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The stages of the path. - Dhamma Wheel

The stages of the path.

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
vinasp
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The stages of the path.

Postby vinasp » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:54 pm

Hi everyone,

Here is my current understanding of the stages of the path.

The Stages of the Path.

tathagata, arahant 2

[eliminated: five higher fetters, the five aggregates ]

non-returner, arahant 1, asekha (non-learner) ----- noble path ---

[eliminated:three asava's ,fetters 4 and 5, six sense spheres, five clinging aggregates]

sekha (learner), stream enterer, noble disciple --- noble eightfold path ---

[ asava of views eliminated, first three fetters eliminated ]

worldling (puthujjana) ----------------------------- wrong eightfold path ---


Regards, Vincent.

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Cittasanto
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Re: The stages of the path.

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:03 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

vinasp
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Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: The stages of the path.

Postby vinasp » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:35 pm

Hi Cittasanto,

Quote: "what is an Arahant 2 & 1?"

If you read it from the bottom up it is easier to follow.

Both the non-returner (asekha) and the tathagata are called arahants.

So the non-returner is the first arahant stage attained, so I called it arahant 1.
The tathagata is the second arahant stage attained, so I called it arahant 2.

Quote: "...but all except the enlightened ones are training."

Yes. All except the fully enlightened ones are still on a path of practice. But the
term 'learner' (sekha) refers to the learners course, and excludes the asekha, although
he does of course still have work to do.

Regards, Vincent.

santa100
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Re: The stages of the path.

Postby santa100 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:45 pm


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Aloka
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Re: The stages of the path.

Postby Aloka » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:21 pm

Ajahn Amaro gave a talk at Amaravati Monastery about stream entry and beyond, called "The Breakthrough".

If anyone is interested, you can find it on the list of audios here:




.
Last edited by Aloka on Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

vinasp
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Re: The stages of the path.

Postby vinasp » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:03 pm

Hi santa100,

Perhaps I should have said that this explanation of the path is based on the four Nikaya's.
It does seem to differ from the descriptions found in the Abhidhamma and the Commentaries.

Quote: "A non-returner is still Sekha."

The sekha is defined as 'one possessed of the eight path factors'. The asekha is
associated with a ten factor path.

If a non-returner is still a sekha, then only an arahant is an asekha. But this leads
to the puzzling conclusion that the arahant is still on a path of practice.

"Thus, bhikkhus, the path of the disciple in higher training possesses eight factors,
the arahant possesses ten factors." [BB, MLDB, p.939 - MN 117.34]

I read this as meaning that the arahants path has ten factors, and that arahant here
means asekha.

Regards, Vincent.

santa100
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Re: The stages of the path.

Postby santa100 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:46 pm


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Cittasanto
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Re: The stages of the path.

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:42 am



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

vinasp
Posts: 1675
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: The stages of the path.

Postby vinasp » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:02 pm

Hi Cittasanto,

From your first post:

Quote: "The world-ling doesn't necessarily have the wrongfold path, but they are not firmly upon it and can be someone learning such as the Dhamma-follower or faith-follower."

You are correct. I tried to keep it simple, with some details omitted.

I will attempt to re-work it to include the eight noble persons, the four pairs of
persons. This would result, for the stream enterer, in something like this:

2. stream enterer (fruit), sekha (learner), noble disciple --- noble eightfold path.
---[ asava of views eliminated, first three fetters eliminated ]
1. stream enterer (path)
0. worldling (puthujjana) ----------------------------- wrong eightfold path.

The numbers 1 to 8 are the eight noble persons, in the order of attainment.
Numbers 1 and 2 are the first pair.

The first noble person is the one 'working to obtain the fruit of stream entry.'
The second noble person is the one 'who has obtained the fruit of stream entry.'

Question: Is it the one who has obtained the fruit who is called stream enterer, or
is it both persons? If anyone has any information on this point, can they please post it.

In the example above, I assume that both are called stream enterer.

Regards, Vincent.

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Cittasanto
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Re: The stages of the path.

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:16 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

vinasp
Posts: 1675
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: The stages of the path.

Postby vinasp » Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:08 pm

Hi everyone,

Here is the reworked version, including the eight noble persons.

The Stages of the Path.

8. arahant 2 (fruit), tathagata.
---[eliminated: five higher fetters, the five aggregates ]
7. arahant 1 (path), asekha (non-learner), ------------- noble path (ten factors).
6. non-returner (fruit).
---[eliminated:three asava's ,fetters 4 and 5, six sense spheres, five clinging aggregates]
5. non-returner (path)
4. once returner (fruit)
---[reduced: fetters 4 and five.]
3. once returner (path)
2. stream enterer (fruit), sekha (learner), noble disciple --- noble eightfold path.
---[ asava of views eliminated, first three fetters eliminated ]
1. stream enterer (path)
0. worldling (puthujjana) ----------------------------- wrong eightfold path.

The idea here is that the obtaining of any of the fruits can be rapid compared to
the time spent on the path to the fruit. And that one can enjoy ones success for as
long as one likes, before applying oneself to the next path/fruit.

"When each of the four ways (magga) had been fully mastered it was said to yield a
fruit (phala). The fruit of one way was not immediate attainment to the next way,
but was the gaining of definite subsequent states (fully stated in the texts). n.1
These states had to wear out before entrance to the next way, if this was destined,
could take place."

The Early Buddhist Theory of Man Perfected, I. B. Horner, 1936, page 206.

Regards, Vincent.

santa100
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Re: The stages of the path.

Postby santa100 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:36 pm

Thanks for the improved version. However, there're still some technical points to be corrected. If you refer to the palikanon link I provided above, you'll notice that for your step 1., one on the path of stream entry should already be counted as a Sekha. For step 7., one on the path of arahantship is still a Sekha. Only those with Fruition of arahantship and the Tathagata could be counted as ASekha. And the last point, step 8., fruition of arahantship and Tathagata, not sure what you meant by: "eliminated the five aggregates"?? The Buddha and many of His arahant disciples were alive and well after they attained the highest fruit so..

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Cittasanto
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Re: The stages of the path.

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:54 am



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

vinasp
Posts: 1675
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: The stages of the path.

Postby vinasp » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:55 am

Hi santa100,

From an earlier post of yours:

Quote: "A non-returner is still Sekha."

Yes, the revised version no longer confuses the non-returner with the arahant who is
on the path to the arahant fruit (who is also called an asekha).

Quote: "Only the Tathagata and those with Fruition of Arahantship are ASekha."

No. I do not agree with this, see below:

Quote: " Some resources that might be useful..
1. Sekha definition: ..."

The definition is from the Buddhist Dictionary by Nyanatiloka, page 198.

Either the Dictionary is wrong, or there are two ways of understanding the stages of
the path. It cannot be correct that only the eighth noble person is an asekha.
The asekha is associated with a path of ten factors, this would include right effort.
If one who has obtained the fruit of arahantship is still making efforts, then the
path has no end.

Regards, Vincent.

vinasp
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Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: The stages of the path.

Postby vinasp » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:41 am

Hi santa100,

From an earlier post of yours:

Quote: "The non-returner is one who has transcended the five lower fetters, but not the five higher fetters. That's why s/he still has work to do (Sekha)."

First sentence: I agree.
Second sentence, excluding the word in brackets: I agree.

Nowhere in the Nikaya's is the sekha defined as one who still has work to do. The
translation of sekha and asekha as learner and non-learner is misleading, both still
have work to do, they are stages on the path.

Quote: "Only the arahant would be able to completely eliminate all ten fetters, thus s/he has no more work to do (ASekha)."

Nowhere in the Nikaya's is the asekha defined as one who 'has no more work to do.'
The arahant (asekha) who is on the path to the fruit of arahantship clearly still has
work to do. The arahant who has obtained the fruit has no more work to do.

Quote: "This is confirmed by MN 52 ..."

I do not see how this passage confirms your argument. It is an important passage, but
it can be interpreted in various ways. A full discussion of it should wait until other
points have been settled.

Regards, Vincent.

santa100
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Re: The stages of the path.

Postby santa100 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:36 pm


vinasp
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Re: The stages of the path.

Postby vinasp » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:22 pm

Hi santa100,

vinasp: "Nowhere in the Nikaya's is the asekha defined as one who 'has no more work to do.'"

santa100: "Provided with your own confirmation, that an arahant is an ASekha, ever heard of that common stock phrase for arahants being used thru out the Nikayas: 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'?"

What I said is true, the asekha is not explicitly defined in that way. It is you that
regards the asekha as being the same as the arahant who has attained the arahant fruit.
Based on that assumption you naturally think that the stock phrase 'Birth has ended ...'
refers to the asekha, when it is actually said of an arahant. One of the arahants is an
asekha, but the other one is not.

If two of the noble persons are called arahants, then the phrase 'Birth is ended ...',
needs to be understood as a reference to the arahant who has attained the arahant fruit.
In other places the term 'arahant' may refer to the other noble person of the pair. Such
as the line from MN 117 already quoted.

vinasp: "The arahant (asekha) who is on the path to the fruit of arahantship clearly still has work to do."

santa100:"There're 2 problems with your statement:
1. Your assumption that one on the path to arahantship is already an arahant (or arahant "level 1" in your language).
2. The ASekha still has work to do."

On #1: What I say is that, 'the one on the path to attaining the fruit of arahantship', is
called an arahant. So, yes, he is an arahant, but not the one who has attained the fruit.
What about your assumption that only one of the pair is called an arahant?

On #2: For me, the asekha is noble person number 7, he clearly still has work to do. For
you, it seems, the asekha is noble person number 8, who does not have work to do.

It seems that the terms: 'arahant', 'non-returner', 'once-returner', and 'stream enterer',
can all refer to either or both persons of the pair. So each term has two meanings.

Regards, Vincent.

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Cittasanto
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Re: The stages of the path.

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:51 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

santa100
Posts: 2673
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: The stages of the path.

Postby santa100 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:12 pm


vinasp
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Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol. United Kingdom.

Re: The stages of the path.

Postby vinasp » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:12 pm

Hi everyone,

I think that the stages of the path are understood in one way by worldlings, and in
another way by noble disciples. So we should expect to find passages which support each
of these two interpretations. I will look for passages of both kinds.

Here are the first two which support my alternative understanding:

"(36) Three persons: the learner, the non-learner, the one who is neither 1043 ..."
[Walshe, Long Discourses, 1987, DN 33.1.10 (36).]

This is often misunderstood. It is claimed that 'the one who is neither', is the
worldling. This is rather improbable since it is an ascending series, and is shown to
be wrong by the next passage.

"(42) Three kinds of wisdom: of the learner, of the non-learner, of the one who is
neither." [Walshe, DN 33.1.10 (42).]

The worldling is never said to have wisdom. It is clear that the person who is meant
here is the arahant who has attained the arahant fruit.

The first six noble persons are sekha, the seventh is the asekha, and the eighth is the
one who is neither.

Regards, Vincent.


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