How can someone be sure they are a stream entrant?!

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If in nibbana proper, consciousness isn’t present, and it isn’t conditioned like sleep, how does someone know they’ve experienced the Unconditioned?

with metta


As far as I know there are 2 major interpretations in theravada/early buddhist circles what is stream entry.

  1. One is easier to attain: it is having 100% conviction and understanding of anicca, dukkha, anatta of all things in all 31 realms of existence, and establishing all other samma dithhis. But one has not yet integrated it in action as much as poeple at higher stages of enlightenment, so sometimes/oftentimes hindrances and habitual tendencies are stronger than insight.
    But when one is calm, a sotapanna in this interpretation always know what is “samis” (takes one away from Nibbana) and what is “niramis” (going towards Nibbana) and when mind is calm he chooses niramis.

  2. Second interpretation is much more difficult. I’ve heard it in 4th day lecture of Goenka Satipatthana course. It starts with the first above (samma ditthis), but one needs to eradicate all kamma vipaka related to apayas rebirths throught deep vipassana jhana practice. Goenka calls this “bhanga”, but “bhanga” in Goenka language is Ariya Jhana (jhana born not of bare concentration, but of wisdom).
    Then one’s lifestream is so pure, that it can get Sotapanna Magga Phala (nibbanic bliss of Sotapanna), and THEN he IS a Sotapanna and will never be reborn in the apayas and his Parinibbana will come soon.

I think there is no reason to argue which intepretation is correct. I like to think of first as having established samma ditthi, and of second as having experienced sotapanna magga phala. Both are great milestones on the Path.

They don’t exclude each other.
By avoiding term “sotapanna” and using terms “samma ditthi” and “sotapanna magga phala”, we avoid endless discussions what “sotapanna” term exactly is. However we call it doesn’t change our attainments and the fact we gotta keep practicing :slight_smile: Anyway if I had to choose, my intuition tells me that Sotapanna is the second interpretation (Sotapanna magga phala). I doubt that mere view would prevent us from rebirth in the apayas. I think deeper cleansing through deep meditation (jhanas born of wisdom) and eventually at least very short “fruition” (nibbanic “state”) has to happen to “seal the deal” :slight_smile: .

Anyway, the second interpretation has nothing to do with “arahantisation” of Sotapanna stage.
It is still a long way from Sotapanna Magga Phala to next stages of awakening. One needs to eradicate more and more impurities through deep jhanas born of wisdom, to eradicate old sankharas, till he gets even purer to “witness” Sakadagami Magga Phala. And then eradicate even more impurities to attain Anagami Magga Phala. And finally ALL impurities, to attain Arahanthood (Arahat Magga Phala).

Sotapanna, through deep jhana born of wisdom practice eradicates all bad kamma vipaka that could lead to rebirth in the apayas and general lower realms and thus he is ready to attain Sotapanna Magga Phala.
Sakadagami, through deep jhana born of wisdom practice eradicates a lot of kamma vipaka related to kama loka and thus he is ready to attain Sakadagami Magga Phala.
Anagami, through deep jhana born of wisdom practice eradicates all kamma vipaka related to kama loka (human and deva worlds), and thus he is ready to attain Anagami Magga Phala.
Arhat, through deep jhana born of wisdom practice eradicates all kamma vipaka related to all 31 realms of existence. and thus he is free, and he is ready to attain Arahat Magga Phala.

So the fact that “Sotapanna” in this interpretation (in my opinion correct one) is faaar from easy, it is still far from Arahanthood yet…
It is good that we realize how long the Path is. I suppose thats why Buddha told us to practice as our robes/cloths were on fire :wink: Much impurities to “nibbana” have we. :slight_smile:

With Metta


Do we ‘burn’ kamma, like the Jains?

With metta


I think they are not quite noble ones yet, but «good persons». Many places in the suttas it says that the ordinary worldling has not heard the teachings of «good persons», nor of noble ones. So I think good persons are the faith and dhamma followers, while the noble ones are sotapanna & onwards.


Hello :slight_smile:

I’m not “alpha and omega” so I cannot know for sure :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue:
But from my experience and of those of my friends (so based on real experiences), when one goes deep into jhanas, then some “impurities” are coming to the surface, and we just remain aware and equanimous and they pass away.

For example my friend during vipassana practice had some visions of war, experiences of being killed etc., it was very hard for him, but at the end he felt a big relief, that something bad has been cleansed.
I had similar experience, that after long meditation periods and getting deeper, I had traumatic dreams and then when I treat them with metta, they eventually passed away and it always transformed me in a positive way. I also felt CLEARLY like some very unpleasant vinnana got melted or floated away from my field of awareness, like it was really going away/melting.

So I don’t know if “burning” is right word, but it seems that such notion of eradication of past kamma/kamma beeja in deep meditation is one of the parts of the Path.
Of course another part is changing of habits and in consequence character/mind, so making wholesome habits is also part of it, and those things I believe are connected.

According to Goenka, it works with different aspects of the mind. Deep absorbions born of wisdom according to him, lead to eradication of unwholesome kamma beeja from DEEP parts of the mind, and from my experience it is true.

Finally, I believe there are a lot of similarities between Buddhism and Jainism, but there are different languages and methods to describe very similar spiritual paths. I am far from thinking that Buddhism is “the only right Path”, even thou I consider myself Buddhist, and I feel that it is normal that different traditions describe similar processes.

With metta :slight_smile:


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closed #87


The forum exists for discussion of the Early Buddhist Texts rather than for discussion of Buddhist ideas generally without reference to the texts. Since the discussion resumed within the last 24 hours it seems to have become completely detached from any such references. This is why I closed the thread.