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Nine things an arahant cannot do

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  • han tun
    Dear Friends, In AN 3.87. Pa.thama-sikkhaa Sutta the Buddha says: Then, monks, a monk here is one fully accomplished in virtue, concentration and wisdom. He
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 14, 2012
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      Dear Friends,

      In AN 3.87. Pa.thama-sikkhaa Sutta the Buddha says:
      "Then, monks, a monk here is one fully accomplished in virtue, concentration and wisdom. He infringes some of the lesser and minor training rules and rehabilitates himself. Why is that? Because, monks, this is not said to be impossible for him. But as to those training rules that are fundamental to the holy life, in conformity with the holy life, in these his virtue is stable and steady, and he trains himself in the training rules he has undertaken. With the destruction of taints, in this very life he enters and dwells in the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, having realized it for himself by direct knowledge."

      Han: It shows that even an arahant is capable of infringements of some of the lesser and minor training rules (without intention of doing so). But an arahant is utterly incapable of transgression in regard to nine things. What nine things?

      Please see the following sutta:

      ---------------

      AN 9.7 Sutavaa Sutta [Excerpt]
      translated from the Pali by Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi

      "In the past, Sutavaa, and also now, I declare that a monk who is an arahant -- one with the taints destroyed, who has lived the holy life, done his task, laid down the burden, attained his own goal, destroyed the fetters of becoming and become liberated by final knowledge -- is incapable of transgression in regard to nine things:

      [1] "he is incapable of destroying life,
      [1] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu sa~ncicca paa.na.m jiivitaa voropetu.m,

      [2] "he is incapable of committing theft,
      [2] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu adinna.m theyyasa"nkhaata.m aadaatu.m,

      [3] "he is incapable of engaging in the sexual act,
      [3] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu methuna.m dhamma.m pa.tisevitu.m,

      [4] "he is incapable of telling a deliberate lie,
      [4] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu sampajaanamusaa bhaasitu.m,

      [5] "he is incapable of making use of stored up enjoyments as he did in the past when he was a householder,
      [5] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu sannidhikaaraka.m kaame paribhu~njitu.m seyyathaapi pubbe agaariyabhuuto,

      [6] "he is incapable of taking a wrong course of action on account of desire,
      [6] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu chandaagati.m gantu.m,

      [7] "he is incapable of taking a wrong course of action on account of hatred,
      [7] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu dosaagati.m gantu.m,

      [8] "he is incapable of taking a wrong course of action on account of delusion,
      [8] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu mohaagati.m gantu.m,

      [9] "he is incapable of taking a wrong course of action on account of fear.
      [9] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu bhayaagati.m gantu.m.

      "In the past, Sutavaa, and also now I declare that a monk who is an arahant is incapable of transgression in regard to these nine things."

      ---------------

      Han: The last four items [chanda-agati, dosa-agati, moha-agati, bhaya-agati], the four "agati", are important also for the lay persons.

      I still remember our (Burmese) Elders giving advice to newly appointed government officials, not to be biased by these "agati" in the discharge of their duties. It is particularly important for those who have the decision-making authority, so that they would not make wrong decisions biased by desire, or hatred, or delusion, or fear.

      with metta,
      Han
    • philip
      Hello Han Thank you for all your sutta postings these days, and the Pali, and your thoughts. It is interesting that the elders advised government officials to
      Message 2 of 6 , Oct 14, 2012
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        Hello Han


        Thank you for all your sutta postings these days, and the Pali, and your thoughts.
        It is interesting that the elders advised government officials to be free of those biases caused by the kilesa. I personally doubt that the advice of even the most respected Dhamma friend can bear much weight against the accumulated power of kikesas. As with good health, freedom from bias is kind of a freak occurence for us, I think. Of course we (so to speak, only dhammas performing functions) can take very modest steps in that direction. Sometimes we feel there is dramatic progress, but that is moha at work. Does that sound pessimistic? I don't think it is. Our eyes are open, there is understanding of reality. Understanding of reality is better than belief in comforting notions (such as freedom from bias caused by anger, lust etc) in my opinion.

        Thanks again.

        Phil
      • han tun
        Dear Phil, The word bias was used by me to translate agati in this case. It is very difficult to express anything in English which is not my mother tongue.
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 14, 2012
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          Dear Phil,

          The word "bias" was used by me to translate "agati" in this case. It is very difficult to express anything in English which is not my mother tongue. If I gave you the impression of anusaya (latent tendencies) by my usage of the word "bias", then it is difficult as you say.

          Furthermore, there are two levels of understanding: mundane and supramundane. If you are thinking of supramundane understanding all the time, yes, it is difficult. But you have also to think of mundane level of understanding, which is within reach of every puthujjana.

