Zom wrote:I'd just say, that nowhere in the suttas i saw a clear statement that stream-enterer or once-returner can attain or attains jhana.
That does seem to be the case. More importantly, however, should we restrict ourselves to categorical declarations, or are inferences permitted? How about SN 22.122-123? For the Arahant with nothing left to do, the contemplation is said to lead to sukhavihāra
, the standard coding for the attainments. Would this apply to the trainees and the virtuous one?
This depends on how one handles such suttas. For me, when a sutta shows a serial structure, I would look for the common denominators that form the thread that unifies the sections of the sutta. Clearly, the 5 different stages are distinguishing factors and will not constitute the thread. What is obviously common from the angle of the cause is proper attention to the Aggregates as in terms of the 3-Signs. The effects of this cause is the ascending levels of realisations. But since there is no commonality in terms of these 4 attainments, they cannot form the thread in terms of effect/consequence. I think suttas with a clear serial structure cannot have been intended to be bereft of a common consequence that unifies each level to the next, and the consequence to the cause. I think the common thread in the consequence would be the sukhavihāra
Just an inference.
Further, the formula you quoted could actually be looked at another way -
“And what, Ānanda, is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower fetters? Here, with seclusion from the acquisitions, with the abandoning of unwholesome states, with the complete tranquillization of bodily inertia, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion.
Whatever exists therein of material form, feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease, as a tumour, as a barb, as a calamity, as an affliction, as alien, as disintegrating, as void, as not self. He turns his mind away from those states and directs it towards the deathless element thus: ‘This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all attachments, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna.’ If he is steady in that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints, because of that desire for the Dhamma, that delight in the Dhamma, then with the destruction of the five lower fetters he becomes one due to reappear spontaneously [in the Pure Abodes] and there attain final Nibbāna without ever returning from that world".
Here, the trace of clinging leads towards Non-Return. This doesn't actually say that prior to attaining the jhānas, the person was already a Non-Returner. Of course, one might need to do a detailed temporal analysis of this passage -
no ce āsavānaṃ khayaṃ pāpuṇāti teneva dhammarāgena tāya dhammanandiyā pañcannaṃ orambhāgiyānaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ parikkhayā opapātiko hoti, tattha parinibbāyī, anāvattidhammo tasmā lokā
especially on when the parikkhayā
occurs. I suspect it has to occur after the etaṃ santaṃ
meditation, in keeping with the earlier passage when pāpuṇāti
(attains) occurs. The pāpuṇāti
situation seems to be the crossroad of either Yes, or No. If Yes, then arahanta. If No, then Non-Return. Parikkhayā
being the ablative of parikkhaya
is either indicating the starting point or the cause of the Non-Return, and this seems clearly to be following after the no ce āsavānaṃ khayaṃ pāpuṇāti