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Teachings of the Buddha: The Planes of Realization and In the Dhamma Well Expounded

by Bhikkhu Bodhi
November 27, 2013
Wed, 11/27/2013 - 09:30 -- bbodhi

On entering the irreversible path to the attainment of Nibbana, one becomes a noble person (ariyapuggala), the word “noble” (ariya) here denoting spiritual nobility. There are four major types of noble persons. Each stage is divided into two phases: the path (magga) and its fruition (phala). The four main stages themselves are defined in two ways: (1) by way of the defilements eradicated by the path leading to the corresponding fruit; and (2) by way of the destiny after death that awaits one who has realized that particular fruit. Today's selection gives standard definitions of the four types that mention both the defilements abandoned and their future destiny.

42. “Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear, open, evident, and free of patchwork. In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear, open, evident, and free of patchwork, there is no [future] round for manifestation in the case of those bhikkhus who are arahants with taints destroyed, who have lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached their own goal, destroyed the fetters of being, and are completely liberated through final knowledge.
    43. “Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear … free of patchwork. In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear … free of patchwork, those bhikkhus who have abandoned the five lower fetters are all due to reappear spontaneously [in the Pure Abodes] and there attain final Nibbāna, without ever returning from that world.
    44. “Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear … free of patchwork. In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear … free of patchwork, those bhikkhus who have abandoned three fetters and attenuated lust, hate, and delusion are all once-returners, returning once to this world to make an end of suffering.
    45. “Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear … free of patchwork. In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear … free of patchwork, those bhikkhus who have abandoned three fetters are all stream-enterers, no longer subject to perdition, bound [for deliverance] and headed for enlightenment.
    46. “Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear … free of patchwork. In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear … free of patchwork, those bhikkhus who are Dhamma-followers or faith-followers are all headed for enlightenment.
    47. “Bhikkhus, the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus is clear, open, evident, and free of patchwork. In the Dhamma well proclaimed by me thus, which is clear, open, evident, and free of patchwork, those who have sufficient faith in me, sufficient love for me, are all headed for heaven.”

From MN 22

To continue reading the Alagaddūpama Sutta, click here.

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