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 [Come Beggar!]


 

A Course on Stream-Entry

Eliminating Dread
Mastering the Four Dimensions
Penetrating the Aristocratic Method
Declaring Intent

Whenever, friends,
in the student of aristocracy,
the five fears of retribution are allayed,
and four dimensions of Stream-entry have been mastered,
and he has wisely,
well viewed,
well penetrated
the aristocratic method,
he may with certainty of his aspiration
by himself, of himself
predict:

'Destroyed is Hell for me,
destroyed is the creeper's womb,
destroyed is the ghostly garb,
destroyed is falling away,
depression,
repeated failure.

A Streamwinner am I!

An unfailing thing,
assured,
destined for self-awakening.'

 

§

 

What five fears of retribution has he allayed?

Whatever, friends, for him who injures breathing things,
from injury to breathing things,
results in fear of retribution
in this seen thing,
results in fear of retribution
in the hereafter,
experienced in the heart as pain and misery,
in abstention from injury to breathing things,
that fear of retribution is allayed.

Whatever, friends, for him who takes what is not given,
from taking what is not given,
results in fear of retribution
in this seen thing,
results in fear of retribution
in the hereafter,
experienced in the heart as pain and misery,
in abstention from taking what is not given,
that fear of retribution is allayed.

Whatever, friends, for he who carries on in an ungodly way,
from carrying on in an ungodly way,
results in fear of retribution
in this seen thing,
results in fear of retribution
in the hereafter,
experienced in the heart as pain and misery,
in abstention from carrying on in an ungodly way,
that fear of retribution is allayed.

Whatever, friends, for him who utters negligent speech,
from uttering negligent speech,
results in fear of retribution
in this seen thing,
results in fear of retribution
in the hereafter,
experienced in the heart as pain and misery,
in abstention from uttering negligent speech,
that fear of retribution is allayed.

Whatever, friends, for him who behaves carelessly because of fermented and distilled drink,
from behaving carelessly because of fermented and distilled drink,
results in fear of retribution
in this seen thing,
results in fear of retribution
in the hereafter,
experienced in the heart as pain and misery,
in abstention from behaving carelessly because of fermented and distilled drink,
that fear of retribution is allayed.

These are the five fears of retribution he has allayed.

 

§

 

What four dimensions of Stream-entry has he mastered?

Herein, friends, of the Buddha, the student of aristocracy is possessed of certain clarity:

'Just he is the Lucky Man,
Aristocrat,
consummately self-awakened one,
possesser of vision and conduct,
the Welcome,
Worldly-wise,
people's unsurpassed Dhamma-coach,
teacher of gods and men,
Buddha,
The Lucky Man.'

Of the Dhamma, the student of aristocracy is possessed of certain clarity:

'Well revealed is the Lucky Man's Dhamma,
a seen-here thing,
timeless,
a come-and-see thing
leading onward,
something to be experienced for one's self by the wise.'

Of the Order, the student of aristocracy is possessed of certain clarity:

'Practicing well is the Lucky Man's Order of students,
of upright practice is the Lucky Man's Order of students,
practicing the method is the Lucky Man's Order of students,
practicing consummately is the Lucky Man's Order of students.

That is to say it is the four pairs of men,
the eight good men —
that is the Lucky Man's Order of students
that is worthy of veneration,
worthy of hospitality,
worthy of handouts,
worthy of salutation,
an unsurpassable field of prosperity for the world.'

And he is possessed of ethics praised by the Aristocrats —
unbroken,
without gaps,
untarnished,
unblemished,
liberating,
not disparaged by the wise,
beyond, second to none,
evolving into serenity.

These are the four dimensions of Stream-entry he has mastered.[1]

 

§

 

And what is that aristocratic method
he has wisely,
well viewed,
well penetrated?'

Here, friends, the student of aristocracy
thoroughly mentally studies points of conception
of mutually bound up stimuli,
so:

This 'this' being, that is had;
with this support, that comes to birth;

This 'this' not being, that is not had;
this ending, that subsides.

That is to say:

Blindness-stimuli: own-making,[2]
own-making-stimuli: consciousness,
consciousness-stimuli: named-form,
named-form-stimuli: the six realms of sense,
the six realms of sense-stimuli: contact,
contact-stimuli: sensation
sensation-stimuli: thirst,
thirst-stimuli: support,
support-stimuli: existence,
existence-stimuli: birth,
birth-stimuli: aging and death,
grief and lamentation
pain and misery,
and despair.

Thus is had this self-sustaining mutually bound up body of pain.

Thus also:

Blindness'-ending: own-making's-ending,
own-making's-ending: consciousness'-ending,
consciousness'-ending: named-form's-ending,
named-form's-ending: the six realms of sense's-ending,
the six realms of sense's-ending: contact's-ending,
contact's-ending: sensation's-ending
sensation's-ending: thirst's-ending,
thirst's-ending: support's-ending,
support's-ending: existence's-ending,
existence's-ending: birth's-ending,
birth's-ending: aging and death,
grief and lamentation
pain and misery,
and despair's-ending.

