Is being a Dhammanusari/Saddhanusari an irreversible state?

Dearest Bhantes and friends in the Dharma, it’s my first post here and I’m excited to be here with all of you. :v:

My question: We know that being a stream-enterer (sotapanna) is an irreversible state. Is being a Dhammanusari/Saddhanusari likewise an irreversible state?

Thank you!

Referencing: Paṭhamasaraṇānisakkasutta (about Sarakani who’d drank)

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Hi Jean,

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Namo Buddhaya!

Yes they cannot die without realizing the fruition of stream-entry.

At Savatthi. "Monks, the eye is inconstant, changeable, alterable. The ear… The nose… The tongue… The body… The mind is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"One who has conviction & belief that these phenomena are this way is called a faith-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

"One who, after pondering with a modicum of discernment, has accepted that these phenomena are this way is called a Dhamma-follower: one who has entered the orderliness of rightness, entered the plane of people of integrity, transcended the plane of the run-of-the-mill. He is incapable of doing any deed by which he might be reborn in hell, in the animal womb, or in the realm of hungry shades. He is incapable of passing away until he has realized the fruit of stream-entry.

“One who knows and sees that these phenomena are this way is called a stream-enterer, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening.” Cakkhu Sutta: The Eye

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To confirm, yes it is irreversible.

And I believe that is the point of the idea. It marks that moment when all the path factors are present and sufficiently matured to the point that all the conditions for awakening are there, but they have not yet borne their fruit.


Thank you very much for the kind response, and for quoting the sutta. Aiming to be a Dhammanusari or a Saddhanusari is a more achievable aim for me in this lifetime, as opposed to sotapanna-ship :sweat_smile: . I have always found the sutta concerning Sarakani a little curious. It is like a consolation to that portion of the laity who feels like the lower stages of enlightenment are out of reach: if Sarakani (the reformed drinker!) can reach stream entry, why not the rest of us? Thank you again!

Dearest Bhante Sujato, thank you very much for your kind response. Sotapanna-ship is likely out of reach for me this lifetime, but I’ll try my darnest to be a Dhammanusari/Saddhanusari. :sweat_smile:

I also wish to take this opportunity to thank you for all your work on Sutta Central; it has been a real life-changer for me.

Sadly, I missed visiting you when you were in Singapore, and I truly look forward to the next opportunity to attending your talks in person. Wishing you every blessing in the Triple Gem.

Mahāthere pamādena, dvārattayena kataṁ, Sabbaṁ aparādhaṁ khamatu no bhante (x3)!

It is interesting for many reasons.

There is disagreement among people on whether a nussari can drink or not, not to say that there is a legitimate basis for disagreement but there is disagreement as it is not explained in the commentaries asserting that a sotapanna can not drink.

Some people will assert that ariyasavaka including nussaris can’t drink at all, even if forced it’d magically disappear, that be the most extreme stance afaik.

Based on the sutta and vinaya, in as far as i can tell, one should not say that it is impossible for an arahant to drink alcohol for two reasons

  1. It’s not proclaimed among impossible things and adding to these lists is not warranted.
  2. The protagonist of the origin story regarding alcohol is Ven. Sagata. Therein he first displays magical powers before consuming alcohol which he does not ask for.

Now Ven. Sagata is also one of the foremost disciples [as to mastery of fire element] of the Buddha. Whether he was an arahant at the time is a moot point but it’s not unreasonable to assume that he could’ve been given that he was living with the buddha and as one of the top monks with magical powers.

Whereas the commentary will have us think he was a run-off-the-mill at the time and so the group of other monks who got the drink.

Another interesting circumstance re sarakaani suttas is the phrase ‘he undertook the practice at the time of death’.

A reasonable interpretation here is that he established mindfulness and contemplated as to attain the fruition before passing.

Whereas some people bssed on the commentaries assert that he undertook the rule to never drink at the timecof death on account of becoming a sotapanna, thus transcending the plane of common alcoholic people.

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In general

I think people were foolish, made much of sarakaani’s drinking but never asked about the drinking in particular and so in as far as i can tell Buddha doesn’t speak to it in particular.

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By the definition of faith and dhamma follower, they will attain stream winning in this life. It’s basically the same thing you’re aiming at, perhaps it’s just psychologically easier to think of the path attainment as closer.

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Thanks very much Bhante, yes it’s psychologically easier for me, as the requirements seem less staggering compared to being a sotapanna (my key problem being that I’m not a great meditator).

BTW Bhante, wishing you the best in the Triple Gem; I follow you on Reddit as well.

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A Dhammanusari/Saddhanusari is basically a stream enterer but just needs that extra kick that somethign like process of death will provides to obtain right view. So if a Dhammanusari can contemplate that tiny bit more they won’t need death to obtain stream entry.

Here a good summary on how to obtain stream entry. One definitely has to earn it so hope for this or that won’t get one very far. Having said that it’s very much within reach of anyone reasonable engaged with the anxious problem of one’s existence.

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In theory everyone except an Anagami and Arahant can drink because the view of sensuality hasn’t be abandoned by the other Ariyas yet. However a sotapanna will clearly see that drinking (or acting out of craving in general) is unwholesome and will know that a price will have to be paid for it.

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Namo Buddhaya!

I think you mean to say that they can want to drink for some reason in being tempted by sensuality.

This is also how i understand it.

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Yes good point. Intentionally choose to drink, I should have said.

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Thanks a lot, yes I heard that the kind of people who achieve stream entry at death bed already have some level of insight, and that death gives a good opportunity for the person to observe arising and ceasing, e.g. the process of the mind leaving the body, the earth element leaving, water element leaving etc. I appreciate the video: will watch it! Cheers.

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If you’ll allow me just to extend on that point. Practically speaking if that Dhammanusari/Saddhanusari practiced Maranasati (death contemplation), then they would achieve sotapatti before having to die. Similarly if you go throughout the day with the context that “this breath could be my last” you would give rise to that disillusionment to many of the things we assume to be a self.

Best wishes on your journey.

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Don’t sell yourself short, Jean! Nothing is stopping you from stream-entry except your belief that you can’t be a stream enterer. Oh, and those pesky fetters, sure!

The mind is a wonderful and mysterious place, and we can’t fathom our true capabilities and limitations. The truth is just there, it is all around us all the time.