stream entry

Richelle J, modified 11 Years ago at 3/24/11 1:58 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/24/11 1:58 PM

stream entry

Posts: 10 Join Date: 12/23/09 Recent Posts
Can someone define what is meant by this, or direct me to where it has been answered already? Thanks!

Richelle
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Florian, modified 11 Years ago at 3/24/11 5:17 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/24/11 5:16 PM

RE: stream entry (Answer)

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Hi Richelle,

Some references:

On the DhO Wiki: Stream Entry (the red links are not written yet).

From Mastering the Core Teaching of the Buddha (a.k.a MCTB ): Finishing for the first time the Progress of Insight

Wikipedia: Sotapanna

Access to Insight: Stream Entry

The three-part podcast "Hurricane Ranch Dharma Discussion Feb 2009", found in the
Podcasts section of Daniel Ingram's website also has a lot of material.

Basically, the first major station of the journey to enlightenment.

That's a lot of material. I hope there is something helpful in there - please ask more questions regardless.

Many people here on the Dharma Overground have read MCTB (the second reference above). If you do, many of the discussions here will make more sense to you.

Cheers,
Florian
Richelle J, modified 11 Years ago at 3/24/11 8:43 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/24/11 8:43 PM

RE: stream entry

Posts: 10 Join Date: 12/23/09 Recent Posts
Thank you, those links were very helpful! I guess the question within my question is, how will I know when I get there? I've had flashes of knowing -- and some quite strong-- but the sense fades with time.
Richelle J, modified 11 Years ago at 3/24/11 9:02 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/24/11 9:02 PM

RE: stream entry

Posts: 10 Join Date: 12/23/09 Recent Posts
I forgot to add that I'm reading MCTB in fits and starts. I have come to realize I've been doing a lot of "feel-good" meditation over the years that has gotten me no closer to enlightenment. And that I'm not even sure I want enlightenment, in some ways. It's sort of a feeling that I want things to be better but I'm not sure I want anything to change because at least the rut I'm in is warm and cozy. Working on it.
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Florian, modified 11 Years ago at 3/25/11 4:56 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/25/11 4:56 AM

RE: stream entry

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Richelle J:
Thank you, those links were very helpful! I guess the question within my question is, how will I know when I get there? I've had flashes of knowing -- and some quite strong-- but the sense fades with time.


Interesting question, and much debated.

The "finishing the progess of insight for the first time" understanding of Stream Entry is the prevailing model here at the DhO. The thing is, to notice and diagnose the individual stages of the progress of insight, a fairly intensive meditation practice is required, and thus the focus on retreats. It is possible to do this without long intensive retreats, but the stages will tend to show up less clearly, and if one focuses on landmark experiences, which can present strongly in a retreat setting but less so in everyday life, it can be quite confusing.

There are other models - for example the Western Mystery Tradition's operation of gaining the "Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel" and esoteric Buddhist/Vajrayana practices with a similar focus - which can be easier to use in everyday life, I hear, but I don't have any personal experience with them.

In the end, realizations such as Stream Entry will affect how your own experience presents - how else would they present? So by examining your current mode of experience closely and getting to know it well (for example, by doing insight meditation, or by surrendering to the actions of a deity as they present in your experience), changes in your mode of experience will also become evident when they happen. Single experiences which persist only as memories fading over time are probably not shifts in the mode of experience; on the other hand, what does happen is that after shifts in the mode of experience, the new mode will become more familiar over time. This growing familiarity is subtly different from a fading memory.

My own experience with Stream Entry is that it marked a point in time after which my mind was allocating fewer resources to upholding a facade or image for others to see (and for me to see reflected in them). This was experienced quite viscerally as a lot of harmful useless activity just falling away, with calm, clean openness in the mental space they used to occupy. Another experiential shift was that I can "incline my mind towards emptiness": I can induce a shift in perception where perception is not so intensely personal; I can look at my hands and see them as human hands, feel the touch sensations, without a heavy soft-focus overlay of "these are my hands", for example. There's an old thread called "Empty Hands" where I try to describe this and other shifts in perception.


Useful?

Cheers,
Florian
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Florian, modified 11 Years ago at 3/25/11 6:35 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/25/11 5:02 AM

RE: stream entry (Answer)

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Richelle J:
I forgot to add that I'm reading MCTB in fits and starts. I have come to realize I've been doing a lot of "feel-good" meditation over the years that has gotten me no closer to enlightenment. And that I'm not even sure I want enlightenment, in some ways. It's sort of a feeling that I want things to be better but I'm not sure I want anything to change because at least the rut I'm in is warm and cozy. Working on it.


"feel-good" meditation is important, too. While there is a lot of discussion of the unpleasant stages of the progess of insight, collectively called the "dark night" or "dukkha ñanas", that doesn't mean that tranquility should not be cultivated.

Regarding whether you want enlightenment at all - well, find out! You can make a journalling exercise out of it, by asking, "what is the reason I am interested in enlightenment?" and writing down what comes up, then questioning that again, questioning the assumptions behind that answer and so on. Jed McKenna has a lot of stuff on this technique, and it has been very useful to me. There's a similar exercise suggested in MCTB (chapter "The Three Kayas")

[indent]I think that everyone on the spiritual path should occasionally sit down with a piece of paper and list their favorite half of reality that they imagine or wish would be left if they got fully enlightened, and then list all the aspects of reality that they wish or “know” would vanish forever. They should then list the things that they imagine would show up as a result of full realization that are not here now. The differences between these lists often point directly to what blocks the development of wisdom from clear acceptance and understanding of reality.[/indent]

Then, there is also the Actual Freedom discussed here. If enlightenment doesn't appeal to you, but freedom from malice and sorrow does, i.e. being happy and harmless, it might be worth investigating.

Cheers,
Florian

[edit: added the MCTB exercise]
Richelle J, modified 11 Years ago at 3/25/11 11:15 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/25/11 11:15 AM

RE: stream entry

Posts: 10 Join Date: 12/23/09 Recent Posts
Thanks for the references. This site is pretty densely packed with info, so it's hard to know where to start looking sometimes. This has been helpful.

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