four stages of Hinayana enlightenment ［四果］ ( shi-ka): Also, four stages of enlightenment or four fruits. Four levels of enlightenment that voice-hearers aim to attain, according to the Hinayana teachings. In ascending order, they are the stage of the stream-winner ( srota-āpanna), the stage of the once-returner (sakridāgāmin), the stage of the non-returner (anāgāmin), and the stage of arhat. The stage of the stream-winner indicates one who has entered the stream of the sages, in other words, the river leading to nirvana. At this stage, one has eradicated the illusions of thought in the threefold world. At the stage of the once-returner, one has eradicated six of the nine illusions of desire in the world of desire. Due to the remaining illusions, one will be born next in the realm of heavenly beings and then once again in the human world before entering nirvana; hence the name once-returner. Someone at the stage of the non-returner has eliminated the other three illusions of desire and will not be reborn in the world of desire. At the stage of arhat, one has eliminated all the illusions of thought and desire in the threefold world and has freed oneself from transmigration in the threefold world or the six paths. See also four ranks of sages.