How was stream entry for you?

C4 Chaos, modified 14 Years ago at 3/11/09 7:53 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/11/09 7:53 AM

How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 7/26/09 Recent Posts
Forum: Practical Dharma

it seems to me that, aside from the out-of-the-closet Arahats, some of you in this forum have already attained "stream entry". there's no reason for me to doubt your attainments. so i'll take your word for it emoticon

i'm starting this thread because i'm curious to know how it *looked* and *felt* like for those of you who have experienced stream entry already. the reason for this is that i would like to be *sensitized* and be familiar with the territory if and when i get "there." i think this would also be useful for others out there like me who are at the same level of practice (meaning: not stream-enterers, yet).

so for those of you who have been there and done that (at least the stream entry part), to the best of your recollection, please give your detailed answers on the following:

how did felt? was it pleasant, excruciating? what's your best description at the sensory level (touch, sight, sound, feel, smell, thoughts)?

did you have visions? what did you see?

do you think it was a culmination of your practice, good technique, and/or teacher? or just plain serendipity and grace?

how did you know that is was really stream entry? did you confirm it with a teacher?

how did your life change after the experience? (e.g. sense of well-being, plunge into dark night, no change whatsoever)

that's all for now. it would be cool if the Arahats in the house would share their experiences as well.


Trent S H, modified 14 Years ago at 3/11/09 2:21 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/11/09 2:21 PM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts

-Peaceful, pleasant, so much noise left and never came back. No sensory change that I recall.
-No visions that I remember
-Good technique (who am I and vipassana noting the end of sensations) and soft skills (faith, determination, etc). I stress the second.
-I didn't until months later, but it was obvious looking back.
-Lotta things related to being able to intuitively interpret/recognize "true" Dharma. Cycling began.
Wet Paint, modified 14 Years ago at 3/11/09 3:11 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/11/09 3:11 PM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: marinr

The entrance was weird, the exit peaceful with light manifesting. I remember a smile on my face
('Aha, that's it!'). Some 'mirror thing' in the mind was gone. Back then I had visions all the time in my
practice. Right before, there were several strange mind states and unclear visions.

I think it was clear effort to see the three characteristics

I knew right away, but I repeated it several times, saw clearly the exit and then went into a 'there's no others' state
in my daily life. I then decided it was stream entry. I didn't ask a teacher.

My view, and something about the following things has changed: individuality, self awareness, intention, imagination.
And also the understanding of dependent origination.
Jackson Wilshire, modified 14 Years ago at 3/11/09 3:42 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/11/09 3:42 PM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
Hi C,

- My first fruition was creepy, but not painful or anything. It was like being unplugged and then plugged back in. Two things came to mind: (1.) "That was it!" and, (2.) "If that's what it's like to die, there's nothing to be afraid of."

- I did not have any visions prior to or immediately after fruition. I tend to get visions when crossing the A&P, which is really fun.

- I attribute two things to the culmination of stream-entry: (1.) good, consistent, balls-to-the-walls, three characteristics obsessed noting, and, (2.) Deeply letting go of my self and expectations. And, like Yabaxule, there was a good deal of faith there as well.

- I suspected it was stream entry right away, but I waited until I noticed clear cycling and more fruitions. I ran my experiences by lots of people here at the DhO before I went telling people.

- The biggest change that occurred was knowing from my own direct experience that this stuff is for real. That kind of certainty has changed my life.
Daniel M Ingram, modified 14 Years ago at 3/12/09 10:26 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/12/09 10:26 PM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 3257 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
First Fruition: This little version of God was running on a treadmill like a gerbil and the Big God was looking down at him, and then the looking was me, and then the gerbil was me, and the two looked at each other and were the same, they collapsed into each other, reality vanished and reappeared, and then the bliss wave and insight that built slowly over the next few hours pretty much blew my doors off. The next Dark Night absolutely SUCKED big time.
Primary causes: burning desire and good technique, which was the result of 10 years of Dark Night and then good instructions and instructors.
Confirmation: it was obvious it was stream entry, everything about practice was different, my understanding of the dharma was a quantum leap above previous, and I cycled and cycled and cycled. I could access jhana at will with ease, and was a vastly more powerful meditator in basically all ways. My teachers were non-committal.
Life change: massive volatility, from high highs to low lows, from lots of cycles in daily life and having to get used to that, to personal upheavals as I tried to talk about and integrate something completely new and yet unfinished. It took me quite a while to ground down. I am glad I did it, but the first year or so was a pretty wild ride, as those who knew me then, such as Kenneth, who lived with me for some of that time, would attest. Still highly recommended, obviously.
tarin greco, modified 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 3:29 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 3:29 AM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
how it happened:
i saw a quick flash of sensations i recognised to be 'my own face' and then after that i knew i was done. my mind sure didnt though and i kept trying to brush it off for a few minutes til i finally just sat down and let it sink in. i noticed a relief and ease in my body that wasnt there before. still, i wanted my teacher to confirm it, which he neither did nor dismiss. over the next few hours things just kept unfolding and incomplete insights became complete. the bliss wave was something else too (as it was for the next few subsequent fruitions). i stepped outside and looked at the evening sky with the sun setting and thought 'welcome home'

burning desire, the result of 10 years of dark night, and then good instruction, good technique, and a commitment to just doing it. willingness to go out on a limb and do whatever had to be done even if i didnt have a clear precedent or understanding of what i have to do ('doing it my way'). the desire to make something vastly better of my life.

enduring changes since:
i can breathe deeper and easier (*gold star for this one)
i can do way more push ups
i talk with the authority of someone who gets it, no more compulsive self-second-guessing
seeing 360 is natural and default (*another gold star)
identification with phenomena is both thinner and just not the same as before
i have a longer fuse but even when i do blow i'm less mean (*gold star)
easy access to jhana
heightened sensitivity to subtle phenomena at cursory glance
better understanding of imagination
C4 Chaos, modified 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 5:34 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 5:34 AM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 7/26/09 Recent Posts
whoah! "more push ups" alone is reason enough for me to continue with practice emoticon

seriously, thanks to all of you for openly sharing your stream-entry experiences. i'm now more *sensitized* and have a better idea of what to look forward to (without being hang up on them, of course).

keep them coming... here's to (hyper)streaming emoticon

Frater Geur, modified 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 5:38 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 5:38 AM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 24 Join Date: 9/9/09 Recent Posts
Description of the experience from a journal kept at the time:

I realised I was about to meet Primal Awareness... I was outside a dark doorway in a hot, desert country. I was there to interview Him. He was waiting inside. But then I simply realised that Primal Awareness and I were the same thing. There was no need for an interview; I would only be interviewing myself. I had nothing to do, nowhere to go; there was bliss and hilarity. It was obvious that awareness had nothing to do with 'me', because 'all this' was already 'it'... Primal Awareness is a subtle non-thing that permeates all. One must do precisely nothing in order to become aware of it. This was simultaneously the most mind-shattering and stupidly mundane realisation at which I'd ever arrived. Everything in the universe was conscious and whole; and I understood exactly how to do nothing, in a way that wasn't trying to do nothing... Yet even whilst this happened I was still fighting off the piffle and blather of my everyday consciousness. It was only an isolated moment of realisation. But the way that the gibbering of the mind had to be ignored – or, rather, quietly overlooked – taught me much about what this realisation truly was, and how the knowledge it conveys can be hidden in plain view so well.

It was the culmination of a slow, relentless slog. I was working within the Western Occult tradition, so it was also the inevitable outcome of a specific magical act to gain the knowledge and communcation of my Holy Guardian Angel.

The experience was confirmed by subsequent communications from the angel. I didn't have any other teacher, but the experience was so unique and powerful it was obvious something had changed.

The main thing I noticed was that hindrances were seen-through. I could sit even when I didn't want to sit, and have a fascinating time experiencing the lovely, icky details of not wanting to sit.
Eric Calhoun, modified 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 9:43 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 9:43 AM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/25/09 Recent Posts
Slightly elliptical way to answer your questions, but should cover the key points:

I had reached equanimity and quit sitting for well over a year, and then in the fall (2008) got a burning desire to go for it again, greatly aided by the fact that the film production company I started was failing, and I suddenly had a ton of time on my hands. This time through I really just concentrated on observing the 3 Characteristics, and started putting a minimum of 6 hours a day into it. The A&P wasn't as jaw-dropping the 2nd time around, but I came out of it with an understanding of fundamental suffering as a body experience (as opposed to a psychological dissatisfaction) and how it was created through the observation of sensations (and ultimately by attaching to the separate self). I was really inspired by what Daniel wrote in MCTB and what I like to call "Ingram's Carrot" - that to deeply understand any two of the characteristics simultaneously is to understand the 3rd, and is sufficient for first awakening. A very empowering statement to me, and so I just looked for the 3 C's and didn't worry much about the rest of the map.

I really latched on to Suffering, and I think it gave me a way to move forward in equanimity, I could just kind of be with everything, but then connecting to the suffering would break that spell. Down the home stretch I became really aware of exactly when/where/how I was checking out from the suffering, and worked to stay with the suffering longer and deeper.

So... any guesses which Door I went through? It was at first horrible in the suffering, but then when Awareness had a "Holy crap! I don't have to be this mind/body thing!" moment, it was initially funny. I could sort of "see" the detachment happening, and for a second I felt like one of those multi-layered Alex Grey paintings, only the layers were drifting apart.
Eric Calhoun, modified 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 9:56 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 9:56 AM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

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I remember thinking "this is it!", and in the act of thinking I could see the reattachment process, so I let go again and let the full thing happen. On the way out though, the mind struck me as hilarious the way it vibrated "down" there before reality went away. When it all came back... oh so good! So worth the years of work, even though the last ascent only took about 3 months or so.

The biggest things that have changed are 1) the conception of identity. There are a million little ways that knowing experientially I'm not this mind and body have changed my life, from both a philosophical what is life and what do we do with it to just taking things less seriously and personally. But ironically, as I take things easier and more joyfully in general, I find that my experience of suffering in normal/attached existence has grown and can often be pretty overwhelming. I love the momentum in my practice, because I am really motivated now to escape suffering now that I've had the real taste of freedom from it!
Hokai Sobol, modified 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 10:23 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 10:23 AM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

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Interesting detailed descriptions. I have no recollection of a specific experience of entering the stream.
C4 Chaos, modified 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 10:56 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 10:56 AM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 7/26/09 Recent Posts
like Hokai, i have no recollection of entering the stream. in fact, i don't recall any mindblowing experience in the waking state (e.g. while in sitting meditation). most of my so-called weird experiences happened in a lucid dream.

that said, here's one lucid dream experience i've had many years ago. glad i wrote it in my journal. i don't think this can be classified as stream entry, but the features are somewhat similar to what others have described.


I am sitting in front of my computer staring at a blank page. A faint recollection of a dream I had last night bubbles up in my awareness. I dreamt of a black expanse where everyday reality is projected. It was like watching a movie in a very dark theater where the only thing you can see is the movie screen. But the movie screen was not the typical rectangular wide screen. The screen filled my entire field of vision but I was somehow still aware of the background. I was disoriented. I was not in the movie but the movie is inside me, and I couldn’t even remember what was playing. Then I attempted to analyze—“is this the nondual?” There was no answer. My awareness dissolved in the abyss of slumber, and all that was left was the impression of the experience.


after this experience i had the most trying times in my life which manifested as physical sickness and a very heavy personal problem. was this a form of a Dark Night? i don't know. all i know is that recently i have rekindled a deep interest in (open) practice (see ).

thanks again for sharing. keep it going emoticon

Eric Calhoun, modified 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 4:03 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/13/09 4:03 PM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/25/09 Recent Posts
Speaking of dreams, I did have a traumatic/funny series of dreams leading up to stream entry which actually started the night after the A&P. Almost every night I dreamed over and over that I died in terrible ways: drowning, beheading, falling off buildings, mauled by wild animals, hit by buses, shot, stabbed, clubbed, crushed by boulders and falling trees, you name it, up to 12+ deaths in a single night that I could remember later! I thought of it as my psyche getting me used to the idea of letting go in the big sense... but it was still hard to deal with many nights.
Antonio Ramírez, modified 14 Years ago at 3/15/09 7:47 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/15/09 7:47 PM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 55 Join Date: 9/9/09 Recent Posts
I'd like to expand the initial question in a particular direction that intrigues me and feels very important.

Quoting Daniel in MCTB:

"Just after the attainment of a path, particularly the first path, is a time when formal resolutions have an outrageous amount of power. The Buddha said that the greatest of all powers is to understand and then teach the dharma, meaning to attain to full realization, however you define it, and to then help others do the same. I had been advised to use this unique period in my practice well, and I resolved to attain to full enlightenment for the benefit of all beings as quickly as was reasonably possible and despite all the complex consequences of having done so I do not regret my decision in the least and highly recommend that you do the same."

You strem-enterers out there, how does this relate to your experience? Did you make a formal resolution along these lines? Did you perhaps resolve something more or less specific that you wish to share? In any case, how does this "outrageous amount of power" for formal resolutions manifest itself, if that can even be talked about? I notice that the theme of resolutions makes a couple of appearances in MCTB and it seems pretty important to me. That particular passage seems to hint at a deeper, non-obvious connection between "morality" and "insight" that might be worth getting the more realized people among us to talk about.
Wet Paint, modified 14 Years ago at 3/15/09 9:42 PM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/15/09 9:42 PM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: marinr

It was like: "Oh no, this thing is so simple, and others are caught in it."

And there's the attainment of cessation, which I think of as "Edit -> Undo" command on the level of the mind.
It feels like I can do anything, and it cannot hurt me in any way.

From the first comes the inspiration, from the second comes the powerful intent, to do the experiment to the
end, no matter what happens.
Jackson Wilshire, modified 14 Years ago at 3/16/09 3:30 AM
Created 14 Years ago at 3/16/09 3:30 AM

RE: How was stream entry for you?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts

As Daniel recommends in the above quotation, shortly after my first fruition I resolved to attain arantship in this life time. Now, It's too early to tell whether or not the resolution will have anything to do with me finishing the job, but there was a certain energy to it that leads me to believe it was the right thing to do.

Another way to make powerful resolutions in Buddhist practice is outlined by Buddhaghosa in the Vissuddhimagga, and Daniel brings it up in a Buddhist Geeks episode about Buddhist Magick. Basically, you rise in to the 4th shamatha jhana, come back out of it, and resolve for something to occur. I bring this up because about a week after attaining 1st Path, I rose in to the 4th jhana, came back out, and resolved thus; "I will start and complete the next path of insight." Sure enough, when I sat down to meditate later that afternoon, I started out by attaining 1st jhana, and then I directed my attention to start vipassana. As I did, I "dropped in" to a new Mind & Body, and started the whole process over again (I say "dropped in" because that's what it felt like -- as if I were dropping in to a half pipe on a skateboard). Fortunately for me, the Dark Night only lasted a few weeks and I completed the Path in a little over a month.

So yeah, resolutions are powerful, and I totally recommend others to try it out. To stay on the safe/ethical/moral side, try only using resolutions to further your dharma practice until you've really sorted out whether or not you want to deal with the consequences of using magick in other ways.