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Did the Buddha make mistakes?

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boris
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Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by boris Sun Nov 30, 2014 12:28 am
P
o
[Moderator
note: New thread started
s
msg.]
t

from "Re: Bhante Vimalaramsi" thread in response to this

Dan74 wrote:

Yes, most, if not all, teachers are imperfect. Even the Buddha made mistakes....

Sorry for off topic, but I like to ask, what kind of mistakes of the Lord Buddha do you have in
mind. Suttas classify crocodiles and turtles as an animals which are born in water.
Or perhaps you are aware of
Unfortunately, it is not true. Did you refer to this mistake?
some other kind of mistakes? If so, and if it is not a great trouble for you, would you be so kind
and tell us here about mistakes of the Lord Buddha as you see them?
The man who wants to avoid grotesque collapses should not look for anything to fulfill him in space
and time.
Nicols Gmez Dvila
o
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dhammarelax
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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by dhammarelax Sun Nov 30, 2014 12:41 am
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o
s
boris wrote:
t

Dan74 wrote:

Yes, most, if not all, teachers are imperfect. Even the Buddha made mistakes....

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=22342&p=319492[13/8/2558 0:53:48]

Did the Buddha make mistakes? - Dhamma Wheel

Sorry for off topic, but I like to ask, what kind of mistakes of the Lord Buddha do you have in
mind. Suttas classify crocodiles and turtles as an animals which are born in water.
Unfortunately, it is not true. Did you refer to this mistake?
Or perhaps you are aware of
some other kind of mistakes? If so, and if it is not a great trouble for you, would you be so kind
and tell us here about mistakes of the Lord Buddha as you see them?

Hi Boris
Have you come across the sutta where some monks commit suicide or have themselves killed
because they practiced the foulness of the body meditation and they were so disgusted by
their bodies that decided to get rid of it? It could be a good candidate for a mistake. What do
you think?
BTW I think the pope (catholic) still holds infallibility in doctrinal matters.
With metta
dhammarelax
I post to create an uplifted and happy mind both for myself and for the reader
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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by Mkoll Sun Nov 30, 2014 1:19 am
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o
s
dhammarelax wrote:
t

boris wrote:
Dan74 wrote:
Mkoll
Posts: 4842
Joined: Wed Dec 05,
2012 6:55 pm
Location: California, USA

Yes, most, if not all, teachers are imperfect. Even the Buddha made mistakes....

Sorry for off topic, but I like to ask, what kind of mistakes of the Lord Buddha do you have
in mind. Suttas classify crocodiles and turtles as an animals which are born in water.
Unfortunately, it is not true. Did you refer to this mistake?
Or perhaps you are aware
of some other kind of mistakes? If so, and if it is not a great trouble for you, would you be
so kind and tell us here about mistakes of the Lord Buddha as you see them?

Hi Boris
Have you come across the sutta where some monks commit suicide or have themselves killed
because they practiced the foulness of the body meditation and they were so disgusted by their
bodies that decided to get rid of it? It could be a good candidate for a mistake. What do you
think?
BTW I think the pope (catholic) still holds infallibility in doctrinal matters.
With metta

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=22342&p=319492[13/8/2558 0:53:48]

Did the Buddha make mistakes? - Dhamma Wheel


dhammarelax

That sounds like the monks' mistakes, not the Buddha's. It doesn't make sense to blame the
Buddha for mistakes his disciples make. It's like blaming good parents for their children's bad
decisions.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
o
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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by dhammacoustic Sun Nov 30, 2014 4:10 am
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o
Nope
:- )
s
t

dhammacoustic
Posts: 499
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2014
4:30 am

A buddha cannot make a mistake - if we're talking about right livelihood. I'll say the Buddha was
perfect regarding ethics and epistemology, had perfect insight on mental tendencies and
overall consciousness. From what I've read so far & my own experience, I can tell he directly
knew what life was all about.
If what you're asking is whether the Buddha had perfect scientific knowledge then I'd say- not in
the same way we do and learn scientific classifications today
Let's also keep in mind that all sorts of esoteric knowledge came out of ancient India and Egypt,
Gautama probably studied them to an extent in his life. He definitely knew the true nature of
the matrix we're living in.
Also a PS - the Buddha is the greatest ,utterly incomparable psychologist I've ever come across
in my entire life.

Monks, it is not possible for one who possesses right view, to live without respect, without regard for
the Tathagta, nor is it possible for such a one to live without respect, without reverence for the
Dhamma taught by the Tathagta.
Ya kici ratana loke vijjati vividh puth, ratana Buddhasama natthi

The language of psychiatry is a monologue of reason about madness.


