Questions about stream-winners

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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby Brizzy » Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:09 am

vinasp wrote:Hi everyone,

This is about stream-winners according to the five Nikaya's, but I thought I would put it here since my understanding of the teachings could be thought to be wrong by many people. I have three questions:

1. Is there a way in which one can know for certain that one is a stream-winner?

2. If you knew that you were a stream-winner, would you admit it to others on a forum such as this one?

3. Could some modern followers of Theravada Buddhism be stream-winners without knowing it?

Kind regards, Vincent.


Hi
My understanding is that the buddha taught that there were eight noble people (ariyas). Those who were path winners and fruit winners.

1. I think that when one realizes the fruit then one knows. Someone who is a path winner will realize the fruit before death. There are many instances in the suttas where people are worried about their future birth and are reassured by the Buddha. They did not not actually know they were path winners.

2. Why?

3. I believe that any virtuous monk who has faith is likely to be a path winner.

:smile:
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:19 pm

Hi Brizzy,

Thank you for your answers to my opening questions. These are good answers if one accepts the eight noble persons doctrine. This certainly predominates in DN and MN, but much less so in SN, where one finds about eleven alternative descriptions/explanations of a stream-winner. Most of these are, I believe, incompatible with the eight noble persons doctrine. Are you open minded ?

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby Brizzy » Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:02 pm

vinasp wrote:Hi Brizzy,

Thank you for your answers to my opening questions. These are good answers if one accepts the eight noble persons doctrine. This certainly predominates in DN and MN, but much less so in SN, where one finds about eleven alternative descriptions/explanations of a stream-winner. Most of these are, I believe, incompatible with the eight noble persons doctrine. Are you open minded ?

Best wishes, Vincent.


Hi
I dont know specifically about eleven, but maybe the eleven alternative descriptions/explanations of a stream-winner are variations on the basic eight, like a stream winner through faith or dhamma? Or an arahant with and without the formless attainments?

:smile:
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby vinasp » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:38 am

Hi everyone,

Here is yet more evidence that those on the noble eightfold path are still eliminating a view of self (sakkaya-ditthi), by developing the seeing of no-self. The full realisation of no-self completes the noble eightfold path by the attainment usually called becoming an arahant. The following quotations are from the Cula-Rahulovada Sutta MN 147.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's Monastery. Then, as he was alone in seclusion, this line of thinking arose in the Blessed One's awareness: "The mental qualities that ripen in release have ripened in Rahula. What if I were to lead Rahula further to the ending of the mental fermentations?"

My comment : The ending of the asava's, a way of describing how one becomes an arahant.
The Buddha asks Rahula to come with him to the Grove of the Blind for the day.

As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "What do you think, Rahula - is the eye constant or inconstant?" "Inconstant, lord."
"And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?" "Stressful, lord."
"And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: 'This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am'?" "No, lord."

My comment : What is said here about the eye, is then repeated for visible objects, eye consciousness, eye-contact and whatever arises due to eye-contact such as feeling, perception, volitional-formations and consciousness.

"Seeing thus, Rahula, the instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with the eye, disenchanted with forms, disenchanted with consciousness at the eye, disenchanted with contact at the eye. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye as a mode of feeling, a mode of perception, a mode of fabrication, or a mode of consciousness: With that, too, he grows disenchanted.

My comment : The same is then said about the ear, nose, tongue, sense of touch and the mind.

He grows disenchanted with the intellect, disenchanted with ideas, disenchanted with consciousness at the intellect, disenchanted with contact at the intellect. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect as a mode of feeling, a mode of perception, a mode of fabrication, or a mode of consciousness: With that, too, he grows disenchanted. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is depleted, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, Ven. Rahula delighted in the Blessed One's words. And while this explanation was being given, Ven. Rahula's mind, through no clinging (not being sustained), was fully released from fermentations. And to those many thousands of devas there arose the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: "Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation."

My comment : Is it fitting to regard these things as:"This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am ?" "No, Lord." This is repeated 48 times if abridgement is not used. The teaching is that nothing should be regarded in this way. Ven. Rahula fully realises the truth of no-self, becoming an arahant as a result. What was the view of self which he still had up to that point in time ? It was sakkaya-ditthi.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby Brizzy » Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:23 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
vinasp wrote:1. Is there a way in which one can know for certain that one is a stream-winner?


Based on my understanding from the texts of those who have attained the noble states:

Yes, it is earth-shattering enough that you would know. It includes a 'glimpse' of Nibbana and the 'opening' of the Dhamma eye, thus, one would know. One would not need to ask or seek approval from others or seek 'certification' from others.

2. If you knew that you were a stream-winner, would you admit it to others on a forum such as this one?


No, see response above.

3. Could some modern followers of Theravada Buddhism be stream-winners without knowing it?


No, see response above. They would know it.


SN 55.3 Dighavu - suggests that one can be a stream enterer and not actually know it.
SN 41.9 Nigantha Nataputta - suggests that to talk of ones "true" attainment as a layperson is acceptable.
Sorry that these two suttas are'nt online.

:smile:
Brizzy
 

Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby Sobeh » Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:25 am

Brizzy wrote:SN 55.3 Dighavu - suggests that one can be a stream enterer and not actually know it.
SN 41.9 Nigantha Nataputta - suggests that to talk of ones "true" attainment as a layperson is acceptable.

