I have a question regarding the fetters. Once a fetter is lost, is it obvious to that person that it has been lost? If one has doubt about the loss of a fetter, is that in itself proof that it has not been lost?

Many thanks.

  • Most fall in sets, good householder.
    – user11235
    Commented May 10, 2020 at 23:09

3 Answers 3


The first Fetter is personality view i.e. the belief that you're in charge of your destiny. To overcome this fetter is rated the most difficult. If you do succeed, it means that you physically experience, during meditation, that you're no longer in charge. Your breath has disappeared. You're not in control even of your own breathing. You may experience that your breathing has vanished and you try your best to get the breath back. But, you fail because when you overcome the first fetter you are no longer in control even of your own breathing. There is No Self - Anatma. After reaching this stage during meditation and you reflect back when you are off the cushion, there is no doubt in your mind that there was no personality operating during that specific period of time, when you lost control of your breathing. Yes, it is quite obvious.

  • Thank you. I have another question, do you need Right Concentration before this occurs? Ie, uninterrupted focus on the breath.
    – Danny
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 10:05
  • And is it only in meditation where you feel that change?
    – Danny
    Commented May 11, 2020 at 16:38
  • Yes, Right Concentration is needed. There is a package of things that need to be done. Belief in samsara means that you've lived for millenia without achieving the purification of the mind, needed for a breakthrough on the fetters. The Doctrine spells out the need for Virtue, Concentration and Wisdom as the 3 key elements in this package. The 8 Eightfold Path encompasses these 3 elements. The 4 x Foundations of Mindfulness, spell out the specifics that lead to Right Concentration. However, these 4 x Foundations are only 4 of 37 Aids to Enlightenment that need to be mastered. Its a long haul. Commented May 13, 2020 at 5:41
  • @ Danyaal. Ref your second comment above, Meditation is only a means to purify the mind and therefore is not the only method to make ''you feel that change.'' The scriptures refer to a minority of people who were able to purify themselves without resorting to meditation. I believe, the Buddha referred to the 4 x Foundations of Mindfulness as the Only Way in the Satipattana Sutta, as this was applicable to the great majority of mankind. Commented May 13, 2020 at 5:53

If one has doubt about the loss of a fetter, is that in itself proof that it has not been lost?



Fetters are eliminated in four stages of Sotapanna, Sakdhagamia, Anagami, and Arahant. You experience the first elimination of fetters when you become a Sotapanna. As per ven. Vijithananda .this happened when you practice Satipathana and for the first time you experience elements. (Dhatu) At this stage, you eliminate self-view, doubt and clinging to rites and rituals.

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