I was re-reading the below post, with the new chart which is tremendously helpful! I am delighted and would like to share a few thoughts which are most closely related to something in a sotapanna forum, so I post them here.
In another thread, I recently mentioned that I am using PD to guide someone in learning Buddha Dhamma, and with a chart like this one can have an idea where one is on the path.
With this chart, we can also easily explain various stages of liberation or enlightenment; they are no longer too abstract.
In my native language, there is a generic word for “enlightenment” which literally means “awakening”. Actually, in English as well, most people take this meaning; they say that “The Buddha” means “The Awakened One” because the word “Buddha” has a root that means to “wake up”. Thinking of “Buddha” as “bhava + uddha” makes much more sense to me.
Regardless of the breaking down of “Buddha“, the explanation of “awakening” that follows tends to be vague, and gives the impression of an all-or-nothing event, not a gradual, step-by-step process.
However, if we can apply this chart to what “awakening” is, I’d propose that it is the sotapanna anugāmi stage, and it is the stage where most of the work of the Noble Path takes place.
At this stage, although sotapanna magga phala has not occurred, one has seen anicca, dukkha, anatta to a strong enough degree to never go back to the mundane path, i.e. one has “awakened” to the Noble Path.
We have learned that a sotapanna sees the path to arahanthood, and that it takes at most 7 bhavas to get there, and that’s why we have some radical similes as to how much defilement a sotapanna has left to remove compared to that of a normal being, such as the amount of dirt stuck to one’s fingertips compared to the amount of dirt of the earth. This is also why Lal had a post about how a sotapanna is better off than a king or a billionaire.
Just like a sotapanna sees the path to arahanthood, a sotapanna anugāmi sees the path to a sotapanna, except there is no guarantee of how much time to get there. Hence this is where most effort takes place.
Thank you for the post and the chart, and curious to see everyone’s inputs.