Dear Rob Ep,

You were wondering about suttas mentioning dry insight, as I understood. Here is a post I wrote before, but you were absent at that time, and thus, I repost it. Little by little I shall look up other suttas about this subject. See below.


It has been explained in the Abhidhamma, Puggala Pannatti, Human Types, that some people develop samatha and vipassana and some only vipassana, they have , sukkha vipassana. I shall just quote a text from the Suttanta where this is explained.

Kindred Sayings II, Kindred Sayings on Cause, Nidana vagga, II, 119: Susima: we read that Susima the wanderer was persuaded by his followers to join the Order so that he could learn the Dhamma and teach his followers. They wanted then to preach the Dhamma to the laity in order to receive honour and gain. Susima was ordained by Ananda and heard that many monks had attained arahatship. Susima asked them whether they had attained supranatural powers, rupa-jhana or arupa-jhana and they answered that they had not.When Susima asked them “How is that”, they answered:

“We have been freed by insight, friend Susima.”

Susima answered: “I do not know fully the matter stated concisely by the venerable ones. It would be well if the venerable ones were to state it so that I might come to know fully the matter they have stated concisely”

“Whether you know it, friend Susima, or whether you do not know it, we have been freed by insight.”

Susima went to the Buddha who explained to him:

“First comes knowledge of the law of cause (and effect) , afterwards comes knowledge about nibbana.”

The Buddha then asked him whether the body is permanent or impermanent, and whether what is impermanent is dukkha or pleasant, sukha, and whether one can take what is impermanent and dukkha for self. The Buddha asked him the same about the other khandhas, aggregates, and then taught him the Dependent Origination in order and in reverse order, which mmeans that with the ceasing of ignorance there is the end of the cycle of birth and death. The Buddha then asked him whether when he would know this, he would enjoy the supramundane powers, and whether he could attain arupa-jhana, he answered that he could not. The Buddha said:

“Here then, Susima:- this catechism and the non-attainment of these things:-this is what we have done. ”

We read in the Kindred Sayings I, I, 190, Vangisa Sutta, Invitation, that with the Buddha were 500 monks who were arahats. The Buddha said to Sariputta: “There is nothing, Sariputta, for which I blame these five hundred Monks, in deed or word. Of these monks, sixty have the threefold knowledge, sixty have sixfold supernormal knowledge, sixty are emancipated in both ways, and then others are emancipated by insight (alone). ”

Thus we can conclude, the majority, 320, only developed insight.
End of old post.

Here is more:

Gradual Sayings, Book of the Fours, Ch IX, § 9, Kinds of Recluses ©:

Monks, these four persons are found in the world. What four? The unshaken recluse, the blue lotus recluse, the white lotus recluse and the recluse exquisite among recluses. And how, monks, is a person an unshaken recluse? Herein a monks is one of right view….right concentration… And how, monks, is a person a blue-lotus recluse? Herein a monk is of right view and the rest…he is one of right knowledge, of right release. Yet does he not abide experiencing with his own person the eight deliverances… And how, monks, is a person a white-lotus recluse? Herein a monk is of right view and the rest… he is one of right knowledge, of right release, and he abides experiencing with his own person the eight deliverances… And how is a person a recluse exquisite among recluses? Herein a monk, if invited, enjoys a plentiful supply of robes… Now monks, if rightly speaking one would speak about the recluse exquisite among recluses, it is just of me that he would rightly use the words…

The eight deliverances, vimokkha, see Buddhist dictionary (Nyanatiloka): including both rupa-jhana and arupa-jhana. Co (in Thai), In the first group are included the seven (sekha), the ariyans of the three first stages, and the arahat who has attained magga, but not yet phala (fruit, that follows the magga-citta).

Second group: the arahat who is sukha-vipassaka, who has dry insight. By the ten fold Path, or the eightfold Path plus the fruition consciousness of the arahat and the release of the fruition-consciousness of the arahat. The Co. states that the third person is twice liberated, ubhato bhaga-vimutta. The fourth person is the Buddha. As formerly explained in the sutta. All these texts are very intricate and without co. they are very difficult to understand, I find.

But the Buddha thought of people with different accumulations. He praised samatha, and the person who deserves the highest respect is the person endowed with jhanas, supranatural powers and the four , patisambiddhas. In the Co. it has been explained that when further away from the Buddha’s time the arahats have less excellent qualities, no more analytical knowledges. In the Co. to the In the ³Samantapåsådikå², in the Commentary to the Vinaya, to the Cullavagga, Ch X, on Nuns, the decline of Buddhism has been explained in the Buddha era of this Buddha, the Buddha Gotama.

This Commentary explains about the degrees of paññå of ariyans in the different periods after the Buddha¹s passing away. During the period of the first thousand years there were still arahats with the four ³analytical knowledges², paìisambhidå . In the following period of thousand years there were only arahats who are sukkha vipassaka, those who had not attained any stage of jhåna, but who had developed only insight. In the third period of thousand years there are only people who have attained the state of non-returner, anågåmí, in the fourth period of thousand years there are only sakadågåmís and in the fifth period of thousand years there are only sotåpannas.

