Thursday, 5 March 2009


The Lord [Buddha] asked: What do you think, Subhuti, does it occur to the Stream-winner,* ‘by me has the fruit of a Streamwinner been attained’? Subhuti replied: No indeed, O Lord. And why? Because, O Lord, he has not won any dharma. Therefore is he called a Stream-winner. No sight-object has been won, no sounds, smells, tastes, touchables, or objects of mind. That is why he is called a ‘Stream-winner’. If, O Lord, it would occur to a Stream-winner, ‘by me has a Stream-winner’s fruit been attained’, then that would be in him a seizing on a self, seizing on a being, seizing on a soul, seizing on a person.

- Diamond Sutra

* Stream-entry is the most basic attainment that serious practitioners strive to attain in this lifetime.

I received an email from
The Daily Enlightenment's weekly Buddhist email newsletter today that included a link to an article on Moonpointer called Are You a Very Serious Practitioner, which in turn contained the above quote from the Diamond Sutra.

I was struck by the relevance of this to some recent pondering I had been doing after reading some articles about people making claims to their own enlightenment. People seem to take quite different views and positions on this matter and it can get quite heated and controversial.

While pondering, I also observed my own reaction to such claims and my reaction to other people's views. I had the distinct urge to seize a view and hold onto it as part of my identity, to take sides. And this of course leads straight into judgemental thoughts about myself and about others.

...And yet I just wasn't so sure. Firstly I wasn't sure about the correctness of any of the views and secondly I wasn't sure about the need to actually hold (onto) a view.

So I appreciated the quote from the Diamond Sutra and happily stopped worrying about seizing or holding any view. No need to seize anything, just return to the practice!


Alice said...

Incidentally, I was myself exchanging more than a few words with Moonpointer this week via email. Then I came across this:

"Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. Buddhist systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth." - Thich Nhat Hanh

The Buddhist Conservative said...

This is a great illustration of Stream entry. I am always amused when practitioners boast on how enlightened they are. I am well aware that I have a long way to travel.

If we some day become truly enlightened, will we even recognize it? This is a concept that is hard to wrap our minds around without serious reflection.

Thank you for your posts and insight.