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Faith-Follower & Dhamma-Follower

sotapatti
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#14

ehem, sorry to point that out, but I quoted MN 70 in the first part of the essay, a bit shorter though…


#15

Ah, I did a search for MN 70 and it came up empty. There it is again though I guess :slight_smile:

Edit: Actually none of the sutta links show up on searching the topic. Possible bug?


#16

[quote=“Gabriel, post:6, topic:5778”]
It’s a bit of a stretch, but theoretically it could be that DF and FF are those who “practise to gain the fruit of Stream-Entry” which are, according to DN 33 and MN 142 one of “Eight persons worthy of offerings”. These practitioners are also mentioned (without a ‘title’) in SN 22.122/123, SN 48.18, SN 55.55, AN 1.596, AN 5.260, AN 5.268, AN 8.19, AN 8.59, AN 9.9, AN 9.10. But it is nowhere mentioned that those are bound to sotapatti at the end of their lifes…
[/QUOTE]

Come to think of it, I don’t ever remember having seen the usual viewpoint of magga and phala, as being closely occurring sub-stages within each level of enlightenment, anywhere in the actual Nikayas, or are there suttas on which this is based? Anyone know if this an Abidhamma/commentarial development? I haven’t really thought too deeply about the “eight persons worthy of offerings” versus four levels of enlightenment distinction before. From what I remember of the Nikayas, it does seem plausible, on thinking about it, that a dhamma-follower/faith-follower might be the first of the “eight persons worthy of offerings”. Perhaps the magga (path) to an attainment is simply that (and perhaps a path that might possibly take quite some time rather than being fairly instantaneous)?


#17

Whenever I’ve tried to get to grips with what is being referred to by the first of the eight persons (which admittedly isn’t all that much) something like what you’ve set out seemed one of the most natural explanations I could think of.

The one possible complication I’ve since run into is the potential complications it might introduce for the other categories of persons: if we take the 1st person as one who’s on a longish, ambling journey towards stream fruit (2nd person), then would we have to think that the 2nd person (stream fruit winner) is also the 3rd person (longish, ambling journey to once return); that the 4th & 5th are the same and the 6th & 7th are the same? This would then mean that effectively there were only actually 5 types of people! :grinning:

In all honesty, I’m not so bothered about persons 2-8. However, I am interested to know if person 1 is just someone who has taken up robes (necessarily so, as they are worthy of offerings) and is sincere in their practice (a lot like - if not the same as - what the DF and FF sound to be as per the above except perhaps could be either lay or robed), or if they have also had some supermundane insight.


#18

Even though the question of offering is more complex I would take it here as “don’t give ascetics of other sects, give to the Buddhist sangha”, at least this is how I understand “Giving discriminately is praised by the Fortunate One” (e.g. SN 1.33).

Category 1 is a conceptual mess I’m afraid. The easy answer would be that they have no supramundane insight. But MN 48 tells us a slightly different story. Here we have seven knowledges that all finish with “This is the first…seventh knowledge attained by him that is noble, supramundane, not shared by ordinary people.” The sutta ends with

When a noble disciple is thus possessed of seven factors, he has well sought the character for realisation of the fruit of stream-entry. When a noble disciple is thus possessed of seven factors, he possesses the fruit of stream-entry.

‘Unfortunately’ the one who has ‘sought well’ is exactly the sotāpattiphalasacchikiriyāya, i.e. person 1. Which, if we take it literally, means that along the way they had supramundane knowledges before becoming a full sotapanna.


#19

I think some other suttas might be used to qualify this idea, but essentially, yes, I should have been more precise, by ‘robes’ I was just trying to draw a distinction specifically between Buddhist mendicants and Buddhist lay followers.

It does appear a little that way! :smiley:

All the same, much thanks for the pointers as to where to look to try and get at least some clue.


#20

“Master Gotama, I have heard that ‘Gotama the contemplative says this: “Only to me should a gift be given, and not to others. Only to my disciples should a gift be given, and not to others. Only what is given to me bears great fruit, and not what is given to others. Only what is given to my disciples bears great fruit, and not what is given to the disciples of others.”’ Now those who report this: Are they reporting the Master Gotama’s actual words, are they not misrepresenting him with what is unfactual, are they answering in line with the Dhamma, so that no one whose thinking is in line with the Dhamma will have grounds for criticizing them? For we don’t want to misrepresent the Master Gotama.”

"Vaccha, whoever says this: ‘Gotama the contemplative says this: “Only to me should a gift be given… Only what is given to my disciples bears great fruit, and not what is given to the disciples of others,”’ is not reporting my actual words, is misrepresenting me with what is unfactual & untrue… AN 3.57


#21

"Monks, there are these eight individuals who are worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, the unsurpassed field of merit for the world. Which eight?

