

I love talk about actual practice, how to do it, most of all, as do many here. However, as Abe points out, we should be able to accommodate those who for whatever obsessive quirk must wrangle the theory to death before they begin strong practice, which 2 hours a day is unlikely to be, as for most it will simply be insufficient to get to stream entry, which is key.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"... jumped on abe here cos the patience you've been fronting so far in order to deal with his intellectual circles crap ran out. for the reactionary response that's drawn out, i think the comparision he makes with twisting and whining bible fundamentalists is rather deserved. "

Point taken. I'm sorry Abe, if my impatienve with your dilemma spilled over onto the board here.

It seems most practitioners get caught up in theory at some point. I did. But you have to get past that somehow and at the time it was happenignto me I would have been thrilled to have a message board like this where a few more experienced practitioners could have verbally slapped me in the face with exhortations to drop the spin and sit down with bare experience for a while.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: AlanChapman

Hello Abe,

I would like to answer your question if I may.

The answer lies in what is meant by 'abolishing the fetters'.

Instead of the fetters (say hate) ceasing to manifest for the arahat, it is the identification with the manifestation of the fetters that is abolished. The arahat still feels hate, but there is no identification with it, see? So yes, an arahat still experiences the fetters; and yes, should we wish to be slightly unclear, the fetters are abolished for the arahat.

Hope that makes sense.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
I know this is a bit of an old thread, but I find it interesting...

So the basic questions, as I understand it, are:
1. What's up with the contradictions between what Daniel says about Arahants and the Buddhist dogma? - specifically things like "Will an Arahant after realization die in 7 days if he does not become a monk?"
2. What is the nature of the "freedom from the 10 fetters"?
3. What is the actual value of enlightenment? or "Wouldn't you be better off with 10 million dollars in the bank than being enlightened?"

I'll take the last one first, because I think it will help with the second question, if not the first. So basically how can I enjoy Cuban cigars with XO Cognac; money; and nasty, sloppy, wet, intercourse and still be highly realized? How DOES that work? I'm going to use an analogy, because I like them... It's an imperfect analogy, as they all are, but I think it may get the point across - and it is potentially expandable for those in some of the latter stages of the process, by reference to Plato's allegory of the cave and the movie "The Conformist."

Imagine you are in a terrrible situation, you are terrified, trapped in the basement of a huge mansion, people are dying around you, there may be a killer among you and your friends, and there seems to be no escape. You don't know what to do! You decide to meditate (theres nothing else really to do) and try to figure out what's going on. Yep - you are definitely in danger... but instead of focusing on the actual events that are occuring, you decide to look at the structure of your experience - and you notice there's an edge to your field of vision... and if you follow it around it has a rectangular shape... all of the sudden it dawns on you!

Oh crap! (Eureka!) - I'm sitting in a theater, watching a horror movie! I was so into it, I forgot!
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
This is a rather trite example of what happens on a much greater scale with awakening, but it serves to illustrate.

So lets look at it - knowing that it is a horror movie doesn't change the plot. You are still in danger (in the context of the movie itself - or at least the person up there playing "you"). Does knowing that it's a movie help? Well - yes - you certainly are not quite as scared - you can enjoy the movie more in a certain sense - it is, after all, just a movie that you are an actor in. Does it help in terms of the context of the movie plot - well no, actually it doesn't change anything. Do you still feel fear when the killer walks into the room and starts up the chainsaw? Yes, and you still run, (or jump in your seat), heart races, etc. You could of course, be completely detached and maintain complete awareness that "its just a movie", but it's more fun to pretend a little and get into the movie a bit (but not get overwhelmed by it) assuming you like horror movies. You might want to change the plot and walk into the next theater if not.

