Is the knowledge obtained at stream-entry inferential or direct knowledge?

Hi Luis,

You might know this already, but just in case, you can check the Pali together with the English translation of B. Sujato using the ‘Side-by-side’ viewing mode in the top right section of the sutta:

By ticking ‘View textual information’ this will also dispalay references for each paragraph, which can then be quoted as a unique URL. E.g.:

Link to specific paragraph: SN 12.33 #8.2

If you activate the Pali-English word lookup (in the settings), you can mouse-over a Pali word and get a definition in English (sometimes…).


Stream-entry involves direct experience as it entails overcoming of the fetter of doubt, which can only be achieved through the first experience of in particular the second and third noble truths. Once the veracity of the truths has been realized, then reliance on rites and rituals is also overcome.

"And what is the manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is a learner, standing at the level of a learner, can discern that ‘I am a learner’? There is the case where a monk is a learner. He discerns, as it actually is, that ‘This is stress… This is the origination of stress… This is the cessation of stress… This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.’ This is a manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is a learner, standing at the level of a learner, can discern that 'I am a learner.’—-SN 48.53

On the path to awakening the Bodhisatta directly experienced insight into the cause and removal of suffering, and this identical experience must be accomplished through investigation to attain the status of stream winner:

'Thinking imbued with renunciation has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding.”—-MN 19

What the Buddha says in MN 19 applies to thought, that is thought alone has an effect both on ourselves and others. It’s necessary to see that operation of cause and effect of thought with others to approach stream entry.


There are many who think that speed limits are a good idea. Yet many of those who think that way don’t abide by the speed limits. They think “speed limits are a good idea, I should abide by them when I see police”. Although the “when I see police” is a thought, it arises out of craving, which is not thought. In MN19, the Buddha does talk about thought, but the word “alone” does not occur.

Indeed, in MN64, the Buddha explores the simile of the infant and the relevance of underlying tendencies:

MN64:3.5: A little baby doesn’t even have a concept of ‘teachings’, so how could doubt about the teachings possibly arise in them? Yet the underlying tendency to doubt still lies within them.

That underlying tendency to doubt is not a thought. It’s conditioning. Reconditioning starts with a thought, but transcending doubt requires a reconditioning of the heart.

MN64:6.3: That identity view, along with any underlying tendency to it, is given up in them. Their heart is not overcome and mired in doubt,

Because of this, I hesitate to rely solely on inference or thought as a demarcation of stream-entry. It may start with a thought, but more is required. A change of heart is required. And the knowledge of stream entry is that one’s heart has changed. That would be the “experiential” part. One has experienced a change of heart.


it involve realization of nibbana. From here the overcoming of doubts and the 3 first fetters. Stream entry implies nibbana. No nibbana, no stream entry.

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Actually this is exactly describing the experience of stream-entry. When the mind is like a baby. But because it still has doubt about Nirvana it reverts back to normal life. But once a stream-enterer it helps to liberate many doubts. But not all yet. Because it’s like directly experienced Nibbāna. But it’s temporal liberation.

Buddha said until someone experience full Nibbāna they truly say Gotama is the Buddha.

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We have to be very careful with saying “mind like a baby”.

MN64:3.1: “Who on earth do you remember being taught the five lower fetters in that way? Wouldn’t the wanderers who follow other paths fault you using the simile of the infant?

Babies aren’t stream-enterers. As you say, they still have tendency to doubt.


Yes. It’s true. But baby is so innocent. :heart_eyes:

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Sweet innocent… Adolf Hitler. :rofl:

Venerable sir, some ascetics and brahmins maintain that suffering is created by oneself; some ascetics and brahmins maintain that suffering is created by another; some ascetics and brahmins maintain that suffering is created both by oneself and by another; some ascetics and brahmins maintain that suffering has arisen fortuitously, being created neither by oneself nor by another. Now, venerable sir, what does the Blessed One say about this?

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I understand you. In that case ok. But I don’t think there is still identity view fully developed. I noticed with my baby. It happened @ 1.5 years old that he started to demand like ego and further now even selfish. (Almost 2)Each baby varies

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It was this part actually I had in mind. It’s what I mean it’s in the baby but because it’s not developed yet, the mind is free until the identity view gets developed.

A little baby doesn’t even have a concept of ‘sentient beings’, so how could ill will for sentient beings possibly arise in them? Yet the underlying tendency to ill will still lies within them.

It’s seeing everything like minimum less than 1 years old eyes. See everything as new. For a newborn everything looks new but after the underlying tendency activated than madness start and when older it becomes a Hitler.

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The underlying tendency was always present. . Even in the newborn.
See past the current form of the baby… Look at the Life process in entirety as it passes through various lives…
The newborn Hitler had the underlying tendency to become a mass murderer (built up within as a result of past life choices) just as surely as as a mango seed contains a full grown tree within.
What could have changed Infant Hitler’s future? IMHO - Possibly if he (a) encountered the noble ones (b) developed faith in the Teaching © experienced the value of pursuing ethical action and (d) proceeded to actively renounce unethical actions and views.
The chance of any of these actually occurring would be low, as a result of his past life kamma… But it would never be zero! Theoretically, he could have changed course at any moment… :thinking:

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Apparently it seems the quote I gave is not enough to explain.

But it’s literally saying how can ill for others arise? Meaning it’s not active in the mind yet. Of course it’s in him. But as long this is not working in the mind. How can you expect a newborn to have a adult mind?

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Sorry, but I disagree… Your quote from MN64 is the simile of the infant which followers of other paths would use to refute you if you say that identity view (for example) is a fetter.
Yes, the infant does not have identity view.
But simply having identity view is not the fetter as per the Buddha…nor is the lack of identity view of the Infant mind synonymous with True freedom… That is why he rebuked Malunkyaputta.

The actual fetter is having the tendency to identity view, the lack of experiential knowledge of there being another way, the lack of understanding and the lack of effort to overcome that.

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I think we can’t remember how our mind was when we was a baby. That’s a proof already there less activity in the mind. I remember everything of 5 years old and up. What is the reason? Most people say the same. There is a mystery here. Its the same years that rebirth kids memories of the past is forgotten. There seems a transition here.

I understand what you mean. I know that. But do not go too deep. Just imagine then how would it be when our minds was before the first cycle of this earth? Although our ancestors was just waiting to be born on earth to have a chance to practice Dhamma and be free from rebirths. It’s clear that in that state the mind is more free even if the underlying tendency is in them. So being newborn baby for a few months it’s obvious why it’s so much easy and then with time it’s learning from parents reactions again and words. Keep a newborn alone without parents. Will it learn a new language?

Thanks for the quote. I found I could not answer the questions, so study was required.

I’ve added “suffering is dependently originated” to the Voice examples. It occurs in exactly two suttas.

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Babies aren’t born innocent. Babies have genes that predispose, that are inclined. We tend to think of genes as providers of possibility innocent of intent, but the truth is darker.

In this study, we discover that the trauma and horror of war is inflicted on future generations. They literally inherit the suffering in their genetic material.

The implications are quite sobering and align totally with kamma and with sankhara.


There again. I agree. With such things. The thing is I had stroke. I understand how mind works a little bit more than before that I didn’t get one. I was in Colombia in recovery. And because the mind is in low level of consciousness. So recovery to the full potential. Normal consciousness. When it’s so low. I was like a baby. I have picture where I’m smelling the flower like it was the first time.

Same happens with baby probably.
They are exited for new things.

Here is what I believe happens.

Just like in the belly the body is developed.
Consciousness slowly develops when out the belly. Because the eye consciousness can not see clearly
The mind consciousness is the same.

When I had stroke. In my recovery. I was even blind. The consciousness comes and goes until it stays.

So the same must be said for babies.

I give an example also. Once my child dropped in the toilet while I was helping him. He was already 1 year old+
So he was standing. Mother was really angry with me. See as my fault. Even the whole week. My boy happy with me the whole week. Baby do not see such details and doesn’t have same worries as adults. He probably didn’t have in his mind, Daddy’s fault that I slipped.

Same happened to me when I was in recovery, I didn’t have in mind, I’m in the hospital, but I’m in the hospital. :joy:

Or my mother is with me, I didn’t think that’s my mother.

I think that’s what Buddha means.

Although I was a adult but it’s possible to even show that according to science your consciousness go low level. In that low level. Baby mode is experienced.


Ahhh! Got it. Thanks for explaining. Like you my mind disappears to who knows where. And there is a sense of simplicity that is somehow more pleasant than all the noise we usually have to deal with. Let’s look further together…

Have you read MN121? It discusses emptiness which is slightly different than thinking like a baby.

MN121:4.11: That’s how emptiness is born in them—genuine, undistorted, and pure.

Perhaps emptiness is what we both seek?

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A few points worth considering…

  1. Why assume that the mind of an infant is somehow, intrinsically pure?
  2. If the mind of the infant was actually pure and without defilement, why did it have a human birth? Why not a birth as a devata?
  3. If rebirth applies, and the Mind has been reborn as human from a previous devata birth… It has been defiled. If the Mind has been reborn as human from a previous animal birth, it wasn’t pure to begin with and likely isn’t pure now.
  4. If one doesn’t believe in rebirth and is of the view that mind is simply emergent from form and subsequent life experiences, being pure to begin with and later falling into bad ways - why do infants have differing tendency/ personality/ different reaction to the same stimulus? Why is there any variation of personality in babies at all? Why don’t genetically identical twins for example, have identical personalities? And why bother to live the spiritual life at all in that case, as there are no consequences of unethical thought and action?
  5. Cultivation of an infant mind state is not the same thing as cultivating a pure mind. What kind of rebirth will such a practice lead to? Please think of the Buddha’s advice to Punna and Seniya!

Oh yes I agree. Your saying it’s not the correct comparison. @karl_lew is right also.

So you want me to use a supreme word?
That’s all right?

Words are the problem in this world.

Look even Zen use: What was your mind before conception?

There is no use of the word Baby.

It’s notabout direct comparison. It’s a way to say. Be in the moment.

Is there such thing as stream-entry? There is in the Buddha’s Teaching as a raft.

But when comes to explaining with words. It’s not enough. Sometimes even impossible.

Didn’t Buddha say that this Vedas words was said by former Buddhas?

Something like from Darkness to Light.

Here someone will not agree that Nirvana is light. :joy:

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