My Stream Entry Experience

A B, modified 1 Year ago at 12/11/22 5:24 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/11/22 5:24 PM

My Stream Entry Experience

Posts: 6 Join Date: 12/11/22 Recent Posts
Greetings all
I experienced Stream Entry 13 years ago when I was 45.  I though I'd share the experience - I hope it inspires or is of interest.
Here's what it looked like.
First some back ground:
I had done at least 30 retreats including 7 months of intensive practice in Thailand (20 hrs/day). Mostly in the Vipassana tradition but some Zen Sesshins as well.  Most of my practice for the few years before Stream Entry had been in the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition.

The experience:
I did a retreat and afterwards felt ill at ease, a bit depressed and out of sorts - I figured this was just part of spiritual life and it settled down after a few weeks.  A month later I went on a 9 day solitary retreat in the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition in Tathagata Med. Center in San Jose, CA. I was practicing on my own but met with a Sayadaw about every 2 days.  Almost right away on this retreat, intense physical pain arose - especially around my heart. I sat with this pain for several days and it became a main object of my meditation.  On abut the 5th day, I had a deep experience of suffering (Dukkha) - it wasn't that I was suffering per se but I had a prfound insight or view into the extent and depth of suffering (hard to describe). The following day the most incredible Equanimity arose - I was completely unmoved by pleasant or unpleasant experiences- not attracted at all to pleasure and not repelled at all by discomfort.  The day after that during several walking periods I would get to the end of the walking path, stand and close my eyes - my mind seemed to go toward but remain outside of a vast peaceful place (again, hard to describe).  This happened over and over.

Then that afternoon as I sat, my mind again went toward this vast peaceful place but this time the mind stuck there and didn't withdraw as it had several times before.  Then as I sat, this very intense pressure built up in my head very quickly - it wasn't painful but very intense.  And then all of a sudden, everything shattered - it felt like my whole body broke into pieces and fell away.  I see that is Maga.  And then my mind or awareness expanded upward and outward into a vast openness (Pala) - no body, no sense of self, no perceptions, no thought processes - nothing but vast, emptiness and utter, utter peace.  Subjectively this lasted about 1 minute.  Afterwards, I came back to my ordinary state and was surprised to be in the hall b/c I felt as though I should be outside under the blue sky - but of course I was in the hall as always.  

For the next few days I couldn't sleep, I was so excited to have had this experience that I reviewed it in my mind over and over and over.  Everything in life seemed to have an almost transparent quality.  

So, how has this changed me?  It hasn't changed my personality much if at all.  It did take an already quite serious practitioner and make spiritual practice the indelible center of my life.  There was a time that my cat mortally wounded a bird in the back yard and with good intentions and to end its suffering I dropped a large rock on it - I immediately felt a powerful sense that this taking a life was wrong and have abided by the precept to abstain from taking life much more rigorously since.  The other thing that happened is that all the Vipassana practices I did before seemed to not fit any more.  I did Mahasi retreats, Samatha retreats, etc... but nothing felt right.  Gradually I discovered Ramana Maharshi and Self Inquiry and my practice has shifted to Awareness Watching Awareness.  This was a shift in practice from observing objects to observing the emptiness of awareness itself with no objects and that has been my practice since that time.  

The experience of Stream Entry has felt like the crown jewel of my life.  I feel that I can die knowing I realized something important and made good use of this one precious life.  And, I hope to have many years of practice and hopefully additional realizations.  

Best luck to all on the path
Not two, not one, modified 1 Year ago at 12/11/22 11:49 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/11/22 11:49 PM

RE: My Stream Entry Experience

Posts: 1038 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
Cool!  Thanks for sharing. 

Be careful with self-enquiry. The dose can be very powerful if you break right through.  Remember, 'you' are the ongoing process and lingering effects of all your choices.  So if you ever get into heavy water, just ask yourself what the good choices are. You will know the answer.  


Griffin, modified 1 Year ago at 12/12/22 2:38 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/12/22 2:06 AM

RE: My Stream Entry Experience

Posts: 271 Join Date: 4/7/18 Recent Posts
Why was it wrong to kill a bird to end its suffering? In suttas Buddha at least once gave a permission to a student to take their own life, due to terminal illness.

Edit: one more question, how would you describe the difference between experiencing A&P event versus Stream Entry?
A B, modified 1 Year ago at 12/12/22 10:58 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/12/22 10:52 AM

RE: My Stream Entry Experience

Posts: 6 Join Date: 12/11/22 Recent Posts
Good questions:  I just had a strong intuitive sense about killing the bird.  I've heard euthanasia discussed in Buddhist forums numerous times with valid points on both sides.  I did have my cat put down a couple years ago after it had a stroke and that felt like the right thing to do.  This is a grey area that I think one simply has to reflect carefully on and do what feels right in each situation.

My experiences with A&P happened after about 2 months of intensive practice in Thailand.  The first month was a lot of physical pain, the 2nd month emotional pain and release and then A&P.  A&P seemed like the doorway into mystical experiences.  All of a sudden it was like "Wow, look at how things really are - everything arising out of nothing and passing away back into nothing."  For me sounds were most prominenet in this stage - the blow of a hammer, when the mind is sharp and clear, seemed much longer than in the usual state - I could see the arising of that sound, all the permutations and the passing away with no remainder.  The dark night stages were very interesting and challenging too.  I remember the dread of seeing everything passing away and realizing that there is nothing in this world to rely on or hold on to and recognizing that this is a dreadful state (samsara) to live in.  There was a time that I felt like I was walking in deep mud (not literally of course) - everything just seemed so difficult and laborious.  I had a fantastic Thai teacher who spoke good English (sadly I can't remember his name).  He was so amazingly tuned in to my process and could see so clearly where I was.  He was very helpful.  At the end of my 3.5 month retreat in that center he spent about an hour with me talking about my practice.  He said "I'm not really supposed to tell you this, but you got to the 10th Nana."  It wasn't until about 15 years later in the US that I had the Stream Entry experience.  

A&P was quite significant (some call it "Little Sotapana") but Stream Entry was much more profound.  The complete shattering and transcendence of this world was quite different from A&P.  I didn't eperience anything like what Daniel and others have described in A&P - it was very interesting but no huge bells and whistles so to speak - just a very profound seeing into the nature of phenomena.  I've often said that A&P is as different from normal day to day experience as psychadelic drugs are different to day to day experience.  

Thanks for asking.
Tao Te Kat, modified 1 Year ago at 12/13/22 4:56 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/13/22 4:55 AM

RE: My Stream Entry Experience

Posts: 8 Join Date: 5/24/22 Recent Posts
 Post-awakening te only meditation you need is "being present", a lot like AwA but not need to watch anything at all. Better not watch, just be. Or just sit like zen people say.

Also the six advices of Tilopa will be of help:

Let go of what has passed.
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.

Good luck


Robert L, modified 1 Year ago at 12/13/22 9:10 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/13/22 9:10 AM

RE: My Stream Entry Experience

Posts: 60 Join Date: 2/10/19 Recent Posts
Tilopa gives some good advice! 
A B, modified 1 Year ago at 12/13/22 1:40 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/13/22 1:40 PM

RE: My Stream Entry Experience

Posts: 6 Join Date: 12/11/22 Recent Posts
Great Thoughts - Thanks emoticon
User 08, modified 8 Months ago at 8/1/23 11:45 PM
Created 8 Months ago at 8/1/23 11:45 PM

RE: My Stream Entry Experience

Posts: 57 Join Date: 7/31/23 Recent Posts
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I've thought about doing a retreat at Tathagata and this definitely is encouraging me to do it. Do you feel like you've advanced towards second path in the thirteen years since stream entry? Or attained it? Why or why not?