The Way to Stream-entry

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

The Way to Stream-entry

Postby starter » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:20 pm

Hi friends,

Again thanks a lot for your kind and helpful advice on my previous inquiry "what a lay practitioner shouldn't do?". I feel very fortunate to have found this forum and the nice friends, which I'll use as my sangha to "associate with people of integrity".

I'm reading a nice collection "The way to Stream-entry", found on Access to Insight [ http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ]. As I gathered, cutting off the first three fetters [identity-view, doubt, and grasping at rules and rituals] and cultivating the four characters: the conviction [in the triple gem], virtue (observing the precepts), generosity [to the sangha and etc.], mindfulness/discernment are needed for stream antry. No jhana seems to be required for stream entry. At this stage, in addition to reading the suttas, I wonder if I should focus primarily on removing defilements and cultivating virtues, instead of spending lots of time (now over 4hs each day) on concentration meditation [sitting and walking, I'm at a stage with rapture, close to 1st jhana]. Knowing me pretty well, some highly respectful monk recommended that I shall spend as much time as possible on concentration meditation. But now I'm not sure if that's what I should do at the beginning stage (2 months old). Your kind input would be most appreciated.

Metta,

Starter

PS: SN Chapter I - 45 Maggasaṃyutta Connected Discourses on the Path, 1 (1) Ignorance

“Bhikkhus, ignorance is the forerunner in the entry upon unwholesome states, with shamelessness and fearlessness of wrongdoing following along. For an unwise person immersed in ignorance, wrong view springs up. For one of wrong view, wrong intention springs up. For one of wrong intention, wrong speech springs up. For one of wrong speech, wrong action springs up. For one of wrong action, wrong livelihood springs up. For one of wrong livelihood, wrong effort springs up. For one of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness springs up. For one of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration springs up.

“Bhikkhus, true knowledge is the forerunner in the entry upon wholesome states, with a sense of shame and fear of wrongdoing following along. For a wise person who has arrived at true knowledge, right view springs up. For one of right view, right intention springs up. For one of right intention, right speech springs up. For one of right speech, right action springs up. For one of right action, right livelihood springs up. For one of right livelihood, right effort springs up. For one of right effort, right mindfulness springs up. For one of right mindfulness, right concentration springs up.”

[Added on 07/28/2013]
Last edited by starter on Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
starter
 
Posts: 848
Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:56 pm

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby Virgo » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:29 pm

Hi Starter,

You are doing good.

A being or an individual does not focus on removing defilements or cultivating virtue. It is a function of panna to remove defilements, not of a person or an individual. It is also the functions of panna and other cetasikas to arise and do wholesome acts. When those cetasikas arise and perform their functions wholesome thoughts lead to wholesome actions. What being causes defilements to be removed in it's "self"?


Kevin
Virgo
 
Posts: 1209
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby Reductor » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:55 pm

Concentration is important. Even if it is not strictly necessary for 'stream entry' it is important for the path as a whole. However, four hours a day after only 2 months on the path is an extreme, and will likely result in burn out and giving up. Unless you're an exceptionally determined personality that is.

So, maybe 1.5 or 2 hours would be more than enough. But don't just give it up entirely.

I would also recommend the five subjects for daily contemplation and recollection/reflection on the triple gem. Don't do these things in a perfunctory fashion -- bring all your attention on the reflection. In the case of the five recollections you want to reflect on the past, present and future and all the possible ways that each clause of the recollections might work out in your life. Oh, and of course you want to be very exacting about your five precepts. Be reflective and circumspect.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... tions.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

What you want is to see your own existence from as many angles as you can.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

User avatar
Reductor
 
Posts: 1275
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 6:52 am
Location: Alberta, Canada

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:43 pm

Greetings Starter,

It's heartening to see such enthusiasm for the Dhamma!

My recommendation would be primarily to remember that there's eight aspects to the Noble Eightfold Path, so try to keep a balanced and harmonious approach to them all.

That said, Right View is fundamentally important because without Right View, it's much harder for the other parts of the practice to be "Right".

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14650
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby bodom » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:52 pm

starter wrote:cultivating the four characters: the conviction [in the triple gem], virtue (observing the precepts), generosity [to the sangha and etc.], mindfulness/discernment are needed for stream antry.


These four are factors OF stream entrants. The four factors to cultivate FOR stream entry are Association with People of Integrity, Listening to the True Dhamma, Appropriate Attention, Practice in Accordance with the Dhamma.

Association with people of integrity is a factor for stream-entry. Listening to the true Dhamma is a factor for stream-entry. Appropriate attention is a factor for stream-entry. Practice in accordance with the Dhamma is a factor for stream-entry. — SN 55.5


:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
User avatar
bodom
 
Posts: 4600
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby Goedert » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:31 am

Friend,

Cultivate both virtue and concentration.

