'Noble Ones', 'noble persons'.

(A) The 8 a. are those who have realized one of the 8 stages of holiness,

 i.e. the 4 supermundane paths (magga) and the 4 supermundane fruitions (phala) of these paths.

There are 4 pairs:

Summed up, there are 4 noble individuals (ariya-puggala):

In A.VIII.10 and A.IX.16 the gotrabhū is listed as the 9th noble individual.

According to the Abhidhamma, 'supermundane path', or simply 'path' (magga), is a designation of the moment of entering into one of the 4 stages of holiness - Nibbāna being the object - produced by intuitional insight (vipassanā) into the impermanence, misery and impersonality of existence, flashing forth and forever transforming one's life and nature. By 'fruition' (phala) is meant those moments of consciousness which follow immediately thereafter as the result of the path, and which in certain circumstances may repeat for innumerable times during the life-time.

The stereotype Sutta text runs as follows:

For the various classes of Stream-winners and Non-Returners, s. Sotāpanna, Anāgāmī.

(B) The sevenfold grouping of the noble disciples is as follows:

This group of seven noble disciples is thus explained in Vis.M. XXI, 73:

Further details about the body-witness, the both-ways-liberated one and the wisdom-liberated one, s. under the three Pāli terms. Cf. also M. 70; A. IX, 44; S. XII, 70; Pts.M. II, p. 33, PTS.

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