Aṅguttara Nikāya 3.86

Would you agree that this sutta is a good example showing that Stream Entry is predominately a matter of sīla, with only a little concentration and wisdom? It states that once-returners are dominated by this as well, with more concentration and wisdom. Anāgāmi having fulfilled sīla and concentration. Arahant all three, obviously.

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By the very definition understanding of The Four Noble Truths is predominantly a matter of wisdom. Sutta seems to deal only with ariyas, and difference between them. So it doesn’t deal with the question: how to understand the Dhamma?

I would not agree as it equates “limited immersion and wisdom” with “little immersion and wisdom.” Limited and little are not the same adjectives. It is possible for a glass of water to be limited to only 99.999999% full. In such a case, it would be appropriate to say that it is limited as opposed to full, but not that it is only a little full.

It also occurs to me that the number of sotāpanna in this degenerate age - so far removed from the lifetime of Buddha Shakyamuni - is likely to be very little in comparison to when this sutta was spoken. What may pass for a “limited” understanding now would probably be considered quite a “little” understanding compared to others in the the lifetime of Buddha Shakyamuni.



One of the core thing about stream winners is the insight which eradicates self view, doubt.

It’s not a small matter to be able to get it. Or else basically, everyone who understands intellectually not self should have the direct seeing of it as well.


No doubt what the Buddha meant by “little” or “moderate” is still a great deal. I would certainly not assume an intellectual grasp is proposed here. Perhaps a better way to think about it is no matter how much samādhi and paññā you possess, the amount of sīla would be seen/understood as far greater.

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Oh I see what you mean now :anjal:

I think the answer is in the sutta itself.

  1. The summary of the sutta before you view it.

What this is referring to is people who are well advanced in their practice, I get the sense that they are ‘on the cusp’ of ‘breakthrough’ to whichever stage they are nearing.

  1. Last couple of sentences in the first paragraph.

I think it’s quite clear here that, all three characteristics or faculties are held on equal ground.

  1. This line, which is repeated through out the sutta.

Take the case of a mendicant who has fulfilled their ethics, but has limited immersion and wisdom.
They break some lesser and minor training rules, but are restored.

By ‘restoring’ their precepts, they’re able to fulfil the higher training in all 3 equally and breakthrough to their respective attainments.

I wouldn’t say that the sila is necessarily ‘greater’. It’s certainly important to have a good foundation of sila, this much is true.

A lot of teachers and the Buddha himself teaches this in the gradual training DN15. Which always starts out with sila as a firm foundation.

My understanding is that the formula of sila-samdhi-panna is to be viewed on equal footing, they all influence each other, and they ‘feed’ off each other.

I think once you get to the stage that this sutta is referring to, if their meditation practice isn’t at a high level, it would follow that their keeping of the precepts would not also be at an equally high level as well. :anjal:

I’ve been watching this series of talks lately from the BSWA, they’re quite good, they talk alot about what is being said in this sutta.

So sorry, I actually meant this sutta DN2 :joy:

Is there a way to properly compare them across the categories?

I would think that this comparison is within their own categories.

Yes, as @AdrianMagno said, minor rules breaking in vinaya is not counted towards this fulfillment of sila. But it’s important to know, many vinaya rules can be broken without intention, even unknowingly.