I think a good source book is A Manual of the Excellent man
User avatar
Goedert
 
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 9:24 pm
Location: SC, Brazil

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby Wind » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:42 am

I'm with you starter. I'm aiming for stream-entry. Arahanship is way out of my league.

About the three fetters:

Rites and Rituals: I don't really have a problem with this.
Doubt: I have little bit of this.
Identity View: This is the hardest one.
User avatar
Wind
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:10 pm

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby salmon » Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:14 am

Hi Wind,

I know this has been discussed to death...but when one hits stream entry, those fetters dissolve away automatically. You really don't have to worry about whether or not you can do it. Focus instead on the factors that will lead to stream entry :smile:

I wish that your aspiration will come true in this lifetime.


:anjali:
~ swimming upstream is tough work! ~
User avatar
salmon
 
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:55 am

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby Wind » Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:31 am

salmon wrote:Hi Wind,

I know this has been discussed to death...but when one hits stream entry, those fetters dissolve away automatically. You really don't have to worry about whether or not you can do it. Focus instead on the factors that will lead to stream entry :smile:

I wish that your aspiration will come true in this lifetime.


:anjali:


Yea. I'll do my best. Even if I don't succeed in this life time. I have already benefited plenty by the wisdom of the teaching. I wish you success as well.
User avatar
Wind
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:10 pm

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby Kenshou » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:34 am

Hey, Wind,

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"Monks, form is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Feeling... Perception... Fabrications... Consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable... 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."

Within a lifetime, you can do that. And hopefully more.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:42 am

Kenshou wrote:Hey, Wind,

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"Monks, form is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Feeling... Perception... Fabrications... Consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable... 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."

Within a lifetime, you can do that. And hopefully more.
But do not forget that when the Buddha said greed, hatred, and ignorance, he meant GREED, HATRED, AND IGNORANCE.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19293
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby Kenshou » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:53 am

No argument there. Knowing the anicca-ness of the aggregates and whatever else is a good way to start shrinking those nasty words down to lowercase, I think, but there is of course a whole lot more that could be said.
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:16 am

if you're meditating that much, and you've got the time to keep it up, then i say keep it up. lives change and maybe someday you wont have the time anymore, so it's good to get as deep into meditation now as you can. experience as much as you can from your practice
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

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
User avatar
jcsuperstar
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby chownah » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:08 pm

Since you are meditating alot I recommend that you do some of it walking...you should decide for yourself how much of it to do walking....actually I recommend doing Tai Chi and if you live in an area where there might be an instructor who teaches Tai Chi as a meditation (probably best to avoid anyone teaching it as a martial art unless this is your thing and you are able to extract the meditative aspects out from the martial aspects) then you might considering learning Tai Chi as a meditation technique....this should be viewed as a long term project in that it usually takes a good student about two years of once a week instruction and twice daily practice to begin to see results although if you are meditating every day and have good physical awareness in a general sense then perhaps you will see results in one year.

Just a possibiltiy.....do consider that the goal in Tai Chi is to eliminate stress....does that remind you of anything the Buddha taught?

chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2622
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby Alex123 » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:15 pm

Hello Kenshou, all,

Kenshou wrote:Hey, Wind,

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

"Monks, form is inconstant, changeable, alterable. Feeling... Perception... Fabrications... Consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable... 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."

Within a lifetime, you can do that. And hopefully more.



This is a point that I wonder. What exactly does it mean to "know & see anicca," etc ?

Doesn't every reasonable and intelligent person already knows (or can be quickly taught) that all things are impermanent? Then why isn't s/he stream enterer already?
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2840
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby Goedert » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:46 pm

This is a quote from Venerable P. A. Payutto's book the Three Signs:

