According to ebt , offering Dana to an arahant will accumulate immense merits .
If I were to offer to an arahant and his Sangha’s , I wonder if I can find one nowadays ?
According to ebt , offering Dana to an arahant will accumulate immense merits .
As a lay person you will never know who is an Arahant as it is against Vinaya rules to declare oneself as an arahant to a lay person.
In regard to your second question it is always good to contribute to a wholesome cause.
I would be more than happy to declare myself an arahat
There is a kind of ‘monk speak’ (I hope the term won’t offend anyone) that can give you some indications. For example, I believe Ajahn Sumedho has given talks where he discusses nibbana as an ongoing experience - AFAIK, this would only be experienced by an arahat. Ajahn Amaro has a talk where he references a past experience and notes something like ‘at that time I still experienced a self’ - something like that - which could be interpreted as ‘at that time I was still an anagami’. If you know how to read between the lines then you can get some idea of who might be considering themselves at that level - or on the other hand be totally misled by misinterpreting what is being said.
It is very easy to know who is not an Arahant if you have some knowledge in Dhamma.
Unfortunately true if the Arahat is a monastic, but not true if the Arahat is a lay person.
How would you know? I thought that was sort of the domain of a Buddha.
If someone breaks the five precepts you know s/he is not an Arahant. So you can apply this rule all the way to Vinaya rules and the way the person teach Dhamma etc.
The rule is that lay arahant has to be a monastic within seven days.
Is there Sutta to support the statement ?
This statement comes from a very late text and is typical of someone who does not understand what Nibanna is and want us to believe that an Arahat cannot function in this world.
It seems , in Buddha times ,
even a not so intelligent and
not so knowledgeable person
such as a barber can quickly
attain stream entry and arahant ,
but, nowadays , hardly for
anyone to do so . Why ?
What is the reason ?
What is the criteria that
make a person to attain
liberation , streams entry
and arahant ?
Nowadays , there are many
expertise in dhamma and very
intelligent people with many
talents and abilities , but what
stops them from attaining liberation ?
Something fundamental from the original Buddha dhamma must have been lost.
Why so much material has been added in the past 2500 years? Because people may have felt this missing bit.
For me the missing bits are the recipes we only have a description of the cake (what needs achieving) and of the list of ingredients (8fp, 7 factors, etc., etc.).
That would probably work for many but I think ultimately the only way to really know is to have a Buddha around.
Maybe there are more around than it seems but given the current situation they don’t want to be known.
I believe this comes from commentary. Why would a ritual (ordination) have such a life and death impact on an arahant?
I think the argumentation is that they don’t have anything to live for, and either die… “something else”, or ordain within 7 days. But don’t cite me.
I think the idea is to keep claimants in the sangha. If your arahant claimants are in the sangha they can be “reeled in”, theoretically, perhaps?
I agree and add that instead of seeing the suttas as having been corrupted by greedy monastics to erase descriptions/accounts of lay arahants it is more likely that the lack of such accounts simply confirm what we see in key suttas such as DN2, which depict the fruition of awakening as a by-product of a gradual but fundamental shift in lifestyle brought about by a formal admission into the Bhikkhu Sangha.
In fact, the very eightfold path the fourth noble truth is all about points as well to that direction:
Right view supports right intention, as known as right aspiration or resolve.
This right resolve is itself threefold - renunciation, loving kindness and non-violence - and shapes a gradual inclination through the aligning of one’s speech and choices/actions towards right livelihood.
With one’s embracing of right livelihood (through a gradual deepening into the contemplative life as described in DN2) the right sort of effort is brought about in both macro and micro aspects of one’s practice.
This then leads to the right sort of mindfulness and recollection which not only works to keep the task at hand in mind but as well sets the ground for the right sort of stillness to occur.
The right sort of stillness is insight-bearing as it helps one to further strengthen all the previous and underlying elements of the path.
The right sort of insight is therefore heaped and confirmed as through revulsion and dispassion the very last steps are taken in one’s heart in terms of giving room for liberation and internal assurance and knowledge of such thing to come about.
I am highly sceptical about all these things being easy to achieve and sustain by a typical householder, with his/her duties and routine being all framed around the worldly dhammas of gain and loss, fame and obscurity, praise and blame, happiness and suffering.
If a retired lay individual finds himself/herself able to develop and attain all stages prescribed and described in suttas like DN2 and AN10.2 and attains himself/herself internal knowledge or assurance of the utter destruction of the asavas, I can only expect kindness, patience and wisdom from him/her. He or she should end becoming a perfect model for contemplative life, with or without robes!
The very act of wanting to give dānā to an Arahant because it gives super uber merit, is in itself a demeritorious deed, because you are giving with the intention of getting something, that is not true dānā, who’s purpose is the development of learning how to let go.
and a response to some people who have talked about “monk speak” , trying to decipher inbetween the lines of what a monk says to decide if they are awakened, is quite dangerous. I’m far from awakened and , because I’m pretty perceptive, have listened to a lot of dhamma talks, and speak well, I am confident I could fairly easily emulate this “monk speak”. The only thing I have going against me in terms of believability is my youth, but in all truth I have had one person already ask me if I was an Arahant after a group interview in which I apparently really helped this one person… it was quite an interesting experience and one I suspect most monks probably go through. This cemented in my own mind how willing some people seem to be to find some kind of being or guru that can tell them how to live their lives, and makes me very careful in my interactions with people.
