How common is stream entry?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: ...---... How common is stream entry?

Postby nowheat » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:38 pm

retrofuturist wrote:It's any instance where "other power" (as opposed to one's own efforts) is invoked.)

But do you ever catch the suttas actually saying this? I ask because, recently, I have seen silabatta being interpreted as "clinging to one's own conception of Buddhist rules and rites" rather than a reference to, say, Brahminical rules and rites. I've done some cross-checking of the word in context and am not finding any good sources for defining it either one way or the other.

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: ...---... How common is stream entry?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:49 pm

Greetings,

nowheat wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:It's any instance where "other power" (as opposed to one's own efforts) is invoked.)

But do you ever catch the suttas actually saying this?

Not in so many words...

SN 42.6: Paccha-bhumika Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14747
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby marc108 » Mon Jun 18, 2012 11:58 pm

khlawng wrote:Why is it so difficult?


People talk about eradicating the self view like its something easy, or something you would easily 'choose' if given the 'choice'. I think Bhante G touches on this in MIPE. I may be reading his example wrong, but I believe what he is talking about is the eradication of the self view.

When you really get into it, you will eventually find yourself confronted with a shocking realization. One day you will look inside and realize the full enormity of what you are actually up against. What you are struggling to pierce looks like a solid wall so tightly knit that not a single ray of light shines through. You find yourself sitting there, staring at this edifice and you say to yourself, "That? I am supposed to get past that? But it's impossible! That is all there is. That is the whole world. That is what everything means, and that is what I use to define myself and to understand everything around me, and if I take that away the whole world will fall apart and I will die. I cannot get through that. I just can't."
It is a very scary feeling, a very lonely feeling.


This is not an easy thing for a person to go up against and not an easy thing to integrate back into lay life. It's not like you just pin your Stream Winner badge on and go back to life like normal.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
User avatar
marc108
 
Posts: 464
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:10 pm

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby manas » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:18 am

Hi khlawng,

khlawng wrote:Where has this technique dissappeared to since the Buddha's time?


I read that the number of persons attaining arahantship had already started to decline during the Buddha's lifetime, even. So, should we be surprised if 2600 (two-thousand six-hundred!) years later, with the original Sangha long split into various sects & schools of practice, that 'even just' stream-entry is quite a challenge?

manas :anjali:
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2162
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:26 am

Greetings,

marc108 wrote:People talk about eradicating the self view like its something easy, or something you would easily 'choose' if given the 'choice'.

It's necessary to distinguish between the self-view (sakkāya-ditthi) broken at stream-entry, from the sense of self, the conceit 'I am' (asmi-mana) which is only broken with arahantship - http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Asmi-mana

As for the self-view fetter, it's no more or less a choice than any other belief, as far as I can gather from the suttas.

marc108 wrote:This is not an easy thing for a person to go up against and not an easy thing to integrate back into lay life. It's not like you just pin your Stream Winner badge on and go back to life like normal.

Why not? The lay stream-winners (and beyond) in the Sutta Pitaka didn't seem to find it a big dilemma.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14747
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby marc108 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:19 am

retrofuturist wrote:It's necessary to distinguish between the self-view (sakkāya-ditthi) broken at stream-entry, from the sense of self, the conceit 'I am' (asmi-mana) which is only broken with arahantship - http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Asmi-mana

As for the self-view fetter, it's no more or less a choice than any other belief, as far as I can gather from the suttas.


