“Sariputta, ‘The stream, the stream’: thus it is said. And what, Sariputta, is the stream?”
“This noble eightfold path, lord, is the stream: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.”
“Very good, Sariputta! Very good! This noble eightfold path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration — is the stream.”
Within the context of Theravada Buddhism, an ordinary person, or a “worldling” is referred to as a puthujjana – or a person without knowledge who is trapped in the endless cycle of samsara.
It’s important to note that this concept of becoming and re-becoming can be viewed more than one way.
In the traditional religious sense of an ongoing chain of causality that continues from life to life, but, also – from the perspective of one dying and being reborn every moment, and even many times every moment.
A puthujjana has never experienced or seen ultimate reality, so they have no way of finding an end to their dilemma.
The Pali cannon recognizes four stages or levels of awakening.