Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Tom Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 123 Join Date: 2/17/10 Recent Posts
This is not a frivolous question.  It will help me understand just what we are talking about when we use the word "arahat".  I would especially appreciate an answer from Daniel or anyone else here who has gotten to  the arahat stage.

My guess is that even an arahat will not know for sure the answer to this question until they actually go through the experience of a spouse dying, or the equally intense experience of a child dying, but I would love to hear everyone's thoughts.  

Part of the reason for this question is that my wife died six months ago, unexpectedly, from brain cancer.  I was 67.   She was 62.  We had been together for 21 years.  I cried a lot.  I also sat in meditation a lot.  

I don't cry about it any more.  I talked a lot about it with close friends and in a grief support group, but I am just now getting  to the point where I can talk about it  in a detached way in an online meditation forum like this one.   So I  don't want this discussion to be about me and my loss and my emotional recovery from that loss.  I am to the point now that I can use the intensity of that experience to understand other things.

So - Would an arahat cry if his wife died?
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Heck, I cry when I watch the TV show Glee.
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Daniel M. Ingram:
Heck, I cry when I watch the TV show Glee.

I'd cry if I had to watch it too.
seth tapper, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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I am not sure what an Arhat is exactly, but a fully awake mind might still cry if someone they loved died, but they would see it as just another thing happening and not take the thoughts and feelings that arise as important or even theirs.  An awake mind sees that human emotions and attachments are just conditioned responses of a system that doesnt belong to anyone or have anyone in control.  So while all kinds of things might arise in an awake mind, it wouldnt get lost in identifying with them or experience them as suffering to be averse to in the way that we usually do.  

A great analogy is a charlie horse in the leg while swimming.  A rational person knows the spasm will pass and cant hurt them and just lets it occur.  A neurotic person tries to solve the charlie horse somehow and is full of fear and thrashing.  They often drown.   A fully awake mind is in the first category no matter what arises or happens.  
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Scott, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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The way I'm thinking about these things now is:

How is it that being under a delusion would enable you to do something that being enlightened wouldn’t? What capability do you think that sentient beings have that enlightened ones don’t?

The enlightenment that crippled the mind in that way would be an enlightenment no one wanted. It would be worse than useless.

So, enlightened ones still have the ability to say or think "I", still have the full complement of human emotions, still have sex, still play tennis and the piano (if they did before). They just don't labor under the same misapprehension as they did before enlightenment.

In this instance, they would still mourn the death of a loved one, but they wouldn't make the mistake of thinking that mourning is an endless state, and the sadness wouldn't become an end in itself, disproportionate to the actual situation.

They would be very sad that someone close to them had died, but they have a sort of emotional chain reaction or circular feedback in which they were upset about being sad. 

Andrew S, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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I wonder if Buddhas cry. Anyone know of any stories about that in the suttas?
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Lars, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Andrew S:
I wonder if Buddhas cry. Anyone know of any stories about that in the suttas?

I don't recall any stories from the suttas, but i'm reminded of this one:

Zen Master Soyen Shaku, who lived from 1859 to 1919, walked daily through his town accompanied by a student. On one occasion he heard loud wailing coming from a house. He went inside to investigate and asked why everyone was crying. “We are mourning the death of our child,” he was told. Immediately, Master Shaku took a seat among the family and began to weep with them. On the way back to the temple, the student asked whether Master Shaku knew this family. “No,” answered Shaku. “Then why did you cry with them? Why, Master, aren’t you above such things?” asked the student. The Master replied, “I cry to share their sorrow. I cry because this is what keeps me human.”
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Andrew S:
I wonder if Buddhas cry. Anyone know of any stories about that in the suttas?


   I don't think the buddha ever laughed or cried. At least, not in any sutta I ever heard. Not even in jataka tales.

   Equanimity.

   Real people laugh and cry, in every language.

t
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curious, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Hi Tom.  I no arahat, although I do cry during Barbie movies!  But I have been working on the dharma for a while and had a recent experience of a very close bereavement. You can click through to read my account of the grief, if you want (it is a bit personal, and a bit analytical, sorry).

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/7417750#_19_message_7620115

What Seth said resonates with me, and also Scott's comment about the lack of the emotional chain reaction.  The other weird thing is that this person in some ways seems as alive as they ever were. I think this is because I have become a bit less deluded, so I realise that all I was ever doing was interacting with my mental concept of that person. That mental concept is still present and accesible, not being obscured by lots of grief.  And that's kind of cool.
shargrol, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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It doesn't matter.

Best wishes Tom. Sorry for what happened, but also happy that you had 21 years together.
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Scott, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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+1 on @shargol's answer.


Sorry for your loss, and happy for your life together.
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Noah D, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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On which map?

The direct-perception/wisdom map 
Or the map which measures the degree to which that wisdom has been embodied in a very specific way, through years of renunciation training? 
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Noah D, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BS5Gtfd5Reg
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Part of the reason for this question is that my wife died six months ago, unexpectedly, from brain cancer.  I was 67.   She was 62.  We had been together for 21 years.  I cried a lot.  I also sat in meditation a lot.  

