Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

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Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Sacha G » Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:00 pm

Hi everyone!
I suppose there are approximately 200 millions of Theravadins.
Of these 200 millions, I suppose only 5% is practicing seriously (i.e doing some form of meditation at least once a week).
This makes 10 millions.
Now on those who do some meditation, I suppose that 1 out of 10 mediates everyday.
This makes 1 million.
Out of 500 who meditate everyday, I suppose 1 has attained the 1st jhana.
This makes 2000 Theravadins having attained the 1st Jhana in the world.
Does it sound reasonable to you?

One could go further. Having attained the 1st jhana, what is the probability of reaching stream-entry?
Maybe 5%. This makes 40 persons. Now suppose that you have as many persons who entered the stream without the 1st jhana.
It makes 80 Theravadins having reached stream-entry in the World
What do you think of this number?
Last edited by Sacha G on Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Zom » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:04 pm

:D
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Clarence » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:24 pm

Considering we have a few stream-enterers on this board (at least 1 who claims to be for sure, maybe more), I think that would be a rather low estimate.

Also, it depends on your definition of stream-enterer of course. Which depends on your definition of Nibbana, which depends on your view regarding Sutta or Abhidhamma, which probably depends on your karmic propensities.
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Sacha G » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:41 pm

Who is the one who declares himself a stream-enterer? I'm curious. :popcorn:

:anjali:
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Aloka » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:03 pm

Sacha G wrote:Who is the one who declares himself a stream-enterer? I'm curious. :popcorn:

:anjali:


It might have been Virgo if I remember correctly. He seems to post at Dharma Wheel the Mahayana/Vajrayana website now though.
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:11 pm

see this poll
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=7412&start=60
we have 3 arahants 1 none returner 1 once returner 4 stream enterers and 50 worldly beings apparently???

I remember another poll and will look for it.
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:19 pm

http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... 890#p82876
this poll indicates 10 people are at least stream enterers
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby manas » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:27 pm

Hi sacha,

I have wondered about such things too. One problem we will have in determining it, is that the further along the Path a person has actually gone, the less they will care about whether anyone else knows about it. I read somewhere that one of the characteristics of an arahant, especially, is that they prefer and seek out seclusion. Now I'm not saying that a stream-enterer is going to be like this too, but I have read the Buddha exhorting stream-enterers to cultivate seclusion also, to make the effort to do so.

I'm not trying to pour cold water on your idea - I am also interested. But I think we are 'up against' the issue I mentioned above. This being a Path that leads away from the World, and thus away from worldly things such as desire for fame, recognition as a 'great practitioner', etc. We are supposed to give up all of that kind of stuff. So regarding how many attained there are on the Earth - we will probably never know! :D

(When I was about to post this, I saw the post about someone who did disclose (a few above this one), so I will make a caveat here: it is possible that someone would actually have an experience that was either actual stream-entry or fruit-attainment, and then disclose it with the intention that they might then be able to be of assistance to others. Now, having the benefit of seeing what happens when persons do this, that isn't something I would do; such claims are almost always met with doubt and scepticism, which means that if they are actually real, that the sceptics run the risk of offending an advanced disciple! (not that they would take offence, though, being free from sakkaya-ditthi... :thinking:...but anyway...) So being forewarned, I would certainly keep quiet about it. Just to be clear that I am not disputing the claim of the person mentioned above - could be true for all I know - and I am not accusing them of pride; no. I'm just saying, knowing the culture of Theravada, that it is better not to disclose such things, even if one's intention in doing so was only to help others (arouse faith that it can be done, perhaps?).

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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby cooran » Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:52 pm

Hello all,

How to recognise, and become, a Lay Stream Winner:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-su ... tml#stream

with metta
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Bankei » Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:23 pm

Jhana competitions are going to be an olympic sport starting with the 2020 Olympics to be held in Yangoon. each team of meditators will be hooked up to electrodes to a jhana measuring device to record the level reached. Teams in various countries are already training. Rumours have it the Chinese are using jhanic enhancing drugs to boost their 3 year old athletes meditation ability ( they will stop 6 months before the start to avoid it showing up in urine tests on the meditators). North Koreans have also been training heavily and have a secret competitor, Dear Meditator, who has been recently distracted by heavy crying for the past week.

The world record meditator is currently an American who attained nirvana within 6 days using a new method discovered by another American who discovered the secret lost technique from reading the Pali scripture in English.

The Sri Lankan team of monks have recently been distracted by the performance of their shares and they failed to qualify for the final round. South Korean meditators are busy playing golf and the Japanese busy with their wives.
-----------------------
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:19 am

:rofl:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:35 am

Bankei, that is pretty damn funny. But on a semi-serious note, I heard about a meditation study (I don't have a source, so ignore me if you must) and the electronic measurements of who had the most "special brain waves" matched with what the head monk said each persons level of practice was. So there was a measurable difference between the "advanced" students and the "medium" students. I don't know weather to jump for joy or go hide in a bunker. One thing I do remember about the study is that it was limited and has not been independently reproduced, but if the results can be confirmed.... bring on the Jhana Olympics. :popcorn:

I wonder if there is an "extra-special brain wave" for the arahant? :tongue:
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:52 am

Buckwheat wrote:Bankei, that is pretty damn funny. But on a semi-serious note, I heard about a meditation study (I don't have a source, so ignore me if you must) and the electronic measurements of who had the most "special brain waves" matched with what the head monk said each persons level of practice was. So there was a measurable difference between the "advanced" students and the "medium" students. I don't know weather to jump for joy or go hide in a bunker. One thing I do remember about the study is that it was limited and has not been independently reproduced, but if the results can be confirmed.... bring on the Jhana Olympics. :popcorn:

I wonder if there is an "extra-special brain wave" for the arahant? :tongue:


There are several such studies going on, the BBC in the UK had a series on the news which had a segment on this, and allot of the researchers are doing the same experiments as far as I am aware! the Samatha trusts journal has a number of articles on this in its last publication although as becomes obvious in this, due to the number of different styles or specific techneques people use within the same area such as anapana sati, reproduction can be difficult unless it is within a specific traditions practice, unless they are doing a general meditative survey using the ecg or other kinds of machines which can monitor brain activity to some degree. the research has been going on for 30+years now within different meditative groups like goenka, transcendental meditation, tibetan, to name a few.

here is wiki article I found http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_on_meditation
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Zom » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:15 am

Sometimes I see a global tendency to place stream-enterers on the unreachable pedestal (perhaps even higher that of arahants :D ))))
Well, luckily this is a mistake. Sotapanna means "one who has stepped on the Noble Eightfold Path". This is not someone who has already traversed this path.

"Mahaanaama, if these great sal trees could distinguish what is well spoken from what is ill spoken, I would proclaim these great sal trees to be Stream-Winners bound for enlightenment"

SN 55.24 - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html


To see if you have gained the fruit of stream-entry you must look into Dhamma Mirror, which is fourfold: Strong adherence to the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha and a strong commitment to living with 5 precepts. Please notice, no jhana or nibbana here.

Stream-enterer can even not meditate at all, being "heedless":
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Plus to that, within a "stream-enterers pair" there are sotapattimaggas (dhammanussari, saddhanussari) - those who even haven't dropped 3 fetters, but will do so in this very life for sure. To be a saddhanussari you must only believe in that everything is impermanent. That is enough ,)
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby perkele » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:06 pm

Zom wrote:Stream-enterer can even not meditate at all, being "heedless":
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


The Sutta begins like this:
On one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Sakyans near Kapilavatthu in Nigrodha's Park. Then Nandiya the Sakyan went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "Lord, the disciple of the noble ones in whom the factors of stream entry are altogether & in every way lacking: Is he called a disciple of the noble ones who lives heedlessly?"

"Nandiya, the person in whom the factors of stream entry are altogether & in every way lacking I call an outsider, one who stands in the faction of the run-of-the-mill. But as to how a disciple of the noble ones lives heedlessly and heedfully, listen well and pay attention, I will speak"


So the Buddha says here that "the person in whom the factors of stream-entry are altogether and in every way lacking" is not a disciple of the noble ones, i.e. not a stream-enterer or higher.