Michel Foucault
Ultimate serenity is the coming to rest of all ways of taking things, the repose of named things; no
truth has been taught by a Buddha for anyone, anywhere.
Ngrjuna
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dhammarelax
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7:59 pm

Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by dhammarelax Sun Nov 30, 2014 3:14 pm
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HioAll
s
t

An interesting perspective on this is that it might be possible to attribute to the Buddha


infallibility on certain fields (or all) but what about Gotama before his awakening as a lay man
enjoying the sensual pleasures? On MN 86 we read that the Buddha says that he has stopped to
exercise violence on living beings, the implication is that that at a point he might have done

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=22342&p=319492[13/8/2558 0:53:48]

Did the Buddha make mistakes? - Dhamma Wheel

so, the perfect behavior of the Buddha seems to derive from the awakening experience and
not from a per se status.
with Metta
dhammarelax
I post to create an uplifted and happy mind both for myself and for the reader
o
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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by Bhikkhu Pesala Sun Nov 30, 2014 6:54 pm
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o
s
dhammarelax wrote:
t
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 2468
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009
8:17 pm

Have you come across the sutta where some monks commit suicide or have themselves killed
because they practiced the foulness of the body meditation and they were so disgusted by their
bodies that decided to get rid of it? It could be a good candidate for a mistake. What do you
think?

No, he gave the monks the most suitable meditation object for their needs at the time.
Making mistakes is not something a Fully Enlightened Buddha can do. It would conflict with the
teachings in the Mahsihanda Sutta
The Buddha was able to see the kammic potential of those monks, and perceived that no
matter what he did, their past evil kamma was due to ripen, so death by suicide or voluntary
euthanasia was inevitable for them. That being so, gaining insight into the disgusting nature of
the body would make it easier to relinquish it at the point of death.
The Buddha did not intervene to prevent the death of his chief disciple, Moggallna, either,
and for the same reasons.
When his own relatives were about to be slaughtered by Vidadubha's army, he did intervene
three times to delay the event, but after that he did not intervene again, seeing that the
result of their kamma had now ripened and had to give its inevitable result.
Any Arahant, who is always mindful and clearly comprehending, should not be accused of
making mistakes either. Although they are not Omniscient like the Buddha, the so-called
mistakes that they may make as perceived by others, e.g. Pilindavaccha referring to others as
outcastes (vasala), was just his habitual way of speech, uttered without any pride, contempt,
or malice. Arahants are never deluded or unmindful. That is what we call a mistake, when we
do or say the wrong thing, driven by defilements.
AIM Website Pli Fonts In This Very Life Buddhist Chronicles Software (Upasampad: 24th
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Digity
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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by Digity Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:15 pm
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o
I could
have sworn I heard Thanissaro
s
think
he said that what distinguished
t

Bhikkhu mention that even Arahants made mistakes. I


an Arahant was that the defilements were eliminated,
but that didn't mean they couldn't make a mistake. Mistakes can occur even without a
defilement present. Thoughts?

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=22342&p=319492[13/8/2558 0:53:48]

Did the Buddha make mistakes? - Dhamma Wheel

*edit*
I found the link to the transcript:
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writ ... stakes.pdf
Search for "Even arahants make mistakes."
Here's the link to the actual talk:
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/y200 ... stakes.mp3
o
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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by Bhikkhu Pesala Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:32 pm
P
AsoI said, the Arahants should not be accused of making mistakes. What people
s
implies
an error of judgement, ignorance, or inattention. Although an Arahant
t
Bhikkhu Pesala
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8:17 pm

call a mistake
does not know
everything, he is free from ignorance regarding the Four Noble Truths, about the right
(spiritual) path and the wrong path, He (or she) has no defilements, and is never inattentive.

He might not know the right path that leads to the village for alms if he is new to an area, so
he might take the wrong path and end up at a dead-end or in another village. Is that a
mistake? I don't think it is it was just an unfortunate guess when faced with a decision to
make regarding what was unknown to him.
Mistake wrote:

A wrong action attributable to bad judgement, ignorance or inattention

The thread asks if the Buddha can make a mistake in the sense of an error of judgement.
AIM Website Pli Fonts In This Very Life Buddhist Chronicles Software (Upasampad: 24th
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dhammarelax
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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by dhammarelax Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:48 pm
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o
I read
the transcript where you mentioned but
s
mistake
that Thanissaro Bhiku is talking about
t

I think is important to clear out that the sort of


is highly subjective, saying the wrong thing to
the wrong person, but what could be classed as wrong thing to the wrong person?, causing
unnecessary suffering to that person could be a wrong thing but that could rippen in something
good so??, however without the supernormal powers it would be impossible to avoid this, on
the positive side Thanissaro makes a point that being an arahant is about eliminating the
defilements of the mind and that arahants wont break the 5 precepts, I have heard that claim
also for Sotapanas but I dont think is correct.

Do you have any other references about the precepts and the persons on different levels of
awakening?
With Metta
dhammarelax
I post to create an uplifted and happy mind both for myself and for the reader
o
p

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=22342&p=319492[13/8/2558 0:53:48]

Did the Buddha make mistakes? - Dhamma Wheel

Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by Mkoll Sun Nov 30, 2014 10:51 pm
P
o
s
dhammarelax wrote:
t

Mkoll
Posts: 4842
Joined: Wed Dec 05,
2012 6:55 pm
Location: California, USA

I read the transcript where you mentioned but I think is important to clear out that the sort of
mistake that Thanissaro Bhiku is talking about is highly subjective, saying the wrong thing to the
wrong person, but what could be classed as wrong thing to the wrong person?, causing
unnecessary suffering to that person could be a wrong thing but that could rippen in something
good so??, however without the supernormal powers it would be impossible to avoid this

This may be of interest:

MN 58 wrote:

Now at that time a baby boy was lying face-up on the prince's lap. So the Blessed One said to the
prince, "What do you think, prince: If this young boy, through your own negligence or that of
the nurse, were to take a stick or a piece of gravel into its mouth, what would you do?"
"I would take it out, lord. If I couldn't get it out right away, then holding its head in my left hand
and crooking a finger of my right, I would take it out, even if it meant drawing blood. Why is
that? Because I have sympathy for the young boy."
"In the same way, prince:
[1] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not
connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
[2] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing
& disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
[3] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but
unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.
[4] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but
endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
[5] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but
endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
[6] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing
& agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because
the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
o
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boris
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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by boris Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:32 am
P
o
s
t

Nibbna is an ethical state inasmuch as it is reached by ethical practice, but inasmuch as that

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Did the Buddha make mistakes? - Dhamma Wheel


state is cessation of ethics nibbna is transcendental. (It must be emphasized, lest anyone
mistake this for a kind of antinomianism, that the arahat is in no way exempted from
observance of the disciplinary rules of the Vinaya. How far he is capable of breaking them is
another question. See Anguttara III,ix,5-7 <A.i,231-4> &IX,i,7&8 <iv,369-72>.)

http://www.nanavira.org/notes-on-dhamma/shorter-notes/nibbana

Here bhikkhus, a bhikkhu fulfills virtuous behavior, concentration, and wisdom. He falls into
offenses in regard to the lesser and minor training rules and rehabilitates himself. For what
reason? Because I have not said that he is incapable of this. But in regard to those training rules
that are fundamental to the spiritual life, in conformity with the spiritual life, his behavior is
constant and steady fast. Heaving undertaken the training rules, he trains wit them. With the
destruction of the taints, he realizes liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and heaving
entered upon it, he dwells in it.

AN III, 87
translation: Bhikkhu Bodhi

"Monks, Ananda is still in training, but it would not be easy to find his equal in wisdom

. AN III, 78
I think it is good to be able distinguish between realization of cessation of paticcasamuppada
here state of an arahat is a perfect one, and wisdom which implicates also a great learning
(arahat does not has to know all the Suttas) and this is the reason why not all arahats could
equal in wisdom with Ven. Ananda. As long as question deals with direct experience of an
arahat, he is capable to answer it. But some informations which are in Suttas may be above his
direct experience. Also realization of the Four Noble Truth leaves IQ of bhikkhu more or less on
th same level, and so while his liberation may be perfect, his ability to teach others, to share
his experience with others not necessarily has to be perfect. In other word, realization of the
state of arahat makes people free, it does not make them geniuses of logic which are
incapable to fall into logical inconsistency or contradiction.
The man who wants to avoid grotesque collapses should not look for anything to fulfill him in space
and time.
Nicols Gmez Dvila
o
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SarathW
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2012 2:49 am

Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by SarathW Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:45 am
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o
Buddha
was aware of the fact that his teaching
s
many.
t

can be misrepresented an misunderstood by

This is the very reason why he was reluctant to preach Dhamma to the world after his
enlightenment.
However he impose rules as and when the problem arised during his life time.
He did not want Dhamma to be clouded by red tapes.
This matter is discussed in Malindapanha.

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/milinda.pdf
T

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Did the Buddha make mistakes? - Dhamma Wheel

Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


I

by seeker242 Mon Dec 01, 2014 12:34 pm


P
o
think
it safe to say the Buddha made mistakes
s
t

before he was enlightened.

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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by Bhikkhu Pesala Mon Dec 01, 2014 4:53 pm
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o
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seeker242 wrote:
t

I think it safe to say the Buddha made mistakes before he was enlightened.

Bhikkhu Pesala
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8:17 pm

Before he was Enlightened, Siddhattha Gotama was not a Buddha, but a Bodhisatta.
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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by retrofuturist Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:41 pm
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o
Greetings,
s
t

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:

retrofuturist
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As I said, the Arahants should not be accused of making mistakes. What people call a mistake
implies an error of judgement, ignorance, or inattention. Although an Arahant does not know
everything, he is free from ignorance regarding the Four Noble Truths, about the right
(spiritual) path and the wrong path, He (or she) has no defilements, and is never inattentive.
He might not know the right path that leads to the village for alms if he is new to an area, so he
might take the wrong path and end up at a dead-end or in another village. Is that a mistake? I
don't think it is it was just an unfortunate guess when faced with a decision to make
regarding what was unknown to him.

I agree. Being liberated from dukkha does not mean having omniscience regarding all potential
objective facts.
The Dhamma is about the nature of subjective experience, and that is what has been fully
understood and mastered by an Arahant.
Metta,

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=22342&p=319492[13/8/2558 0:53:48]

Did the Buddha make mistakes? - Dhamma Wheel

Retro.
"When we transcend one level of truth, the new level becomes what is true for us. The previous one
is now false. What one experiences may not be what is experienced by the world in general, but
that may well be truer. (Ven. Nanananda)
I hope, Anuruddha, that you are all living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing,
blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes. (MN 31)
Never again...
o
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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by Pondera Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:01 am
P
o Jains thought he was a backslider and was
The
s
clothing,
took baths, accepted meat, et al.
t

Pondera
Posts: 374
Joined: Thu Aug 11,
2011 10:02 pm

imperfect because he walked on grass, wore

He made mistakes. He spent years following the wrong path. But when he followed the right
path? The belief and tradition is that he was not capable of making any dhammic, technical
error.
Here's an example of the reasons why.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.058.than.html
(Same sutta linked by Mkoll) I would draw attention to the comparison made between the
Charioteer's knowledge of the parts of the Chariot and the Enlightened One's knowledge with
respect to the parts of the Dhamma.
The past is written in red ink, founded on the earth, for the sake of transparency.
Darkness follows the past into the present.
o
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dhammarelax
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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by dhammarelax Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:28 am
P
o
Interesting
to note that this perfection is restricted to the Dhamma, kind of a
s
specialized
knowledge, It doesn't seem to say that it is as wide as we tend to
t

thorough
think when we

hear perfection or such.


Also the quoted sutta says "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be", it doesn't say
In the case of words that are, which is restricting even more the sense from a universal
truthful fact to an opinion.
I post to create an uplifted and happy mind both for myself and for the reader
o
p
santa100
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10:55 pm

Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by santa100 Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:13 pm
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o
s
AN 4.77 wrote:
t

Bhikkhus, there are these four inconceivable matters that one should not try to conceive; one
who tries to conceive them would reap either madness or frustration. what four? (1) The
domain of the Buddhas is an inconceivable matter that one should not ry to conceive; one who

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=22342&p=319492[13/8/2558 0:53:48]

Did the Buddha make mistakes? - Dhamma Wheel


tries to conceive it would reap either madness or frustration...

Ven. Thanissaro's note:

i.e., the range of powers a Buddha develops as a result of becoming a Buddha.


o
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dhammarelax
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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by dhammarelax Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:34 pm
P
o
What
about this perspective, we know that Saripputa was
s
telling
us that although there were many arahants at the
t

the chief disciple in wisdom, this is


time he was superior in wisdom,
hence there is superior wisdom and inferior wisdom within the Arahant sphere, as wisdom is
indirectly defined in MN 43 as knowledge of the four noble truths (in the context of Dependent
origination) then it would follow that there is superior and inferior wisdom in regards to the 4
NTs and DO, in this regards the mistake boundary will be then defined by the inferior wisdom,
now what is this boundary?

Would it be possible to have an Arahant that completely ignores DO and the 4 NTs while
keeping a perfect morality and even having a perfect concentration?
Keep smiling all the time
dhammarelax
I post to create an uplifted and happy mind both for myself and for the reader
o
p
santa100
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Re: Did the Buddha make mistakes?


by santa100 Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:12 pm
P
o
s
dhammarelax wrote:
t

Would it be possible to have an Arahant that completely ignores DO and the 4 NTs while keeping
a perfect morality and even having a perfect concentration?

No, for that'd mean there's still work to be done. One who "fulfills virtuous behavior and
concentration but cultivates wisdom only to a moderate extent" might qualify as a nonreturner.. (AN 9.12)

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