Ven. and good Buddha-Parisata, Interested,

The Sublime Buddha said that two things are directly necessary to gain right view, a footing in his path. Next to proper attention, attention of what gives birth (to suffering), the VOICE of someone is needed as pointer toward the unrelated.

Now, can it be said, is it possible, that one reading the good(!) Dhamma, having no perception of relation to it's origin, is capable to gain right view?

Is it possible, say by simply reading of what comes along, to "listen" to the Dhamma, "hear" it?

Sota-panna possible without Sota, without sotānugata?

Is it possible that just one who already had gained it in previous existences would be reminded by "just reading" while others stay still unrelated to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha?

(Note that this is not asked for trade, exchange, stacks, entertainment and akusala deeds, but as a share of merits and continue such for release)


I don't want to claim I "gain right view" but I do or did find it helpful to read.

Perhaps the Buddha "vacana" might substitute for voice.

I suppose reading might be meaningless without experience, though -- or that the dhamma is considered useful ("inviting inspection" etc.) because it relates to experience (see e.g. the Kalama sutta, see also the "four messengers" as a couple of different examples of the dhamma being related to experience).

And I also find it helpful that people -- whether they're a teacher or a fellow-student, a senior student -- can help to answer a question.

I once saw someone on this site comment, that when they learned (were taught) Zen it was a lot of practice and no dhamma-theory. And that reading dhamma, later, helped to make a lot more sense of their practice ("making sense" probably isn't exactly what they wrote, but anyway they seemed to recommend reading as helpful too).

You can see and hear Dhamma talks "in person" by video i.e. on YouTube -- better (more informative) than nothing, right? To see a teacher?

If you're living in a place without a sangha I'd recommend you find some other opportunities for dana. And "good" friends too, even, if you can -- good parents if you're fortunate -- in your own society.

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  • What's the fourth messenger? What does he transport, Nyom Chris? To what does he give rise? – Samana Johann Jul 23 '19 at 5:39
  • As I presume you know, the fourth messenger was the homeless holy-man who (perhaps by his existence) let Gautama know that there was an alternative to living out his life in his father's "palace". I guess that messenger would have been pre-Buddhist, possibly a Sannyasa or Vanaprastha. – ChrisW Jul 23 '19 at 5:52
  • That's the matter part, on what matter comes what mind into arising, good householder? – Samana Johann Jul 23 '19 at 5:58
  • Are you referring to Gautama's desire-for-liberation -- or samvega -- his having seen the first three messengers? – ChrisW Jul 23 '19 at 6:02
  • Is it -- meaning no disrespect -- what the Bhikkhuni sutta called "conceit", e.g. something like, "That holy man attains (or at least aims for) a state of release, I hope that I too though the same practice may attain that release"? – ChrisW Jul 23 '19 at 6:45

Sotapanna means entered the stream. Though listening (sota) - essentially learning - is required to get stream-entry sota in this context means stream and panna means entry. A person who has listened to much is definitely at an advantage. (Sotānugata Sutta)

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  • Sadhu. Sotānugata Sutta A detailed explanation of the four advantages to be looked for from the frequent verbal practice of teachings heard with the ear, from considering them in the mind, and from thoroughly penetrating them by view. How ever, this answer contradicts and answer that Upasaka had given on other place, if remembering. – Samana Johann Jul 23 '19 at 11:44

Theravada answer for this is, it is not sufficient. The problem is that words do not have inherent meaning. They are sign posts / references to the meanings that are already in your self/mind/memory.

As a result you can never be though something completely new that you have never experienced/seen before just by reading words. There is a saying in my culture that explains this. "How do you explain the whiteness of milk to a blind person". It is not impossible but extremely difficult. This is the challenge that need to be overcome by any dhamma teacher who is already in the path if they are to give the same gift to someone else.

However once you have seen a glimpse of it you can continue on your own.

This is why you need someone who has already understood it to help you see it. This is also why lineage of teachers may matter.

Then the question is can you figure it out on your own? Yes. But that the definition of Samma Sambuddha or Pacceka Buddha. (Person who became enlightened on their own effort). According to Buddhism that's a very rare thing to happen. And it wont happen during the time when teachings of a Samma Sambuddha is still alive.

Is it possible that just one who already had gained it in previous existences would be reminded by "just reading" while others stay still unrelated to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha?

Based on doctrine of rebirth. You can become sotapanna and die. And then reborn as a human. You wont remember your past life or anything you learned there. But according to many Buddhist monks I have talked to it is possible for that person to recall/regain same understanding he/she had in the previous life by reading/meditation. But it is not that a person who was not sotapanna now becoming sotapanna. it is considered that person was sotapanna from birth.

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  • Therawada answer are just known as words for good householder, or, so probably pointless (and selfdisqualifying) in regard of the following elaboration, good householder. – Samana Johann Jul 23 '19 at 7:43
  • Don't let him discourage you, it's habitual, good householder R., Don't underestimate evil ('It won't amount to much'). A water jar fills, even with water falling in drops. With evil — even if bit by bit, habitually — the fool fills himself full. – Samana Johann Jul 23 '19 at 8:00

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