Thus is had the end of this self-sustaining mutually bound up body of pain.

This is that aristocratic method
he has wisely,
well viewed,
well penetrated.

Whenever, friends,
in the student of aristocracy,
these five fears of retribution are allayed,
and these four dimensions of Stream-entry have been mastered,
and he has wisely,
well viewed,
well penetrated
the aristocratic method,
he may with certainty of his aspiration
by himself, of himself
predict:

'Destroyed is Hell for me,
destroyed is the creeper's womb,
destroyed is the ghostly garb,
destroyed is falling away,
depression,
repeated failure.

A Streamwinner am I!

An unfailing thing,
assured,
destined for self-awakening.'

adapted from SN 5.55.28 - Olds

 


[1] This is not a ridgid set!
See the whole of SN 5.55 the Sotāpatti Saɱyutta for variations on this course. e.g.:
SN 5.55.22: Only the first three of the four, with generosity as a fourth
SN 5.55.23: Only the first three of the four, with insight into the rise and fall of things as a fourth
SN 5.55.50: A completely different set of 'aŋgas' than is found in, for example, SN 5.28. Which tells us that we should not consider 'The Four Dimensions of Stream-entry" (cattāri sotāpattiy-aŋgāni) as a title of a fixed set, but only as a way of distinguishing four of many dimensions that make a set that will lead to Stream-entry.

[2]Avijjāpaccayā saŋkhārā. Here this is just a list or table of mutually bound up conditions and is not a series of clauses in a sentence to be read out as with Woodward: "Conditioned by ignorance, activities come to pass", or Bhk. Bodhi: "With ignorance as condition, volitional formations [come to be]." To read it that way is a short-cut that ignores the instruction that what should be done with the pairs of items in this list is to subject them to examination in mind per the previously described method:

This 'this' being, that is had;
with this support, that comes to birth;

This 'this' not being, that is not had;
this ending, that subsides.

So:

This 'blindness-stimuli' being, own-making is had;
with blindness-stimuli support, own-making comes to birth;

This 'blindness-stimuli' not being, own-making is not had;
blindness-stimuli ending, own-making subsides.

 


 

In SN 3.25.1 The Buddha first lays out the doctrine of the inconstance of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind, and then states that any one who moderately approves of this doctrine is called a Streamwinner by faith, one who will become a Streamwinner at or before death;
if one has a certain amount of insight into this doctrine one is called one who is a Streamwinner by Dhamma, one who will become a Streamwinner at or before death;
if one sees these things as they are, one is called a Streamwinner.

The first, if he does not forsake his faith, will realize full streamwinning at death if not before; the second will also realize full streamwinning at death if not before.

The fruit of streamwinning is the knowledge that one has become an Aristocrat among men (Ariyan), one is no longer a 'puthujjana' (commoner) (a word too often applied by bhikkhus without discrimination to all who are not ordained bhikkhus); and one is no longer capable of doing such a deed as would land one in Hell, in an animal birth, or as a deamon or ghost.

Note that here it is not stated that there remains but seven further rebirths only.

A sutta that should give hope and inspiration to the many thousands of people out there who have not taken the step of entering the Sangha but who nevertheless appreciate the wisdom found in the Dhamma.

This should guide us to avoid sceptacism concerning claims made to Streamwinning made by those who may seem to be ... somewhat off the highest course.

On the other hand, the claims of those aserting Arahantship should be given the most minute examination, comparing their behavior in thought, word and deed to the highest standards.

The person claiming Arahantship is also saying that it is wise to follow his example, and such a one, when his view of his accomplishments are a consequence of 'the great blindness element' is dangerous to himself and others.

One should assure one's self of the truth or falsity of such a claim in such a case in the most objective manner possible.

One would definately prosper upon finding a genuine Arahant while it might be possible to dissuade someone of an incorrect and dangerous view of themselves by educating them to the criteria for such found in the Suttas.

But, just for the record, it is not likely that any genuine Arahant would be heard to claim to be such. This would be itself a violation of a serious Vinaya rule and in the formal (worldly) Sangha or outside, an Arahant would be one who naturally followed the rules as they have their basis either kamma or the good of both individuals and the world.

The claims of those aserting Once-Returning, Clan-to-clan-going, and the various sorts of Non-Returner status should also be examined carefully, but there is more latitude there (and consequently more room to make an incorrect judgment) and it is advisable (so says Gotama! [Migasālā, and AN 10 75]: where some woman questions Gotama's declaration of two cases of once-returning where one had returned to the use of alcohol but who had unshakable faith and insight while another had exemplary behavior but somewhat less insight) not to make a judgment in such cases.

There are many factors involved in the case of rebirth and some may be present and some absent in ways that determine the outcome in in a manner that is difficult to predict.

