LivingLight

Into the Stream ~ A Study Guide on the First Stage of Awakening

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Has anyone studied any of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translations of the Pali Canon? I heard on the grape vine he's achieved ''first stage awakening'' though he'd never admit it. Isn't it the case that any true being of any degree of authentic self-realization would be Buddhicly humble? Anyway, I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on this. For me personally being so unawakened the text indicated to me how far I have to go in terms of founding the very basics of beginning the path. #1 ~ Ethics ~ Integrity. Harmlessness to self-other(planet?). One cannot know if another is of (or not of) integrity if one is not first of integrity themselves. To know if another is of integrity one must live with them, to be very near them for numerous months. Otherwise, one cannot know... This is an anecdote from this text that stuck in my mind.

The following is a small percentage of the article which I've included below.

Sole dominion over the earth, going to heaven, lordship over all worlds: the fruit of stream-entry excels them.

‚ÄĒ Dhp 178

 

Introduction  

The Pali Canon recognizes four levels of Awakening, the first of which is called stream entry. This gains its name from the fact that a person who has attained this level has entered the "stream" flowing inevitably to nibbana. He/she is guaranteed to achieve full awakening within seven lifetimes at most, and in the interim will not be reborn in any of the lower realms.

This study guide on stream entry is divided into two parts. The first deals with the practices leading to stream entry; the second, with the experience of stream entry and its results.

The practices leading to stream entry are encapsulated in four factors:

Association with people of integrity is a factor for stream-entry. Listening to the true Dhamma is a factor for stream-entry. Appropriate attention is a factor for stream-entry. Practice in accordance with the Dhamma is a factor for stream-entry.

‚ÄĒ SN 55.5

These factors form the framework for the first part of this study guide.

The Canon's treatment of these factors touches on questions of interest to all meditators, regardless of whether their practice aims all the way to Awakening: How can you recognize a trustworthy teacher? How can you tell the true Dhamma from counterfeit Dhamma? What are the rewards that come from listening to the Dhamma? Which questions should you ask yourself in the course of the practice? What kind of practice qualifies as being in accordance with the Dhamma? What kind of qualities do you need to develop to benefit most from your practice?

For your practice to lead to Awakening, you must develop reliable standards for answering these questions. The Buddha offers some preliminary guidance on developing these standards in his instructions to the brahman teenager, Kapadika Bharadvaja.

 

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/into_the_stream.html

Edited by LivingLight

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Hello and welcome LivingLight. 

 

I appreciate your enthusiasm for authentic teachings, practices, and realizations. 

 

There is no small amount of controversy about what path attainments actuall entail. Similarly, there is no small amount of controversy about what jhana entails, so, both things in the canon that are "attainments" with definite signs and progressions. 

Edited by Creation
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Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translations are imo some of the best translations of the Pali Canon into English. Or at least one that I would deem more reliable than others.

 

I agree with the statement that for one to recognize integrity one must already live with integrity. Real recognize real - as the youngins would say - or at least, to a degree anyway... 

 

15 hours ago, LivingLight said:

Isn't it the case that any true being of any degree of authentic self-realization would be Buddhicly humble?


What do you mean by this, can you elaborate further?

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16 hours ago, LivingLight said:

I heard on the grape vine he's achieved ''first stage awakening'' though he'd never admit it. Isn't it the case that any true being of any degree of authentic self-realization would be Buddhicly humble?

 

 

I'm sure he is humble but this has nothing to do with humility it has to do with the rules of being a monk. They're not allowed to tell lay people their attainments.

Edited by Maddie
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15 hours ago, Creation said:

Hello and welcome LivingLight. 

 

I appreciate your enthusiasm for authentic teachings, practices, and realizations. 

 

There is no small amount of controversy about what path attainments actuall entail. Similarly, there is no small amount of controversy about what jhana entails, so, both things in the canon that are "attainments" with definite signs and progressions. 


As I understand what you're conveying, there is no small amount: There is a LARGE amount.

Do you agree that the annihilation of Ego is an ultimate goal of one seeking activating their Buddhata?

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6 hours ago, refugeindharma said:

Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translations are imo some of the best translations of the Pali Canon into English. Or at least one that I would deem more reliable than others.

 

I agree with the statement that for one to recognize integrity one must already live with integrity. Real recognize real - as the youngins would say - or at least, to a degree anyway... 

 


What do you mean by this, can you elaborate further?


Greetings, Refuge In Dharma. I appreciate your choice of moniker.

They are piercing, deep, subtle, beyond conjecture. Which is ultimately thanks to Gotoma. However I am thankful for clear-conduits like TB. It is real virtuous humans like this that help me see my own potential.

Indeed. Conversely, false recognize false. False begets falsehood. Deception begets deception. Etc...

What I was eluding to is that a being whom is of any true degree of wakefulness wouldn't go around proclaiming their wakefulness. Instead, their aim is to generate wakefulness in the unawakened. So many ''holy'' people today are in fact the contrary, or worse. By worse I mean sorcerers/black-magis.

I appreciate another comment in this thread suggesting that real monks vow to be silent about their attainment. This is a quality I appreciate and understand in the realm of concept.
 

Edited by LivingLight

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4 hours ago, Maddie said:

 

 

I'm sure he is humble but this has nothing to do with humility it has to do with the rules of being a monk. They're not allowed to tell lay people their attainments.


Thank you for this.

The Theravadan ''forest-tradition'' humans at that time had the capacity to easily dedicate their entire lives to practice.

Those teachings were from that time for those people. Today, when we study these teachings, it's tricky given the profound societal differences, isn't it true?

 

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4 hours ago, LivingLight said:


Thank you for this.

The Theravadan ''forest-tradition'' humans at that time had the capacity to easily dedicate their entire lives to practice.

Those teachings were from that time for those people. Today, when we study these teachings, it's tricky given the profound societal differences, isn't it true?

 

 

There's still Thai Forest monks today that do that.

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During the sign of Pisces the natural spiritual path for humans was monastic, solitary, introspective.

 

Now we are coming into the sign of Aquarius

 

"" Of all the zodiac signs, Aquarius is undoubtedly the most innovative, progressive, rebellious, and humanitarian.... they also have an often overlooked sensitive side that requires appreciation, support, and love.  "

 

Does human spiritual practice change with the cosmic cycle?

 

 

Edited by Lairg
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17 minutes ago, Lairg said:

During the sign of Pisces the natural spiritual path for humans was monastic, solitary, introspective.

 

Now we are coming into the sign of Aquarius

 

"" Of all the zodiac signs, Aquarius is undoubtedly the most innovative, progressive, rebellious, and humanitarian.... they also have an often overlooked sensitive side that requires appreciation, support, and love.  "

 

Does human spiritual practice change with the cosmic cycle?

 

 

 

That was the view that led to the rise of Pureland and Nichiren Buddhism. It was called the age of dharma decline, or the later day of the law. 

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The nature of Earth humanity's dharma may unfold over the ages, as those humans step out of their karmic shadows and rest their intent upon becoming transparent to Cosmic Light.

 

My observation of humans born after 1995 is that they have a much clearer recognition of their joint responsibility to care for the planet and its life forms.

 

There is also some suggestion that humans that cannot step up to that responsibility are being re-born on systems more suited to their choices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Lairg

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>Are we human, or are we animals with intellect?

 

Clearly we are animals because we are animated.

 

I saw a video of a crow wanting to get food from the bottom of a tall bottle.  The crow flew off and came back with a long piece of wire that it then bent into a suitable hook and fished out the food.   How old would a human child be to do that?

 

It may  be better to consider animals as our younger brethren.

 

>Does a human have virtue, where-as animals with intellect have vice?

 

I have observed possessed humans and possessed animals.  For each human and animal I would want to test before coming to a conclusion

 

Do binary questions limit answers?

 

 

Edited by Lairg
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On 2/27/2023 at 1:51 PM, LivingLight said:

Do you agree that the annihilation of Ego is an ultimate goal of one seeking activating their Buddhata?

No, I would take issue with both the terms annihilation and ego in this statement.

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On 2/27/2023 at 1:51 PM, LivingLight said:

Do you agree that the annihilation of Ego is an ultimate goal of one seeking activating their Buddhata?

 

The goal of Buddhism is to end suffering.

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On 2/26/2023 at 2:30 PM, LivingLight said:

Has anyone studied any of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translations of the Pali Canon? I heard on the grape vine he's achieved ''first stage awakening'' though he'd never admit it. Isn't it the case that any true being of any degree of authentic self-realization would be Buddhicly humble? Anyway, I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on this. For me personally being so unawakened the text indicated to me how far I have to go in terms of founding the very basics of beginning the path. #1 ~ Ethics ~ Integrity. Harmlessness to self-other(planet?). One cannot know if another is of (or not of) integrity if one is not first of integrity themselves. To know if another is of integrity one must live with them, to be very near them for numerous months. Otherwise, one cannot know... This is an anecdote from this text that stuck in my mind.

 

I think Buddhists, and the world at large, owe a significant debt to Thanissaro Bhikku for making these teachings so available AND so digestible. 

 

As far as his attainment, I personally haven't met him or watched interviews of him, so couldn't say what I think for sure, BUT it isn't at all outlandish to believe that he has some level of attainment. I would think his teacher would insist on that before he translated these works. Among the other great living scholars of Buddhism, for example, certainly Robert Thurman and Ken McLeod have insight and could be considered "enlightened" in my opinion. If you know what you are looking for, you start to see that enlightened "beings" are all over the place. Certainly there are a handful in any decent sized city. There are at least 3 in the little Northwestern United States town I inhabit, for example.

 

Speaking for myself, post Satori/Stream Entry "stages" were much more segmented. Than the Four Path Model. Tracking the fetters dropping away rather than path shifts made a lot more sense. I also found the "Progress of Insight" stages spotty at best, and cycling not really much of a feature of progress.

 

What I have discovered in conversation with other practitioners of different sects of Buddhism, or even other non-dual traditions, is that these two models appear to have more to do with the way enlightenment openings presents themselves as the product of Theravada practices than other practices, specifically heavy vipassana practice. Mahayana and Vajrayana practitioners seem to have very different experiences. Added on to this - no two "persons" deepening processes seem to be the same. The INSIGHT into the nature of reality is essentially the same, though the jargon around it may be different. One might say that all appearances in consciousness are empty of intrinsic reality. Another might say that everything is God. Both hint at a unity.

 

Anyone truly interested in models of enlightenment should give Daniel Ingram's survey of them in his book "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha" a read:

 

https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-v-awakening/37-models-of-the-stages-of-awakening/

 

Like all good dharma it is available for free. :)

 

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6 hours ago, Maddie said:

The goal of Buddhism is to end suffering.

 

Absolutely, BUT the method of complete liberation is seeing through the "self", which is complete understanding of "no-self". This does not mean to subjugate, annihilate, or control in some way, but simply to have insight into what it really is, and therefore what "you" really are. 

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1 hour ago, stirling said:

 

Absolutely, BUT the method of complete liberation is seeing through the "self", which is complete understanding of "no-self". This does not mean to subjugate, annihilate, or control in some way, but simply to have insight into what it really is, and therefore what "you" really are. 

 

Agreed ūüôā

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Posted (edited)
On 2/26/2023 at 2:30 PM, LivingLight said:


Has anyone studied any of Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translations of the Pali Canon? I heard on the grape vine he's achieved ''first stage awakening'' though he'd never admit it. Isn't it the case that any true being of any degree of authentic self-realization would be Buddhicly humble? Anyway, I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on this. For me personally being so unawakened the text indicated to me how far I have to go in terms of founding the very basics of beginning the path.
 


I read through the first four Nikayas in the Pali Text Society translations, and made some notes, back in 1995.  I prefer the Pali Text Society translations.

 

There's a story in there somewhere about an alcoholic who was expelled from the order.  When he died, Gautama's attendant Ananda asked about his rebirth, and I believe Gautama said he was a never-returner.  Ananda couldn't understand that.

There is a thread running through the sermons that makes sense to me, but it's not what most people take away from Gautama's sermons.  For example, Thanissaro quotes:

 

"Sariputta, 'The stream, the stream': thus it is said. And what, Sariputta, is the stream?"

"This noble eightfold path, lord, is the stream: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration."

"Very good, Sariputta! Very good! This noble eightfold path ‚ÄĒ right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration ‚ÄĒ is the stream."

‚ÄĒ SN 55.5

 

Thanissaro goes on to quote the usual teaching about the eightfold path. 

 

Here's an unusual teaching about the eight-fold path that Gautama also gave:

 

(Anyone)‚Ķknowing and seeing eye as it really is, knowing and seeing material shapes‚Ķ visual consciousness‚Ķ impact on the eye as it really is, and knowing, seeing as it really is the experience, whether pleasant, painful, or neither painful nor pleasant, that arises conditioned by impact on the eye, is not attached to the eye nor to material shapes nor to visual consciousness nor to impact on the eye; and that experience, whether pleasant, painful, or neither painful nor pleasant, that arises conditioned by impact on the eye‚ÄĒneither to that is (such a one) attached. ‚Ķ(Such a one‚Äôs) physical anxieties decrease, and mental anxieties decrease, and bodily torments‚Ķ and mental torments‚Ķ and bodily fevers decrease, and mental fevers decrease. (Such a one) experiences happiness of body and happiness of mind. (repeated for ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind).

 

Whatever is the view of what really is, that for (such a one) is right view; whatever is aspiration for what really is, that for (such a one) is right aspiration; whatever is endeavour for what really is, that is for (such a one) right endeavour; whatever is mindfulness of what really is, that is for (such a one) right mindfulness; whatever is concentration on what really is, that is for (such a one) right concentration. And (such a one’s) past acts of body, acts of speech, and mode of livelihood have been well purified.

 

(Majjhima-Nikaya, Pali Text Society vol 3 p 337-338)

 

Regarding suffering, there are a number of declensions of the causal chain, dependent origination.  Here's the one that makes the most sense to me:

 

That which we will‚Ķ, and that which we intend to do and that wherewithal we are occupied:‚Äďthis becomes an object for the persistance of consciousness. The object being there, there comes to be a station of consciousness. Consciousness being stationed and growing, rebirth of renewed existence takes place in the future, and here from birth, decay, and death, grief, lamenting, suffering, sorrow, and despair come to pass. Such is the uprising of this mass of ill.

