Can there be a difference between spoken words and written words if they have the same words?
– This is the point that we seem to have finally converged to.
There could be a big difference. Let me give an example.
Suppose a little child is about to touch a red-hot cooking surface, because it looks attractive. If the mother sees that, how would she say, “Don’t touch it!”?.
– The tone of her voice will tell the child it would be dangerous to touch it. The child would immediately pull back.
On the other hand, if someone watching just said, “Don’t touch it!” without any emotion in the voice, the child may not even hear that. Even if she hears it, she may not pay any attention to it.
– But those are exactly the same words!
That “tone of voice” is captured in a recording.
Vince asked: “Could the fact that I was ordained during the time I absorbed all of this information be another factor to consider? How significant of a role would it play in accelerating one’s progress and also, is it possible to bypass that need to physically hear a sound to attain magga phala if one is absorbing Dhamma while one is ordained?”
Yes. It would definitely play a role in making understanding concepts easier. When one is living the life of a bhikkhu, there are less things to worry about, and one’s mind could expected to be relatively more calm. Furthermore, the environment is more peaceful and calm too.
– However, per that sutta that I quoted earlier, attaining Sotapanna phala happens only while listening to an Ariya, whether one is a bhikkhu or not.
It is also important to note that this listening requirement is not there for higher magga phala. The help of an Ariya is needed only for the attainment of Sotapanna phala.