Reading about all this is not enough, in the final analysis we should check citta. Jon and I corresponded on the mind that is , ready or pure, in the context of his post on the gradual training for Upali, where a person is ready to receive the Dhamma and attains enlightenment. Now, it is important to develop the perfections together with satipatthana, otherwise enlightenment cannot be attained. A good quality is a perfection only if not developed for one’s own sake but with the aim to have less defilements, less clinging to a self. I recently heard a tape of A.

Sujin that impressed me so much: when we believe that we develop kusala we should know whether we have expectations or not. Is there now something we expect or are hoping for? Then we better check whether there is some subtle clinging. But nobody else can give you the answer, only you yourself. I have to finish, this post becomes too long, with appreciation for your study and careful consideration, Nina.
Robert K. writes:


Now the only path available is that of ‘insight alone’ – the sukkhvipassaka (see nettipakarana). The samma-samdhi that comes with this path is not at all the same as the samma-samdhi associated with the mundane jhanas.

M: I gather that jhanas has been discussed at length in the list in the past, but for newcomers like me, would you care to explain what you mean with the samma samadhi of a dry insight practitioner and the samma samadhi of mundane jhanas. . Could you also expand on what the netti says? It is the first time I hear this.

Dear M.,

I supply a summary only. In the commentary to Aane~njasappaaya sutta (MN 106) it is said:
Uparipannasa-Atthakatha 4.67

]Samaapatti.m taava pada.t.thaana.m katvaa vipassana.m va.d.dhetvaa[/i]

When he has made the attainment of jhana the proximate cause of insight and increased vipassana,

arahatta.m ga.nhanto bhikkhu naava.m vaa u.lumpaadiini vaa nissaaya

and he attains arahatship, the bhikkhu who is as it were depending on a boat or a raft

mahogha.m taritvaa paara.m gacchanto viya na kilamati.

crosses the great flood and reaches the other side, is not tired.

The above is the path of the great ones of the past who attained arahatship using mundane jhana as basis. These are the highest type of arahant. Below is the path of the Sukkhavipassaka- the very lowest type of arahant.

i]Sukkhavipassako pana paki.n.nakasa’nkhaare sammasitvaa arahatta.m ga.nhanto[/i]

But the person with dry insight who has thoroughly known the particular conditioned dhamma and attains arahatship,

baahubalena sota.m chinditvaa paara.m gacchanto viya kilamati.

after he has as it were cut the stream with much force and reaches the other side, is tired.
Bhikkhu Bodhi gives some other notes from the commentary of this sutta (M.106):

In the sutta Ananda asks the Buddha, “a bhikkhu is practising thus: ‘If it were not it would be mine; it will not be and it will not be mine. What exists, what has come to be, that I am abandonding. Thus he attains equanimity. Venerable sir , does such a one attain Nibbana?.”……The note by bodhi (1021)from Majjima attahakatha, “Anandas question is intended to elicit from the Buddha an account of the practice of the dry-insight meditator(sukkhavipassaka) who attains arahatship without depending on a jhanic attainment.”

Sutta “This is deathless, namely the liberation of mind through not clinging” note 1023 Majjhima atthakatha says that the arahstship of the dry- insight meditator (sukkhavipassaka) is intended.


The Netti-pakarana (587):

quote]”Tattha Bhagava tikkhindriyassa samatham upadassati, majjhindriyassa Bhagava samathavipassanam upadissati, mudindriyassa Bhagava vipassanam upadassati. Herein the Blessed one teaches samatha to one of keen faculties; The blessed one teaches samatha and insight to one of medium faculties and the blessed one teaches insight [alone] to one of blunt faculties.[/quote]

Again in the Netti (746)it says that the Buddha teaches insight [alone] to one who is guidable (neyya) and teaches in detail to neyya. At this time (acording to the texts) there are only padaparama and neyya. Padaparama cannot attain in this life, although they can in future lives.. We – so the Theravada commentaries say- are either padaparama or neyya and we need many details. Only the very wise ones with great accumulations could master jhana and use it as the base for insight. Nevertheless all types of kusala – of which samatha is one of the highest- should be developed as all kusala assists insight.

From Ledi sayadaw
(1) A Ugghatitannu : an individual who encounters a Buddha in person, and who is capable of attaining the Holy Paths and the Holy Fruits through the mere hearing of a short concise discourse.

(2) A Vipancitannu: an individual who encounters a Buddha in person, but who is capable of attaining the Paths and the Fruits only when the short discourse is expounded to him at some length.

At the present day, only the following Neyya and Padaparama classes of individuals remain.

(3) A Neyya : an individual who needs to study the sermon and the exposition, and then to practise the provisions contained therein for 7 days to 60 years, to attain the Paths and the Fruits during this lifetime if he tries hard with guidance from the right teacher.

