I'll try to make this my last post on this subject. I feel like I'm repeating myself too much. This is just my opinion.
Exclusively regarding the nature of the arahat.
In a previous thread there was a quote of a sutta mentioning that an arahat can experience pleasant and unpleasant sensations arising from contact with all of the 6 senses. That includes unpleasant sensations due to mind contact. Confronting this with the core teaching of the Buddha, saying that craving (for sensual pleasures) causes suffering, I can only arrive at one conclusion: an arahat experiences pleasantness but doesn't crave it; an arahat experiences unpleasantness but does not have aversion to it.
Imagine, for example, that an arahat was injected with adrenaline by some mad scientist. His whole body would react. That includes his brain. Unless there's something in the arahat's brain that makes it impossible for it to process chemmical substances like any other brain, his mental state is afected. This does not mean he is suffering. Just that his experience is conditioned by the body. The same could be said of any other chemmical. The same could be said of big differences in the ages of the arahats. So, although the mind of the arahat is not conditioned by suffering, it is clearly conditioned by the experiences he is having. Another example is an arahat in jhana and an arahat out of jhana.
So an arahat is not exactly the same as another arahat. The Buddha was an expert in the different paths to enlightenment. Sariputta was chief in wisdom. There was an expert on jhanas and another expert on psychic powers _ neither of which I remember the name. Thus, the suttas support this view.
So, given these conditionings, it's not absurd to consider that the arahat's experience may be conditioned by his brain structure. And the brain structure is never the same between different human beings. The brain is shaped by genetics and aquired past experience. I think the only aquired experience that is truly universal among arahats is the complete wisdom regarding the nature of reality: impermanent, unsatisfactory, without self. The wisdom that knows the 4 Noble Truths. The rest of the arahat's behaviour is, in my opinion, conditioned by contigencies of the body _ including the brain.
Since there were arahats with different degrees of mastery of the jhanas, or different degrees of wisdom (Sariputta being the supreme among them), it's not that unreasonable to consider that arahats have different degrees of mastery of morality. This makes it possible for different arahats to act in different ways when faced with the same situation. And this difference in behaviour might dispoint our expectations of what an arahat does.
An example of this was the suicide of Channa. If there are arahats who go as far as to commit suicide, it's not difficult to imagine that the behaviour of an arahat is considerably conditioned by his body and brain.
Finaly, on this point, I think it's absurd to believe that an arahat has to ordain in 7 days. What happens if he is 9 days away from an opportunity to ordain? He melts? He explodes? He has a stroke? What about Pacceka Buddha? Does he ordain himself? If anybody can give me a rational explanation to this, I would be pleased.
On the reliability of the suttas.
I find the suttas to be imperfect accounts of the Buddha's words. There's a whole new pitaka that was added later. There are evidences of corruptions here and there of the suttas. There is a standardization of the suttas to facilitate memorization. This is likely to come at cost of some nuances in the dhamma.
It is not exactly because of my modern expectations that I find it serious that the Buddha is depicted as having 32 marks _ plus 80 secondary marks. It's the lying that I find serious. If some of the people who passed the teachings along generations lied about how the Buddha is, then why should I expect that their account of the teachings is completely reliable on other subjects? The Buddha is one of the three jewels _ no less. I find that troubling.
Again, to me the suttas/agamas are the most reliable source of information on buddhism. But, even so, it's not that reliable to me.
On Daniel Ingram
I don't have a firm belief that Ingram is an arahat. He might be, that's all I'm saying. Assume for a moment that he is an arahat. If you assume he is, have you seen the amount of ill will directed at him? Isn't that a gigantic amount of bad karma? That's not something I want to be a part of, in case it is true.
It's true that the label alone is suficient for me to be defending this possibility more than usual. But the opposite is also true. I clearly am not an arahat. Yet, I bet you read my interpretations above with less aversion than in Ingram's case. Why? Because there's a strong taboo against speaking of attainments. An exagerated one, in my opinion. So the dismissal of Ingram is very easy if you have the impulsive reaction against the breaking of this taboo. So yes, I am partial because I like the idea that it is possible that an arahat is just a click away. And yes, you are partial because of a simple break of a taboo. Yes, I don't think this breaking of taboo is a big deal.
Charicatures of his words are very easy, as seen above. This, to me, is a sloppy analysis of his words. Plus, as far as I know, he doesn't charge money for his teachings. I never read something credible saying that he did.
Finaly, if what Ingram means, when he says that an arahat can be lustful, and can act based on it, is what I said above, then I find his words compatible with the dhamma. This alone doesn't make him an arahat, obviously. It does deem him as very imprecise with language. In order to properly use Occam's Razor, Ingram's words have to be read in context. When read in context, I find it hard to believe that someone would afirm that an arahat can feel lust in the exact same way as every other being, and at the same time agree that the 4 Noble Truths are correct. That doesn't make any sense to me. So using Occasm's Razor to state this is not just choosing the simplest explanation. It's choosing the simplified explanation.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)