How do you know if you've entered the stream?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
budo
Posts: 1752
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:16 am

How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by budo » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:37 am

I've been meditating since 2010 on and off, can enter the first few jhanas quite easily, and have been on a 15 day mahasi style vipassana retreat, and I still don't know if I've entered the stream. I've had moments of "blanking/blinking out" or "cessation" while meditating, and I can relate to the nanas in the 16 stages of insight. Aside from looking at the 10 fetters and making a vague guess as to which fetter I may or may not have, how do I know if I've entered the stream or attained stream entry?

I know the theory of the dhamma quite well, so asking me if I understand x theory or y theory, won't satisfy my question. So is there a significant first hand experiential indicator one can refer to in order to know they've entered the stream or is it just vague/ambiguous?

The mind is very tricky so how can one know for certain where they are?

Thank you

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 21734
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:42 am

Greetings Budo,

I can't speak from the point of view of the 16 vipassana nanas as that's not the schema I would use.

If you want a sutta-based perspective, I'd recommend Thanissaro Bhikku's "Into The Stream" compendium from this point on...

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

User avatar
DooDoot
Posts: 6173
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by DooDoot » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:57 am

The mind is free from uncertainty. In stream-entry, the mind is free from uncertainty because it continuously experiences the more craving, attachment & self-thinking diminish, the more peaceful the mind becomes. Thus, the mind not only has complete confidence in what the path is but experiences a momentum of deepening peace as the mind lets go more. This is stream-entry, the mind feeling like it is flowing towards peace as the mental formations of attachment dissolve. The mind has clear experiences of lack of self in the breathing, feelings, mental states, etc, until the mind has a clear experience of selflessness overall. Belief in a real self ceases.
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/paticcasamuppada
https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

User avatar
Bundokji
Posts: 2433
Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:57 pm

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by Bundokji » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:05 am

Are you free from suffering? If not, it simply means you still have work to do, regardless of the term you want to use to label your attainment.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

form
Posts: 1260
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by form » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:12 am

How do you know if you have become an Arahat? :mrgreen:

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 6253
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by Aloka » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:42 am

.

This short excerpt from the book "Don't Take Your Life Personally" might be helpful:

The Four Stages, by 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.

https://buddhismnow.com/2010/10/20/the- ... n-sumedho/
:anjali:

User avatar
BasementBuddhist
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Apr 08, 2017 1:03 pm

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by BasementBuddhist » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:33 pm

How do you enter the stream of the dhamma? what is that even supposed to mean? Typically we think of stream entry as getting on the "right path" of the dhamma, of losing those first three fetters and make some real, concrete progress by god! But if you woke up breathing, decided today that you were going to look for wisdom and not ignorance, then enjoy the swim, because you are in the stream.

santa100
Posts: 3785
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by santa100 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:55 am

budo wrote:I know the theory of the dhamma quite well, so asking me if I understand x theory or y theory, won't satisfy my question. So is there a significant first hand experiential indicator one can refer to in order to know they've entered the stream or is it just vague/ambiguous?
Since you know the Dhamma quite well, you should've already read AN 9.12, AN 5.179, AN 10.92, which all point to a simple litmus test for Sotapanna, who: "fulfills virtuous behavior[the Five Precepts] but cultivates concentration and wisdom only to a moderate extent. With the utter destruction of three fetters, this person is a seventimes-at-most attainer who, after roaming and wandering on among devas and humans seven times at most, makes an end of suffering."

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 12620
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by DNS » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:56 am

santa100 wrote:
budo wrote:I know the theory of the dhamma quite well, so asking me if I understand x theory or y theory, won't satisfy my question. So is there a significant first hand experiential indicator one can refer to in order to know they've entered the stream or is it just vague/ambiguous?
Since you know the Dhamma quite well, you should've already read AN 9.12, AN 5.179, AN 10.92, which all point to a simple litmus test for Sotapanna, who: "fulfills virtuous behavior[the Five Precepts] but cultivates concentration and wisdom only to a moderate extent. With the utter destruction of three fetters, this person is a seventimes-at-most attainer who, after roaming and wandering on among devas and humans seven times at most, makes an end of suffering."
Good quote. :thumbsup: It shows that attaining sotapanna is not easy, a difficult task, however, it also shows that it is not impossible (considering how some have placed it on a par with being an arahant).

pegembara
Posts: 1606
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by pegembara » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:14 am

At Savatthi. "Monks, eye-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Ear-consciousness... Nose-consciousness... Tongue-consciousness... Body-consciousness... Intellect-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

Garrib
Posts: 539
Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 8:35 pm

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by Garrib » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:14 am

pegembara wrote:At Savatthi. "Monks, eye-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Ear-consciousness... Nose-consciousness... Tongue-consciousness... Body-consciousness... Intellect-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
I really like this one!

form
Posts: 1260
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 3:23 am

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by form » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:02 am

It is harder than splitting a hair with a needle based on the sutta. Can anyone do that?

mario92
Posts: 317
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:37 am
Location: My house

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by mario92 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:44 pm

I have some questions, in the book of No Ajahn Chah, verse49, ajahn said that if one believes one had attained sottappanna or any ariya state one should go and reverence that ariya. This ariya would say it is uncertain, and also the other ariyas. This made me ponder how accurate are this attainments, and regarding what oneself can been considered an ariya? Also made me question how accurate are the precepts and formulations? what are the meaning of meaningless rites and rituals?

If someone can answer my questions, Thank you.

mario92
Posts: 317
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:37 am
Location: My house

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by mario92 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 3:59 pm

Nibbanna is or means disenchantment?

2600htz
Posts: 487
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: How do you know if you've entered the stream?

Post by 2600htz » Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:15 pm

budo wrote:I've been meditating since 2010 on and off, can enter the first few jhanas quite easily, and have been on a 15 day mahasi style vipassana retreat, and I still don't know if I've entered the stream. I've had moments of "blanking/blinking out" or "cessation" while meditating, and I can relate to the nanas in the 16 stages of insight. Aside from looking at the 10 fetters and making a vague guess as to which fetter I may or may not have, how do I know if I've entered the stream or attained stream entry?

I know the theory of the dhamma quite well, so asking me if I understand x theory or y theory, won't satisfy my question. So is there a significant first hand experiential indicator one can refer to in order to know they've entered the stream or is it just vague/ambiguous?

The mind is very tricky so how can one know for certain where they are?

Thank you
Hello:

Yes it might be a significal first hand experiential indicator of achieving stream-entry, but there are several interpretations depending on the tradition u are following or how u take certain words of the suttas. So its up to you and your personal merit to decide what it is.

Regards.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alīno, arkaprava, Cortadew, form, JamesTheGiant, Majestic-12 [Bot], mikenz66, robertk and 120 guests