Discussion on “Cultivating Jhāna and Magga Phala – What Is the Difference?”

  • This topic has 32 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 5 days ago by Lal.
Viewing 32 reply threads
  • Author
    • #48671

      Many find the subject of jhāna intriguing. There is also a mythical aspect to it because many believe they can attain supernormal powers by cultivating jhāna.

      • I hope those interested will comment on the following issues. 

      1. Are jhāna necessary to get to the Sotapanna stage?

      2. Are jhāna necessary to get to higher magga phala?

      3. What is the difference between cultivating jhāna and magga phala?

      4. People cultivated jhānās before Buddha Gotama. In fact, he learned how to cultivate jhāna from such yogis. We call them anariya jhānās. Is there a difference in the jhānic experience between Ariya and anariya jhāna?

      5. Can one develop supernormal powers (iddhi) by cultivating jhāna?

      Please comment on one or more of those questions. It would also be nice to hear from those who have cultivated jhāna

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #48673
      • 1. No, they are not necessary.
      • 2. No, it doesn’t, but it simplifies the process, especially for reaching the Anagami stage by getting rid of Kāma ragā.
      • 3. Jhanas can be cultivated by anariyas and ariyas. Magga phala is obtained with the understanding of Tilakkhana at different levels up to its total understanding at the arahant stage. Obtaining the magga phala marks the beginning of the end of our samsaric wandering. Jhanas can prolong this wandering if they are not combined with an understanding of Tilakkhana. There is no point in being reborn in a Brahma world if it is to then return to this world to fall into the Apayas. Cultivating magga phala guarantees that one will be free in the long term from this cycle of pain.
      • 4. Anariya Jhana can be lost while Ariya Jhana is never lost. One obtains Ariya Jhana when one has truly understood the futility of indulging in sensual pleasure. At that moment one became an anagami. Anariyas Jhānas can be lost if concentration is not sufficiently maintained on one’s object of meditation. This occurs when intense sensual thoughts disrupt one’s concentration.
      • 5. Yes it is a prerequisite. One must be able to go to the 4th or 5th Jhānas where the mind is immersed in equanimity (Upekkha). Then one must be able to enter and exit any Jhānas at will. He must in some way “play with the Jhānas”. For example, he can enter the first Jhanas and directly afterward the third. He must be able to exit and enter in any direction (In ascending, descending, and disordered order.) whenever and wherever he wants. He must then concentrate his mind on the 4 elements Tejo (fire) Vāyo (wind) Apō (water) and Pathavī (earth). Suppose he wants to walk on water as if it were land. He must master the earth element. If he wants to dive into the earth as if it were water, he must master the water element. There are myriads of samādhi and the powers developed by the Jhānas are one of the things that only a Lord Buddha can understand. What I have just said is my understanding of the teachings I received from the Bhikkhus with whom I had the chance to interact. I have never been in Jhanas and I have never developed Iddhis powers. However, I tried to develop them in Thailand without success. Lack of continued effort has been my biggest obstacle. I had spent three days without sleep under the instruction of a master bhikkhu trying to develop Upacara Samadhi. I was close but the concentration factors were weak and unstable. Unfortunately, my stay was coming to an end and I had to return to Canada. If I had stayed a little longer I would have been immersed in Upacara Samadhi and the jhanas would have been within my reach (I believe a few months or a year of intensive practice). Others may come for the first time under the tutelage of a bhikkhu and attain jhanas in a short time. It depends on the gāti and it’s all about continued effort. I believe that attaining magga phala is much more difficult than Jhānas. How many times in this infinite samsara have we been in the Brahma worlds? It’s unimaginable! Have we been free from pain and sadness forever? It is by attaining the magga phala which is so rare to attain that we will forever be delivered.
      • Only a person who has entered the jhanas can truly know. It would be interesting to hear the opinion of a meditator, as Sir Lal suggested.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #48674

      “Only a person who has entered the jhanas can truly know. It would be interesting to hear the opinion of a meditator..”

      • You are saying that only those who cultivate jhana are “meditators.” These are the ingrained wrong views!
    • #48680

      I recommend reading the two posts in “Elephant in the Room 2 – Jhāna and Kasina

      • Please feel free to ask questions. Point to the post and bullet number if it is a specific question about what I wrote in those two posts.
      • P.S. I may need to revise those two posts to point to new posts on “distorted saññā.” Also, if there are legitimate objections, I will revise as necessary. Please don’t hesitate to comment if you see anything objectionable.
      • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Lal.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #48681
      • In this context, I use the term meditator to refer to those who practice Jhānas, Sir Lal. Don’t worry, I know very well that meditation is much more than Jhānas.
    • #48685

      1, 2: No, they are not.

      3: Both cultivating jhāna and magga phala are purification of the mind (not involving akusala). Seeing adinava in raga leads to not having raga. We need to be aware that the absence of raga can help suppress and remove stress. Because some anariya yogis can also see adinava in kama raga and choose to attain jhana.

      The difference between suppressing and removing lies in whether one understands the following things: (i) Without any exceptions, all sukha that comes from raga depends on sankhata. (ii) All sukha that depends on sankhata is never free from the three types of dukkha. (iii) Pursuing sukha by having raga is nothing more than shoveling sand against the tide.

      (i)~(iii) are about an extension of the scope of seeing adinava to ALL of samsara. Magga phala require this point. On the other hand, jhāna only require seeing adinava in kamaloka. For that very reason, anariya jhāna can be broken.

      4. : I never experienced jhana. But as far as I know, those are indistinguishable.

      5. Can one develop supernormal powers (iddhi) by cultivating jhāna?

      : I don’t think it’s possible to have iddhi if one only cultivates jhāna, but I think it is possible if one makes an additional and valid effort.

      +) I’d like to share my experience somewhat related to.

      When I see people feeling happy from worldly things, sometimes I think like this: ‘Those people seem to be happy, even so, they are bound to dukkha. Therefore, it is meaningless. Rather then, I will have a life without burden.’ When that happens, I feel the coolness instantly. The feeling starts near the neck or heart and spreads throughout the body. I naturally close my eyes with a comfortable and good feeling. When I want to feel this feeling, I think about metta or anicca, and then I can feel it. Sometimes I feel it while talking about Dhamma with my friend. But it lasts about five seconds and then disappears. It’s hard to sustain, so I’m just feeling what comes naturally rather than trying to keep it for a long time.
      Could you explain the feeling I felt, please?
      • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by dosakkhayo.
    • #48691

      Yes. When one contemplates Dhamma concepts, one’s wisdom (panna) grows, and defilements gradually decrease. That is “Vipassana meditation.”

      • That change can manifest in bodily feelings. I have experienced these effects and still do. They can get very intense before wearing out. Once one gets close to higher magga phala (above the Anagami stage), these “bodily sensations” should diminish. Then, they should become more of “mental joy” without bodily sensations.
      • This is why many people are fooled by such “bodily feelings.” I have heard many people describe Jhanic experiences in various Sri Lankan programs. A common theme is that they are overjoyed by such “bodily sensations” and believe it is “Nibbanic sukha.” Most of them likely experience “anariaya jhana” even though they engage in contemplating anicca, dukkha, anatta. As I emphasize, even the first Ariya jhana can be experienced only by an Anagami, because kama raga anusaya must be removed to get to the first Ariya jhana. Unlike the Sotapanna stage, confirming the attainment of the Anagami stage is easy: Just watch an adult or X-rated movie and check whether lust does not arise!
      • Nibbana sukha” is without feelings. It is the absence of any stress.
      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #48692
      • I forgot to specify a detail in my answer to #5. It is possible to obtain Iddhis, jhanas, and magga phala simultaneously even if one has not practiced jhanas in this life. Arahant Santati was an example. He never practiced the jhanas and by listening to a single verse he became an arahant with all the jhanas and Iddhis. These are extremely rare cases. Most of the time, this is obtained after having first mastered the 4 jhanas. Arahant Santati came back from a war and was celebrating!! See THE MINISTER WHO BECAME AN ARAHANT AS A LAY PERSON
    • #48693

      Arahant Santati and Arahant Culapanthaka instantaneously attained iddhi powers upon attaining Arahanthood. They never cultivated jhanas.

      • Also, Devadatta, a puthujjana, cultivated anariya jhana and attained iddhi powers but ended up in hell (niraya.)
      • Therefore, the subjects of jhana and iddhi powers are incomprehensible to anyone but a Buddha. See “Acinteyya Sutta (AN 4.77)“: “jhāna visayo acinteyyo..”
      • Jhana or iddhi powers may or may not be realized while cultivating the path. If one gets them, those are bonuses. That should not be the goal.

      Discussing iddhi powers and/or trying to cultivate them is useless.  

      • It is likely that we all cultivated the highest anariya jhanas, samapattis, and iddhi powers at various times in our deep past. What do we have now to show for them? 
      • Until we are free from births in the apayas (i.e., attain at least the Sotapanna Anugami stage), all those “achievements” go to waste! See “Why a Sotāpanna is Better off than any King, Emperor, or a Billionaire


      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #48694
      • I’m not entirely convinced by everything that has been said, but yes, you are right, sir. It is a subject that only a Lord Buddha can answer perfectly. The only power we must seek is the destruction of all defilements (āsavakkhaya). It is the only supernormal power that all arahants have in common. It comes automatically when a person reaches the arahant stage.
      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #48695

      Namo Sugata.

      Ariyaratna Sir has given a superb homework.

