Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

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Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby AdvaitaJ » Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:39 am

Greetings All,

I've been scanning various suttas and haven't been able to find any yet to clarify this question; does a person gain total confidence in the teachings of the Buddha because of what happens during stream-entry or, must a person already have complete confidence in the Buddha to attain stream-entry?
:anjali:
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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby Ben » Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:54 am

Hi AJ
As one progresses, so does one's confidence.
The experience of stream entry is the experience of Nibbana. Because of experiencing Nibbana, one's confidence is said to be unshakable.
I'm sorry, I don't have a sutta reference for you at the moment but I think the following is of value.

From A Comprehensive Manual of the Abhidhamma, edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi:
Path consciousness of stream-entry (sotapatti-maggacitta): The entry upon the irreversible path to liberation is called stream-entry, and the citta that experiences this attainment is the path consciousness of stream-entry. The stream (sota) is the Noble Eightfold Path, with its eight factors of right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. As the current of the Ganges flows uninterrupted from the Himalayas to the ocean, so the supramundane Noble Eightfold Path flows uninterrupted from the arising of right view to the attainment of Nibbana.
Though the factors of the eightfold path may arise in the mundane wholesome cittas of virtuous worldlings, these factors are not fixed in their destination, since a worldling may change character and turn away from the Dhamma. But a noble disciple who has reached the experience of stream-entry, the path factors become fixed in destiny, and flow like a stream leading to Nibbana.
The path consciousness of stream-entry has the function of cutting off the first three fetters – ‘personality view’ or wrong views of self, doubt about the Triple Gem, and clinging to rites and ceremonines and the belief that they can lead to liberation. It further cuts off all greed, hatred and delusion strong enough to lead to a sub-human rebirth. This citta also permanently eliminates five other cittas, namely, the four cittas rooted in greed associated with wrong view, and the citta rooted in delusion associated with doubt. One who has undergone the experience of stream-entry is assured of reaching final deliverance in a maximum of seven lives, and of never being reborn in any of the woeful planes of existence.

kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby cooran » Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:58 am

Hello AJ, all,

Have a look at the Suttas under this heading at Access to Insight:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-su ... tml#stream

Particularly:
Why doubt does not arise in a stream-winner: AN 7.51
The kind of conviction and discernment required to attain ~: SN 35.1-10
What it takes for a layperson to become a stream-winner: AN 10.92
How to recognize — and become — a person of integrity: MN 110


metta
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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby cooran » Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:52 am

Hello AJ,

You may also be interested in two audio files by Christopher Titmuss.

On a recent 10 day Retreat with Patrick Kearney, during the interview period after reporting on how my meditation was going, I asked questions about the difficulty or otherwise of becoming a Stream Enterer ~ which is the only safety from an unfortunate rebirth. He suggested I may benefit from listening to these two audio files by Christopher:

09 Who is a Stream Enterer 2008 Mar.08 - Germany 54:30 min

11 What does it mean to enter the stream 2008 Apr.08 - Israel 61:50 min
http://www.christophertitmuss.org/index ... _downloads

metta
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---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby AdvaitaJ » Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:03 am

Chris,

Thanks for the links. I'd read most, if not all of them, and have still been unable to discern an answer to my main question. I'm downloading the talks recommended now and will listen to them over the next few days or so. :thanks:

Ben,

There is a portion in the quote you provided that is tantalyzingly close:
But a noble disciple who has reached the experience of stream-entry, the path factors become fixed in destiny, and flow like a stream leading to Nibbana.

The quote says "...has reached..." past tense. I'm thinking this says that a person has the experience of stream-entry -- and that experience is what removes all doubt, etc. This is in opposition to first obtain all the qualities of a stream-enterer, including the removal of all doubt, in order to then achieve stream-entry.

Kind regards: AdvaitaJ
The birds have vanished down the sky. Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.
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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby Ben » Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:49 am

Hi AJ
AdvaitaJ wrote:The quote says "...has reached..." past tense. I'm thinking this says that a person has the experience of stream-entry -- and that experience is what removes all doubt, etc. This is in opposition to first obtain all the qualities of a stream-enterer, including the removal of all doubt, in order to then achieve stream-entry.

Kind regards: AdvaitaJ


I am not so familiar with the relevant suttas, abhidhamma to be able to answer this off the top of my head and I am not a pali scholar so I can't give you a definitive answer. What I tend to think is that whether the removal of doubt is before or after or coincides with attaining sotapatti, the events happen so rapidly that it is - sort of - academic. I don't mean that your line of enquiry is irrelevant! If I get time tonight - I hope to do some research and uncover what I can find out for you. In the meantime, perhaps some of our more learned friends, hopefully Ajahn Dhammanando is online, and they can offer an explanation.
metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby Dugu » Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:27 am

This is my own reasoning. When one puts his foot into a river, which comes first? The fact he knows the river is cold or the fact his foot is in the river?
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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby IanAnd » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:09 am

AdvaitaJ wrote:Ben,

There is a portion in the quote you provided that is tantalyzingly close:
But a noble disciple who has reached the experience of stream-entry, the path factors become fixed in destiny, and flow like a stream leading to Nibbana.

The quote says "...has reached..." past tense. I'm thinking this says that a person has the experience of stream-entry -- and that experience is what removes all doubt, etc. This is in opposition to first obtain all the qualities of a stream-enterer, including the removal of all doubt, in order to then achieve stream-entry.

Hi AdvaitaJ,

Don't know whether this will help or not, but I will endeavor to describe the moment that I knew unequivocally that I was established on the Path.

I had been reading Bhikkhu Bodhi's The Noble Eightfold Path, Way to the End of Suffering, as well as contemplating several subjects covered in Walpola Rahula's What The Buddha Taught, when one afternoon I had a sudden and dramatic realization about the path and what I needed to do. I could see the intelligence in the design of the Noble Eightfold Path and how it would develop a person on the path (through a practice in sila, samadhi, and panna). I was able to see (literally in my mind's eye) how this was possible and immediately became established in the path. I KNEW that this was the path that I must tread if I wanted to reach that "peace which passes all understanding," i.e. nibbana. And I could see that the training involved in following the N8P was the mechanism for achieving this end goal. Right in that moment all DOUBT about the Buddha's teaching was extinguished in me, and I became a "warrior" in my effort to tread the path — that is, I was not going to let anything stop me or slow me down until I was able to achieve that end. It ignited a fire underneath me that is indescribable and which continued to burn fiercely until I finally was able to achieve the goal. Believe me, if anything like that ever occurs with you, you won't need anyone else's opinion on the matter. You will KNOW it to the depth of your being!
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:12 am

Interesting. Very much so. Your experience may be just what you seem to imply that it is, but in the end, the experience is just more stuff to let go.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby AdvaitaJ » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:15 am

All,

For me, the significance of the question is whether or not stream-entry is possible before having "unshakable faith" in all the teachings. I feel I have a high degree of confidence in the teachings thus far, but I also have a reasonable level of doubt in some of the teachings. The point being whether or not, according to the suttas, there is even the possibility of an "event" that would remove all doubts.

:shrug: AdvaitaJ
The birds have vanished down the sky. Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.
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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby Ben » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:27 am

Hi AJ
I have not forgotten your enquiry and will attempt to find an answer for you asap.
metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:28 am

AdvaitaJ wrote:All,

For me, the significance of the question is whether or not stream-entry is possible before having "unshakable faith" in all the teachings. I feel I have a high degree of confidence in the teachings thus far, but I also have a reasonable level of doubt in some of the teachings. The point being whether or not, according to the suttas, there is even the possibility of an "event" that would remove all doubts.

AdvaitaJ

I would think they arise together. Anyway, that is how I understand it.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby cooran » Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:16 am

Hello all,

This may be of assistance:

Qualities of Ariya Persons
http://web.ukonline.co.uk/buddhism/ariyas4.htm

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby AdvaitaJ » Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:04 am

Ben,

Thank you, but you're certainly under no obligation. I'm delighted with whatever information I can glean here and you're always among the first to help. :bow:

Tilt,

That would certainly get my vote since it suggests that stream-entry is possible even with preceding doubt.

Chris,

Cool chart! :thumbsup: However, the question remains whether 1) doubts preclude the possibility of stream entry or 2) if it is the event of stream entry that eradicates all doubts.

Regards: AdvaitaJ
The birds have vanished down the sky. Now the last cloud drains away.
We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.
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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby Ben » Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:13 am

No problem AJ
I'm just having difficulty at the moment locating it at home. I spent some time last night trying to find the book but perhaps its been misplaced somewhere. The search continues!
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:40 am

AdvaitaJ wrote:

Tilt,

That would certainly get my vote since it suggests that stream-entry is possible even with preceding doubt.

If confidence is characteristic stream-entry, it is a result of the awakening. In SN ii 70; DB i 578 "confidence in the Buddha's teaching" is given as "factor of stream-entry." A sotapanna is defined by possessing "confirmed confidence" in the Dhamma - that is to say, it is a characteristic of being a stream-winner.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby Vardali » Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:51 pm

IanAnd wrote:... Believe me, if anything like that ever occurs with you, you won't need anyone else's opinion on the matter. You will KNOW it to the depth of your being!

Agreed. This is the nature of realization (or the process towards it).

Other than that, I cannot confirm your statements from my experience.

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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby IanAnd » Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:27 am

Vardali wrote:
IanAnd wrote:... Believe me, if anything like that ever occurs with you, you won't need anyone else's opinion on the matter. You will KNOW it to the depth of your being!

Agreed. This is the nature of realization (or the process towards it).

The realization I was referring to was the ending of IGNORANCE about a subject. That was the point of my recounting the experience, which, by the way, was not a meditative experience. It was an experience of "clear comprehension" or "direct knowing" which took place in normal consciousness. Apparently, some people may have been confused by the account.

...but in the end, the experience is just more stuff to let go.

I would agree, for people who have a tendency to cling to meditative phenomena (mental formations). But this was not a meditative phenomenon, and was clearly not the case with me.

All I did was just recognize it for the profound moment that it was. And then recounted it here for others to benefit from, if indeed anyone benefited at all. It only occurred once in that kind of clarity. That, indeed, was the only time it needed to occur. Once you know that you know...there's no further need to re-experience. And there is nothing to cling to. There is only the profound effect of the memory of the event. I was only endeavoring to point out that such things can and do occur. That is all. (Not that they necessarily need to occur in order for someone to verify, in the privacy of his own mind, a certain attainment.)

AdvaitaJ wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
AdvaitaJ wrote:The point being whether or not, according to the suttas, there is even the possibility of an "event" that would remove all doubts.

I would think they arise together. Anyway, that is how I understand it.

Tilt,

That would certainly get my vote since it suggests that stream-entry is possible even with preceding doubt.

Most assuredly it is. Doubt is removed when ignorance is removed. And that is an individual process, which can vary according to the individual.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: Confidence and Stream-Entry: Which comes first?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Nov 27, 2009 7:43 am

IanAnd wrote:

tiltbillings wrote:...but in the end, the experience is just more stuff to let go.

I would agree, for people who have a tendency to cling to meditative phenomena (mental formations). But this was not a meditative phenomenon, and was clearly not the case with me.

All I did was just recognize it for the profound moment that it was. And then recounted it here for others to benefit from, if indeed anyone benefited at all. It only occurred once in that kind of clarity. That, indeed, was the only time it needed to occur. Once you know that you know...there's no further need to re-experience. And there is nothing to cling to. There is only the profound effect of the memory of the event. I was only endeavoring to point out that such things can and do occur. That is all. (Not that they necessarily need to occur in order for someone to verify, in the privacy of his own mind, a certain attainment.)


They are interesting things, experiences like these. A couple of things: You have put yourself out there with this, which not an easy thing to do, and as a result, what you have described is open to discussion, which not an easy thing to deal with sometimes, but how to understand and what to do with such experiences is an interesting and important topic.

I would say that my above comment is hardly limited to meditative experience.

Ian:“I was only endeavoring to point out that such things can and do occur.” Indeed. Such things do occur (in a very startling wide variety), but we can ask after having such an experience, what was it that actually occurred? And is confidence/certitude always a marker that whatever it was, is what we “know” it is?

. . . someone to verify, in the privacy of his own mind, a certain attainment.)
As I would tell my fundamentalist Christian friends, for the devil (Mara) investment in doubt pays small dividends; rather, it is in unquestioning confidence, absolute certitude that has the most profound yield. As for the privacy of one’s own mind, not always the safest bet, which is why teachers are a great help, and why not taking these things too seriously, by learning to step back a bit from them, is probably the safest bet, no matter how profoundly moving they might be and no matter how many questions are answered and even if they are “genuine” Buddhist experiences.

Be all that as it may, thank you for what you have shared. As for what I have written, take from it what you may or nothing at all. No harm was intended. And good luck.
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.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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