DavidDavid N. Snyder wrote:Jhanas may be necessary for successful development of insight, but one need not be at such a high level just because jhana has occurred. Alara Kalama was not a Buddhist and attained the jhanas up to the third formless realm. Udaka Ramaputta was not a Buddhist and attained the jhanas up to the fourth formless realm.
An English monk, now living in Australia, named Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera, has made a case Buddha discovered jhana. Brahmavamso's inquiry is certainly valid, but its correctness seems to be based on the premise MN 36 (about Siddhartha recollecting his spontaneous/opapatika 1st jhana under the rose apple tree) is historically correct and MN 22 (about Alara Kalama & Udaka Ramaputta) is not historically correct. Or have I misunderstood Brahmavamso's case?
What is your view (if you have one) on Brahmavamso's case that Alara Kalama & Udaka Ramaputta could not have entered the 7th & 8th jhanas without entering the 1st?
Could they have entered these immaterial jhanas using a philosphical construct/view as a foundation, such as: "This world is nothing/there is nothing" or "Perception is not real" (as many philosophers have held) and then their mind developed along these lines in terms of actualising these philosphical views? If that was so, could their 7th & 8th jhanas not have been as refined as Buddha's, which used a more refined foundation to enter?
Brahmavamso's inquiry is certainly interesting.
Thank you. My conclusion would align with that of Bhikkhu Bodhi's, in that a noble one that is a stream-enterer would not necessarily have attained proficiency in the jhanas. In the Samyutta Nikaya, there is a series of discourses about the 'breakthrough' (such as SN 13.1), where the suffering of the stream-enterer is compared to a fingernail of earth in relation to the great earth and, implied, the liberation of the stream-enterer is compared to the remainder of the great earth. This series of discourses about the 'breakthrough' seem to show us how much Dhamma & liberation is possible without jhana.David N. Snyder wrote:In conclusion / summary:
1. A noble one would most likely have attained proficiency in the jhanas (possibly even required)
2. An individual with attainment in jhanas is not necessarily a noble one (although it certainly doesn't hurt and only can help on the Path)