          Coming back to the case of "agati" I will give you just a couple of examples at the mundane level. Suppose a judge takes bribe and acquits a criminal, that is "chanda-agati". It is not that difficult to follow the Elders' advice.

          Suppose a judge acquits a criminal, being afraid of possible reprisals by the gang to which the criminal belongs, that is "bhaya-agati". It is not that difficult to follow the Elders' advice.

          Anyway, I thank you very much for your kind interest in my posts, and I really appreciate it.

          with metta,
          Han

          --- On Mon, 10/15/12, philip <philco777@...> wrote:
          Hello Han

          Thank you for all your sutta postings these days, and the Pali, and your thoughts.
          It is interesting that the elders advised government officials to be free of those biases caused by the kilesa. I personally doubt that the advice of even the most respected Dhamma friend can bear much weight against the accumulated power of kikesas. As with good health, freedom from bias is kind of a freak occurence for us, I think. Of course we (so to speak, only dhammas performing functions) can take very modest steps in that direction. Sometimes we feel there is dramatic progress, but that is moha at work. Does that sound pessimistic? I don't think it is. Our eyes are open, there is understanding of reality. Understanding of reality is better than belief in comforting notions (such as freedom from bias caused by anger, lust etc) in my opinion.

          Thanks again.

          Phil
        • philip
          Hello Han Thank you for your response. ... Ph: Well, I was thinking more about the medium defilements, if you will, the ones that arise all so often, but are
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 15, 2012
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            Hello Han

            Thank you for your response.

            > The word "bias" was used by me to translate "agati" in this case. It is very difficult to express anything in English which is not my mother tongue. If I gave you the impression of anusaya (latent tendencies) by my usage of the word "bias", then it is difficult as you say.

            Ph: Well, I was thinking more about the "medium" defilements, if you will, the ones that arise all so often, but are not at the level of transgression. (I forget the proper terms for them.) And for those, I find "bias" is a perfectly good word. You know, the way if any one of us is walking down a street and see a person, there are process that immediately form a judgement of that person with like or dislike. I don't mean an intense or explicity like or dislike, but there is a liking or disliking of a kind that goes on all the time. I think it is pretty much unavoidable, so I am not deploring it, but I just think it is interesting to note that (in my opinion at least) no one who is not an ariyan can possible behave with an unbiased mind. And that's fine, that's reality.


            > Furthermore, there are two levels of understanding: mundane and supramundane. If you are thinking of supramundane understanding all the time, yes, it is difficult. But you have also to think of mundane level of understanding, which is within reach of every puthujjana.

            Ph: I don't often think about supramundane thinking, that is all about path moments, stages of enlightenment, nibanna as object, all those topics isn't it? Not so interesting to me, to be honest, far beyond me. I'm only interesed in sense door objects now - seeing now, visible object now, hearing now, sound now - and the defilements that arise so quickly in the following javanas....

            > Coming back to the case of "agati" I will give you just a couple of examples at the mundane level. Suppose a judge takes bribe and acquits a criminal, that is "chanda-agati". It is not that difficult to follow the Elders' advice.

            Ph: Ok, I see. Defilements of the transgression level, and premeditated ones at that. Right you are, not so difficult to follow the elders' advice, though of course it is possible that accumulated kilesas can arise to cause transgression beyond the best intentions and vows and respectful promises of even the most constistently ethical judge, however unlikely it might be.

            Thanks again, Han.


            Phil
          • han tun
            Dear Phil, Thank you very much for your excellent feed-back. I agree with your comments. with metta and respect, Han ... Hello Han Thank you for your response.
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 15, 2012
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              Dear Phil,

              Thank you very much for your excellent feed-back.
              I agree with your comments.

              with metta and respect,
              Han

              --- On Mon, 10/15/12, philip <philco777@...> wrote:
              Hello Han

              Thank you for your response.

              > The word "bias" was used by me to translate "agati" in this case. It is very difficult to express anything in English which is not my mother tongue. If I gave you the impression of anusaya (latent tendencies) by my usage of the word "bias", then it is difficult as you say.

              Ph: Well, I was thinking more about the "medium" defilements, if you will, the ones that arise all so often, but are not at the level of transgression. (I forget the proper terms for them.) And for those, I find "bias" is a perfectly good word. You know, the way if any one of us is walking down a street and see a person, there are process that immediately form a judgement of that person with like or dislike. I don't mean an intense or explicity like or dislike, but there is a liking or disliking of a kind that goes on all the time. I think it is pretty much unavoidable, so I am not deploring it, but I just think it is interesting to note that (in my opinion at least) no one who is not an ariyan can possible behave with an unbiased mind. And that's fine, that's reality.