Now, before you realized that you were in a theater watching a movie, and were so intensely captivated by the plot that you thought it was real, let's say I approached you as a character in the movie, and said - "Look, it will help quite a bit if you simply understand the nature of this experience as I have, and see through it - you just need to look closely - look at the edges of your experience, and you'll see what I'm talking about." You might say "What's the value in doing that - we're being hunted by a killer!" I might reply, "Yes, but if you just do what I'm suggesting you'll see what I'm talking about. I can't exactly tell you in a way that you'll understand other than intellectually - you wouldn't believe me. You have to see for yourself the edge of the screen
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Ok, now say another figure in this situation approaches you and offers you a helicopter out of there and 10 million dollars once you are in safety. If you still didn't realize it was a movie, you'd probably take that offer, and feel it was a lot more helpful than my suggestion.

How does that offer sound from the perspective of someone who realizes that they are in a theater watching a movie? Well - not bad! Unless of course, you really enjoy horror movies - that would kind of ruin it actually. It would be a different movie at least - kind of depends on your taste in movies. If you prefer romantic comedies, that would definitely be the ticket. Would you trade your realization that it was a movie for the plot change of getting rescued and receiving 10 million dollars (in the movie)? Personally, I wouldn't even consider it.

As far as the explicit answer to the freedom from the 10 fetters - the only way out is through. Carl Jung once said "The basic problems of Life are fundamentally insoluble - they can only be outgrown."

Now for the first question - the contradictions in Dogma. One thing I want to point out is that in every Buddhist tradition (other than Theravada actually) an Arahant is still subject to delusion - only Buddhas are free from that. So a highly realized master could still be mistaken about certain things. The strength of traditions like this (and the associated maps) is that they represent an accumulated body of experience of many, many years. The problem is, that like the game gossip, there are inevitable distortions - sometimes deliberate, as with alchemy. It's also quite possible that if a new Arahant believed that he would die in 7 days after realization, he might indeed - rather like the reported "Vodoo deaths." Does anyone think that it might be in the monastic institution's self interest to perpetuate such a myth?
David
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 0 Join Date: 5/16/09 Recent Posts
I just wish to point out that some of Abe's arguments ("I cannot know who is right, but I can know that Daniel and BV cannot be both right at the same time") rests on the Law of the Excluded Middle (LEM): (A or ~A), i.e. (either A or negation of A) holds. Well, LEM is certainly an axiom ("self-evident truth") in classical logic but it isn't accepted as an axiom in Intuitionistic Logic (IL). In other words, within IL, the proof that a statement A is false doesn't automatically mean that it's negation ~A is true. One still has to prove that ~A is true. More generally, classical logic with its two-valued interpretation (true, false) is not the final word when it comes to logic in general. We do have (and study) many-valued logics that are commonly called non-classical logics.

Basically, one has to be careful when implicitly using an axiom like the LEM in one's arguments, for one runs the risk of assuming too much without understanding how one is really arguing.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 0 Join Date: 5/12/09 Recent Posts
Thanks to Vishallama for introducing me (us?) to Intuitionistic Logic, which I just looked up at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intuitionistic_logic

In his book THE PHILOSOPHY OF CONSCIOUSNESS-WITHOUT-AN-OBJECT, Franklin Merrell-Wolff also pointed to the necessity for abandoning the Law of the Excluded Middle based on his own Realization. Before reading Vishallama's most helpful post, I had not known that logical systems have been developed that accommodate that notion.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 0 Join Date: 5/16/09 Recent Posts
Gozen,

You are welcome!

At the risk of moving too far away from the goals of this forum, I would just like to briefly point out - and this is something that the Wikipedia article on IL clearly mentions - that we can obtain classical logic from IL by either adding the Law of the Excluded Middle [LEM] (A or ~A) or Double Negation Elimination [DNE] (~~A --> A). In other words, those two axioms are equivalent to each other! That is, one of them is a consequence of the other and vice-versa. The DNE is particularly interesting because it says that the negation of negation of A does not imply A. That is a somewhat counter-intuitive idea but no more than LEM itself.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"So basically how can I enjoy Cuban cigars with XO Cognac; money; and nasty, sloppy, wet, intercourse and still be highly realized? How DOES that work?"

