Tugas Gunadarma Gunadarma Tutorial VB.NET Download OST Anime Soundtrack Anime Opening Anime Ending Anime OST Anime Japan Download Lagu Anime Jepang

Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Four Ways to Arhantship

  1. #1

    Four Ways to Arhantship

    So I've been reading "In the Buddha's Words" which is an anthology of excerpts from the Pali Canon.
    It's a very, very cool book and it's on the recommended readings list for Treeleaf.
    What's nice about it is that it is divided up into chapters based on subject and in a logical fashion so it's less overwhelming than simply trying to read the Middle Length Discourses cover to cover.

    I came across a great passage called The Four Ways to Arhantship in which the Buddha explains the four ways that monks or nuns can attain the final knowledge of arhantship.
    They are as follows:
    1) Developing Serenity and then Insight
    2) Developing Insight and then Serenity
    3) Developing Serenity and Insight simultaneously

    And then number four is very curious.
    The Buddha says:
    "Or again, friends, a monk's mind is seized by agitation about the teaching. But there comes a time when his mind becomes internally steadied, composed, unifies and concentrated; then the path arises in him."

    His mind is seized by agitation about the teaching.
    This passage struck me as poignant.
    According to the author, "This statement suggests a person initially driven by such intense desire to understand the Dhamma that he or she cannot focus clearly upon any meditation object."
    But I think I have to disagree.

    Some people are quick to make decisions. They are incisive and direct and make their choices intuitively.
    Other people are cerebral and experienced. They can sum up a situation with wisdom and experience.
    Some people are both wise and sensitive.
    Other people (like me for instance) tend to get all caught up with important decisions. We fret and worry, sometimes bound up for days or weeks or even years before finally committing to a decision.
    This process has been called "analysis paralysis" and it stems from an overdeveloped sense of "getting it right".
    But once we make up our minds after this long, agonizing process, we commit FULLY. We are unshakable in our faith.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here (at Treeleaf...) and say that I think this is the kind of thing the Buddha might be referring to in his discourse.
    If my suspicions are correct, this would be a comfort for those of us who struggle with concerns that we're never going to "get it".
    It's not like buying a car; you can take as long as you need to in making the decision to follow the Buddhist path.
    In fact, in some schools of thought, you have (literally) infinity to "get it right"!
    So RELAX! Don't be so hard on yourself. Continue to be the diligent, sincere person that you know yourself to be and when the time is right, "the path with arise within you".

    Isn't that great news?
    Well, I thought so anyway, which is why I posted this in the first place!

    Gassho,
    -K2

  2. #2

    Re: Four Ways to Arhantship

    Hi Kliff,

    I am a "different strokes for different folks, many paths up the mountain (anyway, WHAT MOUNTAIN?)" Buddhist ... meaning that I believe the Buddha recommended somewhat different paths, perspectives and practices to folks with different characters and needs.

    That is about the only way to reconcile all the recommendations made to come out of the mouth of the Buddha (and other teachers) in all the varied Sutra and writings over the millenia (that and the fact that they had different authors, believing different things, and were written centuries apart and not by the Buddha at all). But I believe that people of different character need their medicine, and dosage, a little varied.

    I happen to recommend Shikantaza and Zen practice because I believe it will be a path for so many people, if not most people in some way. However, I also believe that there are other paths ... Koan-centered Zazen paths, the paths of worship of Amida Buddha and/or Jesus, being a Muslim, Jew, Christian, Agnostic or Atheist (and sometimes we can mix and match ... Shikantaza with Christianity or Agnosticism, for example). One can walk this path as a hermit in a hermitage or a dentist in California.

    Which brings us to the passage you mention ...

    I came across a great passage called The Four Ways to Arhantship in which the Buddha explains the four ways that monks or nuns can attain the final knowledge of arhantship.
    They are as follows:
    1) Developing Serenity and then Insight
    2) Developing Insight and then Serenity
    3) Developing Serenity and Insight simultaneously
    Traditionally, Buddhist practice is a bird that flies on the twin wings of ?amatha (calming thoughts and emotions, illuminating and dropping body-mind) and awareness and understanding of vipa?yan? (insight and awareness primarily into the nature and workings of 'self' and mental functions). Vipa?yan? might be described as insights and awareness, based on Buddhist psychology, as to how the mind works and plays it games. It is an understanding of the Skandhas (form, sensation, perception, mental formation, consciousness ... those words always sung in the Heart Sutra), how our thoughts and emotional reactions arise, how we label and divide the world. We should also understand the Buddha's ideas about how suffering arises within us, which is intimately tied to all that.

