How common is stream entry?

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby mogg » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:53 pm

Feathers wrote:Or I can decide the game isn't worth the candle - after all, even if (big if for me) rebirth is all true, memory carrying over seems so rare, that I won't be suffering. So I do as much as benefits me in this life, and then either this life is all there ever was (win) or I get reborn and continue for many more lives . . . but that would have happened anyway, as apparently even working your butt off for decades doesn't get you free of that.

If real progress, stream-entry at least, is not a realistic possibility, I simply don't see the motivation to do more than meditate a bit (for a happier mind) and live a moral life (because it's the right thing to do, and to hedge your bets on reincarnation).

This one life is exhausting - I used to wish there was an afterlife, now I am leaning towards hoping this one life is all there is. The idea of 7 more is already too much to face. To expend effort and precious energy on something that would still almost certainly leave me facing far more than 7 . . .

Looking at life here and now is like standing at the bottom of a hill with two broken legs, knowing I have to somehow climb that hill. Buddhism seems to chuck in an entire mountain range.

And yes, I know I'm on a Buddhist forum, and . . . I do believe there's something to Buddhism. If I didn't, if I was neutral or opposed to it, I wouldn't be here.

Feathers



It sounds like your level of nibbida (disenchantment, weariness) is strong. This bodes well; who knows, maybe the path will be piece of cake for you?

Becoming a doctor is difficult and 'rare'. When I finished school in Sydney, less than the top 1% of students could qualify for medicine. Is it impossible? No, but you would lying to your kid if you said it was common and easy. That being said, for some kids it IS easy. Maybe you are one of those 'kids'? You'll never know unless you give it a shot.

At the end of the day, its all causal from my understanding. You don't really have much choice in the matter. The fact that you have already come this close to Buddhism means you are already on the path.
Last edited by mogg on Mon Apr 22, 2013 4:01 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:54 pm

Just out of curiosity, how common is reaching the deva realm, compared to gaining stream entry?

I ask because traditionally many if not most laypeople have set their sights on a favorable rebirth, rather than ariyan attainments. So it's not necessarily a simple choice between reaching stream entry or falling into the lower realms.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Digity » Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:33 pm

Human realm and above is rare. If you honestly believe this and also believe that the arising of a Buddha is rare too you'd be pretty foolish not to put as much effort as is needed to achieve stream-entry. To me it's pretty damn clear that this is the path out of suffering and even though I struggled with accepting these teachings in the past through investigation I've realized there's no other way out. You have to put some effort in this respect to see these things...you can't just sit there like a lump on the log and except insight to come to you. Stop complaining that it's too hard....reflect on what the Buddha did to achieve enlightenment...now what if the Buddha had the "it's too hard!" attitude! Can you picture the Buddha saying that? Oh, it's too hard...I can't do it! No, he was a strong person and he forged through! I have had my moments of discouragement, but they're becoming less and less and I have reflected on the strength of the Buddha and it's encourages me to move forward.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:21 pm

mogg wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Mogg, thanks. I don't think I am wedded to a position on this. In fact I've been trying to argue against taking a position, that taking a position is counter-productive. Perhaps you can take your own advice and read posts more carefully.

The passage you quoted again is no evidence that stream-entry is rare and difficult, I am sorry. The Dhamma being deep, hard to see and hard to realize is very true but I don't think it necessarily follows that those who sincerely strive overwhelmingly fail to do what is difficult. Especially if one does not delight in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoys attachment.

Reports of a few monks is hardly evidence unless they were major teachers who have instructed many monks and would know of their attainments. If they were, I will accept this as some evidence that it is rare.

But again, I am not of the opinion that stream-entry is easy to realize, just that it is not useful to posit that it is difficult. And that it may in fact make it more difficult that it needs to be.

Dan, Ajahn Brahm said in a talk I attended in Malaysia that whilst the vinaya prohibited him from giving specifics, he could say that there are monks and nuns getting enlightened in the contemporary Sangha. So it is being done.

