How common is stream entry?

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby IanAnd » Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:22 am

Spiny Norman wrote:So do you regard yourself as a stream entrant, Ian?

That is not a question I would ever be inclined to respond to on a public forum (especially on one that can be as vicious this this one), and especially to someone who doesn't know me. In that sense, it is inappropriate.

Spiny Norman wrote:And if so, could you say something about the experience of overcoming self-view (sakkāya-diṭṭhi)?

Overcoming self-view is something that each individual needs to work out for himself. It's easy enough to intellectually understand that there is no substantial self, but rather a mental construct we call the ego. But when push comes to shove in the real world, one's mental conditioning generally takes over (unless you are aware of the mechanisms at work and can see them in action in real time and are able to let go).

For me, it took studying the five aggregates and seeing the process of forming a self-view, recognizing and realizing that there is no substantial self involved, and then confirming that by watching the process unfold within the mind.

As far as fulfilling this requirement for a stream entrant, my opinion is based on my understanding and close reading of the suttas as well as the common sense of my own experience. Being intellectually aware that one's ego is just a mental construct (having had that realization, however it occurred) fulfills the requirement to my way of thinking. A stream entrant hasn't yet dealt with the asavas. That comes down the line, so to speak, as one continues on the path toward mental purification. (Yet, to listen to orthodox Theravada speak on this issue, one gets the impression that one has to have totally eliminated self-view from their beingness in order to be considered a stream entrant. Obviously, I don't buy into that view.)

For myself, stream entry has more to do with realizing and accepting the basic truths that Gotama taught, the value of the noble eightfold path, the retraining of the mind, and knowing that that is the path one has been seeking all their life to find. With this knowledge and realization, all doubt about the Buddha and the Dhamma has been dissipated as one realizes that this is the path to freedom. To me, entering the stream means entering the stream of Gotama's Dhamma and knowing that one will succeed if they can just work hard enough to walk the path. In other words, the ideal stream entrant sees the light at the end of the tunnel, and knows what he must do to reach it.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jun 22, 2013 8:43 am

IanAnd wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:So do you regard yourself as a stream entrant, Ian?

That is not a question I would ever be inclined to respond to on a public forum (especially on one that can be as vicious this this one), and especially to someone who doesn't know me. In that sense, it is inappropriate.


I'm sorry you feel this forum can be "vicious", I haven't experienced it like that. It was meant as a straightforward question.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Viscid » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:09 am

Good post, Ian-- I'd benefit you stream-entrant status!

Though I've never liked the hierarchical framework for attainment as is... Instead of:

Puthujjana -> Stream Enterer -> Once-Returner -> Non-Returner -> Arahant,
it should go:
Puthujjana -> Path to Stream Entry -> Path to Once-Returner -> Path to Non-Returner -> Path to Arahantship -> Arahant.

Then you have this new useful classification of being on the 'path to becoming a stream-enterer' which is distinguished from mere puthujjaneity, yet claiming such a distinction doesn't necessitate the gall to make bold claims about one's identity-view.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:07 am

Greetings,

IanAnd wrote:As far as fulfilling this requirement for a stream entrant, my opinion is based on my understanding and close reading of the suttas as well as the common sense of my own experience. Being intellectually aware that one's ego is just a mental construct (having had that realization, however it occurred) fulfills the requirement to my way of thinking. A stream entrant hasn't yet dealt with the asavas. That comes down the line, so to speak, as one continues on the path toward mental purification. (Yet, to listen to orthodox Theravada speak on this issue, one gets the impression that one has to have totally eliminated self-view from their beingness in order to be considered a stream entrant. Obviously, I don't buy into that view.)

For myself, stream entry has more to do with realizing and accepting the basic truths that Gotama taught, the value of the noble eightfold path, the retraining of the mind, and knowing that that is the path one has been seeking all their life to find. With this knowledge and realization, all doubt about the Buddha and the Dhamma has been dissipated as one realizes that this is the path to freedom. To me, entering the stream means entering the stream of Gotama's Dhamma and knowing that one will succeed if they can just work hard enough to walk the path. In other words, the ideal stream entrant sees the light at the end of the tunnel, and knows what he must do to reach it.

:goodpost:

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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Zom » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:57 am

(Yet, to listen to orthodox Theravada speak on this issue, one gets the impression that one has to have totally eliminated self-view from their beingness in order to be considered a stream entrant. Obviously, I don't buy into that view.)


Actually, that is true, suttas also confirm this, that a sotapanna can't have a kind of self-view, either gross or subtle. He totally eradicated that. But what he does have - is the conceit (which is eliminated only on arahant level). Though, there is a level of sotapattimagga, which in suttas is described as dhamma/faith follower - in their case there can still be some kind of (probably subtle) self-view. As well as other 2 fetters.