      In one of the jataka Tales, when Buddha was still a Bodhisattva in previous births, He  used to camp every year , at a Kings Garden for one of the seasons (at the Kings request).

      He used to come out of his seclusion , when the season started,  and used to camp there, to address laymen, philosophers and so on,  till the season was completed, and then he used go back to his seclusion in the Mountains. He was well equipped with iddhis, super human powers and so on.

      During one visit, when the King was away on war, the queen had to serve the Bodhisattwa. At one in-appropriate moment, the Bodhisattwa sees her beauty inadvertently, and gets mentally disturbed. He immediately retreats to his Hut.

      When the King  comes back, he sees the Bodisattwa lying down, sick. Alarmed the King  rolls him over this side and that side to see if there are any wounds. To the king,  the Bodhisattwa replies “King I have been wounded by the arrow of Sensual Desire”.

      Saying so , the Bodhisattwa gets back into his Meditation Posture , and there and there itself , puts an end to the defilement which has arisen and blessing the King and Queen,  flies back to the Mountains.

      Sir(s) , the story also says when such great mountains are moved  by winds of desire and simply get rolled over, how much more so,  in the case of  common  minds like ours? – The Jataka itself gives a simile: just like old leaves which have already fallen down from the trees – they simply get blown away!

      Jhana Helps , me thinks , to enable us not to get blown or flown  away.

      Jhana which helps us to “fly away” ( super human power in this sense)  is not the Jhana which our Lord taught,

      But rather the  Jhana which gives one the real super power of “not  getting flown/blown away” , till magga is reached , is what was taught by Sugata. Samma sati and samma Samadhi.

      regards Sir(s). Pls correct/improve

      • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by gopinadh.
      • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by gopinadh.
      • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by gopinadh.
      • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by gopinadh.
      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #48700

      Oh yes, I remember reading about this Jataka!! Many Jatakas depict the Bodhisatta being caught in the grip of Kāma ragā. However, he always manages to overcome it with the help of the Jhānas and gets reborn in a Brahma world. Thank you for sharing this story, Gopinadh🙏🏿. We understand that it is only by becoming a Lord Buddha that he will ultimately succeed.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #48703

      It is critical to understand the following. “Nibbana sukha” is NOT a “vedana that can be felt.” 

      • This world of 31 realms provides both sukha vedana and dukkha vedana. It is not possible to have just one without the other. Of course, the relative proportions can vary. For example, in the apayas, dukkha vedana is predominant. In Deva/Brahma realms, sukha vedana is predominant. In the human realm, both are present.
      • The Buddha stated many times that his teachings are for the removal of arising of even a trace of dukkha. He NEVER promised to teach how to maximize “sukha vedana.” 
      • This rebirth process is like having a “chronic headache” that never goes away, even though, at times, a dose of painkillers can overcome it and even provide a “temporary high.” But that pain keeps coming back. If that “chronic headache” permanently disappears, one will have a huge sense of relief. That is a rough analogy for “Nibbanic sukha.”

      Those who do not understand this fundamental concept are enticed by jhanic pleasures or the types of miracles one can perform with “supernormal iddhi powers.” 

      • Jhanic experiences” are experiences in the Brahma realms. They are part of that “sukha/dukkha cycle.”
      • What is the point of “performing miracles”? Devadatta impressed King Ajasattu by performing many miracles and ended up in an apaya.

      Yet, it is hard to overcome these types of wrong views. This is human nature!


      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #48707

      Hopefully, the following chart will help clarify the difference between Ariya and anariya jhana. I can make improvements before putting it in a post. Feel free to ask questions/suggest improvements.

      Download/Print: Ariya and Anariya Jhana

      The chart does not show that the time spent in the rupa and arupa loka is negligibly small. Furthermore, even in kama loka, most of the time is spent in the apayas. Thus, the term “Nibbānic Bliss.” It is bliss to be free of all that suffering!

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #48718

      Mahāsudassana Sutta (DN 17)” has several interesting pieces of information:

      1. @ marker 1.2.2: When the Buddha prepared for his Parinibbana in the small city of Kusinara, Ven. Ananda asked him to change his mind and select a large city. 

      • The Buddha told Ven. Ananda the following: Once upon a time, there was a king named Mahāsudassana. His capital was this Kusinārā, which at that time was named Kusāvatī.
      • Then, the Buddha described various aspects of that kingdom in great detail.

