AN 10.72 Eng. fluent, abridged.
(translated by frankk
At one time the The Buddha dwelled at Vesali with six well known monks, and many other unnamed elder monks.
Now on that occasion many very well known Licchavi citizens came to see the Buddha,
riding in carriages from town making very loud and disturbing noise.
Those elder monks remarked on that loud noise,
"sound is indeed a thorn to the Jhānas.
We should go into the Gosinga forest, where there will be no loud noises, no crowds, and we can dwell in comfort."
Then they left and went into the forest.
The Buddha came out and addressed the monks who remained,
Hey, where did all of those elder disciples go?
The monks who remained explained what happened and why those elder monks went into the forest.
The Buddha responded,
"Good! Those elder disciples reacted appropriately.
I have repeatedly stated that sounds are thorns in the Jhānas.
[Sound is not only a thorn in first Jhāna, but in all four Jhānas.
That's why I said it's a thorn in the Jhānas, plural,
and I did not say it's only a thorn for first jhāna.]
[Monks, you have to pay attention when I point out important details like that.
Just like I didn't say all jhānas (plural), are noble silence.
I said that noble silence is a minimum of second jhāna, and not first jhāna,
because first jhāna has thoughts and pondering.
To the monks with telepathy, who number in the thousands,
hearing thoughts and pondering is the same as a normal person hearing sounds being vocalized (AN 3.60).
That's why it's not noble silence until thoughts have quieted in second jhāna or higher.]
[In the oral tradition, the memorized suttas are terse,
so you have to pay attention to small important details and work through all the implications carefully.
Here are some more implications that you should have inferred from the story above.
Notice there were many elder well known disciples who could do jhānas,
who went into the forest to escape the louds noises, even though they could do jhānas.
The sounds are not just thorns while they're entering the jhānas,
they're thorns while they're in the four jhānas.
So this discourse is not an isolated case of a single monk with possibly weak jhāna.
By explicitly naming so many skilled elder meditating monks,
it means what I say about thorns in jhāna applies in general to everyone.]
Here are ten more thorns,
[to show clearly that thorns are irritants that affect you WHILE you're doing that activity, and not a preventer or a destroyer of that activity.
Notice that the four formless attainments are deliberately left out of the list of ten, because unlike the four jhānas, the mind is divorced from the five sense faculties.
One in a proper formless attainment can not feel mosquito bites or hear sounds.]
(1) for one who enjoys seclusion, [engaging in the] enjoyment of society is a thorn.
(2) in the pursuit of the unattractive nimitta-sign of meditation, the nimitta-sign of beauty is a thorn to the meditation .
(3) for one guarding the doors of the sense faculties, viewing an unsuitable show [containing alluring objects of sensuality] is a thorn.
(4) for one living the celibate life, association with women is a thorn,
(5) for one doing first jhāna, [loud] noise is a thorn.
[for one doing second, third, or fourth jhāna, [loud] noise is progressively less of a thorn but still a thorn.]
(6) for one doing second jhāna, thought and evaluation is a thorn.
(7) for one doing third jhāna, rapture is a thorn.
(8) for one doing fourth jhāna, the in breath and out breath is a thorn.
(9) for one in the process of trying to attain the cessation of perception and feeling,
perception and feeling is a thorn.
(10) Lust is a thorn,
hatred is a thorn,
delusion is a thorn.
"Monks, be thornless. Dwell without thorns.
dwell in a thornless state, dwell without thorns.
The Arahants, the perfect ones, are thornless.
The Arahants are without thorns."
(end of sutta)