discourses nowhere define "virtues dear to the noble ones" or do they?

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chownah
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Re: discourses nowhere define "virtues dear to the noble ones" or do they?

Post by chownah » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:03 pm

I'm wondering if people here are thinking that "noble ones" means those who are arahants or if they are thinking that "noble ones" means the four pairs (one pair each for stream entry, once returner, non-returner, and arahant?
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Re: discourses nowhere define "virtues dear to the noble ones" or do they?

Post by samseva » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:30 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:52 am
"Inasmuch, young householder, as the noble disciple (1) has eradicated the four vices in conduct,[1] (2) inasmuch as he commits no evil action in four ways, (3) inasmuch as he pursues not the six channels for dissipating wealth, he thus, avoiding these fourteen evil things, covers the six quarters, and enters the path leading to victory in both worlds: he is favored in this world and in the world beyond. Upon the dissolution of the body, after death, he is born in a happy heavenly realm.

(1) "What are the four vices in conduct that he has eradicated? The destruction of life, householder, is a vice and so are stealing, sexual misconduct, and lying. These are the four vices that he has eradicated."
(1) “Bhikkhus, the destruction of life, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being the destruction of life at minimum conduces to a short life span.

(2) “Taking what is not given, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being taking what is not given at minimum conduces to loss of wealth.

(3) “Sexual misconduct, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being sexual misconduct at minimum conduces to enmity and rivalry.

(4) “False speech, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being false speech at minimum conduces to false accusations.

(5) “Divisive speech, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being divisive speech at minimum conduces to being divided from one’s friends.

(6) “Harsh speech, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being harsh speech at minimum conduces to disagreeable sounds.

(7) “Idle chatter, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being idle chatter at minimum conduces to others distrusting one’s words.

(8) “Drinking liquor and wine, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being drinking liquor and wine at minimum conduces to madness.”
Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb."
"Bhikkhus, what is that unique characteristic of one come to righteousness or view? When he does any wrong, it becomes manifest to him, and he instantly goes to the Teacher or a wise co-associate in the holy life and declares and makes it manifest and makes amends for future restrain, like a toddler who is slow to stand and lie would tred on a burning piece of charcoal and would instantly pull away from it
"There is the case where a monk is wholly accomplished in virtue, moderately accomplished in concentration, and moderately accomplished in discernment. With reference to the lesser and minor training rules, he falls into offenses and rehabilitates himself. Why is that? Because I have not declared that to be a disqualification in these circumstances. But as for the training rules that are basic to the holy life and proper to the holy life, he is one of permanent virtue, one of steadfast virtue. Having undertaken them, he trains in reference to the training rules. With the wasting away of [the first] three fetters, he is a stream-winner, never again destined for states of woe, certain, headed for self-awakening.
Hi rightviewftw, could you please post the Sutta numbering of the passages you quoted?

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Re: discourses nowhere define "virtues dear to the noble ones" or do they?

Post by DooDoot » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:04 pm

samseva wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:30 pm
Hi rightviewftw, could you please post the Sutta numbering of the passages you quoted?
I agree the above would be a virtue dear to the Noble Ones; because it creates "concord" in our discussions (4th type of Right Speech) and it abandons idiosyncratic self-building behaviour (aka "rebelliousness") that hinders stream-entry.
This is called, bhikkhus, a noble disciple who dismantles and does not build up; who abandons and does not cling; who scatters and does not amass; who extinguishes and does not kindle.

SN 22.79
Never ordained... not an anonymous-online-bhikkhu or ex-bhikkhu...

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Re: discourses nowhere define "virtues dear to the noble ones" or do they?

Post by Dhammanando » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:13 pm

Before replying to the replies to my post, I should like to give a quick summary of how the “virtue pleasing to noble ones” is understood in the commentaries. I don’t recall this ever being discussed on this forum before.

The defining of this term is approached by the commentators from three different angles. One of these, which I’ll call the “varying definition”, treats ariyakantasīla as amounting to different things for different noble disciples, depending on their level of attainment. The other two, which I’ll call the “unvarying definitions”, are concerned with what all kinds of noble disciples have in common with regard to sīla. The first of these is based on the Sutta method and the second on the Abhidhamma method. So, of these three definitions, one is concerned with how noble disciples may differ from each other with respect to ariyakantasīla and the other two with how all noble disciples differ from worldlings in this respect.

