Wednesday, October 22, 2008


What does an enlightened human being look like? Just the same as before enlightenment! There is no obvious difference to discover. During enlightenment there may be a brightening of the skin, a burnish, a clarity. There may be aura fluctuations, which are not visible to most people in any case. While a person is radically changed by the experience (the direct knowing and seeing), one's habit patterns may continue. They therefore do not seem any different than before. The only way to know if someone else has attained is to interact with them for a long time; then it becomes apparent. One key indicator is unswerving morality in terms of the Five Precepts from the first stage. By the third stage, one is completely free of sensuous desire and ill-will but not before that.

Buddhist Enlightenment in Four Stages

Proposed WQ edit of Wikipedia

The four stages of enlightenment in Buddhism are the four degrees of approach to full enlightenment as an Arahant (English, arhat) which a person can attain in this life. The four stages are Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami, and Arahant.

The teaching of the four stages of enlightenment is a central element of the early Buddhist schools, including the surviving Theravada school of Buddhism.

The Ordinary person
An ordinary person, or puthujjana (in Pali; Sanskrit, pṛthagjana) is trapped in the endless cycles of saṃsara. Performing beneficial and harmful deeds -- as influenced by his/her desires, aversions, and views -- an ordinary person is born in higher or lower states of being (heavens or hells or many other worlds) according to these actions (all collectively known as karma). As these persons have little control over either their minds or conduct, their destinies are haphazard and subject to a great deal of suffering. An ordinary person has never seen, heard, or experienced the ultimate truth of Dharma, and therefore has no way of finding an escape from this predicament.

The Noble persons
Those who begin sincere training on the Buddhist path (Pali, Sekhas, "those in training") and who experience the truth to the extent that they cut some of the Ten mental Fetters (Pali, saṃyojana) become ariya puggala (Sanskrit, āryapudgala): "noble persons" who will surely become Arahants in the near future (within seven lives). Their specific path is governed by the degree of attainment reached.

"Among whatever communities or groups there may be, the Sangha of the Tathagata's disciples is considered supreme... Those who have confidence in the Sangha have confidence in what is supreme; and for those with confidence in the supreme, supreme will be the result." [1]

The Sangha of the Tathagata's disciples (the Ariya Sangha), that is, the four [groups of noble disciples] when taken as pairs or the eight when taken as individuals. The four groups of noble disciples (Buddhist Sekhas) when taken as pairs are those who have attained:
  • (1) the path to stream-entry; (2) the fruition of stream-entry;
  • (3) the path to once-returning; (4) the fruition of once-returning;
  • (5) the path to non-returning; (6) the fruition of non-returning;
  • (7) the path to arahantship; (8) the fruition of arahantship.
Taking each attainment singly gives eight individuals. More>>

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