Can a sotapanna anugami lose progress when reborn in unfavourable conditions?

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    • #15589
      firewns
      Participant

      In Lal’s post on reflections for 2017, it was written:

      ‘But even if one has become a Sōtapanna Anugāmi, he/she is an Ariya and is bound to attain the Sōtapanna stage in the immediate future. Sōtapanna Anugāmis are included in “Attha purisa puggalā” or the “Eight types of Noble Persons”.’

      Does this mean that anyone who has read and accepted conceptually the Ariya meanings of anicca, dukkha and anatta as outlined in this website will be assured of attaining the Sotapanna stage in the immediate future, as he or she would be a Sotapanna Anugami? Would this same person lose his or her progress if he or she were to be reborn in a place where the Dhamma has never been heard? What if he or she was reborn in an immoral family? Could he or she start to veer off course?

      As I understand it, anicca is the inability of us to maintain any conditioned phenomena to our satisfaction indefinitely, while dukkha is the incessant suffering that occurs to us because of anicca, and anatta is our helplessness in the face of anicca. Would that be correct?

      Does a sotapanna understand these three characteristics all at once, or only one after the other at the magga moment? Are any of the characteristics more easily comprehended than the others? Is it necessary to contemplate on pattica samuppada as well to become a Sotapanna?

      Would appreciate your kind responses. Thank you very much in advance.

    • #15590
      Embodied
      Spectator

      The incessant suffering happens not because of Anicca in & of itself but because of our “Anatta ways”* of dealing with Anicca.

      • satisfaction based upon greed, tanha and clinging can’t cope with Anicca’s inherent volatility. Imo…
    • #15592
      Akvan
      Participant

      Hi Firewns,

      Let me try and answer some of your questions based on my understanding.

      Does this mean that anyone who has read and accepted conceptually the Ariya meanings of anicca, dukkha and anatta as outlined in this website will be assured of attaining the Sotapanna stage in the immediate future, as he or she would be a Sotapanna Anugami?

      Short answer, no. Just because one reads, hears or accepts the dhamma he would not become an ariya. There is a level of understanding that is required. So one has to read and then understand it to be “assured” of attaining an ariya stage. There were lots of people (even monks) who heard the dhamma directly from the Buddha but did not understand it and therefore did not attain an ariya stage. However, without reading, hearing or accepting there is no way of being an ariya.

      Would this same person lose his or her progress if he or she were to be reborn in a place where the Dhamma has never been heard? What if he or she was reborn in an immoral family? Could he or she start to veer off course?

      Short answer, no. A sotapanna person is bound to attain nibbana and there is no hetu for him to veer off course. Since a sotapanna has no vicikicca, he knows the exact path to liberation and hence will not follow any other path.

      However the Buddha only mentioned this after being asked this by ven. Ananda or Sariputta (I can’t remember who specifically). The Buddha later said that he hadn’t mentioned this earlier as people would become complacent and not strive to attain nibbana if they knew that they were an ariya.

      Does a sotapanna understand these three characteristics all at once, or only one after the other at the magga moment?

      Waharaka Thero mentions that if one understands one of these aspects, he will understand the other two at the same time. So at the pala moment all three would be understood.

      Are any of the characteristics more easily comprehended than the others?

      Yes. Based on the different gati and the development of each person’s indriya, they will be able to comprehend one aspect easier than the other. A person with a developed viriya indriya will be able to comprehend anicca, shadda will comprehend dukka and pragna will comprehend anatta easier. However this is just a general idea. It may differ from person to person.

      Is it necessary to contemplate on pattica samuppada as well to become a Sotapanna?

      It said that an ariya will have an understanding of paticca samuppada. So I feel that understanding PS is a result of comprehending the thilakkana. The different types of contemplations are given as aniccanupassana, dukkanupassana etc.

    • #15594
      Lal
      Keymaster

      I mostly agree with what Akvan said above.

      But I think it is a good idea to elaborate on some points. So, my next post will be on this issue. If anyone else has any other related questions/comments, please post them. I can try to address those too.

