Thanks Sonam Norbu
Soh Wei Yu(Although, unless we are someone like Bahiya who can get into the essence of refuge in the most direct manner, I still recommend people start by going for refuge in a proper ceremony with a proper dharma teacher or monk or nun giving the refuge vows, just as John Tan and I did (received refuge vows) multiple times. For those who wish to follow the Buddha's teachings, of course. I generally avoid trying to convert or convince people 'into my religion'. There is no need to hard sell something valuable like true diamond. You can share about it (after all the Buddha did tell his awakened students to go in different directions to spread the dharma), and those with clear eyes and good karma will be able to see it for themselves, but it is up to each individual to choose their own path.Acarya Malcolm Smith just posted recently:Malcolm wrote: ↑Sun Nov 21, 2021 10:50 pmAnyone who has has Mahayana refuge vows, and understands the procedure for bestowing refuge vows, can bestow refuge vows. There is no special qualification needed other than that one’s own refuge is intact.The question is, does one really wish to be granting such vows?.....One has to know how to properly conduct the rite. If one bestows refuge vows and bodhisattva vows there is no particular responsibility, but I think it can become kind of an ego trip. Even some Tibetan Lamas will incorrectly claim that having bestowed refuge, now the student has samaya with that teacher and so on. I just think it is better to encourage people to receive refuge and bodhisattva vows from qualified lamas, preferably lineage heads, and among those, bhikṣus like HH Dalai Lama are preferable to upasākas. One should recall that among vajramasters, a bhiḳsu with intact vows is supreme, according to Kalacakra. On the other hand, though this is ideal, life is short, and if one does not want to use the rite of administering refuge and bodhisattva vows to oneself, then any qualified teacher who is willing to give them will do.")
Soh Wei Yu问：什么叫做皈依？慧律法师答：皈依分两个角度：一是事相皈依；二是理体皈依。首先讲事相皈依：皈依释迦牟尼佛还有十方三世佛叫做皈依佛；皈依三藏十二部经典，依法不依人，叫做皈依法；皈依受过三坛大戒正规的僧，叫做皈依僧。其次是理体皈依：就是回归到清净的自性。我们内在的觉性、自性就是佛；开采了内在的觉性和智慧以后，所反射出来的全部都是无上的真理，心中本来就具足三藏十二部经典的法；我们内心里面具大慈悲、和合，人与人之间相处和睦、和谐，内心里面没有情绪、没有乱、没有生灭，完全是和谐，这个叫做自性的僧。自性的觉悟叫做皈依佛宝；自性的真理就是皈依法宝；自性的和谐无争就是皈依僧宝。理三宝和事三宝两种统统要具足。。。。。皈依三宝的利益慧律法师皈依三宝的功德利益，可以说在人生中，所得利益总加起来，也不及皈依三宝的功德之大之多。《佛说希有校量功德经》说：皈依三宝所得的功德之大，若具足四事供养，乃至建七宝塔供养舍利的功德，尚不及皈依三宝所获得的功德之百分之一。 “夫三宝者，千生难遇，万劫难逢，皈依者，福增无量；礼念者，罪灭河沙。譬如灵丹之妙药，疗百病而蠲除。冥冥黑夜中，三宝为灯烛；滔滔苦海内，三宝为舟航；焰焰火宅中，三宝为雨泽。”由此可知三宝的功德。没有皈依三宝，即使拜佛烧香，也只能算是佛教的尊敬者，不能算做佛教徒，如果是佛教徒，第一具备的条件就是皈依三宝。皈依三宝究竟有什么功德利益呢?总结经典中的功德利益有下列十点：第一、找到了宇宙间第一伟大的圣者释迦牟尼佛作为老师，成为正式的佛弟子。第二、经云： “皈依佛，不堕地狱；皈依法，不堕畜生；皈依僧，不堕饿鬼。”故一旦皈依三宝以后，立刻可以恶道除名，人天有份。第三、如顶戴宝冠，身著华服，人身立刻庄严；而皈依三宝，则道德、人格、信仰因而提升。第四、能积集广大福德，得大富贵，如为人生前途造了平坦的道路，如苦海茫茫中有了舟航。第五、佛陀指示护法龙天、一切善神，在末法时代，要保护、加被所有皈依的三宝弟子。第六、能够获得世间大众的尊敬，并以为模范。第七、消灾免难，平安吉祥，一切好事，都会成就。第八、减少烦恼，得遇善人为友，到处都能得方便。第九、有受戒的资格。皈依三宝的人可以受持五戒，参加八关斋戒等。第十、终有一天，必定得度。即使没有修行，只要皈依三宝，将来弥勒菩萨龙华三会的时候，也能得度。
But sometimes I find the teachings too short, and too clever. Very few people can get it just reading the sutta as it is. One word can itself be a 2 hour lecture! But then again, maybe it's due to the fact that it was done at a time of oral history. Gotta keep it short for people to remember and pass it down.
