Awakening upon hearing dhamma talks and samma-samadhi?

the MN 70 is only partially relevant in that problem because Sariputta was an arhant liberated by both ways instead liberated by wisdom:

“Reverend Sāriputta, there are four ways of practice. What four?
“Reverend Moggallāna … I relied on the pleasant practice with swift insight to free my mind from defilements by not grasping.”
AN 4.168

maybe a remembering of the Sariputta life can be useful. The first nibbana experience of Sariputta arose in a sudden way in a conversation with Assaji. After that, he entered in the stream becoming a sotappana. This happened by means wisdom; it was just a conversation and Sariputta was not seated in the floor practicing jhanas. After that episode, Sariputta developed more ways of progress like the cultivation of jhanas, until he was liberated by both ways at the arhanthood.

It means Sariputta was awakened by means wisdom, although his later progress was not the case of an arhant liberated by wisdom like those mentioned in SN 8.7. In these different cases, after entering in the stream by means wisdom, the progress for the eradication of rest of defilements also is developed by means wisdom. Like the cases of Susima, Malunkyaputta, Bahiya and others.

There is nothing strange in that. In the same way that somebody can enter in the stream by wisdom to eradicate the first 3 fetters, so the same can continue for the rest of fetters.

Yes, it turns out Sariputta was liberated both ways, I don’t know why I remembered him as a pannavimutti Arahant, maybe I found a small sutta that said something that changed my mind.

But anyway, I’m not sure about your conclusion. It’s still true that pannavimutti Arahants still used the first 4 jhanas, and only immaterial jhanas weren’t required and this is said across the board regarding EBT so it’s not a controversial opinion. It’s only in the Vissuddhimagga that they extend this to mean all jhanas are not required rather than only the formless jhanas not being required.

Buddhaghoṣa could not do otherwise because the presence inside the Suttas.

Conclusion is, the 3 first fetters can be eradicated by wisdom, and this is impossible to deny because the high number of cases inside the Suttas with dialogues and many situations without a cultivation of jhanas.

We know this Path is about the eradication of fetters. And the first 3 fetters are the harder to eradicate after a no-beginning wandering in Samsara. If wisdom (panna) has the power to break that first formidable wall, why we should think this is not possible with the rest of fetters. What reason?

Different of what some scholars writes (i.e: Gombrich, Analayo, Wyne…) the liberation by wisdom is not a kind of alternative or opposition to the cultivation of jhanas or other Buddha teachings. Because the Suttas shows disciples integrating meditation techniques like the cultivation of jhanas and also the cultivation of wisdom by means insight, the contemplation of dhammas and similar approaches. “Pleasant practice with swift insight” = “Pleasant practice” means cultivation of jhanas while swift, dry, quick, direct… means the cultivation by direct wisdom.

My humble view is that a later monastic specialization in lineages and teachings caused the arising of this discussion. However, inside the first Buddha’s Sangha that variety was a shared fact, existing even in the individual level. Buddha and arhants taught the more adequate tools for each person, and sometimes both were integrated in one person. Later, the quality and access to that variety of teaching in the same common environment was lost.

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Just because it’s not explicitedly stated every single time doesn’t mean that is the case.

It is however explicitedly stated that samadhi is needed to destroy the fetters

Mendicants, it’s totally impossible that a mendicant who enjoys company and groups, who loves them and likes to enjoy them, should take pleasure in being alone in seclusion. Without taking pleasure in being alone in seclusion, it’s impossible to learn the patterns of the mind. Without learning the patterns of the mind, it’s impossible to fulfill right view. Without fulfilling right view, it’s impossible to fulfill right immersion. Without fulfilling right immersion, it’s impossible to give up the fetters. Without giving up the fetters, it’s impossible to realize extinguishment.

The first 3 fetters are lower fetters

There is a path and a practice for giving up the five lower fetters. It’s not possible to know or see or give up the five lower fetters without relying on that path and that practice. Suppose there was a large tree standing with heartwood. It’s not possible to cut out the heartwood without having cut through the bark and the softwood. In the same way, there is a path and a practice for giving up the five lower fetters. It’s not possible to know or see or give up the five lower fetters without relying on that path and that practice.

And what, Ānanda, is the path and the practice for giving up the five lower fetters? It’s when a mendicant—due to the seclusion from attachments, the giving up of unskillful qualities, and the complete settling of physical discomfort—quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected. They contemplate the phenomena there—included in form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness—as impermanent, as suffering, as diseased, as a boil, as a dart, as misery, as an affliction, as alien, as falling apart, as empty, as not-self. They turn their mind away from those things, and apply it to the deathless element: ‘This is peaceful; this is sublime—that is, the stilling of all activities, the letting go of all attachments, the ending of craving, cessation, extinguishment.’ Abiding in that they attain the ending of defilements. If they don’t attain the ending of defilements, with the ending of the five lower fetters they’re reborn spontaneously, because of their passion and love for that meditation. They are extinguished there, and are not liable to return from that world. This is the path and the practice for giving up the five lower fetters.

