Dhr. Seven, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Ven. Nyanatiloka (DICTIONARY/palikanon.com)
|Golden Buddha with golden arhat disciples (Thai-on/flickr.com)|
Who are the ariya puggala, the "noble persons"?
(A) The eight noble persons are those who have realized one of the eight stages of enlightenment.
There are four supermundane "paths" (magga) preceded by four supermundane "fruitions" (phala) of these paths.
There are, therefore, four pairs:
|Tibetan Kwan Yin (shakyahandicraft)|
2. The one realizing the fruition of stream-winning.
3. The one realizing the path of once-returning.
4. The one realizing the fruition of once-returning.
5. The one realizing the path of non-returning.
6. The one realizing the fruition of non-returning.
7. The one realizing the path of arhatship.
8. The one realizing the fruition of arhatship.
To summarize, there are four noble (ariyan) individuals: the
- non-returner, and the
- arhat or fully-enlightened person.
|Are arhats "fully" enlightened?|
NOTE: "fully" has a different meaning when referring to a buddha, of which three kinds may be distinguished: personally enlightened disciples (arhats), independently-enlightened non-teachers (pacceka-buddhas), and perfectly or supremely-enlightened teachers (samma-sam-buddhas). The experience of awakening is the same for all three. But each kind comes with progressively more kinds of analytical knowledges. The historical Buddha Gautama, also called Shakyamuni, is a fully-and-supremely enlightened teacher not because his experience of awakening was "better" but because it came with additional capacities that enabled him to effectively teach and establish the Dharma or those Teachings that Lead onto Enlightenment in a world that had lost those Teachings. The non-teaching buddhas are distinct from ordinary arhats in that, while they are not equipped with all the capacities to effectively teach, they have nevertheless achieved awakening by their own independent efforts, in the absence of a Buddha to hear the Dharma from, over an inconceivably long run of lives through the development of the Ten Perfections or paramis (Sanskrit, paramitas) prior to fully cultivating the Requisites of Enlightenment.
|Teacher of devas and humans (_cFu/flickr)|
According to the Higher or Ultimate Teachings, "supermundane path," or simply "path" (magga), is a designation of the moment of entering into one of the four stages of enlightenment -- nirvana being the object -- produced by intuitional insight (vipassanā) into the ultimate impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and impersonality of all forms of existence. These are known as the Three Marks of Existence.
Such insight flashes forth and forever transforms one's life and nature or "lineage."
By "fruition" (phala) is meant those moments of consciousness which follow immediately thereafter as the result of the path moment, which in certain circumstances may repeat many times during one's lifetime.
Freedom from the Fetters
|Turning the True Wheel of the Dharma (kadampa.org)|
|Illuminating the world (DHK)|
(1) personality-belief (sakkāya-ditthi),
(2) skeptical doubt (vicikicchā),
(3) clinging to [the wrong view that] mere rules and rituals (sīlabbata-parāmāsa) could ever result in enlightenment or nirvana).
(II) Through the path of once-returning, one becomes nearly free from the fourth and fifth fetters, namely:
(III) Through the path of non-returning, one becomes fully free from the aforementioned five "lower" fetters.
(IV) Through the path of arhatship, one further becomes free from the five "higher" fetters, namely:
(6) craving for fine material existence,
(7) craving for immaterial existence,
(8) conceit (not to be confused with the first fetter),
From the Sutras
|The Buddha (uuspiritinnature)|
(II) "After the disappearance of the three fetters and by a reduction of greed, hatred, and delusion, one will return [at most] only once more [to this world, at the bottom of the fortunate planes of existence]. And having once more returned to this world, one will put an end to all suffering.
(III) "After the disappearance of the five fetters, one appears in a higher world, and there one reaches nirvana without ever returning from that world (to the Sensual Sphere).
(IV) "Through the extinction of all cankers, one reaches already in this very life the deliverance of mind, the deliverance through wisdom, which is free from all cankers, and which one has directly understood and realized (without depending on any other)." More