Could a person who entered the stream of the path ever do a bad deed?


To be honest, I think the Buddha seems to say that they would be only unable to kill their mother, father, etc. - implying that such a person (stream-enterer) is still capable of killing others besides these beings (mother, father, etc.).

It took me a while to connect the dots, but I think the Buddha says that an Arahant is incapable of killing any being intentionally:

'Yes, Sutavā, you heard correctly […]. A bhikkhu who is an arahant […] is incapable of transgression in nine cases. (1) He is incapable of intentionally depriving a living being of life" – AN 9.7 (Bodhi trans.)

The answer to the question that you seem to be posing related to killing is that a “stream-enter is capable of killing beings who are not mother, father, etc.” while an “Arahant is incapable of intentionally killing any sentient being at all.”

I think there was another place where the Buddha said that even enlightened beings are capable of transgressing Vinaya rules or something along those lines - I am forgetting/not clear whether this applied to Arahants as well.


My goal in my previous posts was primarily to convey based on my own understanding what I learned from “Buddhist doctrine” as opposed to pushing for a particular point.
More of “this is what I think that the Buddha said on this issue” and
less of “I think that the Buddha is right about it.”
I do happen to think that the Buddha was right about it, but that is secondary to just trying to make sure the Buddha’s perspective on the issue is conveyed as accurately as I am able to do so.

Same with the one I was born into, and also the secular culture that I grew up in.
I noticed your word choice of “rigid” - the implication is it is “overly inflexible” - a lot of views from other religions and secular culture seem to be implicitly conveyed like this.
I think it’s important to remember that no matter what religion or even secular culture that a view comes from - it is still a view.
Becoming jumping to any conclusions, it helps to gather ALL the views that you can ever possibly think about about compare them side by side with each other and make an evaluation regarding what actions and results they lead to.
At least this is what helped me. I wasn’t born thinking the way I do now, I learned it from Buddhism lol.

This would be true in the sense that there is a spectrum of degrees of results to be experience for a certain action based on the conditions (degree of greed, hatred, delusion).

However, I don’t think there is any scope at all in Buddhism, no matter how extreme the circumstances are, for any kind of harmful actions whatsoever:

"Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: ‘Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.’ That’s how you should train yourselves.

The only thing that comes to mind are the extenuating circumstances clauses in the Vinaya - if someone has gone insane, unbearable pain, etc. - and even these clauses don’t seem to apply for all rule.

Yes, agreed. Harming those whose minds are less developed seems less severe as harming those whose minds are more developed.

This may not be false per se, but one would have to be careful because the Buddha didn’t explain it the scale in terms of the realm of existence that one is currently in, but the development of mind of the victim.

That being said, I think that the Vinaya said that taking fruits from animals would not be be considered stealing whereas taking fruits from a human would be - so there does seem to be some distinction made in the Vinaya.

However, I would caution making the distinction based on current realm of existence (which is a result that a being is currently experiencing) and emphasize the quality of mind of an individual (which is a causal condition - a being has direct control over the development of their mind, not the realm that they are currently experiencing).

An analogy would be like harming poor people is more okay than harming rich people.
Poor and rich are current experiences, not a reflection of their current mental development.
Once could get deceived into believing this to be the case because it appears to be so: poor people often don’t have the resources that rich people do to fight back and “get justice.”

But if one harms a currently poor being whose mind is relatively developed, they would experience a worse result than harming a currently rich being whose mind is relatively undeveloped.

Similarly, it seems at least possible that harming a non-human being whose mind is relatively developed could lead one to experience a worse result than harming human being whose mind is relatively undeveloped.

So in terms of “hierarchy or scale of seriousness,” I think the emphasis is on the current level of mental development and not on the current result or realm of existence that a certain being is currently experiencing.

Actually, I am going further than even that and saying that I think the Buddha said it is impossible to do any harmful action at all with any pure motivate at all.
Impure motives leads to harmful actions.
Pure motives lead to beneficial actions.

The only instance where I ever came across a “harmful action” that was considered okay was actually a “mercy killing” where an Arahant took his own life (committed suicide) due to extreme bodily pain.
It seems that the only reason why this was allowed, okay, and approved by the Buddha is because he was an Arahant and could not be reborn.
My interpretation was that a non-Arahant who commits suicide experience harm as a result of such an action. If someone could clarify this for me, that would be appreciated.

