In EBTs, such as AN3.88, AN10.46, AN10.63, SA 1121, EA 43.10, AN8.59 for example, we find the model of four stages towards awakening.
At the moment in which one enters or wins the stream - the first of the four progressive stages culminating in full awakening - the impersonal process in which ignorance is weakened towards full dissipation reaches a tipping point. The eightfold path gains momentum and takes the dooming of oneself to the cessation of nibbana within seven rebirths (see Snp 2.1).
EBTs are very clear on seven being the limit of further rebirths that can take place after that (e.g. SN48.24, AN3.88 and MA 4/T 26.4).
This means that it is possible to assert that, in a worst case scenario, within seven human generations after the passing away of the Buddha the first of the stream enterers / stream winners must have fully expired, attaining to perfection as arahants.
Most sources on the topic assert that up until very recently the average human life span was well short if 50 years, and possibly as low as 35 years in most cases.
The events found in the accounts of the last days of the Buddha before his complete extinction are usually place at around 480-400 years before the beginning of the Cristian era, or 2,400-2,500 years ago.
This means that within 250-350 years from the Buddha’s passing away none of those who entered the stream under the effect and presence of the Buddha were all gone.
In terms of Cristian Era this landmark can be placed at anywhere between 250 and 50 BCE.
Moreover, if we assume the “spell of stream entry” is still active and around this means that we are probably into the 10th generation of those individuals affected by the Dhamma, and hence “doomed” by it to reach full expiration.
Given the above, I create this topic to explore whether we have evidence that material deviations from early Buddhism as found EBTs can be placed in the timeline at the same point in which that first generation of stream winners certainly attained perfection (i.e. 250 and 50 BCE).
What I mean by deviation from EBTs is for example the advent of the sravaka / bodhisattva dicotomy.
Also, I would like to find out if there has ever been any traditional attempt to estimate how many iterations we are into in terms of generations of stream entry?
The basis and motivation of starting this discussion is to see if I can find others who like me find themselves perplexed with how wildly different, more complex and to a great extent incompatible to what is found in EBTs, is the model of awakening found in the corpus of texts associated with Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist traditions.