However, like I said previously, I ask this question a lot and I have passed on the consistent answer that I have received from monks and nuns (some prominent teachers, others low-key). This follows my own experience of walking the path, as for me, nothing has come easily since I embarked on this journey. This is fairly common from discussions with other practitioners that I have come across (with a few exceptions...like a friend of mine who got into jhana on her first retreat). For most of us, its not easy. Like I said previously though, I would rather know the truth of the matter and face up to it like a man than delude myself with all sorts of 'puppy dogs and ice-cream' fluff like you see being peddled in other religions.

Know it's tough, know that you have no choice, and get on with it.

(If it turns out to be easy for you then come track me down and help me out :smile: )


No worries, Mogg! Sorry that my earlier reply to you was rash. If this attitude works for you, motivates you and keeps you on track, then great!

It's also a good idea to regularly check in with good teachers, especially on retreats, which you're probably already doing.
_/|\_
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Zom » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:18 pm

Instead of making guesses about the "rarity" and the stuff, better look more often into Dhamma Mirror to see if there are still things to be fulfilled to be a stream-enterer yourself -) When there they are, there will be no need to ask this question.

However, just for statistics. There's a sutta where Buddha speaks about people who passed away in a certain village. Among them there were 50 non-returners, 90 once-returners and 506 (ye, 506) stream-enterers.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby cooran » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:29 pm

Zom wrote:Instead of making guesses about the "rarity" and the stuff, better look more often into Dhamma Mirror to see if there are still things to be fulfilled to be a stream-enterer yourself -) When there they are, there will be no need to ask this question.

However, just for statistics. There's a sutta where Buddha speaks about people who passed away in a certain village. Among them there were 50 non-returners, 90 once-returners and 506 (ye, 506) stream-enterers.


Hello Zom,

What Sutta is this? Please give details, and a link.

With metta,
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:40 pm

"The layman Sudatta, Ananda, through the destruction of the three fetters (self-belief, doubt, and faith in the efficacy of rituals and observances), and the lessening of lust, hatred, and delusion, has become a once-returner and is bound to make an end of suffering after having returned but once more to this world.

"The laywoman Sujata, Ananda, through the destruction of the three fetters has become a stream-enterer, and is safe from falling into the states of misery, assured, and bound for Enlightenment.

"The layman Kakudha, Ananda, through the destruction of the five lower fetters (that bind beings to the world of the senses), has arisen spontaneously (among the Suddhavasa deities), and will come to final cessation in that very place, not liable to return from that world. [Anagami]

"So it is with Kalinga, Nikata, Katissabha, Tuttha, Santuttha, Bhadda, and Subhadda, and with more than fifty laymen in Nadika. More than ninety laymen who have passed away in Nadika, Ananda, through the destruction of the three fetters, and the lessening of lust, hatred, and delusion, have become once-returners and are bound to make an end of suffering after having returned but once more to this world.

"More than five hundred laymen who have passed away in Nadika, Ananda, through the complete destruction of the three fetters have become stream-enterers, and are safe from falling into the states of misery, assured, and bound for Enlightenment.

Digha Nikaya 16 Parinibbana Sutta


http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... bana_Sutta
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Alex123 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:35 am

Feathers wrote:Or I can decide the game isn't worth the candle - after all, even if (big if for me) rebirth is all true, memory carrying over seems so rare, that I won't be suffering. So I do as much as benefits me in this life, and then either this life is all there ever was (win) or I get reborn and continue for many more lives . . . but that would have happened anyway, as apparently even working your butt off for decades doesn't get you free of that.


We are supposed to have been in hell, and slaughtered as animals so many times that enough blood spilled to fill the oceans... Yet, somehow I don't remember it and it doesn't seem to really affect my current personality. (I think that so much suffering would make anyone seriously insane).

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Feathers wrote:This one life is exhausting - I used to wish there was an afterlife, now I am leaning towards hoping this one life is all there is. The idea of 7 more is already too much to face. To expend effort and precious energy on something that would still almost certainly leave me facing far more than 7 . . .


I agree. Not only is 7 too much, but even this one is too much.
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby mogg » Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:57 am

Zom wrote:Instead of making guesses about the "rarity" and the stuff, better look more often into Dhamma Mirror to see if there are still things to be fulfilled to be a stream-enterer yourself -) When there they are, there will be no need to ask this question.