      2. Information relevant to the current topic is in Section “5. Jhānasampatti”  @ marker 2.1.1.

      • It describes how King Mahāsudassana cultivated jhanas. They were anariya jhanas, as we see below.
      • The interesting point is that the description of the jhana is the same as for Ariya jhana descriptions in other suttas.
      • @2.3.1 marker: “Atha kho, ānanda, rājā mahāsudassano mahāviyūhaṁ kūṭāgāraṁ pavisitvā sovaṇṇamaye pallaṅke nisinno vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṁ savicāraṁ vivekajaṁ pītisukhaṁ paṭhamaṁ jhānaṁ upasampajja vihāsi.”
      • He had cultivated all four jhanas.
      • @ marker 2.13.3: “Upon passing away, King Mahāsudassana was reborn in a good place, a Brahmā realm.”
      • @ 2.14.3: ” I myself was King Mahāsudassana at that time.”
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #48731
      Sammasambodhi Gami

      Jhanas are the mental states (consciousness) of brahma realms.

      When a person willfully avoids akusala kamma and stays away from kama assada for a prolong period of time, he/she naturally gets to anariya jhanas (vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi…).

      We can get to jhanas by cultivating brahma viharas (metta, mudita, karuna, upekkha).

      Jhanas can also be achieved by focusing one’s mind on a suitable object like breath/kasina/mantras/image of a god, etc. That is Samatha meditation.

      However, just getting to jhanas will not get one to Nibbana because the anusayas (mental fermentations) are only suppressed (in anariya jhanas), they are not removed. The anusayas and sanyojanas can be removed only by cultivating wisdom (panna) of Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta/Paticca Samuppada/Four Noble Truths.

      Anariya yogis believed (and still believe) that they can get to Nibbana by avoiding akusala kamma and staying away from kama assada (sense pleasures). This is known as “silabbata paramasa”. This wrong view is broken at the Sotapanna stage.

      But getting to jhanas is not bad. It’s a very good gati. Our Bodhisatta naturally got to jhana when he was just a seven year old boy sitting under the shade of a tree. It was due to his gati from past lives.

      There are three main purposes of cultivating jhanas:

      (1) It is used to gain various nanas like pubbenivasanussati nana (knowledge of past lives), cutupapada nana (knowledge of births in other realms), etc…

      (2) It is used to gain iddhi powers, for doing many supernatural feats which is beyond our limited human capacity. Lord Buddha performed many supernatural miracles at various occasions to generate faith in the minds of people towards the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha.

      (3) It is used for generating blissful feelings/sensations. When Lord Buddha was suffering from physical ailments in his old age, He overcame those painful feelings by abiding in the jhanas. 

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #48736

      Thank you very much for this comment, my friend. You have exactly said the essential aspect of the practice of Jhānas. The ariyas that develop them want to live well here and now. Iddhis serve to generate faith in certain people.

    • #48741

      Sammasambodhi Gami wrote: “Jhanas can also be achieved by focusing one’s mind on a suitable object like breath/kasina/mantras/image of a god, etc. That is Samatha meditation.

      However, just getting to jhanas will not get one to Nibbana because the anusayas (mental fermentations) are only suppressed (in anariya jhanas), they are not removed. The anusayas and sanyojanas can be removed only by cultivating wisdom (panna) of Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta/Paticca Samuppada/Four Noble Truths.”

      That is correct. Good observation!
      Jhānic states correspond to the Brahma realms. They are a set of existences in the world of 31 realms.
      Paticca Samuppada generates all existences via abhisankhara.
      – Existences in the apayas are generated via apunna abhisankhara. Those in the human, Deva, and rupavacara Brahma realms (corresponding to jhāna) arise via punna abhisankhara. Those in arupavacara Brahma realms (corresponding to akasanancayatana through nevasannanasanayatana samapattis) arise via anenja abhisankhara. See the post: “Rebirths Take Place According to Abhisaṅkhāra

      Therefore, the term “Ariya jhāna” does not make sense. There are only four (or five according to Abhidhamma classification) jhana.
      – However, I also used the term “Ariya jhāna” previously. I need to start correcting those posts.
      – One can be a Noble Person (up to Arahanthood) without cultivating jhāna. Those Arahants are Pannavimutti Arahants.
      – One can be a puthujjana and have all the jhanas and samapattis without any magga phala. They are cetovimutta but not pannavimutta.
      – A limited number of Arahants are both pannavimutta and cetovimutta. They are called ubhatovimutta Arahants.
      – Any Noble Person may have some jhāna at various levels. I will write a post discussing this in detail.
      This is explained well in Abhidhamma. For a Noble Person without jhāna, the total number of citta possible is 81. When jhānas are included (for those with jhāna at various levels), that number of possible cittas increases to 121.

      • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by Lal.
    • #48777

      For some, Abhidhamma analysis may be required to enter the Sacred Path Magga.

      So, entering the path is a concentration of desire, an activity that strives to be free from suffering.
      The power of the increasingly appropriate “Kusala Kamma” ensures the rule of an ever-more dominant, controlling force over individual progress.
      Depending on the type of desire (Tanha), it is sometimes kusala kamma, sometimes Akusala. The control faculties exhibited by these infinite Kammas are somewhat divided into particular groupings and exert their direct control over the senses and over purely mental states “mano” due to the relative powers and interactions between the resulting Kammas. We practice the right Kusala Kamma with the right Citta and Cetasika in an IPS with sankhara to reduce energies in the dhammā, Pañcupādānakkhandha.

      We need a concentration dominated by the desire for liberation and recognizing the natural nature of Anicca, Dukka and Anatta.

      Indrya, for example, are the control abilities created by Kusala Kamma. For example, they control the eye consciousness element and the entire sequence, as well as all six sense faculties to control Kāmaccandha.

      Chanda + Samadhi + Padhana + Sankhara

      We must cultivate the path of “Ariya Atthahgika Magga” and understand that the practice is part of the essence of the Buddha’s teaching.
      When a Noble Disciple, due to the nature of the root connections of his being, attempts to break the continuity of supposed causal relationships, he is plagued by a variety of undesirable characteristics that hinder any attempt to remain firmly and unshakably on the path. Such as “Pañca Nīvaraṇa”, Kāmaccandha, Vyāpāda, Thina Middha, Uddhacca Kukkucca and Vicikicchā. There are, of course, other groups of impurities like our Gati, Kilesas (asava), the attachments (Samyojana), tendencies/fermentations (anusaya), etc.
      To strengthen the conscious processes against their easy association with these obstacles, the Buddha recommended to the serious disciple the cultivation of a conscious and clear practice specifically aimed at achieving certain states of consciousness and the structure of which completely eliminates these obstacles.
      The Cultivation of Jhana as a Tool for Inhibiting the Five Obstacles. Jhāna are of value only when a noble person (Buddha, Arahant) in a Sangha teaches them to the Venerable Bhikkhus.
      However, more valuable and indispensable is the understanding of the Four Noble Truths/Paṭicca Samuppāda and Tilakkhana to cultivate the four Satipaṭṭhāna with the help of the Noble Eightfold Path to also reach Magga Phala as Puthujjana. One does not need jhāna to reach sammā samādhi.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #48795

      I have made some revisions to the post “Samādhi, Jhāna, and Sammā Samādhi,” which I rewrote yesterday.

    • #48816

      I have been thinking about Jhānas.

      • The motivation that drives many Buddhists to practice the 4 Jhānas and the 4 arupavacara samapatti is the attainment of Nirodha Samapatti.
      • Jhānas are not ends in themselves. They are essential tools to attain Nirodha Samapatti, which is the Supreme Samapatti.
      • Achieving Nirodha is impossible without developing the highest arupavacara Samapatti. To attain these arupavacara samapatti, one must have perfected the 4 or 5 Jhānas. However, it is necessary to be an arahant to achieve this. It seems that people aim to develop Jhānas first and then become arahant. Technically, an arahant no longer has much reason to stay in this world. If they choose to stay, it is for the benefit of an immeasurable number of sentient beings. Arahants, Paccekabuddhas, and Lord Buddhas can enter Nirodha Samapatti to provide opportunities for others to develop Kusalas. By protecting them a person accumulates an immeasurable amount of merits. Remember the serpent king (Naga) who protected Lord Gautama during his awakening. Lord Buddha was in Nirodha Samapatti and the snake king gained a lot of Kusulas. However, the Ariyas in Nirodha Samapatti are naturally protected from any danger during their absorption. Nothing can harm them during these times. Nirodha Samapatti is the ornament of holy life. Sometimes, when they are mentally tired of consciousness, they enter into Nirodha Samapatti. In Nirodha Samapatti, the 5 aggregates cease completely. This state lasts a maximum of 7 days, and it can be likened to a temporary experience of parinibbãna. Parinibbãna is the eternal version of Nirodha Samapatti.
      • This reply was modified 1 week ago by Gad.
    • #48818

      1. “Nirodha samapatti” is not possible for all who has cultivated the 4 jhānas and the 4 arupavacara samapatti. Just because one has cultivated the 4 jhānas and the 4 arupavacara samapatti that does not mean they can get into “nirodha samapatti.

      • Nirodha samapatti” means to experience the “full Nibbana” (for up to seven days) before the death of the physical body.
      • That is the main point.

      2. Anariya yogis can cultivate the 4 jhānas and the 4 arupavacara samapatti. But they cannot get to “nirodha samapatti.

      3. “Nirodha samapatti” is possible only for “cetovimutti Arahants.

      •  A “cetovimutti Arahant” is an Arahant who has cultivated the 4 jhānas and the 4 arupavacara samapatti.

      5. A “pannavimutti Arahant” is an Arahant who has NOT cultivated ALL of the 4 jhānas and the 4 arupavacara samapatti. They may not have cultivated even a single jhana.

      • They also cannot get to “nirodha samapatti.

      Please read the post “Samādhi, Jhāna, and Sammā Samādhi” (especially #10) carefully to understand the above.

      • This reply was modified 1 week ago by Lal.
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #48822
      • A pannavimutti arahant can cultivate all Jhanās and arupavacara samapatti if they choose to, and then attain Nirodha Samapatti. Venerable Sariputta is a great example of this. He became an arahant after listening to a single discourse of Lord Buddha. At one point, he wanted to cultivate Jhanas and Iddhis. He developed them rapidly and analyzed each one as he progressed. Eventually, he reached Nirodha Samapatti. It is in the Anupada Sutta.

      And he emerged from that attainment with mindfulness.

      So tāya samāpattiyā sato vuṭṭhahati.

      Then he contemplated the phenomena in that attainment that had passed, ceased, and perished:

      So tāya samāpattiyā sato vuṭṭhahitvā ye dhammā atītā niruddhā vipariṇatā te dhamme samanupassati

      ‘So it seems that these phenomena, not having been, come to be; and having come to be, they flit away.’

      ‘evaṁ kirame dhammā ahutvā sambhonti, hutvā paṭiventī’ti.

      And he meditated without attraction or repulsion for those phenomena; independent, untied, liberated, detached, his mind free of limits.

      So tesu dhammesu anupāyo anapāyo anissito appaṭibaddho vippamutto visaṁyutto vimariyādīkatena cetasā viharati.

      He understood: ‘There is an escape beyond.’

      So ‘atthi uttari nissaraṇan’ti pajānāti.

      And by repeated practice, he knew for sure that there was.

      Tabbahulīkārā atthitvevassa hoti.

      Furthermore, going totally beyond the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, he entered and remained in the cessation of perception and feeling. And, having seen with wisdom, his defilements came to an end.

      Puna caparaṁ, bhikkhave, sāriputto sabbaso nevasaññānāsaññāyatanaṁ samatikkamma saññāvedayitanirodhaṁ upasampajja viharati. Paññāya cassa disvā āsavā parikkhīṇā honti.

      • The English translation is incorrect. It says, “his defilements have ended.” Venerable Sariputta became an arahant long before he developed Nirodha Samapatti. He attained arahantship by listening to a discourse of Lord Buddha. He is a pannavimutti arahant. Dīghanakhasutta

      Now, at that time, Venerable Sāriputta was standing behind the Buddha, fanning him.

      Tena kho pana samayena āyasmā sāriputto bhagavato piṭṭhito ṭhito hoti bhagavantaṁ bījayamāno.

      Then he thought,

      Atha kho āyasmato sāriputtassa etadahosi:

      “It seems the Buddha speaks of giving up and letting go of all these things through direct knowledge.”

      “tesaṁ tesaṁ kira no bhagavā dhammānaṁ abhiññā pahānamāha, tesaṁ tesaṁ kira no sugato dhammānaṁ abhiññā paṭinissaggamāhā”ti.

      Reflecting on this, Venerable Sāriputta’s mind was freed from the defilements by not grasping. 

      Iti hidaṁ āyasmato sāriputtassa paṭisañcikkhato anupādāya āsavehi cittaṁ vimucci.

      • This reply was modified 1 week ago by Gad.
    • #48824

      Thank you for providing the two essential references on Ven. Sariputta attaining Arahanthood.

      • I had not thought about this before, but it appears that Ven. Sariputta was an ubhtovimutta Arahant. The translations seem to be correct.
      • Note that in the first sutta that Gad cited (Anupada Sutta), it was the Buddha who described how Ven. Sariputta attained Arahanthood and simultaneously got to nirodha samapatti.
      • So, Ven. Sariputta attained the ubhtovimutta Arahanthood while listening to the discourse delivered to the wanderer Dīghanakha, per the second sutta, Dīghanakha Sutta. This sutta only says Ven. Sariputta attained Arahanthood, but does not provide details. The details are in the first sutta

      Note that Ven. Culapanthaka also attained ubhtovimutta Arahanthood while contemplating Buddha’s instructions. The whole sequence can happen very quickly. That is why the Buddha stated that the subject of jhana is incomprehensible (acinteyya) for anyone other than a Buddha.

      • See “Acinteyya Sutta (AN 4.77).” Four things are fully comprehensible only to a Buddha: “knowledge base of a Buddha and the subjects of jhānakamma vipāka, and the world (universe).”
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #49123

      There is a particularly interesting story. Many people argue that only a Lord Buddha can see someone’s spiritual progress. This statement is not entirely true. Yes, there are spiritual blockages that only a Lord Buddha could discover.

      • However, sometimes ariyas who have developed Iddhis can see someone else’s progress. Venerable Maha Mogallana was an expert in this field. In the story below, there is an anagami woman who can see who is an ariya or not. The most surprising thing in all this was that she was a laywoman! She could also see the potential for achieving magga phala in others. All thanks to Iddhis and analytical knowledge. I think we can say that these are Ariya Iddhis. An anariya yogi cannot know whether a person is free from the 10 samyojanas or in the process of being free or not, since he is under their influence. This could be a good reason to develop Iddhis and Jhanas because they help others to liberate themselves. Thanks to this knowledge she made it possible in one way or another to encourage the bhikkhus to be arahants.
      • This story illustrates that sometimes laypeople can attain greater purity than Bhikkhus, and they should not hesitate to cultivate realizations such as Iddhis and Jhanas, as long as it helps them attain magga phala. While it may be easier for Bhikkhus to achieve higher magga phalas (Anagami, Arahant), it is not impossible for a lay person.

      Here is the story A TAMED MIND BRINGS HAPPINESS

      Dhammapada Verse 35

      Annatarabhikkhu Vatthu

      “Dunniggahassa lahuno


      cittassa damatho sadhu

      cittam dantam sukhavaham”

      The mind is difficult to control; swiftly and lightly, it moves and lands wherever it pleases. It is good to tame the mind, for a well-tamed mind brings happiness.

      Mātikamātā also developed an interest in meditation and requested the monks to teach her how to meditate. The monks taught her to meditate on the thirty-two loathsome parts of the body, which can help one gain insight into the nature of decay and dissolution of the body. Mātikamātā began meditating diligently and was able to attain the first three paths and fruitions of the Buddhist spiritual path of liberation. The first three paths and fruitions are Stream Enterer (Sotāpañña), Once returner (Sakadāgāmi), and Non-Returner (Anāgāmi). She also developed Analytical Insight (patisambhidā) along with mundane supernormal powers even before the sixty monks did.

      With her supernormal powers, Mātikamātā came to know that none of the sixty monks had attained any paths and fruitions of the spiritual path as yet. She also saw that all of the sixty monks had the potential to gain enlightenment as Arahants but that they needed proper food to be able to meditate properly. So she arranged to prepare good and choice food and offered it to the monks regularly. Having received proper and choice food and applying the right effort and diligence, the sixty monks were able to develop the right concentration of the mind, and eventually, all of them realized the Truth and gained enlightenment as Arahants.

      • This reply was modified 1 week ago by Gad.
    • #49285
      • This is the sutta which describes the event where Venerable Maha Mogallana used Iddhi to see if the monks around had reached the arahant stage.
      • Sir Lal has repeated this many times. Jhānas and Iddhis are worthless in themselves because they only stretch the samsaric journey. However, if we use this for the Dhamma they take on a value. They can become Iddhis ariyas like seeing the level of defilement in someone else. I say ariya because an Anariya yogi cannot know whether a person is free from the 10 samyojanas or not.


      At one time the Buddha was staying on the slopes of Isigili at the Black Rock, together with a large Saṅgha of five hundred mendicants, all of whom were perfected ones.

      Ekaṁ samayaṁ bhagavā rājagahe viharati isigilipasse kāḷasilāyaṁ mahatā bhikkhusaṅghena saddhiṁ pañcamattehi bhikkhusatehi sabbeheva arahantehi.

      Thereupon, with his mind, Venerable Mahāmoggallāna checked to see whose mind was liberated and free of attachments.

      Tesaṁ sudaṁ āyasmā mahāmoggallāno cetasā cittaṁ samannesati vippamuttaṁ nirupadhiṁ.


      Then Venerable Vaṅgīsa thought,

      Atha kho āyasmato vaṅgīsassa etadahosi:

      “The Buddha is staying on the slopes of Isigili … with five hundred perfected ones.

      ayaṁ kho bhagavā rājagahe viharati isigilipasse kāḷasilāyaṁ mahatā bhikkhusaṅghena saddhiṁ pañcamattehi bhikkhusatehi sabbeheva arahantehi.

      Mahāmoggallāna is checking to see whose mind is liberated and free of attachments.

      Tesaṁ sudaṁ āyasmā mahāmoggallāno cetasā cittaṁ samannesati vippamuttaṁ nirupadhiṁ.

    • #49286

      Yes. Even Ven. Sariputta did not have that capability. Another sutta (I forget the name) describes how Ven. Sariputta was giving instructions to a bhikkhu, and the Buddha told Ven. Sarputta that the bhikkhu had attained Arahanthood.

      Each Arahant is different and may have varying capabilities. Only a Buddha has all possible capabilities.

      • In another sutta, the Buddha explained to Ven. Sariputta that in a congregation of 500 bhikkhus, all were Arahants but had varying attainments: “Of these five hundred monks, sixty have the three knowledges (tevijjā), sixty have abhiññā powers, sixty are freed both ways (ubhatobhāgavimutta), and the rest are freed by wisdom (paññāvimutta).”
      • See “Pavāraṇā Sutta (SN 8.7).”  
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #49287

      “Another sutta (I forget the name) describes how Ven. Sariputta was giving instructions to a bhikkhu, and the Buddha told Ven. Sarputta that the bhikkhu had attained Arahanthood.”

      So I have heard.

      Evaṁ me sutaṁ

      At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery.

      ekaṁ samayaṁ bhagavā sāvatthiyaṁ viharati jetavane anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme.

      Now at that time, Venerable Sāriputta was educating, encouraging, firing up, and inspiring Venerable Bhaddiya the Dwarf in even more ways with a Dhamma talk, thinking that he was still a trainee.

      Tena kho pana samayena āyasmā sāriputto āyasmantaṁ lakuṇḍakabhaddiyaṁ sekhaṁ maññamāno bhiyyoso mattāya anekapariyāyena dhammiyā kathāya sandasseti samādapeti samuttejeti sampahaṁseti. 

      The Buddha saw what was happening.

      Addasā kho bhagavā āyasmantaṁ sāriputtaṁ āyasmantaṁ lakuṇḍakabhaddiyaṁ sekhaṁ maññamānaṁ bhiyyoso mattāya anekapariyāyena dhammiyā kathāya sandassentaṁ samādapentaṁ samuttejentaṁ sampahaṁsentaṁ.

      Then, understanding this matter, on that occasion the Buddha expressed this heartfelt sentiment:

      Atha kho bhagavā etamatthaṁ viditvā tāyaṁ velāyaṁ imaṁ udānaṁ udānesi:

      “They’ve cut the cycle, gone to the wishless;

      Acchecchi vaṭṭaṁ byagā nirāsaṁ, 

      the streams are dried, they flow no more.

      Visukkhā saritā na sandati;

      Cut, the cycle no longer turns.

      Chinnaṁ vaṭṭaṁ na vattati,

      Just this is the end of suffering.”

      Esevanto dukkhassā”ti.

      • This is the Venerable Arahant Lakuntaka Bhaddiya. Lord Buddha praised his qualities. People made fun of his short stature (he was a dwarf) yet he was an arahant with analytical knowledge and Iddhis. They did not know that he had become an arahant. Here is his story ARAHANT LAKUNTAKA BHADDIYA: FOREMOST MONK IN SWEET VOICE
      • This reply was modified 1 week ago by Gad.
    • #49289

      Yes. Thank you!

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #49290
      • There is also another sutta that describes a situation where Venerable Sariputta helps a Brahmin to be reborn in a Brahma world on his deathbed. Lord Buddha told him that he should not have since this person could attain magga phala.
      • If it had been a person like Venerable Maha Mogallana he would have known through his Iddhis that the person had the potential to attain magga phala. However, Venerable Sariputta gave the best possibility apart from magga phala. The only downside is that it stretches the samsaric journey. Likely, this Brahma will eventually attain Nibbāna at some point.


      Then Sāriputta went to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said,

      Atha kho āyasmā sāriputto yena bhagavā tenupasaṅkami, upasaṅkamitvā bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā ekamantaṁ nisīdi, ekamantaṁ nisinno kho āyasmā sāriputto bhagavantaṁ etadavoca:

      “Sir, the brahmin Dhanañjāni is sick, suffering, gravely ill.

      dhanañjāni, bhante, brāhmaṇo ābādhiko dukkhito bāḷhagilāno,

      He bows with his head to your feet.”

      so bhagavato pāde sirasā vandatī”ti.

      “But Sāriputta, after establishing Dhanañjāni in the inferior Brahmā realm, why did you get up from your seat and leave while there was still more left to do?”

      Kiṁ pana tvaṁ, sāriputta, dhanañjāniṁ brāhmaṇaṁ sati uttarikaraṇīye hīne brahmaloke patiṭṭhāpetvā uṭṭhāyāsanā pakkanto”ti?

      • In this context, when Lord Buddha says, “There was still more left to do,” he refers to magga phala.
    • #49291

      Yes. However, Ven. Sariputta was only next to the Buddha in wisdom (paññā.) 

      • He conducted the first “Dhamma Sangāyanā” (Recital of the Teachings) by himself.
      • When Nigaṇṭhassa Nāṭaputta (the leader of the Jains) died, his followers started quarreling about who should take over the leadership. Ven. Sariputta told a gathering of bhikkhus that they would not need a leader after the Parinibbana of the Buddha and he was going to summarize the teachings of the Buddha. 
      • That was the first recital of the Buddha’s teachings in one sitting!
      • The background and the summarized teachings are in the “Saṅgīti Sutta (DN 33).”
      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #49292

      Thank you for this information, Sir🙏🏿

    • #49325

      I just added #12 to the new post “Jhāna – There Is No Separate Category of “Ariya Jhāna”

      1 user thanked author for this post.
Viewing 32 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.