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During the time of Buddha, it is said many people at one gathering attained enlightenment by listening to only one one of his sermons. How can a mind develop such a achieving within matter of hours. There are millions of devoted Buddhist in the world now but I have not heard a single person achieving higher mental status. Are there any other explanation this other than karma?

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    Thank you every one for giving more insight to my thoughts. – Jayantha Abeysinghe May 24 at 11:24
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If you analyse the Sutta, you will find those who became Arahants by just listening to discourse are people who have already perfected Sila and Samadhi. For instance Buddhas first disciples, five ascetics.

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  • If you look at the sutta you will find that only ariya are consumate in sila & samadhi. – deadmanposting May 18 at 13:46
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    The general point is true tho, they were highly developed and their faculties ripened quickly. – deadmanposting May 18 at 13:52
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There are several traditional takes on this.

According to some commentary the Dhamma declines gradually so that there is a steady decline and progressive lack of higher attainments in the world until there are no attainments left. Based on this kind of reasoning some hold that there is a cap on what will be attained in our time, some hold that Sotapannaship is possible whereas other hold that as being impossible because they base it on a different calculation and values ie 500 years for disappearance of this or that attainment instead of a 1000.

Another popular interpretation is that Dhamma can be revived so that even if there is nobody with attainments during a decline, it is still possible to get all or some of the attainments.

These are the basis for popular theravadin positions.

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To share one's attainments is generally frowned upon as we do not have the buddha here to verify attainments. However, in the vipassana tradition there are some lay people who have demonstrated extreme discipline for example: Dipa Ma https://dipama.com/ May find peace and happiness, With Metta :)

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    "Suppose that a contemplative or brahman were to arrive at a skillful Dhamma. Having arrived at a skillful Dhamma, he should not declare it to anyone else, for what can one person do for another?" ~ Lohicca Sutta DN 12. This sutta clarifies that if a member of the Sangha asks another member for any attainments in the spiritual path, He/She should, if they have attained any fruits, say their attainments. – ArbitraryChoices May 19 at 14:39
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How can a mind develop such a achieving within matter of hours.

Sorta like math prodigies being able to master calculus, differential equations, or number theory when still in middle school. There's no difference, an inevitable result of many lives of cultivation and dedication to the discipline.

There are millions of devoted Buddhist in the world now but I have not heard a single person achieving higher mental status. Are there any other explanation this other than karma?

Probably because the real deal who's truly achieved those higher attainments wouldn't go around and proclaim it to others. Anyway, it's not necessarily true that modern men's intelligence or capacity are duller or dumber than their ancient counterparts, it's definitely true that the environment our ancestors once lived was vastly more conducive to the cultivation of the Dhamma. Back then, there were no TVs, radios, internet chatrooms, facebook, snapchat, twitter, zoom, tik tok, and a gazillion of other modern day distractions.

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  • "Anyway, it's not necessarily true that modern men's intelligence or capacity are duller or dumber than their ancient counterparts", in my view the people at the time of Buddha were much more intelligent and had great kamma to be born at that time. Arahat Sariputta's discernment is said to be only second to Gautama Buddha Himself. – ArbitraryChoices May 19 at 14:31
  • That's a legit point. To be able to be born at the right time and place, and to be able to get first-hand experience cultivating the Dhamma under the Buddha's guidance would take absolutely awesome Kamma for sure! – santa100 May 19 at 14:43
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Samadhi(Concentration) should be developed, Sila(Morality) should be practiced and with the help of these 2, Paññā(Discernment) will be developed. Only by having discernment can one understand the Buddhist teachings. At the time of Buddha, as SarathW said, people who attained stages of awakening already perfected Sila and Samadhi therefore it was easy for them to understand the Buddha's teachings. In the present if you want to achieve 'awakening' you should perfect Sila(Minimum 5 precepts) and Samadhi (Samata Meditation) and move onto Insight (Vipassana) Meditation, with time you will awaken.

The reason today's laypeople and even Bhikkus do not achieve awakening is because they do not practice Buddha's teachings. The teachings have turned to lip recital but not practice.

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