Thank you for clarifying the differences. I was talking about "assumption of a self, personality or soul"

retrofuturist wrote:Why not? The lay stream-winners (and beyond) in the Sutta Pitaka didn't seem to find it a big dilemma.


perhaps i am making a huge assumption but i dont think you will find this sentiment (Stream Winning being easy and not tumultuousness) echoed by living [lay or otherwise] Stream Winners. i also believe that lay life when the Buddha was living was probably much more conducive to creating and supporting Stream Winners as compared to modern (western, especially) society.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
User avatar
marc108
 
Posts: 464
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:10 pm

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby khlawng » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:42 am

Hi Marc,

When you really get into it, you will eventually find yourself confronted with a shocking realization. One day you will look inside and realize the full enormity of what you are actually up against. What you are struggling to pierce looks like a solid wall so tightly knit that not a single ray of light shines through. You find yourself sitting there, staring at this edifice and you say to yourself, "That? I am supposed to get past that? But it's impossible! That is all there is. That is the whole world. That is what everything means, and that is what I use to define myself and to understand everything around me, and if I take that away the whole world will fall apart and I will die. I cannot get through that. I just can't."
It is a very scary feeling, a very lonely feeling.


Respectfully, I think it is important to distinguish if the Bhante is speaking about his personal barriers or is he speaking on behalf of the Buddhist community.
User avatar
khlawng
 
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:28 pm

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby khlawng » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:44 am

manas wrote:Hi khlawng,

khlawng wrote:Where has this technique dissappeared to since the Buddha's time?


I read that the number of persons attaining arahantship had already started to decline during the Buddha's lifetime, even. So, should we be surprised if 2600 (two-thousand six-hundred!) years later, with the original Sangha long split into various sects & schools of practice, that 'even just' stream-entry is quite a challenge?

manas :anjali:


Then are we on a whole, by holding this thought that stream-entry is so challenging, contributing to this decline?
User avatar
khlawng
 
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:28 pm

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:45 am

khlawng wrote:
manas wrote:Hi khlawng,

khlawng wrote:Where has this technique dissappeared to since the Buddha's time?


I read that the number of persons attaining arahantship had already started to decline during the Buddha's lifetime, even. So, should we be surprised if 2600 (two-thousand six-hundred!) years later, with the original Sangha long split into various sects & schools of practice, that 'even just' stream-entry is quite a challenge?

manas :anjali:


Then are we on a whole, by holding this thought that stream-entry is so challenging, contributing to this decline?
Have you read through this whole thread?
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19787
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby khlawng » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:53 am

marc108 wrote: i also believe that lay life when the Buddha was living was probably much more conducive to creating and supporting Stream Winners as compared to modern (western, especially) society.


How conducive marc? What is it then that is so conducive that we, in this day and age, are unable to replicate? The Buddha mere's presence do not qualify. Otherwise, the sutta would have said, where the Buddha walked, Sotappana sprouts out like spring flowers. I think the key is in their livehood or practise or believe. But what?
User avatar
khlawng
 
Posts: 118
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:28 pm

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby marc108 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:27 am

I think Bhante G is speaking to the 'general public' rather than specifics of his own experience.

If you read the Suttas, Stream Winners (and others) WERE sprouting up like flowers around the Buddha :D. By more conducive I mean less busy, and easier to live simply... as well as living in the direct presence of the Buddha!
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
User avatar
marc108
 
Posts: 464
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:10 pm

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby manas » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:10 am

khlawng wrote:...The Buddha mere's presence do not qualify...


Hi khlawng,

Ten Powers of a Tathagata

"Sariputta, the Tathagata has these ten Tathagata's powers, possessing which he claims the herd-leader's place, roars his lion's roar in the assemblies, and sets rolling the Wheel of Brahma.[5] What are the ten?

(1) "Here, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the possible as possible and the impossible as impossible.[6] And that [70] is a Tathagata's power that the Tathagata has, by virtue of which he claims the herd-leader's place, roars his lion's roar in the assemblies, and sets rolling the Wheel of Brahma.

(2) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the results of actions undertaken, past, future and present, with possibilities and with causes. That too is a Tathagata's power...[7]

(3) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the ways leading to all destinations. That too is a Tathagata's power...[8]

(4) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the world with its many and different elements. That too is a Tathagata's power...[9]

(5) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is how beings have different inclinations. That too is a Tathagata's power...[10]

(6) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the disposition of the faculties of other beings, other persons. That too is a Tathagata's power...[11]

(7) "Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the defilement, the cleansing and the emergence in regard to the jhanas, liberations, concentrations and attainments. That too is a Tathagata's power...[12]

(8) "Again, the Tathagata recollects his manifold past lives, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many aeons of world-contraction, many aeons of world-expansion, many aeons of world-contraction and expansion: 'There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared elsewhere; and there too I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared here.' Thus with their aspects and particulars he recollects his manifold past lives. That too is a Tathagata's power...

(9) "Again, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, the Tathagata sees beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings pass on according to their actions thus: 'These worthy beings who were ill-conducted in body, speech and mind, revilers of noble ones, wrong in their views, giving effect to wrong view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, [71] after death, have reappeared in a state of deprivation, in a bad destination, in perdition, even in hell; but these worthy beings who were well-conducted in body, speech and mind, not revilers of noble ones, right in their views, giving effect to right view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, after death, have reappeared in a good destination, even in the heavenly world.' Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he sees beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings pass on according to their actions. That too is a Tathagata's power...

(10) "Again, by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge, the Tathagata here and now enters upon and abides in the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom that are taintless with the destruction of the taints. That too is a Tathagata's power that a Tathagata has, by virtue of which he claims the herd-leader's place, roars his lion's roar in the assemblies, and sets rolling the Wheel of Brahma.
(http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html)


If the above is true, then the Buddha's presence on the Earth, made a lot of difference. As I understand it, he would make use of these special powers if they could assist in helping beings to awaken.

Now I'm not suggesting that we just give up in despair, coming much later down the track; of course we should do the very best we can. with the resources we have available. But would there not have been a difference if one could actually have heard his voice, the Dhamma directly from the Buddha. who possessed all the powers listed above?

:anjali:
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2162
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby manas » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:32 am

.
Last edited by manas on Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2162
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:36 am

Greetings manas,

manas wrote:A thought just occurred to me: it would be better to underestimate, than to overestimate. One who underestimates will feel a sense of urgency to practice, and will feel humble, thinking him/herself as unattained, and with much work left to be done; while one who overestimates might think he/she can slacken off in effort a bit, and might also feel a bit of pride, thinking 'I have attained'.

I disagree - it flies in the face of a good many psychological and sociological studies. The one that comes to mind first is...

Pygmalion effect
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_effect

I think it would inspire practice much more if one felt that one was "going in roughly the right direction" and there are high expectations that effort would yield reward, rather than just groping around in the dark as a putthujana, desperately hoping to stumble upon the entrance to the Dhamma in some pessimistic Dhamma-Ending-Age. The latter method seems to make the fetter of doubt a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As tradition now has it, you now need to personally obtain nibbana (albeit briefly) simply in order to enter the way. No wonder it's deemed such a monumental feat. On a good many levels stream-entry seems to have been conflated with arahantship, and has been mystified and rendered forever out of reach in the process. To quote Nanavira Thera, "People can no longer imagine what kind of a creature a sotapanna might conceivably be, and in consequence supersitiously credit him with every kind of perfection - but deny him the possibility of existence... So long as you are content to put the sotapanna on a pedestal well out of reach, it can never possibly occur to you that it is your duty to become a sotapanna yourself (or at least to make the attempt) here and now in this very life; for you will simply take it as axiomatic that you cannot succeed."

(P.S. You don't need to delete your post just because I disagree with you. I suspect in comtemporary Theravada circles, more people would agree with you than me... at least, yours is the view I hear expressed more often than mine)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14747
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby manas » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:40 am

Hi retro,

I can see your point; I was wrong there.

metta,
manas.
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 2162
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:47 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings manas,

manas wrote:A thought just occurred to me: it would be better to underestimate, than to overestimate. One who underestimates will feel a sense of urgency to practice, and will feel humble, thinking him/herself as unattained, and with much work left to be done; while one who overestimates might think he/she can slacken off in effort a bit, and might also feel a bit of pride, thinking 'I have attained'.

I disagree - it flies in the face of a good many psychological and sociological studies. the one that comes to mind first is...

Pygmalion effect
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_effect

But that is mostly about having high expectations, not about mistakenly thinking one has successfully completed a task.
The purpose of the experiment was to support the hypothesis that reality can be influenced by the expectations of others. This influence can be beneficial as well as detrimental depending on which label an individual is assigned.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10563
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:50 am

Greetings Mike,

I think the paragraph after what you quoted responds to that, somewhat.

(Apologies that the latter parts of my post were being cobbled together as you were creating yours. Often I only think of additional detail after reading what I say a few times, and going over what it logically entails...)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14747
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: ...---... How common is stream entry?

Postby jackson » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:16 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Viscid wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:I have known a number of individuals who are likely genuinely ariya, but the number of those who imagine they are ariya is far greater


What qualities led you to believe they were ariya, if it was not rumour that left the impression?
Demeanour and wisdom.

Greetings tiltbillings,
I by no means intend to send this thread off track, but your response is intriguing. Could you possibly elaborate on what kind of demeanour a stream winner has?
With gratitude and respect,
Jackson
"The heart of the path is quite easy. There’s no need to explain anything at length. Let go of love and hate and let things be. That’s all that I do in my own practice." - Ajahn Chah
jackson
 
Posts: 191
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:40 am

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:20 am

khlawng wrote: That out of the 3 qualifications, one needs to work on only 1 i.e. eradication of the concept of self and with just minimal moderate effort in guided concentration, gain supramundane knowledge to breakdown the concept of self, couple with enough mundane knowledge, you have awaken the dhamma eye.
The "breakdown [of] the concept of self" can be mimicked. Samadhi/jhana experiences, when wrongly applied, can give one what seems to be a freedom from self, or it can alter the sense of self greatly but without the actual insight that leads to a letting go of the self concept.

The problem I see here is, there is a perpatual self-doubt running around the community that becoming a sotapanna is such a lofty goal, so impossible by you and I, that we might want to consider whether we are putting up a self-impose barrier and whether we are allowing others to put a barrier on us, on the pre-condition of "eradication of doubt" to become a stream entrant. Are we to believe that after years and years of service, chanting, reading the sutta, meditating, that we, the lay buddhist is confined to, at best, as a person on the path of stream entry until death and decay?! If that is the case, then there is generally something wrong with our community and the Sangha (my I be forgiven if I have offended the Sangha). Shouldn't the minimal goal, of any Sangha and Buddhist community, be to churn out stream entrters like a factory. If not, then why not! Why is it so difficult? Where has this technique dissapeared to since the Buddha's time?
That maybe a problem you see, but it is not one I see. The door is wide open. While it is certainly not impossibly difficult, it is difficult because the we carry with us a great deal of conditioning grounded in greed, hatred, and delusion. There is no "churn[ing] out stream enterers like a factory" because we are each dealing with our own individual kamma.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19787
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:45 am

retrofuturist wrote:I think the paragraph after what you quoted responds to that, somewhat.

Well, sure, being encouraging is good. And that's exactly what most teachers I've paid attention to have been. However, I don't see the "traditional" teachers being less encouraging. Read Mahasi Sayadaw, or U Pandita, for example. Or listen to talks by Joseph Goldstein or Steve Armstrong.

On the other hand, telling people that all they can hope for in this life is feeling a bit more peaceful, a bit less of a sense of self, and bit more confident in the Buddha's teachings, and then telling them: "by the way, that's all stream entry is, anyway", is not necessarily encouraging.

Unless, of course, that's all there is to it...

Have low expectations of your students and you'll have low-performing students was the message I got from that article.

:anjali:
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10563
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests