Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Exploring modern Theravāda interpretations of the Buddha's teaching.
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BasementBuddhist
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Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by BasementBuddhist » Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:55 pm

I think that these terms need to be removed from the Buddhist lexicon. In the Buddhas time, their was a clear understanding of what they meant, how one achieves them, what it was to have met these standards and if one had done so. Now, 2,500yrs later, in the time of decay, these terms have become vague mantles to be taken up by anyone who has made some small progress in meditation and wisdom. Look at all the youtube Arahants. These rankings have become terms used to put ones self above reproach and to condemn others. I think we should keep the ideas behind them, obviously, but I think that buddhists need to stop styling themselves in this fashion.

I mean, look at myself! Just last month I was a Sotapanna! All it brought was ridicule and confusion. Times have changed, people have changed, and these attainments need to fade into the background of practice.

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by maranadhammomhi » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:32 pm

People overestimated themselves in the Buddha's time, too.

To suggest that some of the Dhamma should be "removed" is presumptuous. There is nothing to be added or subtracted from it.
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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by maranadhammomhi » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:33 pm

BasementBuddhist wrote:In the Buddhas time, their was a clear understanding of what they meant, how one achieves them, what it was to have met these standards and if one had done so.
This applies now, too. The suttas are very clear & each stage of awakening has a precise & recognizable definition.
BasementBuddhist wrote:Now, 2,500yrs later, in the time of decay, these terms have become vague mantles to be taken up by anyone who has made some small progress in meditation and wisdom.
This applied 2,500yrs ago, too. Overestimation occurs again & again in the canon.
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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by chownah » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:46 am

Dwelling on these terms is completely optional. Some people don't give them much thought and some people base their practice on them. Same as it always was.

Should we tell people who base their practice on them to stop being buddhists?
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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:59 pm

To state the obvious: When is the last time you heard a respected Buddhist announce his/her own spiritual status or use such terms? Isn't the problem with the use or abuse of the terms, and not the terms? People (and I would suspect these would mostly be people on the internet) who just naive, make a fetish of imaginary titles or rankings, seek them out or publicly boast of their self-awarded prizes seem to have mistaken the map for the territory. Although sometimes weirdly amusing to hear two self described enlightened ones angrily argue about who is more enlightened, such people need our sympathy and hope that they will work through such delusions as we work through our own. I think the best response would be to ignore such claims and gently encourage people to get guidance from a real meditation teacher.

Now you can ignore me and encourage me to get guidance.

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by BasementBuddhist » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:29 pm

Friends, I wasn't suggesting that we kill these terms and wipe them from the Dhamma, simply that we should embrace a cultural shift that doesn't involve clinging to these titles, as several of you have noted. That is all. I would NEVER suggest editing the sublime Dhamma of the Buddha Guatama.

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:56 pm

BasementBuddhist wrote:Friends, I wasn't suggesting that we kill these terms and wipe them from the Dhamma, simply that we should embrace a cultural shift that doesn't involve clinging to these titles, as several of you have noted. That is all. I would NEVER suggest editing the sublime Dhamma of the Buddha Guatama.
Sure,absolutely correct, but I think most actively practicing Buddhists never made the cultural shift to using such terms and using such terms for oneself is normally believed to be the mark of naive, the mislead, the delusional or the charlatan. Who is using these terms now or clinging to these titles? I don't think many actual practitioners with some real understanding of Buddhism do so. If you are interested in Buddhist practice I suggest you smile kindly and move on past isolated internet subcultures or groups which do, smile kindly at naive individuals (remembering that we have all been wrong or naive at some point) and return to practice.

For example I have no problem with others saying the Dalai Lama is a great enlightened figure. If the Dalai Lama, who himself insists that he is "just a simple monk," ran around saying that how great he was I would question my own great respect for him. To my knowledge Ajahn Chah never publicly claimed any such title and seemed like a pretty down-to-earth, genuine teacher with no time for flattery or self-delusion. Self-promotion is usually a sign that there is little substance.

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by Supernova » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:19 am

BasementBuddhist wrote: I mean, look at myself! Just last month I was a Sotapanna! All it brought was ridicule and confusion.
Youthought you were a Sotapanna. Problem seems to be with you, not with the Ariyahood. The four pairs are the Ariya Sangha, who we pay homage to.
6. "The eight persons extolled by virtuous men constitute four pairs. They are the disciples of the Buddha and are worthy of offerings. Gifts given to them yield rich results. This precious jewel is the Sangha.
17. "Whatever beings are assembled here, terrestrial or celestial, come let us salute the perfect Sangha, honored by gods and men. May there be happiness."
Last edited by Supernova on Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by SarathW » Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:17 am

I think that these terms need to be removed from the Buddhist lexicon.
No need to.
These are the map or the sign posts, not the terrain.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by seeker242 » Tue Jul 04, 2017 10:45 am

BasementBuddhist wrote:Friends, I wasn't suggesting that we kill these terms and wipe them from the Dhamma, simply that we should embrace a cultural shift that doesn't involve clinging to these titles
I think we already do embrace that. Which is why most everyone who comes here claiming ariya attainments, is severely questioned. And the higher the attainment is, the more severe the questioning becomes!

:rofl:

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by binocular » Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:32 pm

Caodemarte wrote:Sure,absolutely correct, but I think most actively practicing Buddhists never made the cultural shift to using such terms and using such terms for oneself is normally believed to be the mark of naive, the mislead, the delusional or the charlatan.
Absolutely, I used to think that was a given. But then I met some Buddhists who don't think so.
Who is using these terms now or clinging to these titles? I don't think many actual practitioners with some real understanding of Buddhism do so.
I know a Buddhist who claims he is enlightened. He carries a gun on his person. Considering him naive ... would be quite a stretch!