"In the same way, Rahula, when anyone feels no shame in telling a deliberate lie, there is no evil, I tell you, he will not do. Thus, Rahula, you should train yourself, ‘I will not tell a deliberate lie even in jest.’

To be honest, I think even this is overstating the benefits possible.
I think harmful actions can never lead to any bright kamma and beneficial actions can never lead to any dark kamma.
The way to get dark and bright kamma is to perform both harmful and beneficial kamma.

For example, the killing and lying will always lead to dark kamma - but say there is somewhere in the mind which is still trying its best to refrain from killing and lying - that part would lead to bright kamma.

So perhaps a being who kills after considerable inner struggle would reap dark kamma to the extent that they tried to kill and bright kamma to the extent that they tried to not kill.
The killing itself would be completely dark kamma.
Compare this to another being who has no qualms about killing even at the slightest provocation, always ready to pull the trigger, alway decreasing any restraint against killing - such beings would likely reap only dark kamma because there was no bright kamma for ever even trying to refrain from killing in the first place.

In the case that you mentioned, the compassion and concern for one’s family could be considered a separate kamma from the action of killing to defend on their behalf.

How so? Because it is possible to “defend” one’s family without resorting to killing.

Example? Siddhartha had a wife and son. Both lived out their entire life until their natural conclusion whereupon they seemed to die due to natural causes.

How were they defended? By studying and practicing the Dhamma-Vinaya.

Another man with a wife and son, follows a different course by teaching his wife and son that killing is okay or other things that are contrary to the Dhamma-Vinaya - as a result of they act in way in which their life is threatened one or more times. At that point, the man may feel like he is justified in “killing to defend his wife and son” - even though all the family members viewed and acted in ways that were contrary to Dhamma-Vinaya, which is what lead them to such perilous positions in the first place - if the man does in fact kill to defend his wife and son (the fact of being a stream-enterer or otherwise seems to make no difference at all - it doesn’t necessarily make the killing any more “pure” lol), then he seems like the would simply be acting even further contrary to the Dhamma-Vinaya and it might lead to even further harm down the line - in a sense, he would be digging his grave even deeper by engaging in harmful actions to defend himself and his family members.

What is the way out? Act in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya - the Noble Eightfold Path in particular is defined as the way out of dukkha (which would include one and one’s loved ones being killed or the danger of being killed).

  • “Non-human life”: this still counts as sentient beings. Killing is defined as taking the life of sentient beings - there is no fundamental distinction made on the basis of the realm or result that a certain being is experience currently.
  • “Not intentionally killing it anyway”: this would not count as the kamma of killing. However, a farmer has to make sure that this is actually the case and not otherwise lol purposeful “accidental” killing still counts as killing. Only truly accidental killing where the intent is not there at all would not be considered killing even if a being is killed in the process.

The keyword is SEEM. Meaning, they would actually be acting for the welfare of themselves and others by not killing - their wife and child could learn about developing restraint against killing, thereby prolonging their own lifespan.

“where children are left starve or innocents are not defended.” This is an assumption and the very sort of “fear” that drives beings to kill and do other harmful actions - the question is, is that fear valid?

If you ask Mara, he might definitively and emphatically say, “yes!”

But you won’t find a similar excuse, justification, or loophole in the “Buddhist doctrine.”

I think it helps to think of all of this as a gradual process.

Rather than thinking “Buddhists say don’t kill” - it might help to think that all beings start out with a disposition towards harmful and unbeneficial actions - and through a gradual process of development in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya, harmful/unbeneficial actions decrease and harmless/beneficial actions increase.

The view towards farmers expressed in a previous comments seems to reflect “pity,” which is said to be (I think by Abhidhamma, not sure) a near enemy of “compassion” - meaning it seems like compassion, but it is actually not.

Why? Because it seems to treat the farmers (or whoever, laypeople, soldiers, etc.) as a sort of hopeless, doomed bunch that and destined to end up unhappy no matter what and there is nothing they can do about it - this is not the Buddhist view of compassion.

The might not be able to escape from unhappiness to happiness in this lifetime, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try in this very life - trying is like a cumulative, gradual process.

Over time, they may become more and more able to act in accordance with the Dhamma-Vinaya - and perhaps even surpass you and I and become Arahants lol. You just never know.

I don’t think there is any textual basis for a claim that a stream-enterer is unable to violate any of the five precepts. Have you been able to find support for this claim?

If you haven’t, I don’t think there is any inconsistency at all: it seems that a “stream-enter is capable of killing beings who are not mother, father, etc.” while an “Arahant is not capable of intentionally killing any sentient being at all.”

It seems to me that the inconsistency was merely an apparent, not an actual one.


Actually, it may be possible. Consider the case where a sangha has no stream enterers or an incomplete understanding (which can happen without arahants given the slipperiness of conceit). It is possible for such a sangha to expel a stream enterer by majority rule for an imagined offense. Given the 2500 years since the original dispensation of the Buddha, I’d be inclined to give that possibility a very high probability. This is one of the reasons I study the EBTs and not the Abhidhamma. My concern is that the “telephone game” has subtly altered meaning in the echoes of the Dhamma across the millenia.


Though being mistakenly judged to be defeated may well have the same social consequences as actually being defeated, it isn’t the same from the point of view of Vinaya.


Even if a stream enterer do a bad deed mistakenly, they do not plan them. What protects them from realms of woe.
This is clearly explained in Loṇakapalla Sutta AN 3.100

“Mendicants, suppose you say: ‘No matter how this person performs a deed, they experience it the same way.’ This being so, the spiritual life could not be lived, and there’d be no chance of making a complete end of suffering.

Suppose you say: ‘No matter how this person performs a deed, they experience the result as it should be experienced.’ This being so, the spiritual life can be lived, and there is a chance of making a complete end of suffering.

Take the case of a person who does a trivial bad deed, but it lands them in hell. Meanwhile, another person does the same trivial bad deed, but experiences it in the present life, without even a bit left over, not to speak of a lot.

What kind of person does a trivial bad deed, but it lands them in hell? A person who hasn’t developed their physical endurance, ethics, mind, or wisdom. They’re small-minded and mean-spirited, living in suffering. That kind of person does a trivial bad deed, but it lands them in hell.

What kind of person does the same trivial bad deed, but experiences it in the present life, without even a bit left over, not to speak of a lot? A person who has developed their physical endurance, ethics, mind, and wisdom. They’re not small-minded, but are big-hearted, living without limits. That kind of person does the same trivial bad deed, but experiences it in the present life, without even a bit left over, not to speak of a lot.

Suppose a person was to drop a lump of salt into a small bowl of water. What do you think, mendicants? Would that small bowl of water become salty and undrinkable?”

“Yes, sir. Why is that? Because there is only a little water in the bowl.”

“Suppose a person was to drop a lump of salt into the Ganges river. What do you think, mendicants? Would the Ganges river become salty and undrinkable?”

“No, sir. Why is that? Because the Ganges river is a vast mass of water.”

“This is how it is in the case of a person who does a trivial bad deed, but it lands them in hell. Meanwhile, another person does the same trivial bad deed, but experiences it in the present life, without even a bit left over, not to speak of a lot. …

Take the case of a person who is thrown in jail for stealing half a dollar, a dollar, or a hundred dollars. While another person isn’t thrown in jail for stealing half a dollar, a dollar, or a hundred dollars.

What kind of person is thrown in jail for stealing half a dollar, a dollar, or a hundred dollars? A person who is poor, with few possessions and little wealth. That kind of person is thrown in jail for stealing half a dollar, a dollar, or a hundred dollars.

What kind of person isn’t thrown in jail for stealing half a dollar, a dollar, or a hundred dollars? A person who is rich, affluent, and wealthy. That kind of person isn’t thrown in jail for stealing half a dollar, a dollar, or a hundred dollars.

This is how it is in the case of a person who does a trivial bad deed, but they go to hell. Meanwhile, another person does the same trivial bad deed, but experiences it in the present life, without even a bit left over, not to speak of a lot. …

It’s like a sheep dealer or butcher. They can execute, jail, fine, or otherwise punish one person who steals from them, but not another.

What kind of person can they punish? A person who is poor, with few possessions and little wealth. That’s the kind of person they can punish.

What kind of person can’t they punish? A person who is rich, affluent, and wealthy. That’s the kind of person they can’t punish. In fact, all they can do is raise their joined palms and ask: ‘Please, good sir, give me my sheep or pay me for it.’

This is how it is in the case of a person who does a trivial bad deed, but it lands them in hell. Meanwhile, another person does the same trivial bad deed, but experiences it in the present life, without even a bit left over, not to speak of a lot. …

Mendicants, suppose you say: ‘No matter how this person performs a deed, they experience it the same way.’ This being so, the spiritual life could not be lived, and there’d be no chance of making a complete end of suffering.

Suppose you say: ‘No matter how this person performs a deed, they experience the result as it should be experienced.’ This being so, the spiritual life can be lived, and there is a chance of making a complete end of suffering.”


Thanks. There’s a lot there! To reply to some of it, anyway, in terms of bright and dark kamma, I think most acts are done for mixed motives. I’d be prepared to accept that for any kind of lie (or breaking the precepts) there is some degree of ill intent there (and some dark kamma as a result). However, in some circumstances, there may be far more good intent, e.g. situations like Anne Frank where people were hiding Jewish people in their homes in occupied Europe and perhaps had to tell some lies to keep them concealed.

You were also arguing the holding the precepts would be enough to physically protect. However, one of the five great wrongs is the killing of an arahant, presumably whose conduct should certainly be ethically pure. So that means it is possible (interesting that only harm to a Buddha is listed to I guess it’s assumed a Buddha would be able to avoid death, or pacify a would-be attacker with metta etc.). So presumably harm is also possible for just ordinary lay people. So spiritual protection, sure, but perhaps not always physical protection, and so I’m not sure the extreme situation where only physical force would protect a family can be ruled out (even with perfect observance of the precepts).

As you say, perhaps from a much wider and longer-range perspective the “seeming” cold/unfeeling option may be the ultimately compassionate one. However, it is not an automatic given to me and assumes certain things.

I mentioned the simile of the saw earlier. That does seem to the ultimate ideal (presumably embodied by an arahant at least). However, that sutta was addressed to monastics. I’m not sure that level would be expected of the laity (even stream enterers).

On textual evidence, the Mirror of the Dhamma in DN16 and elsewhere lists the attributes of a stream enterer, which include unshakeable faith in the triple gem as well as:

And a noble disciple’s ethical conduct is loved by the noble ones, unbroken, impeccable, spotless, and unmarred, liberating, praised by sensible people, not mistaken, and leading to immersion.

Of course, what that is is not entirely pinned down. From the various suttas in the Sotapanna section of the SN Mahavagga, observance of the five precepts is mentioned several times in this regards (as well as sometimes other virtues like generosity). AN9.12, which I mentioned earlier, says about a stream enterer:

Furthermore, there’s a person who has fulfilled ethics, but has limited immersion and wisdom. With the ending of three fetters, they have at most seven rebirths. They will transmigrate at most seven times among gods and humans and then make an end of suffering.

I’ve also seen Ud5.5 used in this regard:

“Just as, monks, the great ocean is a steady thing, which doesn’t transgress the shoreline, so, monks, those training rules which are laid down by me for my disciples, my disciples do not transgress even for the sake of life. That, monks, those training rules which are laid down by me for my disciples, my disciples do not transgress even for the sake of life, is the second wonderful and marvellous thing, monks, about this Dhamma and Discipline, which, having seen and considered, the monks delight in this Dhamma and Discipline.

The view that a stream enterer will not break any precepts seems to be a fairly common view. I assume that since Thanissaro Bhikkhu was mentioned as arguing that King Bimbisara never went to war after gaining stream entry he is of this opinion. Similarly, I’ve read Pa Auk Sayadaw expressing this opinion. It’s definitely a possible reading.

However, AN3.86 clarifies the idea of “fulfilling ethics” more:

Take the case of a mendicant who has fulfilled their ethics, but has limited immersion and wisdom. They break some lesser and minor training rules, but are restored. Why is that? Because I don’t say they’re incapable of that. But they’re constant and steady in their precepts regarding the training rules that are fundamental, befitting the spiritual path. They keep the rules they’ve undertaken. With the ending of three fetters they’re a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.

Evidently, perfect observance of the monastic rules isn’t necessary. Some slippage is possible as long as fundamental rules aren’t broken. Those fundamental rules might be the five precepts, but it seems more logical to be the pārājika. And for lay people, I assume some amount of slippage is possible too.

To use Ud5.5 to “prove” perfect precept observance seems too literal a reading to me (otherwise, no noble disciples would make any minor slippage ever). Generally, I think there is some fuzziness on the questions and different reasonable conclusions are possible.


Yes. There’s the theory, the hypothesized reason for the theory, and all too fallible humans actually putting that theory into practice! :wink:

Yes, I reckon there is a fair bit of static on the telephone line from 2500 years ago! :slight_smile: Sometimes it feels like trying to reconstruct the main thrust of a conversation from a few somewhat garbled snatches of words.


Problem here is deciding what are those lesser and minor training rules

That was a question the blessed one never answered, Ven. Anandatthero just forgot to ask which is which!

Therefore, problem remain unsolved


The Milindapañha claims to have solved it, though it’s a little puzzling how Nāgasena could be so sure about a matter that had divided the arahants at the First Council.

Dukkaṭaṃ, mahārāja, khuddakaṃ sikkhāpadaṃ, dubbhāsitaṃ anukhuddakaṃ sikkhāpadaṃ
(Khuddānukhuddakapañha Mil. 144)


There are few more issues with Milindapañña too. We cannot entirely rely on Milindapañña on this matter.


I am wondering why the Buddha himself did not specify what the minor rules are. :thinking:

He explained so much of the Dhamma-Vinaya in such detail, not necessarily always prompted by others (I think there were suttas where he simply taught without being prompted).

Why do you think he didn’t just specify what the minor rules are, perhaps in the very next sentence?

Random possibility: What if he did specify it and some conservative monastics got rid of the stipulation in order to discourage anyone from even attempting to abolish the minor rules - if the monastics don’t know what the minor rules are, they wouldn’t know what is allowable to abolish - so perhaps they would refrain from doing so? :thinking: Just a random stab in the dark tbh.


I am inclined to think that he knew that conditions would change and that each sangha would have to address this issue ongoing, mindfully.


You think that he left it up to the Sangha to decide what rules were minor?

My reservation against this is that the Buddha seemed to “leave it up to the Sangha whether or not to abolish minor rules” but not “leave it up to the Sangha which Vinaya rules are minor rules.”

Otherwise, the Sangha could, with the seeming permission of the Buddha, potentially deem all the rules minor and then proceed to abolish all of them.

I have actually heard someone argue precisely this actually - the Buddha didn’t specify it because he thought rules were not important and he was hinting it just like he hinted to Ananda - hinting that the Sangha is free to abolish it all! I am not making this up, someone actually said this to me. :sweat_smile:


This sounds like exaggerated advertising to me. I would think that entering the stream makes one more honest. It makes less sense to be dishonest, and maybe there is naturally more tendency to be inclined towards wanting to see things as they are, and therefore mis-portraying reality lies in opposition to that direction.

However, one is still in a state of ignorance, even if one has tasted nibbāna. One still dips back below the surface of awakening, and can remain there potentially indefinitely!

I’d say the more you are dipping into awakening, the more honest you are likely to become - the more established in honesty. And also in non-harmful action.

However, there are still unskilfully tendencies, and so these are bound to manifest, at times to the extend of generating unskillful actions of body, speech, and mind.

I think that’s a flagrant exaggeration. From an objective perspective, mother and father and enlightened ones are no different from other beings. We classify them as being categorically different, from our unenlightened perspective, in which we conceptualise, label, and quantify. But these are attributes of human thinking, not of the natural world.

And of course Buddhism is generated in the field of the relative world of human cultural conceptualisations - it could not be a human institution nor a body of teachings without that characteristic. The very doctrines themselves are human relative conceptual constructions.

And this special designation for killing these 3, is an artefact of the ancient Indian conceptual world view. So, the doctrine establishes them as having particularly severe consequences. And, since they have used that world view to imagine the specific consequence of those ‘crimes’, and additionally have imagined what possible destinations a stream enterer can have next, it becomes a matter of harmonising these created concepts, which logically must result in the doctrine that steam enterers therefore cannot commit these crimes.

On that basis, I have feel no reason to take those conceptual constructs as being in accordance to actual reality.

