Cūlapanthaka versus sutta expertise

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
James Tan
Posts: 1092
Joined: Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:26 pm

Cūlapanthaka versus sutta expertise

Post by James Tan » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:21 pm

There are many sutta expertise nowadays , but, what then is the difficulty to attain ariya stage ?
Why is it we lacks of arahant then ?

Does higher intelligence constitute the criteria and in corresponding directly to attaining higher knowledge ?

It was said Cūlapanthaka wasn't able to memorise much . He was dull and not intelligent .
But , he does attained Arahantship later .
However , according to text he was good in psychic power .

"Bhikkhus, the foremost of my bhikkhu disciples among those who create a mind-made body is Cullapanthaka; among those skilled in mental transformation is Cullapanthaka"
(AN1:198 & 199).

Therefore , looking at this we might say purification of the mind does not necessarily need to accumulate a lot of knowledge or being very smart and clever .
:reading:

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 4619
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Cūlapanthaka versus sutta expertise

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:34 pm

There is this - Dhp v. 259
A man is not versed in Dhamma because he speaks much. He who, after hearing a little Dhamma, realizes its truth directly and is not heedless of it, is truly versed in the Dhamma.
It suggests that extensive knowledge of suttas is less valuable than the correct insight.

rightviewftw
Posts: 2219
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Re: Cūlapanthaka versus sutta expertise

Post by rightviewftw » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:13 pm

If one really is a sutta expert as in has understood the essence then one transcends the plane of ordinary people. Id say that there are many "experts" who pay lip service to it, learning lists, stories and definitions whilst the crucial teachings remain ungrasped, misunderstood and veiled in darkness.

I think those people who are able to quickly grasp the Higher Dhamma are a minority and it seems like if one is not one of those people then one might be better off going about it in a different way. Even those who do get it quickly are probably doing so because of prior development ie having meditated and thought about things and dhamma just fills in the gaps for them.
http://budsas.net/ebud/ebsut065.htm
[Regarding monks, for whom it is an offense to disparage the learning of vinaya] "There is no offense if, not desiring to disparage, he speaks saying: ‘Look here, do you master suttantas, or verses (gatha), or what is extra to dhamma [abhidhamma] and afterwards you will master discipline"Book of the Discipline Vol. III p42

Horner says, ‘The very presence of the word gatha is enough to preclude the term abhidhamma from standing for the literary exegesis of that name, for no reference to the third pitaka would have combined a reference to part of the material (poems) which one of the pitakas finally came to include.’ (Book of Discipline, Vol. III, p xii) Her logic here is that, since gatha does not mean Gatha Pitaka, abhidhamma does not mean Abhidhamma Pitaka. So, what does ‘abhidhamma’ actually mean here?

Horner says:

‘Although we can say fairly confidently what abhidhamma does not mean here, it is by no means so easy to assess what it does mean. A monk may say to another, "Master suttanta, or verses (gatha) or abhidhamma, and afterwards you will master discipline."’ (Book of Discipline, Vol. III p xii)

Regarding this passage, she proposes that abhidhamma means ‘an intellectual exercise perhaps, devoid of all extraneous matter, in which the meaning of dhamma terms and concepts is to be grasped through their grouping, through their classified relations of identity and dependence and so on, instead of through the more picturesque, personal and hortatory methods, often made intelligible by homely parable and simile, which is the suttanta way of presenting dhamma.’(Book of Discipline, Vol. III p xiii)

She says that the word ‘abhidhamma’, occuring in the suttas and vinaya, although not indicating a complete and closed system of philosophy, ‘had been intended to stand for something more than dhamma and vinaya, perhaps in the sense of some more than usually complete grasp and mastery of them, due to further study and reflection’. (The Indian Historical Quarterly, XVII p299)
I think in this case the exception proves the rule so to speak.

One can spend years learning Pali and memorizing the discourses but it is of no use if one does not put it into practice. I really believe that one who has learned a little can understand the rest by putting what he has learned into practice.

IE a person might not understand the namarupa stuff but has learned the rules of moral restraint and teachings on impermanence are somewhat agreeable to him. I do believe that if he practices just that moral restraint and undertakes the more clear meditation instructions from the sutta and is diligent in that then he will eventually understand the rest as he develops Factors of Enlightenment and the Investigation of States in particular.