However, just for statistics. There's a sutta where Buddha speaks about people who passed away in a certain village. Among them there were 50 non-returners, 90 once-returners and 506 (ye, 506) stream-enterers.

Don't forget, in Pali when '500' is mentioned, it doesn't literally mean '500' , it just means a lot.

Also consider the kammic situation of people born in the exact time and place of the Buddha...insanely good kamma. A whole different kettle of fish to us here now, 2500 yrs displaced from the teaching. You cannot compare the two.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby PadmaPhala » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:31 am

kirk5a wrote:
Vincenzi wrote:
khlawng wrote:I for one hope anyone that believe they have attained sotapanna to come forward and tell us how they did. No judgement, no shame and no criticism. Sure there are the crazies. But I will go through a 100, 1000, 10,000 of them to find that 1 gem. That is my conviction. That is my effort.


Some time after learning about past lives, I* started to search more about the Dharma/Dhamma and specially the Four Stages of Nirvana.

A few years later, and after cleaning some past karma I was sure that I was born a srotapana (how common Bodhisattva vows and srotapanas were in my inmediate past life was an important part of the recollections I had of that specific life).

Right now I'm focusing in the sakadagami to anagami transition, with special care not to get addicted to jhanas (but because of that, I started to neglect the practice of meditation).

*anatta may be more about negating the concept of atman, of recognizing what is commonly called self as impermanent (anicca) than any nihilist view. pronouns used as per usual.

So what do you recollect about "how to did it"? As that was the request made by the poster you responded to.


lots and lots of meditation, a civilization more in tune with nature, much more supportive friendships (compared to humans, at least in this age), a vast collection of knowledge, a more simple lifestyle (less frantic), a culture that respects ahimsa and the Dharma.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby PadmaPhala » Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:36 am

Lazy_eye wrote:Just out of curiosity, how common is reaching the deva realm, compared to gaining stream entry?

I ask because traditionally many if not most laypeople have set their sights on a favorable rebirth, rather than ariyan attainments. So it's not necessarily a simple choice between reaching stream entry or falling into the lower realms.


the suddhavasa viharas (were anagamis are reborn), sound pretty neat... you can have your cake and eat it.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby khlawng » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:25 pm

Vincenzi wrote:lots and lots of meditation, a civilization more in tune with nature, much more supportive friendships (compared to humans, at least in this age), a vast collection of knowledge, a more simple lifestyle (less frantic), a culture that respects ahimsa and the Dharma.


Indeed. Well said.

So base on your experience, what would some of the behavioural changes be in a person who has realize the path of stream entry?
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby PadmaPhala » Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:51 am

Certainty of being on the right path, less uneasiness (specially about the future)... but the behavioural changes aren't that much, because you were already on that path.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Zom » Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:35 am

Hello Zom,

What Sutta is this? Please give details, and a link.


Sure, I found it. This is SN 55.10.

Page 1801 (SN by Bodhi)


Don't forget, in Pali when '500' is mentioned, it doesn't literally mean '500' , it just means a lot.


And when 506 mentioned, then what? -)

Also consider the kammic situation of people born in the exact time and place of the Buddha...insanely good kamma. A whole different kettle of fish to us here now, 2500 yrs displaced from the teaching. You cannot compare the two.


The interesting is the proportion. Of course, it doesn't give a full picture, but still. -)
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Zenainder » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:14 pm

Forum,

I pondered the OP's question throughout my weekend. I am, by no means, a stream-winner yet. I am still finding balance in the "right" view regarding this and from the little reading from the sutras I am convinced that stream-winning is possible. How common is it though? One extreme, assuming its a possibility, is rarity and the other is often; although I think it to be easy to say "rare" due to my relative view and apprehension that if it was so common "what am I doing wrong?" Finding a middle-way between rare and often would be uncommon.

This is likely a relative question that I find more interesting, is the attainment, dualistically speaking, "hard" or does our relative state create that delusion? What holds us back from it? (I tend to think clinging / passions, self-preservation, and doubt are it).

