This question came up in the Online 10-day Retreat Nov 3, 2020, guided by Delson Armstrong. Day 6 was part of a daily 30-minute discussion on the suttas, the Dhamma talk and reflections.
Slightly edited to improve readability
In further iterations we are planning to create modules and mind maps, so that you can see the ‘circles within circles’ [within the links of Dependent Origination], because it is really a lot of different circles within circles.
But just so you have a little bit of a general understanding: the Formations get activated through the process of Contact primarily, so the ignorance in a being who has not yet obtained arahantship will still continue to condition the Formations. The Formations themselves arise because of Contact. The process of Contact, of Feeling and Perception will then activate the Formation, which will then drive forward a new Consciousness. And that will be experienced through the sensory experiences. Then, at the level of Perception, there is another point where the Formations which are related to memory and learning – which allows the perception aspect of the mind to recognize -, what that sensory experience is, or what is being cognized. That’s another sort of circle that you see.
Then, at the level of craving, that can drive forward another circle, which strengthens specific Formations that are fettered by craving, ignorance and conceit, whenever you identify with it.
But any time that, at the level of sensory experience, you don’t identify with it, don’t crave it, and you don’t avert it, that actually creates another cycle in which the Formations that are rooted in Right View, get strengthened and the fettered Formations – fettered by craving, ignorance and conceit – start to weaken.
At a certain point, when there is a deep understanding – whether it’s after the Cessation experience, or however one makes contact with the Nibbāna experience -, there is an opportunity for those fetters to completely drop away. It can happen in stages, where one gets into sotāpanna, sakadagami, anāgāmi, and arahant.
Depending upon how well the mind is in a state of non-grasping, non-involvement, and non-attachment, if it’s deeply non-grasping, not taking anything personal, the fetters will completely drop away. It’s the remainderless fading away of craving, the destruction of craving and conceit. When the Nibbāna element is contacted and the feeling is there and you don’t identify with it, the conceit that creates that identification process doesn’t have anything to latch onto, because there’s no activity there. It will just drop away.
Likewise for the other fetters, likewise for the projections or the defilements.