Author Topic: The Householder's Declaration  (Read 1245 times)

Offline t

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The Householder's Declaration
« on: February 23, 2010, 05:16:51 am »
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http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.179.than.html
So the Blessed One said to Ven. Sariputta:
"Sariputta, when you know of a householder clothed in white, that he is restrained in terms of the five training rules and that he obtains at will, without difficulty, without hardship, four pleasant mental abidings in the here & now, then if he wants he may state about himself: 'Hell is ended; animal wombs are ended; the state of the hungry shades is ended; states of deprivation, destitution, the bad bourns are ended! I am a stream-winner, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening!

"...then if he wants he may state about himself: 'Hell is ended; animal wombs are ended; the state of the hungry shades is ended; states of deprivation, destitution, the bad bourns are ended! I am a stream-winner, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening!"

Can my learned Dhamma brethren expand on the meaning of the above bolded part?
a. how is the above to be done in today's conditions?
b. are there guidelines/provisions laid down for such a recognition by the Sangha?
c. are these guidelines shared by all in the Theravada world, irrespective of the Nikaya School/Sect?

Metta  :namaste:

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: The Householder's Declaration
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2010, 10:56:28 am »
I think the bolded part means that the stream-enterer is locked into a path of liberation, so lower rebirths, the Hell realms, and Hungry Ghosts (shades) are no longer a concern for the stream enterer. Literally, he or she cannot be reborn in any of those existences.

What I find intriguing about this passage is that it implies compliance with the 5 precepts is enough to become a stream-enterer. I was under the impression, based on commentary from learned others, that one needed to have an advanced understanding (and mind/ body adherence) of the Dhamma to become a stream-enterer, that not all lay Buddhist practitioners are stream-enterers. But then again, the protagonist in this passage is wearing white, so maybe that indicates a devout (and implying advanced) practitioner?

Offline lowonthetotem

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Re: The Householder's Declaration
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2010, 11:09:52 am »
I think the wearing of white denotes that s/he has gone beyond wearing fashionable clothes of many and bright colors, similar to a monastic who only has one rode.  A deep understanding of the Dharma does not rely on taking many precepts.  In fact, it could be said that the fewer precepts that are needed, the deeper the understanding of the practitioner.  I've heard my teacher say that the Vinaya has so many rules because the first monastics were rather degenerate, before they became monastics of course.  We take the precept not to kill because we are prone to kill.  We take the precpet not to lie or speak incompletely because we are prone to divissive speech, and so on.  We don't take these precepts because we have all this bad behavoir licked, quite the opposite.  At least, this is one way to look at it.  Although many great Bodhisattvas in the world are monastics, many others are not.

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: The Householder's Declaration
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2010, 06:12:40 pm »
White is the tradition for Upasaka. From Access to Insight:
Quote
upasaka/upasika [upaasaka/upaasikaa]:
A male/female lay follower of the Buddha.
I just don't know what significance that word has in the Suttas. I don't know if anyone who has taken triple gem refuge and 5 precepts is considered upasaka, or if that is a person of more advanced practice.

Offline vinasp

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Re: The Householder's Declaration
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2010, 05:56:02 am »
Hi t,

 The opening passage which you quote is slightly misleading since it just refers to "... a householder clothed in white ...". Other similar passages elsewhere make it clear that the reference is to a 'noble disciple'. To become a noble disciple (ariya savaka) is to become a stream-winner. Both monks and lay-followers can become noble disciples.

a. how is the above to be done in today's conditions?

 An interesting question. The discourses contain many passages where monks declare themselves to be arahants, and lay followers declare themselves to be stream-winners. But it does not seem to happen these days, even in Theravada countries ( I mean the declaration - I  don't know about actual attainments).

b. are there guidelines/provisions laid down for such a recognition by the Sangha?

 My understanding is that there never was any 'official' recognition for any of these claims. It is stated that some such claims are, in fact, false.

c. are these guidelines shared by all in the Theravada world, irrespective of the Nikaya School/Sect?

 I do not know. However, in some countries (Burma?) to make such a claim is now illegal. This was done to stop people making money from such claims.

 Best wishes, Vincent.

 


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