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Sarah Abbott posts:
Anguttara Nikaya 6.46
...Therefore, friends, you should train yourselves thus: `Though we ourselves are Dhamma-experts, we will praise also those monks who are meditators.' And why? Such outstanding men are rare in the world who have personal experience of the deathless element (Nibbaana). "And the other monks, too, should train themselves thus: `Though we ourselves are meditators, we will praise also those monks who are Dhamma-experts.' And why? Such outstanding persons are rare in the world who can by their wisdom clearly understand a difficult subject."
Sarah: I think this is a good example of a sutta that can be read and understood at many levels...
When we first read it, we may appreciate the reminders for tolerance and respect and wise speech in regard to those who appear to follow different paths. We also note how useless bickering and disparaging others are. How easily these can lead to pride and 'puffing-up'. These are useful reminders at any level, for sure!
When we just read a translation like this, it is easy to take 'scholars' for being those who are experts in book-learning without any 'inner' developed wisdom and it is easy to take 'meditators' for being those who do not study and who merely follow a 'practice'.
If we really wish to know more about these two groups (of monks) who should be highly respected, we need to look at the Pali and commentary notes, I think.
The Pali term for the first group is 'dhammayoga' . B.Bodhi adds 'AA says the term refers to preachers (dhamma-kathika). The second group of 'meditators' refers those who have attained jhanas.
Obviously neither group are arahants, otherwise there would not have been any dispute!
From the commentary notes, it seems that the second group, the 'meditators' have already realized the jhanas and they 'touch the deathless (amata) element by nama-kaya, (The mental body i.e.cetasikas)'
The Dhammayoga bhikkus (the ones dedicated to Dhamma or the Scholars)
"penetrate the deep meaning of the khandas (aggregates), the dhatus (elements) the ayatanas (sense fields). They clearly see it by magga-citta (i.e the citta that experiences nibbana) together with vipassana panna.
But here it should be panna which penetrates by considering, and also panna on the level of asking questions and learning" Commentary ends.
The last part of the sutta about the Dhammayoga Bhikkhus says 'Such outstanding persons are rare in the world who can by their wisdom (panna) clearly understand a difficult subject' (i.e realize nibbana).
So both groups are enlightened but presumably only the second group have attained jhanas. Obviously there is no suggestion that for the first group this is merely an intellectual approach.
How could Nibbana be realized if it were? Likewise, Those who have jhana experience and have attained at least the first stage of enlightenment should be highly respected.