I follow the notion that when the false view of an independent, permanent "self" is annihilated for the first time this is Stream Entry. The Dharma no long is merely a question mark, and it's not dependent on rituals, or merely following rules. These first three fetters can't continue in the face of such an experience.

But how is the practice after Stream Entry different that before?

"In Buddhism, a sotāpanna (Pali), śrotāpanna (Sanskrit; Chinese: 入流; pinyin: rùliú, Tibetan: རྒྱུན་ཞུགས་, Wylie: rgyun zhugs), "stream-winner", or "stream-entrant" is a person who has seen the Dharma and consequently, has dropped the first three fetters (saŋyojana) that bind a being to rebirth, namely self-view (sakkāya-ditthi), clinging to rites and rituals (sīlabbata-parāmāsa), and skeptical indecision (Vicikitsa).

The word sotāpanna literally means "one who entered (āpanna) the stream (sota)", after a metaphor which calls the noble eightfold path a stream which leads to nibbāna. Entering the stream (sotāpatti) is the first of the four stages of enlightenment."

-- Sotāpanna (wikipedia)

Also see Agataphala Mahānāma Sutta (A 6.10) -- The Discourse on Mahānāma (on the fruition-attainer)

  • Hi Eric! I asked a similar question a while ago on the DhammaWheel forum. You may like to take a look at it: dhammawheel.com/… May 5, 2019 at 3:03
  • A Sotapanna has seen the Path but s/he still need to "walk" the Path. See the chain smoker analogy on DW for further details (ref: dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=17821&start=20#p252314 )
    – santa100
    May 5, 2019 at 16:31
  • 1
    SN 55.3 wrote: "Therefore, Dighavu, when you are established in these four factors of stream entry, you should further develop six qualities conducive to clear knowing. Remain focused on inconstancy in all fabrications, percipient of stress in what is inconstant, percipient of not-self in what is stressful, percipient of abandoning, percipient of dispassion, percipient of cessation. That's how you should train yourself." May 5, 2019 at 21:43

4 Answers 4


Not different. If one wishes, one has to do an effort to turn the Wheel of Dhamma, develop the eightfold Path, as before.

One who has reached such stage knows this, having lost all doubts in regard of the path.


there is zero difference of practice between a puthujjana and a sekha.

THe problem for a puthujjanas is that the actions are tainted by 3 flavors of karma and they mostly do actions with bad karma, which is why those people get reborn in hell sooner or later...

The problem for a sekha is that the action is still tainted by karma, but at least it is only the good karma. This is why those people do not get reborn in hell, ever.

Their task is to stop making their action meritorious and practice the path of non-dark non-bright karma, ie the noble path, ie lots of sati, sampajanna, samadhi, but of the highest kind, ie "samadhi with vipassna", ''dana+vipassana'' to say it badly, see here for the various intentions that people have towards dana and only the last one is relevant to reach nibanna https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an07/an07.049.than.html

Same thing with samadhi, for the sekhas, samadhi is more about right samadhi than abiding ''in the here and now'' to get sukha and merit.

In daily life, the only difference is that the sekhas are worthy of merits, contrary to the puthujjanas, so when people know some sekha is indeed a sekha (by hearing it from some non-puthujjana), they have to deal with people (ie mostly puthujjanas) offering them stuff, especially stuff considered valuable by puthujjanas, but really worthless for non-puthujjanas... It is a good opportunity for them to have sati.

  • There's also this topic which asks what "an adornment for the mind, a support for the mind (AN 7.49)" might mean.
    – ChrisW
    May 5, 2019 at 7:20

"Stream-entry" requires three fetters to be cut, which include the fetter of doubt about the path and the fetter of identity-view.

