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Do the EBTs say meditation is necessary for stream entry?

Today I had a discussion with some mahayana and vajrayana practitioners who were absolutely adamant that meditation isn’t necessary for stream entry according to EBTs. I’m baffled by this, but I’d like to investigate deeper.

I get the impression that the prerequisite of practising the dhamma in accordance with the dhamma includes meditation. For example, SN 22.39-42 talks about cultivating disenchantment towards form as part of “practicing the dhamma in accordance with the dhamma”. What better way is there to do this than meditation!?

So… Is meditation necessary for stream entry according to the suttas? Even if meditation isn’t directly referenced, does it mean the suttas are saying meditation isn’t needed at all for stream entry? I don’t think so, but I’d like to hear other people’s perspectives.

I realise the topic of stream entry prerequisites can be a bit divisive, so I hope I’m not opening a massive can of worms here :grimacing:

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Yes it is right actually no meditation us required for stream entry, but only dhammas and how one get it from within, how the identity view is directly seen in its entire

Part of the problem with answering this question is how exactly to definite “meditation.” I mean, what Pali word quite corresponds to “meditation”? Is there even one?

There is a stock formula you find in a few suttas, including AN 8.21, in which the Buddha uses teachings in virtue, generosity, heaven, and renunciation to ready a student’s mind before delivering his teaching on the 4 noble truths, culminating in stream entry:

The Buddha taught me step by step, with a talk on giving, ethical conduct, and heaven. He explained the drawbacks of sensual pleasures, so sordid and corrupt, and the benefit of renunciation. And when he knew that my mind was ready, pliable, rid of hindrances, joyful, and confident he explained the special teaching of the Buddhas: suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the path. Just as a clean cloth rid of stains would properly absorb dye, in that very seat the stainless, immaculate vision of the Dhamma arose in me: ‘Everything that has a beginning has an end.

I’m not sure how one can make the mind “ready, pliable, rid of hindrances, joyful, and confident” without some practice that falls under the umbrella of “meditation,” although it may not need be full blown Jhana or even involve Satipatthana practice.

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Just give them quotes from this Mahayana text and they will be amazed of how even in early Mahayana. Samadhi and Vipassana was recommended. And living in the forest. :joy:

https://viewer.pdfrock.com/download.php?file=f9060538927c6d20efdac615a7176a70&title=[PDF]+Vimalamitra%2C+Lozang+Jamspal+-+The+Stages+of+Meditation&source=dl

@Hwbao

Not so my friend.

The Elders in the suttas all where previous meditators that’s why they attained stream-entry. If that was not the case, sometimes it was kamma. Meaning from the accumulated understanding they had already from their past life. Mainly because they where already a meditator in the past life. (Who of us wasn’t once :joy:)

An example I can give is of Sāriputta. He was meditator before he became Buddhist. At that level a disciple who was a previous meditator, normally mind clear to see the truth. They have probably practiced already to be lust free.

Shantideva clearly advocate the meditation on death corpse for one reason probably. It’s because it removes lust. And someone that is lust free according to Buddha can see clearly.

I got some suttas to explain
Why shantideva maybe practiced to remove lust it’s because it will open the door for you to able to liberate yourself. So becoming lustless is a training in meditation subjects.

Understanding bodily form, having knowledge regarding it, being free from desire and lust for it, one will attain liberation of the mind and be able to eradicate dukkha.

At that time the Blessed One said to the monks: “You should rightly examine the eye as impermanent. One who examines it like this is called ‘with right view’. Because of rightly contemplating it, disenchantment arises. Because of the arising of disenchantment, one is free from delight and free from lust. Because of being free from delight and lust, I say the mind is rightly liberated.

Rightly understood all the attainments are liberation of the mind at certain level.

So the Path is from beginning till end

Lowering the desire and lust. And meditating is needed to achieve that mastery

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"There is the case where a monk is wholly accomplished in virtue, moderately accomplished in concentration, and moderately accomplished in discernment. […] With the wasting away of [the first] three fetters, he is a stream-winner, never again destined for states of woe, certain, headed for self-awakening.”—-AN 3.85

The streamwinner does not need perfect concentration, that is, they do not need jhāna, nor even need to “meditate” (as the term is popularly taken today). Two essential qualities we need to cultivate to prepare for streamwinning are moral virtue and mindfulness, especially the perception of impermanence.

“Continuity in developing awareness of impermanence is essential if it is really to affect one’s mental condition. Sustained contemplation of impermanence leads to a shift in one’s normal way of experiencing reality, which hitherto tacitly assumed the temporal stability of the perceiver and the perceived objects. Once both are experienced as changing processes, all notions of stable existence and substantiality vanish, thereby radically reshaping one’s paradigm of experience.”

“ A comprehensive realization of impermanence is a distinctive feature of stream-entry. This is the case to such an extent that a stream-enterer is incapable of believing any phenomenon to be permanent.”—-Analayo

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Our faculty is weaker than the examples we see in suttas

The instances of someone becoming a stream-enter on the spot is what I explained accumulated kamma from previous lives.

