Hello. On March 18'th, 2010 shortly before 12:00 noon, the magga and phala path and fruit cittas arose in me and I became a sotapanna. I was sitting at my computer. They arose during an everyday activity. Immediately I understood what happened and I was aware that the three fetters had been cut. At that time I became an Aryan, someone who has touched the deathless state and who has defeated his enemy. That was over 100 days ago. At first I thought it would be better not to tell anyone because it might attract some negative attention. I took a drive down to the Hudson River and took a walk reviewing my mind and the experience that I had. There was no doubt and there reamins none at all. I was amazed. After the walk I decided to inform a friend from Thailand that had helped me a lot with my practice. I told him and told no one else. Since that time I have told no one else of what happened that day.
It has been a strange thing adjusting to life this way. Living without the three fetters is definitely different than living with them. However, it has been a good experience. I cling a lot less but still have a great deal of lobha and dosa. This is because of accumulations in the citta. The thing that has been most striking to me about the experience is the cutting of the fetter of silabbatupadana. Most people do not even know what that word is nevermind what it means. It is generally defined as the fetter that causes one to think that rites and rituals are efficacious; however, in my practice, I have realised that it goes much deeper than that. It is about not seeing things realistically for what they are because self view is normally so involved for the non-Ariyan disciple. Let me give you some examples. In the past, before this happened I used to try very hard to avoid things that I thought were "bad". For example, I work at a Home Improvement store where I sell things. From time to time, they might ask you to help out in another department. I always dreaded being asked to help in the Seasonal department because there is a large aisle there with bug sprays, poisons, traps to kill animals and so on. I always dreaded customers asking me where the bug sprays or traps were because I didn't want to be involved in the death of any creatures, in any way. I avoided that area as much as I could. To be honest, I even took a long way around sometimes if I had to go to that area of the building to avoid people near that section asking me where the bug sprays and so on were. On one occasion, in my own department, someone asked me where those things were and I actually lied. I told them I wasn't sure and that maybe they could ask someone else. I wanted no part in the death of living beings. Now, after the experience of nibbana, I realize the truth of anatta much more and that some things are just out of ones control. My attitude in these situations is much different now. For example, I still really don't want to direct anyone to a bug spray but if they ask me where they are I will be honest and direct them to it. I am not killing the bug and I know that. If they are going to do it, it is their decision. My protests cannot stop them. This is an example of silabbatupadana. In fact, there is a story from the Tipitika where there is a sotapanna who's husband is a hunter. The husband would hunt by bow everyday and kill animals. That is how he made his living. Every morning the wife, who was a sotapanna, would ready his bow, make sure it was in good working order and ready for him. This is an example of someone who would never kill herself, but who removed the fetter of silabbatupadana. This is a true story from the time of the Buddha and the Arahants. There are other such examaples too.
It has been over one hundred days now and I have really come to terms with the experience. More than coming to terms with the fact that I experienced nibbana, I have come to terms with the fact that the three fetters are permanently absent in my mind stream.
I am not sure how I will respond to the attention this might bring. I may or may not respond to response messages to this post. Questions specific to practice I will definitely answer; simply feel free to PM them to me here. Please do not call me at home or send me monetary donations or gifts. I will simply reject and may leave them on the floor as I did when I was a monk or send them back. I am sorry, but I will not accept them. I cannot.