AN 6.56 Phagguna attained arahantship listening to Dhamma but not in jhāna?

Jhāna and samādhi are not explicitly stated in this sutta:

But it’s hard to believe one hears a Dhamma talk, or reflects on memorized Dhamma with V&V (vitakka & vicara) without being in at least first jhana to attain non-returner or arahantship.

If you’re saying these 6 scenarios happened without jhana, then you’re in a very awkward position of trying to explain what kind of samadhi looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, but is not jhana.

This sutta is talking about not just Phagguna, but is a general description of 6 ways one can attain non-return or arahantship from listening to (while in first jhana), or thinking and considering Dhamma (B. Sujato’s translation of V&V here).

So which is it? If he’s in first jhana, then V&V would need to be translated as “placing the mind and keeping it connected”, which would be incoherent. If he’s not in first jhana, then where in the suttas does it explain the origination and province of all these duck-like species that aren’t ducks but look and behave exactly like them?

AN 6.56 phagguna, although not mentioning jhana explicitly, is following the same 7sb pattern (where hearing and V&V are involved) in AN 5.26.

Now AN 5.26 also doesn’t explicitly say “jhana”, but when you have piti-samobojjhanga present, passadhi-sambojjhanga present, samadhi-sambojjhanga present, that’s absolutely 4 jhana quality of samadhi. Or else you have yet more mysterious species of duck like creatures that look, act, quack like a duck but are supposedly not actually ducks.

It seems jhana is not necessary to penetrate dhamma. But what is necessary is , for the mind to be freed from the nivaranas.

Ud 5.3
Suppabuddhaṃ kuṭṭhiṃ ārabbha anupubbiṃ kathaṃ kathesi, seyyathidaṃ—dānakathaṃ sīlakathaṃ saggakathaṃ; kāmānaṃ ādīnavaṃ okāraṃ saṃkilesaṃ; nekkhamme ānisaṃsaṃ pakāsesi. Yadā bhagavā aññāsi suppabuddhaṃ kuṭṭhiṃ kallacittaṃ muducittaṃ vinīvaraṇacittaṃ udaggacittaṃ pasannacittaṃ, atha yā buddhānaṃ sāmukkaṃsikā dhammadesanā taṃ pakāsesi—dukkhaṃ, samudayaṃ, nirodhaṃ, maggaṃ. Seyyathāpi nāma suddhaṃ vatthaṃ apagatakāḷakaṃ sammadeva rajanaṃ paṭiggaṇheyya; evamevaṃ suppabuddhassa kuṭṭhissa tasmiṃyeva āsane virajaṃ vītamalaṃ dhammacakkhuṃ udapādi: “yaṃ kiñci samudayadhammaṃ sabbaṃ taṃ nirodhadhamman”ti

aiming at Suppabuddha the leper, he gave a step-by-step talk, i.e., he proclaimed a talk on generosity, on virtue, on heaven; he declared the drawbacks, degradation, & corruption of sensuality, and the rewards of renunciation. Then when the Blessed One knew that Suppabuddha the leper’s mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elevated, & clear, he then gave the Dhamma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones, i.e., stress, origination, cessation, & path. And just as a clean cloth, free of stains, would properly absorb a dye, in the same way, as Suppabuddha the leper was sitting in that very seat, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose within him, “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

mudu (malleable) is used to describe the very refined fourth jhana state that can easily realize the 3 or 6 abhinna (arahantship). Being free of nivarana of course means one has the supressed the hard part of being in first jhana. ud-agga seems to be alluding to the same state as eka-agga.

So again this supports my point, it’s hard to imagine this state has all these features of a jhana samadhi duck, but is not a duck (first jhana you can hear, you can think with V&V vitakka & vicara, you can listen to a dhamma talk and realize nirvana).

Aren’t you assuming all the features of jhana must only be found in only a jhana? There could be pre-jhanic samadhi states.

if you study carefully everywhere “jhana” and “samadhi” are used in the suttas, then you realize your understanding of those 2 terms reflect the tendency of most translators to treat “jhana” as meaning sitting down eyes closed 4 jhanas, and samadhi being similar.

jhana means meditation. In the suttas, a cat hunting a mouse, owl hunting its prey, is called “jhana”. In KN Snp, the 16 ascetics before they met the buddha, are describe as having jhanas already. So “jhana” doesn’t just mean 4 jhanas sitting down with eyes closed. Noble silence is done walking around on alms, in any posture. Yet, Moggallana defines it using the standard formula for 2nd jhana.

There is no access concentration designated in the EBT. There’s just samadhi and jhana, and differnet postures. The 4 jhanas are qualitiy levels. So there are lower qualities of jhana that would be lower than first jhana, but it doesn’t make it pre first jhana, since jhana can be done in any posture, just as samadhi. Chanting and memorizing suttas is also described as samadhi.

1 Like

Yes, even the hindrances are mentioned as objects of wrong samadhi (micca samadhi).