‘Friends, any monk or nun who declares arahantship in my presence has arrived there by four paths or by one of them. What four? Here, friends, a monk develops samatha prior to vipassana. While he is developing samatha prior to vipassana the path is born in him. He cultivates, develops, and makes much of that path. As he does so his fetters are abandoned and his inherent compulsions are eradicated. Again, friends, a monk develops vipassana prior to samatha.... Again, friends, a monk develops samatha and vipassana yoked equally.... Again, friends, a monk's mind is seized by restlessness for the Dhamma. When the mind settles down within, becomes steady, unified, and concentrated in samadhi, then the path is born in him. He cultivates, develops, and makes much of that path. As he does so, his fetters are abandoned and his inherent compulsions are eradicated.’ -- A 4.170
This and other sutta passages indicate that "magga" is more than a moment -- it may take quite a while to develop it until a certain number of fetters are abandoned. Then one may progress onto a higher level and give rise to the next path, and so on.Bhikkhu Gavesako
It would be more accurate to say that this is one of several sutta passages that are popularly cited by those who object to the Theravadin conception of sudden awakening (ekābhisamaya). However, such objections to momentarism (and its implications for awakening) have been anticipated and answered by the commentators. Regarding the passage above, the 'path' in the phrase "the path is born in him" refers to the first arising of the supramundane path, while the phrase "he cultivates, develops, and makes much of that path" refers to the subsequent effort aimed at generating the higher paths and fruits. The commentary to the Yuganaddha Sutta explicitly notes that the Sutta's mention of a path that has to be "cultivated, developed etc." does not refer to the first ekacittakkhaṇika magga.
Best wishes,Dhammanando Bhikkhu
I used to think that perhaps this 'momentary' understanding of magga is just a slight change of terminology that happened later in the development of Theravada philosophy. Instead of referring to the whole process of practising at a certain level (say, the path of once-returning) it would just refer to the culmination of development of that path, what is sometimes called magga-samangi, which would then be followed by the abandonment of the fetters, or phala (fruition).
Can I ask, how does the commentary explain the 8 types of individuals mentioned in the Suttas, namely, "one practising for realizing the fruit of stream-entry", "stream-enterer" and so on? (These are also described as recipients of offerings, which means they have to be at that particular stage for more than a single moment.)Bhikkhu Gavesako
I think phalasacchikiriyāya paṭipanna would be better rendered as "one who has entered upon the way to the realisation of the fruit..." (Ñāṇamoli's rendering), rather than "one practising for..."
In answer to your question, a good place to start is the commentary to the Dakkhiṇāvibhaṅga Sutta (MN. 142); this is one of the suttas in which these persons are described as potential recipients of offerings.
It should be noted that the 8 types in this Sutta do not perfectly overlap with the "4 pairs of persons, 8 kinds of individuals" that constitute the Noble Saṅgha, for the pairs here are not attainer of the path vs. attainer of the fruit, but rather, one who has entered upon the way to realisation of the fruit vs. one has realised the fruit. In the commentarial exposition, attainers of each of the noble paths are a sub-class of persons who have entered upon the way to realisation of the fruit of the path in question.
The phrase "one who has entered upon the way to realisation of the fruit of stream-entry" (sotāpattiphalasacchikiriyāya paṭipanna) is defined by the commentary according to the Sutta Method, and the definition given is a rather broad and inclusive one; in this context any worldling who has become an upāsaka by going to the three refuges is reckoned as "one who has entered upon the way to realisation of the fruit..." The commentator remarks that being an upāsaka with the three refuges is the bare minimum (heṭṭhimakoṭi) for a person to be counted as such; he then proceeds to list seven other types who are progressively more worthy to be recipients of offerings:
• one established in the five precepts;
• one established in the ten precepts;
• one who goes forth as a sāmaṇera (so long as the offering is given to him on the day he goes forth);
• a bhikkhu who is dutiful (vattasampanna);
• a vipassaka (i.e. one who has developed insight up to but not including the knowledge of rise and fall);
• an āraddhavipassaka (one who has developed strong insight, i.e. knowledge of rise and fall onwards);
• a maggasamaṅgī (one possessed of the factors of the path).
The last is the highest type and is the only one who has actually attained sotāpatti magga.
The commentator then asks if it is possible to give a gift to a maggasamaṅgī, considering that such a person only exists for a single mind-moment. He answers that it is and gives the example of an āraddhavipassaka bhikkhu who goes to a layman's house for almsfood, the people there take his almsbowl from him and then emergence of the path (magga-vuṭṭhāna) occurs in him at the same moment that they are putting food in his bowl. There are a few other examples given, but they are essentially the same, differing only in the manner in which the food is given.