Now, if we think of actual real world examples, I can think of various people who are at least steam enterers, who have committed serious sexual misconduct. I am sure you are all aware of some examples.

Now, some might conclude that because they carried out sexual misconduct, they must therefore not be stream enterers! On this point, I would disagree.

This is where it gets hard to prove. But for me personally, there are two activities which I find of particular significance in non-EBT traditions, which I directly relate to stream entry. They are:

  • ‘Pointing out the nature of mind’ in the Tibetan tradition
  • Satsang in Advaita, Hinduism.

The former is a common Tibetan practice in which the master basically ‘talks’ the student into awakening. I take ‘the nature of mind’ to be nibbāna. Subtle instructions are given, and if the student ‘gets it’, they have this direct experience of recognising their own nature.

In Advaita, the teacher dialogues the student to awakening. They might term it ‘realising the Self’ or whatever, but I quite firmly believe that regardless of the linguistic designations, this is the same phenomenon as stream entry.

And the Buddha is reported to have on various occasions, been talking to his disciples (giving dhamma talk you may say), and some people would attain stream entry right there while he’s talking. This to me sounds very similar to the above two examples.

And this seems to me to be connected to the critical importance of any serious Buddhist being connected to (taking refuge in) ariyas, people who have attained at least stream entry. I feel this is important both for guidance using language, but can also be extremely useful for more ‘mind to mind’ interaction, which is critical in the above examples in Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism.

And so, when many people have themselves been induced into stream entry by a teacher, and interacted with them on that mind to mind level, then, it is fair to conclude that that teacher has attained at least steam entry themselves.

Now, if we have may reports of people having attained stream entry by the mind to mind relationship with a particular teacher, we still might question whether or not they all might be deluded. At this point I take a stance which might be said to be less ‘objective’ that common ways of investigation, but I know no other way than to judge by my own perception of my source. And that requires my own perception of their mind. As well as their response and articulation of the matter, by which we can get another angle on what’s really going on or not.

So I do not expect anyone to take my word for it on that particular matter. But I think we can all judge for ourselves, and I can say at least that in my own perception, stream enterers can still be deceiving others, and indeed deceiving themselves. Quite often it seems that while many faults and attachments may disappear, those that remain can become quite riggly, and also distort ones thinking. As these impulses and habits struggle to survive, they must camouflage themselves in the conceptual framework in order to survive. They will be weeded out if they obviously conflict with the world view one has acquired through religion, and through both ordinary and awakening experiences. They are too contradictory.

So, often they will disguise themselves in ways attempting to be in harmony with that framework. For examples, teachers will convince themselves that by having sex with their students, they are ‘helping’ them. They may bully their students (we have many many examples of this), believing that they are that rare example of someone who does that and it actually helps - while in fact they are mistakenly justifying the continued existence of their power trip tendencies, and anger tendencies, and possibly more complex interpersonal issues, by conning themselves into thinking that this is all a positive thing.

And their ‘non-dual’ view gained through stream entry can even be warped into seeing everything as perfect, which means that even if their behaviour seems bad, they have a completely different view on the concept of ‘bad’ now. And since they rank awakening as far higher hierarchically than ‘relative’ truths or samsaric troubles, then if their action is helping someone to awaken, then the end justifies the means!

Such are the manoeuvres that our habit patterns and sophisticated mind can go through.

Now, as awakening permeates more, I believe these tendencies will reduce. Or you could say that as these tendencies diminish, awakening thereby permeates more. Perhaps it directions in both ways. But I have seen no indication that the beginning of this path - stream entry - suddenly makes people entirely non-harmful! Not entirely honest!

All you’ve really done is temporarily dropped all of your non-enlightenment. But there is plenty still there once you grab hold of it again, once again anchoring yourself in samsara! And I think how much and what sort of non-enlightenment material you have there, putting back on in your inter-awakening states (which may be the vast majority of the time, or for some, even the rest of their life after that one awakening experience), really depends on the person. Sure, some may never harm someone again! But for others, the story can be quite different.


Please refrain from sounding unnecessarily provocative.

You could easily remove your references to propaganda without changing the meaning of your post, giving the discussion a much higher chance of remaining productive and respectful.


Can you explain what you mean by propaganda and what exactly seems like propaganda to you?

Perhaps it seems “objective” from your perspective, but it actually isn’t?

Perhaps these sort of “‘equalization’ of everything and everyone view” could be a later Mahayana view, but it doesn’t seem to be the case in the early sources.

The early sources seem to pretty clearly state that the enlightened ones are fundamentally different from the unenlightened ones in certain ways, such a perception of changeability, unhappiness, personal, etc.

Regarding mother and father as just another random pair of beings:

And what is wrong view?
‘There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly and practicing rightly, proclaim this world and the next after having directly known and realized it for themselves.’ This is wrong view…
Right View: samma ditthi

I don’t disagree because I agree that stream-enters would be capable doing what the Buddha did not say they were incapable of doing. I express this view earlier in this thread.
However, I can’t even discern even a single stream-enterer in actuality.
It makes me wonder: how can one discern whether or not a being has attained stream-entry, let alone any other higher stage?

Can you please state your basis for these two claims?

Sariputta apparently attain stream-entry after hearing a verse from an Arahant, so it seems that both the Buddha and Sangha were capable to doing this.
I am not sure if any being outside of the Buddha and (Noble) Sangha are able to do this (i.e. Advaita, etc.).

In DN 16, the Buddha seems to state that any tradition that does not teach the Noble Eightfold Path in its entirety is not sufficient to lead one to Nibbana. It doesn’t mean that they are 100% false, but simply limited.

Then the wandering ascetic Subhadda approached the Blessed One and saluted him courteously.
And having exchanged with him pleasant and civil greetings, the wandering ascetic Subhadda seated himself at one side and addressed the Blessed One, saying:

“There are, Venerable Gotama, ascetics and brahmans who are heads of great companies of disciples, who have large retinues, who are leaders of schools, well known and renowned, and held in high esteem by the multitude, such teachers as Purana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosala, Ajita Kesakambali, Pakudha Kaccayana, Sañjaya Belatthaputta, Nigantha Nataputta. Have all of these attained realization, as each of them would have it believed, or has none of them, or is it that some have attained realization and others not?”

“Enough, Subhadda! Let it be as it may, whether all of them have attained realization, as each of them would have it believed, or whether none of them has, or whether some have attained realization and others not. I will teach you the Dhamma, Subhadda; listen and heed it well, and I will speak.”

“So be it, Lord.”

The Lion’s Roar

And the Blessed One spoke, saying: "In whatsoever Dhamma and Discipline, Subhadda, the Noble Eightfold Path is not found, neither is there found a true ascetic of the first, second, third, or fourth degree of Enlightenment
But in whatsoever Dhamma and Discipline there is found the Noble Eightfold Path, there is found a true ascetic of the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of enlightenment.

Now only in this Dhamma and Discipline, Subhadda, is the Noble Eightfold Path found;

and in it alone are also found true ascetics of the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of enlightenment.

Devoid of true ascetics are the systems of other teachers.

But if, Subhadda, the bhikkhus live righteously, the world will not be devoid of arahats.

I find it hard to imagine that “Advaita, the teacher dialogues the student to awakening,” as it definitively does not have the Noble Eightfold Path in its entirety found within it. Even though I have suspicions, I don’t know much about the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, so I can’t comment on that.

That’s the basis for your claim that dialoguing alone about religious topics is sufficient for guiding one to Nibbana?

This reminded me of a question that I had and wondered about: Why didn’t the Buddha “induce” Ananda into Arahantship?
It made me think that perhaps one cannot induce another into Nibbana (Dhamma transmissions, etc.), but can only help and guide them towards it - but it depends on the potential recipient to accept the help and guidance.


I completely agree that this happens among laypeople and monastics in the various sects and religions of the worlds. However:
I see very little possibility to excuse harmfulness in early sources of Buddhism.
I see a lot of possibility to excuse harmfulness in later sources of Buddhism.

Such a non-dual view is does not seem to be gained through stream-entry.
This seems to be a sectarian and Advaita Hindu view.
If you can find even a single instance to non-duality as found in Advaita and later Buddhist sources in the early sources, I am very interested in hearing about this. Others have made this connection and claim before, but just claimed that “it is obviously self-evident” without actually providing clear, if any, textual support for their claims.

I agree - this seems to be associated with the achievement of Arahantship.


