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Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami, Arahat

the Wanderling

The Arahat (the fourth stage of realization) is a fully Enlightened being, having extinguished all defilements. The Sotapanna (first stage of realization, also Sotapatti-magga-nana) has uprooted wrong view but still has other defilements. The Sakadagami and Anagami are at the second and third stage of realization, respectively . All four are called Ariyas, that is, Noble.

The Sotapanna and the Sakadagami have consciousness with attachment (lobha-mula-citta) without wrong view, and this citta can be attached to all six classes of objects. The Anagami has lobha-mula-citta without wrong view which is attached to the class of objects which can only be experienced through the mind-door (dhammarammana). He has eradicated attachment to the sense objects which are visible object, sound, odour, flavour and tangible object. The Arahat has neither kusala dhammas nor akusala dhammas on account of the six classes of objects. He has completely eradicated all defilements and akusala dhammas. The person who is not Arahat may understand the characteristics of the objects as they are, he may know when the object is a paramattha dhamma and when a concept. However, so long as one has not eradicated all defilements there are conditions for their arising. There can be happiness or sadness, like or dislike on account of the objects, be they paramattha dhammas or concepts. To what extent defilements arise for the non-arahat depends on the degree of understanding that has been developed, it depends on whether a person is a non-ariya or an Ariya who is a Sotapanna, a Sakadagami or an Anagami. (source)

PARAMATTHA DHAMMAS: Citta, Cetasika, Rupa (see), and Nirvana are paramattha dhammas -- ultimate realities. Paramattha is derived from the Pali term parama, which can mean superior, highest, and attha, which is meaning. Paramattha dhammas are realities in the highest or ultimate sense. Paramattha dhammas are different from conventional truth. Person, animal or table are conventional realities we all know. We give them names to designate them in our daily life. They are objects of thinking, but they have no characteristics which can be directly experienced. Through the Buddha’s teaching we come to know paramattha dhammas, ultimate truth we had not heard of before. They have their own characteristics which cannot be changed. We can change their names, but their characteristics cannot be changed. Seeing is always seeing, no matter how we name it. It experiences visible object through the eyes. (source)

KUSALA DHAMMAS: positive forces generated from Karma (actions, words and thoughts) motivated by such good deeds as alms-giving, welfare work, devotion, purification of mind, etc.

AKUSALA DHAMMAS: negative forces generated from Karmas (actions, words, and thoughts) motivated by desire, greed, lust, anger, hatred, dissatisfaction, delusion, etc.

ABYAKATA DHAMMAS: forces that are neither moral nor immoral. This is the case, for example, of an Arahat who has got rid of all traces of ignorance (Avijja). In the case of an Arahat, contact (Phassa) of sense objects with the sense centres produces no reaction to sense impressions (Vedana) whatsoever, just as no impression is possible on flowing water which is ever changing. To him, the whole framework of the body is but an ever-changing mass and any impression thereon automatically breaks away with the mass.


Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.





The Five Khandhas (groups):

Samyutta Nikaya (Khandha-vagga, Last Fifty, par. 122, Virtue)

  1. Rupa(Form) - Materiality; physical form, the body. The body itself has no consciousness. The materiality of a dead body is the same as that of a living body. It does not possess any faculty of knowing. In fact, materiality does not possess the faculty of knowing an object in either a dead or a living body. It is only when the body is invested with life that there is consciousness, yet this consciousness is inseparable from the physical body.

  2. Vedana (Sensory Feelings) - The lenses, windows or filters through which consciousness perceives objects of consciousness. There are two basic components: the six sense faculties (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, & thinking mind) and the six sensations (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, & dharmas or elements of reality). In contacting each other, there are six kinds of consciousness produced. Thus there are a total of eighteen realms of the mind.

  3. Sanna, Samjna (perception, conceptualization) - The rationalizing faculty of the mind. This is the faculty that interprets, categorizes and ‘makes sense’ of what we perceive and do. In doing so it creates concepts, which codify realities (dharmas) into sensory data; thoughts, views, words, images, etc. Sensory perceptions are invested with meaning. It is here that the idea of a self is established as a basis for reasoning and discernment. Realities (dharmas) are endowed with a 'self' (a name) in order to distinguish and identify them. When perceptions and acts of are differentiated into concepts, these differentiations create aspects of duality and limitless aspects of multiplicity which are used to categorize and associate sensory perceptions.

  4. Sankhara, Samskara (volition) - Acts of consciousness (or sub-consciousness if unawakened), acts of intent, the doing of things through the body, the mouth and the thinking mind, which initiate karmas (deeds that help create the retribution that is our destiny). Whereas sensory feelings are 'incoming' perceptions (coming from the object of consciousness), acts of will are 'out-going' actions (coming from within the consciousness or sub-consciousness). Sensory feelings are the medium through which we perceive whereas acts of will (volition) are the initiatives by which we act.