Another passage of interest comes at the end of the commentary to the Kosambiya Sutta (MN. 48). I haven't time to translate or go over this now, but will just paste in the Pali for you to read.
Best wishes,Dhammanando Bhikkhusotāpattiphalasacchikiriyāyā
ti karaṇavacanaṃ, sotāpattiphalasacchikatañāṇenāti attho. evaṃ sattaṅgasamannāgato
ti evaṃ imehi sattahi mahāpaccavekkhaṇañāṇehi samannāgato. ayaṃ tāva ācariyānaṃ samānakathā. lokuttaramaggo hi bahucittakkhaṇiko nāma natthi.
vitaṇḍavādī pana ekacittakkhaṇiko nāma maggo natthi, “evaṃ bhāveyya satta vassānī” ti hi vacanato sattapi vassāni maggabhāvanā honti. kilesā pana lahu chijjantā sattahi ñāṇehi chijjantīti vadati. so suttaṃ āharāti vattabbo, addhā aññaṃ suttaṃ apassanto, “idamassa paṭhamaṃ ñāṇaṃ adhigataṃ hoti, idamassa dutiyaṃ ñāṇaṃ … pe0 … idamassa sattamaṃ ñāṇaṃ adhigataṃ hotī” ti imameva āharitvā dassessati. tato vattabbo kiṃ panidaṃ suttaṃ neyyatthaṃ nītatthanti. tato vakkhati — “nītatthatthaṃ, yathāsuttaṃ tatheva attho” ti. so vattabbo — “dhammatā susamanniṭṭhā hoti sotāpattiphalasacchikiriyāyāti ettha ko attho” ti? addhā sotāpattiphalasacchikiriyāyatthoti vakkhati. tato pucchitabbo, “maggasamaṅgī phalaṃ sacchikaroti, phalasamaṅgī” ti. jānanto, “phalasamaṅgī sacchikarotī” ti vakkhati. tato vattabbo, — “evaṃ sattaṅgasamannāgato kho, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako sotāpattiphalasamannāgato hotīti idha maggaṃ abhāvetvā maṇḍūko viya uppatitvā ariyasāvako phalameva gaṇhissati. mā suttaṃ me laddhanti yaṃ vā taṃ vā avaca. pañhaṃ vissajjentena nāma ācariyasantike vasitvā buddhavacanaṃ uggaṇhitvā attharasaṃ viditvā vattabbaṃ hotī” ti. “imāni satta ñāṇāni ariyasāvakassa paccavekkhaṇañāṇāneva, lokuttaramaggo bahucittakkhaṇiko nāma natthi, ekacittakkhaṇikoyevā” ti saññāpetabbo. sace sañjānāti sañjānātu. no ce sañjānāti, “gaccha pātova vihāraṃ pavisitvā yāguṃ pivāhī” ti uyyojetabbo. sesaṃ sabbattha uttānamevāti.
Perhaps this will make it clearer:
List A: the Noble Sangha:
1. Attainer of the path of stream-entry. (Ariyan).
2. Attainer of the fruit of stream-entry. (Ariyan).
3. Attainer of the path of once-returning. (Ariyan).
4. Attainer of the fruit of once-returning. (Ariyan).
5. Attainer of the path of non-returning. (Ariyan).
6. Attainer of the fruit of non-returning. (Ariyan).
7. Attainer of the path of arahatta. (Ariyan).
8. Attainer of the fruit of arahatta. (Ariyan).
List B: Dakkhiṇāvibhangasutta's 8 persons worthy of gifts:
1. One who has entered upon the way to the realization of the fruit of stream-entry. (May be Ariyan or puthujjana. If he's an Ariyan then he will be the same as person 1 in List A).
2. Stream-entrant. (Ariyan = person 2 in List A).
3. One who has entered upon the way to the realization of the fruit of once-returning. (Ariyan).
4. Once-returner. (Ariyan).
5. One who has entered upon the way to the realization of the fruit of non-returning. (Ariyan).
6. Non-returner. (Ariyan).
7. One who has entered upon the way to the realization of the fruit of arahatta. (Ariyan).
8. Arahant. (Ariyan).
Best wishes,Dhammanando Bhikkhuhttp://www.lioncity.net/buddhism/index.php?showtopic=46392saya :
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