Week 12

True meaning and truth in the realm of the imagination: The Arya Sangha and the Bodhisattvas

The Arya Sangha: – The Sangha of the Spiritually Wise

  • Experiencing the Arya Sangha.
    • – Like angels and devils in medieval Christianity – It’s a world view. Question: Is it helpful?
    • We can view any individual or group from a spiritual perspective.
  • In Buddhist tradition the (minds) in the Arya Sangha have overcome the 3 poisons of
    •  Greed,
    • Hatred
    • and Delusion (wheel of life)
    • and   have insight into the 4 Noble Truths.
  • In the Nikaya tradition (Teravadin, Hinyana)

Ten Fetters hold us back.

      1.  Self-illusion (self-identity views; belief in personality)

      2.  Scepticism (uncertainty)

      3.  Attachment to rules and rituals (grasping at precepts and practices)

      4.  Sensual lust (craving)

      5.  Ill-will

      6.  Craving for fine-corporeal or material existence (passion for form)

      7.  Craving for incorporeal existence (passion for what is formless)

      8.  Conceit

      9.  Restlessness

    10.  Ignorance use


And the Arya sangha consists of

  • Stream Entrants, – Those assured of not retreating on the path
    • Once Returners – Those with just one more lifetime before enlightened
    • and Arahants. – Enlightened in this life

In the Mahayana tradition

  •  The emphasis is different. It is much more on ethics and ultimate compassion.
  • This is expressed in the 6 Perfections:
    •  generosity,
    •  morality,
    • patience,
    • energy,
    • meditation,
    • and wisdom

You may recognise these as: ethics, mediation and wisdom,

Again, there is a hierarchy, The Hierarchy of Bodhisattvas

It starts with

  • The Novice – who has taken the ‘Bodhisattva vow’ sincerely.

To lead all sentient beings to enlightenment before leaving Samsara

  • Of the Path: there is a progression through the 10 bhumis (States of direct experience )
    • Starting with: The joyous (Pramudita)
      • Seeing reality as it is (The arahant?)
    • Culminating with The cloud of Dharma (Dharmamegha)
      • Being in communion with all the Buddhas, beyond the conditions of  -Time, Space ,Form etc, The unconditioned , the Dharmakaya. realm

Talk by Sangharakshita (1969) on the stages of the Boddhisatva path https://www.freebuddhistaudio.com/talks/details?num=71

Here are a few references that provide very helpful background on the Arya Sangha by Vessantara

  • In the Triratna Tradition

6 levels of Going for Refuge.

Cultural    – Born in a Buddhist tradition, socially part of a Sangha

Provisional – Have a definite practice that is dependent on support of a Sangha.

Effective – Have a definite practice that contributes and sustains personal and Sangha practice.

Real – Self-sustaining practice, capable of developing and maintaining self and sangha.

Absolute – Mind abiding with the Arya Sangha.

Cosmic – Mind abiding with the cosmos

 The seven Fold Puja

  • As if in the land or realm of the Arya Sangha.
    • Worship
      • Mantra and Offerings
    • Salutation
    • Going for Refuge
      • Refuges and Precepts
    • Confession of evil
    • Rejoicing in Merit
    • Entreaty and Supplication
      • The Heart Sutra
      • Often a mantra
    • Transference of merit and self-surrender
      • Concluding Matras

Concluding Discussion:

Groups – How have we found the course? Do we know what we want to do next?   

Possibly a center based on-line feedback form?        

Meditation: Metta Bhavana and possibly the Triratna 7 Fold Puja.