* * * * * * * *

The “varying definition” of ariyakantasīla is framed in terms of a progressive elimination of the possibility of committing the ten akusala kammapathas. Thus:

Eliminated at stream-entry: the possibility of killing living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, wrong view.

Eliminated at non-returning: the possibility of malice and hate-generated wrong speech, i.e., divisive speech and harsh speech.

Eliminated at arahantship: the possibility of frivolous speech and covetousness.

* * * * * * * *

The “unvarying definition” based on the Sutta method (which incidentally is the most common of the three definitions) equates ariyakantasīla with the “five moral habits of noble disciples” (pañca sīlāni ariyasāvakānaṃ) or simply the “five moral habits” (pañca sīlāni). I prefer to say “five moral habits” rather than “five precepts” as the Pali is consistently pañca sīlāni and never pañca sikkhāpadāni. I take it that this is because the said habits will be naturally practised by all noble disciples irrespective of whether they have formally undertaken to do so.

* * * * * * * *

The second unvarying definition, based on the Abhidhamma method, is:

‘Ariyakantānī’ ti ariyānaṃ kantāni maggaphalasīlāni.
“‘Pleasing to noble ones’ means the [noble] path and fruition virtues that are pleasing to noble ones.”

Or:

‘Ariyakantāni sīlānī’ ti maggaphalasampayuttāni sīlāni.
“‘Virtues pleasing to noble ones’ means the virtues associated with the [noble] path and fruition.”

Translated from Abhidhamma-speak into more familiar language, the virtues referred to here are those of right speech, right action and right livelihood. Or, more precisely, they are the three “abstinence mental factors” (virati cetasika) to which the Abhidhamma assigns the role of holding one back from wrong speech, wrong action and wrong livelihood.

So, when the above are collated we get:

Stream-entrant and once-returner: five moral habits + right livelihood + wrong view destroyed.

Non-returner: same as stream-entrant + abstention from divisive and harsh speech + malice destroyed.

Arahant: same as non-returner + abstention from frivolous speech + covetousness destroyed.

* * * * * * * *

Now for my replies ...
salayatananirodha wrote:I'm fairly convinced it's the five precepts, listed in mahanama sutta
rightviewftw wrote:A lot of people are but it has no basis in the Tipitaka.
I think it does. Just take the Ānandasutta (SN 55.13) cited by Doodoot in conjunction with any of the countless suttas describing what sort of conduct leads to heaven and hell.
samseva wrote:While the English translation leaves no room for uncertainty as to the level of observance of sīla for a Stream-Enterer, looking over the Pāḷi, however, gives a less perfect meaning. I came to the following conclusion:
In Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation, ‘the virtues dear to the noble ones’ might be misleading—in that it could instead describe qualities of which nobles ones hold dearly, or that Stream-Winners are the same as Ariyas in this way—since the PTS Pāli-English Dictionary translates ariyakantehi (ariyakanta) simply as ‘agreeable to the Ariyas’.
When the suttas are speaking of those moral virtues that are admired by nobles but which may also be found in worldlings, the usual term is alam’ariya (“worthy of noble ones”), not ariyakanta. The fact that ariyakantasīla refers to the sīla possessed by noble disciples (and, as an inalienable possession, only by noble disciples) be seen from the seventh of its eight attributes:

1. akhaṇḍa – unbroken
2. acchidda – untorn
3. asabala – unblemished
4. akammāsa – unblotched
5. bhujissa – liberating
6. viññuppasattha – commended by the wise
7. aparāmaṭṭha – not misapprehended [by diṭṭhi] / not grasped at [by taṇhā]
8. samādhisaṃvattanika – conducing to samādhi

The parāmaṭṭha in aparāmaṭṭha is the past participle of parāmasati – the very same verb from which we get the parāmāsa in sīlabbataparāmāsa.

Being still fettered by sīlabbataparāmāsa, the moral habit of a worldling may sometimes be aparāmaṭṭha and sometimes not. Having abandoned sīlabbataparāmāsa, the moral habit of a noble disciple is always aparāmaṭṭha.

For the worldling parāmaṭṭha-ness in one's sīla remains an ever-present possibility, while for the noble disciple it has ceased to be so.
samseva wrote:Snp 2.1 further points out that, for a Stream-Enterer, perfect observance of sīla isn't always the case (that they can break sīla, but they would be incapable of concealing it):
Together with one’s achievement of vision
three things are discarded:
the view of the personal entity and doubt,
and whatever good behavior and observances there are.
One is also freed from the four planes of misery
and is incapable of doing six deeds.
This too is the sublime gem in the Sangha:
by this truth, may there be safety!

Although one does a bad deed
by body, speech, or mind,
one is incapable of concealing it;
such inability is stated for one who has seen the state.
— Snp 2.1 (transl., Bhikkhu Bodhi)
What are your thoughts on the matter, Bhante?
As I’m persuaded that (1) the ariyakantasīla is an inalienable possession of every ariyasāvaka and (2) possession of it precludes any departure from the five moral habits (not to mention the anantariyaka kammas and apostasy), I take it that the bad deeds alluded to in the Ratana Sutta are of lesser gravity than these. I imagine you’ve read Bh. Bodhi’s translation of the commentary to the verse you quote, but for anyone who hasn’t:
232. Having thus declared truth with the Sangha as a basis with reference to the excellence of one who, though taking seven more existences, is still distinguished from other persons who have not abandoned the taking up of existence, the Blessed One now shows: “One possessing vision is not only incapable of doing the six deeds but is also incapable of concealing even a trifling bad deed that he may have done.” Thus, with the words “Although one does a bad deed,” he begins to speak about the excellence of one possessing vision who, even though dwelling heedlessly, does not conceal what he has done.

This is its meaning: It was said by the Blessed One, with reference to the intentional transgression considered a fault by the world: “When a training rule has been laid down by me for disciples, my disciples do not transgress it even for the sake of life” (AN IV 201,10; Ud 55,3–4; Vin II 238,35–36). Apart from this, “although a person possessing vision, due to heedless living caused by lack of mindfulness, does a bad deed by body, a transgression that is a conventional fault of the kind prohibited by the Buddha, such as building a hut contrary to regulations or sleeping together with one not fully ordained; or a bad deed by speech, such as making a person not fully ordained recite the Dhamma word for word, teaching the Dhamma to a woman in more than five or six sentences, or engaging in idle chatter or speaking harshly; or a bad deed by mind, such as giving rise to greed or hatred on any occasion or consenting to gold and silver, or neglecting to reflect on the use of the robes and other requisites, one is incapable of concealing it.” When he realizes, “This is unallowable and should not be done,” he does not conceal it even for a moment but immediately discloses it to the Teacher or to wise fellow monks, makes amends in accordance with the Dhamma, or restrains himself in regard to matters that call for restraint, resolving not to act in such a way again.

Why? Because such inability is stated for one who has seen the state: It is stated that a person possessing vision who has seen the nibbāna-state is unable to conceal any bad deed that he has done. How? “Bhikkhus, just as a young, tender infant lying prone at once draws back when he puts his hand or foot on a live coal, so too, this is the character of a person who possesses right view: although he may commit some kind of offense for which a means of rehabilitation has been laid down, still he at once confesses, reveals, and discloses it to the Teacher or wise fellow monks, and then enters upon restraint for the future” (MN I 324,13–16).
rightviewftw wrote:As far as i can tell there is no ground for going beyond stating that it refers to training in accordance with Patimokkha and not transgressing in matters fundamental to holy life.
But there were bhikkhu sotāpannas before there was any Pāṭimokkha to train in line with. There were householder sotāpannas for whom no Pāṭimokkha was ever laid down. Presumably you wouldn’t wish to claim that the early sotāpannas Sāriputta and Moggallāna, and the householder sotāpannas Mahānāma and Suppavāsā, were devoid of ariyakantasīla on that account.
rightviewftw wrote:Also the referent of the characteristics are the virtues themselves as i read it, the virtues are leading to concentration and are unblemished, as for unbroken it could well refer to an unbroken tradition but i am guessing.
No need to guess. The Methunasutta, AN7.50, will show you what ‘broken’ means in one context. From that you can extrapolate to what it would mean in general.
rightviewftw wrote:Furthermore Sotapanna always keeping such and such precept is certainly not a notion that was around at the Buddha's time
The Sarakāni episode shows that such a notion was around at the Buddha’s time. That is, there were definite public expectations as to how a sotāpanna (or someone thought to be one) would behave.

