Is newly born child in second Jhana?

Considering the fact that a newly born child does not have thoughts (Vitakka and Vicara), I just wondered whether s/he is in second Jhana.
Newly born child will only have the perception and feeling.
If you disagree, what is the reason?

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My initial thought would be that the answer is no, because the newborn’s mind is much too scattered and chaotic to be in any collected or concentrated state. It might not have thoughts in the sense of verbal or conceptual thoughts, but in some sense it’s conscious attention is running rapidly from object to object: lights, pains, sounds.

But maybe it is occasionally in jhana when it is pacified.

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No. Jhana is an exalted state of mind that emerges from a specific spiritual training. It’s not mere absence of thought; if that was the case, a rock would be in second jhana.

This is an example of what Ken Wilber calls the pre/trans fallacy. This is an important fallacy to understand in spiritual contexts; it happens all the time. Briefly:

Consider three states that are experienced progressively: A → B → C

A and C always have something in common: that is, they are not B. So it is always possible to find something that they share.

In this example, A is “baby”, B is “ordinary consciousness”, and C is “jhana”. Neither a baby nor jhana has thought. (Assuming that this is in fact the case for a baby.) So they are similar in that respect.

But in our sequence A → B → C as well as similarity there is also a difference; namely, C knows B, but A doesn’t know B.

Applying it to our example, neither someone in jhana nor a baby experiences thought. However someone in jhana, when they withdraw from that state, is perfectly capable of using thought; in fact their rationality will be greatly enhanced. They know that state (B) and they know what lies beyond it ©. A baby knows neither. She is not capable of thought or reason, still less of higher spiritual achievements

Incidentally, this is a good test of whether someone has genuinely experienced higher states of consciousness. If they’re incapable of rational thought, their so-called “higher states” are delusional. This happens very frequently.


Thank you Bhante this the first time I learned about the concept of pre/transfer fallacy.
The following video is very interesting.
This shows how people use pre/transfer fallacy to compare Buddhism with other belief systems.

Back to the topic. Thanks.
Perhaps we should have a different topic on this subject.


in my opinion the state of mind of a newborn child and a toddler in general is akin to the state of mind of an animal and thus cannot be in the second or any jhana

in MN 78 the Buddha by using a baby as a negative example rejects a possibility of it having any skillful qualities

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Thank you Bhante and Lxndr
What I am really trying to understand here is to see what the main ingredient required to qualify for second Jhana based on Sutta formula.

I have posted the same question in Dhamma Wheel. See how it is progressing.