In The Progress of Insight by the Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, in the section The Attainment of Fruition, it is said that:

This occurs in precisely the same way as the path and fruition consciousness that occurred earlier in the consciousness-sequence belonging to the initial attainment of the first path. The only difference here is the capacity of the fruition attainment to last long.

Whereas, in A Manual of Abhidhamma by Narada Maha Thera it is said that:

Each of the four Supramundane Paths arises only once in the course of one’s life.

Is Mahasi Sayadaw taking a differing position than what is said in the Abhidhamma or am I not understanding him correctly?

2 Answers 2


Fruition Knowledge : That again is immediately followed by knowledge that belongs to the final stage and continues in the course of its predecessor. It abides in that same Nibbana, which is void of formations since it is the cessation of them. This is called "fruition knowledge."

It seems they are both talking about the knowledge of cessation that arises after cessation.

Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw is saying that each experience of Nibbana is approached and achieved in the same manner, each time( Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami, Arahant). Each time it is attained, however, it may last longer and is more purifying than the previous time, more complete.

What Narada Maha Thera is pointing out is that each of the four instances of "intuiting nibbana", as he puts it, i.e. attaining Sottapana, Sakadagami, Anagami, Arahant, each occur only once.

Thats the jist of it as far as I understand. Hopefully I didn't fumble any technicalities!


The supramundane state (cessation) is termed magga-ñana the first time attained, and phala-ñana any subsequent times attained (on that same level -- 1st path, 2nd, 3rd, 4th).

The path knowledge (magga-ñana) is attained only once for each path, ever. The first attainment is thus stream entry (sotapatti). The cycle of insight then starts over, and you may attain the fruition (phala-ñana) of the path which had been attained any number of times, and for extended periods of time, if desired and trained.

When the mind attains the knowledge of arising&passing (udaybbaya-ñana) of the second path, the cycle of insight will happen again on a higher level, possibly culminating in knowledge of the second path (magga-ñana; and the yogi may then again re-experience fruition of the second path many times.

Don't ask me how the fruition differs between 1st and 2nd path, when it is utter unconsciousness (everything ceases: including space, time, consciousness) without anything to be said about it -- I don't know.

  • "Don't ask me how the fruition differs between 1st and 2nd path, when it is utter uncons" I think the answer is simple. Each path eradicates different fetters. So I think that the type of fruition knownledge and therefore attainment depends on the fetters eradicated. Oct 29, 2018 at 5:06

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