Dhammanando wrote:In the Ugghaṭitaññū Sutta (AN. ii. 135) the Buddha says that there are four kinds of person found in this world: those who are quick in acquiring, those who learn by means of a detailed exposition, those who may be guided, and those for whom the letter [of the Teaching] alone is the highest thing. In the Abhidhamma Piṭaka these are defined as follows:
What sort of person is quick in acquiring (ugghaṭitaññū)?
The person for whom there is penetration of the Dhamma at the very time when it is being taught is called “quick in acquiring.”
What sort of person is one who learns by means of a detailed exposition (vipañcitaññū)?
The person for whom there is penetration of the Dhamma when the meaning of what has been taught in brief is later analysed in detail is called “one who learns by means of a detailed exposition.”
What sort of person is one who may be guided (neyya)?
The person for whom penetration of the Dhamma comes gradually by means of recitation, questioning, proper attention, and by serving, cultivating and waiting upon kalyānamittas is called “one who may be guided.”
What sort of person is one for whom the letter alone is the highest thing (padaparama)?
The person for whom penetration of the Dhamma will not come in this life, however much [of the Teaching] he may hear and speak and bear in mind or recite, is called to be “one for whom the letter alone is the highest thing.”
(Puggalapaññatti 41-2; Designation of Human Types 58)
Regarding the fourth type, the padaparama, his lack of potential for awakening in the present life may be due to a number of factors. Most padaparamas were already such before they were even born, when still in their mothers' wombs. Only humans conceived with a triple-rooted relinking consciousness (i.e., one accompanied by all three kusala roots: non-greed, non-hate and non-delusion) have the possibility of attaining jhāna or the noble path in their present life. Those with fewer kusala roots than this are all padaparamas.
Even those who have been reborn with such a consciousness may still be padaparamas. In the Puggalapaññati Atthakathā (PuggA. 184-5) Buddhaghosa lists six causes for incapacity to attain the paths and fruits in the present life; in each case the state is reckoned as one that lacks the requisite decisive support condition (upanissaya-paccaya). A similar list is also given in the Paṭisambhidāmagga (Paṭi. i. 123), but here I will use Buddhaghosa's as the Paṭisambhidāmagga's version does not supply any explanation.
1. Obstruction by kamma (kammāvaraṇa); meaning those who have committed one of the five anantariyaka kammas.
2. Obstruction by defilement (kilesāvaraṇa); meaning those who hold to any of the ten niyata wrong views ("there is no giving, no sacrifice... etc.").
3. Obstruction by kammic ripening (vipākāvaraṇa); meaning those who were reborn with only a double-rooted or a rootless relinking consciousness.
4. Lack of faith (assaddha); "one lacking faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Saṅgha."
5. Lack of zeal/desire-to-act (acchandika); defined as being one who either lacks chanda in the sense of desiring to undertake what is kusala.
6. Being weak in wisdom (duppañña); defined as those in whom the bhavaṅga-citta of that lifetime lacks the mental factor of paññā (this in fact overlaps with #3, for it is the relinking consciousness that determines the character of the bhavaṅga-citta in any lifetime).
My questions are:
(1) Is it an accurate understanding of the teaching that only Padaparama and Neyya humans are born now?
(2) Can a person change from a Padaparama to a Neyya in this lifetime? Or is a Padaparama going to remain such until the time of physical death?
(3) What are the characteristics of a human conceived with a triple-rooted relinking consciousness (i.e., one accompanied by all three kusala roots: non-greed, non-hate and non-delusion)? Are such persons incapable of some certain akusala actions or impulses?
(4) Is it an accurate understanding of the teaching that any person conceived without a triple-rooted relinking consciousness has no hope of Jhana in this lifetime? And also no hope of stream entry in this lifetime?
(5) If a Padaparama cannot become a Neyya in this lifetime, what is the most appropriate practice for such a person? The same as for a Neyya? Or are certain meditation practices pointless for a Padaparama? Would a Padaparama be better off focusing on merit with an eye toward a more fortunate rebirth?
(6) If the appropriate practices are different for a Padaparama than they would be for a Neyya, is there a sure-fire way for a person to know which type he or she is, in order to make most effective use of this particular rebirth during this sasana?
The story of Angulimala seems to suggest that profound change can occur in a single lifetime. If a serial killer can become an Arahant, then I imagine a Padaparama can become a Sotapanna in the same lifetime. (Unless it's possible for a person conceived with a triple-rooted relinking consciousness to be a serial killer intent upon murdering his mother.)
I realize some of these questions may be fairly basic. Thank you for your patience.