RE: Claim to Arahat status

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JUAN BARREDO, modified 1 Year ago at 2/28/23 3:11 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/28/23 2:29 PM

Claim to Arahat status

Posts: 11 Join Date: 3/1/21 Recent Posts
Hello,

My go to line when posting about this on my social media accounts is that "I keep saying the weirdest thing.  That I honest to goodness believe that I have honest to goodness gained honest to goodness Buddhist Enlightenment."

I achieved stream entry and subsequent stages through what I can best describe to be "the sociological imagination" (book by C. Wright Mills).  Allow me to introduce myself as a sociologist (with a bachelors and masters) who gained enlightenment by maxing out my ability to imagine through the sociological lens.

Very simply, if you are a medical student going through medical school. You will/should eventually start seeing the people around you through your education, right? You hear someone coughing and I imagine that you can more or less deduce a good starting place for a diagnosis. Likewise, as a sociologist as you wonder around you may see homeless people through the lens of a professor's research on homelessness that you had to read.  Pre-pandemic at least most homeless people in studied samples tend to be homeless for only a few months before getting back up through another job or family connections ("Poor and Homeless in the Sunshine State: Down and Out in Theme Park Nation" by James Wright).  Post-pandemic, things are sure to be different.

I would say that this all started when in High school (I am 37 at the time of writing) in English class (not honors or IB or AP just regular English class) the teacher had us read "Siddhartha" the novel by Hermann Hesse.  After reading it I figured at the time being an anime nerd that "maybe there is something to achieve".  I obviously deduced that this attainment would have no anime super powers *cry emoji*

Fast forward to me in undergraduate sociological social theory class just half heartedly agreeing with each theorist that was presented to us over the semester.  That was until the professor introduced Michael Foucault. If you know his work he was a privileged white male who found himself being gay before the gay liberation movement in France.  Foucault was thrown into mental health institutions in order to be "normalized".  This experience made him ponder about all the ways that bodies are normalized (Foucault in California: A True Story--wherein the Great French Philosopher Drops Acid in the Valley of Death by Simeon Wade). Foucault more or less breaks down Marx's class division into a division of "power" that runs through each body ("Discipline and Punish").  Each body which is thrown into disciplinary institutions come to define the body itself by its relationship to other bodies in the institution. 

What gripped me to the present moment like never before was his discussion that back in maybe 1600's Europe, disciplinary institutions beat the body in order to get to the mind.  Think electro shock therapy or just parents beating their kids in order to get them to be quiet. And how nowadays there are ADHD medications for the mind in order to get to the body ("Perspectives in Sociology" by E.C. Cuff, Wes W. Sharrock, D.W. Francis).  This sort of back and forth really put me in the "I could be a body back then or right now" feel.

Moving along, now by the time I was writing my dissertation I ended up reading Judith Butler's "giving an account of oneself". Butler's argument that gripped me was how they showed that the narrating self inside of me isn't based on any objective evidence by definition. The same arguments that historians have about narrating a historical event play out in my head when narrating my own life. I was gripped specifically because I know that my parents beat me all the time yet I don't have any memories of it ("The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma" by by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.). 

Once out of graduate school and working for my parents in a surviving but not thriving business. I kept up the reading of such books. I ended up running into Object Oriented Ontology at a friend's suggestion. I was working through "Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World" by Timothy Morton when I decided to watch a lecture of his on YouTube.  In a line he talked about how a raindrop will never feel itself as "wet" as it falls through the atmosphere.  A raindrop is "wet" only when it crashes on our skin.  I let that marinate for a while and then I just pondered to myself like a blacksmith might hammer a knife into shape that "this is the most that I will ever know myself" for a few times, each with more intensity until I clashed with something inwardly. 

I continued on with my day until about 45 minutes later while sitting at my desk, things started to change to say the least.  I could manipulate thoughts and feeling better than I ever could.  Thanks to the availability of Daniel's Book, I put two and two together and realized that I was at stream entry.  This was back in 2017.

I mean, gosh.  To not write too much I worked my way through cycles as perfectly described in Daniel's book through reading and pondering sociological social theory books.  Zizek was crucial as was Hannah Arendt.  I eventually reached Arahat by working my way through "What IS Sex?" by Alenka Zupančič. Ironically, Alenka's book has a whole chapter against Object Oriented Ontology.

Well, I achieved 4th stage by realizing that the my genitals as an object have nothing to do with my gender. This was in 2018.

Through the journey, I did get two yoga teaching certificates which certainly helped as well as the privilege of too many psychedelics. Previous to gaining enlightenment, maybe in 2014 I had a trip where I "got the message" which lead me to "hang up". After that I got the message I wasn't as worried about tripping but about working on my goals.

Right now I don't feel a self and anything as such.  Language at best is duck tape at holding together this perception of reality.

Fun question, do any of you Arahats still feel like the sex/gender you were before attaining 4th stage?

I feel somewhat left out of the real high of being able to reach them jhanas but I don't have the privilege to meditate 3-5 hours a day to get gorgeously high. My joke is "gain enlightenment first AND THEN MEDITATE" lol.

Geez, so much more to say as I imagine is the same with ya'll.  I will look back for any comments emoticon
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 2/28/23 6:25 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/28/23 6:25 PM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Have you had any moments where reality vanished and reappeared?
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JUAN BARREDO, modified 1 Year ago at 2/28/23 7:29 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/28/23 7:28 PM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Hi,
The way I see it, the brain has a refresh rate.

It is very straight forward for me to focus on that refresh rate.

So, yes. Reality disappears and reappears very very fast through the day but because the body is so automated. It is easy to just forget to see it emoticon
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Aeon , modified 1 Year ago at 2/28/23 8:12 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 2/28/23 8:12 PM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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If you had not truly attained arahantship or perhaps any path at all... Would you want to know about it?

Don't mean to rain on your parade, but there is a chance you have misdiagnosed your attainment.
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Zack Whitford, modified 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 1:29 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 1:06 AM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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"gain enlightenment first AND THEN MEDITATE"

I can only imagine. Meditating amidst the A&P was absolutely hilarious to me.

Completely ineffable, although Daniel does a pretty great job in his book, because he understands the direct knowledge of experience and that certain things need only be hinted at, if at all - especially when said experiences tend to redefine one's perspective on a fundamental level.

Like if there were a doctor one could visit afterwards, and they prompted you with the: "On a scale of 1-10, what was your level of bliss?"

"FIGHTER JET LIGHTSABER MILKSHAKES."

And that was before things started to get actually ridiculous. 

-----

OP, congrats on your process. 

Keep an eye out for owls.
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JUAN BARREDO, modified 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 8:16 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 8:16 AM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Thank you!
Hector L, modified 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 9:40 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 9:40 AM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Woohoo! Congrats! Which faction did you end up picking?
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JUAN BARREDO, modified 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 9:47 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 9:47 AM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Hi!

I am unsure which factions you mean!

Let me know so I can reply with confidence emoticon
Hector L, modified 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 10:58 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 10:51 AM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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It's like arahant is the character creation step then you chose how to engage with the world:

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhicitta
  • King-like bodhicitta, in which a bodhisattva primarily seeks his own benefit but who recognizes that his benefit depends crucially on that of his kingdom and his subjects.
  • Boatman-like bodhicitta, in which a bodhisattva ferries his passengers across the river and simultaneously, of course, ferries himself as well
  • Shepherd-like bodhicitta, who makes sure that all his sheep arrive safely ahead of him and places their welfare above his own.
I think there are several other types too like

Bird - just go with the flow, pick one when necessary
Lightworker - Boatman that uses shakti-pat
Trickster - Like boatman but uses conceptual world memes instead of shakti-pat
Shaman - Like boatman but mostly functioning in the imaginal
Transcend - stays in samadhi until needs to pee, probably also King
Immanent - returns from samadhi, physical realm, probably also Shepherd
Dreamer - row row row your boat gently down the stream, merrily merrily merrily, life is but a dream
Pure lander - guards the mental realm, incorporates new beings
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JUAN BARREDO, modified 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 10:58 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 10:58 AM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Hi Hector!

These are all amazing!

I think that I am:
 
  • Boatman-like bodhicitta, in which a bodhisattva ferries his passengers across the river and simultaneously, of course, ferries himself as well
I did go to Clown School too!  lol.  So, I can see myself as a Trickster.

​​​​​​​Thank for for these emoticon
Hector L, modified 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 11:00 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 11:00 AM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Haha me too I see myself as (non arahant) trickster / birdman
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JUAN BARREDO, modified 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 11:04 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/1/23 11:04 AM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Nice to meet you!
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 3/2/23 5:00 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/2/23 4:45 AM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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JUAN BARREDO
Hello,

...

Right now I don't feel a self and anything as such. 
...
Geez, so much more to say as I imagine is the same with ya'll.  I will look back for any comments emoticon


I have some opinions on the subject and I can't say if they apply to you simply based on an internet post, and because words have various shades of meaning people can say different things and mean the same thing or say the same thing and mean different things, so consider this just an expression of my opinions on the subject, expanding on something you said, and not an assessment of your own situation....

How people feel with regard to the self is not so important as how their sense of self affects their thinking and behavior. If they feel like they don't have a self but act like they have/are a self or think like they have/are a self than the feeling of no self is just a delusion. However, when the sense of no-self permeates their being so deeply that it affects how they think and how they act and they never experience or act out of ill will, conceit, attachment to pleasures, attachment to their body, or any kind of attachment to self,  or irritability when attachments are threatened (because they have no attachments), when they don't experience or demonstrate any preference for themselves ahead of other beings even to the point where compassion and right speech are natural and automatic, at that point "no-self" means something and it is very rare. Unfortunately it can be very hard to assess oneself because we are so good at hiding our own faults from ourselves. 
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JUAN BARREDO, modified 1 Year ago at 3/2/23 8:09 AM
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RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Hi Jim!

I think that Daniel goes over this in his book but to put it plainly, I wish to death that you were right.  That no self lead to the sorts of actions you mention.

Sadly, this hasn't been my experience *cry emoji*

You can read about this in Hannah Arendt's books, 'Between past and future'.  I actually gained the "detachment from rite and ritual" insight from 'Between past and future'.  It was during my stream entry stage, if I remember correctly.  But it could have happened during second stage, too.  So, basically there is no way to guarantee that any action will end up as planned.  This is even at any level, be it in manufacturing.  Heck this is where the art and science of craftsmanship comes from ('the craftsman' by richard sennett).

Another amazing book, again by Hannah Arendt is "the life of the mind".  she died of old age on the type writter writting this book!  It is definitely way too much information all the time.  I love it.  But she makes a separation between interior thinking/feeling space and exterior acting space.  Definitely if you are up to reading a legend's work be aware that it is gorgeously complex *heart eyes emoji*.  Richard Sennett makes the argument that these two spheres (interior space and exterior) connect through the act of craftsmanship.  Craftsmanship is also very hard to do.  You need to be lucky enough to develop and be trained and retrained, etc.

The best knife blacksmiths are always "trying to make the perfect knife".

Much more I can say but basically, I wish that you were right and that no self meant like you say:

"it affects how they think and how they act and they never experience or act out of ill will, conceit, attachment to pleasures, attachment to their body, or any kind of attachment to self,  or irritability when attachments are threatened (because they have no attachments), when they don't experience or demonstrate any preference for themselves ahead of other beings even to the point where compassion and right speech are natural and automatic, at that point 'no-self' means something and it is very rare. Unfortunately it can be very hard to assess oneself because we are so good at hiding our own faults from ourselves."
Thank you so much for your question!
Hector L, modified 1 Year ago at 3/2/23 10:58 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/2/23 10:58 AM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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I'm trying to figure this one out too, maybe:

self is ok (King)
non self is ok (Shephard)
neither self nor non self is also ok (Boatman)

The same pattern of form, emptiness, neither/both seems to apply at all scales of stuff.
I found the heart sutra to be helpful in this.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 3/2/23 11:45 AM
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RE: Claim to Arahat status

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JUAN BARREDO
Hi Jim!

I think that Daniel goes over this in his book but to put it plainly, I wish to death that you were right.  That no self lead to the sorts of actions you mention.

Sadly, this hasn't been my experience *cry emoji*

You can read about this in Hannah Arendt's books, 'Between past and future'.  I actually gained the "detachment from rite and ritual" insight from 'Between past and future'.  It was during my stream entry stage, if I remember correctly.  But it could have happened during second stage, too.  So, basically there is no way to guarantee that any action will end up as planned.  This is even at any level, be it in manufacturing.  Heck this is where the art and science of craftsmanship comes from ('the craftsman' by richard sennett).

Another amazing book, again by Hannah Arendt is "the life of the mind".  she died of old age on the type writter writting this book!  It is definitely way too much information all the time.  I love it.  But she makes a separation between interior thinking/feeling space and exterior acting space.  Definitely if you are up to reading a legend's work be aware that it is gorgeously complex *heart eyes emoji*.  Richard Sennett makes the argument that these two spheres (interior space and exterior) connect through the act of craftsmanship.  Craftsmanship is also very hard to do.  You need to be lucky enough to develop and be trained and retrained, etc.

The best knife blacksmiths are always "trying to make the perfect knife".

Much more I can say but basically, I wish that you were right and that no self meant like you say:

"it affects how they think and how they act and they never experience or act out of ill will, conceit, attachment to pleasures, attachment to their body, or any kind of attachment to self,  or irritability when attachments are threatened (because they have no attachments), when they don't experience or demonstrate any preference for themselves ahead of other beings even to the point where compassion and right speech are natural and automatic, at that point 'no-self' means something and it is very rare. Unfortunately it can be very hard to assess oneself because we are so good at hiding our own faults from ourselves."
Thank you so much for your question!


Although it is rare, and it contradicts the consensus view, full awakening is possible.

Here is one example:

https://web.archive.org/web/20180621093536/https://www.dhammasukha.org/ven-bhante-vimalaramsi.html

Bhante practiced Vipassana very intensely his first 20 years under an American teacher and in Burma, under U Pandita and U Janaka. Finally around 1990 he was told that he had achieved the endpoint of the practice, as it was taught by the Sayadaws, and now he should go teach. He didn't feel comfortable that he had really found the end of suffering. He felt he did not have the true personality change that awakening should bring, even after going through the 16 levels of Insight or knowledges, as outlined by Mahasi Sayadaw in Progress of Insight.

Changing Direction From 1991 to 2000 he dedicated himself to "direct experience through study of the suttas and meditation practice". At first he stayed with K. Sri Dhammananda in Malaysia and taught Metta meditation. Then he had a real change in direction with his meeting of a Sri Lankan senior monk, Bhante Punnaji, also in Malaysia. His advice was to ‘study the suttas directly and to let go of relying on commentaries like the Visuddhi Magga'. Specifically he said, ‘Read only the suttas, then practice'. This was very significant because the commentaries were influencing how he was seeing the entirety of the Dhamma, at the time. It was suggested to put them aside while he studied the suttas as a standalone system. Nanavira in the early sixties, suggested this and then Stephen Batchelor also talked about just using only the suttas in his book "A Buddhist Atheist".