3. Concealers of the Three Characteristics
Although impermanence, dukkha and selflessness are common
characteristics to all things, and reveal themselves constantly, people
generally do not notice them. They are obscured. If one does not pay
attention and investigate correctly, one does not recognise the obscuring
factors. These factors include:61
1. Continuity (Santati): Conceals impermanence.
2. Movement (Iriyæpatha): Conceals dukkha.
3. Solidity (Ghana): Conceals nonself.
By failing to pay close attention to arising and ceasing, to birth and
decay, one allows continuity (santati) to obscure the characteristic of
impermanence. All things that we experience perpetually rise and pass, but
such rising and ceasing occurs in a continuous and rapid way. This rapid
succession deceives people into viewing things as stable and unchanging.
For instance, the image of oneself or of a friend appears the same as it did
shortly before, but as time passes one realizes that change has occurred.
In truth, however, transmutation happens incessantly, without any visible
gap. An example of this deception is when one perceives a spinning
propeller as a single motionless disk. When the speed of rotation slows
one sees a propeller with several moving blades. Similarly, when a person
quickly waves a torch in a circular motion it appears as a circle of light.
Another example is the light of a lightbulb, which is seen as a still, bright
sphere, but in reality results from a rapidly fluctuating electric current.
When one applies the proper means, paying careful attention to the rising
and ceasing of things, then impermanence – aniccatæ – becomes clear.
Likewise, with a lack of attention to perpetual pressure, movement
(iriyæpatha) obscures the characteristic of dukkha. People normally
require a span of time to notice instability, an object’s inability to maintain
or be sustained in an original shape due to stress and friction within
its component parts. [70/7] If in the meantime the object is moved or
modified, or the observer is separated from it, the pressure and tension is
not conspicuous. Our experience of things usually occurs in the context
of such movement, and so dukkha is not recognized. Take for example
the human body. One need not wait until the body perishes; even in
daily life stress always exists within the body, preventing a person
from remaining still in one particular position. If one must remain in a
single posture for long, whether standing, sitting, walking or lying, the
physical strain steadily increases to the point of pain and exhaustion,
until it is unbearable. One must then move, or change posture.* Once
the pressure (a consequence of the mark of dukkha) in the body ceases,
the feeling of pain (dukkha-vedanæ) also ceases. (When a feeling of
pain vanishes, there usually arises a feeling of ease in its place, which
we call ‘happiness’. But this is simply a feeling. In reality there is just an
attenuation and absence of dukkha – pressure.) In daily life, remaining
for long in a single posture hurts, and one hastens to shift position.
Normally, people continually move to avoid a feeling of discomfort. By
evading discomfort, the dukkha, a truth inherent to all conditions, is
consequently overlooked.
Similarly, with a failure to separate an object into various elements,
the characteristic of nonself is obscured by solidity (ghana): something
existing as a lump, a mass, or an amalgamated unit. All conditioned
things are created by a merging of component elements. Once the
elements are separated, that integrated unit called by a specific name no
longer exists. Generally, human beings do not discern this truth, it being
obscured by the perception of solidity (ghana-saññæ): the recognition
or denotation of something as a consolidated entity. This is consistent
with the Thai folk saying: ‘One sees the coat, but not the cloth; one sees
the doll, but not the plastic.’ People may be deceived by the image of a
coat, failing to notice the fabric with which it has been tailored. In truth,
there is no coat; there are only numerous threads woven into a pattern.
* Iriyæpatha also means posture, literally ‘mode of movement’.

If the threads are unravelled the cloth no longer exists. Likewise, a child
who only sees a doll is deluded by its image; the plastic, which is the real
substance of the doll, is not recognized. If one discerns the truth then
there is only plastic; no doll can be found. Even the plastic originates
from the successive formation of component elements. The perception
of solidity obscures the characteristic of nonself in the manner shown by
these simple examples. If one separates and analyses the components
the nature of nonself becomes clear. One sees things as anattæ. [70/8]


Maybe you understand how one can see impermanence.
User avatar
Goedert
 
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 9:24 pm
Location: SC, Brazil

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:09 pm

starter wrote:Knowing me pretty well, some highly respectful monk recommended that I shall spend as much time as possible on concentration meditation. But now I'm not sure if that's what I should do at the beginning stage.

You should do what that monk, who is highly respectable and knows you pretty well, tells you to do. And if you have questions then you should ask him, not a bunch of random strangers on the internet.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby Kenshou » Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:51 pm

Alex123 wrote:This is a point that I wonder. What exactly does it mean to "know & see anicca," etc ?

Doesn't every reasonable and intelligent person already knows (or can be quickly taught) that all things are impermanent? Then why isn't s/he stream enterer already?


I think that on one hand, the understanding that everything anicca needs to be placed in context with the rest of the Buddhist path and method, since it is in that context that the significance and ramifications of anicca become clear, I think.

Secondly, I think that if someone intellectually accepts and understands anicca and it's larger significance in the Buddhist path, they may indeed qualify for what the same sutta I linked to earlier calls being a "dhamma follower" or "faith follower". As it goes, "One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower..."

I think that where a dhamma-follwer has intellectual understanding, a stream-enterer also has a more intimate, experiential understanding, as a result of their diligent practice and mindfulness. This is how I have understood the significance of "to know and see" as opposed to "pondering and accepting".
Kenshou
 
Posts: 1029
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN

Re: The Way to Stream-entry

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:03 pm

Hi Starter,

By all means- keep your 5 precepts untarnished. Be generous. Have faith in the Buddha, dhamma, sangha- these are all qualities of a stream entrant.

Well done with your concentration practice. I hope you are spreading those sessions out. 4, 1 hour sessions maybe better than lumping them all together, especially in the absence of a personal teacher. If you are close to a jhana, go for it. I would happily spend 6 months in the pursuit of that as it will make things so much easier and quicker.

After that it is best to divert your attention to insight meditation to get all the required insight for stream entry:

http://www.yellowrobe.com/practice/medi ... ation.html

Good luck!

with metta

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
rowyourboat
 
Posts: 1949
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:29 pm
Location: London, UK


Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: vinasp, Yahoo [Bot] and 10 guests