 


 

Of Related Interest:

SN 3.25.2 and all the remaining suttas of this Samyutta.
There are two poor translations by Woodward in this sutta which the reader should keep in mind: He translates 'rūpa' as body, but what is being spoken of here are the objects of the senses and that would be 'visible objects' 'sights,' not just the body. Rūpa is basically 'light', and it can be said that at it's most fundamental sight is the perception of light.
'States of Mind' for 'Dhammā' The term must mean an object of the mind sense (mano), not a state of the mind (citta). 'Things.' 'Phenomena.' It cannot be 'The Dhamma' as the use pre-dates the appearance of such. 'Good Form' or 'Norm' is too narrow. The confusion may arise by the association with the fourth of the Satipatthanas where 'Living observing dhammas through The Dhamma' is described as observing the arising and passing away of several elements of The Dhamma. There is a general tendency among the translators to translate the Four Satipatthanas as though all four were aspects of the physical being (so the attempt to force 'dhammesu dhammānupassī' into being the observation of all things mental and by that causing a conflict with the previous, (citta)) where what is being described is 'Dhammesu dhammānupassī' 'observing things through The Dhamma' making the Satipatthana a progression of observation from the body to sense experience to mental states to the abstract realm of The Dhamma. The object of the quest is to become like the Buddha: "Dhamma become." This is not a state downbound to the body or any form of the experience of existence through the senses including the mind as a sense.

Woodward had, as even translators today have, the choice to change his translations as he went along knowing how raggidy it looks, or not publishing at all which would be of benefit to no one ... maybe, depends on if the translation is really misleading. The alternative, to go back and alter all previous occurrances of a term, would stiffle completion of even one book. Further, it is a wonderful phenomena with regard to this Dhamma that if the intent is to provide a true translation the word will likely be of benefit even when it is not quite the precise term that would yield the most insight or magic. This results in a picture of the evolution of understanding of the translator which may actually serve to benefit the serious reader who is likely to go through the same evolution himself even when faced with the most precisely true translation possible. In any case the work is so vast as to make inconsistancies unavoidable until the time when the whole work can be subjected to some kind of analysis that catches all the instances of a term throughout and substitutes the best translation, one that works in all cases. Work for the next generation of translators. "Talking my own position!"

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

In his translation of Ī7 Woodward references a point of controversy which appears to be an argument arising from an understanding that '~sañcetanā' implies an intrensic moral value within or attached to ((sañ)) sights, etc. The counter-argument points to AN 4.171. where it is explained that kamma (good or bad action) is essentially defined by 'sañcetanā' ('intent with regard to' or even possibly 'own-intent' 'identified-with intent'.) Woodward attempts to clarify the matter with his 'acts occasioned by'. Intent is an act (kamma) but this goes too far from the Pali. The literal translation of cetana would be something like 'having the heart for' and this sutta does not go further than that into such things as acts of body related to sights etc. Again in this sutta Woodward speaks of 'body' where he should be speaking of 'sights' and in this sutta he has again switched his translation of dhamma, this time to 'ideas.'

In Ī9 The word to understand is Dhātu, 'data', an informative characteristic of things or an element or aspect of their nature. We more commonly speak of these things in more abstract terms: solidity, liquidity, heat, motion, space and consciousness. Woodward has translated 'vāyo' as 'air' which is not correct and precludes the ability to understand it as 'motion'. It is 'wave-form'. You can hear it in the term.

Qualifications for Stream-Entry

 


 

In [AN 3.21] Three elders differ on which is the best of three forms of Stream-entry and submit the question to the Buddha.

There is no definite answer as to the form. Individuals are more or less advanced in accordance with the next stage of progress (once returning, non-returning, arahantship) at which they are aimed.

This sutta is helpful in clarifying the fact that the terms kāyasakkhī, (seer in body; Woodward: testifying with body, aka: body-knower; Bhk. Bodhi: body witness ); diṭṭhappatto, (attained to view); saddhāvimutto (freed by faith); all refer to Stream-winners.

Then, the three designations are themselves helpful in clarifying the distinctive features of various sorts of Stream-winning.

The one that is a body-seer has experienced temporary freedom from sense-experience, does not rely on faith, but may not have a strong intellectual understanding of what has happened other than that it is the goal.

The one who has attained view, is one who has penetrated by insight into the truth of the idea that all things that have come to be are destined to come to an end, does not rely on faith, but he may not have any experience of liberation from body.

The one freed by faith has confidence in his liberation, but may have no experience of freedom from body, or any deep insight into the four truths.

Bhk. Bodhi footnotes and explains the differences:

"For formal explanations of these three types, see MN 70.17-19, I 478,4-479,3. ...

As general classes, they differ, not in their position relative to the final goal, but in their dominant spiritual faculty. The body witness kāyasakkhī, gives prominence to concentration and attains the "peaceful formless emancipations." One attained to view diṭṭhappatto, gives prominience to wisdom and does not attain the formless emancipations. One liberated by faith saddhāvimutto gives prominence to faith and does not attain the formless emancipations."

It would be better to say of these not that they 'do not attain' but that they 'may not have attained'; in fact they may have attained some experience of each.

Note here also the fact that is not always clear (especially when vimokkha, 'release', is translated as 'emancipation' (the slave may be temporarily released from chains but not yet be freed) (in AN 4.189 (his translation is not available on line) he translates it as 'release') that the 'peaceful formless releases' are not the same thing as Nibbāna or the goal and are temporary states.


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