Determining if I have reached the Sōtapannaa stage

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    • #26624

      I am trying to determine if I have reached the Sōtapannaa stage.

      I have read all the desanas relating to Sōtapannaa stage and also I frequently refer to the Conditions for the Four Stages of Nibbāna.

      Based on the table here is my current status and some questions:
      1) Sanyojana/Anusaya
      sakkāya ditthi – removed
      vicikiccā – not sure
      silabbata parāmāsa – removed

      Question: What are some examples of acts that are done with vicikiccā. Is it BIG EIGHT? Is an act of getting angry at a person considered an act done with vicikiccā?
      An incident at work lead me to get angry at a person, not directly abusing that person but I had angry thoughts about that person for an entire 3 days so I started doubting my status as a Sotapanna. I did not wanted to get angry but I coulnd’t help because I was correct and the person was wrongly accusing me. I think I counldn’t control my angry thoughts due to my gati.

      2) Kilesa
      ditthi – removed
      vicikiccā – not sure
      thina – not removed
      middha – not removed
      issa – removed
      maccariya – removed
      kukkucca – not sure

      a) What are some examples of acts that are done with kukkucca?
      b) Thina, Midha: I have a dull brain and I can’t focus on one thing for more than a few minutes. This happens even during my studying but I bring it back. Does not having focus while reading/listening to dhamma considered having thina/midha? As an example when reading or listening to Lal’s desanas my mind wanders for a few minutes before I realize. Does this mean I have thina/midha?

      3) Akusala Citta
      I am not sure where I stand on this. Is it possible for you to give some examples of cittas mentioned in the table: 1,2,5,6,11

    • #26629

      Thanks, Aniduan, for the detailed account.

      We can look at the overall picture this way.

      Normally, one loses all three (sakkāya ditthi, vicikiccā, silabbata parāmāsa) in one moment, at the moment of attaining the Sotapanna phala.
      – However, one will start weakening them gradually as a Sotapanna Anugami.

      Losing sakkāya ditthi is to “see” that no existence in this world can lead to the “end of suffering.”
      – One also knows that the root cause of suffering is attachment to worldly things.
      However, one starts losing those cravings only in stages. That means even if one “knows” that craving for sensory pleasures can lead to suffering, one will only lose those strongest cravings (that could lead to actions resulting in rebirth in the apayas.)
      – It is only when one reaches the Anagami stage that one’s sanna (perception) for ANY sensory pleasure (including sex) will go away.

      That is the “big picture.”

      Regarding other questions:
      Getting rid of the “Big Eight” only sets the necessary background to comprehend Tilakkhana.
      – Understanding Tilakkha is tied to understanding Paticca Samuppada too. How different types of rebirths arise due to different types of (abhi)sankhara, i.e., one’s thoughts, speech, and actions.

      Kukkucca means the tendency to do “lowly actions” that could lead to rebirth in the apayas.
      – When one can get highly-attached to sensory pleasures, one may impulsively do such lowly actions like rape or other sexual misconduct like having extra-marital affairs.

      Tina and middha will go away with continued understanding.
      – We can consider this example. If one is reading material that one does not fully understand, then one can get bored.
      – This issue is easy to see with “mundane studies” like learning history or even mathematics. If one starts understanding the basic concepts, then it is easy to maintain the interest.
      – With Dhamma studies, it is hard to pinpoint where the “missing pieces are.” So, it is a good idea to look at different sections of the puredhamma site. Another is to read/listen to other sources. We have discussed some possibilities in the discussion forum, for example, under “Personal Experiences.” Different people have different “styles” of delivery, even if it is the same concept.
      – However, it could be a waste of time to read/listen to random sources.

    • #26779

      Johnny_Lim posted the following.

      Came across an article – Nine Meals from Anarchy

      Inside the article, 2 things are worth mentioning:

      1.After only nine missed meals, it’s not unlikely that we’d panic and be prepared to commit a crime to acquire food. If we were to see our neighbour with a loaf of bread, and we owned a gun, we might well say, “I’m sorry, you’re a good neighbour and we’ve been friends for years, but my children haven’t eaten today – I have to have that bread – even if I have to shoot you.”

      2.Fear of starvation is fundamentally different from other fears of shortages. Even good people panic.

      It became clear to me that we as buddhists, might sometimes think we have attained this stage of ariyanhood, that stage of ariyanhood. But unless we are faced with extreme difficulties under very trying conditions, we cannot for sure know that we have attained any magga phala.

      The recent Wuhan coronavirus has rocked HongKong very badly. Many supermarkets are empty because the hongkongers panic-buy everything off the shelves. If the crisis continues to worsen into an anarchy, would a Sotāpanna bend on his/her morality?

      It also serves as a big reminder to me that a person cannot have a never-changing self. Circumstances can change a person’s behaviour. Only Dhamma is our refuge.

    • #26780

      I totally agree with your observations Lal. Circumstances are really important. We might feel very succesful dhamma practioners, while living in wealth, surrounded by loving partners and friends, almost any need unconsciously fed. But what if circumstances really change? Our socalled realisation might seem illusionary.

    • #26781

      Those are Johnny’s comments, Siebe.

      Johnny wrote: “But unless we are faced with extreme difficulties under very trying conditions, we cannot for sure know that we have attained any magga phala.”

      That is quite true.
      – However, if one has truly attained a magga phala, no external circumstance will dictate one’s moral behavior limits set by THAT PARTICULAR magga phala.

      It is only an Arahant who WILL NOT, under any circumstance, commit any akusala.

      A Sotapanna, for example, is NOT CAPABLE of doing only six types of extreme akusala: killing father, killing mother, killing an Arahant, injuring a Buddha, stop following the path of the Buddha. The other one, I think is Sangha Bheda (schism in Sangha), but that is applicable only to bhikkhus.
      P.S. However, that DOES NOT mean that a Sotapanna WILL DO any other akusala deeds. Those are just the ones a Sotapanna WILL NOT DO, under any circumstance.

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    • #26799

      The removal of sakkaya ditthi is a big deal, i find. I think it also means there is no identification with the body, feelings, mental states etc. (I am the body, feelings etc)

      Sometimes i wonder, is there really any human on Earth who does not identify? Maybe there are but i think they are very rare.

      Aniduan, is sakkaya ditthi really removed? For example, if there arises pain, do you not have any tendency anymore to view this pain as my-pain? When you stand in front of the mirror and see your face, do you not have any tendency anymore to think ‘i look nice today or not so nice’? When there is sadness, anger, stress do you not think anymore ‘i am sad, angry, stressed’?

      I see those views, i have them, and therefor do not think sakkaya ditthi has been removed in me. I admit i am surprised when someone says he/she has because is it is such a strong chain.

      The sutta’s teach that the consequence of the removal of sakkaya ditthi’s is that mind become undisturbed, unagitated when rupa, sanna, vedana, sankhara and vinnana change. I cannot say this. There arises still worries when the body showns signs of illness or decay or strange feelings etc.

      Are you sure sakkaya ditthi has been removed?

    • #26809

      Sybe07: Sakkaya ditthi is a (wrong) VIEW.

      When one gets rid of sakkaya ditthi, one just gets rid of that wrong view. That does not mean one will lose any of the five aggregates.

      One will then realize that IT IS UNFRUITFUL to take any of those as “MINE.”
      – But one may still have the PERCEPTION (sanna) that those are “mine.” That perception reduces at each stage of magga phala and will COMPLETELY go away only at the Arahant stage.

      P.S. The recent post, “Mental Body Versus the Physical Body” discusses why it is unfruitful to take one’s body to be “mine.”

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