From time to time I've come across the notion of "cula sotapanna," or lesser sotapanna, but I seldom see it mentioned on discussion boards and I wonder if it's held out as an intermediate goal of practice (so to speak) in the manner that stream-entry is, but more like an almost-there stage.
The Mogok Sayadaw assured that those who had fulfilled the four conditions in the past life and died before attaining a noble status, they were guaranteed a rebirth in a Deva realm with a subsequent realisation of Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta and liberation.
They were the Buddha's words and one can take them for granted. The four conditions are as follows:
(1) The person must have listened to a discourse about the realities of existence, Anicca (impermanence), Dukkha (suffering) and Anatta (void of self or ego or immortal soul).
(2) The person must have learnt about these realities and can recite them verbally. It is known as Cutamaya panna or acquired knowledge.
(3) The person must have reflected these realities during Vipassana meditation. It is Cintamaya panna or knowledge acquired through analytic inquest.
(4) The person must have witnessed the arising and dissolving phenomenon of meditation objects and have perceived the concept of Anatta (impersonal). Vipassana nana (Uddayabbaya nana) or knowledge or insight into the absence of immortal soul. This would be equivalent to a Cula Sotapanna.
These persons may not have experienced the realities of existence through the Bhavanamaya panna and have not reached the noble status as a human. When they die they will be reborn in one of the six Deva realms (heavens) and will attain either Sotapanna, Sakadagam, Anagam or Arahat in the following ways.
1. Yogi (meditator) who had fulfilled the four conditions and died with the reflection of the three realities of existence, Acicca, Dukkha and Anatta, would be reborn as a Deva immediately, but the continuity of the last thought would enable the Yogi to reflect upon these realities before the Yogi realised that he or she was a Deva. This reflection will result in a noble status immediately and a teacher is not required to assist him for liberation.
2. Yogi who had fulfilled the four conditions, but died without the reflection of the realities would be reborn as a Deva. The Yogi will be assisted to realise these realities by the Devas who know his thought and will persuade him to reflect upon them. The Yogi will reach a noble status there and then with a little help.
3. Yogi who had fulfilled the four conditions, but died without reflection of the realities would be reborn as a Deva. The Yogi will attain a noble status within a week as a Deva after attending a meeting of Devas and hearing a discourse. The meeting is held weekly and is attended by Devas of all six heavens and discourses are given by liberated ones.
4. Yogi who died in a similar way and was reborn as a Deva would be approached by his Dhamma friends and would persuade him to continue with the practice.
Anyone know anything more about this condition know as cula sotapanna? Canonical? Speculation? Tradition? Something else?