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 THE WAY
(Paṭipadā-ñāṇadassana-visuddhi-niddesa)
1.
[639] Now, insight reaches its culmination with the eight knowledges, and
knowledge in conformity with truth1 is ninth; these are what is called purification
by knowledge and vision of the way.
The eight should be understood as follows: (1) knowledge of contemplation
of rise and fall, which is insight free from imperfections and steady on its course,
(2) knowledge of contemplation of dissolution, (3) knowledge of appearance as
terror, (4) knowledge of contemplation of danger, (5) knowledge of contemplation
of dispassion, (6) knowledge of desire for deliverance, (7) knowledge of
contemplation of reflection, and (8) knowledge of equanimity about formations.2
“Knowledge in conformity with truth as ninth” is a term for conformity.
So one who wants to perfect this should make these kinds of knowledge his
task, starting with knowledge of rise and fall free from imperfections.
2. But why does he again pursue knowledge of rise and fall? To observe the
[three] characteristics. The knowledge of rise and fall already dealt with, being
1. “He calls conformity knowledge ‘knowledge in conformity with truth’ because it
is suitable for penetrating the truths owing to the disappearance of the grosser
darkness of delusion that conceals the truths” (Vism-mhṭ 822). The term
saccānulomikañāṇa—“knowledge in conformity with truth,” occurs at Vibh 315. The
term anulomañāṇa—“conformity knowledge,” occurs in the Paṭṭhāna (Paṭṭh I 159), but
not elsewhere in the Piṭakas apparently.
2.
Knowledge of rise and fall that has become familiar should be understood as
belonging to full-understanding as abandoning. The contemplation of only the
dissolution of formations is contemplation of dissolution; that same contemplation as
knowledge is knowledge of contemplation of dissolution. One who, owing to it, sees things
as they are is terrified, thus it is terror. The knowledge that seizes the terrifying aspect
of states of the three planes when they appear as terrifying is knowledge of appearance
as terror
. One desires to be delivered, thus it is one desiring deliverance: that is, either
as a consciousness or as a person. His (its) state is desire for deliverance. That itself as
knowledge is knowledge of desire for deliverance. Knowledge that occurs in the mode of
reflecting again is knowledge of contemplation of reflection. Knowledge that occurs as
looking on (upekkhanā) at formations with indifference (nirapekkhatā) is knowledge of
equanimity (upekkhā) about formations” (Vism-mhṭ 822–23).
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disabled by the ten imperfections, was not capable of observing the three
characteristics in their true nature; but once freed from imperfections, it is able to
do so. So he should pursue it again here in order to observe the characteristics.
[640]
[INSIGHT: THE EIGHT KNOWLEDGES]
[1. KNOWLEDGE OF RISE AND FALL—II]
3.
Now, the characteristics fail to become apparent when something is not
given attention and so something conceals them. What is that? Firstly, the
characteristic of impermanence does not become apparent because when rise
and fall are not given attention, it is concealed by continuity. The characteristic
of pain does not become apparent because, when continuous oppression is not
given attention, it is concealed by the postures. The characteristic of not-self
does not become apparent because when resolution into the various elements is
not given attention, it is concealed by compactness.
4.
However, when continuity is disrupted by discerning rise and fall, the
characteristic of impermanence becomes apparent in its true nature.
When the postures are exposed by attention to continuous oppression, the
characteristic of pain becomes apparent in its true nature. When the resolution
of the compact is effected by resolution into elements, the characteristic of not-
self becomes apparent in its true nature.3
3. Cf. Peṭ 128. In the commentary to the Áyatana-Vibhaṅga we find: “Impermanence
is obvious, as when a saucer (say) falls and breaks; … pain is obvious, as when a boil
(say) appears in the body; … the characteristic of not-self is not obvious; … Whether
Perfect Ones arise or do not arise the characteristics of impermanence and pain are
made known, but unless there is the arising of a Buddha the characteristic of not-self
is not made known” (Vibh-a 49–50, abridged for clarity).
Again, in the commentary to Majjhima Nikāya Sutta 22: “Having been, it is not,
therefore it is impermanent; it is impermanent for four reasons, that is, in the sense of
the state of rise and fall, of change, of temporariness, and of denying permanence. It
is painful on account of the mode of oppression; it is painful for four reasons, that is,
in the sense of burning, of being hard to bear, of being the basis for pain, and of
opposing pleasure … It is not-self on account of the mode of insusceptibility to the
exercise of power; it is not-self for four reasons, that is, in the sense of voidness, of
having no owner-master, of having no Overlord, and of opposing self (M-a II 113,
abridged for clarity).
Commenting on this Vism paragraph, Vism-mhṭ says: “‘When continuity is
disrupted’ means when continuity is exposed by observing the perpetual otherness
of states as they go on occurring in succession. For it is not through the connectedness
of states that the characteristic of impermanence becomes apparent to one who rightly
observes rise and fall, but rather the characteristic becomes more thoroughly evident
through their disconnectedness, as if they were iron darts. ‘When the postures are
exposed
’ means when the concealment of the pain that is actually inherent in the
postures is exposed. For when pain arises in a posture, the next posture adopted
removes the pain, as it were, concealing it. But once it is correctly known how the pain
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5. And here the following differences should be understood: the impermanent,
and the characteristic of impermanence; the painful, and the characteristic of
pain; the not-self, and the characteristic of not-self.
6. Herein, the five aggregates are impermanent. Why? Because they rise and
fall and change, or because of their non-existence after having been. Rise and
fall and change are the characteristic of impermanence; or mode alteration, in
other words, non-existence after having been [is the characteristic of
impermanence].4
7.
Those same five aggregates are painful because of the words, “What is
impermanent is painful” (S III 22). Why? Because of continuous oppression.
The mode of being continuously oppressed is the characteristic of pain.
8. Those same five aggregates are not-self because of the words, “What is painful
is not-self” (S III 22). Why? Because there is no exercising of power over them.
The mode of insusceptibility to the exercise of power is the characteristic of not-
self.
9. The meditator observes all this in its true nature with the knowledge of the
contemplation of rise and fall, in other words, with insight free from imperfections
and steady on its course.
[2. KNOWLEDGE OF DISSOLUTION]
10.
When he repeatedly observes in this way, and examines and investigates
material and immaterial states, [to see] that they are impermanent, painful, and
in any posture is shifted by substituting another posture for that one, then the
concealment of the pain that is in them is exposed because it has become evident that
formations are being incessantly overwhelmed by pain. ‘Resolution of the compact’ is
effected by resolving [what appears compact] in this way, ‘The earth element is one,
the water element is another’ etc., distinguishing each one; and in this way, ‘Contact is
one, feeling is another’ etc., distinguishing each one. ‘When the resolution of the compact
is effected
’ means that what is compact as a mass and what is compact as a function or
as an object has been analyzed. For when material and immaterial states have arisen
mutually steadying each other, [mentality and materiality, for example,] then, owing to
misinterpreting that as a unity, compactness of mass is assumed through failure to
subject formations to pressure. And likewise compactness of function is assumed
when, although definite differences exist in such and such states’ functions, they are
taken as one. And likewise compactness of object is assumed when, although
differences exist in the ways in which states that take objects make them their objects,
those objects are taken as one. But when they are seen after resolving them by means of
knowledge into these elements, they disintegrate like froth subjected to compression by
the hand. They are mere states (dhamma) occurring due to conditions and void. In this way
the characteristic of not-self becomes more evident” (Vism-mhṭ 824).
4. “These modes, [that is, the three characteristics,] are not included in the aggregates
because they are states without individual essence (asabhāva-dhammā); and they are not
separate from the aggregates because they are unapprehendable without the aggregates.
But they should be understood as appropriate conceptual differences (paññatti-visesā) that
are reason for differentiation in the explaining of dangers in the five aggregates, and which
are allowable by common usage in respect of the five aggregates” (Vism-mhṭ 825).
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not-self, then if his knowledge works keenly, formations quickly become apparent.5
Once his knowledge works keenly and formations quickly become apparent, he
no longer extends his mindfulness to their arising or presence or occurrence or
sign, but brings it to bear only on their cessation as destruction, fall and breakup.6
[641]
11. When insight knowledge has arisen in him in this way so that he sees how
the field of formations, having arisen thus, ceases thus, it is called contemplation
of dissolution at that stage,7 with reference to which it is said:
“Understanding of contemplation of dissolution, after reflecting on an object—
how is this knowledge of insight?
“Consciousness with materiality as its object arises and dissolves. Having
reflected on that object, he contemplates the dissolution of that consciousness.
“‘He contemplates’: how does he contemplate? He contemplates as
impermanent, not as permanent; he contemplates as painful, not as pleasant; he
contemplates as not-self, not as self; he becomes dispassionate, he does not
delight; he causes fading away of greed, he does not inflame it; he causes
cessation, not origination; he relinquishes, he does not grasp. Contemplating as
impermanent, he abandons the perception of permanence. Contemplating as
painful, he abandons the perception of pleasure. Contemplating as not-self, he
abandons the perception of self. Becoming dispassionate, he abandons delight.
Causing fading away, he abandons greed. Causing cessation, he abandons
originating. Relinquishing, he abandons grasping.
“Consciousness with feeling as its object … Consciousness with perception
as its object … with formations as its object … with consciousness as its object …
with eye as its object … (etc.—see XX.9) … with ageing-and-death as its object …
Relinquishing, he abandons grasping.
“The substitution of the object,
The transference of understanding,
The power of adverting—these
Are insight following reflection.
“Defining both to be alike
By inference from that same object,
5. “The keenness of knowledge comes about owing to familiarity with development.
And when it is familiar, development occurs as though it were absorbed in the object
owing to the absence of distraction” (Vism-mhṭ 825).
6.
“‘Arising’ is the alteration consisting in generation. ‘Presence’ is the arrival at
presence: ageing is what is meant. ‘Occurrence’ is the occurrence of what is clung to.
The sign’ is the sign of formations; the appearance of formations like graspable entities,
which is due to compactness of mass, etc., and to individualization of function, is the
sign of formations” (Vism-mhṭ 826). See also n.12.
“It is momentary cessation that is in other words ‘cessation as destruction, fall and
breakup’” (Vism-mhṭ 826).
7. Etasmiṃ khaṇe (or etasmiṃ ṭhāne) seems a better reading here than ekasmiṃ khaṇe’;
cf. parallel phrases at the end of §29, 30, 31.
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Intentness on cessation—these
Are insight in the mark of fall.
“Having reflected on the object
Dissolution he contemplates,
Appearance then as empty—this
Is insight of higher understanding.
“Skilled in the three contemplations,
And in the fourfold insight too,
Skilled in the three appearances,
The various views will shake him not.
“Knowledge is in the sense of that being known and understanding in the sense
of the act of understanding that. Hence it was said: ‘Understanding of contemplating
dissolution, after reflecting on an object, is knowledge of insight’” (Paṭis I 57f).
12.
Herein,  after reflecting on an object is having reflected on, having known,
any object; the meaning is, having seen it as liable to destruction and fall.
Understanding of the contemplation of dissolution: any understanding of the
contemplation of the dissolution of the knowledge arisen after reflecting on the
object as liable to destruction and fall is called knowledge of insight. [642] How
has the meaning of a question showing desire to expound.
13. Next, in order to show how that comes about, consciousness with materiality
as its object, etc., is said. Herein, consciousness with materiality as its object arises
and dissolves: rūpārammaṇaṃ cittaṃ uppajjitvā bhijjati [is the equivalent of]
rūpārammaṇaṃ cittaṃ uppajjitvā bhijjati; or the meaning is rūpārammaṇabhāve cittaṃ
uppajjitvā bhijjati
 [alternative grammatical substitution]. Having reflected on that object:
having reflected on, having known, that object consisting of materiality; the meaning
is, having seen it as liable to destruction and fall. He contemplates the dissolution of that
consciousness
: by means of a subsequent consciousness he contemplates the
dissolution of that consciousness with which that object consisting of materiality
was seen as liable to destruction and fall. Hence the Ancients said: “He sees with
insight both the known and the knowledge.”
14.
He contemplates  (anupassati): he sees always accordingly (anu anu passati);
the meaning is, he sees again and again in various modes. Hence it is said: “He
contemplates”: how does he contemplate? He contemplates as impermanent, and so on.
15. Herein, dissolution is the culminating point of impermanence, and so the
meditator contemplating dissolution contemplates the whole field of formations
as  impermanent, not as permanent.8 Then, because of the painfulness of what is
8. “‘He contemplates as impermanent’ here not by inferential knowledge thus,
“Impermanent in the sense of dissolution”, like one who is comprehending formations
by groups (XX.13–14), nor by seeing fall preceded by apprehension of rise, like a
beginner of insight (XX.93ff.); but rather it is after rise and fall have become apparent
as actual experience through the influence of knowledge of rise and fall that he then
leaves rise aside in the way stated and contemplates formations as impermanent by
seeing only their dissolution. But when he sees them thus, there is no trace in him of
any apprehension of them as permanent” (Vism-mhṭ 827).
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impermanent and because of the non-existence of self in what is painful, he
contemplates that same whole field of formations as painful, not as pleasant, he
contemplates it as not-self, not as self
.
16. But what is impermanent, painful, not-self, is not something to delight in;
and what is not something to delight in is not something to arouse greed for;
consequently, when that field of formations is seen as impermanent, painful,
not-self, in accordance with the contemplation of dissolution, then he becomes
dispassionate, he does not delight; he causes fading away of greed, he does not inflame it
.
When he does not inflame greed thus, he causes cessation of greed, not its origination,
which happens firstly by means of mundane knowledge;9 the meaning is, he
does not cause origination.
17. Or alternatively, having thus caused the fading away of greed, and caused
the cessation of the seen field of formations, he causes the cessation of the unseen
too by means of inferential knowledge, he does not originate it. He gives attention
only to its cessation, he sees only its cessation, not its origin, is the meaning.
18.
Progressing in this way, he relinquishes, he does not grasp. What is meant?
[What is meant is that] this contemplation of impermanence, etc., is also called
both “relinquishment as giving up” and “relinquishment as entering into” (see
Paṭis I 194) because, by substitution of opposite qualities, it gives up defilements
along with aggregate producing kamma-formations, and because, by seeing
the unsatisfactoriness of what is formed, [643] it also enters into, by inclining
towards, Nibbāna, which is the opposite of the formed. Therefore the bhikkhu
who possesses that [contemplation] gives up defilements and enters into
Nibbāna in the way stated, he does not grasp (cling to) defilements by causing
rebirth, nor does he grasp (cling to) a formed object through failing to see its
unsatisfactoriness. Hence it was said: he relinquishes, he does not grasp.
19. Now, in order to show which states are abandoned by these three kinds of
knowledge, contemplating as impermanenthe abandons the perception of permanence,
etc., is said. Herein, delight is craving accompanied by happiness. The rest is as
already stated.
20. As to the stanzas: the substitution of the object [means that] after seeing the
dissolution of materiality, there is the substitution of another object for that first
object by seeing the dissolution of the consciousness by which the dissolution [of
materiality] was seen. Transference of understanding is the abandoning of rise and the
specializing in fall. The power of adverting is the ability, after seeing the dissolution of
materiality, to advert immediately for the purpose of seeing the dissolution of the
consciousness that had that dissolution as its object. Are insight following reflection:
this is called contemplation of dissolution after reflecting on an object.
21. Defining both to be alike by inference from that same object: the meaning is that
by inference, by induction, from the object seen by actual experience he defines
9.
“‘Causes cessation’: he causes greed to reach the cessation of suppression; he
suppresses it, is the meaning. That is why he said ‘by means of mundane knowledge.’
And since there is suppression, how can there be arousing? Therefore he said ‘not its
origination
’” (Vism-mhṭ 828).
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both [the seen and the unseen] to have a single individual essence thus, “The
field of formations dissolved in the past, and will break up in the future, just as
it does [in the present].” And this is said by the Ancients:
“With vision of those present purified
He infers those past and future to be alike;
He infers that all formations disappear,
Like dew-drops when the morning sun comes up.”
22. Intentness on cessation: after thus giving to both a single definition based on
their dissolution, he thus becomes intent on cessation, in other words, on that
same dissolution. The meaning is that he attaches importance to it, inclines,
tends, leans towards it. Are insight in the mark of fall: what is meant is that this is
called insight into the characteristic of fall.
23.
Having reflected on the object: having first known the object consisting of
materiality, and so on. Dissolution he contemplates: having seen the dissolution of
that object, he contemplates the dissolution of the consciousness that had that as
its object. [644]
24. Appearance then as empty: while he is contemplating dissolution in this way, he
succeeds in making [formations] appear as void thus, “Only formations breakup;
their breakup is death; there is nothing else at all10.” Hence the Ancients said:
“Aggregates cease and nothing else exists;
Breakup of aggregates is known as death.
He watches their destruction steadfastly,
As one who with a diamond drills a gem.” 11
25. Is insight of higher understanding: what is meant is that the reflection on the
object, the contemplation of dissolution, and the appearance as void are called
insight of higher understanding.
26. Skilled in the three contemplations: a bhikkhu who is competent in the three
beginning with contemplation of impermanence. And in the fourfold insight too:
in the four kinds of insight beginning with dispassion. Skilled in the three
appearances
: and owing to skill in this threefold appearance, namely, as liable to
destruction and fall, as terror, and as void.12 The various views will shake him not: he
does not vacillate on account of the various kinds of views such as the eternity view.
10. “Here in this world there is no self that is something other than and apart from the
aggregates” (Vism-mhṭ 830). Cf. also: “When any ascetics or brahmans whatever see self
in its various forms, they all of them see the five aggregates, or one of them” (S IV 46).
11. “As a skilled man drilling a gem with a tool watches and keeps in mind only the hole
he is drilling, not the gem’s colour, etc., so too the meditator wisely keeps in mind only the
ceaseless dissolution of formations, not the formations” (Vism-mhṭ 830).
12. The Harvard text reads “khayato vayato suññato ti—as destruction, as fall, as void.”
But Vism-mhṭ says: “‘The three appearances’: in the threefold appearance as
impermanent and so on. For appearance as destruction and fall is appearance as
impermanent, appearance as terror is appearance as pain, and appearance as void is
appearance as not-self (Vism-mhṭ 830).
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27.
When he no longer vacillates and so constantly bears in mind that the
unceased will also cease, the undissolved will also dissolve, then he disregards
the arising, presence, occurrence and sign of all formations, which keep on
breaking up, like fragile pottery being smashed, like fine dust being dispersed,
like sesame seeds being roasted, and he sees only their breakup. Just as a man
with eyes standing on the bank of a pond or on the bank of a river during heavy
rain would see large bubbles appearing on the surface of the water and breaking
up as soon as they appeared, so too he sees how formations break up all the time.
The Blessed One said of such a meditator:
“And he who looks upon the world
As one who looks upon a bubble,
As one who looks upon a mirage,
Is out of sight of Death the King” (Dhp 170).
28. When he constantly sees that all formations thus break up all the time, then
contemplation of dissolution grows strong in him, bringing eight advantages,
which are these: abandoning of [false] view of becoming, giving up attachment
to life, constant application, a purified livelihood, no more anxiety, absence of
fear, acquisition of patience and gentleness, and conquest of aversion (boredom)
and sensual delight. [645] Hence the Ancients said:
“On seeing these eight perfect qualities
He comprehends formations constantly,
Seeing breakup in order to attain
The Deathless, like the sage with burning turban.”
(see S V 440)
Knowledge of contemplation of dissolution is ended.
[3. KNOWLEDGE OF APPEARANCE AS TERROR]
29.
As he repeats, develops and cultivates in this way the contemplation of
dissolution, the object of which is cessation consisting in the destruction, fall
and breakup of all formations, then formations classed according to all kinds of
becoming, generation, destiny, station, or abode of beings, appear to him in the
form of a great terror, as lions, tigers, leopards, bears, hyenas, spirits, ogres, fierce
bulls, savage dogs, rut-maddened wild elephants, hideous venomous serpents,
thunderbolts, charnel grounds, battlefields, flaming coal pits, etc., appear to a
timid man who wants to live in peace. When he sees how past formations have
ceased, present ones are ceasing, and those to be generated in the future will
cease in just the same way, then what is called knowledge of appearance as
terror arises in him at that stage.
30.
Here is a simile: a woman’s three sons had offended against the king, it
seems. The king ordered their heads to be cut off. She went with her sons to the
place of their execution. When they had cut off the eldest one’s head, they set
about cutting off the middle one’s head. Seeing the eldest one’s head already
cut off and the middle one’s head being cut off, she gave up hope for the youngest,
thinking, “He too will fare like them.” Now, the meditator’s seeing the cessation
of past formations is like the woman’s seeing the eldest son’s head cut off. His
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seeing the cessation of those present is like her seeing the middle one’s head
being cut off. His seeing the cessation of those in the future, thinking, “Formations
to be generated in the future will cease too,” is like her giving up hope for the
youngest son, thinking, “He too will fare like them.” When he sees in this way,
knowledge of appearance as terror arises in him at that stage.
31. Also another simile: a woman with an infected womb had, it seems, given
birth to ten children. [646] Of these, nine had already died and one was dying in
her hands. There was another in her womb. Seeing that nine were dead and the
tenth was dying, she gave up hope about the one in her womb, thinking, “It too
will fare just like them.” Herein, the meditator’s seeing the cessation of past
formations is like the woman’s remembering the death of the nine children. The
meditator’s seeing the cessation of those present is like her seeing the moribund
state of the one in her hands. His seeing the cessation of those in the future is like
her giving up hope about the one in her womb. When he sees in this way,
knowledge of appearance as terror arises in him at that stage.
32. But does the knowledge of appearance as terror [itself] fear or does it not
fear? It does not fear. For it is simply the mere judgment that past formations have
ceased, present ones are ceasing, and future ones will cease. Just as a man with
eyes looking at three charcoal pits at a city gate is not himself afraid, since he
only forms the mere judgment that all who fall into them will suffer no little
pain;—or just as when a man with eyes looks at three spikes set in a row, an
acacia spike, an iron spike, and a gold spike, he is not himself afraid, since he
only forms the mere judgment that all who fall on these spikes will suffer no
little pain;—so too the knowledge of appearance as terror does not itself fear; it
only forms the mere judgment that in the three kinds of becoming, which resemble
the three charcoal pits and the three spikes, past formations have ceased, present
ones are ceasing, and future ones will cease.
33. But it is called “appearance as terror” only because formations in all kinds
of becoming, generation, destiny, station, or abode are fearful in being bound for
destruction and so they appear only as a terror.
Here is the text about its appearance to him as terror: “When he brings to
mind as impermanent, what appears to him as terror? When he brings to mind
as painful, what appears to him as terror? When he brings to mind as not-self,
what appears to him as terror? When he brings to mind as impermanent, the
sign appears to him as terror. When he brings to mind as painful, occurrence
appears to him as terror. When he brings to mind as not-self, the sign and
occurrence appear to him as terror” (Paṭis II 63).
34.
Herein, the sign is the sign of formations. This is a term for past, future and
present formations themselves. [647] He sees only the death of formations when
he brings them to mind as impermanent and so the sign appears to him as a
terror.  Occurrence is occurrence in material and immaterial becoming. He sees
occurrence—though ordinarily reckoned as pleasure—only as a state of being
continuously oppressed when he brings them to mind as painful, and so
occurrence appears to him as a terror.
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He sees both the sign and the occurrence as empty, vain, void, without power
or guide, like an empty village, a mirage, a goblin city, etc., when he brings
[them] to mind as not-self, and so the sign and occurrence appear to him as a
terror.
Knowledge of appearance as terror is ended.
[4. KNOWLEDGE OF DANGER]
35.
As he repeats, develops and cultivates the knowledge of appearance as
terror he finds no asylum, no shelter, no place to go to, no refuge in any kind of
becoming, generation, destiny, station, or abode. In all the kinds of becoming,
generation, destiny, station, and abode there is not a single formation that he can
place his hopes in or hold on to. The three kinds of becoming appear like charcoal
pits full of glowing coals, the four primary elements like hideous venomous
snakes (S IV 174), the five aggregates like murderers with raised weapons (S IV
174), the six internal bases like an empty village, the six external bases like
village-raiding robbers (S IV 174–75), the seven stations of consciousness and
the nine abodes of beings as though burning, blazing and glowing with the
eleven fires (see S IV 19), and all formations appear as a huge mass of dangers
destitute of satisfaction or substance, like a tumour, a disease, a dart, a calamity,
an affliction (see M I 436). How?
36. They appear as a forest thicket of seemingly pleasant aspect but infested
with wild beasts, a cave full of tigers, water haunted by monsters and ogres, an
enemy with raised sword, poisoned food, a road beset by robbers, a burning
coal, a battlefield between contending armies appear to a timid man who wants
to live in peace. And just as that man is frightened and horrified and his hair
stands up when he comes upon a thicket infested by wild beasts, etc., and he
sees it as nothing but danger, so too when all formations have appeared as a
terror by contemplation of dissolution, this meditator sees them as utterly destitute
of any core or any satisfaction and as nothing but danger.
37.
“How is it that understanding of appearance as terror is knowledge of
danger? [648]
“(1.a.) Understanding of appearance as terror thus, ‘Arising is terror,’ is
knowledge of danger. Understanding of appearance as terror thus, ‘Occurrence
is terror’ … ‘The sign is terror’ … ‘Accumulation is terror’ … ‘Rebirth-linking is
terror’ … ‘Destiny is terror’ … ‘Generation is terror’ … ‘Re-arising is terror’ …
‘Birth is terror’ … ‘Ageing is terror’ … ‘Sickness is terror’ … ‘Death is terror’ …
‘Sorrow is terror’ … Understanding of appearance as terror thus, ‘Lamentation
is terror,’ is knowledge of danger. Understanding of appearance as terror thus,
‘Despair is terror,’ is knowledge of danger.
“(1.b.) Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Non-arising is safety.’ Knowledge
of the state of peace is this: ‘Non-occurrence is safety’ … (etc.) … Knowledge of
the state of peace is this: ‘Non-despair is safety.’
“(1.c.) Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Arising is terror; non-arising is
safety.’ Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Occurrence is terror; non-
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occurrence is safety’ … (etc.) … Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Despair
is terror; non-despair is safety.’
“(2.a.) Understanding of appearance as terror thus, ‘Arising is suffering,’ is
knowledge of danger. Understanding of appearance as terror thus, ‘Occurrence
is suffering’ … (etc.) … ‘Despair is suffering’ is knowledge of danger.
“(2.b.) Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Non-occurrence is bliss’ …
(etc.) … Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Non-despair is bliss.’
“(2.c.) Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Arising is suffering; non-
arising is bliss.’ Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Occurrence is suffering;
non-occurrence is bliss’ … (etc.) … Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Despair
is suffering; non-despair is bliss.’
“(3.a.) Understanding of appearance as terror thus, ‘Arising is worldly,’ is
knowledge of danger. Understanding of appearance as thus, ‘Occurrence is
worldly’ … (etc.) … ‘Despair is worldly’ is knowledge of danger.
“(3.b.) Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Non-arising is unworldly.’
Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Non-occurrence is unworldly’ … (etc.)
… Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Non-despair is unworldly.’
“(3.c.) Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Arising is worldly; non-arising
is unworldly.’ Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Occurrence is worldly;
non-occurrence is unworldly’ … (etc.) … Knowledge of the state of peace is this:
‘Despair is worldly; non-despair is unworldly.’
“(4.a.) Understanding of appearance as terror thus, ’Arising is formations,’ is
knowledge of danger. Understanding of appearance as terror thus, Occurrence
is formations’ … (etc.) … ‘Despair is formations’ is knowledge of danger.
“(4.b.) Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Non-arising is Nibbāna.”
Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Non-occurrence is Nibbāna’ … (etc.) …
Knowledge of the state of peace is this Non-despair is Nibbāna.’
“(4.c.) Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Arising is formations; non-
arising is Nibbāna.’ Knowledge of the state of peace is this: ‘Occurrence is
formations; non-occurrence is Nibbāna’ … (etc.) … Knowledge of the state of
peace is this: ‘Despair is formations; non-despair is Nibbāna.’ [649]
“He contemplates as suffering
Arising, occurrence, and the sign,
Accumulation, rebirth-linking—
And this his knowledge is of danger.
“He contemplates as bliss no arising,
And no occurrence, and no sign,
No accumulation, no rebirth-linking—
And this his knowledge is of peace.
“This knowledge about danger has
Five sources for its origin;
Knowledge of peace has also five—
Ten knowledges he understands.
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“When skilled in these two kinds of knowledge
The various views will shake him not.
“Knowledge is in the sense of that being known and understanding is in the
sense of the act of understanding that. Hence it was said: ‘Understanding of
appearance as terror is knowledge of danger’” (Paṭis I 59f).
38. Herein, arising is appearance here [in this becoming] with previous kamma
as condition. Occurrence is the occurrence of what has arisen in this way. The sign
is the sign of all formations. Accumulation is the kamma that is the cause of future
rebirth-linking. Rebirth-linking is future appearance. Destiny is the destiny in
which the rebirth-linking takes place. Generation is the generating of aggregates.
Re-arising is the occurrence of kamma-result stated thus, “In one who has attained
[to it] or in one who has been reborn [in it]” (Dhs §1282). Birth is birth with
becoming as its condition, itself a condition for ageing and so on. Ageing,
sickness, death, etc., are obvious.
39.
And here only the five beginning with arising are mentioned as actual
objects of knowledge of danger; the rest are synonyms for them. For the pair,
generation and birth, are synonyms both for arising and for rebirth-linking. The
pair, destiny and re-arising, are synonyms for occurrenceAgeing, etc., are synonyms
for the sign. Hence it was said:
“He contemplates as suffering
Arising, occurrence, and the sign,
Accumulation, rebirth-linking—
And this his knowledge is of danger.”
And:
“This knowledge about danger has
Five sources for its origin” (§37).
40. Knowledge of the state of peace is this: “Non-arising is safety,” etc.: this, however,
should be understood as said for the purpose of showing the opposite kind of
knowledge to knowledge of danger. Or when it is stated in this way, that there is
safety without terror and free from danger, it is for the purpose of comforting
those who are upset in their hearts by seeing danger through appearance as
terror. Or else, when arising, etc., have clearly appeared to a man as terror, his
mind inclines towards their opposites, and so this is said [650] for the purpose
of showing the advantages in the knowledge of danger established by the
appearance as terror.
 41.
And here (1.a.) what is terror is certainly (2.a) suffering, and what is suffering
is purely (3.a.) worldly since it is not free from the worldliness of the rounds [of
becoming], of the world, and of defilements,13 and what is worldly consists solely
13. Vism-mhṭ defines the three kinds of worldliness (āmisa) as follows: Worldliness of
the round
 (vaṭṭāmisa) is that of the threefold round of past, future and present becoming;
worldliness of the world (lokāmisa) is the five cords of sense desire (i.e. objects of sense
desire including food, etc.) because they are accessible to defilements; worldliness of
defilement
 (kilesāmisa) is the defilements themselves (see Vism-mhṭ 836).
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of (4.a) formations. Therefore it is said that (2.a) understanding of appearance as
terror thus
, “Arising is suffering,” is knowledge of danger, and so on. And while
this is so, still there is a difference to be understood here in the way these things
[beginning with “arising”] occur, since there is a difference in their mode with
the mode of terror, the mode of suffering, and the mode of worldliness.
42. Ten knowledges he understands: one who understands knowledge of danger
understands, penetrates, realizes, ten kinds of knowledge, that is, the five based
on arising, etc., and the five on non-arising and so on. When skilled in these two
kinds of knowledge
: with skill in the two, that is, knowledge of danger and
knowledge of the state of peace. The various views will shake him not: he does not
vacillate about views that occur such as “The ultimate Nibbāna is here and
now.” The rest is clear.
Knowledge of contemplation of danger is ended.
[5. KNOWLEDGE OF DISPASSION]
43.
When he sees all formations in this way as danger, he becomes
dispassionate towards, is dissatisfied with, takes no delight in the manifold
field of formations belonging to any kind of becoming, destiny, station of
consciousness, or abode of beings. Just as a golden swan that loves the foothills
of Citta Peak finds delight, not in a filthy puddle at the gate of a village of
outcastes, but only in the seven great lakes (see XIII.38), so too this meditator
swan finds delight, not in the manifold formations seen clearly as danger, but
only in the seven contemplations, because he delights in development. And just
as the lion, king of beasts, finds delight, not when put into a gold cage, but only
in Himalaya with its three thousand leagues’ extent, so too the meditator lion
finds delight, not in the triple becoming of the happy destiny,14 but only in the
three contemplations. And just as Chaddanta, king of elephants, all white with
sevenfold stance, possessed of supernormal power, who travels through the
air,15 finds pleasure, not in the midst of a town, but only in the Chaddanta Lake
and Wood in the Himalaya, [651] so too this meditator elephant finds delight,
not in any formation, but only in the state of peace seen in the way beginning
“Non-arising is safety,” and his mind tends, inclines, and leans towards that.
Knowledge of contemplation of dispassion is ended.
44. [Knowledge of contemplation of danger] is the same as the last two kinds
of knowledge in meaning. Hence the Ancients said: “Knowledge of appearance
as terror while one only has three names: It saw all formations as terror, thus the
name ‘appearance as terror’ arose; it aroused the [appearance of] danger in
those same formations, thus the name ‘contemplation of danger’ arose; it arose,
14. The reference is to the happy destinies of the sense-desire world (human beings
and deities), the fine-material Brahmā-world, and the immaterial Brahmā-world.
15. For “ten kinds of elephants” of which the Chaddanta (Six-toothed) is the “best”
see M-a II 25. Cf. also the description of the elephant called “Uposatha,” one of the
seven treasures of the Wheel-turning Monarch (M II 173). On the expression “with
sevenfold stance” (sattappatiṭṭha) Vism-mhṭ says “Hatthapāda-vālavatthikosehi
bhūmiphusanehi sattahi patiṭṭhito ti sattapatiṭṭho
” (Vism-mhṭ 838).
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becoming dispassionate towards those same formations, thus the name
‘contemplation of dispassion’ arose.” Also it is said in the text: “Understanding
of appearance as terror, knowledge of danger, and dispassion: these things are
one in meaning, only the letter is different” (Paṭis II 63).
[6. KNOWLEDGE OF DESIRE FOR DELIVERANCE]
45.
When, owing to this knowledge of dispassion, this clansman becomes
dispassionate towards, is dissatisfied with, takes no delight in any single one of
all the manifold formations in any kind of becoming, generation, destiny, station
of consciousness, or abode of beings, his mind no longer sticks fast, cleaves,
fastens on to them, and he becomes desirous of being delivered from the whole
field of formations and escaping from it. Like what?
46. Just as a fish in a net, a frog in a snake’s jaws, a jungle fowl shut into a cage,
a deer fallen into the clutches of a strong snare, a snake in the hands of a snake
charmer, an elephant stuck fast in a great bog, a royal nāga in the mouth of a
supaṇṇa, the moon inside Rāhu’s mouth,16 a man encircled by enemies, etc.—
just as these are desirous of being delivered, of finding an escape from these
things, so too this meditator’s mind is desirous of being delivered from the
whole field of formations and escaping from it. Then, when he thus no longer
relies on any formations and is desirous of being delivered from the whole field
of formations, knowledge of desire for deliverance arises in him.
Knowledge of desire for deliverance is ended.
[7. KNOWLEDGE OF REFLECTION]
47. Being thus desirous of deliverance from all the manifold formations in any
kind of becoming, generation, destiny, station, or abode, in order to be delivered
from the whole field of formations [652] he again discerns those same formations,
attributing to them the three characteristics by knowledge of contemplation of
reflection.
48. He sees all formations as impermanent for the following reasons: because
they are non-continuous, temporary, limited by rise and fall, disintegrating,
fickle, perishable, unenduring, subject to change, coreless, due to be annihilated,
formed, subject to death, and so on.
He sees them as painful for the following reasons: because they are
continuously oppressed, hard to bear, the basis of pain, a disease, a tumour, a
dart, a calamity, an affliction, a plague, a disaster, a terror, a menace, no protection,
no shelter, no refuge, a danger, the root of calamity, murderous, subject to cankers,
Māra’s bait, subject to birth, subject to ageing, subject to illness, subject to sorrow,
subject to lamentation, subject to despair, subject to defilement, and so on.
He sees all formations as foul (ugly)—the ancillary characteristic to that of
pain—for the following reasons: because they are objectionable, stinking,
disgusting, repulsive, unaffected by disguise, hideous, loathsome, and so on.
16.
Rāhu is the name for the eclipse of the sun or moon, personalized as a demon
who takes them in his mouth (see S I 50–51 and M I 87).
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He sees all formations as not-self for the following reasons: because they are
alien, empty, vain, void, ownerless, with no Overlord, with none to wield power
over them, and so on.
It is when he sees formations in this way that he is said to discern them by
attributing to them the three characteristics.
49. But why does he discern them in this way? In order to contrive the means
to deliverance. Here is a simile: a man thought to catch a fish, it seems, so he took
a fishing net and cast it in the water. He put his hand into the mouth of the net
under the water and seized a snake by the neck. He was glad, thinking, “I have
caught a fish.” In the belief that he had caught a big fish, he lifted it up to see.
When he saw three marks, he perceived that it was a snake and he was terrified.
He saw danger, felt dispassion (revulsion) for what he had seized, and desired
to be delivered from it. Contriving a means to deliverance, he unwrapped [the
coils from] his hand, starting from the tip of its tail. Then he raised his arm, and
when he had weakened the snake by swinging it two or three times round his
head, he flung it away, crying “Go, foul snake.” Then quickly scrambling up on
to dry land, he stood looking back whence he had come, thinking, “Goodness, I
have been delivered from the jaws of a huge snake!”
50. Herein, the time when the meditator was glad at the outset to have acquired
a person is like the time when the man was glad to have seized the snake by the
neck. This meditator’s seeing the three characteristics in formations after effecting
resolution of the compact [into elements] is like the man’s seeing the three marks
on pulling the snake’s head out of the mouth of the net. [653] The meditator’s
knowledge of appearance as terror is like the time when the man was frightened.
Knowledge of contemplation of danger is like the man’s thereupon seeing the
danger. Knowledge of contemplation of dispassion is like the man’s dispassion
(revulsion) for what he had seized. Knowledge of desire for deliverance is like
the man’s deliverance from the snake. The attribution of the three characteristics
to formations by knowledge of contemplation of reflection is like the man’s
contriving a means to deliverance. For just as the man weakened the snake by
swinging it, keeping it away and rendering it incapable of biting, and was thus
quite delivered, so too this meditator weakens formations by swinging them
with the attribution of the three characteristics, rendering them incapable of
appearing again in the modes of permanence, pleasure, beauty, and self, and is
thus quite delivered. That is why it was said above that he discerns them in this
way “in order to contrive the means to deliverance.”
51. At this point knowledge of reflection has arisen in him, with reference to
which it is said: “When he brings to mind as impermanent, there arises in him
knowledge after reflecting on what? When he brings to mind as painful, … as
not-self, there arises in him knowledge after reflecting on what? When he brings
to mind as impermanent, there arises in him knowledge after reflecting on the
sign. When he brings to mind as painful, there arises in him knowledge after
reflecting on occurrence. When he brings to mind as not-self, there arises in him
knowledge after reflecting on the sign and occurrence” (Paṭis II 63).
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52.
As here after reflecting on the sign [means] having known the sign of
formations by means of the characteristic of impermanence as unlasting and
temporary. Of course, it is not17 that, first having known, subsequently knowledge
arises; but it is expressed in this way according to common usage, as in the
passage beginning, “Due to (lit. having depended upon) mind and mental
object, mind-consciousness arises” (M I 112), and so on. Or alternatively, it can
be understood as expressed thus according to the method of identity by
identifying the preceding with the subsequent. The meaning of the remaining
two expressions [that is, “occurrence” and “the sign and occurrence”] should
be understood in the same way.
Knowledge of contemplation of reflection is ended.
[DISCERNING FORMATIONS AS VOID]
53.
Having thus discerned by knowledge of contemplation of reflection that
“All formations are void” (see S III 167), he again discerns voidness in the double
logical relation18 thus: “This is void of self or of what belongs to self” (M II 263;
Paṭis II 36).
When he has thus seen that there is neither a self nor any other [thing or
being] occupying the position of a self s property, he again discerns voidness in
the quadruple logical relation as set forth in this [654] passage: “I am not
anywhere anyone’s owning, nor is there anywhere my owning in anyone (nāhaṃ
kvacani kassaci kiñcanat’ asmiṃ na ca mama kvacani kismiñci kiñcanat’ atthi
)” (M II
263).19 How?
17. The sense seems to require a reading, “Kāmañ ca na paṭhamaṃ”…
18.
Dvikoṭika (“double logical relation”) and catukoṭika (“quadruple logical relation”):
Skr. catuýkoṭi (cf. Th. Stcherbatsky, Buddhist Logic, pp. 60–61, note 5).
19.
There are a number of variant readings to this sutta passage (which is met with
elsewhere as follows: A I 206; II 177; cf. III 170). There are also variant readings of the
commentary, reproduced at M-a IV 63–65 and in the commentary to A II 177. The
readings adopted are those which a study of the various contexts has indicated. The
passage is a difficult one.
The sutta passage seems from its various settings to have been a phrase current
among non-Buddhists, as a sort of slogan for naked ascetics (A I 206); and it is used
to describe the base consisting of nothingness (M II 263), in which latter sense it is
incorporated in the Buddha’s teaching as a description that can be made the basis for
right view or wrong view according as it is treated.
The commentarial interpretation given here is summed up by Vism-mhṭ as follows:
“‘Nāhaṃ kvacini’: he sees the non-existence of a self of his own. ‘Na kassaci kiñcanat’asmiṃ’:
he sees of his own self too that it is not the property of another’s self. ‘Na ca mama’:
these words should be construed as indicated. ‘Atthi’ applies to each clause. He sees
the nonexistence of another’s self thus, ‘There is no other’s self anywhere.’ He sees of
another that that other is not the property of his own self thus, ‘My owning of that
other’s self does not exist.’ So this mere conglomeration of formations is seen, by
discerning it with the voidness of the quadruple logical relation, as voidness of self or
property of a self in both internal and external aggregates’” (Vism-mhṭ 840–41 = ṭīkā
to MN 106).
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54. (i) This [meditator, thinking] I … not anywhere (nāhaṃ kvacani), does not
see a self anywhere; (ii) [Thinking] am … anyone’s owning (kassaci kiñcanat’
asmiṃ
), he does not see a self of his own to be inferred in another’s owning; the
meaning is that he does not see [a self of his own] deducible by conceiving a
brother [to own it] in the case of a brother,20 a friend [to own it] in the case of a
friend, or a chattel [to own it] in the case of a chattel; (iii) [As regards the phrase]
nor … anywhere my (na ca mama kvacani), leaving aside the word my (mama) here
for the moment, [the words] nor anywhere (na ca kvacani) [means that] he does
not21 see another’s self anywhere; (iv) Now, bringing in the word my (mama), [we
have] is there … my owning in anyone (mama kismiñci kiñcanat’ atthi): he does not
see thus, “Another’s self exists owing to some state of my owning22 [of it]”; the
meaning is that he does not see in any instance another’s self deducible owing
to this fact of his owning a brother in the case of a brother, a friend in the case of
a friend, chattel in the case of a chattel. So (i) he sees no self anywhere [of his
own]; (ii) nor does he see it as deducible in the fact of another’s owning; (iii) nor
does he see another’s self; (iv) nor does he see that as deducible in the fact of his
own owning.23 This is how he discerns voidness in the quadruple logical relation.
55.
Having discerned voidness in the quadruple logical relation in this way,
he discerns voidness again in six modes. How? Eye (i) is void of self, (ii) or of the
property of a self, (iii) or of permanence, (iv) or of lastingness, (v) or of eternalness,
(vi) or of non-subjectness to change; … mind … visible data … mental data …
eye-consciousness … mind-consciousness … mind-contact … (Nidd II 187 (Se);
Nidd II 279 (Ee); cf. S IV 54) and this should be continued as far as ageing-and-
death (see XX.9).
56.
Having discerned voidness in the six modes in this way, he discerns it
again in eight modes, that is to say: “Materiality has no core, is coreless, without
core, as far as concerns (i) any core of permanence, or (ii) core of lastingness, or
(iii) core of pleasure, or (iv) core of self, or as far as concerns (v) what is permanent,
or (vi) what is lasting, or (vii) what is eternal, or (viii) what is not subject to
change. Feeling … perception … formations … consciousness … eye … (etc., see
XX.9) … ageing-and-death has no core, is coreless, without a core, as far as
concerns any core of permanence, or core of lastingness, or core of pleasure, or
core of self, or as far as concerns what is permanent, or what is lasting, or what
is eternal, or what is not subject to change. Just as a reed has no core, is coreless,
without core; just as a castor-oil plant, an udumbara (fig) tree, a setavaccha tree, a
pāḷibhaddaka tree, a lump of froth, a bubble on water, a mirage, a plantain trunk,
[655] a conjuring trick, has no core, is coreless, without core, so too materiality …
20. Bhātiṭṭhāne—“in the case of a brother”: the form bhāti is not given in PED.
21. Reading “… ṭhapetvā na ca kvacini (:) parassa ca attānaṃ kvaci na passatī ti ayaṃ attho;
idāni …” with Ce of M-a and A-a
22. M-a Sinhalese (Aluvihāra) ed. has kiñcanabhāvena here instead of kiñcana-bhāve.
23. Sinhalese eds. of M-a and A-a both read here: “… upanetabbaṃ passati, na parassa
attānaṃ passati, na parassa attano kiñcanabhāve upanetabbaṃ passati
,” which the sense
demands.
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(etc) … ageing-and-death has no core … or what is subject to change” (Nidd II
184–85 (Se); Nidd II 278–89 (Ee)).
57. Having discerned voidness in eight modes in this way, he discerns it again
in ten modes. How? “He sees materiality as empty, as vain, as not-self, as having
no Overlord, as incapable of being made into what one wants, as incapable of
being had [as one wishes], as insusceptible to the exercise of mastery, as alien, as
secluded [from past and future]. He sees feeling … (etc.) … consciousness as
empty, … as secluded”24 (Nidd II 279 (Ee)).
58. Having discerned voidness in ten modes in this way, he discerns it again
in twelve modes, that is to say: “Materiality is no living being,25 no soul, no
human being, no man, no female, no male, no self, no property of a self, not I, not
mine, not another’s, not anyone’s. Feeling … (etc.) … consciousness … not
anyone’s (Nidd II 186 (Se); Nidd II 280 (Ee)).
59.
Having discerned voidness in twelve modes in this way, he discerns it
again in forty-two modes through full-understanding as investigating. He sees
materiality as impermanent, as painful, as a disease, a tumour, a dart, a calamity,
an affliction, as alien, as disintegrating, a plague, a disaster, a terror, a menace,
as fickle, perishable, unenduring, as no protection, no shelter, no refuge, as unfit
to be a refuge, as empty, vain, void, not-self, as without satisfaction,26 as a danger,
as subject to change, as having no core, as the root of calamity, as murderous, as
due to be annihilated, as subject to cankers, as formed, as Māra’s bait, as subject
to birth, subject to ageing, subject to illness, subject to death, subject to sorrow,
lamentation, pain, grief and despair; as arising, as departing; as danger,27 as
(having an) escape. He sees feeling … (etc.) … consciousness … as (having an)
escape (cf. Paṭis II 238).
60.
And this is said too:28 “When he sees materiality as impermanent … as
(having an) escape, he looks upon the world as void. When he sees feeling …
(etc.) … consciousness as impermanent … as (having an) escape, he looks upon
the world as void.” [656]
“Let him look on the world as void:
Thus, Mogharāja, always mindful,
He may escape the clutch of death
24. The cause and the fruit being secluded from each other (see Vism-mhṭ 842).
25.
“A meaning such as ‘what in common usage in the world is called a being is not
materiality’ is not intended here because it is not implied by what is said; for the
common usage of the world does not speak of mere materiality as a being. What is
intended as a being is the self that is conjectured by outsiders” (Vism-mhṭ 842).
26.
“This is not in the text. If it were there would be forty-three ways” (Vism-mhṭ 842).
27.
“Although it has already been described as a danger in order to show it as such,
the word is used again in order to show that it is opposed to enjoyment (satisfaction)”
(Vism-mhṭ 843).
28.
Vism-mhṭ (p. 843) seems to suggest that this is quoted from the Niddesa, but it
is not in Nidd II in this form. Cf. Nidd II 162 (Be): Atha vā, vedanaṃ aniccato … dukkhato
rogato gaṇḍato sallato aghato ābādhato … pe … nissaraṇato passanto vedanaṃ nābhinandati …
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By giving up belief in self.
For King Death cannot see the man
That looks in this way on the world”29
[8. KNOWLEDGE OF EQUANIMITY ABOUT FORMATIONS]
61. When he has discerned formations by attributing the three characteristics
to them and seeing them as void in this way, he abandons both terror and delight,
he becomes indifferent to them and neutral, he neither takes them as “I” nor as
mine,” he is like a man who has divorced his wife.
62. Suppose a man were married to a lovely, desirable, charming wife and so
deeply in love with her as to be unable to bear separation from her for a moment.
He would be disturbed and displeased to see her standing or sitting or talking
or laughing with another man, and would be very unhappy; but later, when he
had found out the woman’s faults, and wanting to get free, had divorced her, he
would no more take her as “mine”; and thereafter, even though he saw her
doing whatever it might be with whomsoever it might be, he would not be
disturbed or displeased, but would on the contrary be indifferent and neutral.
So too this [meditator], wanting to get free from all formations, discerns formations
by the contemplation of reflection; then, seeing nothing to be taken as “I” or
“mine,” he abandons both terror and delight and becomes indifferent and neutral
towards all formations.
63. When he knows and sees thus, his heart retreats, retracts and recoils from
the three kinds of becoming, the four kinds of generation, the five kinds of destiny,
the seven stations of consciousness, and the nine abodes of beings; his heart no
longer goes out to them. Either equanimity or repulsiveness is established. Just
as water drops retreat, retract and recoil on a lotus leaf that slopes a little and do
not spread out, so too his heart … And just as a fowl’s feather or a shred of sinew
thrown on a fire retreats, retracts and recoils, and does not spread out, so too his
heart retreats, retracts and recoils from the three kinds of becoming … Either
equanimity or repulsiveness is established.
In this way there arises in him what is called knowledge of equanimity about
formations.
64.
But if this [knowledge] sees Nibbāna, the state of peace, as peaceful, it
rejects the occurrence of all formations and enters only into Nibbāna. If it does
not see Nibbāna as peaceful, [657] it occurs again and again with formations as
its object, like the sailors’ crow.
65. When traders board a ship, it seems, they take with them what is called a
land-finding crow. When the ship gets blown off its course by gales and goes
adrift with no land in sight, then they release the land-finding crow. It takes off
from the mast-head,30 and after exploring all the quarters, if it sees land, it flies
straight in the direction of it; if not, it returns and alights on the mast-head. So
29. Sn 1119: Nidd II 190 (Se); Nidd II 278 (Ee)
30.
Kūpaka-yaṭṭhi—“mast-head” (?): the word kūpaka appears in PED, only as an
equivalent for kūpa = a hole. Cf. D I 222 for this simile.
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too, if knowledge of equanimity about formations sees Nibbāna, the state of peace, as
peaceful, it rejects the occurrence of all formations and enters only into Nibbāna. If
it does not see it, it occurs again and again with formations as its object.
66.
Now, after discerning formations in the various modes, as though sifting
flour on the edge of a tray, as though carding cotton from which the seeds have
been picked out,31 and after abandoning terror and delight, and after becoming
neutral in the investigation of formations, he still persists in the triple
contemplation. And in so doing, this [insight knowledge] enters upon the state
of the triple gateway to liberation, and it becomes a condition for the classification
of noble persons into seven kinds.
[THE  TRIPLE  GATEWAY  TO  LIBERATION]
It enters upon the state of the triple gateway to liberation now with the
predominance of [one of] three faculties according as the contemplation occurs
in [one of] the three ways.32
67. For it is the three contemplations that are called the three gateways to liberation,
according as it is said: “But these three gateways to liberation lead to the outlet from
the world, [that is to say,] (i) to the seeing of all formations as limited and circumscribed
and to the entering of consciousness into the signless element, (ii) to the stirring up
of the mind with respect to all formations and to the entering of consciousness into
the desireless element, (iii) to the seeing of all things (dhamma) as alien and to the
entering of consciousness into the voidness element. These three gateways to
liberation lead to the outlet from the world” (Paṭis II 48).33
31.
Vaṭṭayamāna—“sifting”: not in PED; Vism-mhṭ glosses with niccoriyamāna, also
not in PED. Nibbaṭṭita—“picked out”: not in PED. Vism-mhṭ glosses nibbaṭṭita-kappāsaṃ
with  nibaṭṭita-bīja-kappāsaṃ.”  Vihaṭamāna—“carding”: not in PED; glossed by Vism-
mhṭ with dhūnakena (not in PED) vihaññamānaṃ viya (Vism-mhṭ 844).
32.
When insight reaches its culmination, it settles down in one of the three
contemplations [impermanence, pain, or not-self] and at this stage of the development
the “seven contemplations” and the “eighteen contemplations” (or “principal insights”)
are all included by the three (see Vism-mhṭ 844).
33.
“Contemplation of impermanence sees formations as limited by rise in the
beginning and by fall in the end, and it sees that it is because they have a beginning
and an end that they are impermanent. ‘Into the signless element’: into the unformed
element, which is given the name ‘signless’ because it is the opposite of the sign of
formations. ‘To the entering of consciousness’: to the higher consciousness’s completely
going into by means of the state of conformity knowledge, after delimiting. ‘Into the
desireless
’: into the unformed element, which is given the name ‘desireless’ owing to
the non-existence of desire due to greed and so on. ‘Into the void’: into the unformed
element, which is given the name ‘void’ because of voidness of self” (Vism-mhṭ 845).
34.
“One who is pursuing insight by discerning formations according to their sign
by means of the contemplation of impermanence and resolves according to the signless
aspect thus, ‘Where this sign of formations is entirely nonexistent, that is, the signless
Nibbāna’ joins insight leading to emergence with the path. Then the path realizes
Nibbāna for him as signless. The signless aspect of Nibbāna is not created by the path
or by insight; on the contrary, it is the establishment of the individual essence of
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68.
Herein, as limited and circumscribed [means] both as limited by rise and fall
and as circumscribed by them; for contemplation of impermanence limits them
thus, “Formations do not exist previous to their rise,” and in seeking their destiny,
sees them as circumscribed thus, “They do not go beyond fall, they vanish there.”
To the stirring up of the mind: by giving consciousness a sense of urgency; for
with the contemplation of pain consciousness acquires a sense of urgency with
respect to formations. [658] To the seeing … as alien: to contemplating them as not-
self thus: “Not I,” “Not mine.”
69. So these three clauses should be understood to express the contemplations
of impermanence, and so on. Hence in the answer to the next question [asked in
the Paṭisambhidā] it is said: “When he brings [them] to mind as impermanent,
formations appear as liable to destruction. When he brings them to mind as
painful, formations appear as a terror. When he brings them to mind as not-self,
formations appear as void” (Paṭis II 48).
70. What are the liberations to which these contemplations are the gateways?
They are these three, namely, the signless, the desireless, and the void. For this is
said: “When one who has great resolution brings [formations] to mind as
impermanent, he acquires the signless liberation. When one who has great
tranquillity brings [them] to mind as painful, he acquires the desireless liberation.
When one who has great wisdom brings [them] to mind as not-self, he acquires
the void liberation” (Paṭis II 58).
71. And here the signless liberation should be understood as the noble path that
has occurred by making Nibbāna its object through the signless aspect. For that
path is signless owing to the signless element having arisen, and it is a liberation
owing to deliverance from defilements.34 In the same way the path that has
occurred by making Nibbāna its object through the desireless aspect is desireless.
And the path that has occurred by making Nibbāna its object through the void
aspect is void.
72. But it is said in the Abhidhamma: “On the occasion when he develops the
supramundane jhāna that is an outlet and leads to dispersal, having abandoned
the field of [false] views with the reaching of the first grade, secluded from sense
desires he enters upon and dwells in the first jhāna, which is desireless … is
void,” (Dhs §510) thus mentioning only two liberations. This refers to the way in
which insight arrives [at the path] and is expressed literally.
73. However, in the Paṭisambhidā insight knowledge is expressed as follows:
(i) It is expressed firstly as the void liberation by its liberating from misinterpreting
[formations]: “Knowledge of contemplation of impermanence is the void liberation
since it liberates from interpreting [them] as permanent; knowledge of
contemplation of pain is the void liberation since it liberates from interpreting
Nibbāna, and the path is called signless because it has that as its object. One who
resolves upon the desireless by keeping desire away by means of the contemplation
of pain, and one who resolves upon the void by keeping the belief in self away by
means of the contemplation of not-self, should both be construed in the same way”
(Vism-mhṭ 846).
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[them] as pleasant; knowledge of contemplation of not-self is the void liberation
since it liberates from interpreting [them] as self” (Paṭis II 67). (ii) Then it is
expressed as the signless liberation by liberating from signs: “Knowledge of
contemplation of impermanence is the signless liberation since it liberates from
the sign [of formations] as permanent; knowledge of contemplation of pain is
the signless liberation since it liberates from the sign [of formations] as pleasant;
knowledge of contemplation of not-self is the signless liberation since it liberates
from the sign [of formations] as self” (Paṭis II 68). [659] (iii) Lastly it is expressed
as the desireless liberation by its liberating from desire: “Knowledge of
contemplation of impermanence is the desireless liberation since it liberates
from desire [for formations] as permanent; knowledge of contemplation of pain
is the desireless liberation since it liberates from the desire [for them] as pleasant;
knowledge of contemplation of not-self is the desireless liberation since it
liberates from the desire [for them] as self” (Paṭis II 68). But although stated in
this way, insight knowledge is not literally signless because there is no
abandoning of the sign of formations [as formed, here, as distinct from their
sign as impermanent and so on]. It is however literally void and desireless. And
it is at the moment of the noble path that the liberation is distinguished, and that
is done according to insight knowledge’s way of arrival at the path.35 That, it
35. “Why is signless insight unable to give its own name to the path when it has
come to the point of arrival at the path? Of course, signless insight is mentioned in the
suttas thus, ‘Develop the signless and get rid of the inherent tendency to conceit’ (Sn
342). Nevertheless, though it eliminates the signs of permanence, of lastingness, and
of self, it still possesses a sign itself and is occupied with states that possess a sign.
