reflection wrote:When grouping the 8 noble persons into the usual 4, the pair of path-stream enterer and fruit-stream enterer are both put into one group of 'stream enterer'. So the difference is very small between those two and in a way both translations make sense. One practicing for getting right view (stream entry) is not automatically 'one on the path to stream entry', such a being is called puthujjana.
That's the technical way of looking at it. Of course in English a puthujjana practitioner could say "I'm training for stream entry" or "I'm on the path toward stream entry" and all is fine. But when the suttas use the term "path" in this context it means the inevitable attaining of right view, not just practicing for it.
Every time such a topic comes up, I think there is a danger of people trying to fit themselves into a category, or the arising of craving to be someone else. So I think it best not to worry too much about those things. There is no sutta that says we should contemplate these kind of things, as far as I'm aware. It is not a central part of the dhamma one needs to understand, like for example anatta is. I think it is better to see things in terms of the 10 fetters or the 8 factors of the path, instead of 'attainments'. This way you avoid looking at labels and instead are looking closer at the problem and the solution.
BlackBird wrote:One view (the one I ascribe to) is that quite simply, one attains the path first, and the fruit may not be attained for some time thereafter, but at the very latest before the breakup of the body. So one attained to the path is either a Dhammanusari (one attained to the path by Dhamma) or a Saddhanusari (one attained to the path by faith). They are not yet a stream 'enterer' but they are destined to become one. This of course is not accepted by some traditional teachers who teach the path and fruit are attained within moments of each other, but if I recall correctly, even Bhikkhu Bodhi has had something to say about that, I can remember reading a note in my Majjhima I think it was where he says something to the effect of such an interpretation being contradicted by a certain sutta passage, and it would seem by the given passage that the Path & Fruit are seperate and one can be attained to the former without the latter following immediately after.
I will try and hunt this comment out, for I am sure It's not the first time I've spoken of it.
Contrary to the commentaries, which hold that the path-attainer realizes the fruit immediately after attaining the path, the Nika¯yas say merely that one who reaches the stage of Dhamma-follower or faith-follower (corresponding to the commentarial notion of path-attainer) will realize the fruit within this same life—but not necessarily in the next mind-moment. The two positions might be reconciled if we see the path of the Dhamma-follower and faith-follower as extended in time but reaching its climax in an instantaneous breakthrough that is immediately followed by realization of the fruit. ~~ In the Buddha's Words - X.20 ~~