Remember the Buddha said the only way to truly know a teacher is to be with them for a long period of time, that is how you can come up with an educated guess, you’ll never REALLY know, unless you become a monastic and they decide to tell you directly, which is allowed, but something I’d suspect an Arahant would still refrain from.
I think one of the main issues, that I’ve especially seen in Thai Forest(but I also hear is big in Sri Lanka), is this strong desire to “find arahants”, and an even stronger desire to have your teacher be an arahant, which leads to every monk and their mother(this is a literal case) is apparently an arahant these days. In my two days with Ajahn Brahm I spoke to him briefly about this , and we spoke about the various famous teachers and awakening.
It’s a double edged sword I suppose, knowing there are awakened beings in the world can be a boost to confidence, but I’ve found if you just practice the path yourself you don’t need such outside confidence, because the Buddha’s teaching comes to truth in your own experience. I do believe almost 100% at this point that awakening is possible, and there are awakened beings in the world, and I think it’s probably the best policy, knowing how people are, that the Arahants keep themselves “on the down low” lol.
as for Lay Arahants, there is one case in the Vinaya of a lay person becoming an Arahant, they then became a monk right after, no mention of the * 7 days or dead* thing though, I believe Ajahn Brahmali spoke about this about 8 months ago on a post. In the Suttas where the Buddha is asked about his disciples, he talks about " not just 500 but even more" of every type of fourfold assembly member, except lay arahants(it ends at men and women laity who are non-returners).
I am also sceptical about it ,
but , What do you think of
Angulimala incident whom
had killed 99 persons ?
Certainly he was ignorant ,
in which he has no knowledge of
any dhamma , not even slightest.
What about upali ? He also
didn’t have dhamma knowledge.
But it doesn’t took long
for him or Angulimala
to attain liberation !
There were many occasions ,
where lay person attained
Sottapanna in a short period!
We can say it’s not the true
meaning of dana if a person
want to get something in return .
but , Not demeritorious .
It will still have merits no
matter how the intention is .
We can read in the Sutta ,
offering to a Buddha and arahant
is far more meritorious than
offering to a lay person with
defilements. Why would
Buddha make such
a statement then ?
Because of those statements that
many peoples are willing to give
and make offering to Sangha !
If there is no merits why would
anyone want to give away their
wealth for nothing !
Even Buddha himself search
for a teacher in the beginning ,
Buddha also taught us to
associate with wise companions
and also look to and learn
from arya disciples .
For many lay people , to find
a proper teacher or guidance
is supposed to be a right thing
to do , without which all these
terms and wordings are difficult
to comprehend .
Even monks has different
interpretation of the meaning
of the terms and wordings !
And to figure it out and get
familiar with it , does not
guaranteed anything .
What more can a person
practice with no basis of dhamma ?
I will assume you are referring to me [:-)] (only way I could find to insert a good old fashioned smiley face without it turning into one of those evil emoticon things).
Yes, but would you? (emulate monk speak in order to imply you were awakened when you knew you were not). I would guess not as you seem like you are serious about your practice. If we were to believe every self-proclaimed arahat let alone Buddha we would be knee deep in them. One has to use common sense. The two monks I mentioned are well known and respected.
Yes, I think this is quite common not only for monks but lay teachers as well. Comes along with ‘can s/he read my mind?’ and other such thoughts. And so yes, I think teachers have to be really careful because these kinds of views leave people open to being manipulated by the unscrupulous and also can really get in the way of developing their own practice.
This is everywhere. Accompanied by a multitude of strongly held opinions about what an arahat can do or not do. Imagine what would happen if a modern day Buddha were to show up on some forum and proclaim themselves? They would be shredded. So I agree with you it is probably best they stay “on the down low” - not that they don’t help anyone - just that they tend to keep a low profile as to their awakened nature.
I have read that in the suttas there are references to somewhere between 5 to 25 lay Arahants. I think the cultural demands of householders in Buddhas time were probably much more constraining than today - as far as duties, responsibilities to family and clan, expectations, etc. It is quite possible to today for a lay person to live quite free of this - just have to break away from forums and you tube and such.
I think the modern day traditions work. I think various teachers like Ajahn Brahm, Than. Geoff, and others - in spite of their disagreements over various aspects - are proven to work. People are sometimes left with the idea that just about everybody was awakening back in Buddhas time but he often said something along the lines of ‘this teaching is for the few not the many’. I think the bigger problem today is that there are so many more alluring distractions for the mind and body that must be worked through - including all the competing ‘get enlightened quick’ schemes seeking to grab hold of those looking for help.
But Bhante, wouldn’t you also say that many suttas have this exact topic of “the ones worthy of gifts”, teaching to differentiate between ariyans and non-ariyans, not on the level on intention, but because we give to the right person - i.e. arahants?
Personally I completely agree with you, but my guess is that we could find many suttas implying that giving to the right person would result in good rebirth.