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Re: discourses nowhere define "virtues dear to the noble ones" or do they?

Post by samseva » Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:16 pm

Dhammanando wrote: Eliminated at stream-entry: the possibility of killing living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, wrong view.
I'm sure a Stream-Winner would obviously not do deliberate acts of killing, stealing or sexual misconduct, but would his speech be completely unbroken and unblemished (such as in AN 7.50)? I'm mostly wondering if his mindfulness and concentration would be developed to a sufficient degree that, if an abrupt situation were to arise, if he would still be incapable of false speech done out of gist. I guess intention comes into play, like with accidentally stepping on an ant—for example, having said something quickly, but later realizing it was incorrect?

Apart from an Arahant, surely those of the other levels of Enlightenment—especially due to lesser developed mindfulness and concentration, and still having most of the fetters—are prone to some mistakes, no?
Dhammanando wrote: (2) possession of it precludes any departure from the five moral habits (not to mention the anantariyaka kammas and apostasy)
By 'apostasy' you mean a Stream-Winner would be incapable of disrobing?

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Re: discourses nowhere define "virtues dear to the noble ones" or do they?

Post by Dhammanando » Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:47 pm

samseva wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:16 pm
I'm sure a Stream-Winner would obviously not do deliberate acts of killing, stealing or sexual misconduct, but would his speech be completely unbroken and unblemished (such as in AN 7.50)? I'm mostly wondering if his mindfulness and concentration would be developed to a sufficient degree that, if an abrupt situation were to arise, if he would still be incapable of false speech done out of gist.
This seems a bit specious to me. I mean one could just as easily conceive of situations in which intentional killing would be an extremely easy thing to do and would require much less effort than many kinds of false speech. For example, when you wake up in a forest kuti with your legs covered in tiny biting red ants, it takes a lot of patience to carefully remove each ant without harming it; it would be so much easier and less painful to just vigorously brush them all off, even though this will be sure to kill some of them.

My understanding is that a sotāpanna's non-transgression of killing, stealing, etc. is not because his mindfulness and concentration are necessarily any better than anyone else's, but rather because he simply doesn't view these actions as options, which is the effect of eliminating the fetter of doubt and the acquiring of avecca passaddhi.
samseva wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:16 pm
By 'apostasy' you mean a Stream-Winner would be incapable of disrobing?
No, I was alluding to his inability to transfer his allegiance to an outside teacher.

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Re: discourses nowhere define "virtues dear to the noble ones" or do they?

Post by StormBorn » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:32 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:47 pm
My understanding is that a sotāpanna's non-transgression of killing, stealing, etc. is not because his mindfulness and concentration are necessarily any better than anyone else's, but rather because he simply doesn't view these actions as options, which is the effect of eliminating the fetter of doubt and the acquiring of avecca passaddhi.
Wow! Thank you for your post bhante. :namaste:

Once I witnessed a situation where a layperson try to hit & kill a cornered rat whom evidently did much damage. But a venerable whom I consider to be a Noble One (my own view, not the venerable hinted at least) advised the layperson not to do so. When I asked the venerable why not, his answer was, "That's not even an option."

But, at modern times we even hear some so called arahant advocates severe punishment/murder...
Dhammanando wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:47 pm
samseva wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:16 pm
By 'apostasy' you mean a Stream-Winner would be incapable of disrobing?
No, I was alluding to his inability to transfer his allegiance to an outside teacher.
Once, I also asked the same question--possibility of sotapanna disrobal--from the same monk. His answer was that the faith is an internal quality but the robe is a part of a life-style, and sotapannas have the will to survive in a wholesome way whether in a robe or in a lay man's cloths. But, he said that he thinks a sotapanna will not disrobe just like that unless there's seriously good and unavoidable reason to do so.

Edit: One example he gave with a laugh was that if the Sanga received state powers and forced into party politics a sotapanna might consider to disrobe to keep the conduct pure and away from 4 agati (biases). :smile:
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Re: discourses nowhere define "virtues dear to the noble ones" or do they?