Tom, I'm very sorry. My deepest condolences. My father passed away in October and I cried. And yes, it doesn't matter.
van lu, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Hi Jim 

Sariputa was angry and punched someone in the face then does his lion raw. The Buddha was angry at a bunch of loud monks and kicked them out of the monastery.

To be free of fetters, mean unbinding, means nibana.  Unbinding is literally that : nothing stick to the mind. They dwell in emptiness. 

Remember, they still have all 5 khandhas left, that mean thoughts and kammic imprints from eons of lives still laying dormant waiting to be roped , just like us. 

Dukkha comes, dukkha goes, mean  sankara that results into emotion is felt in the body and the voices is raised. But still they are empty.  They talk and think but still they are empty. 
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Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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van lu:
Hi Jim 

Sariputa was angry and punched someone in the face then does his lion raw. The Buddha was angry at a bunch of loud monks and kicked them out of the monastery.

To be free of fetters, mean unbinding, means nibana.  Unbinding is literally that : nothing stick to the mind. They dwell in emptiness. 

Remember, they still have all 5 khandhas left, that mean thoughts and kammic imprints from eons of lives still laying dormant waiting to be roped , just like us. 

Dukkha comes, dukkha goes, mean  sankara that results into emotion is felt in the body and the voices is raised. But still they are empty.  They talk and think but still they are empty. 

Does the 8 fold path lead to the end of dukkha, or the "not sticking in the mind" of duhhka? How do you define dukkha?

(I'm just trying to understand what it all means.)

Thanks
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curious, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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"But if a lion is about to eat you and your eyes are closed and you don't know the lion is even there, you won't feel fear. But if your eyes are open and you do see the lion and you do know you are about to be dinner, if you are afraid it is 100% due to thinking. The thinking comes first then the emotion"

Yes, the mind can cause bodily states (in fact at a deeper level of analysis, all states and perceptions are caused by the mind). The rupa jhanas are also good examples of this.  But then mind reacts to bodily states as well.  It is the cycle of dependent arising.

"Does the 8 fold path lead to the end of dukkha, or the "not sticking in the mind" of duhhka? How do you define dukkha?"

On dukkha - it's a Pali word, and has been translated in various ways - stress, suffering.  Maybe it is useful at this point to roughly quote good ole Sid  (Siddharta Gautama the Buddha).  "All I teach is suffering, and the end of suffering."  Now I haven't reached the end of the path so I can't attest to the complete end of suffering, but I can attest to massive reductions in suffering and hugely enhanced wellbeing.  You could as equally call it stress as suffering.  Both words speak to the same experience, for me.

I do know that deconstruction, phenomenoly and ontology are great fun and quite seductive.  They can tempt us to keep playing the game of word meaning that whiles away the time, engages the mind, and helps us feel separate and alive.  But it is a game without an end, as meaning is determined by an ever-shifting community of ideas, and recursively determined.  Sid had advice for that as well, along the lines of "If someone is shot by an arrow, don't ask; What kind of arrow is that? Who made it?  Why did they choose that wood, and where did the feathers come from?  Instead, just pull the arrow out." 

And how did he advise pulling the arrow out - by following the noble eightfold path.

Jim, are you following the noble eightfold path? 
van lu, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Jim

The difference is that this emptiness is permanent.  Just like a tree is bring uprooted and all its roots remove, there is no chance the tree will regrow.  In  your case there is roots still left. Go to cessation as long and many as you can, that will wipe the I’m-ness totally.
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Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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van lu:
Jim

The difference is that this emptiness is permanent.  Just like a tree is bring uprooted and all its roots remove, there is no chance the tree will regrow.  In  your case there is roots still left. Go to cessation as long and many as you can, that will wipe the I’m-ness totally.


What style of meditation do you recommend to go to cessation? Is there a web site with information and instructions?

Thanks
van lu, modified 2 Years ago.

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Jim 

jhanas 1-8 . The first 4 is accessible if your silla and heart are pure. Because they use beautiful emotions of bliss and joy as the meditation focus. The last 4 of arupa, formlessness I recommend find an energy field, someone who have attained.

You can read ayya khema on dharmaseed.org 

Once you’re in formless just let go and enjoy the ecstasy. It’ll naturally lead you to nothingness and 8th. After that cessation follows. It’s a natural processes, don’t read abidharms. It’ll put you off completely.
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Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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van lu:
Jim 

jhanas 1-8 . The first 4 is accessible if your silla and heart are pure. Because they use beautiful emotions of bliss and joy as the meditation focus. The last 4 of arupa, formlessness I recommend find an energy field, someone who have attained.

You can read ayya khema on dharmaseed.org 

Once you’re in formless just let go and enjoy the ecstasy. It’ll naturally lead you to nothingness and 8th. After that cessation follows. It’s a natural processes, don’t read abidharms. It’ll put you off completely.

van lu,

Thanks, this is very helpful. 
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curious, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Jim, try the book posted free online at this link. I have only read the first edition at this stage, but I am sure this second edition generously posted online will be even better.

https://www.mctb.org
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streamsurfer, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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I'm sorry for your loss.

When mountains are mountains again, crying is crying again.

