How common is stream entry?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

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

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:52 am

jackson wrote: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?
Of the individuals that I have known who were likely ariya (having attained some degree of awakening), not one of them deliberately drew attention to themselves or their practice in terms of making their attainments, their practice, who they are a credential. There was always a humility. Even when talking about themselves or their practice, it was in terms teachings, in terms of illustrating a point. It was never in a sense of scoring a point or showing off one's brass buttons. And some of the personalities could be quite big, full of a lot humor. Also, they were not perfect, sometimes having, like any of us, odd habits or quirks, but interestingly, never slavish to them.

I don't know if that helps. It is hard to put one's finger on things such as this. We can have all sorts of expectations of how an ariya should or should not act, and we may end up disappointed, but I think I can say what I have not seen is horn tooting as a characteristic of awakening.
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
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:57 am

Greetings Mike,

mikenz66 wrote: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.

Let alone "not necessarily encouraging", it would indeed be false.

No, I'm not about misleading people as to what stream-entry is... I'm (true to form) all about pointing back towards the suttas to re-discover what stream-entry is and how the Buddha defined it before the mystification and arahantifcation of stream-entry began in earnest. To that end, the Thanissaro Bhikkhu compendiums that Bodom linked to (either here or in the other similarly named topic, I've lost track) on Access To Insight are gold. It helps strip back the (mis?)conception that "stream entry" is some kind of "magical (path or fruit) moment"... rather it is about the burdens you have been able to let go of.

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


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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby robertk » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:01 am

'Kindred Sayings' (V, Maha-vagga, Book XII, Kindred Sayings about the Truths, Ch. V, par. 5, The keyhole)
'Here, lord, robing myself in the forenoon and taking bowl and outer robe I set out for Vesali on my begging rounds. Then, lord, I saw a number of Licchavi youths in the gymnasium making practice at archery, shooting even from a distance through a very small keyhole, and splitting an arrow, shot after shot, with never a miss. And I said to myself, lord: 'Practised shots are these Licchavi youths! Well practised shots indeed are these Licchavi youths, to be able even at a distance to splinter an arrow through a very small keyhole, shot after shot, with never a miss!' '

'Now what think you, Ananda? Which is the harder, which is the harder task to compass: To shoot like that or to pierce one strand of hair, a hundred times divided, with another strand?'

'Why, lord, of course to split a hair in such a way is the harder, much the harder task.'

'Just so, Ananda, they who penetrate the meaning of: This is dukkha, this is the arising of dukkha, this is the ceasing of dukkha, this is the practice that leads to the ceasing of dukkha, pierce through something much harder to pierce.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:04 am

Greetings Robert,

Yet there are similar passages on the remote likelihood of simply encountering the Dhamma in this lifetime.

From that you could draw a 1:1 relationship between encountering the Dhamma and attaining stream entry. 8-)

:rofl:

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


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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby kirk5a » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:18 am

mikenz66 wrote: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...

Ven. Thanissaro regards stream entry as one's first experience of touching the deathless.

I'm sure there are a range of reactions to that. Encouraged, discouraged, skepticism, outright denial, affirmation...
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:17 am

retrofuturist wrote: To that end, the Thanissaro Bhikkhu compendiums that Bodom linked
Is this it?:
    1) The sotapanna has abandoned the first three of the lower fetters: personality view, doubt, misapprehension of precepts and vows. (Ratanasutta Sn. 233)

    2) He is freed from the possibility of rebirth in the four lower realms. (Ratanasutta Sn. 234)

    3) He is incapable of concealing any bodily, verbal or mental transgression. (Ratanasutta Sn. 235)

    4) He has abandoned any lust, hate or delusion that would be strong enough to cause rebirth in the lower realms. (Abhabba Sutta AN. iii. 438)

    5) He is incapable of nine actions: treating any sankhara as permanent, treating any sankhara as pleasurable, treating any dhamma as self, killing his mother, father or an arahant, causing bleeding in a Tathagata with evil intent, splitting the Sangha, or going over to another teacher. (Bahudhatuka Sutta MN. 115)

    6) He is incapable of living without reverence for the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha, and the training. Nor can he embrace any of the 62 wrong views or take an eighth birth. (Pa?hama-abhabbatthana Sutta AN. iii. 438-9)

    7) He is incapable of seeking outside the Sangha for persons worthy of gifts. (Dutiya-abhabba??hana Sutta AN. iii. 439)

    8) He cannot fall into the six wrong views that pleasure and pain are self-wrought, or wrought by another, or wrought by both oneself and another, or arise by chance without any act by self, or arise by chance without any act by another, or arise by chance without any act by either self or another. "For the one attained to right view sees well both causes and dhammas that are causally arisen." (Catuttha-abhabba??hana Sutta AN. iii. 440)

    9) He is fixed unshakeably in the True Dhamma, is incapable of backsliding (to being a worlding), his future dukkha is finite, he has attained to knowledge not common to worldlings, cause and causally arisen dhammas are seen rightly by him.
    (Anisa?sa Sutta AN. iii. 441)

    10) He possesses unshakable confidence in the Three Jewels and the unbroken virtue that is pleasing to ariyans (numerous Suttas)
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
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Re: ...---... How common is stream entry?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:19 am

tiltbillings wrote:
jackson wrote: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?
Of the individuals that I have known who were likely ariya (having attained some degree of awakening), not one of them deliberately drew attention to themselves or their practice in terms of making their attainments, their practice, who they are a credential. There was always a humility. Even when talking about themselves or their practice, it was in terms teachings, in terms of illustrating a point. It was never in a sense of scoring a point or showing off one's brass buttons. And some of the personalities could be quite big, full of a lot humor. Also, they were not perfect, sometimes having, like any of us, odd habits or quirks, but interestingly, never slavish to them.

I don't know if that helps. It is hard to put one's finger on things such as this. We can have all sorts of expectations of how an ariya should or should not act, and we may end up disappointed, but I think I can say what I have not seen is horn tooting as a characteristic of awakening.

I would agree that those I have met could be described in this way also.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Jun 19, 2012 6:20 am

Greetings Tilt,

I was specifically thinking of this one (which used to be two)...

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... tream.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


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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby daverupa » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:53 pm

I haven't been able to find it yet, but I hope some others here will recall this...

There is a Sutta wherein the Buddha notes that while some declare their attainment by saying something such as "I have attained it", others would come to the Buddha, say a phrase of Dhamma, and depart - and that was their declaration. The Buddha, as I recall, seemed to prefer this latter approach, somewhat chiding the more overt declarers.

It's in the Majjhima Nikaya somewhere I think, but it might be a hidden prose piece somewhere in the Samyutta... anyway, I'm fairly certain it isn't online, but the overall tenor of the Sutta pretty much puts the kibosh on those who would go around saying "I am attainment X, I am attainment Y".

(The one I am trying to recall is not the Sunakkhatta Sutta, nor is it the Chabbisodhana Sutta, though both of those pertain to this topic.)
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Sokehi » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:33 pm

declaring it openly shows a definite lack of restraint, as does my post here ;)
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko
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Re: ...---... How common is stream entry?

Postby marc108 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:26 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
jackson wrote: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?
Of the individuals that I have known who were likely ariya (having attained some degree of awakening), not one of them deliberately drew attention to themselves or their practice in terms of making their attainments, their practice, who they are a credential. There was always a humility. Even when talking about themselves or their practice, it was in terms teachings, in terms of illustrating a point. It was never in a sense of scoring a point or showing off one's brass buttons. And some of the personalities could be quite big, full of a lot humor. Also, they were not perfect, sometimes having, like any of us, odd habits or quirks, but interestingly, never slavish to them.


i will third this. bragging or publicly claiming attainment outside of the context of teaching, to me, is pretty much is a red flag that no such attainment exists.
"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."
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby divine » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:03 am

One last thing guys, one reason to practise meditation is that when you experience the big nothingness you can keep your calm instead of shitting your pants!

And do some yoga!

Thank you all, this have been a good experience for me. A wake up call to why it's important to keep this thing for myself.

:toast:

edit: And one tip more, keep in mind your intention.
Last edited by divine on Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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!
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:10 am

divine wrote:One last thing guys, one reason to practise meditation is that when you experience the big nothingness you can keep your calm instead of shitting your pants!
It is not a matter of experiencing "the big nothingness." "The big nothingness" is a side trip.

A wake up call to why it's important to keep this thing for myself.
Actually, it is a wake-up call to not get caught up in one's experiences.
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
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby divine » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:23 am

@ tiltbillings: For all I know about you on the other end of the keyboard, you are a fairly dedicated and fairly diligent guy with quite alot of experience and knowledge. You have been the number one sceptic about this claim of attainment. And that is good, sceptic's are essential in a community. But may I ask you to provide information about what kind of experiences that mimickes the stream entry? Please also say something about how this experience of no self relates to the experience of loss of doubt.

If this misunderstood experience is so common, I think it would be useful to share it on the forum, so other people can be free of their illusion. Use me as your punching bag if that makes it easier. I'll take one for the team!
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!
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:47 am

divine wrote:@ tiltbillings: For all I know about you on the other end of the keyboard, you are a fairly dedicated and fairly diligent guy with quite alot of experience and knowledge. You have been the number one sceptic about this claim of attainment. And that is good, sceptic's are essential in a community. But may I ask you to provide information about what kind of experiences that mimickes the stream entry? Please also say something about how this experience of no self relates to the experience of loss of doubt.

