Hindrances Abandoned through Jhana Factors or Awakening Factors?

Somewhere along the way I learned that the seven awakening factors are antidotes to the five hindrances. However, I’m reading Bhante G’s book, The Path to Serenity and Insight (pub. 1985) and he explains that the five jhana factors are the antidotes to the hindrances. In his view, as the jhana factors grow, they suppress the hindrances until the hindrances are ultimately abandoned, marked by the achievement of access concentration. If anyone has the book, on the middle of page 34 he writes:

These factors [i.e. the five jhana factors], being incompatible with the hindrances, function as their precise antidotes, so that their repeated cultivation excludes the hindrances, attenuates them and holds them at bay.

Can someone clarify these relationships?

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The seven factors of awakening as their name implies incorporate all the other lists. To begin to understand how this occurs one should study SN 46.53 and realize they are divided into two groups with opposing characteristics, with mindfulness as the governing factor. Also important in this sutta is that the Buddha states this dynamic approach is what distinguishes his teaching from other paths.

In this book below will be found which awakening factor opposes each hindrance, and also the respective jhana factor, for example:

"These things, too, are helpful in conquering sensual desire:

  • One-pointedness of mind, of the factors of absorption (jhananga);
  • Mindfulness, of the spiritual faculties (indriya);
  • Mindfulness, of the factors of enlightenment (bojjhanga)."


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Awakening factors = Jhana factors = Tail end of the N8FP

The awakening factors are the same as the end of the noble eightfold path and jhana factors, so OP’s question is due to misunderstanding the seven factors of awakening.

The satta sambojjangha are

  • mindfulness (7th factor of noble eightfold path)
  • investigation (dhamma-vicaya refers to checking the mind for the 5 hindrances),
  • Energy (goes against sloth and torpor)
  • joy (piti, jhana factor)
  • tranquillity (passaddhi, happens between piti and sukha)
  • Concentration (samadhi, 8th factor of noble eightfold path)
  • Equanimity (uppekha, jhana factor)

See the end of Anapanasati sutta as well, and the typical pamojja to upekkha sequence found in many suttas which is:

Seeing that the hindrances have been given up in them, joy springs up. Being joyful (pamojja), rapture (piti) springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil (passadhi). When the body is tranquil, they feel bliss (sukha). And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed (samadhi).

Combining it all together:

Sati-sampajanna → Dhamma Vicaya (checking mind for 5 hindrances) + Viriya (energy) = Overcoming 5 hindrances → Pamojja → Piti → Passaddhi → Sukha → Samadhi → Upekkha

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From the reading by Nyanaponika Thera posted above, it’s in the commentaries that the jhananga, or five jhana factors (vitakka, vicara, piti, sukha, ekagatta), are the antidotes to the hindrances.

There are five mental constituents which are chiefly representative of the first meditative absorption, and are therefore called the factors of absorption (jhananga). For each of these there is, according to Buddhist commentarial tradition, one of the five hindrances that is specifically harmful for it and excludes its higher development and refinement to the degree required for jhana; and on the other hand, the cultivation of these five factors beyond their average level will be an antidote against the hindrances, preparing the road to jhana. The relationship between these two groups of five is indicated in this anthology, under the heading of the respective hindrance.

@Punna - I haven’t read closely, but I don’t see the relationship between the jhana factors and the awakening factors explained in either Bhante G’s or Nyaponika’s books. I’m in a course with Shaila Catherine and will ask her in our next session.

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“jhana doesn’t occur until the awakening factors are fully developed”

This is incorrect, when the awakening factors are fully developed there is awakening. The jhana factors cannot remove the final fetter ignorance, that can only be overcome by insight (AN 2.30).

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Thank you, @paul1 . I amended my post.

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The so called ‘solution’ is only a jhana perspective not a cosmic one. Jhana is conditioned and the hindrances relate to them. The fetters present the cosmic perspective.