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EBTs on many paths or options to awakening


#1

Hello everyone. My memory is somewhat hazy, but I kind of remember that there are some EBTs which say that there are many paths or options to awakening. However, I forget the exact texts. Does anyone know an EBT or two where this topic is discussed?


#2

One of my favorite search phrases is four ways of practice.

Looking back on my life, I’d say I’m personally inclined to the painfully slow. :turtle: :scream_cat:

:laughing:

DN33 also lists another four other ways to practice. Search for impatient practice.


#3

Hey, remember, in the tortoise and the hare fable, the tortoise wins

:grinning:


#4

Another option is AN 4.170:

“Reverends, all of the monks and nuns who declare in my presence that they have attained perfection, did so by one or other of four paths.

What four?

Take a mendicant who develops serenity before discernment. As they do so, the path is born in them. They cultivate, develop, and make much of it. By doing so, they give up the fetters and eliminate the underlying tendencies.

Another mendicant develops discernment before serenity. As they do so, the path is born in them. They cultivate, develop, and make much of it. By doing so, they give up the fetters and eliminate the underlying tendencies.

Another mendicant develops serenity and discernment in conjunction. As they do so, the path is born in them. They cultivate, develop, and make much of it. By doing so, they give up the fetters and eliminate the underlying tendencies.

Another mendicant’s mind is seized by restlessness to realize the teaching. But there comes a time when their mind is stilled internally; it settles, unifies, and becomes immersed in samādhi. The path is born in them. They cultivate, develop, and make much of it. By doing so, they give up the fetters and eliminate the underlying tendencies.

All of the monks and nuns who declare in my presence that they have attained perfection, did so by one or other of these four paths.”


#5

Do you mean exceedingly many, as, for example, in the Mahayanists’ talk about there being 84,000 dharma doors?

Or do you mean “many” in the sense of more than just one or two?


#6

There is no particular consistency on this point in the EBT. At times you have the ‘one-path’ of the Satipatthana, then you have the ‘eleven doors to the deathless’ in AN 11.16 (copied into MN 52).

Then you have several formulas in the Samyuttas with different sets of indriyas etc. But you probably have something more specific in mind?


#7

IMO, the EBTs as a whole strongly imply it. As well as individual suttas. For example, you have different classes of Noble Ones, different meditation subjects, different temperaments of people, different arahants who are the best at certain things (e.g. Venerable Magamoggallana at supernormal powers), the path of the Paccekabuddha vs Sammasambuddha, different teachings the Buddha gave to particular individuals, etc.

Though in the end, all the paths fall under under the umbrella of the Noble Eightfold Path so I guess you could say there’s really only one path when you get down to it.


#8

That’s it. It’s MN 52 (with its parallels in MA 217 and T 92) that I was looking for. Thank you very much for your answer. Also thank you very much for the other relevant answers as well.