I am a bit conflicted about the importance of the 16 Stages of Insight (ñanas; as in Purification of View, Purification by Overcoming Doubt, etc), since some teachers don't seem to mention them at all (Thanissaro Bhikkhu, Ayya Khema?), whereas others place great emphasis on them (Sayadaw U Jotika, Ven. Ñanaranda, Vissuddhimagga, etc). Some of the stages seem very dramatic, and I doubt that they really apply to everyone (eg. noticing the "10 imperfections of insight" in Purification of Path and Non-Path or experiencing fear as one of the stages). I also have a hard time believing that the order of insights will really always be the same for everyone. My questions thus are: 1) does that sequence of insights always hold true on the path to stream-entry, and 2) is it beneficial to try to adhere to that sequence or should one just practice insight (eg. as per Satipatthana method) and then just take insights as they come?
"I do not perceive even one other thing, o monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind" (AN 1.10, transl. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)
"So this spiritual life, monks, does not have gain, honor, and renown for its benefit, or the attainment of moral discipline for its benefit, or the attainment of concentration for its benefit, or knowledge and vision for its benefit. But it is this unshakable liberation of mind that is the goal of this spiritual life, its heartwood, and its end," (MN 29, transl. Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi)