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STREAM ENTRY

 

Part 2:
Stream-Entry and After
 
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Contents [go up]

 

 

Introduction [go up]

The Pali canon recognizes four levels of awakening, the first of which is called stream-entry. The practices leading up to stream-entry are already discussed in the first part of this study guide. This second part covers the experience of stream-entry together with its results. The canonical passages treating the experience and its results use all three modes of discourse generally employed in the Canon: the narrative mode stories about people who have attained stream-entry; the cosmological mode descriptions of the after-death destinations awaiting those who have attained stream-entry; and what might be called the "emptiness" mode, which describes mental states in and of themselves as they are directly experienced as absent or present, both during and after stream-entry.

The material in this part of the study guide is presented in five sections. The first section, The Arising of the Dhamma Eye, discusses the experience of stream-entry, and concludes with a passage indicating why the experience is described in terms of the faculty of vision. The second section, The Three Fetters, discusses the three fetters of renewed existence that are cut with the arising of the Dhamma eye: self-identity views, uncertainty, and grasping at precepts and practices. The third section, The Character of the Stream-winner, discusses the personal characteristics of a stream-winner that flow directly from the cutting of the first three fetters. This section focuses on three lists of the four factors of stream-entry, which are not to be confused with the four factors for stream-entry discussed in the first part of this study guide. The fourth section, Rewards, discusses the rewards of stream-entry that come both in this life and in future lives. The final section, Advice, echoes the Buddha's last words to his disciples before entering total nibbana. The discourse reporting those words DN 16 also reports that the most backward of the monks present at the Buddha's passing away were stream-winners. The fact that his last words to them stressed the need for heedfulness underlies the fact that even stream-winners have to be wary of heedlessness. This is especially true in the present day, when many different meditation schools define the attainment of stream-entry in such different terms, raising the question of whose certification of stream-entry is valid and whose is not. The safest course of action for all meditators whether certified as stream-winners or not, and whether that certification is valid or not is to maintain an attitude of heedfulness with regard to all mental qualities.


The term "stream" in "stream-entry" refers to the point where all eight factors of the noble eightfold path come together.

"Sariputta, 'The stream, the stream': thus it is said. And what, Sariputta, is the stream?"

"This noble eightfold path, lord, is the stream: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration."

"Very good, Sariputta! Very good! This noble eightfold path right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration is the stream."

SN 55.5

"And what, monks, is right view? Knowledge with regard to stress, knowledge with regard to the origination of stress, knowledge with regard to the stopping of stress, knowledge with regard to the way of practice leading to the stopping of stress: This, monks, is called right view.

"And what is right resolve? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will, on harmlessness: This is called right resolve.

"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, abstaining from divisive speech, abstaining from abusive speech, abstaining from idle chatter: This, monks, is called right speech.

"And what, monks, is right action? Abstaining from taking life, abstaining from stealing, abstaining from unchastity: This, monks, is called right action.

"And what, monks, is right livelihood? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood: This, monks, is called right livelihood.

"And what, monks, is right effort? (i) There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen. (ii) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen. (iii) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen. (iv) He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort.

"And what, monks, is right mindfulness? (i) There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself ardent, aware, & mindful putting away greed & distress with reference to the world. (ii) He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves ardent, aware, & mindful putting away greed & distress with reference to the world. (iii) He remains focused on the mind in & of itself ardent, aware, & mindful putting away greed & distress with reference to the world. (iv) He remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves ardent, aware, & mindful putting away greed & distress with reference to the world. This, monks, is called right mindfulness.

"And what, monks, is right concentration? (i) There is the case where a monk quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. (ii) With the stilling of directed thought & evaluation, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation internal assurance. (iii) With the fading of rapture, he remains in equanimity, mindful & alert, and physically sensitive of pleasure. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.' (iv) With the abandoning of pleasure & pain as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This, monks, is called right concentration."

SN 44.8

The coming-together of these factors is called the stream because it leads inevitably to two things, just as the current of a tributary will lead inevitably to a major river and then to the sea. In the immediate present, the stream leads directly to the arising of the Dhamma eye, the vision that actually constitutes this first awakening. Over time, the stream ensures that in no more than seven lifetimes one will be totally Unbound.


The Arising of the Dhamma Eye [go up]

What does the Dhamma eye see when it arises?

Then Ven. Assaji gave this Dhamma exposition to Sariputta the wanderer:

Whatever phenomena arise from a cause:
	Their cause
	   & their cessation.
Such is the teaching of the Tathagata,
	       the Great Contemplative.

Then to Sariputta the wanderer, as he heard this exposition of Dhamma, there arose the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.

Mv 1.23.5

This standard formula it is repeated throughout the Canon may not seem that remarkable an insight. However, the texts make clear that this insight is not a matter of belief or contemplation, but of direct seeing. As the following passages show, belief and contemplation may be conducive to the seeing and an undefined level of belief and discernment may actually guarantee that someday in this lifetime the seeing will occur but only with the actual seeing does there come a dramatic shift in the course of one's life and one's relationship to the Dhamma.

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

"Forms... Sounds... Aromas... Flavors... Tactile sensations... Ideas are inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"Eye-consciousness... Ear-consciousness... Nose-consciousness... Tongue-consciousness... Body-consciousness... Intellect-consciousness is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"Eye-contact... Ear-contact... Nose-contact... Tongue-contact... Body-contact... Intellect-contact is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"Feeling born of eye-contact... Feeling born of ear-contact... Feeling born of nose-contact... Feeling born of tongue-contact... Feeling born of body-contact... Feeling born of intellect-contact is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"Perception of forms... Perception of sounds... Perception of smells... Perception of tastes... Perception of tactile sensations... Perception of ideas is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"Intention for forms... Intention for sounds... Intention for smells... Intention for tastes... Intention for tactile sensations... Intention for ideas is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"Craving for forms... Craving for sounds... Craving for smells... Craving for tastes... Craving for tactile sensations... Craving for ideas is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"The earth property... The liquid property... The fire property... The wind property... The space property... The consciousness property is inconstant, changeable, alterable.

"Form... Feeling... Perception... Fabrications... Consciousness 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-winner, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."

SN 25.1-10

To Upali the householder, as he was sitting right there, there arose the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation. Then having seen the Dhamma, having reached the Dhamma, known the Dhamma, gained a footing in the Dhamma, having crossed over & beyond doubt, having had no more questioning Upali the householder gained fearlessness and was independent of others with regard to the Teacher's message.

MN 56

Part of what makes the arising of the Dhamma eye such a powerful experience is that the realization that "Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation" must follow on a glimpse of what stands in opposition to "all that is subject to origination," i.e., a glimpse of the Unconditioned deathlessness.

[Immediately after attaining the stream] Sariputta the wanderer went to Moggallana the wanderer. Moggallana the wanderer saw him coming from afar and, on seeing him, said, "Your faculties are bright, my friend; your complexion pure & clear. Could it be that you have attained the Deathless?"

"Yes, my friend, I have..."

Mv 1.23.5

The connection between Ven. Assaji's verse above, discussing causation, and the arising of the Dhamma eye in Sariputta suggests that realization conveyed by the Dhamma eye is not just an insight into the fleeting, impermanent nature of ordinary experience. Instead, it extends also to a realization of the conditioned, dependent nature of that experience. Other passages describing in more detail the knowledge of a stream-winner one who has entered the stream show that this is in fact the case. The Dhamma eye sees that things arise and pass away in line with a particular type of causality, in which the effects of causes are felt immediately or over the course of time.

"And which is the noble method that he has rightly seen & rightly ferreted out through discernment?

"There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones notices:

"When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.

"In other words:

"From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.
From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness.
From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form.
From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media.
From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact.
From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.
From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.
From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance.
From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming.
From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth.
From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

"This is the noble method that he has rightly seen & rightly ferreted out through discernment."

AN 10.92

"When a disciple of the noble ones has seen well with right discernment this dependent co-arising & these dependently co-arisen phenomena as they are actually present, it is not possible that he would run after the past, thinking, 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past?' or that he would run after the future, thinking, 'Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' or that he would be inwardly perplexed about the immediate present, thinking, 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?' Such a thing is not possible. Why is that? Because the disciple of the noble ones has seen well with right discernment this dependent co-arising & these dependently co-arisen phenomena as they are actually present."

SN 12.20

The insight of a stream-winner into the truths of causality on the one hand, and of the Deathless on the other, is accurate as far as it goes, but it does not equal the intensity of the insight of the arahant one who has reached the final level of awakening. The differences between the two are suggested in the following simile.

"My friend, although I have seen properly with right discernment, as it actually is present, that 'The cessation of becoming is Unbinding,' still I am not an arahant whose fermentations are ended. It's as if there were a well along a road in a desert, with neither rope nor water bucket. A man would come along overcome by heat, oppressed by the heat, exhausted, dehydrated, & thirsty. He would look into the well and would have knowledge of 'water,' but he would not dwell touching it with his body. In the same way, although I have seen properly with right discernment, as it actually is present, that 'The cessation of becoming is Unbinding,' still I am not an arahant whose fermentations are ended."

SN 12.68


The Three Fetters [go up]

The four levels of Awakening are defined by the extent to which they cut the ten fetters by which the mind binds itself to conditioned experience.

"And which are the five lower fetters? Self-identity views, uncertainty, grasping at precepts & practices, sensual desire, & ill will. These are the five lower fetters. And which are the five higher fetters? Passion for form, passion for what is formless, conceit, restlessness, & ignorance. These are the five higher fetters."

AN 10.13

"In this community of monks there are monks who are arahants, whose mental fermentations are ended, who have reached fulfillment, done the task, laid down the burden, attained the true goal, totally destroyed the fetter of becoming, and who are released through right gnosis...

"In this community of monks there are monks who, with the total ending of the five lower fetters, are due to be reborn [in the Pure Abodes], there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world...

"In this community of monks there are monks who, with the total ending of [the first] three fetters, and with the attenuation of passion, aversion, & delusion, are once-returners, who on returning only one more time to this world will make an ending to stress...

"In this community of monks there are monks who, with the total ending of [the first] three fetters, are stream-winners, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening..."

MN 118

For the stream-winner, the arising of the Dhamma eye with its insight into the causal principles underlying the origination and cessation of stress is what cuts through the first three fetters.

"He attends appropriately, This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: self-identity view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices."

MN 2

The Canon contains passages that amplify what it means to cut the first three of these fetters. First, self-identity views:

"But, lady, how does self-identity come about?"

"There is the case, friend Visakha, where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

"He assumes feeling to be the self...

"He assumes perception to be the self...

"He assumes (mental) fabrications to be the self...

"He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness. This is how self-identity comes about."

"But, lady, how does self-identity not come about?"

"There is the case where a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones who has regard for noble ones, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma; who has regard for men of integrity, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma does not assume form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

"He does not assume feeling to be the self...

"He does not assume perception to be the self...

"He does not assume fabrications to be the self...

"He does not assume consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness. This is how self-identity does not come about."

MN 44

"'The origination of self-identity, the origination of self-identity,' it is said, lady. Which origination of self-identity is described by the Blessed One?"

"The craving that makes for further becoming accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming: This, friend Visakha, is the origination of self-identity described by the Blessed One."

"'The cessation of self-identity, the cessation of self-identity,' it is said, lady. Which cessation of self-identity is described by the Blessed One?"

"The remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving: This, friend Visakha, is the cessation of self-identity described by the Blessed One."

"'The way of practice leading to the cessation of self-identity, the way of practice leading to the cessation of self-identity,' it is said, lady. Which way of practice leading to the cessation of self-identity is described by the Blessed One?"

"Precisely this noble eightfold path right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration: This, friend Visakha, is the way of practice leading to the cessation of self-identity described by the Blessed One."

MN 44

[Ananda:] "What is the noble liberation?"

[The Buddha:] "There is the case, Ananda, where a disciple of the noble ones considers this: 'Sensuality here & now; sensuality in lives to come; sensual perceptions here & now; sensual perceptions in lives to come; forms here & now; forms in lives to come; form-perceptions here & now; form-perceptions in lives to come; perceptions of the imperturbable; perceptions of the dimension of nothingness; perceptions of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception: that is an identity, to the extent that there is an identity. This is deathless: the liberation of the mind through lack of clinging/sustenance.'"

MN 106

"Magandiya, it is just as if there were a blind man who couldn't see black objects... white... blue... yellow... red... the sun or the moon. Now suppose that a certain man were to take a grimy, oil-stained rag and fool him, saying, 'Here, my good man, is a white cloth beautiful, spotless, & clean.' The blind man would take it and wear it.

"Then suppose his friends, companions, & relatives took him to a doctor, and the doctor treated him with medicine: purges from above & purges from below, ointments & counter-ointments, and treatments through the nose. And thanks to the medicine his eyesight would appear & grow clear. Then together with the arising of his eyesight, he would abandon whatever passion & delight he felt for that grimy, oil-stained rag. And he would regard that man as an enemy & no friend at all, and think that he deserved to be killed. 'My gosh, how long have I been fooled, cheated, & deceived by that man & his grimy, oil-stained rag! "Here, my good man, is a white cloth beautiful, spotless, & clean."'

"In the same way, Magandiya, if I were to teach you the Dhamma this freedom from Disease, this Unbinding and you on your part were to understand that freedom from Disease and see that Unbinding, then together with the arising of your eyesight, you would abandon whatever passion & delight you felt with regard for the five aggregates for sustenance. And it would occur to you, 'My gosh, how long have I been fooled, cheated, & deceived by this mind! For in clinging, it was just form that I was clinging to... it was just feeling... just perception... just mental processes... just consciousness that I was clinging to. With my clinging as condition, there is becoming... birth... aging & death... sorrow, lamentation, pains, distresses, & despairs all come into play. And thus is the origination of this entire mass of stress.'"

MN 75

In the following passage, Khemaka a monk who has attained the level of non-returner, and so has cut the first five fetters indicates how self-identity views may be cut even though the mind has yet to cut the conceit, "I am," which ends only at the level of full awakening.

[Khemaka:] "Friends, it's not that I say 'I am form,' nor do I say 'I am something other than form.' It's not that I say, 'I am feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness,' nor do I say, 'I am something other than consciousness.' With regard to these five clinging-aggregates, 'I am' has not been overcome, although I don't assume that 'I am this.'

"It's just like the scent of a blue, red, or white lotus: If someone were to call it the scent of a petal or the scent of the color or the scent of a filament, would he be speaking correctly?"

"No, friend."

"Then how would he describe it if he were describing it correctly?"

"As the scent of the flower: That's how he would describe it if he were describing it correctly."

"In the same way, friends, it's not that I say 'I am form,' nor do I say 'I am other than form.' It's not that I say, 'I am feeling... perception... fabrications... consciousness,' nor do I say, 'I am something other than consciousness.' With regard to these five clinging-aggregates, 'I am' has not been overcome, although I don't assume that 'I am this.'"

SN 22.89

The fetter of uncertainty is defined as doubt in the Awakening of the Buddha, the truth of his Dhamma, and the practice of his noble disciples. What this uncertainty boils down to is doubt as to whether there is a Deathless dimension, and whether one can realize it through one's own efforts. The experience of the Deathless following on the practice of the Dhamma to the point of entering the stream cuts this fetter by confirming the possibility of a human being's awakening to the Deathless, the correctness of the Buddha's teaching as a guide to entering the stream, and the worthiness of those who have reached the stream.

"There is the case where the disciple of the noble ones is endowed with verified confidence in the Awakened One: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed.'

"He is endowed with verified confidence in the Dhamma: 'The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One, to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the wise for themselves.'

"He is endowed with verified confidence in the Sangha: 'The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced well... who have practiced straight-forwardly... who have practiced methodically... who have practiced masterfully in other words, the four types of noble disciples when taken as pairs, the eight when taken as individual types[1] they are the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples: worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect, the incomparable field of merit for the world.'"

AN 10.92

Note

1. The four pairs are (1) the person on the path to stream-entry, the person experiencing the fruit of stream-entry; (2) the person on the path to once-returning, the person experiencing the fruit of once-returning; (3) the person on the path to non-returning, the person experiencing the fruit of non-returning; (4) the person on the path to arahantship, the person experiencing the fruit of arahantship. The eight individuals are the eight types forming these four pairs.

The fetter of grasping at precepts and practices is often described in the Pali canon with reference to the view that one becomes pure simply through performing rituals or patterns of behavior. This view in turn is related to the notion that one's being is defined by one's actions: if one acts in accordance with clearly defined precepts and practices, one is ipso facto pure. Although the Canon recognizes the importance of precepts and practices in the attaining the stream, the experience of the Deathless shows the person who has attained the stream that one cannot define oneself in terms of those precepts and practices. Thus one continues to follow virtuous practices, but without defining oneself in terms of them.

"Now where do skillful habits cease without trace? Their cessation, too, has been stated: There is the case where a monk is virtuous, but not fashioned of (or: defined by his) virtue. He discerns, as it actually is, the awareness-release & discernment-release where his skillful habits cease without trace."

MN 78

[The enlightened person] doesn't speak of purity
in terms of view,
	learning,
	knowledge,
	precept & practice.
Nor is it found by a person
through lack of view,
	of learning,
	of knowledge,
	of precept or practice.
Letting these go, without grasping,
	one is independent,
	   at peace.

Sn 4.9


The Character of the Stream-winner [go up]

A standard formula in the Canon describes a stream-winner in terms of four factors. The first three of these four factors of stream-entry are directly related to the cutting of the fetter of uncertainty. The fourth is related to the cutting of the fetter of grasping at precepts and practices.

"There is the case where the disciple of the noble ones is endowed with verified confidence in the Awakened One... verified confidence in the Dhamma... verified confidence in the Sangha... He/she is endowed with virtues that are appealing to the noble ones: untorn, unbroken, unspotted, unsplattered, liberating, praised by the wise, untarnished, leading to concentration."

AN 10.92

Although this is the standard list of the four factors of stream-entry, there are other lists that replace the fourth factor with other factors.

SN 55.32 defines the fourth factor as follows: "Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones lives at home with an awareness cleansed of the stain of stinginess, freely generous, openhanded, delighting in being magnanimous, responsive to requests, delighting in the distribution of alms."

SN 55.33 defines it as follows: "Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones is discerning, endowed with discernment of arising & passing away noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of stress."

When these lists are collated, we arrive at four qualities that describe a stream-winner: conviction, virtue, generosity, and discernment. AN 8.54 describes these as "four qualities that lead to a lay person's happiness and well-being in lives to come." Other passages in the Canon explore the implications of each of these four as embodied in a stream-winner's behavior.

Conviction in the Triple Gem of the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha is not simply a matter of belief or devotion. It forces one to place trust in the principle of kamma the principle of action and result in line with which one first gained entry to the stream.

"Endowed with these five qualities, a lay follower is a jewel of a lay follower, a lotus of a lay follower, a fine flower of a lay follower. Which five? He/she has conviction; is virtuous; is not eager for protective charms & ceremonies; trusts kamma, not protective charms & ceremonies; does not search for recipients of his/her offerings outside (of the Sangha), and gives offerings here first."

AN 5.175

Virtue, as practiced by the stream-winner, is also a function of a deep trust in the principle of kamma, and of a sympathy for others that arises from that trust. Although stream-winners may still break the minor rules of training, the depth of insight that informs their virtue ensures that their adherence to the basic principles of morality is unshakable.

"There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones reflects thus: 'I love life and don't love death. I love happiness and abhor pain. Now if I loving life and not loving death, loving happiness and abhorring pain were to be killed, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me. And if I were to kill another who loves life and doesn't love death, who loves happiness and abhors pain, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to the other. What is displeasing & disagreeable to me is displeasing & disagreeable to others. How can I inflict on others what is displeasing & disagreeable to me?' Reflecting in this way, he refrains from taking life, gets others to refrain from taking life, and speaks in praise of refraining from taking life. In this way his bodily behavior is pure in three ways.

"Furthermore, he reflects thus: 'If someone, by way of theft, were to take from me what I haven't given, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me... If someone were to commit adultery with my wives, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me... If someone were to damage my well-being with a lie, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me... If someone were to divide me from my friends with divisive speech, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me... If someone were to address me with harsh speech, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me... If someone were to address me with idle chatter, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to me. And if I were to address another with idle chatter, that would be displeasing & disagreeable to the other. What is displeasing & disagreeable to me is displeasing & disagreeable to others. How can I inflict on others what is displeasing & disagreeable to me?' Reflecting in this way, he refrains from idle chatter, gets others to refrain from idle chatter, and speaks in praise of refraining from idle chatter. In this way his verbal behavior is pure in three ways."

SN 55.7

"Monks, more than 150 training rules come up for recitation every fortnight, in reference to which clansmen desiring the goal train themselves. There are these three trainings under which they (the training rules) are all gathered. Which three? The training in heightened virtue, the training in heightened mind, the training in heightened discernment. These are the three trainings under which they are all gathered...

"There is the case where a monk is fully accomplished in virtue, partially accomplished in concentration, and partially accomplished in discernment. With reference to the lesser and minor training rules, he falls into offenses and rehabilitates himself. Why is that? Because it is not said to be disqualification (for the noble attainments). But as for the training rules that are basic to the holy life and proper to the holy life, his virtue is permanent, his virtue is steadfast. With the total ending of [the first] three fetters, he is a stream-winner, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening."

AN 3.87

Generosity is actually a characteristic that must precede stream-entry. However, the attainment of stream-entry gives generosity a distinctive integrity.

"Monks, there are these five forms of stinginess. Which five? Stinginess as to one's monastery [lodgings], stinginess as to one's family [of supporters], stinginess as to one's gains, stinginess as to one's status, and stinginess as to the Dhamma. These are the five forms of stinginess. And the meanest of these five is this: stinginess as to the Dhamma...

"Without abandoning these five things, one is incapable of realizing the fruit of stream-entry."

AN 5.254, 257

"Without abandoning these five things, one is incapable of realizing the fruit of stream-entry. Which five? Stinginess as to one's monastery [lodgings], stinginess as to one's family [of supporters], stinginess as to one's gains, stinginess as to one's status, and ingratitude."

AN 5.259

"These five are a person of integrity's gifts. Which five? A person of integrity gives a gift with a sense of conviction. A person of integrity gives a gift attentively. A person of integrity gives a gift in season. A person of integrity gives a gift with an empathetic heart. A person of integrity gives a gift without adversely affecting himself or others."

AN 5.148

Discernment is the character trait of the stream-winner that is most directly related to the cutting of the fetter of self-identity views. However, its implications spread to other facets of right view as well. In fact, "consummate in view" is one of the epithets for a stream-winner. The impact of being consummate in view extends, not only to one's intellectual life, but also to one's emotional life as well.

"There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the root of a tree, or to an empty dwelling, considers thus: 'Is there any internal enthrallment unabandoned in me that, enthralled with which, my enthralled mind would not know or see things as they actually are?' If a monk is enthralled with sensual passion, then his mind is enthralled. If he is enthralled with ill will, then his mind is enthralled. If he is enthralled with sloth and torpor, then his mind is enthralled. If he is enthralled with restlessness and anxiety, then his mind is enthralled. If he is enthralled with uncertainty, then his mind is enthralled. If a monk is absorbed in speculation about this world, then his mind is enthralled. If a monk is absorbed in speculation about the other world, then his mind is enthralled. If a monk is given to arguing and quarreling and disputing, stabbing others with weapons of the mouth, then his mind is enthralled.

"He discerns that, 'There is no enthrallment unabandoned in me that, enthralled with which, my enthralled mind would not know and see things as they actually are. My mind is well directed for awakening to the truths.' This is the first knowledge attained by him that is noble, transcendent, not held in common with run-of-the-mill people.

"Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones considers thus: 'When I cultivate, develop, and pursue this view, do I personally obtain serenity, do I personally obtain Unbinding?'

"He discerns that, 'When I cultivate, develop, and pursue this view, I personally obtain serenity, I personally obtain Unbinding.' This is the second knowledge attained by him that is noble, transcendent, not held in common with run-of-the-mill people.

"Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones considers thus: 'Is there, outside of this [Dhamma and discipline], any other priest or contemplative endowed with the sort of view with which I am endowed?'

"He discerns that, 'There is no other priest or contemplative outside [the Buddha's Dispensation] endowed with the sort of view with which I am endowed.' This is the third knowledge attained by him that is noble, transcendent, not held in common with run-of-the-mill people.

"Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones considers thus: 'Am I endowed with the character of a person consummate in view?' What is the character of a person consummate in view? This is the character of a person consummate in view: although he may commit some kind of offence for which a means of rehabilitation has been laid down, still he immediately confesses, reveals, and discloses it to the Teacher or to wise companions in the holy life; having done that, he undertakes restraint for the future. Just as a young, tender infant lying on his back, when he has hit a live ember with his hand or his foot, immediately draws back; in the same way, this is the character of a person consummate in view: although he may commit some kind of offence for which a means of rehabilitation has been laid down, still he immediately confesses, reveals, and discloses it to the Teacher or to wise companions in the holy life; having done that, he undertakes restraint for the future.

"He discerns that, 'I am endowed with the character of a person consummate in view.' This is the fourth knowledge attained by him that is noble, transcendent, not held in common with run-of-the-mill people.

"Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones considers thus: 'Am I endowed with the character of a person consummate in view?' What is the character of a person consummate in view? This is the character of a person consummate in view: although he may be active in the various affairs of his companions in the holy life, he still has a keen regard for training in heightened virtue, training in heightened mind, & training in heightened discernment. Just as a cow with a new calf watches after her calf all the while she is grazing on grass, in the same way, this is the character of a person consummate in view: although he may be active in the various affairs of his companions in the holy life, he still has a keen regard for training in heightened virtue, training in heightened mind, & training in heightened discernment.

"He discerns that, 'I am endowed with the character of a person consummate in view.' This is the fifth knowledge attained by him that is noble, transcendent, not held in common with run-of-the-mill people.

"Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones considers thus: 'Am I endowed with the strength of a person consummate in view?' What is the strength of a person consummate in view? This is the strength of a person consummate in view: when the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by the Tathagata is being taught, he heeds it, gives it attention, engages it with all his mind, hears the Dhamma with eager ears.

"He discerns that, 'I am endowed with the strength of a person consummate in view.' This is the sixth knowledge attained by him that is noble, transcendent, not held in common with run-of-the-mill people.

"Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones considers thus: 'Am I endowed with the strength of a person consummate in view?' What is the strength of a person consummate in view? This is the strength of a person consummate in view: when the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by the Tathagata is being taught, he gains understanding in the meaning, gains understanding in the Dhamma, gains gladness connected with the Dhamma.

"He discerns that, 'I am endowed with the strength of a person consummate in view.' This is the seventh knowledge attained by him that is noble, transcendent, not held in common with run-of-the-mill people.

"A disciple of the noble ones thus possessed of seven factors has well examined the character for the realization of the fruit of stream-entry. A disciple of the noble ones thus possessed of seven factors is endowed with the fruit of stream-entry."

MN 48

"There 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,' and whereby a monk who is an adept [i.e., an arahant], standing at the level of an adept, can discern that 'I am an adept.'

"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.'

"Furthermore, the monk who is a learner reflects, 'Is there outside of this [doctrine & discipline] any priest or contemplative who teaches the true, genuine, & accurate Dhamma like the Blessed One?' And he discerns, 'No, there is no priest or contemplative outside of this doctrine & discipline who teaches the true, genuine, & accurate Dhamma like the Blessed One.' This too 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.'

"Furthermore, the monk who is a learner discerns the five faculties: the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment. He sees clear through with discernment their destiny, excellence, rewards, & consummation, but he does not touch them with his body. This too 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.'

"And what is the manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is an adept, standing at the level of an adept, can discern that 'I am an adept'? There is the case where a monk who is an adept discerns the five faculties: the faculty of conviction... persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment. He touches with his body and sees clear through with discernment what their destiny, excellence, rewards, & consummation are. This is a manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is an adept, standing at the level of an adept, can discern that 'I am an adept.'

"Furthermore, the monk who is an adept discerns the six sense faculties: the faculty of the eye... ear... nose... tongue... body... intellect. He discerns, 'These six sense faculties will disband entirely, everywhere, & in every way without remainder, and no other set of six sense faculties will arise anywhere or in any way.' This too is a manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is an adept, standing at the level of an adept, can discern that 'I am an adept.'"

SN 48.53

Then Anathapindika the householder went to where the wanderers of other persuasions were staying. On arrival he greeted them courteously. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the wanderers said to him, "Tell us, householder, what views the contemplative Gotama has."

"Venerable sirs, I don't know entirely what views the Blessed One has."

"Well, well. So you don't know entirely what views the contemplative Gotama has. Then tell us what views the monks have."

"I don't even know entirely what views the monks have."

"So you don't know entirely what views the contemplative Gotama has or even that the monks have. Then tell us what views you have."

"It wouldn't be difficult for me to expound to you what views I have. But please let the venerable ones expound each in line with his position, and then it won't be difficult for me to expound to you what views I have."

When this had been said, one of the wanderers said to Anathapindika the householder, "The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have."

Another wanderer said to Anathapindika, "The cosmos is not eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have."

Another wanderer said, "The cosmos is finite..."..."The cosmos is infinite..."..."The soul & the body are the same..."..."The soul is one thing and the body another..."..."After death a Tathagata exists..."..."After death a Tathagata does not exist..."..."After death a Tathagata both does & does not exist..."..."After death a Tathagata neither does nor does not exist. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have."

When this had been said, Anathapindika the householder said to the wanderers, "As for the venerable one who says, 'The cosmos is eternal. Only this is true; anything otherwise is worthless. This is the sort of view I have," his view arises from his own inappropriate attention or in dependence on the words of another. Now this view has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated. Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. This venerable one thus adheres to that very stress, submits himself to that very stress." (Similarly for the other positions.)

When this had been said, the wanderers said to Anathapindika the householder, "We have each & every one expounded to you in line with our own positions. Now tell us what views you have."

"Whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. This is the sort of view I have."

"So, householder, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. You thus adhere to that very stress, submit yourself to that very stress."

"Venerable sirs, whatever has been brought into being, is fabricated, willed, dependently originated, that is inconstant. Whatever is inconstant is stress. Whatever is stress is not me, is not what I am, is not my self. Having seen this well with right discernment as it actually is present, I also discern the higher escape from it as it actually is present."

When this was said, the wanderers fell silent, abashed, sitting with their shoulders drooping, their heads down, brooding, at a loss for words. Anathapindika the householder, perceiving that the wanderers were silent, abashed... at a loss for words, got up & went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there, he told the Blessed One the entirety of his conversation with the wanderers.

[The Blessed One said:] "Well done, householder. Well done. That is how you should periodically & righteously refute those foolish men." Then he instructed, urged, roused, and encouraged Anathapindika the householder with a talk on Dhamma. When Anathapindika the householder had been instructed, urged, roused and encouraged by the Blessed One with a talk on Dhamma, he got up from his seat and, having bowed down to the Blessed One, left, keeping the Blessed One on his right side. Not long afterward, the Blessed One addressed the monks: "Monks, even a monk who has long penetrated the Dhamma in this Doctrine & Discipline would do well, periodically & righteously, to refute the wanderers of other persuasions in just the way Anathapindika the householder has done."

AN 10.93


Rewards [go up]

Many of the passages describing the rewards of stream-entry focus on the stream-winner's fate after death: He/she will never be reborn on a plane lower than the human, and will tend to experience exceptional happiness wherever reborn. As for the number of rebirths remaining for the stream-winner before total Unbinding, the texts distinguish three levels of attainment.

"[Some,] with the destruction of the three fetters, are 'one-seed-ers' (ekabijin): after taking rebirth only one more time on the human plane, they will put an end to suffering & stress.

"Or, not breaking through to that, not penetrating that, with the destruction of the three fetters they are 'family-to-family-ers' (kolankola): after transmigrating & wandering on through two or three more families (according to the Commentary, this phrase should be interpreted as 'through two to six more states of becoming'), they will put an end to suffering & stress.

"Or, not breaking through to that, not penetrating that, with the destruction of the three fetters they are 'seven-times-at-most-ers' (sattakkhattuparama): after transmigrating & wandering on among devas & human beings, they will put an end to stress."

AN 3.89

[The Buddha is speaking to Nandaka, the chief minister of the Licchavis, concerning the factors of stream-entry:] "A disciple of the noble ones endowed with these four qualities is a stream-winner, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening.

"Furthermore, a disciple of the noble ones endowed with these four qualities is linked with long life, human or divine; is linked with beauty, human or divine; is linked with happiness, human or divine; is linked with status, human or divine; is linked with influence, human or divine.

"I tell you this, Nandaka, not having heard it from any other brahman or contemplative. Instead, I tell you this having known, seen, and realized it for myself."

When this was said, a certain man said to Nandaka, the chief minister of the Licchavis, "It is now time for your bath, sir."

[Nandaka responded,] "Enough, I say, with this external bath. I am satisfied with this internal bath: confidence in the Blessed One."

SN 55.30

The Canon often places great importance on the power of the last mental state before death in determining one's future plane of existence. However, the power of stream-entry is so great that it can overcome even a muddled state of mind at death, ensuring that the next rebirth will be a good one.

As he was sitting there, Mahanama the Sakyan said to the Blessed One, "Lord, this Kapilavatthu is rich & prosperous, populous & crowded, its alleys congested. Sometimes, when I enter Kapilavatthu in the evening after visiting with the Blessed One or with the monks who inspire the mind, I meet up with a runaway elephant, a runaway horse, a runaway chariot, a runaway cart, or a runaway person. At times like that, my mindfulness with regard to the Blessed One gets muddled, my mindfulness with regard to the Dhamma... the Sangha gets muddled. The thought occurs to me, 'If I were to die at this moment, what would be my destination? What would be my future course?"

"Have no fear, Mahanama. Have no fear. Your death will not be a bad one, your demise will not be bad. If one's mind has long been nurtured with conviction, nurtured with virtue, nurtured with learning, nurtured with relinquishment, nurtured with discernment, then when the body endowed with form, composed of the four primary elements, born from mother & father, nourished with rice & porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing, pressing, dissolution, & dispersion is eaten by crows, vultures, hawks, dogs, hyenas, or all sorts of creatures, nevertheless the mind long nurtured with conviction, nurtured with virtue, learning, relinquishment, & discernment rises upward and separates out.

"Suppose a man were to throw a jar of ghee or a jar of oil into a deep lake of water, where it would break. There the shards & jar-fragments would go down, while the ghee or oil would rise upward and separate out. In the same way, if one's mind has long been nurtured with conviction, nurtured with virtue, nurtured with learning, nurtured with relinquishment, nurtured with discernment, then when the body... is eaten by crows, vultures, hawks, dogs, hyenas, or all sorts of creatures, nevertheless the mind... rises upward and separates out."

SN 55.21

[Ven. Ananda is speaking to Anathapindika:] "A well-instructed disciple of the noble ones, when endowed with these four qualities [the factors of stream-entry], has no terror, no trepidation, no fear at death with regard to the next life."

SN 55.27

"Then there is the case of the person who has no doubt or perplexity, who has arrived at certainty with regard to the True Dhamma. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought occurs to him, 'I have no doubt or perplexity. I have arrived at certainty with regard to the True Dhamma.' He doesn't grieve, isn't tormented; doesn't weep, beat his breast, or grow delirious. This, too, is a person who, subject to death, is not afraid or in terror of death."

AN 4.184

"Just as it's not easy to take the measure of the water in the great ocean as 'just this many pails of water or hundreds of pails of water or thousands of pails of water or hundreds of thousands of pails of water.' It's reckoned simply as a great mass of water that is unreckonable, immeasurable. In the same way, when a disciple of the noble ones is endowed with these four bonanzas of merit, bonanzas of skillfulness [the factors of stream-entry], it's not easy to take the measure of the merit as 'just this much bonanza of merit, bonanza of skillfulness, nourishment of bliss, heavenly, ripening in bliss leading to heaven, leading to what is agreeable, pleasing, charming, happy, & beneficial.' It's reckoned simply as a great mass of merit that is unreckonable, immeasurable."

SN 55.41

"Monks, even though a wheel-turning emperor, having exercised sovereign lordship over the four continents, on the break-up of the body, after death, reappears in the good destination, the heavenly world, in the company of the devas of the Thirty-three, and enjoys himself there in the Nandana grove, surrounded by a consort of nymphs, supplied and endowed with the five strings of heavenly sensual pleasure, still because he is not endowed with four qualities he is not freed from [the possibility of going to] hell, not freed from the animal womb, not freed from the realm of hungry shades, not freed from the plane of deprivation, the bad destinations, the lower realms.

"And even though a disciple of the noble ones lives off lumps of almsfood and wears rag-robes, still because he is endowed with four qualities he is freed from hell, freed from the animal womb, freed from the realm of hungry shades, freed from the plane of deprivation, the bad destinations, the lower realms.

"And what are the four? There is the case where the disciple of the noble ones is endowed with verified confidence in the Awakened One... verified confidence in the Dhamma... verified confidence in the Sangha... He/she is endowed with virtues that are appealing to the noble ones... He/she is endowed with these four qualities.

"And between the gaining of the four continents and the gaining of these four qualities, the gaining of the four continents is not equal to one sixteenth of the gaining of these four qualities."

SN 55.1

Sole dominion over the earth,
going to heaven,
lordship over all worlds:
	the fruit of stream-entry
	excels them.

Dhp 178

Then the Blessed One, picking up a little bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monks, "What do you think, monks? Which is greater: the little bit of dust I have picked up with the tip of my fingernail, or the great earth?"

"The great earth is far greater, lord. The little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail is next to nothing. It's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth this little bit of dust the Blessed One has picked up with the tip of his fingernail when compared with the great earth."

"In the same way, monks, for a disciple of the noble ones who is consummate in view, an individual who has broken through [to stream-entry], the suffering & stress totally ended & extinguished is far greater. That which remains in the state of having at most seven remaining lifetimes is next to nothing: it's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth, when compared with the previous mass of suffering. That's how great the benefit is of breaking through to the Dhamma, monks. That's how great the benefit is of obtaining the Dhamma eye."

SN 13.1

"Suppose, monks, that there were a pond fifty leagues wide, fifty leagues long, & fifty leagues deep, filled to overflowing with water so that a crow could drink from it, and a man would draw some water out of it with the tip of a blade of grass. What do you think? Which would be greater: the water drawn out with the tip of the blade of grass or the water in the pond?"

"The water in the pond would be far greater, lord. The water drawn out with the tip of the blade of grass would be next to nothing. It wouldn't be a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth the water drawn out with the tip of the blade of grass when compared with the water in the pond"...

SN 13.2

"Suppose, monks, that the great ocean were to go to extinction, to its total end, except for two or three drops of water. What do you think? Which would be greater: the water in the great ocean that had gone to extinction, to its total end, or the two or three remaining drops of water?"

"Lord, the water in the great ocean that had gone to extinction, to its total end, would be far greater. The two or three remaining drops of water would be next to nothing. They wouldn't be a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth the two or three remaining drops of water when compared with the water in the great ocean that had gone to extinction, to its total end."

"In the same way, monks, for a disciple of the noble ones who is consummate in view, an individual who has broken through [to stream-entry], the suffering & stress totally ended & extinguished is far greater. That which remains in the state of having at most seven remaining lifetimes is next to nothing: it's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth, when compared with the previous mass of suffering. That's how great the benefit is of breaking through to the Dhamma, monks. That's how great the benefit is of obtaining the Dhamma eye."

SN 13.8

Not all of the rewards of stream-entry concern one's fate at death. Many of them pertain also to the here-and-now.

Then Anathapindika the householder went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "When, for a disciple of the noble ones, five forms of fear & animosity are stilled; when he is endowed with the four factors of stream-entry; and when, through discernment, he has rightly seen & rightly ferreted out the noble method, then if he wants he may state about himself: 'Hell is ended; animal wombs are ended; the state of the hungry shades is ended; states of deprivation, destitution, the bad bourns are ended! I am a stream-winner, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening!'

"Now, which five forms of danger & animosity are stilled?