We dream that live can be like suttas. But we are not fortunate like the people in sutta to born while there is a Buddha

I would rather say nowadays it necessarily to create a sharp mind if you want to achieve it.

Examples of stream-enterers on the spot is mostly either a monk already or acetic or Brahmin. We need examples to see that. But even than I wont take this Path as easy nowadays, I don’t have to meditate, and I will reach the Path.

Nowadays there rarely special people that have a rebirth memory that they where monks in past life for example. Those instances show that they can be a monk again and maybe in no need of meditation.

We dream to much of being lazy and not meditating

Buddha did say this path is for the energetic not for the lazy

I suggest considering what is needed Today

It’s like thinking becoming Arahant is still easy today

Like everyone is becoming Arahants in the Forest.

There is misunderstanding also in reading suttas that someone attain a Path like that.

It’s not like that. They just didn’t practice till higher attainments of Jhana.

One thing I did forget to mention, stream-entry seems to happen in suttas while Buddha is giving a discourse or someone heard the teaching of Buddha

Those instances are special moments that happens when a Buddha is born. Buddha talks about the good fortune to be born while there is a Buddha

The attainments seems to be much easier.

For us to dream we still have many people like described in the suttas. And that same teachings function nowadays. We create illusion.

But still the suttas are not clear on many subject. They don’t go details of what happened

They don’t say what practices the person had that didn’t need much meditation and stream-entry on the spot. That seems to more clear for enlightenment, which always happens after awhile practicing as a monk. But we misunderstand again because they get enlightenment on the spot. But obviously they meditated it’s daily routine for monks.

I think I read a book saying the suttas are not so clear about the experiences of stream-entry also

But the examples should not taken like I said. As happening today. We need tackle many possible means to experience in this life that attainment

Meditation is the answer Buddha leftover for this generation

For long time already few people was experiencing like in the suttas. It can happen. But it’s rare.

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For example it’s not clear what this means.

  1. He is endowed with virtue that is agreeable to the noble ones (thus): Whatever virtue there is, it is unbroken, faultless, unspotted, unblemished, productive of freedom, not adhered to, well-obtained, well-undertaken, praised by the wise, uncensured by the wise.

To my understanding this person has removed many bad qualities. So the exact practice it’s not written. But it’s obvious that they are practicing things praised by the wise.

Could you please cite which Analayo work this came from? I am curious to read more of the article.

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According to Sotapatti Samyutta of SN/SA, meditation/samadhi is no necessary for stream entry. For stream entry, one only needs the following four qualities:

Definite faith (aveccappasada) in the Buddha, dhamma, the Sangha, and noble morality (ariyakanta-sila; such as the five precepts). See Choong Mun-keat, The Fundamental Teachings of Early Buddhism, pp. 228-235.

It is rare for someone to request the references provided, but in their interests to do so. The extract comes from the book “Satipatthana, The Direct Path to Realization,” Chapter V where Ven. Analayo discusses the refrain which occurs after each exercise in the Satipatthana sutta, that is 13 times. The discussion of impermanence is at V.3 (102)

Refrain section:

Or, he abides contemplating the nature of arising in the body, or he abides contemplating the nature of passing away in the body, or he abides contemplating the nature of both arising and passing away in the body.

—————————-

“The “refrain” instructs the meditator to contemplate “the nature of arising”, “the nature of passing away”, and “the nature of both arising and passing away”. Paralleling the instruction on internal and external contemplation, the three parts of this instruction represent a temporal progression which leads from observing the arising aspect of phenomena to focusing on their disappearance, and culminates in a comprehensive vision of impermanence as such.”

“Thus the direct experience of impermanence represents indeed the “power” aspect of meditative wisdom.”—-Analayo

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Can we work towards suttas in suttacentral

Because how is the samadhindriya understood in the suttas? @paul1

You have evidence for not being meditation?

“Mendicants, there are these five faculties. What five? The faculties of faith, energy, mindfulness, immersion, and wisdom. A noble disciple comes to truly understand these five faculties’ gratification, drawback, and escape. Such a noble disciple is called a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.”

Mindfulness here is Samadhi which is Meditation.

@thomaslaw

SN55.5 gives what is often translated as the “four factors for stream entry”:

For the factors of stream-entry are associating with good people, listening to the true teaching, proper attention, and practicing in line with the teaching.

The typical situation in the suttas when a person’s Dhamma eye opens is when listening to a Dhamma discourse (not in meditation), e.g. in Ud5.3:

When the Gracious One knew that the leper Suppabuddha was of ready mind, malleable mind, unhindered mind, uplifted mind, trusting mind, then he explained the Dhamma teaching the Awakened Ones have discovered themselves: suffering, origination, cessation, path.

8Just as it is known that a clean cloth without a stain would take the dye well, so to the leper Suppabuddha on that very seat, the dust-free, stainless Vision-of-the-Dhamma arose: “Whatever has the nature of arising, all that has the nature of ceasing.”