  • mn 64

To say that you can destroy a lower fetter without jhana is to contradict that sutta.

Furthermore SN 46.51 shows that you need ekaggata and samatha to overcome the 5 hindrances and fulfill the seven factors of awakening.

The sekhin sutta states a sotapanna has moderate concentration

"There is the case where a monk is wholly accomplished in virtue, moderately accomplished in concentration, and moderately accomplished in discernment. With reference to the lesser and minor training rules, he falls into offenses and rehabilitates himself. Why is that? Because I have not declared that to be a disqualification in these circumstances. But as for the training rules that are basic to the holy life and proper to the holy life, he is one of permanent virtue, one of steadfast virtue. Having undertaken them, he trains in reference to the training rules. With the wasting away of [the first] three fetters, he is a stream-winner, never again destined for states of woe, certain, headed for self-awakening.

  • AN 3.85

A few suttas later AN 3.88 defines what these 3 trainings are

"And what is the training in heightened mind? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful [mental] qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, ‘Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.’ With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This is called the training in heightened mind.

There is no question that there is an noble eightfold path, and not a sevenfold path.

it can become a complicated issue. It is not the same thing saying “there is not a cultivation of jhanas” than “there is not jhana”. The word jhana means “absorption”, and in that sense one could speculate if this is also present in the liberation by wisdom because we read:

“Monks, if a monk develops the first jhāna, even as long as a finger snap, he is called a monk who does not lack meditation"
AN 1.394

still more if we remember that modern translators writes “meditation” to translate “bhavana”, which really means “cultivation, training the mind”. Because the sense could sound quite different:

“Monks, if a monk develops the first jhāna, even as long as a finger snap, he is called a monk who does not lack mind training".

sounds quite different. And it could imply that a training can be behind an instant of a momentary fulfillment of a jhana despite no previous stabilization in that jhana.

samadhi means “concentration” instead “immersion”:

sometimes I like the Sujato translations, others no. Same problems happens with others in more or less degree.

I’m not sure if those Suttas have a direct relation with this problem.

In the case of a cultivation of jhanas, we read in different Suttas how after a jhana is fulfilled and nibbana can arise, the mind “is bending” or the mind “discern”. Probably this difference has relation with the final faculty leading to liberation in the arhanthood (“mind” or “wisdom”). This is a final independent issue from the cultivation followed until arriving to that point. Because we find arhants with a previous cultivation and abiding in jhanas who finally were liberated “by mind” or also “by wisdom” as happens in the cases of Sariputta (“by wisdom”) and Mogallana (“by mind”).

Inside the Suttas there are cases of people entering in the stream by wisdom without previous cultivation of jhanas who later are cultivating the jhanas. Also, there are cases of people entering in the stream under a cultivation of jhanas who follows a cultivation of jhanas until arhanthood. And also there are cases of people entering by wisdom who later follow the cultivation of wisdom until the end. In all the cases, finally they should be liberated by wisdom or by mind. Although probably those ruled by a cultivation of jhanas will be liberated by mind (“the mind is bending”), while those ruled by a cultivation of wisdom will be liberated by wisdom (“the mind discern”). While in cases of people with both cultivations they can be liberated finally by any of them. Therefore, the type of liberation is not always a justification to associate a type of cultivation

The problem is when the final details of this problem belongs to the exact knowledge of those moments leading to arhanthood in both type of liberations . And this issue is only in the reach of arhants or maybe somebody with experience in both type of liberations. Historically, these person were few, and for sure there is not such person in internet and still less in the scholar world. Therefore, we read views to defend the own tool. This is the discussion for those people defending jhanas to deny a path ruled by wisdom, and also for those defending wisdom to deny a path ruled by jhanas.

(*sorry the error in previous message, Malunkyaputta finally was liberated by mind)

In addition to SN 46.38 already mentioned by another user, I’d like to mention this sutta which you might find interesting.

AN 5.26, describing five occassions someone attains liberation, that are:
(1) when listening to the Dhamma
(2) when teaching the Dhamma
(3) when repeating the Dhamma
(4) when reflecting on the Dhamma
(5) during meditation
Four out of five have to do with being in contact with the Teaching.

SN 46.38

“When, bhikkhus, a noble disciple listens to the Dhamma with eager ears, attending to it as a matter of vital concern, directing his whole mind to it, on that occasion the five hindrances are not present in him; on that occasion the seven factors of enlightenment go to fulfilment by development.”