I not claim to be an arahat, but my cup of wisdom says insight is empty, and your heart and compassion is what connects you to this living world.
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Stickman2, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Hi Tom, thanks for opening this question out to us. It puts a finger on doubts I have had about what meditation is actually for for years. There is so much teaching on how to face and meditate on negative emotions, I was just watching Shinzen Young talk about being mindful on sad feelings, and yet there isn't always a need for those feelings to be there in the first place if tears can be shed.
So I wonder to what extent mindfulness of emotional suffering means also hanging on to it rather than releasing it ?
Crying is in part a social thing, we do it as part of relationship with others, but meditation tends to be a solitary pursuit, people even go into retreat for years, so I wonder if the solitariness of the meditator thwarts the sort of social connection needed for emotional release such as tearing up ?
Some meditators say they simply dissolved negative emotions by looking at them and not seeking the mental escape. Some bypass them with jhanas. But if it can be released in the first place then there's nothing to meditate on (I know complete emotional release may not be realistic) - so why not seek release before mindfulness ?
In buddhism the path is supposed to be about "overcoming" suffering from life's inevitabilities, but emotional pain or attachment isn't always inevitable, and how much people are even allowed to release is a cultural thing - boys don't cry and all that. Some cultures for example have huge wailing funerals, and some have quiet affairs with a drink in the pub afterwards. Do the origin cultures of meditation practice have a more fluid approach to emotions ?
I suppose the promise of contemplation is that a permanent shift will take place in how emotion is viewed and experienced (which I don't doubt), and Daniel has described this to me, but still I wonder if the buddhist lifestyle (for want of a better word) prolongs emotions, that could be released, just for the sake of practice.
I have further questions about the relationship between suffering, buddhism and medicine but I'll leave that for another time I think.

Thank you very much for your posting.
tamaha, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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I'm sorry for your loss, Tom. I frequently keep wondering with the same question during the times I cry, seeing my sixty year old mother battling with last stage of cancer. 
Che, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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I am really sorry for your loss. My father, 87, died exactly one month ago, and I was his primary carer for the last six years. I cried yes, especially when reminiscing with my sister. At the same time I was really happy to meet a lot of old friends and family who I would otherwise have not met. For the first week or two I liked to talk about my dad with friends and cousins, but now life seems to be in a new normal where his passing is just a fact of life, and the topic of dad rarely comes up.

The human drama is part of being human. All this attainment keeps the drama from becoming too real and sticky, that is all. Like a Teflon coating isn’t a guarantee that nothing will stick, but most things tend to stick less, and sometimes not at all, and other times  despite the Teflon it will stick and make a mess.

My best wishes and condolences.
T DC, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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I think something to contemplate here is that enlightenment may remove our suffering, but it does not remove our humanity.

In this vein, a quote I like from Robert Peng (a contemporary enlightened qigong master) is that (post enlightenment), "emotions are the spice of life".
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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T DC:
I think something to contemplate here is that enlightenment may remove our suffering, but it does not remove our humanity.

In this vein, a quote I like from Robert Peng (a contemporary enlightened qigong master) is that (post enlightenment), "emotions are the spice of life".
aloha t dc,

   In vedanta, reality (as we know it) is made up of the three gunas, sattvas (good, sweet), rajas (fiery, hot), and tamas (pickled, preserved). These are often thought of in terms of spices, which are dear to the indian heart.

   All are forms of attachment, or styles of imprisonment. Samsara.

   The ("enlightened") sage prefers plain food.

   There is only one enlightened master and that one is unknown.


terry



With Everything On It

I asked for a hot dog
With everything on it,
And that was my big mistake,
'Cause it came with a parrot,
A bee in a bonnet,
A wristwatch, a wrench and a rake.
It came with a goldfish,
A flag and a fiddle,
A frog and a frontporch swing.
And a mouse in a mask -
That's the last time I ask
For a hot dog with everything.

shel silverstein

 
van lu, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Hi Tom 
Arahant is someone who is nibanic, meaning the processes that make who “he” was, now ended. They dwell in emptiness and thoughts, memories and thinking processes don’t stick to their mind. The implications are many fold : they still feel pain but doesn’t suffer. They still get angry but doesn’t carry for long. Desires rises and they passes. Dukkha rises and they passes. That means : he’ll cry when his wife died for a day. Because grief don’t stick to his mind.
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Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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van lu:
Hi Tom 
Arahant is someone who is nibanic, meaning the processes that make who “he” was, now ended. They dwell in emptiness and thoughts, memories and thinking processes don’t stick to their mind. The implications are many fold : they still feel pain but doesn’t suffer. They still get angry but doesn’t carry for long. Desires rises and they passes. Dukkha rises and they passes. That means : he’ll cry when his wife died for a day. Because grief don’t stick to his mind.


What does it mean to be freed from the fetters?

Identity view, doubt in Buddha, ascetic or ritual rules, sensual desire, ill will, desire for material-rebirth, desire for immaterial-rebirth, conceit, restlessness, ignorance.

If they are free of ill will, identity view, etc. What causes anger?


