How common is stream entry?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
PadmaPhala
Posts: 169
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:22 am

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by 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.

User avatar
khlawng
Posts: 225
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:28 pm

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by 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?

User avatar
PadmaPhala
Posts: 169
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:22 am

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by 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.

User avatar
Zom
Posts: 2130
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg
Contact:

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by 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. -)

User avatar
Zenainder
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 11:10 am

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by 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,

Zen

User avatar
IanAnd
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:19 am
Location: the deserts of Arizona

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by 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!
Last edited by IanAnd on Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20088
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:01 pm

:goodpost:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
Aloka
Posts: 5789
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by 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-f ... n-sumedho/
.

Dinsdale
Posts: 5920
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Dinsdale » 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)?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

User avatar
PadmaPhala
Posts: 169
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:22 am

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by 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

User avatar
IanAnd
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:19 am
Location: the deserts of Arizona

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by IanAnd » Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:22 am

Spiny Norman wrote: So do you regard yourself as a stream entrant, Ian?
That is not a question I would ever be inclined to respond to on a public forum (especially on one that can be as vicious this this one), and especially to someone who doesn't know me. In that sense, it is inappropriate.
Spiny Norman wrote: And if so, could you say something about the experience of overcoming self-view (sakkāya-diṭṭhi)?
Overcoming self-view is something that each individual needs to work out for himself. It's easy enough to intellectually understand that there is no substantial self, but rather a mental construct we call the ego. But when push comes to shove in the real world, one's mental conditioning generally takes over (unless you are aware of the mechanisms at work and can see them in action in real time and are able to let go).

For me, it took studying the five aggregates and seeing the process of forming a self-view, recognizing and realizing that there is no substantial self involved, and then confirming that by watching the process unfold within the mind.

As far as fulfilling this requirement for a stream entrant, my opinion is based on my understanding and close reading of the suttas as well as the common sense of my own experience. Being intellectually aware that one's ego is just a mental construct (having had that realization, however it occurred) fulfills the requirement to my way of thinking. A stream entrant hasn't yet dealt with the asavas. That comes down the line, so to speak, as one continues on the path toward mental purification. (Yet, to listen to orthodox Theravada speak on this issue, one gets the impression that one has to have totally eliminated self-view from their beingness in order to be considered a stream entrant. Obviously, I don't buy into that view.)

For myself, stream entry has more to do with realizing and accepting the basic truths that Gotama taught, the value of the noble eightfold path, the retraining of the mind, and knowing that that is the path one has been seeking all their life to find. With this knowledge and realization, all doubt about the Buddha and the Dhamma has been dissipated as one realizes that this is the path to freedom. To me, entering the stream means entering the stream of Gotama's Dhamma and knowing that one will succeed if they can just work hard enough to walk the path. In other words, the ideal stream entrant sees the light at the end of the tunnel, and knows what he must do to reach it.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

Dinsdale
Posts: 5920
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:43 am

IanAnd wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote: So do you regard yourself as a stream entrant, Ian?
That is not a question I would ever be inclined to respond to on a public forum (especially on one that can be as vicious this this one), and especially to someone who doesn't know me. In that sense, it is inappropriate.
I'm sorry you feel this forum can be "vicious", I haven't experienced it like that. It was meant as a straightforward question.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

User avatar
Viscid
Posts: 930
Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:55 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada
Contact:

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Viscid » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:09 am

Good post, Ian-- I'd benefit you stream-entrant status!

Though I've never liked the hierarchical framework for attainment as is... Instead of:

Puthujjana -> Stream Enterer -> Once-Returner -> Non-Returner -> Arahant,
it should go:
Puthujjana -> Path to Stream Entry -> Path to Once-Returner -> Path to Non-Returner -> Path to Arahantship -> Arahant.

Then you have this new useful classification of being on the 'path to becoming a stream-enterer' which is distinguished from mere puthujjaneity, yet claiming such a distinction doesn't necessitate the gall to make bold claims about one's identity-view.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 20088
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:07 am

Greetings,
IanAnd wrote:As far as fulfilling this requirement for a stream entrant, my opinion is based on my understanding and close reading of the suttas as well as the common sense of my own experience. Being intellectually aware that one's ego is just a mental construct (having had that realization, however it occurred) fulfills the requirement to my way of thinking. A stream entrant hasn't yet dealt with the asavas. That comes down the line, so to speak, as one continues on the path toward mental purification. (Yet, to listen to orthodox Theravada speak on this issue, one gets the impression that one has to have totally eliminated self-view from their beingness in order to be considered a stream entrant. Obviously, I don't buy into that view.)

For myself, stream entry has more to do with realizing and accepting the basic truths that Gotama taught, the value of the noble eightfold path, the retraining of the mind, and knowing that that is the path one has been seeking all their life to find. With this knowledge and realization, all doubt about the Buddha and the Dhamma has been dissipated as one realizes that this is the path to freedom. To me, entering the stream means entering the stream of Gotama's Dhamma and knowing that one will succeed if they can just work hard enough to walk the path. In other words, the ideal stream entrant sees the light at the end of the tunnel, and knows what he must do to reach it.
:goodpost:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
Zom
Posts: 2130
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg
Contact:

Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Zom » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:57 am

(Yet, to listen to orthodox Theravada speak on this issue, one gets the impression that one has to have totally eliminated self-view from their beingness in order to be considered a stream entrant. Obviously, I don't buy into that view.)
Actually, that is true, suttas also confirm this, that a sotapanna can't have a kind of self-view, either gross or subtle. He totally eradicated that. But what he does have - is the conceit (which is eliminated only on arahant level). Though, there is a level of sotapattimagga, which in suttas is described as dhamma/faith follower - in their case there can still be some kind of (probably subtle) self-view. As well as other 2 fetters.

In all the rest I do agree. General misrepresentation I see here and there and everywhere is that "stream enterer has experienced nibbana", but that is not the case, suttas do not posit it this way. He knows nothing about what nibbana is, because psychologically, this is the mind state totally free from 3 unwholesome roots (roots – not just their manifestations as asavas). Being once free from them, you can't get them again, that is an impossibility. And stream enterer does not have this, ofc. And ontologically, this is a sphere, cognized by direct perception, which can be seen via in-jhana practice, and the result of such profound experience can be (and suttas are very explicit about that) only twofold: either 1) non-returning or 2) arahantship. That's why stream-entry is not some "mystic experience" as one may think. The exact description would be "strong feeling that you have entered on the fixed course of rightness" .) It can take up to 7 lives to get to the real taste of nibbana.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: dharmacorps, Google [Bot], thang and 96 guests