Last time I checked there is no single version of Buddhist dogma about arahantship and there was no official Buddhist model of enlightenment. I also think our typical models of enlightenment are pretty messed up and confusing and thus they can't be used effectively. The models that say "arahants simply can't do this or that," the limited action models, seem to me to be almost childish in their assumptions. Let's face it, we're all human beings. My personal opinion, to be held until proven otherwise, is that enlightenment doesn't cause us to become other than human. So I would expect a fully enlightened human being to have all the attributes that all other human beings have.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 0 Join Date: 5/16/09 Recent Posts
Frankly and honestly, Daniel in his (online) book did a great job of pointing out the limits of the models of enlightenment that we carry around in our heads without in the least bit being aware of the models themselves. To me, it is a great relief to know that one can "aspire" to enlightenment and also "achieve" it while still being engaged with the world. I feel it just doesn't make sense to give up everything - in other words, escape - (parents, friends, work, etc.) solely for "Buddhahood". If the skills developed through "meditative training/discipline" cannot also be applied in solving real-world problems, it is really hard to see how attaining enlightenment would be of any "use" to anyone including oneself.

So, Daniel, thanks!
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
I agree completely, but that being said, my own opinion is also that it doesn't serve much purpose to obtain "enlightenment" or profoundly deep insight (I like "Bodhi" best) if one remains an asshole. While arguably it doesn't serve a purpose anyway, it's somewhat accepted that helping others to achieve a similar degree of realization is a noble pursuit at that level - and being a jerk - especially one who is known to be enlightened, undermines that not only for the Bodhisattva in question, but for all the others. Those people need to go back and work on their "stuff."

Duncan, Alan, and I have had discussions in which Alan asserts that Aleister Crowley was enlightened. I think he may well have been, but the guy still would do things like throw Vodu priestesses on the table during the middle of a dinner party and ravish them, or be over at someone's house and drop his drawers, squat down and lay a turd down in the middle of the floor - then he's order people not to touch it because it was sacred "like the Dalai Llama's." <shakes head> I don't know, maybe it's what those Victorian sorts needed - I wasn't there. But at any rate, it doesn't sound good. It undermines his credibility as a teacher... but then again, maybe he didn't care about that - from the movie analogy standpoint, I can't really criticize him for anything other than having poor taste in plots.
D
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
sounds like a clear indication that there's something seriously wrong with using the movie analogy standpoint as a standard for how one ought to live.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Incidentally, the question of Crowley's enlightenment came up recently in a discussion I had with some friends. My opinion was, judging from his writings on the process of insight, he got at least those bits right which I am personally familiar with, and comparing with other sources, he got the rest right as well, insight-wise. A more interesting question (to me) is, however: assuming he was enlightened, what changes are observable in his lifestyle before and after the event? It seems he was a glamour-shocker-pop star of the esoteric scene before and after, similar in a way to how the Buddha was a beggar ascetic living in bizarre poverty before and after his enlightenment. Also, being a social drop-out (one aspect of "renouncing") seems to be a frequent side-effect of enlightenment: Lao-Tse quitting his job to "go west", the Buddha renouncing his social status - in a way, Crowley renounced Victorian society and its values.

The Buddha commented that any teaching containing the noble eightfold path was a valid teaching. In its succinct form of "sila, samadhi, panna", the N.E.P certainly can be found in Crowleys teachings, and it goes to show that sila is a tough training, eminently separate one from panna. There are many Buddhist icons who had less than ultimate mastery of it - Trungpa and his successor come to mind.

Cheers,
Florian
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"... my own opinion is also that it doesn't serve much purpose to obtain "enlightenment" or profoundly deep insight (I like "Bodhi" best) if one remains an asshole."