Sorry that these two suttas are'nt online.


SN 41.9 records the householder Citta, having attained the jhanas, introducing Kassapa to the BuddhaDhamma:
"Further, if I were to die before the Blessed One does, it would not be surprising if the Blessed One were to declare of me: 'There is no fetter bound by which Citta the householder could return to this world.'"

SN 55.3 records the householder Dighavu, bearing up under sickness that would soon claim his life, receiving gradual instruction by the Buddha. As the Buddha refers to the "four factors of stream-entry", then to the "six things that partake of true knowledge", Dighavu remarks that these are all things that he dwells in conformity with, but he then says:
"However, venerable sir, the thought occurs to me: 'After I am gone, may this householder Jotika not fall into distress.'"
"Don't be concerned about this, dear Dighavu. Come now, dear Dighavu, pay close attention to what the Blessed One is saying to you."

@Brizzy: I think you're right about stream entrants being able to communicate their attainments, but I think it's noteworthy that here we have the lay follower Citta speaking of it, and not a monastic (as it wouldn't be in keeping with the Vinaya?).

However, I think you're mistaken about a stream entrant being unaware of the attainment, however. As you see, Dighavu is simply conveying where he is to the Buddha in order to receive appropriate instruction at the end of his life; his worry is not about falling into despair himself, but instead is concern for Jotika, Dighavu's father.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby Brizzy » Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:50 am

Sobeh wrote:
Brizzy wrote:SN 55.3 Dighavu - suggests that one can be a stream enterer and not actually know it.
SN 41.9 Nigantha Nataputta - suggests that to talk of ones "true" attainment as a layperson is acceptable.

Sorry that these two suttas are'nt online.


SN 41.9 records the householder Citta, having attained the jhanas, introducing Kassapa to the BuddhaDhamma:
"Further, if I were to die before the Blessed One does, it would not be surprising if the Blessed One were to declare of me: 'There is no fetter bound by which Citta the householder could return to this world.'"

SN 55.3 records the householder Dighavu, bearing up under sickness that would soon claim his life, receiving gradual instruction by the Buddha. As the Buddha refers to the "four factors of stream-entry", then to the "six things that partake of true knowledge", Dighavu remarks that these are all things that he dwells in conformity with, but he then says:
"However, venerable sir, the thought occurs to me: 'After I am gone, may this householder Jotika not fall into distress.'"
"Don't be concerned about this, dear Dighavu. Come now, dear Dighavu, pay close attention to what the Blessed One is saying to you."

@Brizzy: I think you're right about stream entrants being able to communicate their attainments, but I think it's noteworthy that here we have the lay follower Citta speaking of it, and not a monastic (as it wouldn't be in keeping with the Vinaya?).

However, I think you're mistaken about a stream entrant being unaware of the attainment, however. As you see, Dighavu is simply conveying where he is to the Buddha in order to receive appropriate instruction at the end of his life; his worry is not about falling into despair himself, but instead is concern for Jotika, Dighavu's father.


Yes you are right about Dighavu (I read it wrong)
In the Sotapattisamyutta the Buddha frequently mentions the mirror of Dhamma which basically says that if a disciple sees that they have faith in the 3 jewels & are virtuous - then they can declare their stream entry. There is no mention of the the dhamma eye - which I take to be the fruit or the seeing of Nibbana. It is declared elsewhere that the stream enterer will experience this fruit within their present life or just as death occurs. There does not have to be any fireworks to be a stream enterer.

:smile:
Brizzy
 

Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby Sobeh » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:46 pm

I agree that fireworks need not apply; Sariputta attained sotapanna on hearing a pretty truncated discourse on the Dhamma. However, while not necessarily extravagant, my readings and experience suggest that sotapanna is marked by a solid conviction that is not terribly subtle.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:17 am

Hi Brizzy,
Brizzy wrote:SN 55.3 Dighavu - suggests that one can be a stream enterer and not actually know it.

How do you conclude that?

It's similar to MN 143 Anathapindikovada Sutta: Instructions to Anathapindika
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Both Suttas (and others) have the Buddha instructing someone and, after the death of that person (in these cases from natural causes, in some other cases from accidents, expecially with cows...) declaring to others that person's attainment. Admittedly, they do not have the stock passages that other Suttas have such as:
Now during this utterance, there arose in the venerable Kondañña the spotless, immaculate vision of the True Idea: "Whatever is subject to arising is all subject to cessation."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.nymo.html
but I tend to think of the omission, and the later discussion, as a dramatic device, rather than an indication that the instructed person did not realise what he was doing.

Metta
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby Sobeh » Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:46 am

Sobeh wrote:I think you're mistaken about a stream entrant being unaware of the attainment...

Brizzy wrote:Yes you are right about Dighavu (I read it wrong)


Therefore,

mikenz66 wrote:How do you conclude that?


...is not timely.
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Re: Questions about stream-winners

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:00 am

Sobeh wrote:...is not timely.

Hmm, not sure how I missed those posts when I was writing my response. Must have been stuck in a time warp... :alien:
Luckily we came to the same conclusion... :coffee:

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