 

Even if we do not will, or intend to do, and yet are occupied with something, this too becomes an object for the persistance of consciousness… whence birth… takes place.

 

But if we neither will, nor intend to do, nor are occupied about something, there is no becoming of an object for the persistance of consciousness. The object being absent, there comes to be no station of consciousness. Consciousness not being stationed and growing, no rebirth of renewed existence takes place in the future, and herefrom birth, decay-and-death, grief, lamenting, suffering, sorrow and despair cease. Such is the ceasing of this entire mass of ill.

 

(SN II 65, Pali Text Society SN Vol II pg 45)

 

That makes sense if you know that in some of his lectures, Gautama summarized ‚Äúthis entire mass of ill‚ÄĚ by saying ‚Äúin short, the five groups of grasping‚ÄĚ.¬† Grasping after a sense of self in connection with phenomena of form, feeling, mind, habitual tendency, or mental state is identically suffering, according to Gautama.

Also useful to know that Gautama said:

 

…I say that determinate thought is action. When one determines, one acts by deed, word, or thought.

 

(AN III 415, Pali Text Society Vol III p 294)

 

Gautama equated the exercise of determinate thought with action.  When he said, "if we neither will, nor intend to do, nor are occupied about something", he meant precisely, if we cease the determinate thought by which "one acts by deed, word, or thought"-- which is not the same as saying that deed, word, and thought must cease, only that the exercise of will or volition in action must cease in order to contact "freedom" (SN IV 145, Pali Text Society Vol IV p 85).  And not saying how such a state is to be accomplished in the same sermon--that's the Pali Canon, clues scattered in four collections that are in about 15 volumes in English (the 5th Nikaya is generally agreed to be of later composition, even though some of the elements may be older than the date of composition).

My own practice:

A central theme of Gautama‚Äôs teaching was the cessation of ‚Äúdeterminate thought‚Ä̬†in action, meaning the cessation of the exercise of will or volition in action.¬† A cessation of the exercise of will could be attained, said Gautama, through the induction of various successive states of concentration. As to the initial induction of concentration, Gautama declared that ‚Äúmaking self-surrender the object of thought, one lays hold of concentration, one lays hold of one-pointedness of mind‚ÄĚ.

 

I begin with making the surrender of volition in activity related to the movement of breath the object of thought.¬† For me, that necessitates thought applied and sustained with regard to relaxation of the activity of the body, with regard to the exercise of calm in the stretch of ligaments, with regard to the detachment of mind, and with regard to the presence of mind.¬† I find that a presence of mind from one breath to the next can precipitate ‚Äúone-pointedness of mind‚ÄĚ, but laying hold of ‚Äúone-pointedness of mind‚ÄĚ requires a surrender of willful activity in the body much like falling asleep.

 

(Response)

 

 

 

 
 

Edited by Mark Foote
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Posted (edited)

It may be that there are layers of will/volition so that the will of the personality (persona = mask) needs to be brought under control and refined to become the servant of a higher layer of will.

 

With higher will (atma and beyond) operational the human may take up its functional roles in the unfolding of Existence/Reality.

 

Or is the human is purely decorative?

 

Edited by Lairg
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1 hour ago, Mark Foote said:

There's a story in there somewhere about an alcoholic who was expelled from the order.  When he died, Gautama's attendant Ananda asked about his rebirth, and I believe Gautama said he was a never-returner.  Ananda couldn't understand that.

 

I think Ananda isn't not the only one that can't understand that LOL

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Speaking of the stages of enlightenment how can one objectively gauge themself? Sometimes there's reasons that I think I may be at a certain place but then again I'm always wary of delusion.

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6 hours ago, stirling said:

 

Absolutely, BUT the method of complete liberation is seeing through the "self", which is complete understanding of "no-self". This does not mean to subjugate, annihilate, or control in some way, but simply to have insight into what it really is, and therefore what "you" really are. 


If a part of oneself is engaged in ongoing harm upon self-other, wouldn't this part then hypothetically need ''annihilation''?

Ethics always seem to be foundational within any genuine religion.

If we define ego as that which is impure, that which can commit error then wouldn't it be fair to say that needs to be eliminated?



 

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13 hours ago, Maddie said:

 

The goal of Buddhism is to end suffering.


Yes, and the ego generates suffering.

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Posted (edited)

In my ignorance and humiliated state of continued suffering, I realize that observable facts are the basis of any claim.

The nature of one's suffering can be observed. Through observation, we can achieve comprehension. Lastly, elimination (annihilation) is possible.

Who is the one that eliminates that which might be the cause of error? Different religions speak to this in different capacities, all of which I find interesting to study.

Edited by LivingLight

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