Four stages of training and Four stages of enlightenment

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new
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Four stages of training and Four stages of enlightenment

Post by new » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:12 pm

I'm reading 'In the Buddha's Words', there is an excerpt from AN 8:59. It talks about the eight training stages:
1. the stream-enterer
3. the once-returner
5. the nonreturner
7. the arahant
&
2, 4, 6, 8 the one practicing for the realization of the fruit of a stage above.

Can one be in a stage of enlightenment and not in training for the next stage (I'm not talking about the arahants here). Would this be possible in practice. Or are these stages of englightenment, not in training, just mentioned for completeness? To me it seems possible but rare, e.g. a stream-enterer can still get distracted, and stop the training, maybe even for a long time, but he will eventually return to practice.

Do I understand correctly?

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Four stages of training and Four stages of enlightenment

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:21 pm

The way it works, is that having attained any of the three lower paths, the Noble One then has two choices: strive to attain nibbāna again for longer and longer periods at the same stage, or to strive for the higher paths.

Attainment of Fruition.
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2600htz
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Re: Four stages of training and Four stages of enlightenment

Post by 2600htz » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:34 pm

new wrote:I'm reading 'In the Buddha's Words', there is an excerpt from AN 8:59. It talks about the eight training stages:
1. the stream-enterer
3. the once-returner
5. the nonreturner
7. the arahant
&
2, 4, 6, 8 the one practicing for the realization of the fruit of a stage above.

Can one be in a stage of enlightenment and not in training for the next stage (I'm not talking about the arahants here). Would this be possible in practice. Or are these stages of englightenment, not in training, just mentioned for completeness? To me it seems possible but rare, e.g. a stream-enterer can still get distracted, and stop the training, maybe even for a long time, but he will eventually return to practice.

Do I understand correctly?
Hello:

Yeah, look at MN-105, a person with just the path knowledge of any of the 4 stages of enlightment can " incur death or deadly suffering." if they fall of the path. If the person has the fruition that can´t happen.

Regards.

SarathW
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Re: Four stages of training and Four stages of enlightenment

Post by SarathW » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:18 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The way it works, is that having attained any of the three lower paths, the Noble One then has two choices: strive to attain nibbāna again for longer and longer periods at the same stage, or to strive for the higher paths.

Attainment of Fruition.
Hi Bhante
Is there a Sutta reference for this?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Derek
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Re: Four stages of training and Four stages of enlightenment

Post by Derek » Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:37 am

In the Mahasi Sayadaw work linked to by Bhikkhu Pesala, it says: "One should also set one’s mind resolutely upon the further tasks: to be able to repeat the achievement of fruition attainment, to achieve it rapidly, and, at the time of achievement, to abide in it a long time, say for six, ten, fifteen or thirty minutes, or for an hour or more."

And then, going on to the next stage, Visuddhimagga XXII.22 says: "[E]ither while sitting in the same session or on another occasion, the noble disciple who is a stream-enterer makes it his task to reach the second plane by attenuating both greed for sense desires and ill-will."

But -- http://buddhistteachings.org/eight-noble-beings points out that the meaning of the eight kinds of noble beings has changed between the Sutta Piṭaka and the Visuddhimagga.

In the Sutta Piṭaka, the eight kinds of noble beings are as described by the OP, e.g. in the Saṅgīti Sutta (D iii.255):

Aṭṭha puggala dakkhiṇeyyā. Sotāpanno sotāpattiphala-sacchikiriyāya paṭipanno, sakadāgāmī sakadāgāmiphala-sacchikiriyāya paṭipanno, anāgāmī anāgāmi-phalasacchikiriyāya paṭipanno, arahā arahattāya paṭipanno.

"There are eight persons worthy of offerings. The stream winner and one who had practiced to gain the fruit of stream entry. The once-returner and one who has practiced to gain the fruit of once-returner. The non-returner and one who has practiced to gain the fruit of non-returner. The arahant and one who has practice toward arahantship."

In the commentaries / Abhidhamma / Visuddhimagga, by contrast, the eight pairs are understood to be the path (magga) and fruit (phala) of each of the four stages of enlightenment.

This, of course, is quite apart from the change in the definition of "stream-entry," as sketched out in my essay "What Is Stream-Entry?"

new
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Re: Four stages of training and Four stages of enlightenment

Post by new » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:13 pm

The way it works, is that having attained any of the three lower paths, the Noble One then has two choices: strive to attain nibbāna again for longer and longer periods at the same stage, or to strive for the higher paths.
Thank you, Bhante. But, I'm currently trying to study using mostly sutta sources, or analysis of suttas. While your post makes some assumptions (e.g. that one experiences nibbāna when attaining any of the first three stages of enlightenment) that I can't trace back to the suttas with my current knowledge, without any help, and uses new terminology in the book by Mahāsi Sayādaw. :reading:

My long-term plan is to learn about the suttas first, and maybe later, when I have more knowledge, to have a look at the newer teachings (Visuddhimagga, Mahāsi Sayādaw, etc.) and compare. Maybe I can pick up a few things reading this forum as well.
Yeah, look at MN-105, a person with just the path knowledge of any of the 4 stages of enlightment can " incur death or deadly suffering." if they fall of the path. If the person has the fruition that can´t happen.
Thank you.

But, I don't really understand what path knowledge means.

I'm asking because I remember reading somewhere that a stream-enterer can still lose the path. I think, though, it was in a post on some forum, I haven't read it myself directly in any sutta, so I'm not entirely sure. It was something about a monk wanting to disrobe, because he fell in love with a girl.

But my question was rather, whether there is any difference e.g. between a stream-enterer and a stream-enterer practicing for the realization of the fruit of a once-returner, or is the stream-enterer stage just a concept that doesn't really exist in reality as oppposed to a stream-enterer practicing for the next stage. Or can there be a case when the stream-enterer is content with his attainment, and delays practicing for the next stage for some time?
Derek wrote:...
Thank you. This was a very informative post to show the development of this teaching. Also a great article.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Four stages of training and Four stages of enlightenment

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:14 am

new wrote:But, I don't really understand what path knowledge means.
It means attaining nibbāna for the very first time and become a Stream-winner. A stream-winner cannot regress. One developing the path leading to Stream-winning could fall-back.
new wrote:But my question was rather, whether there is any difference e.g. between a stream-enterer and a stream-enterer practicing for the realization of the fruit of a once-returner, or is the stream-enterer stage just a concept that doesn't really exist in reality as opposed to a stream-enterer practicing for the next stage. Or can there be a case when the stream-enterer is content with his attainment, and delays practicing for the next stage for some time?
A Stream-winner could rest content at that stage, leaving the meditation centre, or disrobing and returning to lay-life.

The Story of Sister Hla Myint is informative.
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