  5. Vinana, Vijnana --- includes the above three mental elements --- Vedana, Sanna, Sankhara.

    Citta [consciousness] is sometimes spoken of along with the three other mental states as being one of them. Vinana is the center of a sentient being. A modern psychologist would say that consciousness is the mainspring from which other psychological phenomena arise (1). Also Alaya-vijnana, which is usually rendered 'storehouse consciousness'. Considered the underlying stratum of existence that is 'perfumed' by volitional actions and thus 'stores' the moral effects of Karma. It is regarded as a conditioned phenomenon, not as a 'soul' in the sense of Western religion. It is most fully elaborated by Vasubandhu [Vij~napti-maatrataa-tri.msikaa] and by Dharmapala [Vij~napti-maatrataa-siddhi-saastra]. The doctrine of alaya-vijnana greatly influenced Chinese Buddhism, especially so, Zen (2).

    One may notice here that alaya-vijnana and citta are described almost by the same terms. The Sandhi-nirmocana-sutra says that alaya-vijnana is also called citta. Asanga too mentions that it is named citta (3).

    It is this alaya-vijnana or citta that is considered by men as their 'Soul', 'Self', 'Ego' or Atman. It should be remembered as a concrete example, that Sati, one of the Buddha's disciples, took Vinana (vijnana) with this very same sense of meaning and that the Buddha reprimanded him for this Wrong View. (4)

    Mentality; awareness, the mind, the inner vision. The element of the mind is what has, holds and knows an object, while that of materiality does not. This defines consciousness - beholding an object. Mentality is that which knows an object and which comes into being depending on materiality. It is called Nama in Sanskrit because it inclines (namati) towards an object. It does so through the lens of the senses, but is should not be mistaken as just being the senses. It uses the senses as a sort of window to perceive objects. (5)

    Refer as well to: The Five Aggregates of Grasping

The Dhammasangani classifies these five khandhas into THREE aspects (6):

  • Citta (Skt. “that which is conscious”) -- the act of mental apprehension known as ordinary consciousness, the conventional and relative mind/heart. Its two aspects are 'attending to' and 'collecting' of impressions or traces. See also above.

  • Cetasika -- comes from the same root as citta, 'cit', which means 'think'. '-ika' means 'belonging to'. Cetasika is that which supports citta. English has no adequate translation for the word. 'Property of mind' has too many connotations of possession to be accurate. Sometime translated as 'mental factor'; if rather meaningless, it is at least neutral.

  • Rupa -- the "having become a thingness of anything." This includes ideas and such invisible things as sounds. Rupa includes the mental (nama) that has become an aspect of individual existance, cannot be separated from the mental, and is, itself, encompassed by the mental.


Defilements are divided into three kinds, namely:

1) Coarse kilesa; they manifest by way of body and speech, for example: to cut off the life of living beings; to seize things that belong to other people by robbing, stealing, pilfering, or snatching; sexual misconduct; lying, slandering, insulting; to take intoxicants and drugs which are the origin of carelessness. (Abstention from these acts is Sila and a basic requirement for the successful practice of meditation.)

2) Medium kilesa; that is to say the nívarana, kilesa that appear in the mind. They season the mind so that it gives rise to desire; dissatisfaction, anger, dejection, drowsiness, agitation, worry, annoyance, indecision, doubt, and delusion. The medium kilesa have authority when they have arisen, they make the mind hot, stuffy, clumsy, troubled, worried, annoyed, apprehensive, uncertain and skeptical more and more. See also the The Five Hinderances.

3) Subtle kilesa; they are called anusaya-kilesa. They are the nature that lies dormant in the five rúpa-náma-kkhandha. When there is a sufficient cause they are bound to arise. Usually these anusaya-kilesa remain quiet, they are not at all evident and do not issue forth in any way. But when there are any objects, whether good or bad, that come into contact with the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body, and the mind then their state changes to the medium and coarse kilesa and they break forth through body and speech later.

As an analogy, to distinguish between these three kinds of coarse, medium, and subtle kilesa, one may compare them with a match. The subtle kilesa resemble the fire that is hidden in the head of the match. The medium kilesa are like taking match and striking the side of the matchbox. The fire then becomes evident. The coarse kilesa compare to using the fire that has sprung up and setting it to some material. The fire will then burn that object and can spread into a big blaze later.

An old saying goes: "we are the results of what we were; we will be the results of what we are." A Pali text called The Anguttara, and presented here from What the Buddha Said, says it best:

"It cannot come to pass that the fruit of a deed well-done by the body, speech, and thought should have for a result that which is unpleasant, hateful, or distasteful. But that it should be otherwise is quite possible."

What is important to consider of course, is having set into motion the correct set of principals in the past, so the fruit beared from those endeavors would be impacting one's present. To have that present be a positive experience my own spiritual guide and Mentor extracted the following suggestion from the sutras, which went something like:

1.) From the first generate only thoughts with the right escort.

2.)Support right thoughts already risen.

3.)From where thoughts arise, generate no thoughts that carry negative escort.

4.)Dispell any negative thoughts already risen.


Dhammasangani is the title given to the first book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. The Pali word dhamma (Skt. Dharma) varies in meaning according to context; here as part of the term dhammasangani, dhamma means ultimate realities. Sangani means collecting together or complete enumeration. Thus Dhammasangani deals with collecting and enumerating the ultimate realities by the method of triads (tikas) and dyads (duka) as set out in its Matika. For instance, in such a phrase as 'kusala dhamma' or 'akusala dhamma', or abyakata dhamma' which occurs in the Dhammasangani, the word dhamma means ultimate realities.




(3) ALAYA-VIJNANA - Store Consciousness

(4) Ibid.