    • #15668
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Just published the post on this and other related issues:
       “Sammā Ditthi – Realization, Not Memorization“.

    • #15670
      Johnny_Lim
      Participant

      I just watched a Chinese documentary yesterday which talks about a 3 year-old kid who remembers his past life events. He was brutally murdered in a province of China. 10 years later, he is born into another family of another Chinese province. The gandhabba had spent a good 10 years of his human bhava seeking a suitable rebirth! Anyway, this 3 year-old kid has been telling his parents about memories from his past life. The parents of course, were shocked. The kid keeps insisting that he be brought to that village to visit his ex relatives. The parents only gave in until the kid was 5 years old. The kid with no prior knowledge of the provincial language that the other villagers are speaking, could utter conversations with them. Also, he could provide detailed instructions to his parents on how to navigate this his ‘old house’ where his former father resides. The moment the kid saw his former father, he addressed him such-and-such. Only his former father and relatives knew how the son addressed his former father. It is really amazing. Unfortunately, the media reporters did not believe in such a story. They think this is sheer coincidence.

    • #16031
      firewns
      Participant

      Are any of the characteristics more easily comprehended than the others?

      Akvan stated ‘Yes. Based on the different gati and the development of each person’s indriya, they will be able to comprehend one aspect easier than the other. A person with a developed viriya indriya will be able to comprehend anicca, shadda will comprehend dukka and pragna will comprehend anatta easier. However this is just a general idea. It may differ from person to person.’

      The above is very interesting. However, they are very new to me. What are viriya, shadda and pragna indriya?

      Very importantly as well, thank you very much to all those above who had helped to answer my questions.

    • #16033
      Embodied
      Spectator

      I find the following in the glossary except for pragna…

      Viriya – inclined to effort. Shadda – inclined to faith. Pragna (prajna?): not in the glossary but i deduce that it will be: inclined to intellectual understanding, the knowledgeable person.

      Subject to confirmation / higher expertise

    • #16034
      y not
      Participant

      Embodied:

      For pragna read PRAJNA.

      If you are or were familiar with the Gita, it is the third way of Yoga(yes of mind, intellect) . The other two are there refered to as the way of action Karma, and the way of devotion, Bhakti.

      This is not to deviate your attention from Puredhamma to the Gita,TO BE SURE. That is how I deduced what ‘pragna’ must mean, that is all.

      And….I must add,this is in no way ‘higher expertise’. It is just that I came across the terms about 20 years ago

      y not

    • #16036
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Pragna is Sanskrit for the Pali word paññā. The correct Pali word for shadda is saddhā.

      Please read the following posts:

      Panca Indriya and Panca Bala – Five Faculties and Five Powers

      The Four Bases of Mental Power (Satara Iddhipada)

      Indriya and Āyatana – Big Difference

    • #16037
      firewns
      Participant

      Thank you very much, Embodied and y not!

      From your clues, I found out from one of Lal’s posts that Indriya here refers to the panca indriya, or the dominant characteristics and capabilities (gathi) of beings. There are five: sati, samadhi, panna, saddha and viriya. As there are different languages used in this forum (Sinhalese, Pali, etc.), shaddha should correspond to saddha, and pragna should correspond to prajna or panna, I think.

      However, is there anyone who can elaborate on why viriya types contemplate better on anicca, saddha types on dukkha, and panna types on anatta? This is important to me as I am wondering how best to contemplate on anicca, dukkha and anatta.

      Thank you very much in advance for any kind help or advice you can provide.

      • #16044
        Embodied
        Spectator

        Thanks Lal, Y not.

        Y not: Yes the Gita i wrote once a thesis on it for the Hindu Depart. of the Oxford University.

        Firewens, as for why one would be more inclined to contemplate on one of the 3 marks, the following association (just an exemple) comes automatically to my mind : saddha – faith – heart – dukkha. Just a little hint.

        How best to contemplate…? Of the 3 “qualities” which prevails in you ? Or are you a mix? I’m a balance between the 3, so sometimes i focus only on on one of them, otherwise i like the “vibe” when i’m looking for the connections between the 3… But always with my own life-experience(s) as a background, otherwise the bhavana will not penetrate you “till your bone’s marrow”…

      • #16058
        Akvan
        Participant

        Firewns said: is there anyone who can elaborate on why viriya types contemplate better on anicca, saddha types on dukkha, and panna types on anatta?

        I will try to explain the best I can, based on my understanding.

        Anicca is the inability to maintain something the way one wants it to be / or the way he likes it. A viriya type person is someone who will put a lot of time and effort in doing stuff, whether it is studies, work, family life etc. All this effort he puts in is to attain some kind of happiness or to maintain the way he likes it to be. Anicca basically means that whatever effort one might put into maintaining or achieving something, it will never be the way he likes it to be. So a viriya type person will contemplate on the effort he is putting to achieve something (mundane things) and will be easier for him to realise the worthlessness of that effort because everything is anicca.

        Anatta, the way I understand it, is the fact that everything is in the end of no substance / value etc. A panna type person will be someone who will try to come up with the shortest or easiest way of doing things. His level of understanding will be higher, so he will not put as much effort as say a viriya person. So when this type of person realises that everything is anatta he realises that anything he does is, in the end, worthless.

        Part of the Dukka that the Buddha is referring to is the dukka that one can get in the lower realms. To really see this dukka one needs to have faith in what the Buddha has said (unless one can develop abinna powers or samadi powers to see those things for himself). I find it hard to explain the connection between dukka and saddha here. I have a weaker saddha indriya and this may be a reason too.

        But saying this, all three are connected. And I don’t think one should just stick to one type of contemplation. There are also, I think, nearly 30 types of sanna that one can use. Anicca sanna, dukka, sanna and anatta sanna are just three of them.

        • #16066
          Embodied
          Spectator

          @Akvan wrote “Anicca is the inability to maintain something the way one wants it to be / or the way he likes it.” Of course of course, but it might be important to add why or why according each one’s understanding.
          According my understanding it’s because such satisfaction is rooted on some level of dosa/patigha, lobha/raga and/or moha/avijja. Already here it’s “easy” to see some of the connections between Anicca and Anatta, which appear in the form of a vicious circle; an why and how dukkha is caused by both, and why and how dukkha i.e. in the form of resentment might by its turn increase anicca and anatta.

          P.S. – but not every satisfaction is rooted as above; i.e. satisfaction coming from altruistic behaviours which is “natta satisfaction”.

    • #16046
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Let us stay away from discussing Bhagavath Gita, Vedas, etc.

      This will only lead to confusion. I will show in a series of posts in the future that all that originated from the teachings of the Kassapa Buddha, who was there before the Gotama Buddha (in fact there have been 3 Buddhas before the Gotama Buddha in this life cycle of the Earth).

      Those teachings of Kassapa Buddha were transmitted as Vedas, and got distorted with time, as we can imagine from what is happening even now, with many concepts already distorted in Mahāyāna Buddhism and even in Theravada Buddhism.

      This was pointed out by the Gotama Buddha in several suttas: that what was being taught by Vedic brahmins were distorted teachings of the Kassapa Buddha. I need to find those suttas.

      It is not an accident that most terms in the Vedas as the same as Buddhist. But of course the details are very different. In fact, my suggestion to anyone interested in the Vedas is to do a systematic study; it will become clear that they are not inter-consistent.

      I just came across the following article on the internet: “BUDDHISM AND ITS VEDIC CONNECTIONS“.
      – There is stated:”To begin with, it was several hundred years before the time of Lord Buddha that his birth was predicted in the Srimad-Bhagavatam: “In the beginning of the age of Kali, the Supreme Personality of Godhead will appear in the province of Gaya as Lord Buddha, the son of Anjana, to bewilder those who are always envious of the devotees of the Lord.” (Bhag.1.3.24)”
      – That is because the Kassapa Buddha taught at his time about the upcoming Gotama Buddha, just as the Gotama Buddha has taught about the upcoming Maithreya Buddha (who would be the last Buddha to appear on this Earth before it is destroyed).

      Anyone interested in discussing this issue can open a new topic “Vedas and Buddhism” and we can discuss it there. But let us not bring Vedic teachings to discussions on concepts in Buddha Dhamma. That will only lead to confusion.
      – In fact, as I mentioned before, please do not bring ANY other philosophical issues to these discussions on Dhamma concepts. This website is based ONLY on the Tipitaka. If we go outside of that, we will not have any inter-consistency.

    • #16047
      y not
      Participant

      Yes Lal:

      You had mentioned this in reply to a question of mine. That is why
      I MADE IT CLEAR that one should not steer away from Puredhamma.

      But even so ..come to think of it, I will only ask questions from now on. The least of my intentions is to cause confusion.

      thank you

      y not

    • #16049
      y not
      Participant

      Lal,

      5 Buddhas are associated with the mahakalpa we are in now.

      Going down the list of Buddhas antecedent to those 5, the names of the towns and parents and personal attendants etc. of those Buddhas are also Indian-sounding. How is this? How does it come about that previous generations of the solar system produced the same culture(s), not to say the same locations present now? Judging by the physical dimensions and lifetimes of those Buddhas (and therefore of the humanities at various times) the constitution or fabric of those planets must have been very different.

      And those Buddhas go back mahakalpa before mahakalpa indefinitely..so the scientific claim that the Sun is a second-generation star is a gross understatement. Is it possible that a number of those Buddhas appeared instead on other planets in the 10000 world system associated with the Sun?

      Thank you

      y not

    • #16053
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Y not said: “Going down the list of Buddhas antecedent to those 5, the names of the towns and parents and personal attendants etc. of those Buddhas are also Indian-sounding. How is this? How does it come about that previous generations of the solar system produced the same culture(s), not to say the same locations present now?”

      This is why the Buddha said not to get into these discussions. It can get very deep, and one could easily spend an entire lifetime thinking about these issues (this belong to “loka visaya” which is one of the “unthinkable” or “acinteyya” subjects); see, “Acinteyya Sutta (AN 4.77)“. English translation there: “Unconjecturable“.

      But I assure you that these do have explanations. I don’t want to spend anymore time going deeper. I do understand the curiosity and desire, but these take precious time from more fruitful discussions. However, some of these things will become clear as one proceeds, even without thinking directly about them.

      As to the rest of your question: Yes. All those Buddhas were born in this recycled Solar system (Cakkavata in Buddha Dhamma). As a Cakkavata goes through these cycles, the “average gati” of innumerable living beings and hence the Cakkavata that arises have many common features. A Buddha is ALWAYS born in what is called the “Madhya pradesa” close to the equator, in a country that speaks Maghadi (predecessor to Pali), which is the “natural language” of the brahmas in the abhassara brahma realm. A Buddha ALWAYS attains Buddhahood under a special tree (different trees for different Buddhas) that is born at the same time as that Buddha, etc, etc.

      And I have already pointed out that science is evolving. Many scientific theories about the universe have changed drastically even during the past 100 years.

    • #16067
      y not
      Participant

      Lal:

      Thank you.

      ‘A Buddha is ALWAYS born in what is called the “Madhya pradesa” close to the equator, in a country that speaks Maghadi (predecessor to Pali), which is the “natural language” of the brahmas in the abhassara brahma realm.’

      That will do.

      ..’However, some of these things will become clear as one proceeds, even without thinking directly about them.’ Yes, some others (related and not) already have.

      y not

    • #16179
      firewns
      Participant

      Thank you so much to everyone for your responses so far.

      To Akvan: Yes there are more types of sanna besides anicca, dukkha, anatta. What are the types of sanna that have worked well for you so far, if I may seek your kind advice?

    • #16185
      Akvan
      Participant

      Hi firewns,

      The sanna that is cultivated depends on the situation and state of mind for me. But if i was to pick the most significant for me it will be aniccha. I think I am more of a viriya person so this makes sense. The other sannas would be anicche dukka, anattha and niroda sanna.

    • #16240
      firewns
      Participant

      Hi Akvan,

      Thank you for your reply. It has helped to answer my question. :)

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