In all the rest I do agree. General misrepresentation I see here and there and everywhere is that "stream enterer has experienced nibbana", but that is not the case, suttas do not posit it this way. He knows nothing about what nibbana is, because psychologically, this is the mind state totally free from 3 unwholesome roots (roots – not just their manifestations as asavas). Being once free from them, you can't get them again, that is an impossibility. And stream enterer does not have this, ofc. And ontologically, this is a sphere, cognized by direct perception, which can be seen via in-jhana practice, and the result of such profound experience can be (and suttas are very explicit about that) only twofold: either 1) non-returning or 2) arahantship. That's why stream-entry is not some "mystic experience" as one may think. The exact description would be "strong feeling that you have entered on the fixed course of rightness" .) It can take up to 7 lives to get to the real taste of nibbana.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:24 am

Zom wrote:
(Yet, to listen to orthodox Theravada speak on this issue, one gets the impression that one has to have totally eliminated self-view from their beingness in order to be considered a stream entrant. Obviously, I don't buy into that view.)


Actually, that is true, suttas also confirm this, that a sotapanna can't have a kind of self-view, either gross or subtle. He totally eradicated that.


So if the suttas confirm this, what is the basis for the non-orthodox view? And what exactly is the non-orthodox view? Is the non-orthodox interpretation that self-view is weakened but not eliminated?

And practically speaking, how would one recognise somebody with:
(i) no self-view;
(ii) weakened self-view?
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Zom » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:40 am

Can't answer about "orthodox or not", but concerning this:

And practically speaking, how would one recognise somebody with:
(i) no self-view;
(ii) weakened self-view?


- this is a difficult question, because many people do not speak about their self-views, simply because they just don't have them formulated, "vebalized" (because usually there is just no need for that). But they still have them, ofc. And if you will speak with them about this particular matter, you may hear them say - "Yes, I think that I'm this, I'm that, I'm my body, I'm my will, I'm my consciousness" and so on. If we are speaking about determining this in yourself by yourself, this is also aint easy to detect for 100%, simply because you may remove superficial clinging to such views, but the root will still be intact (in suttas this root is called "anusaya", underlying tendency). So you can't be sure, if in your next life you will never have such self-views - even if in this life you see them absent. I think only Buddha or arahants with supernatural powers could confirm if one really has got rid of self-view roots, ect. (and some suttas, for example, AN 10.75, confirm this). And, probably, that is why to detect if you are really a stream-enterer, The Buddha gave Dhamma Mirror (which constists of 4, expanded to 6 factors). You check if they are on place (for, presumably, quite a long time like many years or even whole lifetime) and so, as it says, one "can declare about himself - I've finished with hell, animal realm... [so on]". Interesting to note, that there is no such thing in Dhamma Mirror like "seeing absence of fetters". Of course, they will be absent if you've got a fruit of stream-entry, but this is not that very criterion for you to check if you really are.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Mr Man » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:47 pm

How is there conceit without a sense of self?
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Zom » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:06 pm

How is there conceit without a sense of self?


There is no conceit without a sense of self. But there is a conceit without self-views.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Coyote » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:14 pm

How I have had it explained is that the steam-enterant has eliminated self-view with regard to the aggregates, so he/she sees that form, feeling ect. are without self. But there is a lingering sense of "I" with regard to the being as a whole until arahantship.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Zom » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:18 pm

How I have had it explained is that the steam-enterant has eliminated self-view with regard to the aggregates, so he/she sees that form, feeling ect. are without self. But there is a lingering sense of "I" with regard to the being as a whole until arahantship.


Not only. He/she can't consider, that there is a self inside this/that aggregate, outside this/that aggregate, that all of them are self, or that self is apart from all of them 8-)
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Coyote » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:34 pm

Zom wrote:
Not only. He/she can't consider, that there is a self inside this/that aggregate, outside this/that aggregate, that all of them are self, or that self is apart from all of them 8-)


If that is the case, and it is realised at stream entry, then what is the conceit that goes away at arahantship? Wouldn't this include a lingering sense of I around the aggregates?
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Zom » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:02 pm

Conceit is that very sense of self. And that very sense of self is the conceit -)

At the moment of "getting" fruit of stream-entry you realise (intellectualy, but deep enough) that in reality there is nothing that can be taken as "true self". That is why your self-view (ditthi --> views, ideas, thoughts about, opinions, ect) ruins. When you catch that idea, you understand how things (any things) happen in reality. And you will never ask youself or someone else any questions that are based on misunderstanding, that is, on one of two extremes of "existing individually" or "not existing individually". For example, some people ask: "how there is rebirth, when there is no one who gets reborn?" This is an example of a question based on "annihilationist" point of view, the extreme of non-existence. Or, for example, when someone asks "what is it that enters nibbana?" - this is an example of eternalist-view question. No such ideas, no such questions and speculations just can't arise in a stream winner. Because he "got the point" .)
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby duckfiasco » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:23 pm

Coyote wrote:How I have had it explained is that the steam-entrant has eliminated self-view with regard to the aggregates, so he/she sees that form, feeling ect. are without self. But there is a lingering sense of "I" with regard to the being as a whole until arahantship.

