How common is stream entry?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Dhammarakkhito
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:12 am

not going to read thru 25 pages to see if this has been posted
viññana sutta:
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."

so i'm not going to say stream entry is either common or easy, but one poster said something like genuinely learning/practicing the dhamma leads to stream entry and i think that is the most reasonable conclusion. many say that you have to have perfect virtues, etc. which would imply basically you have to get right at nibbāna and i don't think that's true. many stream enterers have been surprisingly heedless. also, i sort of reject the idea of trying to reach a safe point; although technically true - you can't be reborn in lower states, but you are still living in saṃsāra. there is no respite from that, so sotāpanna is great but don't sell yourself short
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Wed Oct 25, 2017 7:57 am

How to Proclaim StreamWinning
by Yourself.
“Housefather, when the fivefold guilty
dread is allayed in the Ariyan disciple and
he is possessed of the four limbs of Streamwinning,
and has well seen and well penetrated
the Ariyan Method by insight.
“He may, if he so desire, himself
proclaim thus of himself:
‘I am one who has cut off the doom of
Purgatory, of rebirth in the womb of an animal,
in the realm of ghosts; cut off is the Waste, the
Ill-bourn, the Downfall. A Stream-winner am I,
one not doomed to the Downfall,assured, bound
for enlightenment.’
“Now, housefather, what is the fivefold
guilty dread that is allayed in him ?
12 Buddhawajana
(1) “It is that guilty dread, housefather,
which he who kills begets in this same visible
state, as a result of his killing; it is that guilty
dread about the life to come, which he who kills
begets; also that mental suffering and dejection
which be experiences. By abstaining from killing
he begets no guilty dread in this same visible
state nor for the life to come; he experiences no
mental suffering and dejection. Thus in him who
abstains from killing that guilty dread is allayed.

[then the next four precepts are regarded in the same way]

this is from sotāpanna handbook https://meditationexplorer.files.wordpr ... sion-2.pdf
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Saengnapha » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:37 pm

Sovatthika wrote: so i'm not going to say stream entry is either common or easy, but one poster said something like genuinely learning/practicing the dhamma leads to stream entry and i think that is the most reasonable conclusion. many say that you have to have perfect virtues, etc. which would imply basically you have to get right at nibbāna and i don't think that's true. many stream enterers have been surprisingly heedless. also, i sort of reject the idea of trying to reach a safe point; although technically true - you can't be reborn in lower states, but you are still living in saṃsāra. there is no respite from that, so sotāpanna is great but don't sell yourself short
I tend to agree with your assessment, but not the part about being heedless. Being mindful and diligent should be a condition for sotapanna. Perfect virtues come about on their own through right conduct, etc., and the intention of mindfulness and diligence. When you act in accordance with principle, you are automatically in accordance with the way.

2600htz
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by 2600htz » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:52 am

Hello:

To keep it fun i will say around 1,000 stream-enterers currently living on earth, maybe less :juggling: .

Regards.

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Thu Oct 26, 2017 3:21 am

not heedless with regard to five precepts but heedless in regard to other conduct. 'stainless virtue' for a stream enterer is not the same for an arahant. i will come back if i find examples
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Garrib » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:07 am

2600htz wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:52 am
Hello:

To keep it fun i will say around 1,000 stream-enterers currently living on earth, maybe less :juggling: .

Regards.
Out of some 231 million estimated Theravada Buddhists in the world - less than 1000 stream enterers makes less than one hundred thousandth of one percent. The number gets much smaller if we include Mahayana! If you're right, the odds are REALLY stacked against us!!

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by chownah » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:46 am

Garrib wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:07 am
the odds are REALLY stacked against us!!
If you think that there are odds which have anything to do with becoming a stream enterer then I'm wondering how that works.....is it like gambling?
chownah

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Garrib » Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:53 am

chownah wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:46 am
Garrib wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 5:07 am
the odds are REALLY stacked against us!!
If you think that there are odds which have anything to do with becoming a stream enterer then I'm wondering how that works.....is it like gambling?
chownah
I guess I was being a bit cheeky. The point being - a lot more than 1000 are trying in earnest to gain the path, so if there are < 1000 stream enterers at present, well that is not such a good sign!

Fortunately, I don't see how anyone could possibly know such a thing without aid of a purified divine eye.

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Kurplunk » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:19 am

Dhammarakkhito -

A faith follower is not a stream winner. A faith follower has practiced and studied enough to directly see the characteristic of change in all experience. This is simply the removal of one out of three fetters required for stream-entry. The dropping away of the fetter of personality view is the one that I think requires a moment of appana samadhi (absorption concentration), namely magga/phala or nibbana. Someone who has experienced absorption - based on insight into impermanence (like a faith follower would have) - sees that all experience that could be taken as a permanent, fully satisfying self have completely disappeared. Therefore it is no longer possible for this individual to take any experience as permanent; ergo it is no longer possible to take any experience as fully satisfying if clung to. So a stream-winner has directly seen impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and non-self.

Saying that "many stream-winners have been surprisingly heedless" as evidence that stream-winners aren't virtuous is a sort of logical fallacy. In that it presupposes who a stream-winner is in the first place. Maybe you are off the topic of what defines a stream-winner at that point though and are just talking from your experience of what you consider a stream-winner to be. Regardless, I agree that stream-winners are far from perfect and therefore can do unwholesome actions.

Saengnapha-

Only arahants are perfectly mindful. A stream-winner, although easily inclines toward mindfulness, has many moments of mindlessness and heedlessness.

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:53 am

Kurplunk wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:19 am
A faith follower is not a stream winner.
In the commentaries the saddhānusāri and dhammānusāri are both stated to have arrived at the path of stream-entry. Of course those who base their conclusions on the Suttas alone might arrive at some other view. But since you make recourse in your post to the commentarial conception of...
Kurplunk wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:19 am
a moment of appana samadhi (absorption concentration), namely magga/phala or nibbana.
I assume that these texts carry some weight with you.
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solitarius colens non segnis,
solitarius semet ipse domans
in sylva extrema delectatus sit.“

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Kurplunk » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:15 am

Dhammanando-

Does that mean it is possible to be a stream-winner without directly seeing nibbana? And furthermore, does that imply that one who has directly seen nibbana is necessarily sakadagami or higher?

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:57 am

Kurplunk wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:15 am
Does that mean it is possible to be a stream-winner without directly seeing nibbana?
No. The consciousness that arises at the stream-entry path moment has Nibbāna as its object.
Kurplunk wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:15 am
And furthermore, does that imply that one who has directly seen nibbana is necessarily sakadagami or higher?
No. All grades of sekha disciple, from sotāpanna to anāgāmin, have seen Nibbāna.
On retreat and offline May 22 - July 10.

„Sedem solitariam, cubitum solitarium
solitarius colens non segnis,
solitarius semet ipse domans
in sylva extrema delectatus sit.“

(Dhammapada 305. tr. Viggo Fausbøll. 1855)

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Kurplunk » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:26 am

Ok, maybe I misunderstand what is meant by "faith-follower". I have heard it described as someone who has experienced the insight knowledge of arising and passing. Therefore they understand cause and effect and impermanence.

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:01 am

Kurplunk wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:26 am
Ok, maybe I misunderstand what is meant by "faith-follower". I have heard it described as someone who has experienced the insight knowledge of arising and passing. Therefore they understand cause and effect and impermanence.


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."

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

at the other person, a stream enterer still has ill will and sexual desire. killing is precluded, but cruelty, like rape, torture, mutilation, etc. may not be precluded, but in other suttas i have seen non-killing and non harm mentioned together. the [sutta i can't find] says a stream enterer is heedless by not going to a secluded place (and meditating). the claim i made was too vague really to be proven wrong, i admit, but 'stainless virtues' is said to be more in my opinion than it is. if you value commentary, there is a once returner who starves herself; screenshot below.

"And what is the individual who is a Dhamma-follower? There is the case where a certain individual does not remain touching with his body those peaceful liberations that transcend form, that are formless, nor — having seen with discernment — are his fermentations ended. But with a [sufficient] measure of reflection through discernment he has come to an agreement with the teachings proclaimed by the Tathagata. And he has these qualities: the faculty of conviction, the faculty of persistence, the faculty of mindfulness, the faculty of concentration, & the faculty of discernment. This is called an individual who is a Dhamma-follower.[9] Regarding this monk, I say that he has a task to do with heedfulness. Why is that? [I think:] 'Perhaps this venerable one, when making use of suitable resting places, associating with admirable friends, balancing his [mental] faculties, will reach & remain in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now.' Envisioning this fruit of heedfulness for this monk, I say that he has a task to do with heedfulness.

"And what is the individual who is a conviction-follower? There is the case where a certain individual does not remain touching with his body those peaceful liberations that transcend form, that are formless, nor — having seen with discernment — are his fermentations ended. But he has a [sufficient] measure of conviction in & love for the Tathagata. And he has these qualities: the faculty of conviction, the faculty of persistence, the faculty of mindfulness, the faculty of concentration, & the faculty of discernment. This is called an individual who is a conviction-follower. Regarding this monk, I say that he has a task to do with heedfulness. Why is that? [I think:] 'Perhaps this venerable one, when making use of suitable resting places, associating with admirable friends, balancing his [mental] faculties, will reach & remain in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now.' Envisioning this fruit of heedfulness for this monk, I say that he has a task to do with heedfulness.

