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Sn 2.1 has been translated as follows:

Ye ariyasaccāni vibhāvayanti, Gambhīrapaññena sudesitāni; Kiñcāpi te honti bhusaṃ pamattā, Na te bhavaṃ aṭṭhamam ādiyanti; Idampi saṅghe ratanaṃ paṇītaṃ, Etena saccena suvatthi hotu

Who clearly comprehend these Noble Truths well-taught by him of wisdom fathomless, however heedless be they afterwards upon an eighth (aṭṭhamam) existence (bhavaṃ) they’ll not seize (ādiyanti). Yea, in the Saṅgha is this glorious gem: By virtue of this truth, may blessing be! (Mills)

Those who have seen clearly the noble truths well-taught by the one of deep discernment — regardless of what [later] might make them heedless — will come to no eighth state of becoming. This, too, is an exquisite treasure in the Sangha. By this truth may there be well-being. (Thanissaro)

Those who realized the Noble Truths well taught by him who is profound in wisdom (the Buddha), even though they may be exceedingly heedless, they will not take an eighth existence (in the realm of sense spheres). This precious jewel is the Sangha. By this (asseveration of the) truth may there be happiness. (Piyadassi)

What is meant here by an "eighth grasping, seizing or taking up (ādiyati) of becoming/existence (bhava)"?

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I'm told that "the commentaries of multiple Indian Buddhist traditions (not just the Theravada)" define this kind of thing as referring to sotapanna having "seven more lives".

See e.g. How do you know what ‘sattakkhattuparama’ means?.

You ask, "What is meant?"

It's as "lives" (and so on) that a lot of people understand it and/or teach it -- and that is, arguably, what the text "says" -- even if you might say it doesn't "mean" what it seems to.

Perhaps you have a different interpretation of what "birth" and so on means -- and even, an interpretation which you can or want to justify, and which some other people (seem to) agree with.

I think I've read your suggesting, in the past, that the "seven" refers to "seven more fetters" -- and that "birth" and "becoming" and so on refer to the arising of self-views (e,g, identity views).

There's a Meta-topic, Questions asking for an answer to a controversy, where suggestions include,

Instead of changing question to be about controversy it is also possible to just outline controversy in the answer.

Anyway I think that this is (or e.g. that by posting about it as you do, you make it) controversial --and this answer is, what, meant to "outline" that controversy.

You'e written abut this topic at lot -- endlessly, it seems!

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Perhaps read this translation. "The person who has reached this stage in the practice will be reborn at most seven more times." https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.2.01.than.html#fnt-2

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This refers to a person who has attained stream entry. He will not have more than seven more lifetimes.

From Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation of Sutta Nipata 2.1:

Those who have seen clearly the noble truths well-taught by the one of deep discernment — regardless of what [later] might make them heedless — will come to no eighth state of becoming.

Footnote for "no eight state of becoming" (Thanissaro):
The person who has reached this stage in the practice will be reborn at most seven more times.

This is in line with other suttas such as SN 13.8:

"In the same way, monks, for a disciple of the noble ones 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 in the state of having at most seven remaining lifetimes 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."

And also AN 9.12:

Furthermore, there’s a person who has fulfilled ethics, but has limited immersion and wisdom. With the ending of three fetters, they have at most seven rebirths. They will transmigrate at most seven times among gods and humans and then make an end of suffering.

And also AN 3.88:

If they don’t penetrate so far, with the ending of three fetters, they have at most seven rebirths. They will transmigrate at most seven times among gods and humans and then make an end of suffering.

  • I marked this post down because when i looked at the Pali I could not find the term "lifetimes". ChrisW went searching at Sutta Central for answer, here discourse.suttacentral.net/t/… – Dhammadhatu Dec 9 '18 at 23:20
  • @Dhammadhatu I asked that on SC a month ago, if that matters. I think I've read what people on this site have written on the topic -- including your definition (interpretation, translation) of sattakkhattuṃparamatā. – ChrisW Dec 10 '18 at 4:47
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Sn 2.1 says in the next verse:

At the moment of attaining sight, one abandons three things: identity-views, uncertainty, & any attachment to precepts & practices.

Its seems obvious the stream-enterer must inevitably face seven more fetters to reach Arahantship (and not eight). Also, the relevant Pali word is "bhava", which does not mean "lifetime". "Bhava" is one of three "asava" (effuents, defilements) and obviously every "fetter" involves "bhava".

Therefore, it appears obvious the issue was never "solved" on Sutta Central.

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