Stephen K wrote:As far as my understanding extends, there are 5 stages of Buddhist life. When one has all of them - one is complete.
4. Realization (attainment)
Would you agree with that? Do you think I've missed anything?
I think that's a pretty decent order. I'd take it and tweek it a bit, to suit my own opinion. So maybe:
4. Discuss with Dhamma Friends (sincere people who also develop all these steps - esp. practice).
Then I'd take those five steps and see them as forming a spiral: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (but deeper), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (still deeper), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (still more so).... and so on, continuing even past the point of full release - out of compassion for all those who come into contact with you.
What do you think?
EDIT: Oh, I just thought of the simile of the gold smith working gold. He heats it in the crucible until it melts, then blows off impurities before reheating and blowing off more impurities again. He does this again and again, refining the gold until it is of the utmost purity. I take that for my own mind and understanding, heat it, blow off impurities, do it again and again. (sadly, though, there's a long way to go before I've truly become refined)