Author Topic: Becoming an arhat first?  (Read 1190 times)

Offline mistachris

  • Member
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Becoming an arhat first?
« on: February 26, 2016, 06:20:13 am »
 I have heard that Theravada is not separate from Mahayana schools of thought.

That Mahayana is a continuation of Theravada but a practioner of Mahayana must first begin their practice in Theravada type practices, or as I read , one must become an arhat before they go down the bodhisattva path.

What say yee ?

I picture arhats as lonely practitioners on a hill, gaining enlightenment for themselves alone.

It seems to go against what I know about Mahayana.

Or The Lotus Sutra.

Can one become enlightened while preoccupied and distracted by friends, family, and society as a whole?

Or does the bodhisattva have to start down a Theravedic path to become an arhat?
 
And does that path have to be an isolated lonely solitary path?




Offline Solodris

  • Member
  • Posts: 349
    • View Profile
Re: Becoming an arhat first?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2016, 08:48:58 pm »
The association between an arhat and loneliness is a metaphorical suggestion towards the attitude of an arhat's mind. An individual without at least basic spiritual enlightenment through Dharma teaching can not become a bodhisattva as a bodhisattva has perfect knowledge (bodhi) of goodness (sattva). Why this is incompatible with a beginner's mind, is because of the defilement's and attachments that the ego so firmly holds that it would have to be purified first, in order for the bodhisattva path to even be realized!

The eightfold path is a practice to dissolve these defilement's of the ego, and to ultimately let go of one's own natural desires. Only then can a pure bodhisattva being be applied to your mind stream.

What arhatship constitutes as a teaching, is a constant renunciation by the mind to progressively purify it by practicing in letting go of thoughts that causes suffering for either yourself or others no matter how small the magnitude, until it's become second nature to do so. Leaving the household life temporarily is an outer renunciation, but we have to practice it in the mind, constantly. For example, as I'm typing this I have a form of mindfulness applied that senses my actions and makes me analyze: "Am I being humble enough? Am I being compassionate enough? Am I emitting any pride?"

Letting go of the western world as just a giant water-slide down a sea of addictions that hinders your progress towards your holy duty. To learn and teach the one true and eternal Dharma.

Your first contemplation should be: How can I change the way I think, so that the end result is a noticeable effect on the happiness of the people around me? If it proves to be very difficult, maybe you should investigate your own happiness first. Remember, life is contribution not competition!

Offline dharmarefuge

  • Member
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Becoming an arhat first?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2017, 02:11:35 am »
Yes, you are correct.

No Arahant fruit, No Bodhisattva fruit.

The Buddha spent so many years preaching the Arahant attainment, and then only after that led people down to the Bodhisattva path towards ultimate Buddhahood.

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 188
    • View Profile
Re: Becoming an arhat first?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2017, 02:56:10 am »
Or The Lotus Sutra.


The Lotus Sutra teaches that everyone who has attained arahantship will ultimately attain Buddhahood.

In Theravada, the Buddha himself is referred to as an arahant, and a disciple of the Buddha who attains Nirvana is referred to as a Sravaka-Buddha:

Quote
Sravaka-Buddhas (Pali:Savaka-Buddhas): gain Nirvana, but attain Enlightenment by hearing the Dharma as initially taught by a Samyaksam-Buddha. After attaining enlightenment, Sravaka-Buddhas might also lead others to enlightenment, but cannot teach the Dharma in a time or world where it has been forgotten or has not been taught before, because they depend upon a tradition that stretches back to a Samyaksam-Buddha.

Sravaka-Buddhas are one of three types of Buddha. Within Mahayana Buddhism they are often referred to as Arhats.
http://www.buddhism-guide.com/buddhism/sravaka-buddha.htm


From an etymological standpoint, attaining Nirvana and attaining Buddhahood are basically interchangeable, referring to the same state of enlightenment:

Quote
Bodhi (Sanskrit: बोधि; and Pali) in Buddhism is the understanding possessed by a Buddha regarding the true nature of things. It is traditionally translated into English with the word enlightenment, although its literal meaning is closer to "awakening." The verbal root "budh" means to awaken.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhi


Personally, I don't make a distinction between a Theravadan or a Mahayanist who's attained enlightenment, I don't see one attainment as better or superior to the other.

The biggest difference that I see between the historical Buddha and those who've attained enlightenment afterward is that the Buddha did so without the aid of a teacher.

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 348
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Becoming an arhat first?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2017, 04:02:18 am »
I always thought the arahant thing, of playing them down, was just a strategy for those wishing to push the idea of withholding yourself from enlightenment, getting off the wheel, until all beings are enlightened. The Bodhisattva ideal. Surely if arahants became enlightened they would know what to do next? Or am I missing something?
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Dharma Flower

  • Member
  • Posts: 188
    • View Profile
Re: Becoming an arhat first?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2017, 09:56:04 am »
I always thought the arahant thing, of playing them down, was just a strategy for those wishing to push the idea of withholding yourself from enlightenment, getting off the wheel, until all beings are enlightened. The Bodhisattva ideal. Surely if arahants became enlightened they would know what to do next? Or am I missing something?

Please consider the following...

Quote
There are a variety of different conceptions of the nature of a bodhisattva in Mahāyāna. According to some Mahāyāna sources a bodhisattva is someone on the path to full Buddhahood. Others speak of bodhisattvas renouncing Buddhahood. According to the Kun-bzang bla-ma'i zhal-lung, a bodhisattva can choose any of three paths to help sentient beings in the process of achieving buddhahood. They are:

king-like bodhisattva - one who aspires to become buddha as soon as possible and then help sentient beings in full fledge;

boatman-like bodhisattva - one who aspires to achieve buddhahood along with other sentient beings;

shepherd-like bodhisattva - one who aspires to delay buddhahood until all other sentient beings achieve buddhahood. Bodhisattvas like Avalokiteśvara and Śāntideva are believed to fall in this category.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva#School_doctrines

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 348
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Becoming an arhat first?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2017, 01:19:19 am »
That doesn't really answer my question. I can google as well as the next person, but was hoping for your own thoughts on the issue of arahants and enlightenment, as in the thread's title. Do you mean they and Bodhisattvas can one in the same thing?
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline The Artis Magistra

  • Member
  • Posts: 455
    • View Profile
Re: Becoming an arhat first?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2017, 02:49:01 pm »
There are two or three paths generally. The path of those who leave and never come back. The path of those who stay and always come back. From this second category there are those who endlessly spread the Dharma and those who work against it or spread harm and trouble even if they don't realize it. The Bodhisattva are the good guys who stick around to fight evil, then there are the type who are lost in confusion and mixed intentions and results and badness, and then the really bad who are devoted to creating distress and harm and evil wholly.

Most people are just ordinary people who act and move without caution or attention. Very few people are devoted to goodness or evilness. The one who leaves this world never to return does not continue to involve themselves in this cosmic struggle. The Bodhisattva do involve themselves.

Any of us can become a Bodhisattva easily or start off if we become determined or desire to be good and only good forever. I am like that myself. Though I might like to leave it all, I keep on fighting injustices, because I have that particular disease of the heart, not wanting there to be badness or suffering and for the best truth to prevail.

If you act on this, you will find amazing energy and resources granted to you. Moreover, you should know that this task is futile. Its as futile as doing anything at all, the task is ongoing, but in doing this you become perpetual as whatever quality you take on.

Every time you find your heart aches, every time you find you do it because of how not doing it hurts too much. You are compelled or compulsed by your nature to keep trying, to never give up, to do and be good again and again.

In doing so, you gain more and more points and tools and skills for your arsenal of good.

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal