Stream-entry is Million times harder than Jhana?

Recently I watched a Zoom Lesson conducted by Tipitaka Scholar Venerable Maggavihari at IIT.

During the last part of the lesson he explained about Jhanas.

  • In order to achieve Jhanas one must have practiced Sila well and he already requires a higher Wisdom.

  • Then he must have seen the Adinava (drawbacks) of Kama very well.

  • As long as one can’t see the Adinava of Kama, he will not atain the Jhana.

  • After attaining jhanas, he achieves very higher level of Wisdom which is called Jhana-panna.

  • Jhana-panna is the one that eliminates the Delusion of “hiding the drawbacks of Sensual Pleasures”.

  • Many people forget to notice the Wisdom in Jhana.

Then, there was a good Q&A session after the lesson, where a lay upasaka asked an interesting question.

Upasaka: Bhante, now that the jhanas being harder to achieve for a lay person than the Stream-entry, I want to learn about the path to attain Stream-entry , so, my question is …

Venerable: Wait, wait !, We have to re-correct the question first. … Are you saying that Jhanas are difficult than Stream-entry?

Upasaka: Yes, having listened to your lesson that explained the difficulty of attaining Jhanas, I think it’s better for lay people to try Stream-entry first and then Jhanas.

Venerable: Oh ho, I know, this is how many people think about he Stream-entry.
And I know some people would think I am discouraging the practitioners when I say this.
I’m not speaking this to discourage the Meditators, but the truth should be known.
The Stream-entry is Million times Billion times harder to achieve than Jhana.
That is what the text implicitly says.
(therefore we should practice more and very orderly)

And I have seen Robert also saying something in this regard.

And the above OP received the following comments from users in another forum.

Post by DNS » Sat Oct 01

I think that makes sense. Udaka Ramaputta and Alara Kalama were sramana ascetics who the Buddha studied under and they were able to reach formless realms, but not enlightenment, nor sotapannahood.

In Jainism, Hinduism and possibly some other religions, we hear of some ascetics reaching jhana-like states of consciousness, but not enlightenment.

Therefore, stream-entry would be harder to attain than jhana. A person could have regular jhana attainments, but no enlightenment. Even Devadatta had some psychic abilities (later lost them) but of course no enlightenment.

Post by jinic » Sat Oct 01

Immeasurably more difficult.

Attaining seclusion is a quite straightforward step-by-step process, a person needs to learn the steps but it’s easy to understand.

Stream-Entry is something a person more or less works up to since a beginningless transmigation and certainly all of his life.

It’s difficult to find people not fixated in pernicious wrong views let alone people who have abandoned them.

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Oct 02

Point taken that stream entry is considered a considerable attainment, but a million times a billion is a big number.

We might want to counter-balance that with Ajahn Chah’s assertion that for a serious practitioner (presumably he meant a monk) five years is enough to realise stream entry.

Post by Eko Care » Sun Oct 02

Sam Vara wrote:
Point taken that stream entry is considered a considerable attainment, but a million times a billion is a big number.

I think it depends on the person.
Ugghatitannu and Vipancitannu persons might attain in his very life.
Neyya-person might or not attain in this life depending on the support he gets.
Padaparama-peson needs “Two to Eons” time.

Sam Vara wrote:
We might want to counter-balance that with Ajahn Chah’s assertion that for a serious practitioner (presumably he meant a monk) five years is enough to realise stream entry.

This kind of opinions can be the very thing the venerable implicitly addresses.

Depend on the Sect/Interpretation that one follows, the time believed may vary.

I have read the teacher-monks in Ajahn Chah tradition teach “Sakkayaditthi” as “Giving up the physical body”.

According to such interpretations, the time believed may become short, because there is the possibility of attaining “A samadhi or Jhana state”, by which the attachment to “physical body” may given up temporarily, by some ardent practitioners.

Given that the preacher monk (OP) is a Mahavihara-traditional monk, he most probably believes the classical interpretation of “Sakkayaditthi” which is “Upadana to all the 5 khandhas”.

How do you perceive it?

People “Seeing, while not seeing”, good householder. Better to strive to see the nonsense in papanca, this is stress, this it’s cause, this it’s ending, this the path of practice for an end, and reach stream entry right here.

And yes, “meditation” is actually the last in line of the five ways for liberation, paths and fruits. But would one “seeing, while not seeing” ever listenen, going further then to the pointing fingers tip?

It is far easier to attain Bhavanga than both jhāna or maggaphāla.

It seems as though the Ajahn Chah tradition and the Mahasi tradition and others alike have a tradition of “All-Nighters”. They stay up all night until they realize that time just blanked out. This they claim is Nibbāna. Perhaps they can get enlightened by staying up all night. After all , that is what ven Ananda did but he did not blank out. However, it is more likely that Bhavanga occurs when you stay up all night, especially when they mention that they knew nothing and disrespect the commentaries and abhidhamma which differs.

There is knowledge in this mental process and also ehem. Sati. Furthermore, Sila needs to be refined to the granularity of the commentary explanations.

The Partial Theravada schools seem to wish for a dry insight path and also explain that past life knowledge is not needed either. We don’t deny it is possible. We just say it is less likely. Just like it is less likely if you are a layperson.

But bad news for you. Most monks have no attainments. Sorry to be a party pooper and perhaps reduce donations for sangha. Why? Most monks don’t follow vinaya. What percentage of vinaya monks meditate full time? I’m inside these vinaya/meditation bubbles, but I think it is also less.

There is more news to add.
Maggaphāla is more difficult than knowing past lives.

However, I do have good news. Both Jhāna and past lives make maggaphāla more likely even though it is “far away.” It is actually near when you think about relativeness of difficulty and abilities for attainments and future more difficult attainments.

Furthermore upakilesa are almost sure to arise before magga phala. It is expected at the second stage of knowing of the arising and passing of dhammas. Therefore even, if one has jhana, and finished dependent origination, this should come up. It is expected. Upkilesa is false enlightenment. This is why we need skillful teachers.

That does not mean you should give up. Try.

Meditate oh bhikkhus or you will surely regret it.

A post was split to a new topic: 5 Precepts as a indicator of Stream Entry