Noble persons and how to recognize one
Entering the Stream to Enlightenment - Experiences of the Stages of the Buddhist Path in Contemporary Sri Lanka - Yuki Sirimane
Yuki Sirimane [+]
Chapter 2 discusses the topic “Noble persons and how to recognize one.” In this chapter, this subject has been dealt with under four sub-topics: 1) The references in the Pāli Nikāyas to the four supramundane fruits of the Path: linking them to the corresponding fetters that are eliminated on the attainment of each fruit. 2) Declarations of having attained a phala as set out in the Pāli Nikāyas: This includes the various expressions used by those who claim to have attained a fruit of the Path, and highlights the various ways in which the attainment of a fruit of the Path is signaled: i.e. with references to the types or the number of fetters broken, knowledge acquired, consequences [ānisaṃsa] in terms of future rebirths, and lists out a spectrum of such expressions. It further examines as to by whom these claims have been made and concludes that the declarations have been made only by the person who attained the phala or by the Buddha, excluding a teacher or any third party bestowing such status. 3) The possibility of recognizing a noble person: This sub-topic sets out the possibilities of and limitations for recognizing a noble person as set out in the texts and who, if any, can recognize one. It concludes that one with the same or a higher attainment may recognize another with the same or lower attainment, or certain gross behaviours may be indications of not having a particular supramundane fruit, if such behaviour has been categorized in the text as impossible at the level of a particular attainment. In general, none other than the Buddha (or one equal to him) and the person who attained himself would know for sure about the attainment of a supramundane fruit. 4) Contemporary difficulties of recognizing a noble person: Presented in terms of the field research of the writer and other recent research and contemporary books such as research by psychologists, psychiatrists and meditators.