But what is "the person in whom the factors of stream-entry are altogether and in every way lacking"? What are "the factors of stream-entry". And what does it mean that they are "altogether and in every way lacking"?
I would really appreciate if someone here could clarify the terminology.

Zom wrote:Plus to that, within a "stream-enterers pair" there are sotapattimaggas (dhammanussari, saddhanussari) - those who even haven't dropped 3 fetters, but will do so in this very life for sure. To be a saddhanussari you must only believe in that everything is impermanent. That is enough ,)

Also interesting. Without reflecting deeply I would then come to the conclusion that I am a saddhanussari for sure. But this definition seems rather shallow (Edit: Or I am too shallow to penetrate its meaning? - definitely possible). I have doubts in that.
Thinking that I'm a saddhanussari is great. I will reach stream-entry for sure. So I will reach Nibbana for sure. So "I" am safe! Woohoo. Wait! What? Where am "I"?
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:09 pm

Greetings Zom,

Zom wrote:Sometimes I see a global tendency to place stream-enterers on the unreachable pedestal...


:goodpost:

Metta,
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:34 am

Zom wrote: Sometimes I see a global tendency to place stream-enterers on the unreachable pedestal


Stream Entry is the most difficult of all levels of Ariyahood to achieve. After achieving Stream Entry, one will automatically become an Arahant in not more than Seven Lifetimes.

A being can wander through uncountable lifetimes in many, many forms and on the occasions he/she has the rare opportunity of human rebirth, the being may not even be born in a time or a country where the Teachings are known.

If in the long, long rounds of Samsara, the being is fortunate to gain a human rebirth, plus access to the Teachings, health, and the kammic inheritance that will support their understanding – then they may achieve Stream Entry. Unless and until this happens, the flux of becoming (currently ‘Zom’) will simply be reborn over and over and over and over ad infinitum, unendingly.

So … while you have the rarest of fortunate lives, to be born in human form, to be born during a Buddhasasana, to have access to the Teachings, to be healthy and able to practise – go for it! Don’t be lazy. Who knows when, if ever, the chance will come again.

Ariyas (Noble Persons)
http://www.thisismyanmar.com/nibbana/mtinmon4.htm

with metta
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Buckwheat » Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:46 am

Hi Chris,
Many of the reasons you listed that make stream entry so rare have already been accomplished by those on dhamma wheel such as human birth and exposure to the dhamma. Assuming my kamma is reasonably healthy and I am dedicated to practice, with all those conditions in place, what would you say are my odds of stream entry in this lifetime? I do agree human birth with decent kamma and exposure to dhamma and the will to practice is rare so the opportunity should not be wasted, but it would be reassuring if from this fortunate position my odds are pretty good.
thanks and metta
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby cooran » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:22 am

Hello Scott,

This might be of interest – 23 pages on Factors of Stream Entry by Venerable Ajahn Payutto (Phra Payutto)
http://www.buddhistteachings.org/wp-con ... -Entry.pdf

with metta
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Number of Theravadins attaining 1st jhana or Stream-En

Postby Zom » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:41 pm

A being can wander through uncountable lifetimes in many, many forms and on the occasions he/she has the rare opportunity of human rebirth, the being may not even be born in a time or a country where the Teachings are known.

If in the long, long rounds of Samsara, the being is fortunate to gain a human rebirth, plus access to the Teachings, health, and the kammic inheritance that will support their understanding – then they may achieve Stream Entry. Unless and until this happens, the flux of becoming (currently ‘Zom’) will simply be reborn over and over and over and over ad infinitum, unendingly.

So … while you have the rarest of fortunate lives, to be born in human form, to be born during a Buddhasasana, to have access to the Teachings, to be healthy and able to practise – go for it! Don’t be lazy. Who knows when, if ever, the chance will come again.


I'm not talking about someone, let's say so,.. "outside of Buddhism" ,) - sure, there are billions of such people. But I'm talking about someone who came to Buddhism, especially Theravada Buddhism. I'm sure there is a huge ammount of sotapannas among all those who consider themselves "theravadins" in the world.
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