If this misunderstood experience is so common, I think it would be useful to share it on the forum, so other people can be free of their illusion. Use me as your punching bag if that makes it easier. I'll take one for the team!
You come here with all this callow bravado claiming on the basis of what you read in Wikipedia that you are a stream winner, then you refuse to explain yourself, just expecting that we suck it all up. On the other hand you drop hints here and there, such as "the big nothingness." The problem is that you have shown next to no real knowledge of the Buddha's teachings, but you want me and others do the heavy lifting here in what is talked about. Good heavens, man, you are the one claiming an extraordinary accomplishment. The burden falls to you to make your case.
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
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby divine » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:56 am

Thanks for the effort, but have you ever heard the saying "arguing on the internet is like running in the special olympics - even if you win, you're still retarded". This is a thread about how common stream entry is, there's nothing to be proved.

Now I have to go practise my restraint again.
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!
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:13 am

divine wrote:This is a thread about how common stream entry is, there's nothing to be proved.
Except you inserted into this thread your claim of being sotapanna, based upon minimal meditative practice, next to no knowledge of the Buddha's teaching that you have shown, but you did read an article in Wikipedia that has convinced you that you are a stream-winner, but you have refused to talk about your supposed experience, and then you wonder why most of us don't take your claim seriously.
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
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Viscid » Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:57 am

This whole "Look everyone, I'm enlightened!" announcement comes up often, and so far it doesn't seem very helpful to be belittling and dismissive in response. These experiences are real and potentially life-changing to people. In order to understand that experience, one needs first to label them, and 'stream-entry,' being the first stage of enlightenment, serves that purpose. It's a definite marker, which separates one type of person from another type of person. Someone who has had a profound change in spiritual perspective is naturally going to use that particular marker to differentiate themselves from others. I think our responses should be understanding of this. Perhaps we should give them other terminology, say, 'Having insight into Anatta,' over 'Being a Sotapanna.'

Also:

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:27 am

Viscid wrote:This whole "Look everyone, I'm enlightened!" announcement comes up often, and so far it doesn't seem very helpful to be belittling and dismissive in response.
If it is put out there, is it an open topic of discussion. If the claimant makes a claim of being sotapanna, that, in terms of the practice of Theravada (the subject of this forum), is a highly significant claim, and it should not be taken lightly and there should be some challenge to it. Just because someone claims to have become ariya that does not make the claim true. To not to some degree challenge the claim is open us to all sorts of difficulties as to what is, in fact, going on.

These experiences are real and potentially life-changing to people.
That is the really the whole issue: what are these experiences. Unskilled jhana and spontaneous samadhi can give us all sorts of experiences, and key to many of those those experiences is a sense of transcendence of self, which can manifest, depending upon a number of factors, in a sense of union with god, or a loss of self in something bigger, or "the big nothingness," or any number of ways of talking about "self transcendence," but none of this is stream entry.

In order to understand that experience, one needs first to label them, and 'stream-entry,' being the first stage of enlightenment, serves that purpose.
Only if it is truly an experience of stream entry, which is why such public claims are so problematic. And there are far more reasons to not take such public claims seriously than are to take them seriously, as has been spelled out a number of people in this thread and elsewhere on Dhamma Wheel.
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
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Reductor » Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:49 am

divine wrote:@ tiltbillings: For all I know about you on the other end of the keyboard, you are a fairly dedicated and fairly diligent guy with quite alot of experience and knowledge. You have been the number one sceptic about this claim of attainment. And that is good, sceptic's are essential in a community. But may I ask you to provide information about what kind of experiences that mimickes the stream entry? Please also say something about how this experience of no self relates to the experience of loss of doubt.

If this misunderstood experience is so common, I think it would be useful to share it on the forum, so other people can be free of their illusion. Use me as your punching bag if that makes it easier. I'll take one for the team!


Hey divine,

I'm not Tilt (in case it wasn't clear :P) but allow me to contribute.

You allude to the Big Nothing in another post. Meditative states that might be understood as Big Nothings are several. One, the formless absorption labeled "Nothingness"; two, the formless absorption of "neither perception nor non-perception"; three, cessation of feeling and perception.

In each attainment the mind has reach a finer degree of non-activity. With non-activity there is the absence of perceptions of the world, of the body or even of concepts, like space, time, and subject-object. Each state has a reduced reflex to self-reference. Couple such an experience with a deep craving to be something or other, and one can quickly conclude they've attained something like stream-entry.

The problem with such a claim is that it is dependant on temporary experiences and not on a deepened wisdom.

:anjali:
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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