Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

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Alex123
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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by Alex123 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:40 pm

Hello all,


Re: time it takes for awakening.

In MN85 it says that one could under Buddha's instruction reach Arhatship in 12 hours. Note, the requirements do NOT posit an existence of aeons of accumulations.
Here the bhikkhu takes faith about the enlightnment of the Thus Gone One:That Blessed One is perfect, rightfully enlightened, endowed with knowledge and conduct, well gone, knows of the worlds, is the incomparable tamer of those to be tamed, Teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed. He has few ailments and few disorders, promoting a good digestive system, not too cold and not too hot. He is not crafty nor fraudulent, shows his real self to the Teacher or to the wise co-associates in the holy life. Abides with aroused effort, for the dispelling of demerit and the accumulation of merit. Becomes firm not giving up the yoke for things of merit. [1] Becomes wise endowed with the noble ones penetration of the rising and falling of the five holding masses, for the rightful destruction of unpleasantness.

A bhikkhu endowed with these five factors gaining the training from the Thus Gone One in the morning, for whatever cause sons of clansmen rightfully go forth homeless that highest end of the holy life, he here and now, knowing, realizing, will attain in the evening, or advised in the evening would realise the next morning.
http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... ra-e1.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Satipatthana sutta also says that one could achieve Arhatship in as little as 7 days.


Of course without the Buddha's personal guidance it could take longer... But 12 hours is a LONG way off from aeons of accumulations.... So today it may take years... But not aeons.

Best wishes,


Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:07 am

Greetings Alex,

Nice sutta quote, and welcome to Dhamma Wheel.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by Alex123 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:17 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Alex,

Nice sutta quote, and welcome to Dhamma Wheel.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Thank you Retro.

Another addition:


Citta changes so fast, that the Buddha was at loss to find a simile for how fast citta changes. Awakening is the matter of the mind, not the body (which changes slowly).

Some monks (Bahiya, Channa, Vakkhali, Godhika) have went from worldling to fully awakened arhats from split seconds to few minutes. This shows that theoretically Awakening can happen instantly, or at least very quickly if all the right causes converge. Buddha did say that he could train a person possessing 5 things to become an Arahant in 12 hours. MN85.

svākkhāto bhagavatā dhammo sandiṭṭhiko akāliko ehipassiko opaneyyiko paccattaṃ veditabbo viññūhī’ti

The Dhama is well proclaimed by the Exalted One, Can be realized here and now, not a matter of time, come and see , to be experienced by oneself, realizable by the wise

So the Dhamma is sandiṭṭhiko akāliko “visible here and now and is not a matter of time”. To say that it cannot produce results if properly done, is
insulting the Dhamma. The fault is with the practitioner, not the Dhamma. Rather than quickly crossing the lake by the means of the super powered motor boat that is already made, people just run along the shore, parallel to the goal, and don’t get anywhere no matter how hard they try. The fault is not with
distance, but with the aim or direction that one moves. Becoming awakened is not like digging a mountain to see the view that it obstructs. It is more like
turning to the other side or looking from a different direction without the mountain spoiling the scenery.


“"I don't envision a single thing that is as quick to reverse itself as the mind — so much so that there is no feasible simile for how quick to reverse
itself it is."”
- AN 1.48 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Thus theoretically an "unawakened" mind could make a u-turn instanteneously, in theory, at least.



Ven. Channa’s story:
http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... channovada" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;\
-e.html

SN 4.23 (3) Godhika Sutta.
SN 22.87 (5) Vakkali Sutta.

Bahiya story:
Udana 1.10 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;



With metta,


Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by pt1 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:49 am

Hi retro and Venerable,
appicchato wrote:
pt1 wrote:...no beginning to samsara...
No discernible beginning...
Yes, thanks for correcting my mistake, should have been a little more careful. My thinking on that topic is pretty much in line with what David said about it. Truth be told, I was hoping to skip the topic as quick as possible as it really seems to have little to do with one's practice in the present moment, i.e. we can only speculate about it.

part 2 - addressing your other questions retro:
retrofuturist wrote:What role would the aspiration play then? What is the unique significance of the Dhamma as a means to liberation then? Is it possible to be enlightened without any formal aspiration? If sentient beings have been wandering in samsara since literal beginningless time, why haven't we accidentally developed the paramis required for stream-entry?
So far, my understanding is that savakas can only develop wisdom/insight to the level of stream-entry level and higher if they are in contact with dhamma teachings - i.e. they are born during a Buddha sasana. If they are born outside of a sasana, then they can develop all paramis (wholesome mental factors) but their wisdom won’t reach stream-entry (or higher) – I presume because there won’t be enough conditions outside of a sasana to enable sufficient arising of panna. Only pacceka and sammasambuddhas can accomplish this outside of a sasana, I presume because their prior accumulations of panna and other wholesome mental factors are so vast that that is a condition enough for arising of wisdom of the level that breaks the fetters.

Regarding aspirations, as mentioned, I don’t really have any definite info for ordinary disciples at the moment, but my guess is that aspiration is in all cases a very “spontaneous affair” so to speak. E.g. I skimmed through the same book again, and it seems to happen that one person just sees a great disciple and wishes something to the effect of being like that in the time of some future Buddha. Even the story of Sumedha is similar. So, my guess is that in case of ordinary disciples, aspiration is also really just a very natural sincere wish to end suffering. Whether it happens that the person simply sees an “ordinary” monk who has found release and then wishes the same, or he just comes into contact with dhamma and wishes to end the differing, I don’t think it really matters. I mean, in essence, imo, the moment one is interested in dhamma, s/he’s already on the way at that moment so to speak.

Gotta rush now, so will address your last points a bit later.

Best wishes

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by Alex123 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:07 am

Hello Christopher, all,
christopher::: wrote: Do we have any discussions going about how best to develop the paramitas most successfully in this lifetime. I'd be much more interested in reading about that. :anjali:
To develop good quality one must have right view. How does one achieve right view?
Then a certain bhikkhu approached the Blessed One … and said to him: “Venerable sir, how should one know, how should one see, for wrong view to be abandoned?

Bhikkhu, when one knows and sees the eye as impermanent, wrong view is abandoned. When one knows and sees forms as impermanent … eye-consciousness as impermanent … eye-contact as impermanent … whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition … as impermanent, wrong view is abandoned. It is when one knows and sees thus that wrong view is abandoned."
SN35.165 (10) Abandoning Wrong View
Same for abandoning of self view SN35.166-167

Abandoning of wrong views doesn't require the "a whole bunch of books" approach. A thorough anicca meditation (in Goenka course, for example) can do that.

Ignorance needs to be abandoned. And how? By knowing and seeing faculties as impermanent
"Ignorance, bhikkhu, is that one thing through the abandoning of which ignorance is abandoned by a bhikkhu and true knowledge arises.
Bhikkhu, when a bhikkhu knows and sees the eye as impermanent, ignorance is abandoned by him and true knowledge arises. When he knows and sees forms as impermanent. When he knows and sees as impermanent whatever feeling arises with mind-contact as condition … ignorance is abandoned by him and true knowledge arises." - SN35.79(6) BB translation.
Same is said in SN 35. 54(2) Abandoning the Fetters


With abandoned ignorance, abandoned self views, without wrong views - then one could really develop the paramitas. Infact, IMHO, they would be a natural
behaviour of an aryan. Again, in theory one doesn't have to spend aeons to know and see that 6 bases, 6 sense objects, 6 sense consciousness, 6 sense contacts and 6 sense feelings are inconstant.


Best wishes,

Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by Annapurna » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:47 pm

Alex123 wrote:Hello all,


Re: time it takes for awakening.

In MN85 it says that one could under Buddha's instruction reach Arhatship in 12 hours. Note, the requirements do NOT posit an existence of aeons of accumulations.
Here the bhikkhu takes faith about the enlightnment of the Thus Gone One:That Blessed One is perfect, rightfully enlightened, endowed with knowledge and conduct, well gone, knows of the worlds, is the incomparable tamer of those to be tamed, Teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed. He has few ailments and few disorders, promoting a good digestive system, not too cold and not too hot. He is not crafty nor fraudulent, shows his real self to the Teacher or to the wise co-associates in the holy life. Abides with aroused effort, for the dispelling of demerit and the accumulation of merit. Becomes firm not giving up the yoke for things of merit. [1] Becomes wise endowed with the noble ones penetration of the rising and falling of the five holding masses, for the rightful destruction of unpleasantness.

A bhikkhu endowed with these five factors gaining the training from the Thus Gone One in the morning, for whatever cause sons of clansmen rightfully go forth homeless that highest end of the holy life, he here and now, knowing, realizing, will attain in the evening, or advised in the evening would realise the next morning.
http://metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/ ... ra-e1.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Satipatthana sutta also says that one could achieve Arhatship in as little as 7 days.


Of course without the Buddha's personal guidance it could take longer... But 12 hours is a LONG way off from aeons of accumulations.... So today it may take years... But not aeons.

Best wishes,


Alex

Hi, Alex,

the Buddha explained that some people grasp the complete Dhamma in a short time, when explained by the Buddha, some grasp large parts of it, and it takes a bit longer, and some don't ever really understand the Dhamma in this life, but have faith, and grasp it in future lives.

I don't remember where I read it, but I'm sure if there is doubt, one of our very well read folks here have heard of it and can give us all the source.

Btw, the fact that somebody grasps it quickly in this life could mean he has practiced through many previous lives, whilst the one who doesn't get it to a lesser amount.
Of course without the Buddha's personal guidance it could take longer... But 12 hours is a LONG way off from aeons of accumulations.... So today it may take years... But not aeons.
I wouldn't underestimate a Supreme Buddha's ability to teach them all. If it were so easy to pick up each disciple where s-he is at, we wouldn't need any Supreme ones.

metta

anna

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by pt1 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 1:44 pm

Hi retro,

part 3 - answering to the last bits of your post:
retrofuturist wrote:...it's hard to see how one could ever hope validate it for themselves, here-and-now, and I'm sure that no one here is arguing from the position that they themselves know this parami argument to be true from personal experience.
Well, I might be wrong, but validating seems pretty straightforward to me. I mean compare your experiences to Venerable Sariputta for example. When I hear a dhamma verse, sometimes awareness arises in response, but usually it's just speculation, sometimes dullness, sometimes even aversion. So, while I'm glad there's seemingly a bit of wisdom developed, there's obviously not much of it either. Or take metta for example, I think many monks in the suttas were advised to extend unlimited metta. For me though, metta arises rarely, and I don't think it even extends beyond my room, so far, far, from being unlimited. Or what's to say about determination, etc... So my situation seems pretty straightforward. If one wants to be sure though, then I guess developing the fourth jhana and recollection of previous abodes (lives) should give an accurate picture of what was done previously. Though, to be honest, I don't think that really matters - what matters is the present moment, is there awareness or not, etc.
retrofuturist wrote:I myself, find it difficult to commit to any spiritual practice which is not sufficiently verifiable here-and-now on account of the consequences I see in other religionists who rely exclusively on blind faith and their preacher's interpretation of scripture. If, when I was a complete newbie, someone exposed this parami scheme to me as "this is how Buddhism works" I probably would have run for the hills.
I think I understand your concerns. Initially I was pretty hostile towards the whole idea of development requiring a really long time, but now, it seems reasonable and makes the message in the suttas even more acute – I mean, the urgency and “Come and see for yourself” are even more apparent now. I mean, if before I thought “Yeah, yeah, if I don’t make it in this life, I’ll make it in the next, no rush”, now it becomes apparent that one moment with bad intention can lead to aeons of missing a birth in a Buddha sasana, so the importance of being aware and mindful is much greater, because the stakes are now much, much greater.

I mean the whole practice seems to be in the present moment – if awareness arises, then in commentarial terms, that would mean that the parami (or mental factor) of wisdom is accumulating at that moment. So, it’s not like something additional needs to be done to accumulate it. If metta arises, then that parami is accumulating at that moment. And so on with all the other paramis, mental factors, etc. So it doesn’t seem different to what the suttas and abhidhamma are saying, just a bit different way of expressing it.

Re some other things that were raised in this discussion, I have to say that most of the opinions you and others expressed in this thread against commentarial positions are really opinions that I shared a couple of years ago before starting to read commentaries (and abhidhamma). Currently, I still don’t really see any conflicts between commentaries and tipitaka. Of course, there are some points that I am unable to understand at the moment, but so far, it seems the purpose of the commentaries is to help with understanding the present moment better – what dhamma(s) are arising, are they wholesome or not, etc – i.e. insight.

I mean, even very mundane-sounding stories about past lives of Theras and Theris can be very inspirational and help awareness and other wholesome mental factors arise in the present moment, encourage urgency, determination, etc. So, I think it all depends on the approach. I mean, even the suttas can be approached in a wrong way and lead to mere speculation rather than developing awareness, so it’s the same deal with the commentaries I feel.

Best wishes

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by meindzai » Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:43 pm

BlackBird wrote: My response in the case of the paramitas, according to the four nikayas, these virtues are praiseworthy, to be developed, but no where is it said that one must neccessarily develop these 10 paramitas for a period of many lifetimes, let alone such an unfathomable period as 100,000 aeons. Furthermore, we must remember that the Dhamma is Well-expounded by the Blessed One. That means that everything the Buddha knew was necessary for reaching Nibbana, he proclaimed. It might pay to also remember that The Buddha was omnicscient with regards to the nature of samsara, if 100,000 aeons of parami development was necessary in order to attain the goal, or momentariness was in fact a doctrine of the Dhamma, I am absolutely sure the Buddha would have taught it in the four nikayas. However, the fact that such a declaration is absent from the Buddha's words, is a clear indication that such ideas are not the word of the Buddha.
Thank you so very much for putting into words what's been going through my head as I've read this. (Though I was not clear enough to express it so well.)

Excluding using the commentaries and Abhidhamma as source material, the argument that's been made on the side of the paramis has been through inference, as far as I can tell. That's actually ok up to a point. We can certainly infer that the paramis are a good thing, that they are praiseworthy, etc. But if it was absolutely vital for awakening then you'd think the Buddha would have mentioned it.

-M

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by BlackBird » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:32 pm

Furthermore, this idea that it is impossible to attain arahantship during this 'phase' of the Buddha-sasana' but that it's still possible to attain ariyan states, which was stated in a post in this thread which has subsequently been deleted, has one striking logical flaw.

Using this system we must come to the conclusion that if it is possible to attain to once returner, then at the break up of the body, that once-returner must be reborn as a human who's only possible outcome is to achieve arahantship. That means that if there are once-returners in this world, there must be arahants. It must also follow that if it is possible to attain stream-entry, then it is entirely plausible that those who attained to stream-entry in previous life times have been reborn into this world during our time and are capable of attaining arahantship.

metta
Jack
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by DNS » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:39 pm

Hi Jack,

That one returning life could be in a deva realm, where lifespans can be one million years or more.

However, I agree with you and also feel that all four Noble states including Arahantship are available now just as before.

Now with the information age and internet, I think the Dhamma is in no danger of dying. I am sure it will one day, but not in our [current] lifetimes.

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by Alex123 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:42 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Hi Jack,

That one returning life could be in a deva realm, where lifespans can be one million years or more.

However, I agree with you and also feel that all four Noble states including Arahantship are available now just as before.

Now with the information age and internet, I think the Dhamma is in no danger of dying. I am sure it will one day, but not in our [current] lifetimes.

Hello David,

Actually I am afraid and concerned that due to proliferation of Dhamma books, opinions, certain well-meaning but misguided teachers, and newer developments, the real Dhamma will be buried by new age Dhamma. This is why back to the suttas is a good idea. IMHO.


With metta,

Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by DNS » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:46 pm

Alex123 wrote: Actually I am afraid and concerned that due to proliferation of Dhamma books, opinions, certain well-meaning but misguided teachers, and newer developments, the real Dhamma will be buried by new age Dhamma. This is why back to the suttas is a good idea. IMHO.
:thumbsup:

Good point.

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by BlackBird » Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:02 pm

Hi David

Yes, you are right. Although there is the distinct possibility that a once-returner will be reborn in the human state. Thus invalidating the whole argument that arahantship in the current phase of the Buddha sasana is impossible. Which (out of interest) appears to originate from this statement:
Nina Van Gorkom wrote: It can be concluded that at the present time, which is the third period of
thousand years in the dispensation of the Buddha Gotama, nobody has the
excellent qualities of the degree of the arahat, and the highest attainment
will only be that of the anågåmí.
- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... sage/20908" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Nina Van Gorkom's citations for such a claim reside in:
- 2x commentarial passages (Which are inadmissible as the word of the Buddha)
- 1x passage from the vinaya about Women shortening the time it would take for the true Dhamma to disappear from 1000 years to 500 years...

You would think that an argument with such wide reaching implications would have more substantial evidence. Seemingly evidence for such a theory wasn't really forthcoming.
(P.S. for the sake of keeping things neat and tidy I have not quoted her relevant sources, however they are available here)

metta
Jack
Last edited by BlackBird on Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:43 pm, edited 7 times in total.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by Alex123 » Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:05 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
I found it quite liberating to know that I didn't need to know the answer to everything to become enlightened, and that Right View vs Wrong View only applied to that which was relevant to suffering and its cessation. It helps keep me focused.
Metta,
Retro. :)

Hello Retro and all,
SN 35.103(10)
“And how, bhikkhus, is one a knowledge-master? When a bhikkhu understands as they really are the origin, the passing away, the gratification, the danger, and the escape in regard to the six bases for contact, such a bhikkhu is a knowledge-master.
No mention of learning 100 pages of theory.
If a monk understands the meaning and the text of Dhamma- even if it be but a stanza of four lines-and be set on living in accordance with the dhamma, he may be called "one widely learnt, who knows Dhamma by heart.".
-AN text ii, iv, xix, 186 Vi (186) Approach

100. Better than a thousand useless words is one useful word, hearing which one attains peace.
101. Better than a thousand useless verses is one useful verse, hearing which one attains peace.
102. Better than reciting a hundred meaningless verses is the reciting of one verse of Dhamma, hearing which one attains peace.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

With metta,

Alex
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Many lifetimes of paramita development needed to be aryan?

Post by DNS » Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:17 pm

Hi Jack,

One more birth for the sakadagami and it can be either as a human or deva, but nothing lower.

Those who follow the commentaries line of thinking that the first three Noble states are available in this day in age, but not that of Arahant could say that the final life would be in a deva realm. But always? If so, that would be more like an anagami, not a sakadagami. Anagamis attain enlightenment from the Pure Abodes. So you are probably correct that this is a logical flaw in that position (found in the Commentaries, not the Suttas).

edit: I see you edited your post above, so I removed your quote.

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