When Bhante began to do this, he discovered first hand, the interwoven nature of the Teachings. In each sutta he found the elements of the 4 Noble Truths, the 8-Fold Path, and the impersonal process of Dependent Origination. Dependent Origination or Paticcasamupada is the core of the Buddha's teachings. He realized that the word sutta literally meant "thread" and that the threads together, created a finely woven cloth, whereas, one single thread does not equal a cloth! Through his own objective first hand experience, the 8-Fold Path began to come alive. When he realized the secret of the teachings was on his doorstep he took the Majjhima Nikaya to a cave in Thailand and spent 3 months, living with a cobra as company, reading and then practicing just what the suttas said. In very little time, he said, he had gone deeper in his meditation, than ever before. What started as two weeks to study suttas turned into three months of deep practice. Out of this was born TWIM or Tranquil Wisdom Insight Meditation completely based on the suttas in the Majjhima Nikaya. He found the Jhanas had an entirely different explanation and experience. Nibbana was possible!

Bhante Vimalaramsi did not accept the consensus view that awakening was limited, or that it did not include personality changes, he went beyond what his teachers had to teach and secluded himself with the sutras until he found the way to full awakening. 
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JUAN BARREDO, modified 1 Year ago at 3/2/23 12:01 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 3/2/23 12:01 PM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Hi Jim,

Thank you so much for your reply!

​​​​​​​I will certainly look into Bhante Vimalaramsci!
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JUAN BARREDO, modified 1 Year ago at 3/2/23 12:02 PM
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RE: Claim to Arahat status

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I should study the sutras!  

I haven't though 
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Dream Walker, modified 1 Year ago at 3/4/23 12:09 AM
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RE: Claim to Arahat status

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"The most amazing thing about realizing where you are at is that things can get even better!" - Noah
paraphrasing from Noah on Dho

Good luck,
​​​​​​​~D
Samuel K, modified 1 Year ago at 5/4/23 10:15 AM
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RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Greetings friend. Theruwan Saranai from forest monastery in Sri Lanka. 

It sounds like you’ve been experiencing and enjoying quite an incredible Life exploration! Many Congratulations!  You’ve laid out quite a lot of interesting details and I can imagine there are many more. Again, felicitations to you on your diligent effort and practice to evolve and grow. 

I am a simple practitioner with some small amount of experience and am in no way a teacher or very experienced meditator. If you're interested, I will share some things I've learned which you may find some benefit from. 

Though Daniel's book is titled "Teachings of the Buddha", to my current understanding, much of what he describes in it, including the cycles, the "stages of insight", the "dukkha nnanas" etc, are not actually from the teachings of the Buddha i.e. the suttas. They are taken from a book named the Vissudhimaga which is a commentary written ~1,000 years after the Buddha passed. It is itself based off of previous, now lost commentaries and shares many things which are not found in the suttas themselves. 

The Buddha uneqivocally describes hundreds and hundreds of times that his teaching and the practices which fall under it, directly lead to mental purification. It is the whole purpose of the path. The Buddha states three legs of the Dhamma he teaches; sila, dana, bhavana ~ abstain from unwholesome activity, perform wholesome activity, purify the mind. As Jim mentioned, the Buddha describes in innumerable different ways in almost all of the thousands of suttas, as one progresses on the path he teaches one's mind becomes purified and subsequently one's external actions definitely change from unwholesome to wholesome. 

The mind is incredible, vast and nuanced and there are many, perhaps infinite possibilities within it. Reflecting this, there are innumerable types of meditation or mental developments, each of which leads to different outcomes. The kriya yogic meditations lead to very deep and incredible states which are quite different in ways than the very deep and incredible states one can experience with Tibetan dzogchen practices, which are quite different in ways than the deep and incredible states taught in the Vissudhimaga. And, to my current level of experiential understanding combined with learning from wise teachers and monastics, all of these are quite different than the states the Buddha describes in the suttas. 

I don't say one is better than another, they lead to different places which one may desire to go depending upon one's desired endstate. But if one is desiring to go to the place the Buddha describes, for which the term arahat or arahant is given, then I feel it will be quite difficult to get there if using instructions other than the ones he gives. 

It is said that as one progresses upon the path taught by the Buddha, one's understanding of the suttas naturally grows and one feels less and less interest in reading anything else. Initially they can seem like a lot of words and "ok I can extract some basic, obvious message from them but they feel bit clunky and obtuse". Then as one actually experiences the things he describes, deeper levels begin unlocking and deeper understanding arises. As one progresses, one's values change and so one naturally is drawn to being immersed in the Dhamma, which is most clearly described (outside of personal experience) in the suttas.

