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Can someone know they are on the path to stream-winning?

If I remember correctly, Ajahn Brahm’s talk How To Become A Stream Winner distinguishes the path to stream winning, from stream winning itself, so I think this question is distinct from How can someone be sure they are a stream entrant?!

Can someone know they are on the path to stream-winning, or does someone with this attainment or higher have to tell them? If they can know for themselves, how?

SN12.41
“Householder, when a noble disciple has quelled five dangers and threats, has the four factors of stream-entry, and has clearly seen and comprehended the noble cycle with wisdom, they may, if they wish, declare of themselves: ‘I’ve finished with rebirth in hell, the animal realm, and the ghost realm. I’ve finished with all places of loss, bad places, the underworld. I am a stream-enterer! I’m not liable to be reborn in the underworld, and am bound for awakening.’

When you’ve arrived… you know! If you’re unsure… you haven’t arrived… but as long as you are keeping precepts, following the 8 fold path and making the effort to investigate your experience, you’re on the path! :wink: :smile:

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Highly recommend this lecture:
https://www.amaravati.org/audio/chapter-16-i-entering-stream-part-1/

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Much appreciated. That book has been waiting, patiently for me.

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In SN 48.53 the Buddha answers the question (learner = stream-enterer). There he indicates that the task accomplished at stream-entry is direct knowledge of the four noble truths. This is the element that removes the fetter of doubt.

"And what is the manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is a learner, standing at the level of a learner, can discern that ‘I am a learner’? There is the case where a monk is a learner. He discerns, as it actually is, that ‘This is stress… This is the origination of stress… This is the cessation of stress… This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.’ This is a manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is a learner, standing at the level of a learner, can discern that ‘I am a learner.’

This reiterates the direct experience the bodhisatta described in MN 19:

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with sensuality arose in me. I discerned that ‘Thinking imbued with sensuality has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.’ (Second noble truth)
[…]
“And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with renunciation arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with renunciation has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding.” (Third noble truth)

"Therefore, monks, your duty is the contemplation, ‘This is stress… This is the origination of stress… This is the cessation of stress.’ Your duty is the contemplation, ‘This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.’’—SN 56.44

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Also nicely summarised in Mindfulness Bliss and Beyond: Two Triggers for Stream Winning and Five Supporting Conditions.

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Knowing what the two triggers and five supporting conditions are would be of interest.

That’s necessary as far as it goes, but having a linear establishment of the seven factors of awakening would not initiate the dynamic necessary to accomplish significant progress. The ‘establishment’ of factors is a preliminary stage, but ‘development’ of them goes a further leap to their working together.
Both these stages are listed under the fourth foundation of mindfulness, where the seven factors of awakening are firstly known as “in & of themselves,” then as their “culmination of development: “

[4] “And further, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the seven factors for awakening. And how does a monk remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the seven factors for awakening? There is the case where, there being mindfulness as a factor for awakening present within, he discerns, ‘Mindfulness as a factor for awakening is present within me.’ Or, there being no mindfulness as a factor for awakening present within, he discerns, ‘Mindfulness as a factor for awakening is not present within me.’

He discerns how there is the arising of unarisen mindfulness as a factor for awakening. And he discerns how there is the culmination of the development of mindfulness as a factor for awakening once it has arisen.18 [The same formula is repeated for the remaining factors for awakening: analysis of qualities, persistence, rapture, calm, concentration, & equanimity.]”—-MN 10, Satipatthana sutta

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Triggers:

  • “the words of another” (parato ghosa)
  • “work of the mind that goes back to the source” (yoniso manasikāra)

Conditions:

  • virtue (sīla)
  • learning (suta)
  • discussion (sākacchā)
  • jhāna (samatha)
    insight (vipassanā)

MN 43,13-14

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Thanks for reminding me of this nice and informative sutta! :anjal:

“How many conditions are there for the arising of right view?”
“Kati panāvuso, paccayā sammādiṭṭhiyā uppādāyā”ti?

“There are two conditions for the arising of right view:
“Dve kho, āvuso, paccayā sammādiṭṭhiyā uppādāya—
the words of another and proper attention.
parato ca ghoso, yoniso ca manasikāro.
These are the two conditions for the arising of right view.”
Ime kho, āvuso, dve paccayā sammādiṭṭhiyā uppādāyā”ti.

“When right view is supported by how many factors does it have freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom as its fruit and benefit?”
“Katihi panāvuso, aṅgehi anuggahitā sammādiṭṭhi cetovimuttiphalā ca hoti cetovimuttiphalānisaṃsā ca, paññāvimuttiphalā ca hoti paññāvimuttiphalānisaṃsā cā”ti?

“When right view is supported by five factors it has freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom as its fruit and benefit.
“Pañcahi kho, āvuso, aṅgehi anuggahitā sammādiṭṭhi cetovimuttiphalā ca hoti cetovimuttiphalānisaṃsā ca, paññāvimuttiphalā ca hoti paññāvimuttiphalānisaṃsā ca.
It’s when right view is supported by ethics, learning, discussion, serenity, and discernment.
Idhāvuso, sammādiṭṭhi sīlānuggahitā ca hoti, sutānuggahitā ca hoti, sākacchānuggahitā ca hoti, samathānuggahitā ca hoti, vipassanānuggahitā ca hoti.
When right view is supported by these five factors it has freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom as its fruit and benefit.”
Imehi kho, āvuso, pañcahaṅgehi anuggahitā sammādiṭṭhi cetovimuttiphalā ca hoti cetovimuttiphalānisaṃsā ca, paññāvimuttiphalā ca hoti paññāvimuttiphalānisaṃsā cā”ti

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The arising of right view is what marks stream entry, isn’t it? :thinking:

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Isn’t MN43 a proto abhidhammic analysis of a large number of topics, beginning with the witless and culminating in the qualities of the Arahant? :thinking:

“Reverend, they speak of ‘a witless person’. How is a witless person defined?”

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You would hardly get two of the senior arahants discussing stream entry, the subjects are:

wisdom (1)
consciousness (2)
feeling (3)
perception (4)
mind-consciousness (5)
right view (6)
becoming (7)
jhāna (8)
5 faculties (9)
cessation (10)
deliverance of the mind (11)

Why so? :man_shrugging:

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It would depend on the audience I think. The senior arahants did teach students and in that case they would speak at the level of stream-entry. For example in SN 22.122 there is another question-and-answer session between Ven. Maha Kotthita and Ven. Sariputta where stream-entry and the other levels of attainment are specifically designated. But MN 43 seems to be an exhibition talk on psychological subjects directed to an advanced audience, and freedom in connection with arahants appears about fifty times in the sutta. There is a report these question-and-answer sessions were staged in Thailand in recent times.

These suttas fall under the last category, relating to religious teaching by means of questions and answers (Piya Tan):

sutta the discourses, ie prose passages; eg Sutta Nipāta prose passages, Niddesa,

Vinaya, Vibhaṅga, and texts with “Sutta” in their titles;

geyya the mixed prose and verse, such as the Sagāthā Vagga of Saṁyutta (S 1), Kasi

Bhāra,dvāja Sutta (Sn 1.4);

veyyākaraṇa the expositions, ie elaboration of brief teachings of the Buddha;18

gāthā the verses, eg Dhammapada, Thera,gāthā, Therī,gāthā, Sutta Nipāta verses;

udāna the inspired utterances, especially Udāna, also M 1:171, V 1:1 ff, etc;

iti,vuttaka the sayings, ie the Iti,vuttaka;

jātaka the birth stories, such as those in Kūṭa,danta Sutta (D 5,10-20), Mahā Sudassana Sutta (D 17), Mahā,govinda Sutta (D 19,29-61), and the Jātaka verses;

abbhuta,dhamma the marvels, special qualities of disciples;19 and

vedalla the answers to questions (catechetical suttas):