Sato sampajāno? Was the Bodhisatta a stream-enterer?

Dear forum

MN 123 says:

Mindful and aware, the being intent on awakening was reborn in the host of Joyful Gods.’

sato sampajāno, ānanda, bodhisatto tusitaṁ kāyaṁ upapajjī’ti.

Mindful and aware, the being intent on awakening passed away from the host of Joyful Gods and was conceived in his mother’s womb.’

sato sampajāno, ānanda, bodhisatto tusitā, kāyā cavitvā mātukucchiṁ okkamī’ti.

MN 123

DN 28 has a similar notion, which says:

Furthermore, someone is aware when conceived in their mother’s womb, aware as they remain there, and aware as they emerge. This is the fourth kind of conception.

Puna caparaṁ, bhante, idhekacco sampajāno mātukucchiṁ okkamati; sampajāno mātukucchismiṁ ṭhāti; sampajāno mātukucchimhā nikkhamati. Ayaṁ catutthā gabbhāvakkanti.

DN 28

What does ‘sato sampajāno’ refer to above? Surely it must refer to mindfulness of Dhamma. If not, what else can ‘sato sampajāno’ refer to?

Thank you :pray:t2:

In this context it means being aware and fully conscious. It doesn’t mean that here is any realization of the Dhamma.

We know that the Bodhisatta could not have been a stream-enterer, because one of the basic things a stream-enterer knows is the path. He couldn’t have undergone 6 years of walking false paths if he already knew the 8-fold one.

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Hi Bhante,

But wasn’t he reborn under two Buddhas in the past? He ordained as Jotipala under Kassapa Buddha.

What are the odds of ordaining under a Buddha and not attaining anything, when Gotama Buddha easily enlightened bandits out to kill him and villages of thousands of people?

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I would be cautious about applying too much linear logic to such stories. When dealing with ancient legends, ask what does it want to tell us? What is the point that it is trying to convey? Rather than, what do we want to squeeze out of it? These stories have a point, and proving that the Bodhisatta was a stream-enterer is not it.

On the other hand, the burden of almost every Sutta where the Buddha speaks of his practice before Awakening is always the same: he did not know what he was doing, and stumbled around trying things out, rejecting them, and trying something else until he discovered the path. That’s the point of all these Suttas, not by inference or conjecture, but in their surface meaning.

A stream-enterer knows the eightfold path. They reject the two extremes, and they cannot hold wrong views. But the Buddha said he used to hold the wrong view that “pleasure is not to be gained through pleasure, pleasure is only to be gained through pain” (mn85:10.2). This alone rules out the possibility of him being a stream-enterer.

“Prince, before my awakening—when I was still unawakened but intent on awakening—I too thought: ‘Pleasure is not gained through pleasure; pleasure is gained through pain.’
‘na kho sukhena sukhaṁ adhigantabbaṁ, dukkhena kho sukhaṁ adhigantabban’ti.

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Yes.

“Under the Exalted One Kassapa, Ānanda, I lived the higher life for supreme enlightenment in the future.”

This led the Andhaka school to believe that the bodhisatta attained stream-entry under Kassapa, but this view was rejected by the Theravādins at the Third Council.

Niyāmokkantikathā

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Interesting, I’d like to explore the connection between that line on pleasure and stream entry.

Gotama did however know what is not path, how would a non-ariyan know that? In mn 85 he states

Then it occurred to me, ‘This teaching doesn’t lead to disillusionment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and extinguishment. It only leads as far as rebirth in the dimension of nothingness.’ Realizing that this teaching was inadequate, I left disappointed.

In the Gotami sutta, Gotami asks him how does one know what is dhamma from adhamma

As she was standing there she said to him: “It would be good, lord, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief such that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute.”

"Gotami, the qualities of which you may know, ‘These qualities lead to passion, not to dispassion; to being fettered, not to being unfettered; to accumulating, not to shedding; to self-aggrandizement, not to modesty; to discontent, not to contentment; to entanglement, not to seclusion; to laziness, not to aroused persistence; to being burdensome, not to being unburdensome’: You may categorically hold, ‘This is not the Dhamma, this is not the Vinaya, this is not the Teacher’s instruction.’

It seems like as a Bodhisatta he knew what was adhamma and therefore abandoned those paths. This would imply he either was an Ariyan, or, something between puthujjana and ariyan.

In another sutta on memory he explains how memory of the dhamma comes up in different speeds and circumstances, with the worst situation someone having to remind you of the dhamma. Is it not possible for an ariyan to have a gut feeling of what is not path, and then later either be reminded of what is dhamma or re-discover it themselves?