But the definition of what makes an asshole is as slippery as what we're talkling about in this conversation. I can act like an asshole with no intent to do so, and someone can see me as an asshole though I mighthave the best of intentions. The person I believe to be an asshole is probably someone's dear friend, husband or teacher. So in the realm we human beings inhabit we're stuck with what we've got, and that means we are all capable of the best and the worst. "Asshole" is a concept or a name that we solidify our thoughts around -- and we know that's delusion. All we can do, and I believe this is where practice becomes truly helpful, is to take personal responsibility for our behavior. I believe practice helps a person do that, and then to realize that the nature of human existence means we're all the same and that empathy, acted out as helping others, is the only thing we can for them beyond helping them realize what we realize through our own practice.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
With all due respect, I think there may be something seriously wrong with the idea that Awakening offers a standard for how one ought to live.

My own findings indicate that we are completely and absolutely free.

Here's my understanding of it (not that I'm a Buddhist scholar): Awakening, or insight involves a profound understanding of the Emptiness of all things. The moral discipline, on the other hand, involves an understanding of. and engagement with "dependent-arising." The "Two Truths" of absolute Emptiness and Dependent-arising seem to contradict each other, but both must be true according to doctrine. (Here's another example of the "center-periphery dilemma," I think). So it's possible to have profound insight into emptiness but still act like an idiot in "the World." Maybe you don't get a real grasp on both sides of the issue until Buddha-hood.

To Cmarti - I agree with everything you said. I just think that people sense an intuitive discrepancy when we see someone with profound insight act in a way that is either unskillful or ethically questionable. I'm not saying it doesn't happen - we all probably know someone who is profoundly insightful in some area, but maybe a social misfit, etc. Fritz Perls is a great example of someone with very deep insight who made very poor choices in his personal life. David
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
Would such actions be all that disturbing sans the limited emotional models of enlightenment that are so pervasive in Buddhist literature? See, I'm not sure the discrepancy is intuitive.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
umm.. yeah. limited emotional models of enlightenment don't define basic moral principles, they come from over-glorifying those principles. are you actually suggesting that objecting to socially insensitive behaviour comes from being conditioned to believe in those models... rather than from, say, social sensitivity?
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
exactly.. it doesn't offer a standard for how one ought to live. but by bringing up the movie analogy standpoint at all - and ending your post with it, no less - you use it to trump the sensible, ordinary standards that (unlike awakening) are actually relevant, criticisms you brought up but then buffered with the inane and all-too-common notion that, from an enlightened perspective, anything goes. and thus, personal accountability - an impetus for behavioural change - slips away again.

i would guess it's more likely that he, like most other people in a position of fame and power, did care about his credibility as a teacher but lacked impulse control and/or the ability to gauge his actions' effects..
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
Well, I'm definitely getting the feeling that I have something to learn from you on this topic, but I want to make sure that you understand what my position actually is. First of all, my intention was not to either buffer the criticisms I offered, or to trump ordinary standards (though sometimes I do think mores are simply conventional - but that's another topic), but rather to point out what I perceive as a real paradox. The way I see it, from a certain perspective, "anything goes" (all being empty and so forth) - but from an EQUALLY VALID perspective, one is personally accountable for the immediate and ultimate effects of the smallest of their actions.

The basic premises are that 1. Enlightened beings are human, imperfect, and capable of unskillful, ethically questionable, and socially insensitive actions. 2. It is no more acceptable for an Enlightened being to behave in an unskillful, ethically questionable, or socially insensitive way than for an ordinary person to do so. 3. In a certain sense it is less acceptable for them to act in these manners, more disappointing, and a higher standard seems to be implied. Why is number 3 true?

You seem to be implying that there is no valid perspective in which "anything goes", or that behaviors are empty. Help me understand why that is inane.