Also, the Pali suttas define the both "sakkāya" (sat + kāya; "existent body/group" or "identity") & dukkha and the arising of identity & dukkha the same way, namely:

Pañca upādānakkhandhā sakkāyo. These five grasped aggregates are identity. MN 44

Saṃkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā. In brief, the five grasped aggregates are suffering. SN 56.11

The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming: This is the origination of self-identification. MN 44

Now this is the noble truth of the origin of suffering. The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming. SN 56.11

"Sakkāyadiṭṭhi" is to regard/view the five aggregates as "self", as follows:

How does identity view come about?

Kathaṃ sakkāyadiṭṭhi hotī

It’s when an uneducated ordinary person has not seen the noble ones, and is neither skilled nor trained in the teaching of the noble ones. They’ve not seen good persons, and are neither skilled nor trained in the teaching of the good persons.

They regard form as self, self as having form, form in self, or self in form.

They regard feeling … perception … choices … consciousness as self, self as having consciousness, consciousness in self, or self in consciousness.

That’s how identity view comes about.

Evaṃ kho, āvuso visākha, sakkāyadiṭṭhi hotī

MN 44

It follows, for stream-entry to occur, at least two experiences must occur, namely:

  1. Seeing clearly "identity" is not a real permanently existent thing, which cuts the fetter of identity-view.

  2. Seeing clearly the ending of attachment to the aggregates (sakkaya) and the ending of identity view (sakkaya ditthi) ends dukkha, which cuts the fetter of doubt about the path.

  3. Therefore, at stream-entry, it is known without any doubt that "non-attachment" towards the five aggregates is the Path to Nibbana. Thus, whatever phenomena or experiences occur, such as "jhana", these experiences/phenomena are not attached to or regarded as being or connected to "self".

If the ending of identity is experienced (such as by Sam Harris says when taking LSD) but the correlated insight into the ending of dukkha is not experienced & maintained (such as by Sam Harris who, when not on drugs, has been accused of promoting war & nuclear genocide) then stream-entry has not been attained.

"Doubt" is not doubt about "anatta" ("not-self') but is doubt about "anatta ending dukkha". This is how fake gurus & fake dharma are known; when deeds do not equate to claimed realisations. When the fetter of "sakkaya ditthi" is cut, so are myriad unwholesome selfish deeds; because it is discerned abandoning "sakkaya" results in peace (Nibbana).


The difference is, after the first realization of Nibbana(which would repeat many times in time) the person is kind like being sucked to a black hole which means spontaneously the person is going towards complete and permanent freedom from suffering. This stream is constantly carrying the person forward, by cutting more defilements, having more realizations/insights to reality and being spontaneous backround mindfulness. Also stream-enterer is absolutely in the "higher training", really learning/training the dhamma that was not possible before the realization of Nibbana.

a 'noble learner', a disciple in higher training, i.e. one who pursues the 3 kinds of training (sikkhā), is one of those 7 kinds of noble disciples who have reached one of the 4 supermundane paths or the 3 lower fruitions (s. ariya-puggala), while the one possessed of the 4th fruition, or Arahatta-phala, is called 'one beyond training' (asekha, lit. 'no more learner').


That being said stream-enterer is not complete enlightenment because an experience and even many experiences of Nibbana can't immediately make a person super enlightened(in most cases). That's why a person must fully internalize the effects of Nibbana and the following insights that comes from it and cut more defilements. Keeping formal meditation and other things to intensify the process can be helpful.

And it is possible that some people can confuse some glimpses of emptiness experiences with Nibbana and think that they are stream-enterers so it is better to understand what stream-entry really is. I realized that many people confuse their situation and think that they stream-enterers or beyond. It is possible that these people are good or even very good meditators but I think this misunderstanding is a big issue among Buddhist or non-Buddhist meditators. Having a "noble one" ego is dangerous and can make people stop practising and can stop avoiding unwholesome actions that is required to have that unique experience that would change their entire existence. And "not accepting to be a puthujjana" or not knowing that they are not beyond puthujjana yet can be the last hindrance for these people to have a breakthrough. Just drop the ego temporarily and see what happens.

Note: Even If this is kind of a "game" for them it's still harmful.

Informative links:




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