Brahmaviharas leading to...enlightenment?

Hello friends,

Not sure where to put this but I’ve been reading AN.10.21.219 (idk if I’m referencing this correctly) (Karajakāya Sutta) and MN.52 (Aṭṭhakanāgara Sutta) and am I misunderstanding this or are both saying that the brahmaviharas either lead to the jhanas which can lead to release/nibbana OR that the brahmaviharas can lead somehow to nibbana?

I’m a little confused, hoping for some clarification! Thank you :pray:

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Because non-returner, is like not experiencing Nibbana immediately after death. So that’s why leading to. Because there will be one more birth in a high heaven abode. It’s pre-nirvana

The heart’s release by love developed in this way leads to non-return for a wise mendicant here who has not penetrated to a higher freedom.

But this interesting and much debated
I believe the level of love Buddha talks about is unconditional love. Which is not forced.Nor a practice anymore. But you truly are in this mental state. That’s the mind release through love. But that you practice loving kindness only and get no mental change to become unconditional love mentally. Won’t lead to Nibbana. Nowadays especially

I will make a new post because you brought a very important thing I noticed. In the second sutta. The four Jhanas are mentioned first then doing loving kindness. The reason being that at that 4th Jhana. There is love present naturally and it help perfect the level of love that is needed to lead to Nibbana.

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It’s not very easy to get from these suttas. AN 10.219 for example uses cetovimutti “the heart’s release” or “liberated consciousness” - which in turn leads to non-return. If we’re pedantic then this is not directly nibbana. But if your question is if by practicing brahmavihara we can realize liberation then (according to these suttas at least), the answer is yes.

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Ven Analayo has explained in his Tranquillity and Insight lecture 6 how MA 75 - (dbet version of Div II pg 45) describes the way from the Bramhaviharas toward Nibbana, via Imperturbability. TLDR - The work of Insight is still required! :slightly_smiling_face:

A learned noble disciple contemplates, “The World-honored One has
taught that sensual pleasures are impermanent, unreal, false, of a false
nature, being indeed illusory, deceptive, and delusive.
“Sensual pleasures now or in the future, material forms now or in the
future—all of these are the domain of Māra; they are indeed Māra’s bait,
since because of them countless evil and unwholesome states, [such as]
covetousness and anger, arise in the mind, leading to quarrelling, [all of]
which create obstructions for a noble disciple in training.”
He reflects thus, “Let me attain an expansive state of mind and dwell in
it, overcoming worldliness [by] taking control of my mind. If I attain an
expansive state of mind and dwell in it, overcoming worldliness [by] taking
control of my mind, then in this way countless evil and unwholesome states,
[such as] covetousness and anger, will not arise in the mind, leading to quarrelling,
[all of] which create obstructions for a noble disciple in training."
By means of this practice, by means of this training, by cultivating in
this way, broadly and extensively, he attains purity of the mind in regard
to that sphere.
Having attained purity of the mind in regard to that sphere, such a
monk will either gain entry into imperturbability right here, or else employ
wisdom for the sake of liberation.

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Thanks for sharing but the term imperturbability used here is as in the deathless right? Like reaching what will get you out of samsara.

I find it interesting that the four brahmaviharas are mentioned twice as much as Jhana’s in the suttas, but when it comes to commentaries and later methods described, then it changes to the opposites.


Okay thank you for this clarification! I was under the impression that clear-seeing/insight/vipassana (?) or mindfulness in addition to the brahmaviharas are what leads to nibbana! But it is interesting to know that it can take you up to non-returner? Wild.

Thank you! This is pretty much the “citation” I think I have been looking for to verify my understanding.

If other folks have opinions/clarifications please let me know :pray:

According with their name, the brahma-viharas lead only to tranquillity (not necessarily absorption), and so insight is required for further progress:

“But why, Sariputta — when there was still more to be done, having established Dhanañjanin the brahman in the inferior Brahma world — did you get up from your seat and leave?”—MN 97

The interrelated functions of tranquillity and insight:

“The important contribution made by tranquillity here is that it
brings about a change in the attitudes of the mind, by providing it
with a higher form of pleasure and inner satisfaction. This higher
internal joy and happiness divests outer sensual objects of their
attraction and in this way leads to a gradual diminishing of lust.
The contribution offered by tranquillity in this way does not
stand on its own, however; in fact both passages make it clear that
the factor that eradicates ignorance and leads to final liberation is
insight. In this way, tranquillity and insight function in harmonious
cooperation as the two essential qualities to be brought into being
for progress on the path to awakening.”—Analayo

—> The boundless property of the brahma-viharas leads to the tranquillity meditation subject of infinite space.
—> The brahma-viharas are represented in the noble eightfold path by ‘right resolve,’ which deals with the passion defilements of anger and desire. The first link ‘right view’ deals with the mental purification effected by insight.