Entering the stream

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Ceisiwr
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Entering the stream

Post by Ceisiwr »

Not sure if this has already been discussed already but thought id put it up just in case.

We all know that it is said that when one becomes a stream-winner that they are certain to attain nibbana in no less than seven lives. How is this possible though? If one dies and is reborn then they would have forgotten all the teachings, practice etc in the past existence so wouldnt they be starting again from scratch?
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Cittasanto
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Re: Entering the stream

Post by Cittasanto »

from what I understand about it, it is they are or we are at that capacity, they don't need to know it or understand it (what ever it is) from birth but they would know and understand it from the first encounter, and be inclined to act in a manner of a stream enterer naturally?
suppose it is like Mozart playing the piano at an early age?
I may be wrong but I think that is accurate?
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jcsuperstar
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Re: Entering the stream

Post by jcsuperstar »

look at it this way. if i'm born in gaza and die at age 13 i'm never going to practice the dhamma, but if i'm born in chaing mai and become a novice at 13 i have a great chance to. i'm sure those on the path to being an arahant are just born in the right places to practice. they dont have to be born remembering the teachings from their past lives.
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
Element

Re: Entering the stream

Post by Element »

clw_uk wrote:We all know that it is said that when one becomes a stream-winner that they are certain to attain nibbana in no less than seven lives. How is this possible though? If one dies and is reborn then they would have forgotten all the teachings, practice etc in the past existence so wouldnt they be starting again from scratch?
Most of the arahants in the suttas were initially ordinary people, then attained stream entry and then attained arahantship.

For example, the First Sermon states Kodanna attained stream entry and then became AnyaKondanya, meaning "Kondanna who knows".

Similarly, Upatissa was an ordinary person and upon listening to Asaji gained stream entry. Then after practising with the Buddha, Upatissa, namely Sariputta, attained arahantship.

It was not required of Kodanna, Sariputta or any other arahant to have futher lives to gain arahantship. Maha Kassapa attained arahantship in 14 days.

I would suggest seven lives represent seven fetters or seven types of becoming, 'jati' or 'abodes' that need to be overcome.

A stream enterer cuts three fetters and must uproot seven more fetters for arahantship.

With metta

Element
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kc2dpt
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Re: Entering the stream

Post by kc2dpt »

clw_uk wrote:so wouldnt they be starting again from scratch?
The first three fetters are completely eradicated at stream-entry. So one born a stream-entrant is starting out with three less fetters than you or I. That's a significant head-start, especially when you consider that one of those fetters is doubt about the Triple Gem.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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Dhammanando
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Re: Entering the stream

Post by Dhammanando »

Hi Craig,
clw_uk wrote:We all know that it is said that when one becomes a stream-winner that they are certain to attain nibbana in no less than seven lives. How is this possible though? If one dies and is reborn then they would have forgotten all the teachings, practice etc in the past existence so wouldnt they be starting again from scratch?
One wouldn't be starting from scratch because the fetters abandoned in the life when stream-entry is attained remain abandoned throughout whatever subsequent lives remain. One wouldn't, for example, be able to fall into wrong view.

Also, although it is theoretically possible for a stream-enterer to be reborn as a human being, there don't seem to be any accounts of this happening in Pali literature. All the stream-enterers who fail to attain arahatta in the same life are reported to have been reborn in one or another of the heavenly realms. Being reborn in such places they have a perfect recall of their former life, and of the teachings, practice etc. that they had learned.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta
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mikenz66
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Re: Entering the stream

Post by mikenz66 »

Dear Venerable,
Dhammanando wrote: Also, although it is theoretically possible for a stream-enterer to be reborn as a human being, there don't seem to be any accounts of this happening in Pali literature. All the stream-enterers who fail to attain arahatta in the same life are reported to have been reborn in one or another of the heavenly realms. Being reborn in such places they have a perfect recall of their former life, and of the teachings, practice etc. that they had learned.
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Thank you for that information. Presumably it would make sense that a stream-enterer would normally have enough development of the Brahamaviharas to ensure that.

Metta
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gavesako
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Re: Entering the stream

Post by gavesako »

I know of monks in Thailand who have privately said that they were born in this life as stream-enterers. They had a very easy start and fast progress in their meditation, too. It seems like they just continued where they had left off the last time. One of them, for example, wanted to befriend some girls but every time he thought of them, their image changed into a decomposing corpse... :jawdrop: so he did not get very far with that one. Instead he became a monk.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Dhammanando
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Re: Entering the stream

Post by Dhammanando »

Hi Craig,
clw_uk wrote:We all know that it is said that when one becomes a stream-winner that they are certain to attain nibbana in no less than seven lives. How is this possible though? If one dies and is reborn then they would have forgotten all the teachings, practice etc in the past existence so wouldnt they be starting again from scratch?
One wouldn't be starting from scratch because the fetters abandoned in the life when stream-entry is attained remain abandoned throughout whatever subsequent lives remain. One wouldn't, for example, be able to fall into wrong view.

Also, although it is theoretically possible for a stream-enterer to be reborn as a human being, there don't seem to be any accounts of this happening in Pali literature. All the stream-enterers who fail to attain arahatta in the same life are reported to have been reborn in one or another of the heavenly realms. Being reborn in such places they have a perfect recall of their former life, and of the teachings, practice etc. that they had learned.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

[This is a re-post. I posted it twice before because it didn't appear the first time. Then I deleted one of the duplicated posts, but another mod simultaneously deleted the other one. :smile: ]
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta
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appicchato
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Re: Entering the stream

Post by appicchato »

Element wrote:
I would suggest seven lives represent seven fetters or seven types of becoming, 'jati' or 'abodes' that need to be overcome.
Unsubstantiated in the Suttas...that I'm familiar with...correct me if I'm wrong...seven fetters, in the human plane, that need to be eradicated...adding more is speculation, and, some may say, unnecessary...
Element

Re: Entering the stream

Post by Element »

It appears 'seven' was Buddha's lucky number.
Verily, monks, whosoever practices these four foundations of mindfulness in this manner for seven years, then one of these two fruits may be expected by him: highest knowledge (arahantship) here and now or if some remainder of clinging is yet present, the state of non-returning.

MN 10
Element

Re: Entering the stream

Post by Element »

There are many stream-entry suttas at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/stream2.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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appicchato
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Re: Entering the stream

Post by appicchato »

It's your relating seven lives to seven fetters that I'm referring to... :smile:
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Dhammanando
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Re: Entering the stream

Post by Dhammanando »

Hi Element,
Element wrote:I would suggest seven lives represent seven fetters or seven types of becoming, 'jati' or 'abodes' that need to be overcome.

A stream enterer cuts three fetters and must uproot seven more fetters for arahantship.
This isn't a tenable reading. Leaving aside those stream-enterers who go on to attain arahatta in the same life, the remainder were classed by the Buddha as being of three types: ekabījīs, kolaṅkolas and sattakhattuparamas; only the last of these is liable to continue for seven more lives, yet all sotāpannas have seven more fetters to overcome.
  • Ekabījī
    "What sort of person is single-seeded? Here a person, having completely destroyed the three fetters, becomes a stream-enterer; he is no more liable to fall into a woeful state, but is destined to succeed and has enlightenment as his final end; he having returned to the state of human existence makes an end of suffering. Such a person is said to be single-seeded."

    Kolaṅkola
    "What sort of person is he who transmigrates from family to family? Here a person having completely destroyed the three fetters, becomes a stream-enterer; he is no more liable to fall into a woeful state, but is destined to succeed, and has enlightenment as his final end; he running on and transmigrating through two or three families makes an end of suffering. Such a person is said to be one who migrates from family to family."

    Sattakhattuparama
    "What sort of person is he who undergoes rebirth not more than seven times? Here a person, having completely destroyed the three fetters, becomes a stream-enterer; he is no more liable to fall into a woeful state, but is destined to succeed and has enlightenment as his final end; he running on and transmigrating seven times amongst devas and men makes an end of suffering. Such a person is said to be one not undergoing rebirth more than seven times."
    (Puggalapaññatti 16-17; Dutiyasikkhasutta AN. i. 232-3)
Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta
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kc2dpt
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Re: Entering the stream

Post by kc2dpt »

Plus, a once-returner has five more fetters to eradicate.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
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