              > Furthermore, there are two levels of understanding: mundane and supramundane. If you are thinking of supramundane understanding all the time, yes, it is difficult. But you have also to think of mundane level of understanding, which is within reach of every puthujjana.

              Ph: I don't often think about supramundane thinking, that is all about path moments, stages of enlightenment, nibanna as object, all those topics isn't it? Not so interesting to me, to be honest, far beyond me. I'm only interesed in sense door objects now - seeing now, visible object now, hearing now, sound now - and the defilements that arise so quickly in the following javanas....

              > Coming back to the case of "agati" I will give you just a couple of examples at the mundane level. Suppose a judge takes bribe and acquits a criminal, that is "chanda-agati". It is not that difficult to follow the Elders' advice.

              Ph: Ok, I see. Defilements of the transgression level, and premeditated ones at that. Right you are, not so difficult to follow the elders' advice, though of course it is possible that accumulated kilesas can arise to cause transgression beyond the best intentions and vows and respectful promises of even the most constistently ethical judge, however unlikely it might be.

              Thanks again, Han.

              Phil
            • Maipenrai Dhammasaro
              FYI Forwarding to a potential member - Dr. Thongchai, MD To: dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com From: hantun1@yahoo.com Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2012 12:58:06 -0700
              Message 6 of 6 , Jan 28, 2013
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                FYI
                Forwarding to a potential member - Dr. Thongchai, MD

                To: dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com
                From: hantun1@...
                Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2012 12:58:06 -0700


                Dear Friends,



                In AN 3.87. Pa.thama-sikkhaa Sutta the Buddha says:

                "Then, monks, a monk here is one fully accomplished in virtue, concentration and wisdom. He infringes some of the lesser and minor training rules and rehabilitates himself. Why is that? Because, monks, this is not said to be impossible for him. But as to those training rules that are fundamental to the holy life, in conformity with the holy life, in these his virtue is stable and steady, and he trains himself in the training rules he has undertaken. With the destruction of taints, in this very life he enters and dwells in the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, having realized it for himself by direct knowledge."



                Han: It shows that even an arahant is capable of infringements of some of the lesser and minor training rules (without intention of doing so). But an arahant is utterly incapable of transgression in regard to nine things. What nine things?



                Please see the following sutta:



                ---------------



                AN 9.7 Sutavaa Sutta [Excerpt]

                translated from the Pali by Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi



                "In the past, Sutavaa, and also now, I declare that a monk who is an arahant -- one with the taints destroyed, who has lived the holy life, done his task, laid down the burden, attained his own goal, destroyed the fetters of becoming and become liberated by final knowledge -- is incapable of transgression in regard to nine things:



                [1] "he is incapable of destroying life,

                [1] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu sa~ncicca paa.na.m jiivitaa voropetu.m,



                [2] "he is incapable of committing theft,

                [2] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu adinna.m theyyasa"nkhaata.m aadaatu.m,



                [3] "he is incapable of engaging in the sexual act,

                [3] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu methuna.m dhamma.m pa.tisevitu.m,



                [4] "he is incapable of telling a deliberate lie,

                [4] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu sampajaanamusaa bhaasitu.m,



                [5] "he is incapable of making use of stored up enjoyments as he did in the past when he was a householder,

                [5] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu sannidhikaaraka.m kaame paribhu~njitu.m seyyathaapi pubbe agaariyabhuuto,



                [6] "he is incapable of taking a wrong course of action on account of desire,

                [6] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu chandaagati.m gantu.m,



                [7] "he is incapable of taking a wrong course of action on account of hatred,

                [7] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu dosaagati.m gantu.m,



                [8] "he is incapable of taking a wrong course of action on account of delusion,

                [8] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu mohaagati.m gantu.m,



                [9] "he is incapable of taking a wrong course of action on account of fear.

                [9] "abhabbo khii.naasavo bhikkhu bhayaagati.m gantu.m.



                "In the past, Sutavaa, and also now I declare that a monk who is an arahant is incapable of transgression in regard to these nine things."



                ---------------



                Han: The last four items [chanda-agati, dosa-agati, moha-agati, bhaya-agati], the four "agati", are important also for the lay persons.



                I still remember our (Burmese) Elders giving advice to newly appointed government officials, not to be biased by these "agati" in the discharge of their duties. It is particularly important for those who have the decision-making authority, so that they would not make wrong decisions biased by desire, or hatred, or delusion, or fear.



                with metta,

                Han
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