The second fetter to break when one becomes a stream entrant is given as 'Clinging to rites and rituals'. I've always found that one a little puzzling. How do you know if you are clinging to a ritual? What would be the signs of it? Does the fetter apply exclusively to Buddhist rituals or does it apply to the little rituals we all indulge in as we navigate our way through daily life? I think I'm after someone to help unpack this one a little bit.

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    It seems to refer to the elimination of wrong view. In ancient India it was pretty common to believe that a rite or ritual can make amends for bad karma of wrong conduct. Even good conduct like generosity can become a rite or ritual if one isn't careful. Lots of generous people like to boast about their donations, so this too is wrong view. The '"four erroneous views" are to apprehend impurity as purity, to apprehend selflessness as self, to apprehend suffering as happiness, and to apprehend impermanence as permanence. – Buddho Jul 27 '15 at 20:40

No, this does not apply to daily "rituals" at all. Buddhists at Buddha's time had these as well, they would walk around an elder "keeping him to the right", ask about health and wellbeing, offer the water to wash feet after long road etc. These are fine.

What's meant here are magic rituals that are supposed to have supernatural effect. Because stream-entry involves insight into how everything works (in principle, not in details), it involves understanding of what works and what cannot work.

Strotapannas may approve of or participate in a magic ritual for its social and psychological effects, including foreseeable effects on participant and group karma, but they won't blindly cling to a ritual on the grounds of its presumed supernatural effects.

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