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Entering the Stream to Enlightenment

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This book is a study on the nature and effects of the Theravāda Buddhist religious experiences of the four supramundane fruits of the Noble Eightfold Path - the experience of the fruit which is stream-entry, once returning, non-returning and Arahanthship - with special focus on the experience of stream-entry.

It represents the first time within Theravāda Buddhist studies that a serious textual study has been combined with a substantial field research. Despite disciplinary rules which virtually prohibit a monk with higher ordination from discussing their personal religious experiences, this book presents seven comprehensive anonymous interviews conducted mainly with forest monks on their meditative experiences.

The study presents a definition for the ‘supramundane fruit’ of the path and an alternate framework to discuss and evaluate Theravāda Buddhist religious experiences. It then uses this framework to address some longstanding debates around the Theravāda path and its fruits thus bringing experience back to the centre stage of these debates.

Published: Jun 15, 2016

Section Chapter Authors
Acknowledgements Yuki Sirimane
Foreword by Professor Asanga Tilakaratne Asanga Tilakaratne
Foreword by Professor Peter Harvey Peter Harvey
Abbreviations and primary sources Yuki Sirimane
Chapter 1
Introduction Yuki Sirimane
Chapter 2
Noble persons and how to recognize one Yuki Sirimane
Chapter 3
Does the attainment of a supramundane fruit necessarily involve a specific experience? Yuki Sirimane
Chapter 4
‘Path, fetter-breaking-experience and effect’ (of the fetter-breaking- experience) Yuki Sirimane
Chapter 5
Noble persons and the nature of their fetter-breaking-experiences Yuki Sirimane
Chapter 6
The stream-enterer Yuki Sirimane
Chapter 7
An interview with a 'possible Arahant' Yuki Sirimane
Chapter 8
Conclusion Yuki Sirimane
End Matter
Appendix I – The questionnaire used for the fieldwork and its rationale Yuki Sirimane
Appendix II – Interview synopsis and analysis Yuki Sirimane
Appendix III – Interview no.1 (Sample interview) Yuki Sirimane
Bibliography Yuki Sirimane
Indices Yuki Sirimane


A beautiful and balanced combination of textual ideas and material, along with the examination of the practise and experiences of living practitioners of the path.
East and West Series

The outstanding feature of the present work is that it seeks to substantiate the textual ideas through examining the practice and experience of living practitioners of the path. The interviews alone may be considered a major contribution to our current understanding of the Buddhist soteriological practice and experience.
Professor Asanga Tilakaratne, University of Colombo

Yuki’s book explores textual material on the eight noble persons in a clear and helpful way. Its most original and helpful contribution, though, comes from her fieldwork material reporting on a range of meditators’ deep experiences.
Professor Peter Harvey, University of Sunderland

Yuki Sirimane’s Entering the Stream to Enlightenment combines textual analysis as well as fieldwork to highlight the personal experiences of Buddhist monks who have entered the stream of the noble eightfold path. It is an exceptionally rare kind of work: it seeks to show a glimpse of the Nibbanic experience mainly through interviews with those who are already on the path to Nibbana. It is a difficult task indeed, but Yuki Sirimane has executed it with great diligence and circumspection. This well-researched and well-documented work is a major contribution to an important aspect of the Buddhist soteriological practice and experience that has remained less exhaustively dealt with.
Y. Karunadasa, Emeritus Professor of Buddhist Studies, Kelaniya University, Sri Lanka

Her field research produces fascinating material which provides new understanding of the Buddhist Path and which, she finds, provides evidence for its authenticity.
Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies

Yuki Sirimane combines careful analysis of Theravada sources and interviews with contemporary Sri Lankan practitioners who describe in their own words what such levels of attainment are like. The result is a rare glimpse into a living Theravada tradition and the transformative experiences of those dedicated to its practices.

... the current book examines an awkward and understudied feature of the Theravāda religious experiences: the experiential aspects of practitioners from a perspective of the faithful. Sirimane’s study of experiences of the stages of the Buddhist path in contemporary Sri Lanka is, therefore, a very welcome contribution to Buddhist Studies.
Buddhist Studies Review