I've heard a couple of mentions (but seen no direct reference) that there is a (presumably canonical) formal list of certain activities that you can attain enlightenment during. I'm guessing it's the "sudden" the kind of enlightenment which is being implied in this list (not "gradual").

This list includes formal sitting meditation, and chanting. Yes, you can apparently attain enlightenment right in the middle of a chant you are doing.

Can anyone point at a particular canonical Sutta that says this? Also, I do not recall even one Canonical reference to any arahant claiming they attained their full enlightenment during chanting. And this includes the Theragata, and Therigata. Can anyone else remember a person in the Canon who said they were enlightened during chanting?

2 Answers 2


I posted an answer here, over at Sutta Central Forum:

... in the Aṅguttara Nikāya The Book of the Fives, Sutta 26, "Liberation", the "five bases of liberation" are listed.

Number three is "Reciting the Dhamma". The pali term for "Reciting" is "sajjhāyaṃ karoti", which can also be translated as "chanting", however the chanting referred to here must be deeply understood by the one chanting. That is to say, the type of chanting here is not as in incanting a mystical, magical spell in an arcane language, where you don't know what the words mean, where the power is inherent to the sound of the words.


If you closely examine Vimutt’āyatana Sutta chanting takes you only the 1st leg of the journey, but if you continue you will get to the destination. The speed at which you get there can vary based on you past pratice and perfections. Those who got enlightenment during chanting most likely progressed though the other stages to arrive at the destination in very quick succession. Pāsādika Sutta mentions that the recitation should be with meaning developing developing 7 sets or 37 limbs of awakening (bodhi,pakkhiya dhamma).

The complete route is as: reciting > joy (pāmujja) > zest (pīti) > tranquillity (passaddhi) > happiness (sukha) > concentration or collectedness of the mind or mastery over the mind (samādhi) > the knowledge and vision of reality (yathā,bhuta,ñāna,dassana) > repulsion and dispassion (nibbidā,virāgo) > the knowledge and vision of liberation (vimutti,ñāna,dassana). These much overlaps with the 3 trainings (3 division of the Noble Eightfold Path) and the 7 enlightenment factors in the 37 limbs of awakening.

(Dasaka) Cetanā’karaṇīya Sutta and (Ekā,dasaka) Cetanā’karaṇīya Sutta imply that this is through free process (need of intention and volition) when you get to joy (pāmujja).

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