Though, as someone earlier pointed out, it probably usually takes quite a bit of work for a person to have a mind that is close to being ready, malleable, unhindered, uplifted and trusting.

I interpret the four factors for stream entry above as factors helping and making more likely the arising of this process. It seems very likely that one of the items, “practicing in line with the teaching”, includes meditation. Though whether it is beyond being very helpful and strictly always a prerequisite is another question.

There are also the four factors of stream entry. These are listed as the “mirror of the Dhamma” in suttas such as the Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta (attributes that one should have when one is a stream enterer): unshakeable faith in the Buddha, dhamma and sangha and having the virtues dear to the noble ones, but these seem to be characteristics after stream entry.

There’s also a whole debate about whether not just regular meditation but rather advanced meditation like jhana is needed for stream entry. I made a post on this here only recently arguing jhana is not needed. However, many well-known teachers such as Thanissaro Bhikkhu would disagree (as well Bhante Sujato of SuttaCentral who responded to some of my points that thread). It’s not a straightforward topic! :slight_smile:

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If having attained all the five facilities, it looks like being a Buddha!

In the idea of Buddha making these progressive talks and the person attains it. It’s not saying if the person is sitting with eyes closed.

People do that in Asia. See any video where the Bhante is preaching and the persons are in meditation.

We have to understand also that actually that was done by Buddha to Rahula while he was meditating. Giving instruction while someone is meditating is normal process for teachers.

If you think that Buddha was meditation teacher you will expect the people to sit and meditate once in a while. With a calm mind then the teaching is understood.

But again we can not compare what Buddha did. To be the same for now

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In the understanding of EBT probably they left clear indication that the 5 Indriyas are something to be cultivated

“That’s so true, Blessed One! That’s so true, Holy One! When these five faculties are developed and cultivated they culminate, finish, and end in the deathless. What five? The faculties of faith, energy, mindfulness, immersion, and wisdom. When these five faculties are developed and cultivated they culminate, finish, and end in the deathless.

Once upon a time, sir, I lived the spiritual life under the fully awakened Buddha Kassapa. There they knew me as the mendicant Sahaka. Because of developing and cultivating these same five faculties I lost desire for sensual pleasures. When my body broke up, after death, I was reborn in a good place, in the Brahmā realm. There they know me as Brahmā Sahampati.

It does not get more clear than this.

Mendicants, there are these five faculties. What five? The faculties of faith, energy, mindfulness, immersion, and wisdom.

And where should the faculty of faith be seen? In the four factors of stream-entry.

And where should the faculty of energy be seen? In the four right efforts.

And where should the faculty of mindfulness be seen? In the four kinds of mindfulness meditation.

And where should the faculty of immersion be seen? In the four absorptions.

And where should the faculty of wisdom be seen? In the four noble truths.

These are the five faculties.”

And what is the faculty of mindfulness? It’s when a noble disciple is mindful. They have utmost mindfulness and alertness, and can remember and recall what was said and done long ago. They meditate observing an aspect of the body—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. They meditate observing an aspect of feelings … mind … principles—keen, aware, and mindful, rid of desire and aversion for the world. This is called the faculty of mindfulness.

Here is a related discussion from early last year that raised some points relative to this issue:

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So, is meditation/samadhi needed for the stream entry?

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my point from the beginning of this post. Is that we stop comparing what happened in the suttas as possible today. That’s what most people do. But still I said the Elders in suttas was a former ascetic like the two main disciples. And the fire worshipers and we have many other examples. The 5 first Ascetics. Besides that we have to remember that they probably did meditation in the past life. Theravada teaching for example of not needing to crave for tastes because we once experienced all tastes in our past life. So what do you expect? What I’m saying is meditation is needed before listening to the Dhamma talks to open the “Dharma Eye”

I’m not saying while meditating there is Sotapanna. Possible

But it’s like drinking a lot alcohol your mind becomes dull.

Well. With meditation one day it will help you.

And Buddha always preached to people that was ready actually. Because past life etc and even was meditating already before they met Buddha. Doing loving kindness meditation etc

But if you see the suttas again. I make them smaller.

So first understanding

A noble disciple comes to truly understand these five faculties’ gratification, drawback, and escape. Such a noble disciple is called a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.”

How one understand if he doesn’t do them. Mindfulness is the 4 Mindfulness Meditation

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That’s definitely a point (though I suppose practically it must be a kind of meditation in which one can listen to the talk). Or maybe the talk triggers a realization that in turn sparks a leap into a form of samadhi.

There’s also (as you pointed out) a certain argument to be made with regards to the five indriya. SN48 does have suttas like SN48.15 that rank attainments in terms of the degree of completion and fulfullment of the five faculties, including the faculty of samadhi. I suppose if even faith and dhamma followers are described as having some degree of samadhi, it makes sense to think that those practicing for the next step along, stream-entry, would likewise generally have some degree of this also.