The one who has entered the stream (Sotāpanno), the one who has entered upon the course for the realization of the fruit of stream-entry (sotāpattiphalasacchikiriyāya paṭipanno), the once-returner, the one who has entered upon the course for the realization of the fruit of once-returning, the non-returner, the one who has entered upon the course for the realization of the fruit of non-returning, the arahant, the one who has entered upon the course for arahantship". AN 8.59

with metta


#22

Thanks for this! However, I’m not sure that quote, by itself, is really is enough to fully justify the usual understanding of magga and phala as being near instantaneous or close together. If we put the above alongside SN 48.18:

"Bhikkhus, there are these five faculties. What five? The faculty of faith … the faculty of wisdom. These are the five faculties.
"One who has completed and fulfilled these five faculties is an arahant. If they are weaker than that, one is practising for the realization of the fruit of arahantship; if still weaker, one is a nonreturner; if still weaker, one is practising for the realization of the fruit of nonreturning; if still weaker, one is a once-returner; if still weaker, one is practising for the realization of the fruit of once-returning; if still weaker, one is a stream-enterer; if still weaker,
one is practising for the realization of the fruit of stream-entry.
“But, bhikkhus, I say that one in whom these five faculties are completely and totally absent is ‘an outsider, one who stands in the faction of worldlings.’”

then it would seem to be the case that those practicing for the fruits of the various stages are trainees for the respectives stages (have weaker faculties than those who have fully attained those paths). So one who “is practising for the realization of the fruit of stream-entry” is, at least in terms of SN 48.18, not yet a full stream-enterer, but yet may still be one of those noble eight persons. I don’t think your quote, per say, really contradicts the idea that a Dhamma-follower or faith-folllower might possibly be the 1st such person in the scheme of 8 persons.


#23

again, there is not enough material to substantiate anything, but for what it’s worth

  • aryasavakas can in rare cases be found below sotapanna
  • only on sotapanna-level we have “taints destroyed by seeing with wisdom”
  • MN 70 has of DF and FF “his taints are not yet destroyed by his seeing with wisdom”

so why not to have the 1st person without any taints/fetters destroyed? I’ll spread the word that I officially accept gifts now :slight_smile:


#24

There’s actually something very like the five person scheme in SN 55.25! :slight_smile: (though it has six persons instead of five: the usual four, plus the Dhamma-follower and faith-follower).

That sutta is about “Sarakani the Sakyan” who has died and the Buddha declares him a stream-enterer. That seemingly caused a bit of consternation because he had not given up alcoholic drink. It also sounds like he was a lay person, particularly with the alcohol drinking too :slight_smile: (given that he seems a good candidate for being a DF or FF during his life-time and a stream-enterer at his death, then being a DF or FF probably doesn’t equate to taking robes).

The Buddha gives an explanation to Mahanama that:

“over a long time Sarakani the Sakyan had gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha, so how could he go to the nether world?”

Then the sutta goes through the conditions and destinations of the arahant, nonreturner, once-returner, stream-enterer and, then, for FF and DF. I’ve cut-and-paste the parts for stream-enterer, DF, FF from my pdf of Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation here (the cut-and-paste doesn’t entirely work properly; hopefully I’ve corrected for all the jumbled characters generated):

"Here, Mahanama, some person is completely dedicated to the Buddha and has full confidence in him… And so in regard to the Dhamma and the Sangha. He is not one of joyous wisdom, nor of swift wisdom, and he has not attained liberation. With the utter destruction of three fetters he is a stream-enterer, no longer bound to the nether world, fixed in destiny, with enlightenment as his destination. This person too, Mahanama, is freed from hell, the animal realm, and the domain of ghosts, freed from the plane of misery, the bad destinations, the nether world.

"Here, Mahanama, some person is not completely dedicated to the Buddha and does not have full confidence in him thus: ‘The Blessed One is … teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One.’ And so in regard to the Dhamma and the Sangha. He is not one of joyous wisdom, nor of swift wisdom, and he has not attained liberation. However, he has these five things: the faculty of faith … the faculty of wisdom. And the
teachings proclaimed by the Tathagata are accepted by him after being pondered to a sufficient degree with wisdom. This person too, Mahanama, is one who does not go to hell, the animal realm, or the domain of ghosts, to the plane of misery, the bad destinations, the nether world.

"Here, Mahanama, some person is not completely dedicated to the Buddha and does not have full confidence in him… And so in regard to the Dhamma and the Sangha. He is not one of joyous wisdom, nor of swift wisdom, and he has not attained liberation. However, he has these five things: the faculty of faith … the faculty of wisdom. And he has sufficient faith in the Tathagata, sufficient devotion to him. This person too, Mahanama, is one who
does not go to hell, the animal realm, or the domain of ghosts, to the plane of misery, the bad destinations, the nether world.

