I was wondering if ego death and stream entry is the same? During what i call 'ego death' or 'experience of pure consciousness', i emptied out and saw the internal galaxy images. Insights came although it felt too much to comprehend. I was speechless. Basically it was inconceivable. It lasted 6 hours and more I couldn't sleep after. After that my life changed significantly. I still have issues with self esteem but much less.

I wish it were so complete. Stream entry, while a major event in one's practice, is by no means the death of the ego. In fact, it only releases one from the lower three fetters (e.g. belief in a self, doubt, and attachment to rites and rituals). There's much more to go. I'd go so far to say that it's not until one becomes an arhant that the "ego", as we understand in the Western sense, is finally put to rest.

It's important to understand, however, that "stream entry" is category term for a collection of insights. While these insights can happen as the result of a single event, that event and the experiences surrounding it like feelings of oneness, visions, and the like are really inconsequential. What is important is the shift in perspective that follows. This is fundamentally what distinguishes Buddhism from other mystical traditions.

  • this i think is more or less right. same as how an arhant is a perfected "person", but not all self improvement has anything to do with buddhist liberation – user3293056 Jun 29 '17 at 22:07
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    To paraphrase Tyler Durden - Buddhism isn't about self improvement, it's about self destruction! ;-) – user698 Jun 30 '17 at 1:10
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    i should have put "self" in quotes haha ;-) – user3293056 Jun 30 '17 at 1:11

Temporary ego death & stream entry are not necessarily the same thing.

Temporary 'ego death' can occur in different ways that are not 'stream entry'. For example, temporary ego death can occur from taking drugs.

Buddhist stream-entry includes two major characteristics:

  1. Clearly seeing (with 'insight') the illusory, insubstantial & false nature of 'self'. This 'ego-death' eradicates belief or view of self (sakkāya-diṭṭhi).

  2. Clearly seeing (with 'insight') the absence of self is also the absence of suffering. This eradicates doubt (vicikicchā) about the teachings and also eradicates the belief that morals (sīlabbata) alone can end suffering.

Therefore, what distinguishes mere ego-death from stream-entry is ego-death alone often leads to fear & confusion where as stream-entry leads to peace & liberation.

The Buddhist scriptures say about stream-entry:

A noble disciple who is consummate in view, an individual who has broken through [to stream-entry], the suffering & stress that is totally ended & extinguished is far greater. That which remains...is next to nothing: it's not a hundredth, a thousandth, a one hundred-thousandth, when compared with the previous mass of suffering. That's how great the benefit is of breaking through to the Dhamma, monks. That's how great the benefit is of obtaining the Dhamma eye.

Nakhasikha Sutta

  • Thank you very much for your answers . I appreciate that. Did you have an expriece of stream entry? – Lulu Jun 30 '17 at 5:15
  • It is the mind rather than a 'self' that experiences stream-entry. Since a 'self' or "you' cannot experience stream-entry, your question is not really answerable. As for 'ego-death', I did experience it once when I was young, before I was a Buddhist, due to getting too high on very potent marijuana & engaging in very intense sex. At that time, it was very frightening although mystical, like it was a 'secret' experience. The lady kept asking: "What's happening?" Thank you for your question & appreciation. With metta – Dhammadhatu Jun 30 '17 at 5:58

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