The weight of nobility

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The weight of nobility

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:56 am

Greetings,

According to the traditional Theravada accounts…
"If a layman attains arahant-ship, only two destinations await him; either he must enter the Order that very day or else he must attain parinibbàna"
Milindapanha III.19

"You say that if a layman attains arahantship he must either enter the Order that very day or die and attain parinibbàna. Yet if he is unable to find a robe and bowl and preceptor then that exalted condition of arahantship is a waste, for destruction of life is involved in it."
"The fault does not lie with arahantship but with the state of a layman, because it is too weak to support arahantship. Just as, O king, although food protects the life of beings it will take away the life of one whose digestion is weak; so too, if a layman attains arahantship he must, because of the weakness of that condition, enter the Order that very day or die."
Milindapanha III.62
Of particular interest to me was the sentence, “The fault does not lie with arahantship but with the state of a layman, because it is too weak to support arahantship.”. I was contemplating why this might be so and why the lay-life might be too weak to sustain arahantship. Immediately I came to reflect on the nature of nama-rupa (name and form) as explained by Nanananda et.al. and it became clear that the principle insight of the noble disciple (“Whatever is subject to arising is all subject to cessation”) involves understanding the reality of experience in a manner that is increasingly divergent and divorced from the understanding of the world at large. As one progresses in terms of Dhammic understanding and paticcasamuppada becomes a more natural and instinctive frame of reference by which to understand life, the terms of reference by which the lay-life is lived, become increasingly foreign, alienating and irrelevant.

As suttas like MN 1 show, the Buddha advised that the sekha should try to see without conceiving what is seen as discrete entities, yet the cornerstone of the lay-life is centred in the assumed existence of entities – things (or dhammas). The lay-life solidifies these entities, attributing qualities to them, classifies and categorizes them, and engages with them as if these imputed qualities were inherently existing. The lay-life involves communication and engagement with others, and such engagement and communication (unless it is specifically focused on Dhammic truths) presumes the inherent existence of conceptualizations and perceptions which have no inherent existence. The sekha is aware of the error in this, but the lay life is fundamentally unable to support such a mode of understanding, which would leave the worldling utterly bewildered. Were one to actually attain arahantship the divergence between reality and the worldlings’ misconceptions of it would be so diametrically opposed that what is said in the Milindapanha actually makes a good deal more sense. It need not be taken as some arbitrary prophecy that a stray heifer or other such misfortune will befall an arahant and lead to their premature death, but rather, that lay-life and the ignorance of dhammas in which it is rooted, can no longer sustain one who has totally transcended that ignorance. To engage with that lay life, would be to engage with that which the arahant knows as little more than a house of cards. The engagement would be little more than a show – and as such, it would be inauthentic. The lay-life cannot handle the lay-arahant's authenticity.

Presumably if the lay-life cannot support the weight of arahantship, then previous noble attainments must also apply a certain weight to this precarious house of cards. The weightier the insight and wisdom, the more diametrically opposed the sekha stands in contradistinction to the world and its ways. For the lay sekha, this poses an interesting conundrum… since one has the potential to see correctly, but also the residual tendency to see incorrectly… is it necessarily in the sekha’s best interests to strive onwards, knowing that the weight of their attainment will put them diametrically opposed to the world in which they live? As the Milindapanha suggests, yes, such a person could ordain and remove that tension, but were they to remain in the lay life, would it necessarily be beneficial for them to advance as far as possible along the Dhammic path in this lifetime and increase this weight? If, as the suttas explain, such an individual is destined to attain nibbana within seven lifetimes at most, is living a life which is increasingly fundamentally opposed to, and at odds with the world’s worldliness, actually the best thing for the sekha to do? Is it best to become increasingly 'indigestible'? And if that is not the best thing for a sekha to do, then what actually is a sekha to do?

There's some food for thought. 8-)

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences in relation to this matter.

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by ihrjordan » Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:57 am

Paul Davy wrote:It need not be taken as some arbitrary prophecy that a stray heifer or other such misfortune will befall an arahant and lead to their premature death, but rather, that lay-life and the ignorance of dhammas in which it is rooted, can no longer sustain one who has totally transcended that ignorance.
Is this really a commonly accepted understanding? :lol: I heard on a video quite early into my practice that an Arahant and lay life simply aren't compatable, and that the Arahat would have no interest in all of the struggles of lay-life preservation. But It was interesting to see it as a prophecy haha
is it necessarily in the sekha’s best interests to strive onwards, knowing that the weight of their attainment will put them diametrically opposed to the world in which they live?
I know that the Buddha said we should not rest content with skillful qualities and that we should strive towards the goal as if our head was on fire. Yes the sekha may be a stream winner but that doesn't mean he is exempt from suffering, albeit a lot less than common people. Is it really proper to not put one's best effort into the practice knowing that for a couple more life times he will witness the death of a mother, of a father, of a brother and sister...his kids? Stream winners aren't exempt from being born into hellish states in the human realm either (as far as I know). What if in his future life he was born in North Korea, a war torn part of Africa...or Canada ( :lol: ). Lets not forget the unlimited number and variation of diseases he's susceptible to in the human realm...
As the Milindapanha suggests, yes, such a person could ordain and remove that tension, but were they to remain in the lay life, would it necessarily be beneficial for them to advance as far as possible along the Dhammic path in this lifetime and increase this weight?
Well wouldn't that mean that he'd be an Arahat? I think this is a problem that solves itself. Take a similar case where a meditator says to his teacher: S- "I'm really afraid to continue practicing"
T-"Why is that?"
S-"Because I'm scared that if I keep practicing I'll eventually let go of my lust and I'll lose the attraction to my girlfriend, and I don't want that to happen because I really love her"
T-"Don't wory as long as you don't want to let go, you certainly won't"

Which is to say: It's not possible that all of a sudden we're practicing and then we "mess up" and slip into Arahatship, oops we let go of everything. The practitioner wouldn't let go unless he knew it was for his benefit to do so. The person in question practiced all the way to Arahatship as a layperson? Great, he has no more worry, aversion or delusion. Next he either ordains or he dies which I'm sure he'd be ok with since that means eternal peace...
If, as the suttas explain, such an individual is destined to attain nibbana within seven lifetimes at most, is living a life which is increasingly fundamentally opposed to, and at odds with the world’s worldliness, actually the best thing for the sekha to do?
I think the problem with this question is that there is not and there never would be a choice to be made. The nature of our minds is to run away from pain and go towards pleasure, if he had advanced to sotapanna then I'm sure he's good at distinguishing that which causes suffering from that which does not and he will act according to the way he thinks will bring him the most pleasure (eventually). This is why the Buddha never actually defined happiness or suffering, because he knew that while developing on the path our sense of what constitutes happiness and what constitutes suffering will become more and more refined. So to reiterte, it's really a non-issue because there is no choice being made as to whether he should or shouldn't continue to develop on the path. He's either seen or he hasn't but once he has, he can't unsee.
Is it best to become increasingly 'indigestible'?
Is it better to choose suffering over happiness? No.
And if that is not the best thing for a sekha to do, then what actually is a sekha to do?
He should find happiness. If he thinks that happiness means living a busy and dusty lay-life and he continues to live it well then he's living rightly. If he thinks happiness is to be attained somewhere more refined, more sublime but continues to suffer as a busy lay-person despite his wishes, he's living wrongly and he should fix his actions so that they are in line with his desires.

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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:04 am

Greetings ihrjordan,

Thank you for the well-considered response.
ihrjordan wrote:I know that the Buddha said we should not rest content with skillful qualities and that we should strive towards the goal as if our head was on fire.
Yes, this was said… but was it only said to bhikkhus and bhikkhunis? I would be interested to read of any sutta whereby the Buddha exhorted a lay-person to strive for arahantship in their capacity as a lay-person.
ihrjordan wrote:…. Great, he has no more worry, aversion or delusion...
Thanks for bringing this distinction up. It’s not so much the eradication of greed or aversion which I believe would pose a problem for the lay-arahant, but the complete eradication of delusion and seeing that all these fabrications upon which the world is founded are nothing but empty. Seeing them and knowing them as such, for the lay-arahant to exist in the lay-life would simply be playing make believe in order to continue.
Paul Davy wrote:… is living a life which is increasingly fundamentally opposed to, and at odds with the world’s worldliness, actually the best thing for the sekha to do?
ihrjordan wrote:…I think the problem with this question is that there is not and there never would be a choice to be made.
Actually, I think there is a choice in this instance. Firstly, there's the choice to ordain or not.

There are many suttas in which the Buddha exhorts ordained noble ones to strive for the final goal. If there wasn’t a choice (between pursuing arahantship as if one’s head were on fire, and a more leisurely and relaxed path) then there would have been no need for such teachings to be proclaimed. Again, back to MN1 as a point of reference, the Buddha articulates what the sekha “should” do… not what they necessarily do by default - such distinctions in the suttas would be unnecessary if the noble one automatically honed in on arahantship at full speed.
Paul Davy wrote:And if that is not the best thing for a sekha to do, then what actually is a sekha to do?
ihrjordan wrote:He should find happiness. If he thinks that happiness means living a busy and dusty lay-life and he continues to live it well then he's living rightly. If he thinks happiness is to be attained somewhere more refined, more sublime but continues to suffer as a busy lay-person despite his wishes, he's living wrongly and he should fix his actions so that they are in line with his desires.
I see a lot of wisdom in that, and much of this topic is centred around where that happiness (or perhaps more accurately, sukha) lies. To deepen insight is to reduce dukkha according to the model of the renunciate, but to be increasingly ‘indigestible’ to the world based on those Dhammic views, has the potential to create a lot of external contention (in the form of the eight worldly conditions and so on) which is in opposition to the sukha associated with solitude and “noble silence”. For such reasons, I think it’s entirely possible for example that a lay non-returner could suffer more than a lay once-returner… and since the purpose of the Dhamma is to reduce dukkha, it’s not necessarily the case that a more advanced stage automatically translates to less dukkha (with the exception of the arahant, whom I believe is beyond dukkha). If that is so, then it may indeed be a deliberate choice for the noble lay-person to ease up and aim for “digestibility” and sukha over arahantship in order to minimize contention.

I agree this is completely at odds with how the Buddha taught the Sangha, but how did he engage with noble laity? What was his guidance to them? Did he prescribe a full-on tilt towards arahantship or was the direction set somewhat more nuanced than that?

Thanks again for sharing your perspective.

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by ihrjordan » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:24 am

Paul Davy wrote:For such reasons, I think it’s entirely possible for example that a non-returner could suffer more than a once-returner… and since the purpose of the Dhamma is to reduce dukkha, it’s not necessarily the case that a more advanced stage automatically translates to less dukkha (with the exception of the arahant, whom I believe is beyond dukkha).
I don't see how a non-returner could suffer more than a once returner at all. It is not our external situation which causes suffering but rather the inner reactions to the outside world. A non-returner has less "negative reactions" and therefore less suffering. Take the example of Ghatakara the potter (or something or other) who needed to take care of his sick parents and this was what was stopping him from ordaining. He still made the best of his situation and I'm sure he found a lot of happiness in fulfilling his duty as a son not to mention the prevention of all the guilt that would have arisen had he had gone forth leaving his sickly parents who protected and fed him, to whither away. So I still think he would act according to his capacity to acheive happiness and could not intentionally cause himself suffering.
Paul Davy wrote:Yes, this was said… but was it only said to bhikkhus and bhikkhunis? I would be interested to read of any sutta whereby the Buddha exhorted a lay-person to strive for arahantship in their capacity as a lay-person.
Well what would be the alternative? We are all subject to aging, illness and death. Why should one strive dilligently and the other live heedless even though they face the same dangers?
It’s not so much the eradication of greed or aversion which I believe would pose a problem for the lay-arahant, but the complete eradication of delusion and seeing that all these fabrications upon which the world is founded are nothing but empty.
But it wouldn't pose a problem though...at least not to the Arahat. He's stainless, he would feel no suffering whatever from being enmeshed in the world for a measly 7 more days. Compare those 7 days to the countless aeons he had previously been wondering through samsara getting beheaded as a theif, a cow, a goat etc. that is suffering.
Paul Davy wrote:Actually, I think there is a choice in this instance. There are many suttas in which the Buddha exhorts ordained noble ones to strive for the final goal. If there wasn’t a choice (between pursuing arahantship as if one’s head were on fire, and a more leisurely and relaxed path) then there would have been no need for such teachings to be proclaimed. Again, back to MN1 as a point of reference, the Buddha articulates what the sekha “should” do… not what they necessarily do by default - such distinctions in the suttas would be unnecessary if the noble one automatically honed in on arahantship at full speed.
This is an odd discussion with a lot of angels to cover but we have to realize that it wouldn't be the practitioner that would be wasting time or relaxing; it would be his defilements. When the Buddha exhorted someone he did it so that they would basically snap to it and apamadda would take over in place of pamadda. But even if we did take it literally that the buddha was talking to "them" well even still the practitioners would always want happiness so what I said still holds. Their defilements (as is always the case) are preventing them from obtaining it. And oc=nce those defilements aren't present he will continue to go in the direction of what he at the stage in his practice sees as happiness.

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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by m0rl0ck » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:30 am

I dont see how knowing more could make one less functional.
I also dont see how one could prefer one way of seeing the world over another since preference involves attraction and aversion.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by Sylvester » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:50 am

Paul Davy wrote: As suttas like MN 1 show, the Buddha advised that the sekha should try to see without conceiving what is seen as discrete entities, yet the cornerstone of the lay-life is centred in the assumed existence of entities – things (or dhammas).
Hi Paul

Might you have a reference to the passage in MN 1 in question, or are you again relying on Ven Nanananda's unusual translation that was discussed previously here - http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 40#p333483

To that previous discussion, I might recommend that we take a survey of how another critical verb from MN 1 is used, ie abhijānāti/"directly knows" in this pericope throughout the suttas -
bhikkhuno sutaṃ hoti: ‘sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāyā’ti. So sabbaṃ dhammaṃ abhijānāti, sabbaṃ dhammaṃ abhiññāya sabbaṃ dhammaṃ parijānāti, sabbaṃ dhammaṃ pariññāya

a bhikkhu has heard, ‘Nothing is worth adhering to.’ When a bhikkhu has heard, ‘Nothing is worth adhering to,’ he directly knows everything. Having directly known everything, he fully understands everything. Having fully understood everything...

eg SN35.80, MN 37
Look at the structure of this pericope and you will see that it is actually a condensation of the 24 types of "direct knowing" of the Trainee and the Arahat listed in MN 1. It is the outcome of Stream Entry that one does not merely sañjānāti/perceives like a worldling. A Trainee also knows that these things are dependently arisen and are therefore ultimately perishable.

I'm particularly concerned that you think MN 1 admonishes that a Trainee "should try to see without conceiving". That is not at all stated in the sutta. What it does say is -
Yopi so, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sekkho appattamānaso anuttaraṃ yogakkhemaṃ patthayamāno viharati, sopi pathaviṃ pathavito abhijānāti; pathaviṃ pathavito abhiññāya pathaviṃ mā maññi ...

Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who is in higher training, whose mind has not yet reached the goal, and who is still aspiring to the supreme security from bondage, directly knows earth as earth. Having directly known earth as earth, he should not conceive himself as earth...

(per BB, but let's leave out the disagreement on whether he or Ven Nanananda was correct re the "conceive earth as earth" interpretation)
I've highlighted abhiññāya. Whether one reads this as a gerund of abhijānāti (ie directly knowing earth as earth) or as an absolutive of abhijānāti (having directly known earth as earth), what is certain about this form is that it commences before the main verbs in the next clause (Hendriksen, Syntax of the Infinite Verb Forms of Pali, 113-114). The negative injunction is restricted to only "don't conceive" and it does not apply to the "directly knowing". The Trainee has absolutely no control over his/her seeing after Stream Entry; the only variable left is the conceiving.

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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by perkele » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:58 am

Hello!
retrofuturist wrote:The lay-life involves communication and engagement with others, and such engagement and communication (unless it is specifically focused on Dhammic truths) presumes the inherent existence of conceptualizations and perceptions which have no inherent existence. The sekha is aware of the error in this, but the lay life is fundamentally unable to support such a mode of understanding, which would leave the worldling utterly bewildered.
Interesting. I would maybe put it the other way around: He (the sekha) does no longer need such an ulterior mode of understanding as a support. In fact, more and more, such can no longer support him but only weigh him down. So my focus is on the ulterior mode of understanding (of the puttujana) just for another emphasis. The puttujana cannot easily make sense of the sekha's ways for framing a sense of purpose to his existence.

The sekha, being humble (or naturally striving to be, for the better part), would not seek for means to support himself in deluded ways that go against his better understanding.

It is on others to employ him with a sense of purpose (for them), that would be compatible enough with his pursuit of liberation from all bondage. Otherwise, being perceived as "a burden" he would rather not exist in such an environment.

This song comes to mind (from an album entitled "Sense of Purpose"):


But maybe that has a slight bent into the wrong direction. :P
… since one has the potential to see correctly, but also the residual tendency to see incorrectly…
For the rest, I agree much with most of what ihrjordan said.
retrofuturist wrote:
ihrjordan wrote:…. Great, he has no more worry, aversion or delusion...
Thanks for bringing this distinction up. It’s not so much the eradication of greed or aversion which I believe would pose a problem for the lay-arahant, but the complete eradication of delusion and seeing that all these fabrications upon which the world is founded are nothing but empty. Seeing them as such, for the lay-arahant to exist in the lay-life would simply be playing make believe in order to continue.
How would the complete eradication of delusion pose a problem to the assumed lay arahat? As an arahat, he has already eradicated delusion.
At least your sentence could be read in that way, but now I see that your intention was probably to suggest the possibility that it could be a problem for the lay arahat that he has already destroyed all his delusion, and your speculations revolve around that "problem".
To this, I can only say that it is absurd. Of course that is not a "problem" for an arahat. He has no more problems.

Only from a worldly perspective we could construe various problems around that "issue".
retrofuturist wrote:To deepen insight is to reduce dukkha according to the model of the renunciate, but to be increasingly ‘indigestible’ to the world based on those Dhammic views, has the potential to create a lot of external contention (in the form of the eight worldly conditions and so on) which is in opposition to the sukha associated with solitude and “noble silence”. For such reasons, I think it’s entirely possible for example that a non-returner could suffer more than a once-returner…
I don't really know what you could actually mean with "but to be increasingly ‘indigestible’ to the world based on those Dhammic views", and what external contention (in the form of the eight worldly conditions and so on). If someone/something is "increasingly indigestible" to "the world", then it is "the world"'s problem. Why would someone suffer from being "indigestible"? It seems like a good protection from being eaten..
Knowing cause and effect and seeing clearly that it is not his fault if someone does not like something about him, he would not need to have a bad conscience.

Could it be that your ruminations have to do with a bad conscience? Sometimes that has a solid reason. At other times it can be removed simply by a shift of perspective, arriving at clarity and clear comprehension of what is wholesome and what is unwholesome.

:anjali:


PS: (Wohh... discussion grows in volume quickly. Hope what I said is not already completely out of focus and off track.)

