I don't think (hard)jhana is needed to attain nibbana

at least I believe the issue is more complex of what we believe. Suttas are an accumulation of different approaches from the Sangha who already in Buddha times were different groups over a big territory with some isolation between them, receiving eventual visits and meetings of senior disciples or the Buddha himself.

The variety of experiences is impossible to catch, still more when only one person become a complete sub-world to be understood. There are cases inside the sources showing people who are not really aware they are already arhants, showing children… Many strange things which can contradict any fixed view about how the progress of somebody can be developed.

The big effort to classify and decipher all that heritage of experiences by means Suttas, Abhidhamma, Commentaries, etc… it cannot catch all the imaginable possibilities and nuances. Despite in front that big accumulation one can believe all the possible varieties are in our hands and these can be handled like Ikea manuals.

In practical terms the only way is to be focused in some approach felt like right and go for that.


Yes that’s it, through metta too we can be arahant so jhana is not necessary

The way I see it, even if one talks about metta etc. as a path to liberation, what is meant is drenching oneself 24x7 in metta, where it becomes a singular focus. That state seems similar to a highly concentrated state eventhough it may not fit the exact formula for jhanas and progression of what gets dropped in each (description-wise). So in the end, it may not make much of a difference because both states are equally difficult to achieve - I don’t think it is the case that one can do business deals during the day and spend a bit of time meditating on metta and presto you are on track to be an arahant eventually. Anyway, that is just my understanding of the brief descriptions.

Metta is about spreading love to others, it’s a very active form of meditation

The goodness of metta is it increases your good kamma through your good-will, harmlessness to others, it forces you to quit sensuality and instead focusing on others

Yes I am aware of that but we are talking about taking this mind state to its limits for reaching liberation. To get there, I was hypothesising that it has to be pretty much a permanent state of mind.

Also, I feel I should mention an addition to this hypothesis: I personally do not know anyone who is an arahant via any path (I know of people who I think are/were most likely arhants or thereabouts). What I do think from a bit of reading and a bit of practice is that what you choose as your meditation subject or what works best for you is probably largely dependent on your temperament or which latent tendencies are strong. It is highly likely that beyond a point in one’s practice it makes no difference what the initial or main subject was and the mind will automatically fall into certain states depending on which conditions are ripe - it is not even the case of “you” doing anything. In those stages, minds of people in those states are probably more or less alike with just a little bit of a flavor of their focus-subject showing its effects outwardly.
Anyway, this is just a hypothesis - I have zero evidence for any of it.


Metta is actually referring to jhanas, see my post here.

Metta is the spread of jhana to other beings, you can’t have metta without Jhana.

  1. In the suttas the Buddha infuses people and animals like snakes and elephants with piti/sukha, and this is metta

  2. It’s called Brahma Viharas, Brahma’s abode, and to be reborn in the Brahma planes, you need jhanas. So metta is the same as jhana.

  3. The type of vitakka and vicara (thoughts) you’re supposed to have in first jhana is neither unwholesome nor sensual, so brahma vihara (metta, mudita, karuna, upekkha) are the types of thoughts that you have in first jhana. The requirement for first jhana 1) is seclusion from unwholesome mental qualities (thoughts) and 2) seclusion from sensuality.


@Thito Yes I was trying to say something similar in a very roundabout and speculative way; brahmavihara feelings are different than brahmavihara meditation states - they must be like jhana states. One cannot evoke such states in other sentient beings unless they are extremely strong and pervasive in one’s mind, which essentially would be jhana or jhana-like states, even if we define jhana only as those described by the numerical scheme of one through four.

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A Teaching in Brief

I guess this Sutta is a little off topic from the OP, but pertinent to the last bit of discourse. :man_shrugging:t2::grin:


Thanks ryanm for that sutta reference :pray::pray:

If you look at it, it doesn’t mention piti and sukha but only ekaggata

As the sutta said a chariot is recognized due to its complete parts

Jhana is still not necessary as others point out that
1.through metta you get nibbana/the ending of defilements
2.Through painful practices you get nibbana/the ending of defilements
3.Through Ekaggata + 7 factors you get 3 right knowledges and one of those is you know that you are freed from defilements

Ekaggata alone is not jhana the sutta said a chariot is recognized due to its complete parts so you atleast need other parts like piti and sukha with vitakka/vicara implicitly implied

Furthermore the jhana simile don’t mention ekaggata but only mention piti and sukha so in jhana simile the ekaggata and vitakka/vicara are implicitly implied

So you can’t implicitly imply piti and sukha, both Ekaggata and vitakka/vicara exist even outside of jhana

And ekaggata is not one pointed concentration if that’s the case you can only focus on piti alone not both piti and sukha, without ekaggata you couldn’t understand what your teacher said during class that explains why some students didn’t understand what their teachers said
Without focus/ekaggata michael jordan could not score any 3 point

What is interesting is there is relationship between ekaggata and vitakka/directed attention if you direct your attention to any sound you focus on that sound more and only in 2nd jhana you can focus by using undirected attention

You can look at previous replies for sutta references

Sariputta on attainment

“The Blessed One, the Buddha, the seer
was teaching Dhamma to another.
As he taught the Dhamma,
I lent an ear to get the meaning.

My listening wasn’t wasted:
I’m freed, without defilements.”

“Not for knowledge of past lives,
nor even for clairvoyance;
not for psychic powers, or reading the minds of others,
nor for knowing people’s passing away and being reborn;
not for purifying the power of clairaudience,
did I have any wish.”

“His only shelter is the foot of a tree;
shaven, wrapped in his outer robe,
the senior monk foremost in wisdom,
Upatissa himself practices absorption.

Entering meditation without thought,
a disciple of the Buddha
is at that moment blessed
with noble silence.

  • thag 17

Fyi, noble silence is referring to second jhana, and monks were instructed to maintain noble silence.

The suttas state that non-return requires jhana 1-4 mastery, let alone Arahantship.

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The buddha asked you to enter second jhana only if you don’t discuss any teaching

“Good, mendicants! It’s appropriate for gentlemen like you, who have gone forth in faith from the lay life to homelessness, to sit together and talk about the teaching. When you’re sitting together you should do one of two things: discuss the teachings or keep noble silence.

There are 3 non jhana ways to reach enlightenment doesn’t mean you can not use jhana to attain enlightenment

It’s like if person A tells you that he went to your home using taxi if person B don’t tell you anything yet he is in your home now you should not assume he used taxi too because there are other ways

Is it correct?

Suppose not all the mendicants can attain the second jhāna. What should they do in this case?

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Just maintain ignoble silence :no_bell:

OK, so we can add this one to the Buddha’s words :slight_smile:

Ignoble silence is very different from noble silence that would mean you don’t heed the buddha you disobey his words atleast that is how I understand it

I guess if we can’t do 2nd jhana buddha implicitly instructed us to discuss dhamma since that’s the only option

Exactly, in the second jhana one experiences noble silence. One who is still at a very low stage of Samma Samadhi would not attain second jhana. But he is amidst the Sangha; he should not disturb others by making various talks. The only thing he has to do is to be silent, just ignoble silence.

Instead they should discuss dhamma remember there’s no third option, the option are either dhamma discuss or 2nd jhana