Can a stream winner be depressed or have anxiety disorder?

Can a stream winner be depressed or have anxiety disorder?

For the point of view that these are disorders due to chemical imbalance in the brain, maybe the answer would be yes.

But then arahants might have these disorders then, and it doesn’t make sense as mental suffering is supposed to be eradicated by arahants.

Ideas?

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Restlessness is one of the last fetters to drop before arahant, so I think there can be a hint of anxiety in lower attainments.

Depression is a bit different, I think. Seeing nibbāna, having faith, I think those are strong enough to counter what we understand as depression (persistent feeling of sadness and lack of interest). Occasional bouts of acute depression, sure, but I don’t think anything chronic is compatible with the definition of seeing the holy life and having faith.

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Is it possible that somehow they break their arm? Can someone push them off a cliff? Can a tornado or earthquake hit them? What about a meteor hitting the planet?

From the highest planet to the lowest planet in this material universe, all are places of misery. Happiness and distress come like winter or summer seasons, and learning to tolerate them is the test of an Arhat. It’s the meeting of life, head on.

Maybe the rules of the universe are such that the brain of a stream winner is not subject to a condition ever arising resulting in chemical imbalance.

Maybe the rules of the universe are such that the brain of an arahant is not subject to a condition ever arising resulting in chemical imbalance.

Maybe the rules of the universe are such that an arahant is not subject to conditions arising where they would find themselves in a burning building with a child whose only hope of escape is for the arahant to lie to them.

Maybe the rules of the universe are such that an arahant is not subject to conditions arising where they would find themselves in Nazi Germany with Jews in the attic and a Nazi officer questioning them if they know of any Jews in the house?

I certainly do not know of any such universal rules and I don’t read the suttas in such a way as indicating the Teacher declared to know such rules.

Rather, I think the Teacher implied that if you search for “stream winner” or “arahant” with penetrative analysis you would not find them and that we should examine the motivation for any action or non-action that we perform; is it rooted in selfishness, desire, anger, the defilements or is it rooted in selflessness, altruistic wishes, gentleness, wish to do no harm to brother/sister/father/mother sentient beings? Like that.

:pray:

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To have a period in which a depressing or unpleasant experience arises is one thing, to be affected by it, to be involved in it to the point of acting out of it, is another.

Depression and anxiety are both the result of becoming involved in an unpleasant experience because of a lack of wisdom about it.

A sotopanna, unlike an arahant, can still have periods without wisdom, and this means that he can still be affected by an arising depressing or unpleasant experience.

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It’s certainly possible that in the process of death, birth, or disease, one may lose the perceptible outward Wisdom faculty temporarily. This does not mean the Arahant is not attained. Inner Wisdom remains in Spirit. Attainment to Enlightenment is something so deep and vast that nothing can take it away, no calamity, even upon the termination of the life of the body. On the other hand, the Arahant Ascends upon the end of their so called mortal life.

It is not as simple as chemical imbalances in the brain causing these conditions. The causes are many, complex and not well understood. Having suffered both for over 60 years I know. Childhood experiences combined with character traits are often factors. There may also be some karmic inheritance.

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Yes. Even Arahants get drowsy or low energy… depression as a passing feeling of sadness, could maybe happen too? But the whole spiral of self-sabotage and intrusive thoughts etc that characterize chronic, clinical depression and PTSD should be impossible for a stream winner, as they have overcome self-view and developed enough of the path to know how to deal skillfully with adverse experiences.

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mental suffering is impossible for arahants.

thag16.1

“There isn’t any mental suffering
“Natthi cetasikaṁ dukkhaṁ,
for one without hope, village chief.
anapekkhassa gāmaṇi;
All fears are left behind
Atikkantā bhayā sabbe,
by one whose fetters have ended.
khīṇasaṁyojanassa ve.

The 5 faculties are fully developed for arahants, so faculty of energy is full. (maybe not physical energy, as it depends on how many days they don’t eat).

Even when having skin rash or Elefantitis?

Even when so. Whatever physical pain you can imagine (better not), the arahant has only the first arrow, not the second.

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If he still has “an arrow”, Dukkha hasn’t subsided. If Dukkha hasn’t subsided, the 3rd noble truth is not fulfilled.

Very good observation. It is why there’s all these talk of the 2 kinds of Nibbāna. Nibbāna with remainder has some suffering due to the remainder of the 5 aggregates. Nibbāna without remainder has no more suffering at all, due to no more 5 aggregates remaining.

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Do you agree then that Tinch Hat Nanh and Buddhadasa one life theory is wrong view?

I haven’t read them fully, but dependent origination is to be understood as 3 lifetime model.

The definition of birth and death already tell us it’s literal birth, not moment to moment birth.

SN12.2

And what is old age and death? The old age, decrepitude, broken teeth, grey hair, wrinkly skin, diminished vitality, and failing faculties of the various sentient beings in the various orders of sentient beings. This is called old age. The passing away, perishing, disintegration, demise, mortality, death, decease, breaking up of the aggregates, and laying to rest of the corpse of the various sentient beings in the various orders of sentient beings. This is called death. Such is old age, and such is death. This is called old age and death.

And what is rebirth? The rebirth, inception, conception, reincarnation, manifestation of the aggregates, and acquisition of the sense fields of the various sentient beings in the various orders of sentient beings. This is called rebirth.

Yes I agree, but these teachers seem to be of the oppinion that with Nibbana, everything is done. No need for Parinibbana. They think that with Nibbana while alive, the world is no longer Dukkha.

I have done this a lot of clarifying the difference between the two. please check my comment history to catch up. Mainly it’s with Green. I don’t wish to debate with you on this in case you’re defending those teachers.

It’s hard for me to fathom anyone with a mood disorder who is taking prescription drugs could ever attain this. Whatever drug is regulating whatever chemical(s), providing an external support for softening the hard edges of certain mental and, by extension, emotional pain. So the full effect of pain is muted somewhat. I.e., we’re only working with the pain levels we experience and no more than that. It would seem the level of attainment by a stream winner requires working with the unmuted levels of pain. That’s my idea, since you asked, and it’s wholly speculative as I’m not a stream winner.

The non-speculative part is the 30+ years during which I’ve taken a mood regulator, 15 years practicing meditation with a mood regulator, and the two acute episodes of depression I experienced during those 15 years (not counting the one previous to that).

With all due respect to the Venerable in the video clip, I have never experienced depression (with the associated acute anxiety) the way he describes. In contrast to his teaching, I’ve consistently experienced it as a “mood” that is distinct from a mental state coloured by greed, hatred, or delusion. It is like working with a monster. For whatever reasons, it’s there. Through Buddhist practice the monster has been de-personalized to a large extent.

But it’s still a monster that lurks and without the medication I would have already succumbed to it; I wouldn’t be here anymore. So, that’s probably why the original question is not so important or relevant to me anymore.

That said, I appreciate and applaud the OP!

:elephant: :pray:t2: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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The OP is asking the other way around. Can someone who’s attained still be victim of these mental illness?

I can’t fathom someone attaining this without a mood disorder and that person somehow acquiring a mood disorder. Not as an aspect of stream winning but due to the fact that mood disorders (or mental illness) set in quite early in life, absent brain injury. Plus all of the concomitant functional issues. The conditions are so unsuitable for a person finding their way to stream winning.

So, OK, perhaps for me the question is pertinent if a brain injury occurs and the mental illness sets in.