I find it somewhat unskillful for people to claim that 'such and such' is required for arahantship. Such statements sometimes come out of an insecurity with one's own path, people who make them seem are sometimes trying to cure their own doubt more than anything else... but understand that such a statement could cause lots of doubt in people who are not practicing 'such and such.' I say this not to insult people but as a reminder to check out your intentions. Also, I do not assume that this is your intention, this is just a reminder to people.
A common claim is that jhanas are required for nibbana, clearly a problem for the many schools and teachers who don't teach it. Could people who have claimed that jhana is a 'requirement" give some more evidence? There seem to be quite a few examples of people in the suttas becoming arahants w/o jhana such as bahiya and malunyaputta. Also in the sattipathana sutta it is said that:
"Now, if anyone would develop these four frames of reference in this way for seven years, one of two fruits can be expected for him: either gnosis right here & now, or — if there be any remnant of clinging/sustenance — non-return.
"'This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference.' Thus was it said, and in reference to this was it said."
but jhana isn't mentioned as part of the development of the frames, just attending to them.
- the buddha praised the arahants who also had the jhanas.
- the only place I know of where it is stated that jhana is necessary is the dhammapada but it isn't clear whether jhana here refers to concentration generally or to specific jhanas (remember, jhana was just an already established word at that time, the buddha could have meant it for specific attainments or for general concentration) if it said "1st jhana is necessary for discernment" or "4th jhana is necessary for discernment" I would agree with you, on another note the dhammapada isn't a good source for doctrinal absolutes, it's a poem meant to point out general principles and to generally guide people with little aphorisms.
-the fact that right concentration is defined in places as the specific 4 jhanas is rendered irrelevant by the fact that right concentration has other definitions which don't include jhana such as:
And what is the development of concentration that... leads to the ending of the effluents? There is the case where a monk remains focused on arising & falling away with reference to the five clinging-aggregates: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its passing away. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Nowhere in that quote is jhana mentioned yet the method can lead to the end of the effluents which would make one an arahant. In that sutta it is said that the jhanas are a pleasant abiding, but that the above method is what leads to the ending of effluents. I don't mean to discredit jhana, it is suggested in the suttas that the jhanas are the best way to nibbana, but I don't think they are the only way.
In my practice it seems clear that the defilements can be worn down simply through noticing the suffering they cause and the unsatisfactoriness of their objects.
thanks for reading