"Monks, I do not say that the attainment of gnosis is all at once. Rather, the attainment of gnosis is after gradual training, gradual action, gradual practice. And how is there the attainment of gnosis after gradual training, gradual action, gradual practice? There is the case where, when conviction has arisen, one visits [a teacher]. Having visited, one grows close. Having grown close, one lends ear. Having lent ear, one hears the Dhamma. Having heard the Dhamma, one remembers it. Remembering, one penetrates the meaning of the teachings. Penetrating the meaning, one comes to an agreement through pondering the teachings. There being an agreement through pondering the teachings, desire arises. When desire has arisen, one is willing. When one is willing, one contemplates. Having contemplated, one makes an exertion. Having made an exertion, one realizes with the body the ultimate truth and, having penetrated it with discernment, sees it.[10]

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

edit: "other person," you are actually the same person. well, then there is viññāṇa sutta for you twice in this very thread :jumping:
my interpretation of stream entry comes directly from the suttas
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"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by zerotime » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:39 am

Saengnapha wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:37 pm
I tend to agree with your assessment, but not the part about being heedless. Being mindful and diligent should be a condition for sotapanna. Perfect virtues come about on their own through right conduct, etc., and the intention of mindfulness and diligence. When you act in accordance with principle, you are automatically in accordance with the way.
no perfect virtues are attained by sotappana. Only three fetters are eradicated, not ten.

That's another meaning for Mara. Something whispering to your ear: "Ey... you cannot.... you are not so intelligent... you don't deserve it, you are not perfect,.. your are impure".

We can remember the Angulimala history; he was a serial killer and he entered in the stream. Are you a serial killer?

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:36 am

friend, you cannot enter the stream without permanently keeping the five precepts. see my comment earlier in the thread excerpting the sotāpanna handbook :redherring:
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Kurplunk » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:49 am

Oh I see now, I was confusing "faith-follower" with "dhamma-follower".

Dhammarakkhito-

Outside of keeping the precepts it is still possible to have unwholesome and therefore non-virtuous mental states.

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Saengnapha » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:36 am

zerotime wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:39 am
Saengnapha wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:37 pm
I tend to agree with your assessment, but not the part about being heedless. Being mindful and diligent should be a condition for sotapanna. Perfect virtues come about on their own through right conduct, etc., and the intention of mindfulness and diligence. When you act in accordance with principle, you are automatically in accordance with the way.
no perfect virtues are attained by sotappana. Only three fetters are eradicated, not ten.

That's another meaning for Mara. Something whispering to your ear: "Ey... you cannot.... you are not so intelligent... you don't deserve it, you are not perfect,.. your are impure".

We can remember the Angulimala history; he was a serial killer and he entered in the stream. Are you a serial killer?
I didn't mean to imply that the Sotapanna state perfects the virtues. I'm familiar with the flow charts that describe the various stages and perfections.

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by aflatun » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:14 pm

Thank you for this Bhante.
Dhammanando wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:53 am

In the commentaries the saddhānusāri and dhammānusāri are both stated to have arrived at the path of stream-entry. Of course those who base their conclusions on the Suttas alone might arrive at some other view. But since you make recourse in your post to the commentarial conception of...
I guess the distinction then is about how they got to the path of stream entry, their respective temperaments, etc?
Dhammanando wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:57 am

No. The consciousness that arises at the stream-entry path moment has Nibbāna as its object.

No. All grades of sekha disciple, from sotāpanna to anāgāmin, have seen Nibbāna.
I think there was a thread a few months ago where we discussed whether or not stream entry is defined by the experience of Nibbāna, not matter how fleeting. I guess the classical tradition is clear on this.

Please correct me if I wrong: I believe this consciousness is classified as lokuttara citta, and that it occurs in lokuttara jhana, with all five jhana factors (assuming the first jhana) present, regardless of whether we are considering the samatha yanika or the vipassana yanika... is that right?

From reading Venerable Mahasi I've gotten the impression that he believes at the path moment all six sensory spheres cease. (Forgive me as I can't cite an example at the moment but I can dig something up later). I mean no disrespect to the Venerable, but in light of the above, is this a "novel" reading of the classical tradition?

(If this is out of place here I'm happy to start a thread in the classical subforum)
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by zerotime » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:06 pm

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:36 am
friend, you cannot enter the stream without permanently keeping the five precepts. see my comment earlier in the thread excerpting the sotāpanna handbook :redherring:
What's the deep sense of "keeping the precepts"?. Should be referred to the the last minute, the last day, the last month, the last year....?

The sutta you quote says “He may, if he so desire, himself proclaim thus of himself". There is a difference in that open auto-affirmation which I believe it has different implications. See the many cases inside the Suttas in where many people have entered in the stream just by hearing a teaching from the Buddha for the first time. Should we believe all that people were perfect keepers of precepts when in fact many of them were listening the Dhamma for the first time?

In those lines about the four limbs we read: "What is the fivefold guilty dread that is allayed in him?"[...] "he begets no guilty dread". .
When there is freedom of these guilty-dreads there is the needed freedom to enter in the stream. This belongs to the present-moment and for that reason Angulimala and others were able to enter in the stream. The presence of obstacles cannot be measured in biographical magnitudes of time/permanence in a delusional belief of "my person". The real magnitude only exists in its active presence at the present moment. The utility of keeping the precepts is to keep freedom of obstacles of guilt because there are moral layers in our mind which are of impossible control to us. However, at the same time one should remember that our past is not here. What happens if we accept the belief "I'm impure"... "nibbana is only for saints"... etc? Is this not the build of our own obstacles?.

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