Issues / questions came up in recently listening to this youtube dhamma-talk:
“Characteristics Of A Sotāpanna” by one Dhammavuddho Mahathera
1: He makes the case (using copius sutta passages) that “path” attainment of stream-entry is not necessarily instantaneously followed by “fruition”, i.e. the attainment isn’t quite complete, possibly for some time. What I’ve mostly heard / read is that the latter is supposed to immediately follow the former – in the next “mind-moment”. (That impression may come from reading a lot of Mahasi Sayadaw and/or the Visuddhimaga.) It’s not something one runs across often in dhamma talks. This teacher, though, claims to base it in “earliest Sutta-Vinaya” study.
Is that an issue covered much in the “EBT”? If so, is there any readily accessible, in-depth discussion of that to be found (talks, contemporary commentarial writings, etc.)?
2: Dhammavuddho makes a central point that attainment along the path requires having contact with, hearing the dhamma from someone who really knows it; e.g. the Buddha himself, as, according to V. Dhammavuddho’s citations, is amply documented; or, for those of us living after the Buddha’s time (and lacking Mahayana-type direct visions of the Buddha ), some monastic who’s well along on the path. This rings true, as whatever important steps I’ve experienced in that direction has been the result of listening to, or in conversations (e.g. retreat “interviews”) with one of the two or three deeply experienced (several decades, and training in teaching) monastics I’ve been privileged to have access to.
How solidly is this documented in the EBT – accepted as fairly clear, or a matter of debate?
(And, btw, this issue might have a bearing on the “Secular Buddhism” topic being aired here recently, as in those circles it seems people’s backgrounds are more often “auto-didactic”, lacking transmission from direct lineage contact.)
3: Is this a valid topic to raise on SuttaCentral (as it borders on “practice”) ?
For me it’s a central concern, a motivation to follow discussions here, because it’s the one internet forum with major participation by monastics (not that there aren’t some on other forums). Sotapati is pretty big thing, and time is running out. At a day-long recently I asked Thanissaro B. about this, as his topic dealt a lot with the questions of guiding discernment in the right direction along the way, which is best done with personal guidance. The question was whether, with sotapati, one actually becomes self-sufficient, in the sense of truly being able to have oneself as refuge == the dhamma as refuge, i.e. working the dhamma in / from one’s own experience. As distinct from being so deluded that substantial personal guidance is still necessary. (E.g. as per the points Thanissao B. makes in his essay on discerning proper teaching, “The Power of Judgment”.) Having access to a qualified teacher for such guidance is not that common.
P.S. The “discourse” feature “Your topic is similar to…”, quite often, doesn’t seem at all relevant to what I enter as new topic title.