Again, the Abhidhamma is the teaching in the ultimate sense, and in the ultimate
sense the cause of a signless path is wanting. For the signless liberation is stated in
accordance with the contemplation of impermanence, and in that the faith faculty
predominates. But the faith faculty is not represented by any one of the factors of the
path. And so it cannot give its name to the path since it forms no part of it. In the case
of the other two, the desireless liberation is due to the contemplation of pain, and the
void liberation is due to the contemplation of not-self. Now the concentration faculty
predominates in the desireless liberation and the understanding faculty in the void
liberation. So since these are factors of the path as well, they can give their own names
to the path; but there is no signless path because the factor is wanting. So some say.
But there are others who say that there is a signless path, and that although it does not
get its name from the way insight arrives at it, still it gets its name from a special
quality of its own and from its object. In their opinion the desireless and void paths
should also get their names from special qualities of their own and from their objects
too. That is wrong. Why? Because the path gets its names for two reasons, that is,
because of its own nature and because of what it opposes—the meaning is, because of
its individual essence and because of what it is contrary to. For the desireless path is
free from desire due to greed, etc., and the void path is free from greed too, so they
both get their names from their individual essence. Similarly, the desireless path is the
contrary of desire and the void path is the contrary of misinterpretation as self, so
they get their names from what they oppose. On the other hand, the signless path
gets its name only from its own nature owing to the non-existence in it of the signs of
greed, etc., or of the signs of permanence, etc., but not owing to what it opposes. For it
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should be understood, is why only two liberations are stated [in the
Abhidhamma], namely, the desireless and the void.
This, firstly, is the treatise on the liberations here.
[THE SEVEN KINDS OF NOBLE PERSONS]
74.
It was said above, “It becomes a condition for the classification of noble
persons into seven kinds.” (§66) Herein, there are firstly these seven kinds of
noble person: (1) the faith devotee, (2) one liberated by faith, (3) the body witness,
(4) the both-ways liberated, (5) the Dhamma devotee, (6) one attained to vision,
and (7) one liberated by understanding. This knowledge of equanimity about
formations is a condition for their being placed as these seven classes.
75.
When a man brings [formations] to mind as impermanent and, having
great resolution, acquires the faith faculty, (1) he becomes a faith devotee at the
moment of the stream-entry path; and in the other seven instances [that is, in the
three higher paths and the four fruitions] he becomes (2) one liberated by faith.
When a man brings [them] to mind as painful and, having great tranquillity,
acquires the faculty of concentration, (3) he is called a body witness in all eight
instances. (4) He is called both-ways liberated when he has reached the highest
fruition after also reaching the immaterial jhānas. When a man brings [them] to
mind as not-self and, having great wisdom, acquires the faculty of understanding,
he becomes (5) a Dhamma devotee at the moment of the stream-entry path; (6) in
the next six instances he becomes one attained to vision; and (7) in the case of the
highest fruition he becomes one liberated by understanding.
76.
(1) This is said: “When he brings [formations] to mind as impermanent,
the faith faculty is in excess in him. With the faith faculty in excess he acquires
the stream-entry path. Hence he is called a ’faith devotee’” (Paṭis II 53). [660]
Likewise, (2) “When he brings [formations] to mind as impermanent, the faith
faculty is in excess in him. With the faith faculty in excess the fruition of stream-
entry is realized. Hence he is called ‘one liberated by faith’” (Paṭis II 53).
does not oppose the contemplation of impermanence, which has as its object the sign of
formations [as formed], but remains in agreement with it. So a signless path is altogether
inadmissible by the Abhidhamma method. This is why it is said, ‘This refers to the way in
which insight arrives at the path and is expressed in the literal sense’ (§72).
“However, by the Suttanta method a signless path is admissible. For according to that,
in whatever way insight leading to emergence (see §83) effects its comprehending it still
leads on to emergence of the path, and when it is at the point of arrival it gives its own
name to the path accordingly—when emerging owing to comprehension as impermanent
the path is signless, when emerging owing to comprehension as painful it is desireless,
and when emerging owing to comprehension as not-self it is void. Taking this as a sutta
commentary, therefore, three liberations are differentiated here. But in the Paṭisambhidā
the deliverance from misinterpreting, from the sign and from desire, are taken respectively
as the arrival of the three kinds of comprehension at that deliverance, and what is described
is a corresponding state of void liberation, etc., respectively in the paths that follow upon
that deliverance. There is no question of treating that literally, which is why he said,
‘However, in the Paṭisambhidā insight knowledge’ and so on” (Vism-mhṭ 846–48).
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77. It is said further: “[At the moment of the first path:] (2) he has been liberated
by having faith (saddahanto vimutto), thus he is one liberated by faith; (3) he has
realized [Nibbāna] by experiencing, thus he is a body witness; (6) he has attained
[Nibbāna] by vision, thus he is one attained to vision. [At the moments of the
three remaining paths:] (2) he is liberated by faith (saddahanto vimuccati), thus he
is one liberated by faith; (3) he first experiences the experience of jhāna and
afterwards realizes cessation, Nibbāna, thus he is a body witness; (6) it is known,
seen, recognized, realized, and experienced with understanding, that formations
are painful and cessation is bliss, thus he is one attained to vision” (Paṭis II 52).
78. As to the remaining four, however, the word meaning should be understood
thus: (1) he follows (anusarati) faith, thus he is a faith devotee (saddhānusāri); or
he follows, he goes, by means of faith, thus he is a faith devotee. (5) Likewise, he
follows the Dhamma called understanding, or he follows by means of the
Dhamma, thus he is a Dhamma devotee. (4) He is liberated in both ways, by
immaterial jhāna and the noble path, thus he is both-ways liberated. (7)
Understanding, he is liberated, thus he is one liberated by understanding.
[THE LAST THREE KNOWLEDGES ARE ONE]
79. This [knowledge of equanimity about formations] is the same in meaning
as the two kinds that precede it. Hence the Ancients said: “This knowledge of
equanimity about formations is one only and has three names. At the outset it
has the name of knowledge of desire for deliverance. In the middle it has the
name knowledge of reflection. At the end, when it has reached its culmination,
it is called knowledge of equanimity about formations.”
80. “How is it that understanding of desire for deliverance, of reflection, and of
composure is knowledge of the kinds of equanimity about formations?
Understanding of desire for deliverance, of reflection, and composure [occupied
with] arising is knowledge of equanimity about formations. Understanding of
desire for deliverance, of reflection, and of composure [occupied with] occurrence
… the sign … (etc., see §37) … with despair is knowledge of equanimity about
formations” (Paṭis I 60f.).
81.
Herein, the compound muñcitukamyatā-paṭisaṅkhā-santiṭṭhanā (“consisting
in desire for deliverance, in reflection, and in composure”) should be resolved
into muñcitukamyatā ca sā paṭisaṅkhā ca santiṭṭhanā ca. So [661] in the first stage it
is desire to give up, the desire to be delivered from, arising, etc., in one who has
become dispassionate by knowledge of dispassion that is desire for deliverance. It
is reflection in the middle stage for the purpose of finding a means to deliverance
that is reflection. It is equanimous onlooking in the end stage on being delivered
that is composure. It is said with reference to this: “Arising is formations; he looks
with equanimity on those formations; thus it is equanimity about formations”
(Paṭis I 61), and so on. So this is only one kind of knowledge.
82. Furthermore, it may be understood that this is so from the following text;
for this is said: “Desire for deliverance, and contemplation of reflection, and
equanimity about formations: these things are one in meaning and only the
letter is different” (Paṭis II 64).
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[INSIGHT LEADING TO EMERGENCE]
83. Now, when this clansman has reached equanimity about formations thus,
his insight has reached its culmination and leads to emergence. “Insight that
has reached culmination” or “insight leading to emergence” are names for the
three kinds of knowledge beginning with equanimity about formations, [that is,
equanimity about formations, conformity, and change-of-lineage]. It has “reached
its culmination” because it has reached the culminating final stage. It is called
“leading to emergence” because it goes towards emergence. The path is called
“emergence” because it emerges externally from the objective basis interpreted
as a sign and also internally from occurrence [of defilement].36 It goes to that,
thus it leads to emergence; the meaning is that it joins with the path.
84.
Herein, for the purpose of clarification there is this list of the kinds of
emergence classed according to the manner of interpreting: (1) after interpreting
the internal37 it emerges from the internal, (2) after interpreting the internal it
emerges from the external, (3) after interpreting the external it emerges from the
external, (4) after interpreting the external it emerges from the internal; (5) after
interpreting the material it emerges from the material, (6) after interpreting the
material it emerges from the immaterial, (7) after interpreting the immaterial it
emerges from the immaterial, (8) after interpreting the immaterial it emerges
from the material; (9) it emerges at one stroke from the five aggregates; (10) after
interpreting as impermanent it emerges from the impermanent, (11) after
interpreting as impermanent it emerges from the painful, (12) after interpreting
as impermanent it emerges from the not-self; (13) after interpreting as painful it
emerges from the painful, (14) after interpreting as painful it emerges from the
impermanent, (15) after interpreting as painful it emerges from the not-self, (16)
after interpreting as not-self it emerges from the not-self, (17) after interpreting
as not-self it emerges from the impermanent, (18) after interpreting as not-self it
emerges from the painful. How?
36. “‘From the object interpreted as the sign’: from the pentad of aggregates as the
object of insight; for that pentad of aggregates is called the ‘object interpreted’ on
account of the interpreting, in other words, on account of being made the domain of
insight. And although it is included in one’s own continuity, it is nevertheless called
‘external’ because it is seen as alien to it; it is that too which in other contexts is spoken
of as ‘externally from all signs’ (Paṭis I 71). ‘Internally from occurrence’: from the
occurrence of wrong view, etc., in one’s own continuity, and from the defilements and
from the aggregates that occur consequent upon them. For it is stated in this way
because there is occurrence of defilement in one’s own continuity and because there
is occurrence of clung-to aggregates produced by that [defilement] when there is no
path development. And emergence consists both in making these the object and in
producing their non-liability to future arising” (Vism-mhṭ 853).
37. “‘Emerges from the internal’ is said figuratively owing to the fact that in this case
the insight leading to emergence has an internal state as its object. In the literal sense,
however, the path emerges from both” (Vism-mhṭ 853).
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85. Here (1) someone does his interpreting at the start with his own internal
formations. After interpreting them he sees them. But emergence of the path does
not come about through seeing the bare internal only since the external must be
seen too, so he sees that another’s aggregates, as well as unclung-to formations
[inanimate things], are impermanent, painful, not-self. At one time [662] he
comprehends the internal and at another time the external. As he does so, insight
joins with the path while he is comprehending the internal. It is said of him that
“after interpreting the internal it emerges from the internal.” (2) If his insight
joins with the path at the time when he is comprehending the external, it is said
of him that “after interpreting the internal it emerges from the external.” (3)
Similarly in the case of “after interpreting the external it emerges from the
external,” and (4) “from the internal.”
86. (5) Another does his interpreting at the start with materiality. When he has
done that, he sees the materiality of the primaries and the materiality derived
from them all together. But emergence does not come about through the seeing
of bare materiality only since the immaterial must be seen too, so he sees as the
immaterial [mentality] the feeling, perception, formations and consciousness
that have arisen by making that materiality their object. At one time he
comprehends the material and at another the immaterial. As he does so, insight
joins with the path while he is comprehending materiality. It is said of him that
“after interpreting the material it emerges from the material.” (6) But if his insight
joins with the path at the time when he is comprehending the immaterial, it is
said of him that “after interpreting the material it emerges from the immaterial.”
(7) Similarly in the case of “after interpreting the immaterial it emerges from the
immaterial,” and (8) “from the material.”
87.
(9) When he has done his interpreting in this way, “All that is subject to
arising is subject to cessation” (M I 380), and so too at the time of emergence, it is
said that “it emerges at one stroke from the five aggregates.”
88.
(10) One man comprehends formations as impermanent at the start. But
emergence does not come about through mere comprehending as impermanent
since there must be comprehension of them as painful and not-self too, so he
comprehends them as painful and not-self. As he does so, emergence comes
about while he is comprehending them as impermanent. It is said of him that
“after interpreting as impermanent it emerges from the impermanent,” (11)–
(12) But if emergence comes about in him while he is comprehending them as
painful … as not-self, then it is said that “after interpreting as impermanent it
emerges from the painful … from the not-self.” Similarly in the cases of emergence
after interpreting (13)–(15) as painful and (16)–(18) as not-self.
89.
And whether they have interpreted [at the start] as impermanent or as
painful or as not-self, when the time of emergence comes, if the emergence takes
place [while contemplating] as impermanent, then all three persons acquire the
faculty of faith since they have great resolution; they are liberated by the signless
liberation, and so they become faith devotees at the moment of the first path; and
in the remaining seven stages they are liberated by faith. [663] If the emergence
is from the painful, then the three persons acquire the faculty of concentration
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since they have great tranquillity; they are liberated by the desireless liberation,
and in all eight states they are body witnesses. Of them, the one who has an
immaterial jhāna as the basis for his insight is, in the case of the highest fruition,
both-ways liberated. And then if the emergence takes place [while contemplating]
as not-self, the three persons acquire the faculty of understanding since they
have great wisdom; they are liberated by the void liberation. They become Dhamma
devotees at the moment of the first path. In the next six instances they become
attained to vision. In the case of the highest fruit they are liberated by
understanding.
[THE  TWELVE  SIMILES]
90. Now, twelve similes should be understood in order to explain this insight
leading to emergence and the kinds of knowledge that precede and follow it.
Here is the list:
(1) The fruit bat, (2) the black snake, and (3) the house,
(4) The oxen, and(5) the ghoul, (6) the child,
(7) Hunger, and (8) thirst, and (9) cold, and (10) heat,
And (11) darkness, and (12) by poison, too.
A pause can be made to bring in these similes anywhere among the kinds of
knowledge from appearance as terror onwards. But if they are brought in here,
then all becomes clear from appearance as terror up to fruition knowledge,
which is why it was said that they should be brought in here.38
91. 1. The Fruit Bat. There was a fruit bat, it seems. She had alighted on a honey
tree (madhuka) with five branches, thinking, “I shall find flowers or fruits here.”
She investigated one branch but saw no flowers or fruits there worth taking. And
as with the first so too she tried the second, the third, the fourth, and the fifth, but
saw nothing. She thought, “This tree is barren; there is nothing worth taking
here,” so she lost interest in the tree. She climbed up on a straight branch, and
poking her head through a gap in the foliage, she looked upwards, flew up into
the air and alighted on another tree.
92. Herein, the meditator should be regarded as like the fruit bat. The five aggregates
as objects of clinging are like the honey tree with the five branches. The meditator’s
interpreting of the five aggregates is like the fruit bat’s alighting on the tree. His
comprehending the materiality aggregate and, seeing nothing there worth taking,
comprehending the remaining aggregates is like her trying each branch and, seeing
nothing there worth taking, trying the rest. His triple knowledge beginning with
desire for deliverance, after he has become dispassionate towards the five aggregates
[664] through seeing their characteristic of impermanence, etc., is like her thinking
“This tree is barren; there is nothing worth taking here” and losing interest. His
conformity knowledge is like her climbing up the straight branch. His change-of-
lineage knowledge is like her poking her head out and looking upwards. His path
knowledge is like her flying up into the air. His fruition knowledge is like her
alighting on a different tree.
38. “Said in the Discourse on Purification (visuddhi-kathā)” (Vism-mhṭ 855). See XX.77.
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93.
2.  The Black Snake. This simile has already been given (§49). But the
application of the simile here is this. Change-of-lineage knowledge is like
throwing the snake away. Path knowledge is like the man’s standing and looking
back whence he had come after getting free from it. Fruition knowledge is like
his standing in a place free from fear after he had got away. This is the difference.
94.
3.  The House. The owner of a house, it seems, ate his meal in the evening,
climbed into his bed and fell asleep. The house caught fire. When he woke up
and saw the fire, he was frightened. He thought, “It would be good if I could get
out without getting burnt.” Looking round, he saw a way. Getting out, he quickly
went away to a safe place and stayed there.
95.
Herein, the foolish ordinary man’s taking the five aggregates as “I” and
“mine” is like the house-owner’s falling asleep after he had eaten and climbed
into bed. Knowledge of appearance as terror after entering upon the right way
and seeing the three characteristics is like the time when the man was frightened
on waking up and seeing the fire. Knowledge of desire for deliverance is like the
man’s looking for a way out. Conformity knowledge is like the man’s seeing the
way. Change-of-lineage is like the man’s going away quickly. Fruition knowledge
is like his staying in a safe place.
96.
4. The Oxen. One night, it seems, while a farmer was sleeping his oxen
broke out of their stable and escaped. When he went there at dawn and looked
in, he found that they had escaped. Going to find them, he saw the king’s oxen.
He thought that they were his and drove them back. When it got light, he
recognized that they were not his but the king’s oxen. He was frightened.
Thinking, “I shall escape before the king’s men seize me for a thief and bring me
to ruin and destruction,” he abandoned the oxen. Escaping quickly, he stopped
in a place free from fear.
97.
Herein, the foolish ordinary man’s taking the five aggregates as “I” and
“mine” is like the man’s taking the king’s oxen. The meditator’s recognizing
the five aggregates as impermanent, painful, and not-self by means of the three
characteristics is like the man’s recognizing the oxen as the king’s when it got
light. Knowledge of appearance as terror is like the time when the man was
frightened. Desire for deliverance is like the man’s desire to leave them and go
away. Change-of-lineage is like the man’s actual leaving. The path is like his
escaping. Fruition is like the man’s staying in a place without fear after escaping.
[665]
98.
5. The Ghoul. A man went to live with a ghoul, it seems. At night, thinking
he was asleep, she went to the place where the dead were exposed and ate
human flesh. He wondered where she was going and followed her. When he
saw her eating human flesh, he knew that she was a non-human being. He was
frightened, and he thought, “I shall escape before she eats me.” Quickly escaping,
he went to a safe place and stayed there.
99.
Herein, taking the aggregates as “I” and “mine” is like the man’s living
with the ghoul. Recognizing the aggregates as impermanent, etc., by seeing the
three characteristics is like the man’s recognizing that she was a ghoul on
seeing her eating human flesh in the place for the dead. Appearance as terror is
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like the time when the man was frightened. Desire for deliverance is like his
desire to escape. Change-of-lineage is like his leaving the place for the dead.
The path is like his escaping quickly. Fruition is like his standing in the place
without fear.
100.
6. The Child. A woman was very fond of her son, it seems. While sitting on
an upper floor she heard the sound of a child in the street. Wondering, “Is
someone hurting my child?,” she hurried down. Mistaking the child for her
own son, she picked up someone else’s son. Then she recognized that it was
someone else’s son, and she was ashamed and looked about her. She thought,
“Let no one say I am a baby thief” and she put the child down there and then,
and she quickly returned to the upper floor and sat down.
101.
Herein, taking the five aggregates as “I” and “mine” is like the woman’s
mistaking someone else’s child for her own. The recognition that “This is not I,
not mine” by means of the three characteristics is like her recognizing it as
someone else’s child. Knowledge of desire for deliverance is like her looking
about her. Conformity knowledge is like her putting the child down there and
then. Change-of-lineage is like the time when she stood in the street after putting
the child down. The path is like her return to the upper floor. Fruition is like her
sitting down after returning.
102. 7–12. Hunger, Thirst, Cold, Heat, Darkness, and By Poison. These six similes,
however, are given for the purpose of showing that one with insight that leads to
emergence tends, inclines and leans in the direction of the supramundane states.
103.
7. Just as a man faint with hunger and famished longs for delicious food,
so too the meditator famished with the hunger of the round of rebirths longs for
the food consisting of mindfulness occupied with the body, which tastes of the
deathless.
104.
8. Just as a thirsty man whose throat and mouth are parched longs for a
drink with many ingredients, so too this meditator [666] who is parched with
the thirst of the round of rebirths longs for the noble drink of the Eightfold Path.
105.
9. Just as a man frozen by cold longs for heat, so too this meditator frozen
by the cold of craving and [selfish] affection in the round of rebirths longs for
the fire of the path that burns up the defilements.
106.
10. Just as a man faint with heat longs for cold, so too this meditator
scorched by the burning of the eleven fires (see S IV 19) in the round of rebirths
longs for Nibbāna.
107.
11. Just as a man smothered in darkness longs for light, so too this
meditator wrapped and enveloped in the darkness of ignorance longs for the
light of knowledge consisting in path development.
108.
12. Just as a man sick with poison longs for an antidote, so too this meditator
sick with the poison of defilement longs for Nibbāna, the deathless medicine
that destroys the poison of defilement.
109.
That is why it was said above: “When he knows and sees thus, his heart
retreats, retracts and recoils from the three kinds of becoming, the four kinds of
generation, the five kinds of destiny, the seven stations of consciousness, and the
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nine abodes of beings; his heart no longer goes out to them. Just as water drops
retreat, retract and recoil on a lotus leaf that slopes a little …” (§63), all of which
should be given in the way already stated.
110.
But at this point he is called “one who walks aloof,” with reference to
whom it is said:
“When a bhikkhu keeps apart
And cultivates seclusion of the mind,
It will befit him, as they say,
To show himself no more in this becoming” (Sn 810).
[THE DIFFERENCE IN THE NOBLE PATH’S FACTORS, ETC.]
111.
This knowledge of equanimity about formations governs the fact that the
meditator keeps apart. It furthermore governs the difference in the [number of
the] noble path’s enlightenment factors, path factors, and jhāna factors, the mode
of progress, and the kind of liberation. For while some elders say that it is the
jhāna used as the basis for insight [leading to emergence] that governs the
difference in the [number of] enlightenment factors, path factors, and jhāna
factors, and some say that it is the aggregates made the object of insight that
govern it, and some say that it is the personal bent that governs it,39 yet it is only
this preliminary insight and insight leading to emergence that should be
understood to govern it in their doctrine.
112.
To deal with these [three theories] in order: According to governance by
insight, the path arisen in a bare-insight (dry-insight) worker, and the path
arisen in one who possesses a jhāna attainment but who has not made the jhāna
the basis for insight, and the path made to arise by comprehending unrelated
formations after using the first jhāna as the basis for insight, are [667] paths of
the first jhāna only. In each case there are seven enlightenment factors, eight
path factors, and five jhāna factors. For while their preliminary insight can be
accompanied by joy and it can be accompanied by equanimity, when their insight
reaches the state of equanimity about formations at the time of emergence it is
accompanied by joy.
113.
When paths are made to arise by using the second, third, and fourth
jhānas in the fivefold reckoning as the basis for insight, then the jhāna in those
paths has respectively four, three, and two factors. In each case, however, the path
factors number seven, and in the fourth case there are six enlightenment factors.
This difference is due both to governance by the basic jhāna and to governance
by insight. For again, while their preliminary insight can be accompanied by
joy and it can be accompanied by equanimity, their insight leading to emergence
is accompanied by joy only.
114.
However, when the path is produced by making the fifth jhāna the basis
for insight, then the jhāna factors number two, that is, equanimity and unification
39. “The first ‘some’ refers to the Elder Tipiṭaka Cūḷa-Nāga. The second ‘some’ refers
to the Elder Mahā Datta, dweller at Moravāpi. The third ‘some’ refers to the Elder
Tipiṭaka Cūḷa Abhaya” (Vism-mhṭ 856).
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40. The four predominances are those of zeal (desire), energy, consciousness, and
inquiry. Cf. four roads to power (Dhs §73–74; Vibh 216 and Comy.).
of the mind, and there are six enlightenment factors and seven path factors. This
difference too is due to both kinds of governance. For in this case the preliminary
insight is either accompanied by joy or accompanied by equanimity, but that
leading to emergence is accompanied by equanimity only. The same method
applies in the case of the path made to arise by making the immaterial jhānas the
basis for insight.
Also when, after emerging from jhāna made the basis for insight, the path
has been produced by comprehending no matter what formations [unrelated to
that jhāna], then it is the attainment emerged from at the point nearest to the path
that makes it like itself, as the colour of the soil does an monitor lizard’s colour.
115.
But in the case of the second elder’s theory the path is like the attainment,
whatever it may be, which was instrumental in producing the path through the
comprehension of any of its states after emergence from it. And here governance
by insight should be understood in the same way as before.
116.
In the case of the third elder’s theory the path is like that jhāna, whichever
it may be, that suits the personal bent, which jhāna was instrumental in
producing the path through the comprehension of any of its states in using it as
the basis for insight. But this is not accomplished by mere bent alone unless the
jhāna has been made the basis for insight or unless the jhāna has been
comprehended; and this meaning should be illustrated by the Nandakovāda
Sutta (see M III 277, and Commentary). And here too, governance by insight
should be understood in the same way as before.
This, firstly, is how it should be understood that equanimity about formations
governs the [numbers of] enlightenment factors, path factors, and jhāna factors.
117.
[Progress.] But if [insight] has from the start only been able to suppress
defilements with difficulty, with effort and with prompting, then it is called “of
difficult progress.” [668] The opposite kind is called “of easy progress.” And
when the manifestation of the path, the goal of insight, is slowly effected after
defilements have been suppressed, then it is called “of sluggish direct-
knowledge.” The opposite kind is called “of swift direct-knowledge.” So this
equanimity about formations stands at the arrival point and gives its own name
to the path in each case, and so the path has four names [according to the kind
of progress] (see D III 228).
118.
For one bhikkhu this progress is different in the four paths, while for
another it is the same. For Buddhas, however, the four paths are of easy progress
and swift direct-knowledge. Likewise in the case of the General of the Dhamma
[the Elder Sāriputta]. But in the Elder Mahā Moggallāna’s case the first path
was of easy progress and swift direct-knowledge, but the others were of difficult
progress and sluggish direct-knowledge.
119. [Predominance.] And as with the kinds of progress, so also with the kinds
of predominance,40 which are different in the four paths for one bhikkhu and the
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same for another. So it is equanimity about formations that governs the difference
in the progress.
[Liberation.] But it has already been told how it governs the difference in the
liberation [§66f.].
120.
Furthermore, the path gets its names for five reasons, that is to say, (1)
owing to its own nature, or (2) owing to what it opposes, or (3) owing to its own
special quality, or (4) owing to its object, or (5) owing to the way of arrival.
121.
1. If equanimity about formations induces emergence by comprehending
formations as impermanent, liberation takes place with the signless liberation.
If it induces emergence by comprehending them as painful, liberation takes
place with the desireless liberation. If it induces emergence by comprehending
them as not-self, liberation takes place with the void liberation. This is its name
according to its own nature.
122.
2. When this path is arrived at with the abandoning of the signs of
permanence, lastingness, and eternalness, by effecting the resolution of the
compact in formations by means of the contemplation of impermanence, it is
then called signless. When it is arrived at with the drying up of desire and
longing, by abandoning perception of pleasure by means of the contemplation
of pain, it is then called desireless. When formations are seen as void by
abandoning perception of self, of a living being, of a person, by means of the
contemplation of not-self, it is then called void. This is its name according to
what it opposes.
123.
3. It is void because void of greed, and so on. It is signless owing either to
absence of the sign of materiality, etc., or to absence only of the sign of greed, and
so on. It is desireless because of absence of desire as greed, and so on. This is its
name according to its own special quality.
124.
4. It is called void, signless, and desireless, too, because it makes the void,
signless, desireless Nibbāna its object. This is its name according to its object.
[669]
125.
5. The way of arrival is twofold, namely, insight’s way of arrival applies to
the path, and the path’s way of arrival applies to fruition.
Now, contemplation of not-self is called void and the path [arrived at] by void
insight is [called] void.
Again, contemplation of impermanence is called signless and the path
[arrived at] by signless insight is [called] signless.
126. But while this name is inadmissible by the Abhidhamma method,41 it is
admissible by the Suttanta method; for, they say, by that method change-of-
lineage takes the name “signless” by making the signless Nibbāna its object,
and while itself remaining at the arrival point, it gives its name to the path.
41. “If this is so, then is the path that follows on the contemplation of impermanence
not included in the Abhidhamma?—That is not so; for it is included in the method of
‘simple progress’ (suddhika paṭipadā—see Dhs §§339–340)” (Vism-mhṭ 861).
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Hence the path is called signless. And its fruition can be called signless too
according to the path’s way of arrival.
127.
Lastly, contemplation of pain is called desireless because it arrives [at the
path] by drying up desire for formations. The path [arrived at] by desireless
insight is [called] desireless. The fruition of the desireless path is [called]
desireless.
In this way insight gives its own name to the path, and the path hands it on to
its fruition. This is its name according to the way of arrival.
This is how equanimity about formations governs the difference in the
liberations.
Equanimity about formations is ended.
[9. CONFORMITY KNOWLEDGE]
128.
As he repeats, develops and cultivates that equanimity about formations,
his faith becomes more resolute, his energy better exerted, his mindfulness better
established, his mind better concentrated, while his equanimity about formations
grows more refined.
129.
He thinks, “Now the path will arise.” Equanimity about formations, after
comprehending formations as impermanent, or as painful, or as not-self, sinks
into the life-continuum. Next to the life-continuum, mind-door adverting arises
making formations its object as impermanent or as painful or as not-self
according to the way taken by equanimity about formations. Then next to the
functional [adverting] consciousness that arose displacing the life-continuum,
the first impulsion consciousness arises making formations its object in the
same way, maintaining the continuity of consciousness.42 This is called the
“preliminary work.” Next to that a second impulsion consciousness arises
making formations its object in the same way. This is called the “access.” Next to
that [670] a third impulsion consciousness also arises making formations its
object in the same way. This is called “conformity.”
130.
These are their individual names. But it is admissible to call all three
impulsions “repetition” or “preliminary-work” or “access” or “conformity”
indiscriminately.
Conformity to what? To what precedes and to what follows. For it conforms to
the functions of truth both in the eight preceding kinds of insight knowledge
and in the thirty-seven states partaking of enlightenment that follow.
42. “‘Maintaining the continuity of consciousness’ by absence of interruption, in other
words, of occurrence of dissimilar consciousness. For when the life-continuum [which
is mind-consciousness element] is displaced by the functional mind element [of five-
door adverting (70)], the occurrence of the functional consciousness makes an
interruption, an interval, between the occurrence of the resultant consciousness [i.e.
the life-continuum and the consciousness that follows]. But this is not so with mind-
door adverting (71) [which is mind-consciousness element]” (Vism-mhṭ 862). See
Table V, Cognitive Series.
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131.
Since its occurrence is contingent upon formations through [compre-
hending] the characteristics of impermanence, etc., it, so to speak, says,
“Knowledge of rise and fall indeed saw the rise and fall of precisely those states
that possess rise and fall” and “Contemplation of dissolution indeed saw the
dissolution of precisely those states that possess dissolution” and “It was indeed
precisely what was terrible that appeared as terror to [knowledge of] appearance
as terror” and “Contemplation of danger indeed saw danger in precisely what
was dangerous” and “Knowledge of dispassion indeed became dispassionate
towards precisely that which should be regarded with dispassion” and
“Knowledge of desire for deliverance indeed produced desire for deliverance
from precisely what there should be deliverance from” and “What was reflected
upon by knowledge of reflection was indeed precisely what should be reflected
upon” and “What was looked on at with equanimity by equanimity about
formations was indeed precisely what should be looked on at with equanimity.”
So it conforms to the functions of truth both in these eight kinds of knowledge
and in the thirty-seven states partaking of enlightenment which follow, because
they are to be reached by entering upon it.
132.
Just as a righteous king, who sits in the place of judgement hearing the
pronouncements of the judges while excluding bias and remaining impartial,
conforms both to their pronouncements and to the ancient royal custom by
saying, “So be it,” so it is here too.
133.
Conformity is like the king. The eight kinds of knowledge are like eight
judges. The thirty-seven states partaking of enlightenment are like the ancient
royal custom. Herein, just as the king conforms by saying “So be it” both to the
judges’ pronouncements and to the royal custom, so this conformity, which
arises contingent upon formations through [comprehending] impermanence,
etc., conforms to the function of truth both in the eight kinds of knowledge and
in the thirty-seven states partaking of enlightenment that follow. Hence it is
called “knowledge in conformity with truth.” [671]
Knowledge of conformity is ended.
134.
Though this conformity knowledge is the end of the insight leading to
emergence that has formations as its object, still change-of-lineage knowledge
is the last of all the kinds of insight leading to emergence.
[SUTTA  REFERENCES]
135.
Now, the following sutta references should be understood in order not to
be confused about insight leading to emergence. For this insight leading to
emergence is called “aloofness” (atammayatā)43 in the Saḷāyatana-vibhaṅga Sutta
thus, “Bhikkhus, by depending and relying on aloofness abandon, surmount,
equanimity that is unified, based on unity” (M III 220). In the Alagadda Sutta it
43. “Aloofness”—atammayatā: not in PED. See also M III 43. The word is made up of
a + taṃ + maya + tā = “not-made-of-that-ness.” Its meaning is non-attachment to any
form of being.
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is called “dispassion” (nibbidā) thus, “Being dispassionate his greed fades away.
With the fading away of greed he is liberated” (M I 139).
In the Susīma Sutta it is called “knowledge of the relationship of states”
(dhammaṭṭhiti-ñāṇa) thus, “Previously, Susīma, there is knowledge of relationship
of states; subsequently there is knowledge of Nibbāna” (S II 124). In the
Poṭṭhapāda Sutta it is called the “culmination of perception” (saññagga) thus,
“First, Poṭṭhapāda, the culmination of perception arises, and afterwards
knowledge” (D I 185). In the Dasuttara Sutta it is called the “principal factor of
purity” (parisuddhi-padhāniyaṅga) thus, “Purification by knowledge and vision
of the way is the principal factor of purity” (D III 288).
In the Paṭisambhidāmagga it is called by the three names thus, “Desire for
deliverance, and contemplation of reflection, and equanimity about formations:
these things are one in meaning and only the letter is different” (Paṭis II 64). In
the Paṭṭhāna it is called by two names thus, “conformity to change-of-lineage”
and “conformity to cleansing”44 (Paṭṭh 1, 159).
In the Rathavinīta Sutta it is called “purification by knowledge and vision of
the way” thus, “But how, friend, is it for the purpose of the purification by
knowledge and vision of the way that the life of purity is lived under the Blessed
One?” (M I 147).
136.
The Greatest Sage did thus proclaim
This insight stilled and purified,
That to emergence leads beside,
With many a neatly chosen name.
The round of rebirth’s slough of pain
Is vast and terrible; a man
Wisely should strive as best he can,
If he would this emergence gain.
The twenty-first chapter called “The Description of
Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Way” in the
Treatise on the Development of Understanding in the Path
of Purification
 composed for the purpose of gladdening
good people.
44. The word vodāna (“cleansing”) is used, in its loose sense of “purifying” in general,
in I.143. For its technical Abhidhamma sense here see Ch. XXII note 7.