Attainment of higher Paths is not necessarily easy and many of the aspects of higher training are not at all clear nowadays. I think it is fair to assume that most people do not train in a laboratory under perfect conditions and have to figure things out by themselves having crossed that bridge. Naturally people want to progress as quickly as possible and there arise many question about how to do exactly that.
How does re-attainment of fruition work, does it work, is it necessary or optimal?
Is dry insight the optimal way to train for that person in particular?
If dry insight is not the option then how to jhana?
Resolves on re-attainment vs resolving on Second Path, how important is it to get that aspect right?
Where to find Ariya community?

All at the same time as one is dealing with circumstances of life as everyone else does. Furthermore Mara followed the Buddha for fourty years and was hindering people in attainments even at the times of the Buddha, do you think that has changed now? Do you not think that an Ariyan might have to deal with fierce Yakkhas and Maras who do what they can to keep him or her from becoming an Arahant.

What i am trying to say is that is not at all an easy task and circumstances might make it most difficult to attain higher paths. Even in Buddha's time many Sotapannas died a Sotapanna.
How to meditate: Anapanasati, Satipatthana.
Intro to General Semantics
Factors & Perceptions

Parallel Dhammapada Reading
Chinese to Eng Dhp
"The statements; 'With the remainderless stopping & fading of the six contact-media is it the case that there is anything else?' '.. is it the case that there is not anything else .. is it the case that there both is & is not anything else .. is it the case that there neither is nor is not anything else?' objectify non-objectification. However far the six contact-media go, that is how far objectification goes."

User avatar
Zom
Posts: 2270
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg
Contact:

Re: Cūlapanthaka versus sutta expertise

Post by Zom » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:40 pm

It was said Cūlapanthaka wasn't able to memorise much . He was dull and not intelligent .
But , he does attained Arahantship later .
I doubt that commentarial story about Cūlapanthaka is true. There was one sutta in Anguttara where Buddha says that a dull person cannot attain ariyan levels.

The whole Pali Canon, its composition, structure, wording, is a huge intellectual undertaking (especially so when done not in written form, but mentally/verbally). True Art of Arahants .)

JohnK
Posts: 674
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: Cūlapanthaka versus sutta expertise

Post by JohnK » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:01 pm

James Tan wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:21 pm
There are many sutta expertise nowadays , but, what then is the difficulty to attain ariya stage ?
"The Dhamma is a Quality of the Heart:"
https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/y20 ... _Heart.mp3
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 4619
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Cūlapanthaka versus sutta expertise

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:47 pm

JohnK wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:01 pm
James Tan wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:21 pm
There are many sutta expertise nowadays , but, what then is the difficulty to attain ariya stage ?
"The Dhamma is a Quality of the Heart:"
https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/y20 ... _Heart.mp3
Thanks, John. That's 12 minutes that I don't think I could have spent any better.

:anjali:

JohnK
Posts: 674
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: Cūlapanthaka versus sutta expertise

Post by JohnK » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:43 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:47 pm
Thanks, John. That's 12 minutes that I don't think I could have spent any better.
:anjali:
Very glad you found it of value.
I was pleased to see the title of the talk coming from someone who does not always come across (to me anyway) as a "heart guy" -- so glad to have that preconception blown out of the water! -- and of course (per the thread title) he has huge "sutta expertise."
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

User avatar
AgarikaJ
Posts: 143
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:21 pm

Re: Cūlapanthaka versus sutta expertise

Post by AgarikaJ » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:59 am

rightviewftw wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:13 pm
Id say that there are many "experts" who pay lip service to it, learning lists, stories and definitions whilst the crucial teachings remain ungrasped, misunderstood and veiled in darkness.
A good point about the lip service and going about Sutta reading in a too cerebral, overly analytic manner.

'Just' reading a Sutta and understanding it intellectually is not enough to attain enlightenment, because one important ingredient would be missing: Faith (saddha), which every follower of the Buddha's teaching will have to develop for himself.

There is a very interesting article about Faith -- as defined in Theravada -- and in comparison to the other leading religious contemporaries of the Buddha, here: http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitst ... er%203.pdf

It is quite long, with many Sutta quotations, so I do not want to crudely post more excerpts from it, but I recommend it for reading in full.
In Theravada Buddhism, faith is not something that is imposed on the individual externally by tradition, authority, or through hearsay, but it is cultivated and developed by individual himself after hearing the teachings of the Buddha through experience and through critical scrutiny
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Bing [Bot], Google [Bot], Johnnymac, Yahoo [Bot] and 85 guests