How wonderful, Michael! Thank you for sharing! I can relate all too well to what you say!
You raise a good point. I had noticed the mention of rapture fading and equanimity arising (which as you point out, is the fourth jhana), but I guess I was looking for the standard description of the jhanas that occur in the suttas and thus initially missed it. But, this discourse is meant to be “A teaching in brief” so perhaps that is why the Buddha elides some of the standard jhana terminology.
This sutta and its surprisingly few parallels deserve much greater attention.
Thanking for your informed contribution, Bhante.
I just read the Agama parallel for this sutta (MA 76) and it is quite similar though it starts out with Satipatthana and then goes on to developing the Brahmaviharas at the end (AN8.63 has the Brahmaviharas in the beginning already). It seems to me also more logical to first go through the four establishments of mindfulness (leave behind the hindrances) and when the mind is clear and ready, the Brahmaviharas can be established progressively.
The refrain in the Agama parallel:
Monk, such concentration should be well developed when going and coming. You should develop it when standing, sitting, lying down, going to sleep, waking up, and both when sleeping and waking up. Again, you should develop concentration with [directed] awareness and [sustained] contemplation, . . . concentration without [directed] awareness but with only [sustained] contemplation; . . . you should well develop concentration without [directed] awareness and without [sustained] contemplation; and you should well develop concentration conjoined with rapture, . . . concentration conjoined with happiness, . . . concentration conjoined with being [fully] concentrated, and you should well develop concentration conjoined with equanimity.
Translator: Bhikkhu Bodhi
“Bhikkhus, there are these five benefits of walking meditation. What five?
One becomes capable of journeys; one becomes capable of striving; one becomes healthy; what one has eaten, drunk, consumed, and tasted is properly digested; the concentration attained through walking meditation is long lasting. These are the five benefits of walking meditation.”
Translator: Thanissaro Bhikkhu
“Monks, these are the five rewards for one who practices walking meditation. Which five?
“He can endure traveling by foot; he can endure exertion; he becomes free from disease; whatever he has eaten & drunk, chewed & savored, becomes well-digested; the concentration he wins while doing walking meditation lasts for a long time.
“These are the five rewards for one who practices walking meditation.”