Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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binocular
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by binocular » Sat May 06, 2017 8:08 pm

R1111 wrote:Just want to establish if it is a view or not, if it has been explicitly stated or not, if it has been implied beyond reasonable doubt or not. It is a quite important view as Ven. Nanavira has pointed out as well, it is a problematic view to cling to and i think there is a case for saying that if true it is slandering the Buddha as well and maybe even Reviling Noble Ones if one was to denounce a Sotapanna because of it.
Whence this concern with denunciation?
What would that even look like, to denounce someone in spiritual matters? Speaking in front of an assembly, saying something like, "That man has not yet attained enlightenment, therefore, you should spit at him!" --?

Are you afraid that when you give a Dharma talk, people will boo you off the stage?
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R1111 = rightviewftw
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sat May 06, 2017 8:12 pm

No but if a person claims attainment and someone wrongly says this person doesnt have attainment then it is denying Ariya his special qualities and is an obstruction to both heavenly rebirth and path realization. According to the commentary anyway.

Ariya wont care but is very bad for the person who commits the offense allegedly.

binocular
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by binocular » Sat May 06, 2017 8:17 pm

R1111 wrote:No but if a person claims attainment and someone wrongly says this person doesnt have attainment then it is denying Ariya his special qualities and is an obstruction to both heavenly rebirth and path realization. According to the commentary anyway.
And what do the Commentary and the Vinaya say about claiming attainment?
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sat May 06, 2017 8:20 pm

It is an offense for monks to tell lay people but they stay in robes, they can tell other monks if they want. Lay people can tell as well. Afaik.

binocular
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by binocular » Sat May 06, 2017 8:38 pm

R1111 wrote:It is an offense for monks to tell lay people but they stay in robes, they can tell other monks if they want. Lay people can tell as well. Afaik.
And what is stated as the reason for why this is an offense?
R1111 wrote:Ariya wont care but is very bad for the person who commits the offense allegedly.
For one, it is not exactly the Ariya's first order of business to go around telling people how highly attained he is. So without telling anyone about his attainments, people will have no reason to feel criticial about him to begin with.

For two, the situation when people accuse eachother of spiritual lowliness, denying eachother's attainments seems to theoretically come up mostly only in very specific settings where all involved are (by Vinaya or otherwise) supposed to know better anyway. Here, I'm thinking of people in various spiritual circles criticizing eachother.

For three, in the situation where an ordinary person has a low opinion of a monk or a supposedly highly attained lay person, and expresses this low opinion -- such a situation indeed occurs sometimes.
But I think such situations need to be examined on a case by case basis. Sometimes, the criticism was made in ill will. Other times, the critic could simply feel hurt by something that supposedly highly attained person did, and so is actually expressing that hurt, not necessarily doubting the other person's attainment. Thirdly, some people are just not very good with words, so they express themselves awkwardly, which can seem like doubting the other person's attainment.

There is a social rule that states that one must not criticize a monk. However, the problem is that this can be taken to extremes where people allow monks to get away even with murder. It is also conducive to cult mentality.
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sun May 07, 2017 3:02 am

1) It is specified that the offense is incurred wether done knowingly or unknowingly of the supposed attainment.
2) let it seem to you
3) I think it does not matter if one is hurt or not.
As i see it it is one thing to criticize a person for misbehaving another is to deny his attainments, third id denying it bssed on a view. There is a difference between thinking it and saying it as well. Another thing is not being restrained in speech and clinging to views presenting ones own guesses and views as facts in general.

In regards to the Vinaya i dont know about the story, lmk if you find out.

I personally dont see any reason to categorically deny people attainments, if they are right then Sadhu if not then it is bad enough as it is for them. if they teach wrong view then it is their problem and they can be challenged for scriptural support to the teachings.
As Ven. Nanavira said the point is to become Ariya yourself, not to worship them or put them on a pedestal. As i see it if this is to be achieved one is better off focusing on one's own attainments.

chownah
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by chownah » Sun May 07, 2017 4:04 am

I think that we agree that for a sotapanna the first three fetters have faded away. Those three would be (from an10.13) Self-identity views, uncertainty, grasping at precepts & practices....while the other two of the lower fetters have not necessarily faded away with those being (same reference) sensual desire, & ill will.

It seems like a big part of this debate is what does it mean that a sotapanna has not escapaed from sensual desire. Does it mean that the sotapanna has desire but does not act on that desire? I suppose it could mean that....but I think it would also have to mean that the sensual desire of the sotapanna is devoid of intention. Is it possible to have sensual desire without there being any intention involved?

By the way, I am not taking either side in this debate because I think they are both wrong.
chownah

binocular
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by binocular » Sun May 07, 2017 8:06 am

R1111 wrote:In regards to the Vinaya i dont know about the story, lmk if you find out.
You are the one aspiring to ordain, you should know these things, title, chapter, and verse, especially since this is a topic of your interest.
I personally dont see any reason to categorically deny people attainments, if they are right then Sadhu if not then it is bad enough as it is for them. if they teach wrong view then it is their problem and they can be challenged for scriptural support to the teachings.
Here's a real example: I was once acquainted with a Buddhist who was convinced that he was enlightened, he said that he knows exactly what the Buddha knew. He was bossy and patronizing toward me and other people (all lays, including him). Him providing scriptural support for what he claimed was off limits for him, he dismissed the Pali Canon without even having read it. Eventually, I started mocking him and his "enlightenment" (e.g. "So you're enlightened, eh? No s***!"). He didn't understand and kept telling me that I was on the outside, that I didn't know, that I was supposed to do things as he does them (and forget about the Pali Canon). He considered me his student, even though no vow and no agreement to this effect had been made.

In hindsight, I can say that the whole situation was very displeasing, to say the least, for all of us. Given this Buddhist's bossiness and his demand for our submission, I felt jaded, I felt that I am nothing more but a slightly alive thing, a puppet, a cog in the system, and that true happiness can be attained only if one gives in to being such a puppet. I resented the power that he had over us and I resented the system that was making this kind of power-gaming possible.
As Ven. Nanavira said the point is to become Ariya yourself, not to worship them or put them on a pedestal.
I agree with that, however Nanavira Thera is one of the most controversial persons in Buddhism in the last 100 years, so referring to him can be a potentially problematic matter. Buddhist culture still seems to be heavily focused on putting monks and anyone else who seems to have or who claims to have any attainment on a pedestal. I think this can create resentment in ordinary people, which can then become expressed in criticism of those monks and supposedly attained lays, and in denying their attainment. IOW, it's not just about the intentions of an individual critic or denier, it's also something bigger than that, it's systemic.
As i see it if this is to be achieved one is better off focusing on one's own attainments.
Individualism is sometimes nothing but an attempt to maintain the social status quo, however dysfunctional it may be.
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binocular
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by binocular » Sun May 07, 2017 8:09 am

chownah wrote:By the way, I am not taking either side in this debate because I think they are both wrong.
Could you say a bit more about why you think that both are wrong?
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw » Sun May 07, 2017 8:38 am

I understand where you are coming from better now with the background provided binocular. I should learn the vinaya indeed but i cant be expected to both train and study the whole tipitaka in two years, which is how long it has been since i was introduced to the Dhamma. Im interested in the topic but it is not important for my training so i study the Sutta pitaka and meditate.