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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by ihrjordan » Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:44 am

perkele wrote:Why would someone suffer from being "indigestible"? It seems like a good protection from being eaten..
:bow:

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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by robertk » Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:54 am

r the lay sekha, this poses an interesting conundrum… since one has the potential to see correctly, but also the residual tendency to see incorrectly… is it necessarily in the sekha’s best interests to strive onwards, knowing that the weight of their attainment will put them diametrically opposed to the world in which they live? As the Milindapanha suggests, yes, such a person could ordain and remove that tension, but were they to remain in the lay life, would it necessarily be beneficial for them to advance as far as possible along the Dhammic path in this lifetime and increase this weight?
With regard to a lay sotapanna the milindapanha specifically suggests that they would not neccessarily ordain.
Where do you see this opposition to the world? Yes, the world is tied to self view and desire and It is true that the sotappana has no more self view, but they still have mighty amounts of lobha and so are quite equipped to enjoy and thrive in worldly life...

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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:10 am

Greetings all,

A few of the recent posts seem to suggest the whole matter is something of a non-issue, and that's fine, but perhaps I can explain the problem in a way that can be understood more broadly.

One of the key insights or doctrines of the Buddha is anattata… namely, that all things are not-self, not I, not mine, and thus, they ought to be perceived as such.

This core Dhamma truth is diametrically opposed to the worldly view that of course things are self! Look…. This is me! This is mine! I have a soul! I have a brain! I am related to that in this way etc. If your reality is based on something different - you have no hope of being understood, and being misunderstood is an obstacle to lay life.

Much like we might talk of “climate change deniers”, by framing existence in such a way worldlings are essentially “anatta deniers”. Being “anatta deniers”, communication on a manner that accurately reflects the Buddhist understanding of reality cannot be had. The worldling would be totally bamboozled and structurally unable to break from the ego-centric thinking of “What am I? Am I this? Do I exist? Do I not exist” etc. Consider the following discussion between Sister Vajira and Mara...
SN 5.10 wrote:At Savatthi. Then, early in the morning, Vajira the nun put on her robes and, taking her bowl & outer robe, went into Savatthi for alms. When she had gone for alms in Savatthi and had returned from her alms round, after her meal she went to the Grove of the Blind to spend the day. Having gone deep into the Grove of the Blind, she sat down at the foot of a tree for the day's abiding.

Then Mara the Evil One, wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in her, wanting to make her fall away from concentration, approached her & addressed her in verse:

By whom was this living being created?
Where is the living being's maker?
Where has the living being originated?
Where does the living being
cease?
Then the thought occurred to Vajira the nun: "Now who has recited this verse — a human being or a non-human one?" Then it occurred to her: "This is Mara the Evil One, who has recited this verse wanting to arouse fear, horripilation, & terror in me, wanting to make me fall away from concentration."

Then, having understood that "This is Mara the Evil One," she replied to him in verses:

What? Do you assume a 'living being,' Mara?
Do you take a position?
This is purely a pile of fabrications.
Here no living being
can be pinned down.

Just as when, with an assemblage of parts,
there's the word,
chariot,
even so when aggregates are present,
there's the convention of
living being.

For only stress is what comes to be;
stress, what remains & falls away.
Nothing but stress comes to be.
Nothing ceases but stress.
Then Mara the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, "Vajira the nun knows me" — vanished right there.
Sister Vajira didn't need to feign ignorance or think in erroneous terms... but were she to perceive and communicate accurately in that way to lay-folk as a lay-person, people would think she was bonkers. It would create obstructions for her day to day living, it would make it harder to engage in the "conventional" ways that are necessary to conform to in order to sustain employment, partake in interpersonal relations and execute the minutia of daily life. To be "understood" by a lay-person, she would therefore need to dumb the message down to a level that was not just over-simplified, but to a level that was in error, and inauthentic. The more that the "dumbing down" violates her truth, the more she necessarily has to alienate herself in order to participate in society, were she to be a lay person.

The stream-winner can see through that ego-centric thinking, but still has a tendency towards conceit (mana) that will not be eradicated until arahantship… so sometimes, they will think in these conventional worldly terms, out of prevailing habit. However, the less they think in those (erroneous) terms, the less they will actually be understood by the lay-people they engage with on a daily basis. There will be an ever-increasing divergence, the more someone perceives in terms of “nama-rupa”, as opposed to perceiving “puggala”. Being less understood by worldlings on a daily basis, and not being gullible enough to buy into the things that they get emotional and dramatic about, is going to give rise to perceptions that the sekha may be crazy, inhuman, or a robot or whatever. These worldly perceptions are bound to create problems for the lay-sekha as they come to be frequently misunderstood and misrepresented in lay engagements. Being misrepresented and misunderstood, situations can arise which cause suffering… sufferings which would not have arisen if they thought, acted and lived in ways that conformed better to the ways of the world. But because they go “against the grain”, frictions are more likely to arise.

This exploration then relates to the lay sekha in such a predicament…. In the pursuit of sukha, what are the pros and cons of either pursuing arahantship (and reducing inner frictions) or playing along with worldly conventions (and thereby reducing external frictions). For the renunciate it is clear that pursuing arahantship is the appropriate goal, but for the lay sekha, the impact of the reduction of internal frictions may be more than offset by the increase in external frictions that they are exposed to.
robert wrote:Yes, the world is tied to self view and desire and It is true that the sotappana has no more self view, but they still have mighty amounts of lobha and so are quite equipped to enjoy and thrive in worldly life...
Which actually cuts to the heart of the matter... if moha dimishes, are they still "equipped to enjoy and thrive in worldly life"? Or does moha actually need to be sustained to a degree in order to remain equipped to thrive in secular life?

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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mikenz66
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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:31 am

The Buddha and other Arahants seemed to have no particular problem interacting normally, and they still had bodies with aches and pains etc etc so I think one would have to look for some other reason for ordaining other than that an Arahant can't function with worldlings. After all, most of the other Sangha would likely be worldlings.

Mike

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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:45 am

Greetings Mike,

Except that the Sangha operate under the jurisdiction of the Vinaya which was designed precisely to accommodate the path to arahantship and to minimize exposure to misunderstandings with the laity that are detrimental to the pursuit of ease. Take away the institutions of the Vinaya and Sangha and suddenly one needs to engage under a different model... one rooted in self-view, self-preservation, self-advantage, mutually advantageous transactions and delusion. That may be fine for arahants beyond dukkha and asekha (beyond training) if the Milindapanha is wrong... but what of the sekhas with work to do?

Again, as per my earlier note, I'd be keen to see even one sutta that exhorted a lay sekha to strive for arahantship as a lay practitioner, engaging in worldly activities as their understanding evolves to arahantship. And if there is none, such an omission may have an influence on how practitioners elect to approach their practice and the priorities therein.

Metta,
Paul. :)

P.S. to perkele...
perkele wrote:Could it be that your ruminations have to do with a bad conscience? Sometimes that has a solid reason. At other times it can be removed simply by a shift of perspective, arriving at clarity and clear comprehension of what is wholesome and what is unwholesome.
No, but thank you for the consideration - I have faith in kamma and frankly, things have never been more sukha. :D That said, I wholeheartedly concur with the italicized sentence - it's very true.
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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ihrjordan
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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by ihrjordan » Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:44 am

Paul Davy wrote:Take away the institutions of the Vinaya and Sangha and suddenly one needs to engage under a different model... one rooted in self-view, self-preservation, self-advantage, mutually advantageous transactions and delusion.
What? I take it that all of us unordained are following this alternative model?

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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:25 am

Greetings again,
ihrjordan wrote:What? I take it that all of us unordained are following this alternative model?
That's the lay life - the world in which we live.

The household life is close and dusty, the homeless life is free as air. It is not easy, living the household life, to live the fully-perfected holy life, purified and polished like a conch shell.

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

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: The weight of nobility

Post by Mr Man » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:33 am

Paul Davy wrote:Greetings again,
ihrjordan wrote:What? I take it that all of us unordained are following this alternative model?
That's the lay life - the world in which we live.
So monastics are living in a different world?

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