Mindfulness of breathing is very difficult, 'it is no trivial matter'. When one continues to be mindful of breathing, the in-breaths and out-breaths become more and more subtle and thus harder to notice. We just read in the quotation that strong mindfulness and understanding are necessary here. Not only in vipassanā, but also in samatha, mindfulness (sati) and understanding (paññā) are necessary but the object of awareness in samatha is different from the object of awareness in vipassanā. In samatha the object of awareness is the meditation subject and the aim is to develop calm. In vipassanā the object of awareness is any nāma or rūpa which appears at the present moment through one of the six doors, in order to eradicate the wrong view of self and eventually all defilements. Through samatha the latent tendencies of defilements are not eradicated ; when there are conditions akusala cittas arise again. We read in the 'Gradual Sayings' (Book of the Sixes, Ch. VI, par. 6, Citta Hatthisāriputta) that even the monk who can attain jhana, may 'disavow the training' and return to the layman's life. We read that when the Buddha stayed near Vārānasī in the Deer Park at Isipatana, a number of 'elders' had a talk on Abhidhamma. Citta Hatthisāriputta interrupted their talk from time to time. Mahā Kotthita said to him:
'Let not the venerable Citta Hatthisāriputta constantly interrupt the elders'
Abhidhamma talk ; the venerable Citta should wait until the talk is over!'
And when he had thus spoken, Citta's friends said : 'The venerable Mahā
Kotthita should not censure the venerable Citta Hatthisāriputta. A wise man is
the venerable Citta and able to talk to the elders on Abhidhamma.'
'It is a hard thing, sirs, for those who know not another person's ways of
thought. Consider, sirs, a person who, so long as he lives near the Master or a
fellow-teacher in the brahman life, is the most humble of the humble, the
meekest of the meek, the quietest of the quiet ; and who, when he leaves the
Master or his fellow-teachers, keeps company with monks, nuns, lay-disciples,
men and women, rajahs, their ministers, course-setters or their disciples.
Living in company, untrammeled, rude, given over to gossip, passion corrupts
his heart ; and with his heart corrupted by passion, he disavows the baining
and returns to the lower life. . .
Consider again a person who, aloof from sensuous appetites... enters and
abides in the first jhana. Thinking: 'I have won to the first jhāna', he keeps
company ...living in company, untrammeled, rude, given over to gossip,
passion corrupts his heart ; and with his heart corrupted by passion, he
disavows the training and returns to the lower life...'
The same is said about the other stages of jhāna. We then read that Citta
Hatthisāriputta disavowed the training and returned to the lower life. But not
long after that he 'went forth' (became a monk) again. We read:
And the venerable Citta Hatthisāriputta, living alone, secluded, earnest,
ardent, resolved, not long after, entered and abode in that aim above all of
the brahman life--realizing it here and now by his own knowledge--for the
sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from home to the homeless life: and
he knew: 'Birth is destroyed, the brahman life is lived, done is what was to be
done, there is no more of this.'
And the venerable Citta Hatthisāriputta was numbered among the arahats.
Even if one can attain the highest stage of jhāna, one's heart can still become
'corrupted by passion', as we read in the sutta. When Citta Hatthisāriputta
had attained arahatship, he had realized the 'aim above all of the brahman
life'. The hindrances could not arise any more.
Through vipassanā, hindrances are eradicated in the successive stages of
enlightenment. The sotāpanna (who has attained the first stage of
enlightenment) has eradicated the hindrance which is doubt (vicikicchā); the
anāgāmī (who has attained the third stage of enlightenment) has eradicated
the sensuous desire (kāmacchandha), ill-will (vyāpāda) and worry (kukkucca);
the arahat has eradicated sloth and torpor (thīna and middha) and
restlessness (uddhacca), he has eradicated all defilements.