Take another mendicant who memorizes the teaching—statements, songs, discussions, verses, inspired exclamations, legends, stories of past lives, amazing stories, and classifications. They’ve followed those teachings by ear, reinforced them by recitation, examined them by the mind, and well comprehended them theoretically. But they die unmindful and are reborn in one of the orders of gods. But passages of the teaching don’t come back to them when they’re happy, and neither a mendicant with psychic powers … nor a god teaches Dhamma to the assembly of gods. But a being who has been reborn spontaneously reminds another such being: ‘Do you remember, good sir? Do you remember where we used to lead the spiritual life?’ He says: ‘I remember, good sir, I remember!’ Memory comes up slowly, but then that being quickly reaches distinction. Suppose there were two friends who had played together in the sand. Some time or other they’d meet. And one friend would say to the other: ‘Do you remember this, friend? Do you remember that, friend?’ They’d say: ‘I remember, friend, I remember!’ In the same way, take another mendicant who memorizes the teaching … But they die unmindful and are reborn in one of the orders of gods. … Memory comes up slowly, but then that being quickly reaches distinction. This is the fourth benefit you can expect when the teachings have been followed by ear, reinforced by recitation, examined by the mind, and well comprehended theoretically.

https://suttacentral.net/an4.191/en/sujato?layout=plain&reference=pts&notes=asterisk&highlight=true&script=latin

I appreciate the feedback!

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I am grateful theravedins rejected this view!:sweat_smile:

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One of the greatest mistery is once returner. You will not see a lot of it said in Sutta.

:sweat_smile:

Look at MN 81 parallel. Maybe it will give you some clue. But all this information is not important.

The most important things is to attain stream entry. Then the rest is automatic.

In my book,

Bodhisatta = being seeks awakening.

The 7 type of sekha would fall under it.

In sutta, there is implication that when a stream enterer and once returner come back to human world, they will forget the path. But it will become clear once they regain the sati/samadhi.

Well, I’m quite sure we all may have crossed paths with the Dhamma or even the Buddhas some few or millions of births ago, and yet here we are… :man_shrugging:
:anjal:

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What do you mean exactly here?

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I don’t think it can be said like that.

It seems more correct to say that…it’s like when someone becomes stream-enterer his very nature changes. It means…evil tendencies which create further negative karma are destroyed to very high extent, person innately becomes purer. The line between putthujana and Arya(ordinary being and noble being) is crossed! Person becomes nobler…so tendencies are not destroyed, it’s just that only tendencies to create positive karmas remain.

We all know stream entry means we don’t enter stream…our very body and mind both enter stream… through every pore of our body. It is a kind of beautiful unbinding of both body and mind!

So saying that they forget path and then remember it when they return here…might be very blur/limited conclusion! We can say that…they might not remember the noble eightfold path in their memory, but it is there in their behaviour and thinking way, also they lack the tendency or possibly of doing every kind evil deed. So what remains? Just tendencies to do good karma naturally…noble karma! Because if they also forget path after death, then it contradicts the very purpose of it to avoid future suffering!

Haha yes, it seems we are here to either pay our karmic debt or to fulfill our vows!

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No, he didn’t know, then he tried it out, then he learned. Again, this is the surface meaning of the text, and literally every other passage where he talked about his practice.

Exactly. When you attain the path, some things cease. They are simply not there any more. Now, that does not mean that one is continuously aware of their absence and what it implies. But it is simply impossible for a stream enterer to believe, for example, that following a path of union with Brahma, or self-mortification, will lead to peace. The underlying tendencies that make people believe these things do not exist.

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For a being who has entered the stream, One might get caught up with outside/worldly things. When this happen, the dhamma/path will become blur. But once they remember the path again, then one can bring the sati/samadhi back, the path will become clear again.

Buddha explained it on SN 55.40:

And how does a noble disciple live negligently? Firstly, a noble disciple has unshakable confidence in the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, and …

They’re content with that confidence, and don’t make a further effort for solitude by day or retreat by night. When they live negligently, there’s no joy. When there’s no joy, there’s no rapture. When there’s no rapture, there’s no tranquility. When there’s no tranquility, there’s suffering. When one is suffering, the mind does not become immersed in samādhi.

When the mind is not immersed in samādhi, dhamma does not become clear. Because dhamma has not become clear, they’re reckoned to live negligently.

Live negligently here means one didn’t practice dhamma diligently, one attends to worldly things: working, family life, etc.

A stream enterer and once returner haven’t fully developed samadhi/sati. So when they died, they could forget about the dhamma/path. But when the condition is there, stream enterer and once returner will remember back the dhamma/path again. Then they can continue the path. This explained in one of the Sutta, AN 4.191.

Take a mendicant who memorizes the teaching—statements, songs, discussions, verses, inspired exclamations, legends, stories of past lives, amazing stories, and classifications. They’ve followed those teachings by ear, reinforced them by recitation, examined them by the mind, and well comprehended them theoretically. But they die unmindful and are “reborn” in one of the orders of gods. Being happy there, passages of the teaching come back to them. Memory comes up slowly, but then that being quickly reaches distinction. This is the first benefit you can expect when the teachings have been followed by ear, reinforced by recitation, examined by the mind, and well comprehended theoretically.

