Hi, Im new here and a question...
- Dear Venerable Monks,
I just wanted to say hello, introduce myself, express my gratitude
to the organizers of the list and ask a question.
I'm Bill Gray, a 41 year old AfroAmerican man currently living in New
Zealand and practicing Buddhist for 13 years.
I started off in the Nichiren Shu traditon and recently migrated
over to the Theravada. I'm glad I made the switch.
I'd also like to express my gratitude to the panel of monks for being
involved in the list. Thank you all very much.
Now, on to the question. How does one accurately guage one's level of
attainment along the path to Enlightenment?
I am currently awaiting the arrival of a copy of Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga, the Path of Purification which may help to answer the question, but until then I would appreciate an answer from one of the Venerables.
Please don't confuse the frequent use of the word "I" as a clinging to
self. I, yes that word again, use it for expedient conversation.
May you all be happy and well,
- Dear Bill,
Let me try to mention a bit of your concern.
The level of the attainment of the Enlightenment could be known by the way
of how does one practise on his life. There are defilements, which have been
eradicated by the attainment of the Enlightenment.
For first state of attainment, Wrong View and Doubt are totally eradicated,
that person can be called Sotapanna . Second state of attainment, all of the
defilements is subsidized to get lower gauge, that person can be called
Sakadagami. In the third state of the attainment sensual desire and anger
are totally eradicated that person can be called Anagami. In the final state
of the attainment of the Enlightenment, all the defilement are totally
eradicated that person can be called Araham who has no more any defilement.
Let say a person says he is first state of attainment as Sotapanna, we can
concern about that whether he still has wrong view and doubts. If clear it
is possible. Let say you practice your self you think you attain any level
of the Enlightenment, you can check yourself whether there are eradicated
defilements still get or not. For example after attainment of the 3rd state
still get angry, that means your attainment is not real or true.
These Dhamma Theory are inside the book, which you have. You can learn
slowly. Learn the Dhamma must take your time. Read, think, analyze. If
satisfy then accept it. If it is not satisfying some more need to learn and
>From: "grusic" <grusic@...>_________________________________________________________________
>Subject: [SanghaOnline] Hi, Im new here and a question...
>Date: Wed, 04 Feb 2004 05:27:07 -0000
>Dear Venerable Monks,
>I just wanted to say hello, introduce myself, express my gratitude
>to the organizers of the list and ask a question.
>I'm Bill Gray, a 41 year old AfroAmerican man currently living in New
>Zealand and practicing Buddhist for 13 years.
>I started off in the Nichiren Shu traditon and recently migrated
>over to the Theravada. I'm glad I made the switch.
>I'd also like to express my gratitude to the panel of monks for being
>involved in the list. Thank you all very much.
>Now, on to the question. How does one accurately guage one's level of
>attainment along the path to Enlightenment?
>I am currently awaiting the arrival of a copy of Bhadantacariya
>Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga, the Path of Purification which may help to
>answer the question, but until then I would appreciate an answer from one
>of the Venerables.
>Please don't confuse the frequent use of the word "I" as a clinging to
>self. I, yes that word again, use it for expedient conversation.
>May you all be happy and well,
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- It is tempting to answer this kind of question with something clever
like, "If you're really advanced, you no longer try to measure your
progress" or "Don't worry, just keep on practising, and you will
eventually gain enlightenment."
However, these answers are not intelligent unless they are coming from
an enlightened master. It is stupid to practise with blind faith for
years and years without ever questioning one's practice to see if it
is working as it should. The right method is vital. It doesn't matter
how hard you practice, if the method is wrong, you won't succeed.
Ajahn Sucitto, the abbot of Chithurst Buddhist Monastery, is a very
determined practitioner. When he went on pilgrimmage to the holy
places in India, he travelled everwhere on foot, as the Buddha would
have done. He once related a story of how he was trying to start a
chainsaw. You know how tough it can be sometimes. He pulled and pulled
on the start cord for ages. Eventually, he checked and found that the
petrol valve was not open.
The Visuddhimagga is very thorough. The chapter on wisdom described
the progress of insight and various insight knowledges in some detail.
The Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw's Progress of Insight is much shorter and
perhaps easier to understand. If one is practising without the regular
guidance of a teacher it is helpful to study that, though not if one
is just beginning the practice. A beginner might be intimidated and
feel quite hopeless of ever gaining the goal, which seems so remote.
You can read it on my website:
On a more general level, one can gauge one's progress in other ways by
asking a few basic questions. For example:
1. How long do I sleep? Is it any less than I used to?
2. How much time do I spend doing useless things like watching TV?
3. How attached am I to my possessions and money? Do I give more in
charity than I used to?
4. How attached am I to my companions? Wife, children, friends. Am I
able to keep myself happy when they are not around?
5. How attached am I to my views? If I don't get my own way, can I
adjust to doing things the way that others think is best?
6. Do I delight in solitude? Is meditation a chore or a constant
source of delight and rejuvination? Do I still look for excuses to
avoid doing it?