In the end, I am optimistic, be it metaphorical or literal, that if they say it can be done in seven days that it may likely be an uncommon and very real, achievable aspiration. And I really tend to think that it comes down to our level of devotion to the practice. A half-assed commitment, though meritous, is not enough. Excuses won't take us there, nor will zeal without wisdom. The wise and dumb are capable.

How convinced are we in the dhamma? And it cycles back to "some suffer too much, some suffer too little".

Food for thought anyways,

Metta,

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby IanAnd » Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:49 pm

PadmaPhala wrote:
khlawng wrote:
Vincenzi wrote:lots and lots of meditation, a civilization more in tune with nature, much more supportive friendships (compared to humans, at least in this age), a vast collection of knowledge, a more simple lifestyle (less frantic), a culture that respects ahimsa and the Dharma.

Indeed. Well said.

So base on your experience, what would some of the behavioural changes be in a person who has realize the path of stream entry?

Certainty of being on the right path, less uneasiness (specially about the future)... but the behavioural changes aren't that much, because you were already on that path.

I would concur with this assessment, PadmaPhala, based on personal experience.

Just to clarify a bit further on the second point made in this assessment, behavioral changes occur once the asavas have started to be address (sensual passion, states of being, views, and ignorance). This process doesn't occur overnight (at least not in my experience). It may take some time (depending on the individual) to recondition the mind to fully let go of the defilements (influxes or intoxicants) in these groups. This is not to say that one doesn't instantly realize these defilements as defilements. Only that within a previously conditioned mind, it can take some time to undo that conditioning. (Parenthetically, this is a more realistic view of these processes of development than what is sometimes traditionally promulgated within certain Theravada circles.)

In addition to "certainty of being on the right path, less uneasiness (specially about the future)" I would, according to my personal experience, add a sense of urgency about completing the path within this lifetime. When the light at the end of the tunnel finally came into view, it would have taken an elephant gun to put me down to keep me from achieving the end goal. At that moment (the light coming into view), achieving the end goal was the only focus in my life. Nothing else mattered!
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:01 pm

:goodpost:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Aloka » Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:15 pm

I haven't read all 17 pages of this thread, but I thought I'd add these comments from Ajahn Sumedho:

The Four Stages (stream-entry, once-return, non-return and arahant) as described in the Pali Canon are reflective teachings aimed at getting perspective on our own experience. They are not positions. It isn’t a question of thinking in terms of becoming a stream-enterer or becoming an arahant, or wondering, ‘Have I attained stream-entry yet? Am I a non-returner? Will I ever become an arahant?’ This is the worldly mind grasping the concepts.

Sometimes you hear people say, ‘This monk ― he’s a stream-enterer!’ and everyone goes ‘Ohhh! a stream-enterer!’ ‘And that one’s an arahant.’ ‘Wow, an arahant!’ (that’s like superman). But the Pali Canon refers to these Four Stages in connection with the Ten Fetters, these Ten Fetters which I have found to be a very valuable reference point in relation to the Four Stages.

The point is, it is easy to conceptualize stream-entry as some kind of attainment. The ego grasps the concept and the Western ego in particular tends to want to become what it grasps, looking upon such things as kind of achievements or goals. If you have invested many years as a monk practising meditation, you want something to prove it has been worth it, you know! ‘Give me a title. After all these years I don’t know whether I’m a stream-enterer, or not!’

It is by investigating and recognizing the first three of the Ten Fetters, however, that you come to recognize stream-entry, and stream-entry is the path.

http://buddhismnow.com/2010/10/20/the-four-stages-by-ajahn-sumedho/


.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:17 am

IanAnd wrote: When the light at the end of the tunnel finally came into view, it would have taken an elephant gun to put me down to keep me from achieving the end goal. At that moment (the light coming into view), achieving the end goal was the only focus in my life. Nothing else mattered!


So do you regard yourself as a stream entrant, Ian? And if so, could you say something about the experience of overcoming self-view (sakkāya-diṭṭhi)?
Well, oi dunno...
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby PadmaPhala » Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:42 pm

metta IanAnd,

æ* feel like what 'am doing right now is more karma cleansing than anything else, and that by 28 æ should have arrived at the other side of the stream.

*phonetically same as english's I
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