Fwiw after getting a flavor of views within the Theravada i am quite sure that i want to live in the forest alone, keeping a low profile and enjoy solitude and the forest. The diversity of opinions and sangha politics is too much to take on. I dont want to spend my life debating, it is quite stressful. Santa was definitely right about me spending valuable time on relatively useless things here.

chownah
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by chownah » Sun May 07, 2017 1:44 pm

binocular wrote:
chownah wrote:By the way, I am not taking either side in this debate because I think they are both wrong.
Could you say a bit more about why you think that both are wrong?
I mis-spoke with that comment.
I think that to talk about whether a sotapanna would or would not do this or that is to misrepresent what the concept of a sotapanna is and to make it into an identity. My view is that some people get to the point where they can see the truth of some core teachings and are convinced that the buddha's teachings are pointing to the way things really are and when those people get to that point they don't need to struggle to stay on the path as it is seen that there is no other viable option. They might transgress some "rules" from time to time but they will see their mistakes and will gradually eliminate those transgressions over time. My view is that to mentally copy and paste all the sutta references on the sotapanna to try to make one iron clad definition will not lead to how it really is....I don't think the buddha intended for people to do that....I think the buddha described the essence of one who is convinced of the truth of the path in different ways at different times so that it would be understood by different people. He also taught that the training was like the gradual slope of the ocean floor....he didn't say that there were a few rapid changes.
chownah

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khlawng
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by khlawng » Sun May 07, 2017 2:20 pm

:goodpost:

@Chownah
You hit the nail right on the head.
Thanks for penning down your thoughts.

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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by binocular » Sun May 07, 2017 7:49 pm

chownah wrote:I think that to talk about whether a sotapanna would or would not do this or that is to misrepresent what the concept of a sotapanna is and to make it into an identity.
I, too, got that impression. Talking about sotapanna as if it were the same kind of characteristic as, for example, race (ie. something that remains the same regardless of what one does) seems problematic.
My view is that some people get to the point where they can see the truth of some core teachings and are convinced that the buddha's teachings are pointing to the way things really are and when those people get to that point they don't need to struggle to stay on the path as it is seen that there is no other viable option.
This is where I personally struggle to appreciate Dhammic religions. Namely, both in Buddhism as well as in some schools of Hinduism, there is the idea that after a certain point, there is no falling away from the path anymore. Coming from a Christian background, my first association to this is that it is an idea similar to the Protestant idea "once saved, always saved". This Protestant idea is contrasted with the Catholic idea that it is possible to completely fall away even on one's deathbed (and so earn oneself eternal damnation), regardless of the life one has lived up to then.
In the Catholic conception of things, one always has free will (primarily in regard to religious choice and religious committment) as long as one lives (in this body), whereas in the Protestant and the Dhammic, one doesn't seem to have such free will.

So for me here, the question is whether someone who has reached some intermediate stage on the path (such as sotapanna or once-returner) can still change their mind and go back to the run-off-the-mill way of life. And if they can't, what implications does this have, for their free will and for anything else that could be relevant.
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khlawng
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by khlawng » Mon May 08, 2017 4:39 am

binocular wrote:...
So for me here, the question is whether someone who has reached some intermediate stage on the path (such as sotapanna or once-returner) can still change their mind and go back to the run-off-the-mill way of life. And if they can't, what implications does this have, for their free will and for anything else that could be relevant.
they don't change their minds per-se.
it takes effort in maintaining the mind-state that promotes sotapanna-hood.
but since sotapannas don't have a permanent mind-state being unenlighten and all,
they are subject to mind-state changes all the time due to anicca.
and as we know it, states can change for the better or for the worst.
how far does it change for the worst, i have no idea and can't venture a guess.
and since kamma is acinteyya, i don't think it matters to define the line where one falls into bad states after death.
so to say someone who is a sotatpanna can maintain this state permanently effortlessly is well,
for me an incorrect concept.
but that wouldn't stop the sutta comy quoting warriors here from making such claims.

santa100
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Re: Challenging the Sotapanna cannot break the Five Precepts View

Post by santa100 » Mon May 08, 2017 5:11 am

Rest assured that as long as there're sutta/comy distorters, there will be sutta/comy protectors. And no, it's not their job to make any claim. Their job is to protect and fight if necessary, to uphold the integrity of the Great Teacher's words. There will come a day their kind will be wiped out and the sound of the Dhamma will go completely silent. But not today.

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