Tan Jui Horng
Especially at times when your mind is relatively settled, just keep chipping away at the sutta. Try to feel what the Buddha was pointing to. Whatever comes up, don't just reject it but look even closer at it.
Soh Wei Yu
Notes from Leigh Brasington
1. The bark cloth clothing would most likely mean that Bahiya was a follower of the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad. The Brhadaranyaka Upanishad makes a big deal about trees (personal communication from John Peacock).
2. Why did the Buddha give this particular instruction to Bahiya? The bark cloth clothing marked him as a serious student of the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad; thus he would be familiar with the teaching found there: "The unseen seer, the unheard hearer, the unthought thinker, the uncognized cognizer... There is no other seer but he, no other hearer, no other thinker, no other cognizer. This is thy self, the inner controller, the immortal...." Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 3.7.23.
Bahiya would also be familiar with "... that imperishable is the unseen seer, the unheard hearer, the unthought thinker, the ununderstood understander. Other than it there is naught that sees. Other than it there is naught that hears. Other than it there is naught that thinks. Other than it there is naught that understands...." Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 3.8.11.
The Buddha, as he often does, takes something his questioner is familiar with and gives it a subtle but profound twist: there's no Atman, there's just seeing, just hearing, etc.
Liu Zhi Guan
One interesting thing I'd notice from this sutta is that,while Buddha confirmed that Bahiya had reached arhatship upon his death,he never really become Buddhist in the sense of taking refuge in Three Jewels
Liu Zhi GuanSoh Wei Yu Should have laid out the context of my answer earlier for clarity.As Buddhist meditation of various forms has reached the world populace at large,there is a trend of a more secular form of 'Buddhist' meditation,and it also attracts a crowd that is purportedly non-Buddhist(or claim to be so).Most salient example would be Zen meditation,but also most Theravada meditation schools(Goenka's 10-days retreat comes to mind). Even Sam Harris had had experienced in Dzogchen.So upon reading Bahiya Sutta,what piques my curiosity is if there is any so-called non-Buddhist/ practitioner has attained any level of awakening,from anatta onwards. Considering Bahiya had attained full arhatship despite while technically not being a Buddhist.And if Pern Chong had attained anatta despite not having taken refuge.Funnily ChNNR's exposition of refuge is close to Pern Chong' and Kyle Dixon's,so initially I was fumbling over where was "Namo Buddhya,Namo Dharmaya,Namo Sanghaya" in ChNNR's practice lol. I recall Theravada sutta mentioned smth similar but can't remember the name of the said sutta.The other thought is if non-Buddhist meditation would be beneficial as precursor to Buddhist meditation. Inferring from your 7 Stages of Enlightenment and Bahiya's speculated background as follower of Brhadaranyaka Upanishad. So the corollary is that it does,depending on stage of awakening.Hence I agree that "Buddha had the wisdom and omniscience to discern that Bahiya had the capacity and potential to wake up right there to be giving such a short and pithy instruction to him",Bahiya was not attaining arhatship via sudden path as he likely had extensive ascetic training beforehand. As were the first five Buddha's disciples in Sarnath.And yes,taking refuge without understanding does not clear one of delusion and kleshas,though it doesnt plant a seed for the future.Liu Zhi GuanCant go wrong with Piya Tan's scholarship.Arhatship(or stages of awakening for that matter) was disputed even in the early Buddhism schools,such as if arhats could regress. And some schools even mentioned layman arhats(also quoted in sutta according to Piya Tan's work).So the one-day ultimatum for layperson to be a monk/nun upon reaching arhatship is likely modern Theravada's(actually descended from Vibhājyavāda,an offshoot of original Theravada school) interpretation based on Nagasena's work.Soh Wei YuThe intention is more important than the formality or ceremony.Bahiya had very strong intention to rely on Buddha’s teachings to attain liberation. In a sense that is the key of refuge. It is not just a formality but a very strong genuine intention to rely on the triple gems to attain liberation. That is the kind of “taking refuge” one must awaken in oneself. That paves the way to liberation. If one simply attends a refuge ceremony half heartedly, like going through the motions, it is still a positive act that creates a good karmic connection with the triple gems for this life and the next, but may not be as effective as the earnest desire of Bahiya to take refuge in Buddha and his instructions to attain liberation as soon as possible.Soh Wei Yu"The other thought is if non-Buddhist meditation would be beneficial as precursor to Buddhist meditation. Inferring from your 7 Stages of Enlightenment and Bahiya's speculated background as follower of Brhadaranyaka Upanishad. So the corollary is that it does,depending on stage of awakening."Non-Buddhist traditions can lead to shamatha and awakening the clarity aspect of mind/consciousness. But all these still belong to the shamatha aspect, not Buddhist vipashyana which concerns the insight into cittata (non-arising, anatman, shunyata nature of consciousness/mind):Kyle: "We don’t have any misunderstanding. Again this is rhetoric versus reality, up until the third vision, “emptiness” is obscured and therefore at the time of direct introduction it is merely rhetorical. The nature of mind, as non-dual clarity and emptiness is not truly known until the third vision, again per Longchenpa, per Khenpo Ngachung, etc., not something I have made up. What do we generally recognize in direct introduction? We recognize clarity [gsal ba], and the aspect of vidyā that is concomitant with that clarity. Vidyā is then what carries our practice, but vidyā is not the citta dharmatā, the nature of mind.This is why the first two visions are likened to śamatha, and the last two are likened to vipaśyanā."