Thanks
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curious, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Hi Jim,

I like the way the noted neuroscientist Antonio Damasio looks at this.  He describes emotions as being bodily reactions - fear, lust, pleasure and so on.  Then our thoughts about those emotions are feelings.  This seems counterintuitive at first, as we tend to think of emotions as being in the mind - but if you examine them, you generally find this mental aspect is just a reflection of a physical reaction somewhere in the body.  

So, from a buddhist point of feel, the bodily event (emotion) leads to a feeling/feeling tone (pleasant, neutral, unpleasant) and we may generalise that feeling (craving) and then cling to some mental formation we hope will satisfy it (clinging) - although it never actually does satisfy the craving, hence the whole mass of stress and suffering.

Liberated people are not free of the body.  So they will still get the bodily reactions that are emotions.  But they are likely to have more ephemeral feeling tones, and no clinging.  So the emotion will pass by pretty quickly without leading to mental flailing or creating more karma (deep unskilful learning that leads to more suffering in the future).  So anger can still arise from bodily causes such as the fight/flight reaction.  But it will pass quickly without knock-on effects, just as van lu described.

Also, bear in mind that although Arahants do not create new karma, they still have to deal with the residual karma floating around their system.  So there may be some residual mental formations that get triggered by the flight/fight bodily reaction.  Also, as I understand it, an Arahant could still choose to let the feeling tone unfold without any harm (karma), as it will not progress to craving and clinging.  Hence the Buddha said it was ok for Arahants to get drunk, as they didn't need to worry about heedlessness anymore!

The Buddha did seem to sometimes get angry at the other monks and tell them off.  He possibly even meant it, and felt it.  But he wouldn't really have been upset by it, and it wouldn't have lead to grasping, clinging, or other after effects.

Hope this helps.  Just my perspective.  YMMV.

Metta
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Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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curious:
Hi Jim,

I like the way the noted neuroscientist Antonio Damasio looks at this.  He describes emotions as being bodily reactions - fear, lust, pleasure and so on.  Then our thoughts about those emotions are feelings.  This seems counterintuitive at first, as we tend to think of emotions as being in the mind - but if you examine them, you generally find this mental aspect is just a reflection of a physical reaction somewhere in the body.  

If you have low blood sugar and your body produces cortisol because one effect of cortisol is that it causes cells to release glucose into the blood, that is a bodily reaction. You might get anxiety from the cortisol and that anxiety is also a bodily reaction. 

But if a lion is about to eat you and your eyes are closed and you don't know the lion is even there, you won't feel fear. But if your eyes are open and you do see the lion and you do know you are about to be dinner, if you are afraid it is 100% due to thinking. The thinking comes first then the emotion.



http://www.suttas.net/english/vinaya/patimokkha-analysis-and-explanation/appendix-30-ten-fetters.php

There are five lower fetters (orambhāgiyāni saṃyojanāni) the first three of which are abandoned (pahīyanti) at stream-entry (M.1.9).
...
More significant than the ten fetters themselves is the tendency to them, and one is not really free of the fetters until one is also free of the tendency to them (sānusayo pahīyati) (M.1.434; S.5.60). The Buddha explained this using the simile of the infant. A young infant does not have the notion

‘selfhood’ (sakkāyo’tipi na hoti) so how could the false seeing of Selfhood arise in him? Yet the tendency to it lies within him.
‘Dhamma’ (dhammā’tipi na hoti) so how could uncertainty about Dhamma arise in him? Yet the tendency to it lies within him.
‘rituals’ (sīlā’tipi na hoti) so how could blind grasping of rituals and ascetic practices arise in him? Yet the tendency to it lies within him.
‘sexual pleasure’ (kāmā’tipi na hoti) so how could desire for sexual pleasure arise in him? Yet the tendency to it lies within him.
‘beings’ (sattā’tipi na hoti) so how could ill-will towards beings arise in him? Yet the tendency to it lies within him (M.1.433).
It would better reflect this, if the fetters were called:

the tendency to the false seeing of Selfhood sakkāyadiṭṭhi
the tendency to uncertainty vicikicchā
the tendency to blind grasping of rituals and ascetic practices sīlabbataparāmāso
the tendency to sensual desire kāmacchando
the tendency to ill will vyāpādo (S.5.61)
the tendency to attach to material states rūparāgo
the tendency to attach to formless states arūparāgo
the tendency to the presumption of a ‘me’ māno
the tendency to perturbation uddhaccaṃ
the tendency to Dhamma blindness avijjā (S.5.61)
Curiously, the Buddha says that the fetters only fetter when they are powerful and unsubdued (thāmagatā appaṭivinītā) (M.1.434). This slightly suggests that in noble disciples the fetters maybe linger in a weak and subdued form.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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That "Arahats don't create new karma" catchline is seriously problematic and used by lots of psychopathic gurus and the like to rationalize their creation of all kinds of chaos and harm. I hope it vanishes immediately from the discourse of awakening except to put up reasonable counterarguments to it.

Karma is a complex term, but, if you think of it as "causality", the law of this leading to that, then it becomes more workable. Arahats, while still alive, clearly create karma. Further, that karma rings out long after their death with no obvious way to determine its final termination. The Buddha's life, actions, and words are still part of the great ringing on of causality, causes leading to conditions leading to more conditions leading to more conditions, etc. That we are on a forum called the "Dharma Overground" clearly proves this point, as it almost certainly wouldn't exist without the actions of an awakened dude over 2,500 years ago.

Thus, be extremely careful with the concept of transcending karma, meaning the great ringing web of causality, of not creating new karma, or karma ending absolutely, etc. Is it really true that you can determine the absolute endpoint of the ripple on a pond, of a gravity wave in space, of a word, of a deed, of even a thought? Clearly not.
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Santiago Jimenez, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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It seems that this sort of questions always end in the "absolute vs relative" distinction. From the relative point of view (based on the solidity of space and time) there's no way Karma ends. From the absolute point of view (where limits are set by the mind's process of creating dualities) there is no Karma, because there is no relationship, it's all "one" process with no discernable begginigs or ends.

The problem is that we TRY TO PUSH THE ABSOLUTE UNDERSTANDING INTO THE RELATIVE, which creates all this misunderstandings and stupidity. It is impossible to talk accurately about awakening or awakened "beings" from a relative perpective, you can only point to it (sort of).

So, from one point of view, no one escapes Karma ever. From another point of view, if you get enlightened you escape Karma, but not really beacause there isn't a you outside of everything that is arising in this moment.

This is irreconciliable as far as I see it.
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Santiago Jimenez:
It seems that this sort of questions always end in the "absolute vs relative" distinction. From the relative point of view (based on the solidity of space and time) there's no way Karma ends. From the absolute point of view (where limits are set by the mind's process of creating dualities) there is no Karma, because there is no relationship, it's all "one" process with no discernable begginigs or ends.

The problem is that we TRY TO PUSH THE ABSOLUTE UNDERSTANDING INTO THE RELATIVE, which creates all this misunderstandings and stupidity. It is impossible to talk accurately about awakening or awakened "beings" from a relative perpective, you can only point to it (sort of).

So, from one point of view, no one escapes Karma ever. From another point of view, if you get enlightened you escape Karma, but not really beacause there isn't a you outside of everything that is arising in this moment.

This is irreconciliable as far as I see it.

aloha santiago,


   Are the absolute and the relative "irreconcilable"? That may be extreme. As blake says, "Eternity is in love with the productions of time."

   But lets talk about karma. The word actually means "action," so lets talk about action. 

   In the absolute sense, there is no becoming, no action. Nothing is gained or lost, nothing changes. In the relative universe, impermanence is of the essence, and things are changing all the time. In the absolute there is nothing to change, the one pearl neither toils nor spins. In the relative we are busy adapting and surviving.

   Now, let's say we as individuals and as a society would like to be wiser, more intelligent, more healthy. To that end we cultivate insight and perspective, to better adapt our lives to our environment, and our environment to our lives. 

   That we act, that we create and accumulate "karma" as a result of self interested "action," is a given. That knowledge of the absolute may provide a balance by introducing the idea of unselfish activity is itself insightful. The practices of "non-thought" and "non-action" may bring us closer to the absolute viewpoint, wherein the natural harmony of the universe takes place without our assistance or interference.

   In practice, if we actively pursue goals - that is, with desire and focus - we experience resistance and blind ourselves to what is really going on. If we accept reality as it is, without any desire to change it, even our so-called past karma is experienced only as current conditions. And current conditions dependently arise: all karma is global.

   The enlightened have no individual karma. They eat karma for breakfast. And lunch and dinner, it's a steady diet as karma is dissolved and transformed into healthy (social) tissue.

   So, bra, in sum you might TRY TO PUSH THE ABSOLUTE UNDERSTANDING INTO THE RELATIVE. To reconcile them, eh? (wink)


terry
Alice S, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 34 Join Date: 9/27/17 Recent Posts
“If they are free of ill will, identity view, etc. What causes anger?”

No Arahat replying here.  But, as others have said more eloquently, my idea of free doesn’t mean you don’t experience the emotion, but that you see it for what it is.  Being born a human causes the anger.  Solidifying the anger, as opposed to seeing it as transient, (or better yet, empty) causes suffering. 

I think Scott nailed it.  What ability does an unenlightened being possess that an enlightened one doesn’t? 

If a “recovering alcoholic” told you he was free of
his addiction, what would that mean?  Would it mean he wasn’t ever tempted to drink?  Or would it mean he had seen clearly where drinking leads and now opts to make a more skillful choice?  


“To the degree, depth, and comprehensiveness that we can realize the emptiness, the illusory nature of phenomena, to that degree, depth and comprehensiveness is freedom available.”   Rob Burbea “Seeing That Frees”


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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Alice S:
“If they are free of ill will, identity view, etc. What causes anger?”

No Arahat replying here.  But, as others have said more eloquently, my idea of free doesn’t mean you don’t experience the emotion, but that you see it for what it is.  Being born a human causes the anger.  Solidifying the anger, as opposed to seeing it as transient, (or better yet, empty) causes suffering. 

I think Scott nailed it.  What ability does an unenlightened being possess that an enlightened one doesn’t? 

If a “recovering alcoholic” told you he was free of
his addiction, what would that mean?  Would it mean he wasn’t ever tempted to drink?  Or would it mean he had seen clearly where drinking leads and now opts to make a more skillful choice?  


“To the degree, depth, and comprehensiveness that we can realize the emptiness, the illusory nature of phenomena, to that degree, depth and comprehensiveness is freedom available.”   Rob Burbea “Seeing That Frees”



   To answer the question, 

"If a “recovering alcoholic” told you he was free of 
his addiction, what would that mean?" 

It means this person is off the program. By definition,  a "recovering alcoholic" is dealing with an addiction to alcohol.

   To distinguish between "enlightened" and "unenlightened" always involves presumption. Such distinctions are dualistic and inherently false. And dangerous because they engage our vanity. Who are we to judge?

   We can't think of enlightenment as a good without wanting to be enlightened. Since enlightenment follows on the absence of desire, wanting enlightenment is self-defeating. We practice effectively when we seek nothing, especially not "enlightenment." In zen the desire for enlightenment and its expression is the "zen stink," and saying the word "buddha" is using foul language. "If you meet a man of the way, don't ask him about the way" (rinzai).



terry
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:
van lu:
Hi Tom 
Arahant is someone who is nibanic, meaning the processes that make who “he” was, now ended. They dwell in emptiness and thoughts, memories and thinking processes don’t stick to their mind. The implications are many fold : they still feel pain but doesn’t suffer. They still get angry but doesn’t carry for long. Desires rises and they passes. Dukkha rises and they passes. That means : he’ll cry when his wife died for a day. Because grief don’t stick to his mind.


What does it mean to be freed from the fetters?

Identity view, doubt in Buddha, ascetic or ritual rules, sensual desire, ill will, desire for material-rebirth, desire for immaterial-rebirth, conceit, restlessness, ignorance.

If they are free of ill will, identity view, etc. What causes anger?


Thanks


   only the ego gets angry

   the cause of anger is attachment


   The buddha of the suttas suggests we treat even our torturers with kindness. Tibetan lamas were famous for their compassion toward their chinese persecuters.

t
van lu, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 34 Join Date: 7/31/18 Recent Posts
It is because of the 8 fold path that lead to nibana. I’m using mundane normal terms to describe what Unbinding and nibana is. The suttas themselves are vague, more instructional than descriptive. It doesn’t describes the physiological changes, and mind states changes with every huge shift of perceptions. 

The emptiness and the non stickiness of the mind is my personal descriptions. That’s my take of how the mango taste like in this human form.

Dukkha is very easy to see in this “state”. It is the attachment to perceptions, sankaras, feelings, body and consciousness. From that attachment and identification of them and with them that the “I am” arise. From there actions are compulsive, and dependent.  

For example, a tree is only a tree when it needed to be a tree. Otherwise it is just as it is.
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Jim Smith, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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van lu:
It is because of the 8 fold path that lead to nibana. I’m using mundane normal terms to describe what Unbinding and nibana is. The suttas themselves are vague, more instructional than descriptive. It doesn’t describes the physiological changes, and mind states changes with every huge shift of perceptions. 

The emptiness and the non stickiness of the mind is my personal descriptions. That’s my take of how the mango taste like in this human form.

Okay, that is why I am asking you. I want to know what it is like.

But if a person does meditation, he develops equanimity etc even if he does not become a stream enterer. For that person who is not enlightened, emotions are also "not sticking in the mind" like you say they are for an arahant.

So what is the difference between someone who goes through the stages of awakening and someone who meditates a lot and develops equanimity etc just from meditating?

Because when I read your discription of what it is like: "not sticking in the mind", that is what it is like for me, but I am not an arahant or even a stream enterer. If I stop meditating for a few days my mind becomes sticky, if I keep up with my daily meditation my mind is like teflon.
Why should I make a big effort to get enlightenment?


Thanks
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curious, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 904 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:

So what is the difference between someone who goes through the stages of awakening and someone who meditates a lot and develops equanimity etc just from meditating?

Because when I read your discription of what it is like" "not sticking in the mind", that is what it is like for me, but I am not an arahant or even a stream enterer. If I stop meditating for a few days my mind becomes sticky, if I keep up with my daily meditation my mind is like teflon.
Why should I make a big effort to get enlightenment?



Sorry Jim, my reply crossed with your and van lu's post.  But eerily similar !

To try to answer your question - it becomes more of a default state.  The experience then deepens and gets better and better, although I can only speak to part of that.  But here is one way to think of the initial stages.

When we cling to things, we form mental ideas of them and link them to our self concept.  We can try to practice non-clinging to that particular thing, but that is hard and it is endlessly reinforced and shored up by all the other connections in our mind.  With stream entry, we instead cut off the self concept.  Then all the mental ideas that we were clinging to are suddenly set adrift, because they were all anchored to the self concept - and they no longer have an anchor!

After a while there may be some reconsolidation of self and some of that clinging, but it is much much weaker.  So the act of stream entry is like cutting the gordian knot instead of pulling at the frayed ends.  Suddenly, the whole schema of clinging falls to pieces and can never be completely regathered.  
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 3877 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
So what is the difference between someone who goes through the stages of awakening and someone who meditates a lot and develops equanimity etc just from meditating?
What style of meditation do you recommend to go to cessation? Is there a web site with information and instructions?


I'll chime in here again, Jim, at the risk of sounding like a broken record: 

The difference is the deeply felt knowledge that when it comes to human experience there is no center, no controller, no controlled. It is in the realization that all phenomena are equal, arise just as they are, where they are, cause some version of discomfort (dissatisfaction), are not I/me/mine, and then pass away. It lies in the realization that there is no multilayered hierarchy of perception and experience. The difference lies in knowing this unalterably. It lies in the shift to seeing in real time how the human process of perception and experience actually works.

That is a big part of awakening. Equanimity is not a permanent shift, as you have admittedly seen for yourself. Equanimity is a view, an experience, a state. Awakening is not an experience, not a state, not a view.

The reason folks here keep recommending MCTB to you is because that book presents a thorough, comprehensive, common sense, practical roadmap to actual awakening. You keep asking for references to a website or a book that shows how to progress along that path. That's the first one to read, IMHO.

There's more, but I know you prefer explanations in digestible bites.


Henry wijaya, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 58 Join Date: 7/7/18 Recent Posts
Perhaps Jim is going through this.
On the last fetter of an Arahant is Avijja , the unknown, the ignorance, etc.
The knowledge we all had is very limited, in fact the more we know , the more we do not know. 

The scientist has already proved these, the more they find out about atoms, they found out that there’s even smaller particles than atoms, more unknown. The more they travel through space and universe, now they found out the unobservable universe which is way vast than the observeable universe.

Limitation of the knowledge, intellectual mind, and physical world. One would eventually questioning all his knowledge, the sources, and then, by never arriving to a conclusion, he admit he actually dont know a single thing in everything. All the names, identification, knowledge, conceptual thinking, do we ever really know anything at all?  

Buddha helps us build ladders, then we climb, but upon reaching the last door, the unknown, even the ladders we must clear up. If a SE is uncertain for their attainment, sadagami, anagami even more uncertain. An Arahant, absolutely uncertain. 
 
If we let go all of our limitations and small size knowledges, whats left? I’d picked : sense.
One would start all over again the meditation process, and only sense, without acknowledgment, there might lies the truth, One might lose the fetter : avijja. Avijja ; The Ignorance, the source of creation, the root of dependant origination.

Im sorry for your loss Tom, best wishes for you and your wife.
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Jim Smith:
van lu:
It is because of the 8 fold path that lead to nibana. I’m using mundane normal terms to describe what Unbinding and nibana is. The suttas themselves are vague, more instructional than descriptive. It doesn’t describes the physiological changes, and mind states changes with every huge shift of perceptions. 

The emptiness and the non stickiness of the mind is my personal descriptions. That’s my take of how the mango taste like in this human form.

Okay, that is why I am asking you. I want to know what it is like.

But if a person does meditation, he develops equanimity etc even if he does not become a stream enterer. For that person who is not enlightened, emotions are also "not sticking in the mind" like you say they are for an arahant.

So what is the difference between someone who goes through the stages of awakening and someone who meditates a lot and develops equanimity etc just from meditating?

Because when I read your discription of what it is like: "not sticking in the mind", that is what it is like for me, but I am not an arahant or even a stream enterer. If I stop meditating for a few days my mind becomes sticky, if I keep up with my daily meditation my mind is like teflon.
Why should I make a big effort to get enlightenment?


Thanks

"I" should make no effort at all. Enlightenment happens when "I" and its efforts disappear entirely.

No one ever gets anything from meditation. That's kind of the point.

t
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Keshin lu:
It is because of the 8 fold path that lead to nibana. I’m using mundane normal terms to describe what Unbinding and nibana is. The suttas themselves are vague, more instructional than descriptive. It doesn’t describes the physiological changes, and mind states changes with every huge shift of perceptions. 

The emptiness and the non stickiness of the mind is my personal descriptions. That’s my take of how the mango taste like in this human form.

Dukkha is very easy to see in this “state”. It is the attachment to perceptions, sankaras, feelings, body and consciousness. From that attachment and identification of them and with them that the “I am” arise. From there actions are compulsive, and dependent.  

For example, a tree is only a tree when it needed to be a tree. Otherwise it is just as it is.


a tree is never a tree...it is always just as it is...
Alice S, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 34 Join Date: 9/27/17 Recent Posts
An interesting discussion from a satsang I attended last night, where the teacher brought up the fact that we do these practices to help us prepare for the tough events in life.  Here, in Silicon Valley, people frequently use these practices to further their career and as positive pshychology among other things, and he said that it can be very effective for those purposes, but in addition to that, what we are really doing is figuring out how to navigate life in a more skillful way.  Over and over again, in meditation, we watch ourselves dissolve and then reconstruct.  When hard times come and the experience is so difficult, in spite of our best efforts, we fall apart.  Without any effort, we come apart from the pain, but if we've seen this happen on the cushion, we can be better prepared to navigate the storm.  He spoke about counseling someone who was grieving and then almost immediately afterwards, finding out that a friend had experienced the death of an adult child.  He had watched the child grow up and had apparently been fairly close to the family when the child was young.  