"When a person takes life, then with the taking of life as a requisite condition, he produces fear & animosity in the here & now, produces fear & animosity in future lives, experiences mental concomitants of pain & despair; but when he refrains from taking life, he neither produces fear & animosity in the here & now nor does he produce fear & animosity in future lives, nor does he experience mental concomitants of pain & despair: for one who refrains from taking life, that fear & animosity is thus stilled.

"When a person steals... engages in illicit sex... tells lies...

"When a person drinks distilled & fermented drinks that cause heedlessness, then with the drinking of distilled & fermented drinks that cause heedlessness as a requisite condition, he produces fear & animosity in the here & now, produces fear & animosity in future lives, experiences mental concomitants of pain & despair; but when he refrains from drinking distilled & fermented drinks that cause heedlessness, he neither produces fear & animosity in the here & now nor does he produce fear & animosity in future lives, nor does he experience mental concomitants of pain & despair: for one who refrains from drinking distilled & fermented drinks that cause heedlessness, that fear & animosity is thus stilled.

"These are the five forms of fear & animosity that are stilled."

AN 10.92

"These are the five rewards of conviction in a lay person. Which five?

"When the truly good people in the world show compassion, they will first show compassion to people of conviction, and not to people without conviction. When visiting, they first visit people of conviction, and not people without conviction. When accepting gifts, they will first accept those from people with conviction, and not from people without conviction. When teaching the Dhamma, they will first teach those with conviction, and not those without conviction. A person of conviction, on the break-up of the body, after death, will arise in a good destination, the heavenly world. These are the five rewards of conviction in a lay person.

"Just as a large banyan tree, on level ground where four roads meet, is a haven for the birds all around, even so a lay person of conviction is a haven for many people: monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers."

A massive tree
whose branches carry fruits & leaves,
with trunks & roots
& an abundance of fruits:
	There the birds find rest.

In that delightful sphere
they make their home.
Those seeking shade
	come to the shade,
those seeking fruit
	find fruit to eat.

So with the person consummate
in virtue & conviction,
humble, sensitive, gentle,
	delightful, & mild:
To him come those without effluent --
	free from passion,
	free from aversion,
	free from delusion  
the field of merit for the world.

They teach him the Dhamma
that dispels all stress.
And when he understands,
he is freed from effluents,
Whatever phenomena arise from a cause:
	   totally unbound.

AN 5.38


Advice [go up]

Although it would be pleasant to conclude this study guide with the above passages of encouragement, we would probably do better to follow the example of the Buddha, who directed his last words to his stream-winner disciples, encouraging them not to rest content with the rewards awaiting them, but to maintain instead an attitude of heedfulness.

"And what is heedfulness? There is the case where a monk guards his mind with regard to [mental] fermentations and mental qualities accompanied by fermentations. When his mind is guarded with regard to fermentations and mental qualities accompanied by fermentations, the faculty of conviction goes to the culmination of its development. The faculty of persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment goes to the culmination of its development."

SN 48.56

"And how, Nandiya, does a disciple of the noble ones live heedlessly? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones is endowed with verified confidence in the Awakened One... Content with that verified confidence in the Awakened One, he does not exert himself further in solitude by day or seclusion by night. For him, living thus heedlessly, there is no joy. There being no joy, there is no rapture. There being no rapture, there is no serenity. There being no serenity, he dwells in pain. When pained, the mind does not become centered. When the mind is uncentered, phenomena do not become manifest. When phenomena are not manifest, he is reckoned simply as one who dwells heedlessly.

"Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones is endowed with verified confidence in the Dhamma... verified confidence in the Sangha... virtues that are appealing to the noble ones: untorn, unbroken, unspotted, unsplattered, liberating, praised by the wise, untarnished, leading to concentration. Content with those virtues pleasing to the noble ones, he does not exert himself further in solitude by day or seclusion by night. For him, living thus heedlessly, there is no joy. There being no joy, there is no rapture. There being no rapture, there is no serenity. There being no serenity, he dwells in pain. When pained, the mind does not become centered. When the mind is uncentered, phenomena do not become manifest. When phenomena are not manifest, he is reckoned simply as one who dwells heedlessly...

"And how, Nandiya, does a disciple of the noble ones live heedfully? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones is endowed with verified confidence in the Awakened One... Not content with that verified confidence in the Awakened One, he exerts himself further in solitude by day or seclusion by night. For him, living thus heedfully, joy arises. In one who has joy, rapture arises. In one who has rapture, the body becomes serene. When the body is serene, one feels pleasure. Feeling pleasure, the mind becomes centered. When the mind is centered, phenomena become manifest. When phenomena are manifest, he is reckoned as one who dwells heedfully.

"Furthermore, the disciple of the noble ones is endowed with verified confidence in the Dhamma... verified confidence in the Sangha... virtues that are appealing to the noble ones: untorn, unbroken, unspotted, unsplattered, liberating, praised by the wise, untarnished, leading to concentration. Not content with those virtues pleasing to the noble ones, he exerts himself further in solitude by day or seclusion by night. For him, living thus heedfully, joy arises. In one who has joy, rapture arises. In one who has rapture, the body becomes serene. When the body is serene, one feels pleasure. Feeling pleasure, the mind becomes centered. When the mind is centered, phenomena become manifest. When phenomena are manifest, he is reckoned as one who dwells heedfully."

SN 55.40

"Therefore, Dighavu, when you are established in these four factors of stream-entry, you should further develop six qualities conducive to clear knowing. Remain focused on inconstancy in all fabrications, percipient of stress in what is inconstant, percipient of not-self in what is stressful, percipient of abandoning, percipient of dispassion, percipient of cessation. That's how you should train yourself."

SN 55.3

 

SABBADANAM DHAMMADANAM JINATI

THE GIFT OF TRUTH EXCELS ALL OTHER GIFTS 

 

 
Source : http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/stream.html

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