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The point of no return


#1

From AN 3.39 :

If the circumstances are right, then one who reaches the crucial point expressed in the above verse would probably become a wandering ascetic, taming the mind and eradicating the attachments that lie within. But, even if there are constraints that prevent one from taking up an alms-bowl, this sense of complete disillusionment with life and the world can still be present in one’s mind. And one sees clearly that dilution of the path to justify one’s actions and activities results in subtle ego-gratification - it makes one think: the attachments which I cling to, the pleasures of the world which I relish, they are all good and exalted and profound, while the things that other people seek are low, vulgar and coarse. The Buddha’s teaching, on the other hand, makes no such compromises - all sensual indulgences are seen as ephemeral mirages that agitate the mind.

In my case, I find that the feeling of being detached and withdrawn from all worldly things oscillates between strong and weak - especially when comatose episodes brought on by diseases leaves my mind in a state of sluggish unrest and I feel battered and tired.

So, how far can the mind be taken if the robe is not a possibility ?


#2

I don’t believe there are any prescribed limits to this :slight_smile:
One can keep putting the causes and conditions in place till awakening.

We also live in a propitious time for making dhamma connections even while physically far away - this forum for example. As such, the resources needed are available regarding teachings :slight_smile: The internal work is always done alone and in seclusion anyway - so that is not a limiting aspect.

My favourite Sutta certainly sets no limits as a result of wandering alone - Like a Rhinoceros :slight_smile:

And while looking for that one I stumbled across this one which may also be of use :slight_smile:

And also this topic may have some interest in it :slight_smile:

And lastly, a beautiful Sutta describing what is necessary to progress in the path - even if one has no alms bowl or robes :slight_smile:


#3

This meditation on the elements seem to take the mind past stream entry and past overcoming cravings and aversion (into equanimity), which has to be a defining feature of the non-returner state (going past the completion of training in Samadhi).


#4

Yes, indeed. I understood this as a critical factor recently because of a trivial, insignificant incident. I spent this winter in a homestay and when spring arrived, I thanked the hosts and left. A few minutes on the road and the question ‘Did I turn off the knob in the gas stove ?’ arose and refused to go away and eventually I got off the bus and went back to the house, just to check. Afterwards, as I wandered away, I recollected two small verses and thought about them all day long:

From the Visākhā sutta:

From the Theragāthā:

The freedom described in these utterances is based on the absence of mundane attachments. The refrain of the world is that personal attachments give meaning to life and facing the uncertainty and tumultuous nature of life is the mark of a courageous person. But the sage teaches us that for one who seeks nibbana, they are hindrances.

Thanks for the links. :slight_smile:


#5

True but trying to live up to this ‘standard’ suddenly will bring with it, suffering!


#6

Maybe, but staying in a state of stagnation is not a good choice, either…but I see your point. :slight_smile: