Reply To: Respect for anariya yogi?


It is extremely difficult to cultivate jhanas, and jhanas are necessary to cultivate abhiññā powers like going through walls, traveling with one’s manomaya kaya (gandhabba kaya), etc.

  • One must abstain from akusala kamma and give up sensual pleasures, including sex.
  • This is a nearly impossible task unless one becomes a Sotapanna and cultivates the correct versions of Anapanasati/Satipatthana. Then, one can give up all those with understanding.
  • But there were yogis before the Buddha who saw the benefits of overcoming kama raga and cultivating jhana. The jhanic experience (to experience a stress-free mind) is highly appealing. So, they were determined to spend their whole lives in deep jungles to avoid women and other sensory attractions. 
  • That is why we must respect anyone who has attained even anariya jhanas. Since they were highly moral, they always advised others to stay away from akusala kamma and to live moral lives.

But of course, spending time cultivating anariya jhana is a waste of time since they do not help end the rebirth process (or even rebirths in the apayas.) One can be born a Brahma when one dies, but at the end of that life, one will be reborn in the human realm and subsequently can be reborn in the apayas. 

  • P.S. It is better to spend the time to attain the Sotapanna stage even without attaining any jhanas since they will be free of rebirths in the apayas forever. Ariya jhanas can be attained only by those Sotapannas who also must avoid sensory pleasures. But that becomes easier to do with understanding the “anicca nature” to a higher level. Living in a modern society with so many sensory attractions, cultivating Ariya jhanas (i.e., getting to the Anagami stage) is still difficult. It will be easier for a “bhikkhu Sotapanna” since bhikkhus are exposed to much less sensual pleasures.