The similarities and differences are interesting. States of woe seem ruled out for DFs and FFs here. However, there is nothing, as such, about guaranteed attaintment of stream-entry in this lifetime. However, at the end, the Budda explains that:

“Mahanama, Sarakani the Sakyan was one who fulfilled the training at the time of death.”

So there is a death-bed attainment here. The Buddha also shortly before this uses the metaphor for presumably Sarakani’s good practice over a long period:

“Suppose, Mahanama, there is a good field, a good piece of ground, well cleared of stumps, and the seeds sown there would be unbroken, unspoilt, undamaged by wind and sun, fertile, planted securely, and the sky would send down a proper rainfall. Would those seeds come to growth, increase, and expansion?

So, while Sarakani didn’t seem to be a perfectly model practitioner, it seemed his practice had achieved enough momentum for a death-bed stream-enterer attainment. Conceivably the same pattern might work for the other stages? Perhaps a once-returner, once his further practice has gone beyond a certain point and achieved a certain momentum is likely to achieve nonreturn within this life, or, if not, at death?

And, though, presumably, a stream-enterer would know she/he’s a stream-enterer, I see no reason to think that this may be true for a DF or FF (hope for the best I guess! :slight_smile: )


#25

Very good, but it does still leave us with a bit of a mystery as to what to make of all eight persons, which (as indicated by the crudest possible search given above - post 6) appears to be some kind of recognised, presumably meaningful, early Buddhist classification system mentioned in the four Nikaya’s at least 19 times (though it drifts off topic a little, the primary reason I’m interested in the 1st of these people is because of what it might suggest about what it is to take refuge in the Sangha).

That said, much thanks for re-highlighting SN 55.25 and drawing out the given details. When Gabriel first quoted from it, I missed the point, but looking at it again in your post I suddenly realised it actually generates another fascinating confusion for me! :laughing:

It pertains to the Gabriel’s question above about what exactly the faith-follower places his or her faith in. The text says:

some person is not completely dedicated to the Buddha and does not have full confidence in him … However, he has these five things: the faculty of faith

This appears to distinguish faith in the Buddha & his knowledge (as per the usual 9-point faith formula) from the faith faculty.

I can see from the Pali that in this sutta the term abhippasanna is used before giving the 9 qualities of the Buddha that should arouse faith in a person, but there are at least 23 places in the four Nikayas where saddha is used before listing the exact same qualities so I think it’s pretty fair to assume we talking about the same order of confidence/faith. So then what marks it apart from the faith faculty? Are we talking about a different nature of faith, or is it just a matter of strength of faith, or what?

Yes, as already briefly touched on, I’m reasonably inclined to think that the basic function of these categories/suttas is to keep the spirits up of/give hope to those among us who are alert to and can become disheartened by the fact that they more dawdle than stride along the path.

Good plan! :grinning:


#26

No, I only intended to link up the magga and phala persons with the 8 people as you said you didn’t think much about previously. The magga and phala people aren’t shown to be close to each other in EBTs. It is possible to give dana to each one individually, so if the magga person lasts only a moment, it would be impossible to give dana to that person:

Sotāpanne dānaṁ deti,
A gift one gives to a Stream-Enterer,

ayaṁ navamī pāṭipuggalikā dakkhiṇā.
this is the ninth offering to an individual.

Sotāpattiphalasacchikiriyāya paṭipanne dānaṁ deti,
A gift one gives to one who has entered upon the way to experiencing the fruit of Stream-Entry,

ayaṁ dasamī pāṭipuggalikā dakkhiṇā.
this is the tenth offering to an individual.
MN142


#27

Fascinating! Never thought of that! Thanks. :slight_smile:


#28

Thanks. That’s a really nice and new angle to me on the issue.


#29

What about , if in actuality no noble eight persons , not even four but only sotapanna and arhat stage .


#30

It had no basis in the EBTs. Would it align with instant satori in Zen, or something?


#31

I believe it’s more important to look at the object of that verb: nijjhāna. The PTS Dictionary defines nijjhāna as “understanding” glossing it as “nis+jhāna” or literally “(what comes) from Jhāna”

So I think the phrase here most literally means “accepting the [understanding that comes] from meditation”

What do the Pāḷi experts here think of this translation of “nijjhānaṁ khamati”?


#32

It also definitely defines it as

“nijjhāna1
neuter. understanding, insight, perception, comprehension; SuttaCentral

In approaching stream entry, there are four steps. The (attained) spiritual friend, speaks the (wise) dhamma; which leads to wise contemplation (and comprehending which leads to Right view); following which there is ‘practice according to the dhamma’ Anudhamma sutta show this.

