Foreword by Professor Peter Harvey
Entering the Stream to Enlightenment - Experiences of the Stages of the Buddhist Path in Contemporary Sri Lanka - Yuki Sirimane
Peter Harvey [+]
University of Sunderland
This book presents the outcome of a study on the nature and effects of the Theravāda Buddhist religious experiences, namely, the experiences of the four supramundane fruits of the Noble Eightfold Path, (i.e. the experience of the fruit which is stream-entry, once returning, non-returning and Arahanthship) with special focus on the experience of stream-entry. The book is based on research that was done for the Doctorate of the author in Buddhist Studies. The novelty of the book is that a substantial textual study has been substantiated with extensive field research. This is the first time, to our knowledge, in Theravāda Buddhist studies arena that a serious textual study has been combined with a substantial field research. It contains a gamut of personal experiences of contemporary meditators from Sri Lanka, expressed in unorthodox ways. Despite disciplinary rules which virtually prohibit a monk with higher ordination from discussing their personal religious experiences, this book presents 7 comprehensive interviews (though anonymous) conducted mainly with forest monks with high credibility, on their meditative experiences. It presents a definition for the ‘supramundane fruit’ of the path and an alternate framework to discuss and evaluate a religious experience of a Theravāda Buddhist and uses this framework to address some longstanding debates around the Theravāda path and its fruits. The book brings experience back to the centre stage of the Buddhist debates on the nature of the sorteriological path and its fruits.