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10 hindrances

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There are ten hindrances to enlightenment (shown below) and four stages of realization (enlightenment) based on how many hindrances have been eliminated and / or the degree to which they have been eliminated.

A Buddha is someone who is fully enlightened. A person who is fully enlightened, but not the Buddha of our time, is called an Arahant in Pali. Such a person has eradicated all ten hindrances to enlightenment:

  1. The belief in a permanent personality, ego
  2. Doubt, extreme skepticism
  3. Attachment to rites, rituals, and ceremonies
  4. Attachment to sense desires
  5. Ill-will, anger
  6. Craving for existence in the Form world (heavenly realms)
  7. Craving for existence in the Formless world (heavenly realms)
  8. Conceit
  9. Restlessness
  10. Ignorance

(from Anguttara Nikaya 10.13)

An anagami (non-returner) has completely eradicated the first five hindrances and never returns to earth or any other world system (planet, solar system). Such a person is re-born to a heavenly realm and attains enlightenment from there.

A sakadagami (once-returner) has eradicated the first three hindrances and greatly weakened the fourth and fifth; attachment to sense desires and ill-will. Such a person will be re-born to either the human or heavenly realm and will attain enlightenment there.

A sotapanna (stream-entrant) has eradicated the first three hindrances and will be re-born no more than seven more times and re-birth will either be as a human or a deva in a heavenly realm.

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