On the other hand, non returner and arahant are not possible to forget due to their samadhi/sati is fully developed.

How did Buddha become awaken?

You will find many reference in sutta how Buddha become awaken such as MN 85:

‘I recall sitting in the cool shade of the rose-apple tree while my father the Sakyan was off working. Detached from sensual pleasures, Detached from unskillful qualities, I entered and remained in the first jhana, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while vitakka vicara is present.

Could that be the path to awakening?’

Stemming from that memory came the realization:

That is the path to awakening!’

There are many more Sutta about this. So one might need to review it all to fully understand.

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I think this statement can be problematic.

When one trained in the path, there is no kamma involve. It is called neither dark nor bright kamma (neutral). The path is to abandon kamma and not create/generate new kamma.

Please refer to above explanation and AN 4.191. Stream enterer and once returner still suffer on worldly things, hence they will return to make an end of suffering.

Proof it. Then one might know for sure. :slight_smile:

This does not seem to be about those mendicants who are either steam-enterers(path & fruit)…till arhat!

Maybe this was Siddhartha experiencing absorptions(jhanas) and not insight…:thinking:

I think those who achieve path and fruit from insight(stream-entry and above), they never forget the path behaviourally, it is there in their mind and body, negative tendencies are absent to very high extent!

When buddha talked about mendicant…“who memorizes the teaching—statements, songs, discussions, verses, inspired exclamations, legends, stories of past lives, amazing stories, and classifications. They’ve followed those teachings by ear, reinforced them by recitation, examined them by the mind, and well comprehended them theoretically”…I think he was referring to those mendicants who haven’t attained insight into reality (stream-entry), he was referring to those mendicants who can enter/attained absorptions (jhanas).

Hm… do you know other meaning of Sotapanna?

Sotapanna = Wisdom through ear

Hm… not possible for stream enterer and once returner, They haven’t purify thier mind. Body act yes, but not mind yet, otherwise they are non returner or higher.

Yes but it must be experienced wisdom or wisdom due to direct insight!

Let me put it like this…
Stream-enterers may not remember path, but there is absence of first five fetters…so maybe absence of fetters/evil tendencies is characteristic of stream-enterers and not the knowing/remembering of noble eightfold path itself!? :thinking:

āpanna

  1. entered upon, fallen into, possessed of, having done Vin.i.164 (āpattiṁ ā.); Vin.iii.90; DN.i.4 (dayāpanna merciful); Cnd.32 (taṇhāya).
  2. unfortunate miserable Ja.i.19 (verse 124). Cp. pari˚. *Apa

pp. of āpajjati

āpajjati

present 3 singular

  1. comes to, reaches; enters upon, falls into, is reduced to (a state or condition), is changed into; gets into trouble; commits an offense (with āpatti or used absolutely), transgresses; happens, occurs

Sk. āpadyate, ā + pad

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I understand the suttas say a stream-enterer is not fully developed in samadhi but i have never read sati mentioned in the same way. For example AN 3.86 says:

Take the case of a mendicant who has fulfilled their ethics, but has limited immersion and wisdom.

Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu sīlesu paripūrakārī hoti samādhismiṁ mattaso kārī paññāya mattaso kārī.

They break some lesser and minor training rules, but are restored.

So yāni tāni khuddānukhuddakāni sikkhāpadāni tāni āpajjatipi vuṭṭhātipi.

AN 3.86 (Sujato)

vuṭṭhāti

to rise out of (abl.), to emerge from, to come back

rehabilitates himself (Thanissaro)

Obviously the stream-enterer above has not developed jhana but they have the mindfulness to restore themselves or to come back to the right moral conduct. MN 117 says:

Mindfully they give up wrong speech and take up right speech: that’s their right mindfulness.

Mindfully they give up wrong action and take up right action: that’s their right mindfulness.

MN 117

For me, I imagine when a stream-enterer grasps & clings, they will subsequently and relatively quickly become highly conscious, i.e., mindful, they have departed from the Path.

In other words, in my opinion, the sati of stream-enterer probably cannot be equated with the samadhi of a stream-enterer. For a stream-enterer with constant neighborhood concentration (upacāra-samādhi) in meditation, while they are not close to jhana, I imagine their mindfulness is constant.

For example, the Anapanasati Sutta is about constant mindfulness. However because (according to the sutta) the monk still “trains himself” (“sikkhati”) and because the breath is known in each of the sixteen steps it seems the Anapanasati Sutta is not about jhana but is about a level of practice suitable for the stream-enterer. :olive:

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