 The translations by Bhikku Bodhi et al are generally the ones most used by English speakers. Here is the Majjhima Nikaya / Middle Length Discourses which has much great Dhamma inside. https://www.amazon.com/Middle-Length-Discourses-Buddha-Translation/dp/086171072X

Sutta Central has free translations as well. https://suttacentral.net/

Here is Delson Armstrong, an experienced instructor of the TWIM tradition which Bhante Vimalaramsi reengaged, giving a talk on one of the suttas of Dependent Origination. This is one of The Core Teachings Of The Buddha, it describes all of existence, all of our actions and all of what we experience. Take a listen and see how it resonates with you. 
https://youtu.be/O__TVxrI49s

If you would like to explore more, there are free TWIM online retreats which will go into this in greater detail while teaching a practice direct from the suttas which you, with your experience, may pick up very quickly and experience very interesting experiences. 
https://www.dhammasukha.org/

You can also go to local or further monasteries, as I am doing. Being around practicing monastics who study these as their focus in Life, can provide much clarity and insight. 


If you choose to, I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts after you compare these different experiences. I've not experienced what you describe and so I’d find it very interesting to hear your thoughts. 

May you be happy, may you be at peace, may you be content. 
Much Love 
Samuel K, modified 1 Year ago at 5/4/23 10:16 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/4/23 10:16 AM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Dream Walker
"The most amazing thing about realizing where you are at is that things can get even better!" 

And I second this emoticon
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Pawel K, modified 1 Year ago at 5/4/23 10:43 AM
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RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Well, I achieved 4th stage by realizing that the my genitals as an object have nothing to do with my gender. This was in 2018.
<br />You figured your gender is "arhat"?<br /><br />BTW. By definition you have to be asexual to be true arhat.<br />Are aware of that?
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JUAN BARREDO, modified 1 Year ago at 5/5/23 8:17 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 5/5/23 8:17 AM

RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Hi Samuel, Thank you so much for your reply.  I enjoyed reading it because it was well thought out and I learned many new things. I am definitely planning on checking out the resources that you provided as well! I think the best defense I have is that I have found myself agreeing with just about everything that Daniel M. Ingram has said about what being an arahat/arahant feels like.  I have seen a few of his interviews on YouTube and his experience is very much what I experience day to day. I am really excited about the link that you provided to "The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya (The Teachings of the Buddha)" because it is also in audiobook format!  I enjoy audiobooks and this is definitely a worth while audiobook to check out. The Dhamma sukha Meditation Center website is really lively and I am excited to learn more about them! I love watchin long form YouTube videos, so the "MN 38 Dependent Origination" video is perfect Thank you again for your thoughts!
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JUAN BARREDO, modified 1 Year ago at 5/5/23 8:31 AM
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RE: Claim to Arahat status

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Thank you for your reply Ni Nurta,

I was not aware that I had to be asexual to be a true arhat

I do experience sexuality differently than before I became an arhat for sure!

However, I still have sexual feelings/thoughts but I can choose to let them pass better than before I became arhat.  So, I see how being asexual *could* be a sign of being an arhat!

I guess I am choosing to continue to be sexual but being asexual is also a very real posibility 
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Pawel K, modified 1 Year ago at 5/5/23 10:56 AM
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RE: Claim to Arahat status

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My definition of an "arhat" is one who mindlessly copy solution from someone else who has it.

Not sure who you copied but since most programs in dharma circles are similar with few main types floating around it doesn't matter. Most cause pretty similar side-effects when installing. Especially half baked solutions. Those are things which actual master would be able to recognize and instruct/inform students about need to move forwards. Things students can easily be unaware of and believe things which are not true.

In any way I recognize the experience. At times I am arhat too so I have a lot experience in these things.
This thing you got can be cured so keep good practice and do not worry emoticon

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