Liu Zhi Guan
Soh Wei Yu For refuge vows for laypersons,Theravada tradition tends to be less ritualistic compared to,say,Chinese Mahayana or Tibetan tradition.
Afaik Chinese refuge ceremony is quite elaborate,with the layperson wearing haiqing robe. Tibetan one does it in different fashion with cutting a few strands of hair from the head.
Whereas in Theravada,it is merely recitation of refuge vows and precepts in Pali. Also no dharma name.Needless to say,no bodhisattva vows in Theravada.
One exception is late ChNNR,with his interesting take on refuge.
Liu Zhi Guan
"— as he gave an example, Buddha taught that an arahant does not need to take bhikshu vows, he is a bhikshu [by definition].
Same principle applies for refuge vows"
Don't think that applies to Theravada,once one becomes an arhat,one needs to be a bhikshu or bhishukni or else he or she will die in seven days. Strictly speaking,a bhikshu is a man who takes the full pratimokha vows.
Also even if one enters monkhood as arhat,one still begins as junior monk.
Soh Wei Yu
I believe, but cannot confirm, that Ven Hui Lu is referring to this young person who became arahat:
In the final analysis, it is vital to remember that every monastic and saint was a lay person before. The Buddha himself never once said that arhathood could be attained only by the renunciant. On the contrary, the Kathā,vatthu, for example, dealing with the question on whether a layperson may become an arhat, states that the Uttarā,pathakas (―Northerners‖)136 answer affirmatively, mentioning Yasa the layman,
Uttiya the houselord and Setu the brahmin youth as examples of lay arhats (Kvu 1:268), and its Commen-
tary (KvuA 4.1/73) quotes the Buddha Word in the Dhammapada:
Though well adorned [finely clad], if he fares in calmness, At peace, tamed, self-controlled, living the holy life, Having put down the rod towards all beings—
He is a brahmin, he is a recluse, he is a monk.137
2001 ―The Jhānas and the Lay Disciple.‖ In Buddhist Studies in honour of Professor Lily de
Silva. Ed PD Premasiri. Peradeniya: University of Peradeniya, 2001:36-64. Chakravarti, Uma
1983 ̳Renouncer and householder in early Buddhism.‘ Social Analysis vol 13, May 1983:70-83.
1987 The Social Dimensions of Early Buddhism. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1987. Chit Tin, Sayagyi U
Gethin, Rupert 2001
―Being assured of attaining Nibbana‖ in Buddhism As a Way of Life and Other Essays. Online ed. Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, IMC-UK, Splatts House, Hedding, Calne, Wiltshire SN11 0PE, England. http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Buddhist Path to Awakening. [Leiden: E J Brill, 1992.] 2nd ed sb Oxford: Oneworld,
(Dh 142; Kvu:SR 157 f)
Soh Wei Yu
Also from that pdf:
19 Destiny of the lay arhat
In the Tevijja Vaccha,gotta Sutta (M 71), when Vaccha,gotta asks, ―Master Gotama, is there any
householder who, without abandoning the householder‘s fetters,130 when the body has broken up, makes
128 Gihino vā’ha bhikkhave pabbajito vā sammā,paipada vaṇṇemi. Gihi vā bhikkhave pabbajito vā sammā,- paipanno sammā,paipattdhikaraṇa,hetu ārādhako hoti āya dhamma kusala. Katamā ca bhikkhave sammā,- paipadā, seyyāthda sammā,dihi,,,sammā.samādhi. Aya vuccati bhikkhave sammā,paipadā. Gihino vā’ha bhikkhave pabbajitassa vā sammā,paipada vaṇṇemi.Gihi vā bhikkhave pabbajito vā sammā,paipanno sammā,- paipattdhikaraṇa,hetu ārādhako hoti āya dhamma kusala. S:B omits the second last sentence. Also A 2.4.10/1:69.
129 (S 12.42,5/2:70), SD 3.3.3(2).
130 The Kathā,vatthu says that the householder‘s fetters are such that one ―would indulge in sexual relations, cause sexual relations to arise, indulge in a house crowded with children, seek to enjoy sandalwood from Kās, wear garlands, use perfumes and unguents, accept gold and silver [money], acquire goats and sheep, poultry and pigs,
Piya Tan SD 8.6 Layman Saints
an end of suffering?‖ the Buddha answers that there is none (M 71.11/1:483). Here, ―householder‘s fet- ters‖ (gihi,sayojana) refers to attachment to the requisites of a householder (such as land, ornaments, wealth, grain, etc, says the Mahā kā).
The Majjhima Commentary says that even laymen, on becoming arhats, have destroyed all attach- ment to worldly things and thus either went forth as monks or passed away immediately after their attain- ment and also mentions Santati the privy councillor, Ugga,sena the treasurer‘s son, and the boy Vta,soka as examples of layman arhats (MA 3:196). This point about the lay arhat‘s destiny was first discussed in the Milinda,paha:
There are two destinies for a householder who has attained arhathood: either, that very day, he goes forth or he attains final nirvana. (Miln 264; cf 164)
The Milinda,paha explains that the lay disciple, upon attaining to arhathood, either ordains that very day or will enter final nirvana. This, Nāgasena argues, is not the defect of arhathood but the defect of being a layperson, just as in the case of someone who has a stomach disorder, ―it is not the defect in the food, but the defect of the stomach‖ (Miln 265). Two famous canonical examples of lay arhats are Yasa and Bāhiya Dārucriya. Yasa joined the order (V 1:17) but Bāhiya died shortly.131
My own understanding of this interesting situation—that layman arhats must join the order or die within a day—is a dramatic way of saying that on ordaining, they are bound by the Vinaya, so that they have to go on almsround, keep healthy, teach the others and be an example to them. In other words, one of the purposes of the Vinaya is that the monastics live on for the sake of the teaching. The point remains, however, that this well known view (that a layman arhat must ordain the same day or dies then) is only found in the Milinda,pañha (Miln 164) and the Commentaries (eg MA 3:196) but without any aupport in the Canon.132
Soh Wei Yu
Nads Ross JonesAnyone who wishes to follow Buddha’s path and teachings, or even if one is lazy in practice but has faith in Buddha, then such a person should take refuge vows.
Anyone who wishes to practice the Mahayana or Vajrayana path, aspires to Buddhahood, and has faith in these teachings, then such a person should take bodhisattva vows.
Soh Wei Yu
I am not sure if Sim Pern Chong formally took refuge vows before realising anatta.
(12:13 PM) Thusness: That is just the first step.
(12:13 PM) Thusness: this is a form of practice like vipassana
(12:13 PM) Thusness: however the true insight does not arise yet.
(12:14 PM) Thusness: it is just like practicing insight meditation does not equal the arising of non-dual insight.
(12:14 PM) AEN: icc..
(12:14 PM) Thusness: but once u r truly non-dual, then u know it is like that.
(12:14 PM) Thusness: just like longchen (sim pern chong), given enough time, whatever he said will be like Buddha.
(12:14 PM) Thusness: but he need not read what that is taught by Buddha.
(12:15 PM) AEN: oic..
(12:15 PM) Thusness: however by reading it, it may help him and speed up his progress.
(12:15 PM) AEN: icic
(12:15 PM) AEN: u got ask him to read the sutras?
(12:15 PM) Thusness: the difference is he does not like to be labelled.
(12:15 PM) Thusness: nope
(12:15 PM) AEN: oic
(12:15 PM) AEN: labelled as a buddhist?
(12:15 PM) Thusness: anything
(12:16 PM) Thusness: as for me, i don't mind...ehehe
(12:16 PM) AEN: lol
(12:17 PM) AEN: btw u read jean klein b4?
(12:17 PM) Thusness: no
(12:17 PM) Thusness: but i think someone posted some posts b4
(12:17 PM) AEN: oic where
(12:17 PM) Thusness: dunno...i thought it is in ur forum?
(12:17 PM) Thusness: if it is not in ur forum, then i don't know..
(12:17 PM) Thusness: maybe not.
(12:17 PM) Thusness: lol
Soh Wei Yu
Session Start: Tuesday, 10 July, 2007
(11:35 AM) Thusness: x last time used to say something like we should rely on awareness and not rely on thoughts bcos awareness is everlasting, thoughts are impermanent... something like that
(11:35 AM) Thusness: this is not right.
(11:35 AM) Thusness: this is advaita teaching.
(11:35 AM) AEN: oic
(11:36 AM) Thusness: now what is most difficult to understand in buddhism is this.
(11:36 AM) Thusness: to experience the unchanging is not difficult.
(11:36 AM) AEN: icic..
(11:38 AM) Thusness: but to experience impermanence yet know the unborn nature is prajna wisdom.
(11:38 AM) AEN: oic
(11:38 AM) Thusness: it would be a misconception to think that Buddha do not know the state of unchanging.
(11:38 AM) Thusness: or when Buddha tok about unchanging it is referring to an unchanging background.
(11:39 AM) AEN: icic..
(11:39 AM) Thusness: otherwise why would i have stressed so much about the misunderstanding and misinterpretation.
(11:39 AM) Thusness: And of course, it is a misunderstanding that I have not experienced the unchanging.
(11:39 AM) AEN: oic
(11:42 AM) Thusness: what u must know is to develop the insight into impermanence and yet realised the unborn.
(11:42 AM) Thusness: this then is prajna wisdom.
(11:42 AM) Thusness: to 'see' permanence and say it is unborn is momentum.
(11:42 AM) Thusness: when buddha say permanence it is not referring to that.
(11:42 AM) AEN: icic..
(11:43 AM) Thusness: to go beyond the momentum u must be able to be naked for a prolong period of time.
(11:44 AM) Thusness: then experience impermanence itself, not labelling anything.
(11:44 AM) Thusness: the seals is even more important than the buddha in person.
(11:44 AM) Thusness: even buddha when misunderstood it becomes sentient.
(11:47 AM) Thusness: longchen (sim pern chong) wrote an interesting passage
(11:47 AM) Thusness: on closinggap
(11:47 AM) AEN: which one
(11:47 AM) Thusness: reincarnation.
(11:47 AM) AEN: oh ya i read it
(11:48 AM) Thusness: the one he clarify kyo's reply?
(11:50 AM) AEN: ya
(11:50 AM) Thusness: that reply is a very important reply
(11:50 AM) Thusness: and it also proves that longchen has realised the importance of transients
(11:50 AM) AEN: oic..
(11:50 AM) Thusness: and the five aggregates as buddha nature
(11:50 AM) Thusness: time for unborn nature
(11:51 AM) AEN: icic
(11:51 AM) Thusness: u c, it takes one to go through such phases, from "I AM" to Non-dual to isness then to the very very basic of what buddha taught...
(11:51 AM) Thusness: can u see that?
(11:52 AM) AEN: yea
(11:52 AM) Thusness: the more one experience, the more truth one sees in what buddha taught in the most basic teaching.
(11:53 AM) Thusness: whatever longchen experience is not because he read what buddha taught, but because he really experience it.
(11:54 AM) AEN: icic..
Soh Wei Yu
Clearly Buddha had the wisdom and omniscience to discern that Bahiya had the capacity and potential to wake up right there to be giving such a short and pithy instruction to him. And also Bahiya basically requested for such a short pithy teaching.
Instead of a gradual path from formally taking refuge to developing sila, samadhi and prajna step by step. Which is the path most people take.
But those who have capacity to take the Bahiya instructions to heart, will automatically develop all the eightfold path from just practicing the essence. They are also practicing the essence of refuge if they can realise and actualise the cittata or nature of mind or non-arising nature of mind aka the anatman realisation. Many people have formally taken refuge vows but their everyday behaviour shows they are always “taking refuge” in their delusion and kleshas rather than wisdom or jnana. Even then, the formal act of taking refuge has planted very important seeds that ripens into awakening in time.
Those who cannot grasp the essence may have to take a more gradual approach. Which means generally all of us. Because as Kyle Dixon said in 2013, “99% of individuals require integration and familiarization. The non-gradual individuals [cig car ba's] are said to be as rare as stars in the day time, and the Dalai Lama attests that there hasn't been a cig car ba for centuries.”