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by DNS » Tue Jul 04, 2017 2:52 pm

seeker242 wrote:
BasementBuddhist wrote:Friends, I wasn't suggesting that we kill these terms and wipe them from the Dhamma, simply that we should embrace a cultural shift that doesn't involve clinging to these titles
I think we already do embrace that. Which is why most everyone who comes here claiming ariya attainments, is severely questioned. And the higher the attainment is, the more severe the questioning becomes!

:rofl:
I agree; if you look at the number of claimants and compare that to the total number of Buddhists, it would be the tiniest of percentages, something like 0.000001%. Those who make the claims tend to stand out due to the attention given them, the expensive courses they offer, the profit they make off making those claims and offering instruction, etc. Ingram, Lenz (aka Rama) and only a few others here and there come to mind off the top of my head, but the attention makes it looks like it is more common than it is.

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by CedarTree » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:20 pm

BasementBuddhist wrote:Friends, I wasn't suggesting that we kill these terms and wipe them from the Dhamma, simply that we should embrace a cultural shift that doesn't involve clinging to these titles, as several of you have noted. That is all. I would NEVER suggest editing the sublime Dhamma of the Buddha Guatama.
Basement Buddhist, I think I know what you are saying here but that is just the nature of achievement mind set that many people bring to early practice. I am not sure it is something we can actually move past. With practice and understanding, especially years of such more humbleness and modesty is usually arisen in the individual.

:) Best wishes on your practice and my hope that you will become a stream enterer or Arahant :)


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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by Pseudobabble » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:38 pm

BasementBuddhist wrote:I think that these terms need to be removed from the Buddhist lexicon. In the Buddhas time, their was a clear understanding of what they meant, how one achieves them, what it was to have met these standards and if one had done so. Now, 2,500yrs later, in the time of decay, these terms have become vague mantles to be taken up by anyone who has made some small progress in meditation and wisdom.
True. But how one treats them is down to one's own attitude. We have not too good an idea of how much authenticity or corruption is in the suttas, so I think your practical attitude is good, but:
BasementBuddhist wrote:I think that buddhists need to stop styling themselves in this fashion
Why not just take this to heart yourself (I think you have), and let others sort themselves out. It is very difficult, if not impossible to verify the attainments of others, so I understand your point, but they have at least two useful functions: aspirations, and honeypots to attract those who want fame and acclaim. Let them come to the honey as wasps do, into the light so that we can examine them.

BasementBuddhist wrote:these attainments need to fade into the background of practice.
If one is focussing on attainments, one has is looking the wrong way. Until one is free, there are flaws to be removed. You can let them fade into the background of your practice.


As for reasonable talk about them, Thanissaro has some:
Thanissaro wrote:Basically, stream entry happens when you've got the mind as quiet as possible that you can through your concentration practice, and you start asking the question, "Is there still some stress here?"

And you look for it.

And this is one of the reasons why you look for inconstancy because you want to see the rise and fall of the level of stress experienced by the mind. You're not talking about the body now.

And you begin to notice that there are certain things you do that are going to raise the stress level (just minor things at this point in your concentration). And you say, "I'm going to stop doing that." And then you stop doing that. And that will take you to another level of concentration. So you go through the levels of concentration this way.

Finally, you get as far as you can go in concentration. And you begin to realize [...], the question comes up, "There's stress if I stay here, but there's going to be stress if I move, and this is where it gets paradoxical, you neither stay nor move. There's no intention either way because you realize whichever way you intend, there's going to be stress." And it's in that moment of non-intention that things open up.
From a thread on DhO, where a member recorded something from one of Thanissaro's dhamma talks.
"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'" - Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta


'Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.' - Genesis 3:19

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by form » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:46 am

What about those that claim that possessed jhanas?

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by binocular » Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:05 pm

form wrote:What about those that claim that possessed jhanas?
Let them stay in them.

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:08 pm

binocular wrote:
form wrote:What about those that claim that possessed jhanas?
Let them stay in them.
:hug:

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by TreeSleeper » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:11 pm

Just because some people misuse things doesn't mean there's something wrong with the terms. There's a strong logical fallacy at play in your argument. Just because some people think that they are Arahants or stream-enterers doens't mean that no one is! These are four distinct stages of enlightenment that come up in ones heart. One knows in themselves that they are real. It is the way the heart functions in it's path to awakening. In reality if some actually is one of these paths, they probably wouldn't talk about it or say they were that. These things aren't title ones is bestowed upon as a level of authority, they're real, deep changes in ones defilements. The Buddha knew about these things and he spoke about them for a very good reason. Those who have actually attained to these levels know their truth and can have them as a guide to determine what more needs to be done.

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by _anicca_ » Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:59 pm

The attainments are meant for honest, personal review.

They are not an accreditation of our worth as Buddhists, but stages on the path to removing our defilement.

It's best if you do not talk about your attainments at all and, if you do, only speak with other noble ones.
"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."

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Re: Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anāgāmi, and Arahant. More trouble than they are worth.

Post by CedarTree » Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:54 pm

_anicca_ wrote:The attainments are meant for honest, personal review.

They are not an accreditation of our worth as Buddhists, but stages on the path to removing our defilement.

It's best if you do not talk about your attainments at all and, if you do, only speak with other noble ones.
Very good wisdom from Anicca.


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