Different degrees of knowledge and capacity

Question : People have questions about the different degrees of the state of sotapanna, of people who have reached the first stage of enlightenment. Different sotapannas have a different number of rebirths and different kinds of rebirths. Answer : This depends on the strength of panna of the sotapanna. If he has a high degree of panna  he will be reborn only once. If he has a lesser degree of panna he will be reborn more than once, but, according to the scriptures, the sotapanna cannot be reborn more than seven times.



Question : How can there be different degrees of the panna which penetrates the four noble Truths at the moment of enlightenment?  Can a distinction be made between panna of a lesser degree and of a higher degree? Answer : This can be compared with the passing of an examination by different students. They all pass the examination, but some have high marks and the others have low marks, depending on their different degrees of knowledge and capacity. Even so, when enlightenment is attained, the panna of different people has different degrees, but be it of a lesser degree or of a higher degree, it penetrates the four noble Truths.   


Topic 87