At the point Right view is developing the practitioners seems to be contemplating reality in terms of aggregates, elements and sense bases. They go on to actually see this through dhammanupassana, (or, the later label of vipassana). It’s my understanding that before the meditation takes place, insight or the Dhamma eye arises. Instantaneously. This is seen where followers are listening to the Buddha and when he ‘talks down’ the hindrances he teaches the Four Noble truths (which includes aggregates etc under suffering…) and this gives rise to the dhamma eye and is the glimpse of nibbana. It’s said by monastics that I know that this surge of insight generate its own samadhi or ānantarika samadhi. I believe it’s said that faith followers and dhamma followers have the faculties of faith, effort, sati, samadhi and panna. Those faculties are only present in ariya persons and not those below. It makes sense that those people who had experienced the Eye of the dhamma have the necessary faculties for that to happen. It’s my theory from what I have gathered. I also think where it says ‘corruptions of insight’ in the visuddhimagga path, is where the dhamma eye was supposed to arise because it has such a great collection of 7 factors of enlightenment, but as the earlier Abhidhamma places the path and fruit moments at the end, it was redacted to fit in with the Abhidhamma account of how attainments happens in quick succession but this is not in keeping with the account in EBTs.


#33

The fath follower becomes the release in fath, and the dhamma follower becomes attained to view. This is their insight : present moment and inferred:

‘Mendicants, I will teach forty-four grounds for knowledge. Listen and pay close attention, I will speak.”

“Yes, sir,” they replied. The Buddha said this:

“And what are the forty-four grounds for knowledge? Knowledge of old age and death, knowledge of the origin of old age and death, knowledge of the cessation of old age and death, and knowledge of the practice that leads to the cessation of old age and death. Knowledge of rebirth … Knowledge of continued existence … Knowledge of grasping … Knowledge of craving … Knowledge of feeling … Knowledge of contact … Knowledge of the six sense fields … Knowledge of name and form … Knowledge of consciousness … Knowledge of choices, knowledge of the origin of choices, knowledge of the cessation of choices, and knowledge of the practice that leads to the cessation of choices. These are called the forty-four grounds for knowledge.

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.

Rebirth is the origin of old age and death. When rebirth ceases, old age and death cease. The practice that leads to the cessation of old age and death is simply this noble eightfold path, that is: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion.

A noble disciple understands old age and death, their origin, their cessation, and the practice that leads to their cessation. This is their knowledge of the present phenomenon. With this present phenomenon that is seen, known, immediate, attained, and fathomed, they infer to the past and future.

Whatever ascetics and brahmins in the past directly knew old age and death, their origin, their cessation, and the practice that leads to their cessation, all of them directly knew these things in exactly the same way that I do now.

Whatever ascetics and brahmins in the future will directly know old age and death, their origin, their cessation, and the practice that leads to their cessation, all of them will directly know these things in exactly the same way that I do now. This is their inferential knowledge.

A noble disciple has purified and cleansed these two knowledges—knowledge of the present phenomena, and inferential knowledge. When a noble disciple has done this, they’re called ‘one accomplished in view’, ‘one accomplished in vision’, ‘one who has come to the true teaching’, ‘one who sees this true teaching’, ‘one endowed with a trainee’s knowledge’, ‘one who has entered the stream of the teaching’, ‘a noble one with penetrative wisdom’, and ‘one who stands pushing open the door of the deathless’.

And what is rebirth? … And what is continued existence? … And what is grasping? … And what is craving? … And what is feeling? … And what is contact? … And what are the six sense fields? … And what are name and form? … And what is consciousness? … And what are choices? There are three kinds of choices. Choices by way of body, speech, and mind. These are called choices.

Ignorance is the origin of choices. When ignorance ceases, choices cease. The practice that leads to the cessation of choices is simply this noble eightfold path, that is: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion.

A noble disciple understands choices, their origin, their cessation, and the practice that leads to their cessation. This is their knowledge of the present phenomenon. With this present phenomenon that is seen, known, immediate, attained, and fathomed, they infer to the past and future.

Whatever ascetics and brahmins in the past directly knew choices, their origin, their cessation, and the practice that leads to their cessation, all of them directly knew these things in exactly the same way that I do now.

Whatever ascetics and brahmins in the future will directly know choices, their origin, their cessation, and the practice that leads to their cessation, all of them will directly know these things in exactly the same way that I do now. This is their inferential knowledge.

A noble disciple has purified and cleansed these two knowledges—knowledge of the present phenomena, and inferential knowledge. When a noble disciple has done this, they’re called ‘one accomplished in view’, ‘one accomplished in vision’, ‘one who has come to the true teaching’, ‘one who sees this true teaching’, ‘one endowed with a trainee’s knowledge’, ‘one who has entered the stream of the teaching’, ‘a noble one with penetrative wisdom’, and ‘one who stands pushing open the door of the deathless’.” SuttaCentral

‘Pushing open the door of the deathless’ might refer to the glimpse of nibbana. The sotapatti phala (fruit) person is said to experience nibbanic emptiness in a sustained way.