Reply To: Pathama Metta Sutta (AN 4.125)


I agree with Akvan that it is better to strive for magga phala than attainment of anariya jhanas, and partially agree with y not.

y not stated: “Neither the development of jhanas nor formal meditation techniques are necessary to attain magga phala”. The former is true, but in my opinion, the latter may or may not be true. It depends on the individual, and the stage of magga phala that is in question.

For the attainment of sotapanna magga phala, formal meditation techniques are not necessary as one can listen to a desana by a knowledgeable Ariya. There were those in The Buddha’s time that attained Arahanthood after listening to one or more short verses from The Buddha, such as Sariputta and Moggallana. However, others could only attain the stages of Sotapanna, Sakadagami, or Anagami, and had to put in more effort (most probably through formal meditation techniques) to attain Arahanthood.

y not, please do not get frustrated with the fact that I am correcting you. I am not sure that I have done it in a tactful manner so I seek your kind understanding on the matter. :)

Upekkha100, in my opinion, it is good to practise in such a way as to reduce avijja and tanha, since they can strengthen each other. You may reduce avijja by reading dhamma or hearing desanas from a knowledgeable Ariya. You may reduce tanha by cultivating metta. Metta is very closely related to the adosa cetasika, which is one of the universal sobhana cetasikas, while tanha is closely related to lobha and dosa, two asobhana cetasikas.

Since sobhana and asobhana cetasikas cannot arise in the same citta, you can gradually change your gati for the better by cultivating metta to weaken one aspect of tanha, which is dosa. Since some people find it difficult to attain jhanas, probably the best way to cultivate metta would be through informal daily activities on a continuous basis. This would be Satipatthana in action. You would also be cultivating the sati cetasika, which is another universal sobhana cetasika. Doing so would probably embark you on the Mundane Eightfold Path (if you are not an Ariya), which would bring you very gradual progress. This might be a more comprehensive and suitable approach.

What are your thoughts? It would be great to discuss them.