Stream entry feels like a milestone where some very significant things happen and the practitioner cannot slide backwards from it. Do Zen sutras describe the concept of stream entry by that or any other name?

  • I can slide back :(
    – blue_ego
    Sep 14, 2022 at 17:22

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure if it corresponds in every respect with stream entry but in Japanese Zen they generally distinguish Kenshō, the initial seeing of one's nature, from full Buddhahood so I think it is at least analogous to stream entry.

I'm not sure how this is talked about in forms of Zen outside of Japan (such as Chinese Chan, Vietnamese Zen, and Korean Seon) however, as I think the explicit distinction between Kenshō and Satori is a distinctively Japanese idea.

  • 1
    There's Satōri and Dai Kensho, but there isn't a stream entrant or Arahat. The Zen koān form is, I've won, but there's no one there. There's winning but there's no winner. Zen by design lacks the precision of Theravada in laying down the stages of the path, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
    – Buddho
    May 21, 2015 at 16:04
  • 1
    coldmountainzen.org/talks/yangshanpointstosnow.html The goal of Zen isn't Dai Kensho but Buddhahood itself, so a life time of Kensho moments of emptiness are to be cultivated with no end except Buddhahood.
    – Buddho
    May 21, 2015 at 17:03
  • 1
    I know that they aren't the same. I just said that Kenshō broadly speaking corresponds to stream entry because they are both initial break through experiences.
    – Bakmoon
    May 22, 2015 at 2:48
  • 1
    @Buddho Is Buddhahood in Zen the same as being an Arahant in Theravada?
    – Parag
    May 25, 2015 at 4:37
  • 2
    Theravada belief says one has to forsake arahatship before stream entry in order to become a Buddha. Whereas in Mahayana, one has only Buddhahood to attain to, and even Dai Kensho or great awakening is not perfection.
    – Buddho
    May 25, 2015 at 6:22

A monk asked Master Zhao Zhou, "Does a dog have Buddha Nature?" Zhao Zhou replied, "Yes." And then the monk said, "Since it has, how did it get into that bag of skin?" Zhao Zhou said, "Because knowingly, he purposefully offends."

  • Deane, Years ago, I prayed for stream entry as I described above. Are you asking what Stream entry is? Sep 16, 2022 at 21:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .