Stream-entry

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Stream-entry

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jul 10, 2013 11:43 am

Good morning forum,

The sutras references "four pairs" when it regards liberation (stream entry, etc.) and the first one is "the person on the path to stream-entry" and subsequently "the person experiencing the fruit of stream-entry". My question is simple, but I do not want to assume understanding that is not mutually held when reading this reference:

1) Is "the person on the path to stream-entry" considered one who is actively and genuinely engaged along the Noble 8 fold path?

&

2) How is "the person experiencing the fruit of stream-entry" defined in the sutras? How is "fruit" defined?

Metta,

Zen
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Re: Stream-entry

Postby Viscid » Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:24 pm

I think question 1 can be rephrased more interestingly as:
Is it possible for someone to be dedicated to the Noble Eightfold Path and yet not be on the path to stream-entry?

My intuition says that if someone is attuning themselves toward Right View, they must necessarily be heading towards stream-entry, no? Once knowledge of the origin and cessation of suffering is fully understood, and the appropriate effort is put forth, stream-entry is inevitable. However, the degree to which an individual is 'dedicated to the path' can be quite varied-- and just because they've convinced themselves that they are following the Noble Eightfold Path doesn't necessarily mean that they can expect stream-entry.
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Re: Stream-entry

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:11 pm

Viscid wrote:I think question 1 can be rephrased more interestingly as:
Is it possible for someone to be dedicated to the Noble Eightfold Path and yet not be on the path to stream-entry?

My intuition says that if someone is attuning themselves toward Right View, they must necessarily be heading towards stream-entry, no? Once knowledge of the origin and cessation of suffering is fully understood, and the appropriate effort is put forth, stream-entry is inevitable. However, the degree to which an individual is 'dedicated to the path' can be quite varied-- and just because they've convinced themselves that they are following the Noble Eightfold Path doesn't necessarily mean that they can expect stream-entry.


Viscid,

Thanks for replying! You make a strong point and I do agree. I am just sifting as to how it is understood in the tradition? Is there a common understanding that if one is sincere, genuine, with a growing right view and right concentration (etc) is said person on the path to stream entry? It may seem like an unusual question as it is better to be experience the fruit of stream entry, but the Buddha seemed to preclude it with "a path to". Or is "the path to stream-entry" precluding its fruits an attained state that may be declared?

I have more questions regarding stream-entry, but lets start with these. :)

Metta,

Zen
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Re: Stream-entry

Postby reflection » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:30 pm

As long as one still has a sense of "I exist", in a way one is on the path to stream entry every time one is practicing. It is understanding anatta that is important, not so much how the process will be like. Because understanding anatta, getting rid of the first fetter of self view, is a big part of what is called stream entering; this I see as one of the most important ways the suttas explain it.
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Re: Stream-entry

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:57 pm

Hi Zen,

This collection may be helpful:
Into the Stream, A Study Guide on the First Stage of Awakening
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... tream.html

And the recent suttas that we have looked at in the Study Group, starting with:
SN 55.1: Raja Sutta — The Emperor
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=17340

:anjali:
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Re: Stream-entry

Postby Zenainder » Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:19 pm

reflection wrote:As long as one still has a sense of "I exist", in a way one is on the path to stream entry every time one is practicing. It is understanding anatta that is important, not so much how the process will be like. Because understanding anatta, getting rid of the first fetter of self view, is a big part of what is called stream entering; this I see as one of the most important ways the suttas explain it.


Reflection,

I cannot help, but to agree.

It is interesting how difficult anatta view is explained for those entangled in it. I cannot fully explain it, but "no self" is certainly a continual insight that keeps dawning for me in very subtle and small ways. As laity, I can express gratitude in my path as I can see it everyday at work. To and fro this whirl of activity is going, but absent is the goer. Even that is too vague to explain it. I view it with a bit of humor of my mistaken attitude for who knows how long that there was something ever there.

I've at least come to understand that what sustains "the activity" ("me") comes causes and conditions, primarily desire: survival, belongings, and settling in; all in which run contrary to the main stream of not self, suffering, and impermanence. The "not self" portion, being only on the path to stream entry (or that is my aspiration at the very least) emerges in subtle forms and the truth is always there, but distractions, entanglements, etc. are abundant (which are only as subtle or harsh as right view and right concentration are present/developed).

I've also noticed a detached attitude towards strategy / tradition in how all of this is attained and developed. What matters more is walking the path. If I fret if I am practicing "right", I am doing it wrong, yet if I settle in my practice its easier. Letting go is the practice and in that is letting go of your practice. lol.

I apologize for my rambling. The activity is short of community as of right now ;) Sharing and exchanging knowledge has always been of value to me. "Learning, learning, learning."

Metta,

Zen
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Re: Stream-entry

Postby reflection » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:19 pm

I think it is wise to see things in terms of experiences and practice. Not falling for the craving to be "stream winner" or "path attainer" or whatever have you. And also not looking for confirmation outside of ourselves. It's easy to fall for tricks of the mind like "I wish I was a (path/fruit) stream winner", or "let's see if the suttas say I'm already there", but all of that is not really useful. I think it's better to see what we are attached to and how to let that go.

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Re: Stream-entry

Postby Zenainder » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:44 pm

reflection wrote:I think it is wise to see things in terms of experiences and practice. Not falling for the craving to be "stream winner" or "path attainer" or whatever have you. And also not looking for confirmation outside of ourselves. It's easy to fall for tricks of the mind like "I wish I was a (path/fruit) stream winner", or "let's see if the suttas say I'm already there", but all of that is not really useful. I think it's better to see what we are attached to and how to let that go.

:anjali:


Reflection,

Heh yeah, the truth is within and the "need" for outside approval negates it. In regards to what I consider "carrot on the stick philosophy" of a conceptualized, impossible goal results in unskillful habitual tendencies and increases suffering. Been there, done that and please keep the t-shirt. I privately (shh tell noone ;) )tend to reflect on stream-entry more openly. It being more of a path as a whole, rather than a single conceptualized event. I reflect on the word "attainment" loosely as, just as you said, craving to be something is deceiving and paradoxical. I've come to find it useless to erroneously and constantly doubt the path.

All I can say is the practice works to reduce suffering and so I proceed. :shrug:

Metta,

Zen

P.S. - Thanks for your input I find it... reflective ;-)
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Re: Stream-entry

Postby Zenainder » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:06 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Zen,

This collection may be helpful:
Into the Stream, A Study Guide on the First Stage of Awakening
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... tream.html

And the recent suttas that we have looked at in the Study Group, starting with:
SN 55.1: Raja Sutta — The Emperor
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=17340

:anjali:
Mike


Mikenz66,

Thanks for that link! It does help answer the pair of questions there. I see bhante seemed to leave it an open ended question in regards to exactly what it is or how one knows. Or it could be I am struggling with my own understanding vs. what is being relayed. Definitely something to contemplate.

I tend to wonder if one who is experiencing the fruit grows into it, much like an apple tree bearing apples, it just happens with the right conditions? It is not like the tree concentrated with all its might screaming "apples!!!!!! @_____@" that apples grew any way. :lol:

Metta,

Zen
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Re: Stream-entry

Postby Zenainder » Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:07 pm

I find it remarkable that bhante ended the article regarding stream entry with this quote:

"Therefore, Dighavu, when you are established in these four factors of stream entry, you should further develop six qualities conducive to clear knowing. Remain focused on inconstancy in all fabrications, percipient of stress in what is inconstant, percipient of not-self in what is stressful, percipient of abandoning, percipient of dispassion, percipient of cessation. That's how you should train yourself."

— SN 55.3


Even after being established in the four factors for stream entry the path continues. I am coming to the conclusion that stream entry is not so much an "attainment" and more of road marker. Much like a traveler journeying to yonder and aftering months of travel sees a sign indicating the city he wishes to arrive to is so many 100 of miles away. It'd be silly, in my opinion, for him to stop completely and rejoice as if he arrived. The sign is only a guide or an indicator that "hey I am headed in the right direction and I am near". Certainly there is relief to arrive at the sign, but there is still the rest of the journey to undertake.

I suppose it is best to journey well then, eh?

Zen
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Re: Stream-entry

Postby reflection » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:47 pm

The suttas compare sotapanna to seeing water in the well but not being able to drink it. Or being able to swim towards the shore but still being in the ocean. So in itself it is just a means to an end, indeed just a signpost. I remember an Ajahn Chah quote that said "let your aim be nibbana". And I think that's wise in that if one is trying to conceptualize the stages in between it can stand in the way of letting go. Of course it can be helpful to have an idea of what we should let go, so I think seeing things in terms of the hindrances and the fetters is useful, but trying to 'mimic' sotapanna by its definition is not. That if one just knew how the process goes, one can in a sense copy it or steer towards it; that is not really helpful I don't think.

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Re: Stream-entry

Postby manas » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:02 pm

reflection wrote:As long as one still has a sense of "I exist", in a way one is on the path to stream entry every time one is practicing. It is understanding anatta that is important, not so much how the process will be like. Because understanding anatta, getting rid of the first fetter of self view, is a big part of what is called stream entering; this I see as one of the most important ways the suttas explain it.


Hi reflection,

with respect, I think that some might read into that, that a stream enterer has the perception "I do not exist" - which is incorrect. That too would be a type of self-view, still fettered. "I exist, I do not exist": as I recall, both are classed as wrong view, are they not?

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Re: Stream-entry

Postby reflection » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:15 pm

manas wrote:
reflection wrote:As long as one still has a sense of "I exist", in a way one is on the path to stream entry every time one is practicing. It is understanding anatta that is important, not so much how the process will be like. Because understanding anatta, getting rid of the first fetter of self view, is a big part of what is called stream entering; this I see as one of the most important ways the suttas explain it.


Hi reflection,

with respect, I think that some might read into that, that a stream enterer has the perception "I do not exist" - which is incorrect. That too would be a type of self-view, still fettered. "I exist, I do not exist": as I recall, both are classed as wrong view, are they not?

kind regards
manas

Yes, that is included. But in a sense, to say "I do not exist", does also imply an imagined "I" somewhere.. in a certain way at least.
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Re: Stream-entry

Postby chownah » Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:09 am

reflection wrote:
manas wrote:
reflection wrote:As long as one still has a sense of "I exist", in a way one is on the path to stream entry every time one is practicing. It is understanding anatta that is important, not so much how the process will be like. Because understanding anatta, getting rid of the first fetter of self view, is a big part of what is called stream entering; this I see as one of the most important ways the suttas explain it.


Hi reflection,

with respect, I think that some might read into that, that a stream enterer has the perception "I do not exist" - which is incorrect. That too would be a type of self-view, still fettered. "I exist, I do not exist": as I recall, both are classed as wrong view, are they not?

kind regards
manas

Yes, that is included. But in a sense, to say "I do not exist", does also imply an imagined "I" somewhere.. in a certain way at least.

Would you say then that "I do not exist" is probably wrong view but that "there is no I" might be better in that it detaches "I" from the speaker?......and in terms of "self" it is probably wrong view to say "I have no self" but to say "there is no self" might be better?
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