    Now, the passage you recite is the Buddha describing various ways of meditation, some by which we first attain calming of the mind and then insight, some insight then calming, some both at once ... and "Shikantaza" is such a meditation of both at once. Unlike some schools of Buddhism, in Shikantaza we do not pursue any particular practices --during-- Zazen itself in order to cultivate such vipa?yan? insight ... and much insight naturally arises from Zazen as "Zazen does its thing". Perhaps we might say that, just in "just sitting" Shikantaza ... dropping thoughts of this and that, thus quieting the mind's "mind games" ... we develop a natural sensitivity and understanding of the mind's "mind games" (much like one first comes to really appreciate what "urban noise" is when one first drives out of the city to the middle of the desert or some other truly quiet place). As well, when off the Zafu, we read and study the Buddhist teachings and philosophy, which then becomes a molding hand for our "Just Sitting" when on the Zafu.

    Now, what is the meaning of the fourth type you mention, Kliff?

    "Or again, friends, a monk's mind is seized by agitation about the teaching. But there comes a time when his mind becomes internally steadied, composed, unifies and concentrated; then the path arises in him."
    Could this be something like the "Great Doubt" that some Rinzai Zen practitioners let arise within as if having "swallowed a hot iron ball that can not be digested or expelled" .. and then, when it suddenly drops away .... ... ... ...

    (like hitting oneself on the hand with a hammer, it feels so fine when one stops ).

    Of course, it is just speculation about what is meant by that passage, but it sure does sound a bit like the "Great Resolution and Peace" that follows the war.

    Now, one last comment on that marvelous book, "In the Buddha's Own Words". I recommend it highly to anyone who wants to dip into the early Sutta in a lovely digest.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=AXOD5T ... navlinks_s

    I think that Ven. Bhikku Bodhi is a gifted writer and translator, and brought the words to life. I might, however, offer some cautions ... not about the text itself ... but about the footnotes that Ven Bhikku Bodhi includes, which is an interpretation through the particular school of Theravada Buddhism to which he belongs (I think he wisely kept them apart from the text, and let the "Buddha's words speak for themselves" most of the time). So, for example, Mahayana practitioners in general (and Zen practioners in particular) would not give many of the same interpretations as in those footnotes.

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. #3

    Re: Four Ways to Arhantship

    Wow, amazing post here, I've been wrestling with my own "agitation about the teaching", really doing a lot of doubting and questing in the last year or more.

    Stopped practicing, broke off on my own, started practicing Vipassana on my own at home -- now I am reaching that point where my faith is rock solid again and the Buddhas teachings are really key in my life, it's been a long rocky road -- but yeah I can definitely relate to this.

    A lot of auspicious things have been occurring to me this week, too much to explain right now but thanks for this.

    Side note to Jundo -- Different Strokes for different folks sure, I'm one of those folks that has had trouble making up his mind, but at the heart of it whenever I get myself established deeply in practice the differences seem to fall away more or less.

  4. #4

    Re: Four Ways to Arhantship

    Quote Originally Posted by K2
    But once we make up our minds after this long, agonizing process, we commit FULLY. We are unshakable in our faith.
    It always makes me nervous to hear statements like this. Careful consideration leading to a decision about which one feels confident is great, but we should be solid like a river, not like a rock. There is always something we didn't know or consider. We must always be open to new ideas and interpretations, always admit our own fallibility.

    IMHO

    Gassho,
    Kevin

  5. #5

    Re: Four Ways to Arhantship

    Hang on now Kevin!
    It depends on how you define the word FAITH.
    Don't confuse it with belief.

    Buddhist "faith" is like faith that what you see is the sky or existential faith that says "I am".
    If you've been to Washington DC and someone says "does it exist?" and you say YES!
    This kind of faith IS unshakable.

    Beliefs vary. Many people confuse belief with faith.
    Faith in a Western Judeo-Christian sense is belief without seeing. That's not what I'm talking about.

    The Buddha said not to believe anything he said just on his word alone.
    You have to taste the fruits of practice yourself.

    And one more thing: this is Zen practice we're talking about. Absolute and Relative at the same time. Not two, not one.
    So it's perfectly acceptable to say that you are unshakable in your belief but there's still room for doubt!
    (Like hey, how do you know Washington DC didn't get nuked while you weren't paying attention?)

    Hope that makes it a little less scary sounding. I didn't mean for it to come off as zealotry.

    Gassho,
    -K2

  6. #6
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Four Ways to Arhantship

    That fourth way sounds like the way of someone with a bit of a mental illness - perhaps anxiety or neurosis or OCD.

    So many struggle without knowing what it is you're struggling with.

    Chet

Similar Threads

  1. Buddha Ways To Express Differing View
    By Engyo in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-09-2010, 09:30 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •