How common is stream entry?

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Zom
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Zom » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:02 pm

Ye, and the Commentary (probably very old one) to this sutta says that here an anagami is being described. Which coincedes perfectly with other suttas which say, that direct seeing of nibbana is possible only for anagamis and arahants.

Spk: The seeing of water in the well represents the seeing of Nibbāna by the nonreturner. The man afflicted by heat represents the nonreturner; the water bucket, the path of arahantship. As the man oppressed by heat sees water in the well, the nonreturner knows by reviewing knowledge, “There exists a breakthrough to the path of arahantship” (reading with Se arahattaphalābhisamaya). But as the man lacking the bucket cannot draw out the water and touch it with the body, so the nonreturner, lacking the path of arahantship, cannot sit down and become absorbed in the attainment of the fruit of arahantship, which has Nibbāna as its object.

http://palicanon.org/index.php/sutta-pi ... _link-1973

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Sylvester » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:41 am

Zom wrote:Ye, and the Commentary (probably very old one) to this sutta says that here an anagami is being described. Which coincedes perfectly with other suttas which say, that direct seeing of nibbana is possible only for anagamis and arahants.

Spk: The seeing of water in the well represents the seeing of Nibbāna by the nonreturner. The man afflicted by heat represents the nonreturner; the water bucket, the path of arahantship. As the man oppressed by heat sees water in the well, the nonreturner knows by reviewing knowledge, “There exists a breakthrough to the path of arahantship” (reading with Se arahattaphalābhisamaya). But as the man lacking the bucket cannot draw out the water and touch it with the body, so the nonreturner, lacking the path of arahantship, cannot sit down and become absorbed in the attainment of the fruit of arahantship, which has Nibbāna as its object.

http://palicanon.org/index.php/sutta-pi ... _link-1973

Hi Zom

I think a more critical examination of the Commentarial position might show another way of interpreting the Kosambi Sutta's reference to Ven Nārada's "personal knowledge" (paccattameva ñāṇaṃ) of Nibbāṇa. Both Ven T (see his footnote 3 to SN 12.68) and the Commentaries have this habit of interpreting the kāyena passages in a very "solid" manner -
So taṃ udapānaṃ olokeyya. Tassa udakanti hi kho ñāṇaṃ assa, na ca kāyena phusitvā vihareyya

He would look into the well and would have knowledge of 'water,' but he would not dwell touching it with his body. [3] (per Ven T)
Compare to the Spk explanation given above -
But as the man lacking the bucket cannot draw out the water and touch it with the body

Na ca kāyena phusitvāti udakaṃ pana nīharitvā kāyena phusitvā viharituṃ na sakkuṇeyya.
Leaving aside the doctrinal development of "Nibbāna as an object" (nibbānaṃ ārammaṇaṃ) in the Comy, you can already see from the Vibhanga onwards that kāyena is given an almost exclusively nominal sense (ie as a noun in the instrumental -ena, ie with the body). However, it is also a feature of the suttas when -ena end-forms are used with words aligned to verbs, they do not have to function as nominals, but will function as adverbials to predicate the verb. A stark example of this would be the experience of the santā vimokkhā in AN 10.9. There, one is said to -
...santā vimokkhā atikkamma rūpe āruppā te kāyena phusitvā viharati
Elsewhere, kāyena assumes a clear adverbial sense in AN 4.113, in the context of the experience of the highest truth -
Pahitatto kāyena ceva paramasaccaṃ sacchikaroti, paññāya ca ativijjha passati.
What the Comy is doing is nothing more than following how kāyena is explained by the Abhidhamma, where at least the concept of the nāmakāya (not the DN 15 version, but as interpreted according to the Abhidhammic method) can be resorted to to furnish a nominal perspective, instead of an adverbial one. In my opinion, what "kāyena phusitvā" means in SN 12.68 is "directly/personally experiences/touches". This implies that there is in fact a contrary case where the experience is indirect.

Note that Stream-Winners are supposed to "see" both aspects of idappaccayatā. The Dependant Cessation sequence is explicitly identified with the 3rd Noble Truth in AN 3.61, which suggests that Stream Entry includes a "vision" of the 3rd Noble Truth. It need not be a personal experience like an Arahant's experience of Nibbāna, but SN 12.68 seems to suggest that the trainee's experience is indirect.

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Zom » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:56 am

Note that Stream-Winners are supposed to "see" both aspects of idappaccayatā. The Dependant Cessation sequence is explicitly identified with the 3rd Noble Truth in AN 3.61, which suggests that Stream Entry includes a "vision" of the 3rd Noble Truth.
In the sense of right understanding of the goal of the spiritual path - yes, I do agree. I already told that.
It need not be a personal experience like an Arahant's experience of Nibbāna, but SN 12.68 seems to suggest that the trainee's experience is indirect.
As I see it, there is a big difference between direct seeing of nibbana by non-returner and lower ariyas, and this difference is explanied well by a simile in SN12.68. Both anagami and arahant see nibbana, but one does not touch it with the body (non-returner). But still he sees it directly. Its like a going to the swimming pool. Lower ariyas see the building and know - "Inside this building there should be a swimming pool. But I had to enter the building to see this pool directly". Non-returner is one who entered the building and directly saw the water, the pool itself. While arahant is one who made further step and jumped into water.

The crucial point here is having jhana. Lower ariyas do not have jhana (and, btw, because of that they later are reborn in kama-loka, not rupa/arupa realms). While non-returner has it. And because he has it, he can see nibbana directly. Thats how several suttas put it, the best one is MN64:

“And what, Ānanda, is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters? Here, with seclusion from the acquisitions, with the abandoning of unwholesome states, with the complete tranquillization of bodily inertia, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion.

Whatever exists therein of material form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease, as a tumour, as a barb, as a calamity, as an affliction, as alien, as disintegrating, as void, as not self. He turns his mind away from those states and directs it towards the deathless element thus: ‘This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all attachments, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna.’ If he is steady in that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints, because of that desire for the Dhamma, that delight in the Dhamma, then with the destruction of the five lower fetters he becomes one due to reappear spontaneously [in the Pure Abodes] and there attain final Nibbāna without ever returning from that world".


So, only two alternatives here, when you really see nibbana directly: either non-returning or arahantship.

Now, one may say that this formula is not a direct seeing of nibbana, but just some kind of "vipassana practice". But it should not be seen that way, because several suttas from Anguttara (eg. AN 11.7) say that it is:

“Bhante, could a bhikkhu obtain such a state of concentration that (1) he would not be percipient of earth in relation to earth; (2) of water in relation to water; (3) of fire in relation to fire; (4) of air in relation to air; (5) of the base of the infinity of space in relation to the base of the infinity of space; (6) of the base of the infinity of consciousness in relation to the base of the infinity of consciousness; (7) of the base of nothingness in relation to the base of nothingness; (8) of the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception in relation to the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; (9) of this world in relation to this world; (10) of the other world in relation to the other world; (11) of anything seen, heard, sensed, cognized, reached, sought after, and examined by the mind, but he would still be percipient?”

“He could, Ānanda.”

“But how, Bhante, could he obtain such a state of concentration?”

“Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu is percipient thus: ‘This is peaceful, this is sublime, that is, the stilling of all activities, the relinquishing of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbāna.’

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Sylvester » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:17 pm

Hi Zom

Thanks for your reply. Pls excuse my lousy formating but I'm hopeless on an Android. I'll therefore just take isuue with your point that lower ariyas do not attain jhana. Both BB and Ven Analayo make the point that if a Once-Returner had attained jhana , he would in fact not return. The argument is flawed.

Firstly, the Streams Sutta asserts that the ariyas are endowed with the N8P. Why a jhana attainment is no guarantee of a Brahma rebirth is suggested by the Bhava Sutta. Kamma alone is insufficient, as the establishment of consciousness in that dhatu is also required. As the Danda Sutta puts it, rebecoming cannot be viewed deterministically.

I think the rebecoming verbs associating jhana and Brahma rebirths are probabilistic, not deterministic. AN 4.123 suggests that this "establishment" requires persistent indulgence in jhana to be reborn in the rupaloka. This leads me to believe that the lower ariyas do in fact enjoy the jhanas as a matter of course, and would therefore be able to practice the "etam santam" meditations you mentioned.