Thank you for this.
This whole thread has been very inspiring, for example Ian's post and Zom's insights as well.
Makes it feel like although there's much work to be done, we've already done more work than we could possibly imagine to get here.
I notice I tend to get discouraged when trying to gauge this or that level of practice in my life.
Very encouraging people on this forum :)

I, like several other posters here, have a good sense of non-self with regard to the aggregates.
Self-view doesn't buzz around quite so often anymore.
However, this lingering "despite all these separate parts, the whole may make a self" is very tenacious and deep.
That feeling comes up in some form or another, and I try to just note it and let it go.
I take it this sense of "somehow a self anyway" is the conceit mentioned that takes a long time to dissipate.

I'll continue reading this thread. Quite a lot of posts to consider :popcorn:
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Mr Man » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:38 pm

Zom wrote:
At the moment of "getting" fruit of stream-entry you realise (intellectualy, but deep enough) that in reality there is nothing that can be taken as "true self".


So there is a "moment" of realisation and that realisation is uniform for all those "getting" fruit of stream-entry?
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:01 pm

Coyote wrote:
Zom wrote:
Not only. He/she can't consider, that there is a self inside this/that aggregate, outside this/that aggregate, that all of them are self, or that self is apart from all of them 8-)


If that is the case, and it is realised at stream entry, then what is the conceit that goes away at arahantship? Wouldn't this include a lingering sense of I around the aggregates?


This is described by Ven Khemaka:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Friends, it's not that I say 'I am form,' nor do I say 'I am something other than form.' It's not that I say, 'I am feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness,' nor do I say, 'I am something other than consciousness.' With regard to these five clinging-aggregates, 'I am' has not been overcome, although I don't assume that 'I am this.'

"It's just like the scent of a blue, red, or white lotus: If someone were to call it the scent of a petal or the scent of the color or the scent of a filament, would he be speaking correctly?"

"No, friend."

"Then how would he describe it if he were describing it correctly?"

"As the scent of the flower: That's how he would describe it if he were describing it correctly."

"In the same way, friends, it's not that I say 'I am form,' nor do I say 'I am other than form.' It's not that I say, 'I am feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness,' nor do I say, 'I am something other than consciousness.' With regard to these five clinging-aggregates, 'I am' has not been overcome, although I don't assume that 'I am this.'

See also this Dictionary entry on the fetters:
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... ya-puggala
And, in particular, mana, "conceit":
[url]http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Buddhist.Dictionary/dic3_m.htm#māna[/url]

:anjali:
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Zom » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:08 pm

So there is a "moment" of realisation and that realisation is uniform for all those "getting" fruit of stream-entry?


How could be otherwise? -)


Among types of impartiality, the best is that a stream-enterer is equal to a stream-enterer, a once-returner is equal to a once-returner, a non-returner is equal to a non-returner, and an arahant is equal to an arahant. This is called the power of sustaining a favorable relationship.


AN 9.5 >> http://palicanon.org/index.php/sutta-pi ... ightenment
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby Mr Man » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:30 pm

Well the realization could be something that develops and deepens (over time) and it could be a deepening in faith (see IanAnd's earlier post) rather than a moment of insight into the nature of self. Possibly the manifestation is not consistent.
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Re: How common is stream entry?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:54 pm

Greetings,

Zom wrote:Conceit is that very sense of self. And that very sense of self is the conceit -)

At the moment of "getting" fruit of stream-entry you realise (intellectualy, but deep enough) that in reality there is nothing that can be taken as "true self". That is why your self-view (ditthi --> views, ideas, thoughts about, opinions, ect) ruins. When you catch that idea, you understand how things (any things) happen in reality. And you will never ask youself or someone else any questions that are based on misunderstanding, that is, on one of two extremes of "existing individually" or "not existing individually". For example, some people ask: "how there is rebirth, when there is no one who gets reborn?" This is an example of a question based on "annihilationist" point of view, the extreme of non-existence. Or, for example, when someone asks "what is it that enters nibbana?" - this is an example of eternalist-view question. No such ideas, no such questions and speculations just can't arise in a stream winner. Because he "got the point" .)

:goodpost:

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 Alex123 » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:09 pm

Mr Man wrote:Well the realization could be something that develops and deepens (over time) and it could be a deepening in faith (see IanAnd's earlier post) rather than a moment of insight into the nature of self. Possibly the manifestation is not consistent.



This is what I am thinking myself. What if fetters, for most of us, slowly fade from 100% to 0% rather than go from 100% to 0% in two micro moments.

Also, the suttas seem to talk about path that lasts more than one nano-second. There is sutta where it talks how one can give almost to someone who is on path to stream entry and to stream enterer.
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