Here is a sutta [SN 12.41] which explicitly states that if a noble disciple fully understands Dependent Origination, then he may declare himself to be a
stream-winner. The sutta is spoken to a lay follower.
It is too long for me to type it all into this post, so I will try to compress it while still showing the structure.
SN 12.41 - Five Fearful Animosities (1).
At Savattha. Then the householder Anathapindika approached the Blessed One,
paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to him:
"Householder, when five fearful animosities have subsided in a noble disciple,
and he possesses the four factors of stream-entry, and he has clearly seen and
thoroughly penetrated with wisdom the noble method, if he wishes he could by
himself declare of himself:'I am one finished with hell, finished with the
animal realm, finished with the domain of ghosts, finished with the plane of
misery, the bad destinations, the nether world. I am a stream-enterer, no
longer bound to the nether world, fixed in destiny, with enlightenment as
"What are the five fearful animosities that have subsided?" [compressed]
1. The anxiety about the future in one who destroys life.
2. The anxiety about the future in one who takes what is not given.
3. .......... who engages in sexual misconduct......
4. ...........who speaks falsely.......
5. ...........who indulges in wine, liquor, and intoxicants ....
"What are the four factors of stream-entry that he possesses?
1. .......... confidence in the Buddha .........
2............ confidence in the Dhamma .........
3. ...........confidence in the sangha .........
4. ...........he possesses the virtues dear to the noble ones ...
"And what is the noble method that he has clearly seen and thoroughly
penetrated with wisdom?
Here, householder, the noble disciple attends closely and carefully to
dependent origination itself thus: 'When this exists, that comes to be,
with the arising of this, that arises. When this does not exist, that does
not come to be; with the cessation of this, that ceases.
That is, with ignorance as condition, volitional formations [come to be];
with volitional formations as condition, consciousness ......Such is the
origin of this whole mass of suffering.
But with the remainderless fading away and cessation of ignorance comes
cessation of volitional formations; with the cessation of volitional
formations, cessation of consciousness ......Such is the cessation of this
whole mass of suffering."
This is the noble method that he has clearly seen and thoroughly penetrated
[Repeat opening paragraph.]
[CDB Bhikkhu Bodhi, page 578.]