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Zom » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:14 pm

I'd just say, that nowhere in the suttas i saw a clear statement that stream-enterer or once-returner can attain or attains jhana. While there are numerous suttas where it is explicitly said that non-returners and arahants have it. The only argument for "stream-enterer jhana" I heard so far - is that he is endowed with (not perfect) concentration. But this argument is also flawed for some reasons. For example, that saddha-nussari, weakest ariya person, who didn't even get a fruit of stream-entery but have just a plain belief in Dhamma, also said to have concentration (of the lowest degree). In AN 10.75 once-returner is reported to have sex (which is far from jhana), and even celibate once-returner is reported to be reborn in kama-loka realm (among Tusita devas). What is more, no lower level arias are reported to be reborn above kama-loka realms, that is, at least, in the lowest brahma realm. For me that says a lot.

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by kirk5a » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:23 pm

For me what says a lot is that the modern Thai, Burmese, and Sri Lankan teaching traditions all have the outlook that stream entry involves a glimpse of nibbana. As evidenced by what Ajahn Lee, Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw, Ayya Khema, and others have said.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Zom » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:29 pm

Sure. What else would they say, if it is a popular meme, taken from late Abhidhamma.

But again, what is a glimpse? Direct seeing? I hope I showed that suttas do not support this view. And, once again, for those who place theravadin Abhidhamma on the first place and discard all the rest - for them this is, of course, not an argument -) But this is somewhat another topic already.

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by khlawng » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:56 pm

Zom wrote: ... once-returner is reported to have sex (which is far from jhana)...
could you clarify this part please.

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by kirk5a » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:57 pm

Zom wrote:Sure. What else would they say, if it is a popular meme, taken from late Abhidhamma.
Taken from the verification of their own experience, I think is reasonable to conclude.
But again, what is a glimpse? Direct seeing? I hope I showed that suttas do not support this view.
No, you didn't at all. Especially since you are simply ignoring the direct evidence which I provided right off the bat.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by daverupa » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:08 pm

kirk5a wrote:No, you didn't at all. Especially since you are simply ignoring the direct evidence which I provided right off the bat.
It isn't really direct evidence, though, is it?

The passage you've quoted from the Mahavagga talks about the arising of the Dhamma Eye for Sariputta, and then has him go to his friend Moggallana. This person has heard nothing of the Dhamma, only seen his friend Sariputta approaching with a certain remarkable serenity. Moggallana asks if Sariputta has "attained the deathless", and he says he has - but perhaps he is simply using Moggallana's term to convey his conviction? It may have been an old idiom? Or perhaps he made an overestimation, being only a stream-enterer?

Or perhaps the narrative has received embellishments or other editorial attention? After all, Sariputta's attainment of nibbana is told in two different ways elsewhere in the suttas, for example, so it would appear that these narratives were relatively open to editorial massage.

So, I'm not seeing that one passage as knock-down evidence, especially when elsewhere the Dhamma Eye is only directly associated with stream-entry (and, interestingly enough, stream-entry is repeatedly associated with the elimination of three fetters - later four - and tripartite conviction + morality. I would have expected the reciters to have given something approaching equal time to any talk about the perception of nibbana at stream-entry, if it were as you say).
Last edited by daverupa on Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Zom » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:11 pm

could you clarify this part please.
Clarify what exactly? That sensual desire is an obstacle to jhana?
especially when elsewhere the Dhamma Eye is only directly associated with stream-entry
Btw, this is an interesting observation. I've never thought about that myself, while, definitely, that is so.

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by kirk5a » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:27 pm

daverupa wrote:
kirk5a wrote:No, you didn't at all. Especially since you are simply ignoring the direct evidence which I provided right off the bat.
It isn't really direct evidence, though, is it?
Yes, it is direct evidence, and the utterly speculative "perhapses" you've come up with don't diminish that.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by daverupa » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:57 pm

kirk5a wrote:
daverupa wrote:
kirk5a wrote:No, you didn't at all. Especially since you are simply ignoring the direct evidence which I provided right off the bat.
It isn't really direct evidence, though, is it?
Yes, it is direct evidence, and the utterly speculative "perhapses" you've come up with don't diminish that.
Hmm.

Well, as far as I recall "attain the deathless" is usually associated with nibbanization, arahantship. The "arising of the Dhamma Eye" is stream-entry territory. So, in the Mahavagga passage, we have text which says Sariputta experienced the arising of the Dhamma Eye, and then walked to Moggallana, claimed awakening, and then later in the suttas attains awakening two other times.

Trying to get "attain the deathless" to apply to the Dhamma Eye sort of calls for more than just a single line of text... the three fetters and the tri-convictions and morality and the Dhamma Eye are everywhere associated with stream-entry in the Nikayas. Seeing nibbana.... isn't.

Have you any further citations on this matter?
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by kirk5a » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:48 pm

daverupa wrote:Have you any further citations on this matter?
Plenty of evidence has been provided already. See the thread Mike referenced earlier.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Post by Sylvester » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:21 am

Some of BB's notes to SN 12.68 -
Gombrich (perhaps too La Vallee Poussin before him) has seriously misunderstood the discussion between the Venerables Mus¥la, Nårada, and Savi††ha at SN II 115-18 (12:68). There is no contradiction, or even tension, between the views of Mus¥la and Nårada. Mus¥la has answered all Savi††ha's questions truthfully, and Savi††ha's inference that he is an arahant is correct. However, Savi††ha draws this inference on the basis of a wrong assumption, and this is the main point of the sutta. He assumes that the defining mark of arahantship is understanding the chain of dependent origination and the proposition that "the cessation of becoming is nirvåna." The point that Nårada is making when he answers all the questions in the same way that Musi¥la had, yet declares that he is
not an arahant, is not that paññå on its own is insufficient and must be conjoined with samådhi; this would be a common understanding that Mus¥la and Nårada share, and no doubt Musi¥la did have that samådhi. The point Nårada is making is that the direct discernment of all these items (the chain of dependent origination and the nature of Nibbåna) is the defining characteristic of the sekha, the disciple from the stage of stream-entry through the one on the path to arahantship. The arahant is distinguished from the sekha in that he not only sees these principles with paññå, but has carried this vision through to th
e point where all defilements have been eradicated. This gives him access to the personal meditative experience of Nibbåna, in which he can "touch Nibbåna with the body." The sekha understands all this, but because he has not yet succeeded in eliminating all the defilements he cannot enter this meditative state, which is identical with the cetovimuttipaññåvimutti spoken of elsewhere.
The sekha may well have access to a wide variety of lesser attainments in the field of cetovimutti, but these are not meditative abidings in the experience of Nibbåna. The Venerable Nårada does not interpret paññå "in the narrow sense of intellection without a deeper, experiential realization," nor would he deny that paññå is an adequate method for achieving enlightenment, as Gombrich supposes (p.129); in fact, he would approve this, though of course he would also maintain that a base of samådhi is necessary for paññå to be effective. What he holds is that possession of this paññå – even as "a deeper, experiential realization" – is not determinative of arahantship. The direct disc
ernment of the chain of dependent origination, etc., is a common property of the sekha and the arahant and thus cannot be used to distinguish them. What distinguishes the arahant from the sekha is the maturation of this paññå, the fact that he has used his insight to eliminate all defilements, a task in which the sekha is still engaged. (I might also point out that Gombrich trivializes the notion of paññå found in the suttas when he compares it to the kind of knowledge that a student of Buddhism might acquire by studying dependent origination for her exams.) This same point that Nårada makes is made elsewhere in the Nikåyas. For instance, at SN II 48 the chief disciple Såriputta explains that one who sees origination through nutriment, etc., and is practising for cessation is a sekha; one who, having seen this, has released the mind from clinging is an arahant. Again, at MN I 235 the Buddha teaches Saccaka that one who sees the anattå nature of the five aggregates is a disciple engaged in the proper practice of the Teaching (i.e., a sekha); one who, having seen this, has released the mind from clinging is an arahant. The sekha has gained the vision of the Dhamma; he has seen the truth as a matter of direct personal experience. But for him that vision has not yet been fully applied for its intended purpose: disenchantment, dispassion, and cessation (nibbidå viråga nirodha). He has not yet succeeded in eradicating craving and clinging. This comes about only when the vision attained at stream-entry has been developed to its consummation, the unique achievement of the arahant.

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