Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerrant?

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Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerrant?

Postby polarbuddha101 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:35 pm

Greetings everyone,

Tiltbillings raised a pertinent question on an old thread that can be found here: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4791&start=20

The question was:

Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerrant in all of one's proclamations about the Dhamma? Does it make one a good scholar?


I thought this was actually a really important question, since I imagine that many of us here on dhammawheel would like to enter the stream sometime before death.

A few other questions can be drawn out from Tilt's initial ones. A few would be:

Could two streamwinners disagree with each other on aspects of the dhamma? For example, how to interpret paticca samuppada.

If streamwinners were unquestionably inerrant in all of their proclamations about the dhamma that would be extremely disconcerting in my opinion given how much dhamma is out there and how many controversies (large and small) there are about the teachings.

So let's look at what a streamwinner in the suttas has come to know and which fetters they've abandoned:

And while this explanation was being given, there arose to Ven. Kondañña the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

And while this explanation was being spoken, there arose in the venerable Koṇḍañña the dust-free, stainless vision of the Basic Pattern: "whatever is patterned with an origination, all that is patterned with a cessation."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .harv.html


"He attends appropriately, This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: self-identity view, doubt, and grasping at habits & practices."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... ml#fetters


So one of the basic things that a streamwinner has done is that they have understood impermanence. But does it matter what metaphysic one interprets impermanence through? For example, if one person understands impermanence through the doctrine of momentariness, i.e. that cittas and whatnot arise in discrete units, and another person understands impermanence through some conception of flow, and another doesn't care whether things are impermanent through momentariness or flow and just recognizes that everything is impermanent, can these three different people all have the dhamma-eye?

The fetters eliminated seem more straightforwards if you ask me with the exception of perhaps doubt. Is this doubt just about what's skillful and unskillful or is it about rebirth or is it about the fact that the destruction of passion, aversion, and delusion is possible or about all of these or what?h

Anyway, what are your thoughts? Would a stream enterer be an infallible guide to understanding exactly what the Buddha taught the way the Buddha exactly intended it to be taught or could two stream enterers disagree on a few things?

:namaste:
Last edited by polarbuddha101 on Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerra

Postby daverupa » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:21 pm

Streamwinners are unerringly headed for liberation, and they have access to right view, but they are not impeccable teachers, they can still drop the ball in terms of sila, they don't necessarily have jhana, and while they ought not to conceive, they still do - since they are still in training - with concomitant effects. ("The Buddha has discussed two types of feeling" - "No, he discussed three types of feeling." Not that this half-remembered sutta included streamwinners, but this sort of disagreement could probably arise amongst them. The trick is to see that neither arguer is doctrinally wrong, just wrongheaded.)

Some arahants are liberated through contemplating the aggregates, others the sense spheres, others the elements, and so on, but I'm disinclined to call these metaphysics through which one interprets anicca. It's just that, for any scale of resolution, anicca can be observed. The commonality seems to be the streamwinner's seeing of idapaccayata.

The doubt which is eliminated is doubt about wholesome & unwholesome states, which is how the streamwinner is bound for liberation within a limited time frame.

Discussing training potentials with respect to Nikayas or +Abhidhamma or ++Commentaries is probably bound for trouble, as far as topics go...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerra

Postby Gena1480 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:30 pm

the stream entry
has no doubt about the most important thing
that is the deathlesss
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Re: Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerra

Postby mogg » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:58 am

daverupa wrote:Streamwinners are unerringly headed for liberation, and they have access to right view, but they are not impeccable teachers, they can still drop the ball in terms of sila, they don't necessarily have jhana, and while they ought not to conceive, they still do - since they are still in training - with concomitant effects. ("The Buddha has discussed two types of feeling" - "No, he discussed three types of feeling." Not that this half-remembered sutta included streamwinners, but this sort of disagreement could probably arise amongst them. The trick is to see that neither arguer is doctrinally wrong, just wrongheaded.)

Some arahants are liberated through contemplating the aggregates, others the sense spheres, others the elements, and so on, but I'm disinclined to call these metaphysics through which one interprets anicca. It's just that, for any scale of resolution, anicca can be observed. The commonality seems to be the streamwinner's seeing of idapaccayata.

The doubt which is eliminated is doubt about wholesome & unwholesome states, which is how the streamwinner is bound for liberation within a limited time frame.

Discussing training potentials with respect to Nikayas or +Abhidhamma or ++Commentaries is probably bound for trouble, as far as topics go...

I disagree with this. It would be impossible to become a sotapanna without jhana from my understanding.

Nonetheless, with regard to the OP, of course stream-winners can make dhammic errors. They have only eradicated 3 of the 10 fetters, so naturally incomplete understanding remains. Only an Arahant would be infallible with regard to the dhamma IMO. That being said, as a sotapanna has eliminated identity view, I would expect a certain baseline of accuracy within their understanding which could never be violated. For example, it would be an impossibility for a sotapanna to start proclaiming an eternal soul or cosmic consciousness. Similarly, I would think it an impossibility for a sotapanna to not acknowledge rebirth.
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Re: Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerra

Postby daverupa » Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:13 am

mogg wrote:It would be impossible to become a sotapanna without jhana from my understanding.


It may be so.

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:(3) A number of texts on stream-enterers and once-returners imply that they do not possess the jhānas as meditative attainments which they can enter at will. Though it is obvious that disciples at the lower two levels may have jhānic attainments, the latter are not declared to be an integral part of their spiritual equipment.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerra

Postby Digity » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:37 am

Can you point to a sutta that says stream-entry is dependant on Jhana. If not, what are basing this on?

My understanding of stream-entry is someone entering the eightfold path and understanding it's the path to liberation. A stream-winner doesn't doubt the path. They're sure it'll lead to liberation.
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Re: Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerra

Postby reflection » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:11 am

I don't see why this would be such and important question. If we want to have faith, we only need to have faith in the Buddha's enlightenment. Whatever claims, direct or indirect, true or false, of any stream entry shouldn't be too much of a concern, as I see it. But to answer it anyway, in my understanding:

In a way you already gave the answer when you quoted "the dustless Dhamma eye". It means seeing reality without dust in the eyes, seeing the Dhamma in everything. A being that entered the stream sees this not on an intellectual level, but on deeper level. They see the four noble truths. And since these truths include all of the Dhamma, two beings entered the stream will agree on all things Dhamma, also dependent origination. They understand it as a result of directly seeing nibbana, not trough some analysis. So understanding of impermanence will be identical also.

Because the understanding is on a deep level, two may seem to disagree on a superficial level once it is conceptualized through words. Even in the suttas one can find seemingly opposing things, but that is also because they are on a conceptualized level - the level of communication.

With love, :buddha2:
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Re: Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerra

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:00 pm

YES
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerra

Postby Mr Man » Sat Apr 13, 2013 12:08 pm

No.
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Re: Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerra

Postby santa100 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 3:50 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:
Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerrant?


if rephrased as "inerrant in regarding to..." then AN 9.12.5 might has the answer:
Again, Sariputta, consider the person who is accomplished in the precepts, and is moderately successful in concentration, moderately successul in wisdom - by destroying the three fetters, he becomes one, who will be reborn seven times at most
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Re: Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerra

Postby mogg » Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:39 am

Digity wrote:Can you point to a sutta that says stream-entry is dependant on Jhana. If not, what are basing this on?

My understanding of stream-entry is someone entering the eightfold path and understanding it's the path to liberation. A stream-winner doesn't doubt the path. They're sure it'll lead to liberation.

I don't believe it is definitely stated in the suttas, as Ven. Bhikku Bodhi points out here:
http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books10/Bhik ... ciples.htm

I don't believe it would be possible to penetrate anatta without jhana. I reject the dry-insight approach.

From an experiential perspective, the few people I know who are 'developed' on the path all are proficient jhana practitioners. They to a person reject the notion that it would be possible to attain Sotapanna without jhana.

This is my opinion only, others are more than welcome to disagree.
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Re: Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerra

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:46 am

mogg wrote:
I don't believe it would be possible to penetrate anatta without jhana. I reject the dry-insight approach.
It depends upon what you mean by jhana.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerra

Postby Reductor » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:03 am

tiltbillings wrote:
mogg wrote:
I don't believe it would be possible to penetrate anatta without jhana. I reject the dry-insight approach.
It depends upon what you mean by jhana.


And here's an interesting thread about Jhana, taking the Nikayas as source material.

viewtopic.php?f=43&t=5761&start=0

There are many other threads, but the point is that some people see Jhana as a very rare state that is indeed hard to attain, while others see it as a rather natural result of satipatthana when accompanied by the first six factors of the eight fold path.

Some call the first type 'hard' jhana, 'commentarial' jhana, etc, while the second type might be called 'vipassana' jhana, or 'sutta' jhana. But you will have to decide which kind to pursue, and then see if you get any results worth having.

And then of course, you have those few who make their own distinctions altogether.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerra

Postby SamKR » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:04 am

polarbuddha101 wrote:So one of the basic things that a streamwinner has done is that they have understood impermanence. But does it matter what metaphysic one interprets impermanence through? For example, if one person understands impermanence through the doctrine of momentariness, i.e. that cittas and whatnot arise in discrete units, and another person understands impermanence through some conception of flow, and another doesn't care whether things are impermanent through momentariness or flow and just recognizes that everything is impermanent, can these three different people all have the dhamma-eye?

I don't know the answer but I have a question: what actually is the Dhamma-eye? I guess, dhamma-eye is not just the understanding (or even direct seeing of) momentary/non-momentary impermanence. It is related to the understanding of the dependent origination; understanding that whatever arises is conditioned, and hence changeable and essence-less. If that is true then these three different people should have (same/similar) dhamma-eye.

Regarding the main question:
Does being a streamwinner make one unquestionably inerrant?

I don't think so. There are still two more stages to make errors.
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