Post by rightviewftw » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:41 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:13 pm

* * * * * * * *

The second unvarying definition, based on the Abhidhamma method, is:

‘Ariyakantānī’ ti ariyānaṃ kantāni maggaphalasīlāni.
“‘Pleasing to noble ones’ means the [noble] path and fruition virtues that are pleasing to noble ones.”

Or:

‘Ariyakantāni sīlānī’ ti maggaphalasampayuttāni sīlāni.
“‘Virtues pleasing to noble ones’ means the virtues associated with the [noble] path and fruition.”

Translated from Abhidhamma-speak into more familiar language, the virtues referred to here are those of right speech, right action and right livelihood. Or, more precisely, they are the three “abstinence mental factors” (virati cetasika) to which the Abhidhamma assigns the role of holding one back from wrong speech, wrong action and wrong livelihood.
Thank you for the information Venerable Sir.

Wasn't sure if i wanted to keep discussing this matter as i think all Sutta and Abhidhamma references have been exhausted but i decided to clarify further.

I am mostly curios in regards to the Abhidhamma part of your post, if you could be bothered to elaborate on how you arrive at those definitions of (virati cetasika)
the virtues referred to here are those of right speech, right action and right livelihood. Or, more precisely, they are the three “abstinence mental factors” (virati cetasika) to which the Abhidhamma assigns the role of holding one back from wrong speech, wrong action and wrong livelihood.
How is wrong action defined in this context? Is it thus?
AN 10.176
Unskillful Bodily Action

"And how is one made impure in three ways by bodily action? There is the case where a certain person takes life, is a hunter, bloody-handed, devoted to killing & slaying, showing no mercy to living beings. He takes what is not given. He takes, in the manner of a thief, things in a village or a wilderness that belong to others and have not been given by them. He engages in sensual misconduct. He gets sexually involved with those who are protected by their mothers, their fathers, their brothers, their sisters, their relatives, or their Dhamma; those with husbands, those who entail punishments, or even those crowned with flowers by another man. This is how one is made impure in three ways by bodily action.
Or are there other definitions? Because if it is according to An.10.176 then alcohol precept is not included and it would similar to this commentarial interpretation where the possibility to drink alcohol remains a possibility to wit for an Ariyan;
The “varying definition” of ariyakantasīla is framed in terms of a progressive elimination of the possibility of committing the ten akusala kammapathas. Thus:

Eliminated at stream-entry: the possibility of killing living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, wrong view.
If being held back means that it can not happen? Where in the Abhidhamma is this btw?

I am also curious about this part
The “unvarying definition” based on the Sutta method (which incidentally is the most common of the three definitions) equates ariyakantasīla with the “five moral habits of noble disciples” (pañca sīlāni ariyasāvakānaṃ) or simply the “five moral habits” (pañca sīlāni).
I wonder where in the Sutta is this equation and if it not in the Sutta why is it called The Sutta method?

Also i wonder what makes you favor a particular interpretation when there appears to be no consensus even among commentators. I wonder what is the gain of holding strongly to one interpretation over the others? As i see it without solid canonical references that notion of Hitchen's Razor may apply to any of those definitions of ariyakantasila and virati cetasika being equated with a certain set of precepts.

Also what do we know about the origin of these commentaries is it not possible that all of these are actually Sri Lankan commentaries translated into Pali?
Furthermore Sotapanna always keeping such and such precept is certainly not a notion that was around at the Buddha's time
The Sarakāni episode shows that such a notion was around at the Buddha’s time. That is, there were definite public expectations as to how a sotāpanna (or someone thought to be one) would behave.
Emphasis here being on public expectation as to how a sotapanna would behave rather than them keeping certain set of precepts.

Do you hold that a Dhamma-Follower or Faith-Follower may drink alcohol or do you think that Sarakaani was a putthujana until attainment?

Anyway sorry for many questions.

samseva wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:30 pm
Hi rightviewftw, could you please post the Sutta numbering of the passages you quoted?
i was unable to reply. you can usually just google portions of the text and find the origin, if i don't include references it is more often than not because it is easy to google a portion to find the sutta.

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