Lots of questions on stream entry here.

I have practiced Mahayana Buddhism without a huge success - for sure. But still, I was of the opinion that such attainment as stream entry was rare in the extreme.

Perhaps 1/1000 monks, and much less even in the devout laity.

How common is it? I have a somewhat devout Theravadin friend, is he a saint :o !

  • my working is pretty simple: self enlightenment is 1,000,000, a small amount of people have that seed. the rest p much have the arhat seed. suppose that a monk is half as saintly as a self enlightened being. that makes 1,000. laity 100,000... my presentation is fuzzy but yeah...
    – user2512
    Commented Mar 10, 2015 at 22:16

2 Answers 2


hmmm here is a free book. it has about 40+ sutta of a stream enterer (none-contradict each other whatsoever. We buddhists want to know if we have achieved this level of dharma. Buddha allowed us to proclaim ourselves so and here is the tool.


I remember a sutta from pali cannon where this rich merchant invited buddha to receive meal at his mansion in a week. later a king or prince desperately wanted buddha to come eat at his place on the same day (i dont recall why). Buddha said he couldnt change the reservation without consent from this merchant because he invited him first. So buddha sent ven Moggallana to this merchant to see what he would think about moving the reservation to a week later. the marchant would agree if ven Moggallana could confirm 4 (or maybe 5) things 1) would he still be alive ? answer was yes. 2) would buddha still be alive? yes. 3) would he still have his wealth? yes. 4) would he still have the unshakable confidence in buddha? ven Moggallana did not answer the last question citing that this was something the merchant had the ability to answer that himself. finally he agreed to move the reservation to a week later. Point is, a confidence in buddha, dharma, sangha is one characteristic of a stream enterer. And Buddha was explicit that only him and yourself can make such a claim.

How common is it? Buddha said in one sutta, plenty. not 10, 100, 1000+ as long as 8 fold path is practiced, world is not going to be absent of an arayan (those who is a stream enterer or higher. perfectly good word ruined by Nazi). also compare to another sutta, he compared dust on his finger tips to the entire earth as reference to numbers of Arayans compare to all other beings (seen and unseen) so the ratio would be large!

read the book and ask yourself. only you can proclaim yourself ..

  • oh of course i didn't mean it about individuals !! metta :)
    – user2512
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 15:57
  • except my friend hahaha : !!! :
    – user2512
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 16:01
  • 1
    ha ha .. another characteristic of stream enterer i found not in that book. stream enterers never use words as spear or knife to attack or harm others no matter how angry he gets. my personal opinion, plenty of sotapanna out there. if we are facing in the right direction, and start taking that first step, we will reach our destination one day (hopefully shorter than 7 lives time). I am a thevarada buddhist . i dont know much about mahayana teaching at all :-( i assume 4 noble truths and 8 fold paths are common accross the board?
    – dean
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 16:19
  • every tradition i think uses them, but in different ways !
    – user2512
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 16:26

As long as there are people who practice the 4 foundation of mindfullness there will be a people who have attainment some stage of sainthood.

There are only a few who have achieved it is because the practice has reduced. Many call them selves Buddhist but do not practice the 4 foundation of mindfullness.

So you have to practice it in the right way then success will follow. But again in bussy modern times the time and temperament to devote a lot of time to practice is lacking.

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