Hello guys! I found this thread by a google search, and thought I'd chip in. I became a stream enterer a couple of months ago, allthough at the time I didn't know the term "stream enterer" nor the part about 7 rebirths. I find this idea... well... pleasing...
As for the topic of this thread, I have absolutely no idea how common stream entry is. But I can say something about MY experience.
My stream entry experience is hard to put in words, when I try it all comes out so... un-worthy. It sounds pretentious and insane. I'd rather not convey, if that's all right. The experience could easily be labelled temporary madness or imagination running wild, if I had not been lucky enough to have in my toolbox the ana pana technique and equanimity from Goenka Vipassana. The ana pana and equanimity is from my perspective an essential part. So I guess lots of people can have the possibility of stream entry without going all the way with it, because of the overload. At one point I got the impression that it was written, you know, like destined. But it might be my soiled mind adding to the experience.
In addition I find it weird that I reached this experience with so little meditation, all I have is a little vipassana and some intermediate yoga. How can this be? I have done a number of wholesome deeds, though, and have been practising equanimity in the daily life - not so much but a little. That's my background in few words.
Despite having reached this level of enlightenment there is so many things I don't know, for instance I had to learn the term "stream enterer" when I was reading up on buddhism on wikipedia. One major question that is yet unanswered to me (please answer if you know) is how can we really be sure that the stream enterer is guaranteed a maximum of 7 rebirths? What is the source of this information? I am sceptic to these institutionalised religion-like stuff, but I recognised enough from my experience with what I read on wikipedia to be ready to read the original scriptures.
Also this experience showed me what to do with my life, but not in detail, for instance I would like to have some guidance to meditation. I know it seems silly, becoming a stream enterer and wanting to be held hands like a child. But this is really new, and I think it could be useful to have a guide or a manual for newly made stream enterers. Or maybe this is to be found in the scriptures? In that case, which?
I have not told anyone I know about this, as I think it will become a burden on our relationship, and I can see no benefit of doing it. As I improve as a person they will have more benefit than if I just tell them.
PS. "I" is like... you know
One should believe it could be beneficial to post information about attainment in a thread like "How common is stream entry?", but I had no idea you are regularly vitnessing these claims and often there are something else behind it. You have been great giving only kind advice and healthy scepticism. Metta!