(4) A Padaparama : is an individual who cannot attain the Paths and the Fruits within this lifetime can attain release from worldly ills in his next existence if he dies while practising samatha or vipassana and attains rebirth either as a human being or a deva within the present Buddha Sasana.
Ledi sayadaw.

The commentaries on the Vinaya Pitaka and the Anguttara-nikaya indicate will be one thousand years for Arahats who attain mastery of jhana with abhinna, one thousand years for Arahats who are sukkhavipassaka, one thousand years for Non-returners, one thousand years for Once-returners, and one thousand years for Stream-winners.


Q: ‘Are jhaanas required to attain arahatta magga?’

Q:’Are jhaanas required to attain anaagaami magga?’


N: We have discussed the subject of sukkha vipassaka before and there are many posts in U.P. referring to sutta texts about arahats who are dry insight workers. It takes too much time find all these posts. The term dry insight is used in the commentaries. I can give some quotes taken from a study done for the Foundation in Bangkok I translated from Thai. This study is about fruition attainment, phala-samaapatti. This can only be attained by those who are also jhaanalabhii. This study speaks also about arahats who cannot, since they have not cultivated jhaana, and thus, there are dry insight arahats. < In the Commentary to the �Path of Discrimination�, to Chapter IX, Equanimity about Formations (sankh�rupekkh���na), we read about the arahat without fruition-attainment: QUOTE �With regard to the abiding in the three kinds of insight by the arahats who wish to abide in vipassan�, without fruition-attainment: they see the clinging to oneself as a danger, and they are inclined to the void abiding (su��at� vih�ra, voidness of self); they see the decline (of conditioned dhammas) by equanimity about formations under the aspect of the void abiding. They see as a danger the characteristics of conditioned realities (sankh�ranimitta), and they are inclined to the signless abiding (animitta vih�ra); they see the decline (of conditioned dhammas) by equanimity about formations under the aspect of the signless abiding. They see as a dangerthe steadfastness of clinging, and they are inclined to the desireless abiding (appanihita vih�ra); they see the decline (of conditioned dhammas) by equanimity about formations under the aspect of the desireless abiding. With regard to the arahats who are sukkhavipassaka, with �dry� insight (insight alone), they have attained arahatship with lokuttara cittas without jh�na factors of the different stages of jh�na, but they have calm of citta since defilements have been completely eradicated. If they have accumulated the inclination to calm of the degree of jh�nacitta, then they are able to enter fruition-attainment, which is �abiding in bliss here now� (ditthadhamma sukhavih�ra). With respect to this, we read in the Subcommentary (T�ka) to the Vinaya, the S�ratthad�pan�, in the section �Through wisdom (vijj�)�: QUOTE �As to the words stating the benefit of citta which has a single object, thus, the benefit of citta with sam�dhi, concentration, these have been explained as follows: the benefit of �abiding in bliss here now� (ditthadhamma sukhavih�ra). The abiding in bliss (sukha) here now, the commentator describes this with the leading words that the citta has a single object and that the citta having a single object has that benefit. This refers to the arahat who has dry insight (sukkha vipassaka). ---------------- Q: Are jhaanas required to attain anaagaami magga? I ask this because 'anaagam do not have kaama raaga and dosa' and 'brahmas also do not have kaama raga and dosa even though they have not eradicated as in case of anagams'. So my deduction is that 'anagams must have jhaana before they attain anagami magga. My 2nd reason is that anagams are reborn in 5 of 7 4th jhaana rupa brahma bhuumis. So they must have 4th jhaana when they were just going to attain anagami magga. ---------- Nina: we have to differentiate between:1. is jhaana necessary to become an anaagaami, and: 2. the kinds of rebirths of an anagaamii. as to 1: just as there are sukkha vipassaka arahats, there are sukkha vipassaka anaagaamiis. 2: This is more complicated, since there are five classes of anaagaamiis. We saw above that there arahat who is sukkha vipassaka may be inclined to develop jhaana afterwards and attain phala-samaapatti. Evenso, the anaagaami who attained as sukkha vipassaka is naturally inclined to calm and may develop jhaana afterwards. If he is to be reborn in another plane this can condition rebirth in a ruupa-brahma plane. It would take a long study of texts to go through all the differentpossibilities. Nina. From Dhammanando Bhikkhu There are two dhammas that side with knowledge. Which two? Samatha and vipassanā. QUOTE Samatha having been developed, what benefit arises? The mind is developed. The mind having been developed, what benefit arises? Lust is abandoned. Vipassanā having been developed, what benefit arises? Understanding is developed. Understanding having been developed, what benefit arises? Ignorance is abandoned. Afflicted by lust, the mind is not liberated. Afflicted by ignorance, understanding is not developed. Therefore, due to the fading of lust there is liberation of mind and due to the fading of ignorance there is liberation by understanding. (AN. i. 61, my translation) Best wishes,

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