In terms of the analogy, it was designed to illustrate how Enlightenment might be more valuable than ten million dollars rather than offer an ethical allegory - but it is instructive to know where such illustrations break down. It was inspired by Bernardo Buttolucci's treatment of Plato's allegory of the cave in "The Conformist" (who incidentally also produced "The Little Buddha") as applied to film. Is the analogy helped by the thought that the other actors in the movie are in the theater with you, watching but so enrapt that they also believe it real, and are suffering, like you?
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
thank you for your clarifying reply.

i structured my sentence poorly - i meant that to buffer your criticisms of crowley's inappropriate behaviour with the 'anything goes' perspective is inane and all-too-common. are you sure that is not what you were doing? if not, why bring it up? i don't see a paradox between the pespectives of 'things are just happening' and personal accountability.. if the commitment to that accountability just happens, those things won't just happen. as such, there is plenty of ground from which to criticise crowley. further, to withhold such criticism on the basis that that ground itself is empty .. i think that's a misapplication of insight, not a paradox of reality.

with regard to your 3 premises, i agree with 1 and 2, but not 3. i would say 3 applies to teachers, not enlightened people, and the reason i find it is less acceptable that they act in these manners is because of the positions of influence they have.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 19 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
"are you actually suggesting that objecting to socially insensitive behaviour comes from being conditioned to believe in those models... rather than from, say, social sensitivity?"

I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying that we shouldn't use social behavior as our primary yardstick against which to measure how realized a person is.
thumbnail
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 3183 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Well, I am glad this thread has revived, as it is an important topic. A few points:

1) Somewhere up there someone presented emptiness and appreciation of cause and effect aka dependent arising as contradictory: in fact they are the same. Cause and effect is another way of saying emptiness, meaning that rather than their being some isolated subject that was outside of cause and effect, there is no such isolated subject, and in fact the whole thing is cause and effect through and through, which is to say empty of a separate, independent subject/doer, which is to say that the processes that seemed to be the subject were in fact just part of the causal, dependent whole.

2) Clearly Crowley had seriously strong Cluster B (narcissistic, antisocial) personality traits before and after. However, it is hard to argue against him having some level of realization and some very strong meditation abilities, as his writings simply contain too much that would be extremely difficult to fake to that level again and again, though they do contain a lot of pretty far out there stuff as well. I don't want to go on too much about him in this post, so if people want to hash out Crowley, add another thread somewhere.

3) The generic point about Crowley is that simply seeing the dependent nature of arising doesn't radically transform that arising to the degree that most of the standard morality models of enlightenment advertise, as has been pointed out.

4) The Movie analogy has a problem: it is on the Transcendence side of the equation, which should be balanced with an equally solid dose of the Intimacy side of the equation. Imagine that instead of realizing that you were sitting watching a movie, instead you realized that there was only the movie and no one separate that was watching it, then add 3D. I am not saying that either is true absolutely, but I prefer the Intimacy side for practice, as it cuts through the sense of a center.
Wet Paint, modified 12 Years ago.

RE: Some thoughts on Daniel’s Essay about Arahats

Posts: 7 Join Date: 9/2/09 Recent Posts
I like this!
I suppose to make it really accurate, we'd have to add in olfactory, gustatory, and kinesthetic sensations... Now that's starting to seem strangely familiar... and it seems to confirm my sense that the best option would be to be enlightened AND have 10 million dollars!

One clarification:
Dependent-arising and Emptiness ARE the same - I was indicating an apparent rather than an actual contradiction. This has not been an unproblematic issue in Buddhist thought and Tsong-ka-pa devotes a substantial portion of his "Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path" to discussing the issue and how to understand the issue properly to avoid the pitfalls of essentialism or nihilism ("Those who Negate too much" aka the contemporary Tibetan scholars of the day). Understanding the issue involves comprehending the relationship between ultimate and conventional truth, and I think that this may wind up being a key point in this particular discussion.

To recap, here is the essence of the discussion as I see it: We agree that Enlightened beings are imperfect and human. Should they be held to a higher moral standard than beings who are relatively less enlightened? Why or why not?

It's easy to see why one might want to hold them to a higher standard - one holds a 10 year old to a higher moral standard than a 5 year old. Why would someone with profound insight act in ways that screw up their own and other people's lives? Does it make their sin (moral failing) more egregious?

If not, what does that say about the relationship of insight to ethical practice?

Breadcrumb