So, I told him about this discussion.  I asked him if an arahat would cry if his wife died.  He brought up the fact that the definition of arahat varies.  I repplied we had mostly avioded the definition of arahat.  I asked, if an arahat's wife died, would he cry?  Would he be a sobbing mess on the floor, but ultimately, at some point, be able to get up and do what needed to be done, like funderal arrangements, etc?  He repplied that he didn't like to make enlightenment seem like some kind of superhuman event, as from his experience, it wasn't like how it is often thought to be.  He said it has made him more, not less human.  And he said that while the arahat would have more tools at his disposal, would he be able to "get up and do what needs to be done?"  Maybe.  Maybe not.  

He did say that arahats, or even stream enterers had a "permanent shift" that had a tendency to help them navigate difficult territory more skillfully.  I then asked if people who didn't practice but who had lived difficult lives, with many challenges were able, without a formal practice, to navigate skillfully in a similar fashion.  He repplied that he did think that was true and pointed to how we as a society believe that people who have suffered to an extreme degree are wise.  

Just another prespective.  This is a fascinating discussion.  Thanks, Tom.  It's helpful to hear how you have navigated this difficult territory and reminded us that it's part of the reason we do these practices.  The reminder that being human is hard, but as others have said, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.   
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Chris Marti, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

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Good teacher, that one. Stay with them!
Alice S, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 34 Join Date: 9/27/17 Recent Posts
Chris Marti:
Good teacher, that one. Stay with them!
Thanks for the affirmation, Chris.  I will, without a doubt.  My respect for him grows everytime we interact, be it in satsang, retreat or individual practice discussion.  I can't tell you how much I value him and how fortunate I am to have him for a first teacher.  
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terry, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Alice S:
An interesting discussion from a satsang I attended last night, where the teacher brought up the fact that we do these practices to help us prepare for the tough events in life.  Here, in Silicon Valley, people frequently use these practices to further their career and as positive pshychology among other things, and he said that it can be very effective for those purposes, but in addition to that, what we are really doing is figuring out how to navigate life in a more skillful way.  Over and over again, in meditation, we watch ourselves dissolve and then reconstruct.  When hard times come and the experience is so difficult, in spite of our best efforts, we fall apart.  Without any effort, we come apart from the pain, but if we've seen this happen on the cushion, we can be better prepared to navigate the storm.  He spoke about counseling someone who was grieving and then almost immediately afterwards, finding out that a friend had experienced the death of an adult child.  He had watched the child grow up and had apparently been fairly close to the family when the child was young.  

So, I told him about this discussion.  I asked him if an arahat would cry if his wife died.  He brought up the fact that the definition of arahat varies.  I repplied we had mostly avioded the definition of arahat.  I asked, if an arahat's wife died, would he cry?  Would he be a sobbing mess on the floor, but ultimately, at some point, be able to get up and do what needed to be done, like funderal arrangements, etc?  He repplied that he didn't like to make enlightenment seem like some kind of superhuman event, as from his experience, it wasn't like how it is often thought to be.  He said it has made him more, not less human.  And he said that while the arahat would have more tools at his disposal, would he be able to "get up and do what needs to be done?"  Maybe.  Maybe not.  

He did say that arahats, or even stream enterers had a "permanent shift" that had a tendency to help them navigate difficult territory more skillfully.  I then asked if people who didn't practice but who had lived difficult lives, with many challenges were able, without a formal practice, to navigate skillfully in a similar fashion.  He repplied that he did think that was true and pointed to how we as a society believe that people who have suffered to an extreme degree are wise.  

Just another prespective.  This is a fascinating discussion.  Thanks, Tom.  It's helpful to hear how you have navigated this difficult territory and reminded us that it's part of the reason we do these practices.  The reminder that being human is hard, but as others have said, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.   
aloha alice,

   Learning "how to navigate in a more skillful way" is the antithesis of enlightenment. For "the skillful navigator," suffering is inevitable.

terry


.
Chris, modified 2 Years ago.

RE: Would an arahat cry if his wife died?

Posts: 19 Join Date: 8/3/18 Recent Posts
Hello Tom,

An Arahat has completed his path, done what needs to be done.  But no amount of clear seeing will ever be able to undo what was built in the past.  It is there.  It's a part of him.  He is no longer chained by his karma, but he is the result of his karma.  Though he is fully liberated, when he experiences loss, he is confronted with it like anyone else.

Would an Arahat cry if his wife died?  He could choose to.  He could allow those karmas to flower and blossom, permitting that sorrow to wash over him, just as it washes over anyone else.  He will be keenly aware of its coming and going, knows the twists and turns it will take as previously built up towers come crumbling down.  He could choose to do this, or he could choose to pierce these karmas with clear seeing, and allow them to evaporate.

Would an Arahat cry if his wife died?  I can imagine no Arahat that would choose not to cry.  Yes, he would cry, and in doing so he would celebrate what his attachment stood for, and what role it played in his life.

Best wishes to you.

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