Thread reminder to keep a cool head and a warm heart :slight_smile:


The Vinaya rules are guidelines that evolved according to need. Consider a similar case of the vehicle code. One can memorize the vehicle code and follow it slavishly…

…or one can drive in harmony with others for the greater good. What emerges from the latter approach is a realization that the rules are “all minor” when we take others into gentle consideration. The rules are there to remind us about others. If we are mindful of others, we are automatically following the rules with Right Freedom.

This is why I read the Vinaya. It is the rules that I don’t follow automatically that are the most interesting. Those are the rules that challenge and highlight identity view and lead to the fading away and relinquishing of that identity view.


Even in this case, the bright kamma would be as a result of the “good intent” - not the “kamma/action of lying.”

They could have a good intent and help other without lying - purely blameless kamma.

If you confuse the law of kamma that I pasted before, you could end up trying to justify to your self how bad deeds could lead to good actions in some cases - the result? You will be more likely to do bad deeds, and reap what you sow from them - why? Cuz the view itself is “bad.”

“Bhante (Venerable Sir), a certain monk at Savatthi had died bitten by a snake.”

“Assuredly, monks,” said the Buddha. “That monk has not suffused with thoughts of loving-kindness (metta) the four royal tribes of snakes. Had he done so, that monk would not have died of snake-bite. What are the four royal tribes of snakes? The royal tribe of snakes called Virupakkha, Erapatha, Chabyaputta, and Kanhagotamaka. Monks, that monk, did not suffuse with thoughts of loving-kindness these four royal tribes of snakes, had not done so he would not have died of snake-bite. Monks, I enjoin you to suffuse with thoughts of loving-kindness these four royal tribes of snakes for your safety, for your preservation and for your protection.”
Ahi Sutta: A Snake

"Monks, eleven advantages are to be expected from the release (deliverance) of heart by familiarizing oneself with thoughts of loving-kindness (metta), by the cultivation of loving-kindness, by constantly increasing these thoughts, by regarding loving-kindness as a vehicle (of expression), and also as something to be treasured, by living in conformity with these thoughts, by putting these ideas into practice, and by establishing them. What are the eleven?

  1. "He sleeps in comfort.
  2. He awakes in comfort.
  3. He sees no evil dreams.
  4. He is dear to human beings.
  5. He is dear to non-human beings.
  6. Devas (gods) protect him.
  7. Fire, poison, and sword cannot touch him.
  8. His mind can concentrate quickly.
  9. His demeanor is calm/peaceful.
  10. He dies without being confused in mind.
  11. If he fails to attain arahantship here and now, he will be reborn in the brahma-world.
    Metta (Mettanisamsa) Sutta: Discourse on Advantages of Loving-kindness

Just to be open and honest, it seems like you or some part of your mind is trying to find an excuse to keep the option of violence open as a last resort.
You are free to do as you wish.
As long as you realize this is your own view and action - and there is absolutely no support for these found within the Dhamma-Vinaya, you would at least avoid the danger of harm that results from misrepresenting the Dhamma-Vinaya.
My encouragement to you would be use study and practice of the Dhamma-Vinaya as a whole for protection and support - and try to never ever resort to Adhamma-Avinaya (violence, physical force, harming, etc.) for the purpose of protection and support.
The latter seems to work, but it seems to a false, empty promise that will always backfire.
A man might seem to be able save himself, his wife, and child in this lifetime - but what about in the future? He has left himself and his family vulnerable, susceptible, and unprotected.
Harm follows harmfulness. It’s just a matter of time where the results of his actions bear fruit.
It’s less a matter of if and more a matter of when.
Feeling ashamed about and fearing the consequences of bad deeds can help protect you.
Those of us who do bad deeds and don’t do good deeds shamelessly and fearlessly - harm shall catch up to us eventually.


Did the Buddha allow for them to evolve according to need?

This makes them sound necessarily mutually exclusive - can you find a single instance where the Vinaya rule does not lead to the greater good and/or leads to greater harm?

Didn’t the Buddha even say the purpose of the Vinaya was to promote the welfare of the Sangha? Why would he lay down rules that don’t lead to the greater good even when followed slavishly?

Can you please let me know what is the basis for this claim?
Where did the Buddha implicitly or explicitly imply that the Vinaya rules are “all minor”?

Are you a monastic? :thinking:

How do you mean?