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VISUDDHIMAGGA; Chapter 10 (ARUPPA-NIDDESA); BUDDHAGHOSA

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Visuddhimagga; (The Path Of Purification); Chapter 10; Bhadantacariya BUDDHAGHOSA; @A.D.350
Chapter Ten; Description of Concentration; Material States (Aruppa-Niddesa)
Translated from the Pali by Bhikkhu Nanamoli
[(1) THE BASE CONSISTING OF BOUNDLESS SPACE] {Cf. [[CULASUNNATTA SUTTA|Culasunnata, para. 6}

1. [326] Now as to the four Immaterial States mentioned next to the Divine Abidings (Ch. III, 105), one who wants firstly to develop the base consisting of boundless space sees in gross physical matter danger through the wielding of sticks, etc., because of the words ` "It is in virtue of matter that wielding of sticks, wielding of knives, quarrels, brawls and disputes take place; but that does not exist at all in the immaterial state", and in this expectation he enters upon the way to dispassion for only material things, for the fading and cessation of only those` (M.i.410), and he sees danger in it too through the thousand afflictions beginning with eye disease. So in order to surmount that he enters upon the fourth jhana in any one of the nine kasinas beginning with the earth kasina and omitting the limited-space kasina.

2. Now although he has already surmounted gross physical matter by means of the fourth jhana of the fine-material sphere, nevertheless he still wants also to surmount the kasina materiality since it is the counterpart of the former. How does he do this?

3. Suppose a timid man is pursued by a snake in a forest and flees from it as fast as he can, then if he sees in the place he has fled to a palm leaf with a streak painted on it or a creeper or a rope or a crack in the ground, he is fearful, anxious and will not even look at it. Suppose again a man is living in the same village as a hostile man who ill-uses him, and on being threatened by him with a flogging and the burning down of his house, he goes away to live in another village, then if he meets another man there of similar appearance, voice and manner, he is fearful, anxious and will not even look at him.

4. Here is the application of the similes. The time when the bhikkhu has the gross physical matter as his object is like the time when the men were respectively threatened by the snake and by the enemy. [327] The time when the bhikkhu surmounts the gross physical matter by means of the fourth jhana of the fine-material sphere is like the first man's fleeing as fast as he can and the other man's going away to another village. The bhikkhu's observing that even the matter of the kasina is the counterpart of that gross physical matter and his wanting to surmount that also is like the first man's seeing in the place he had fled to the palm leaf with a streak painted on it, etc., and the other man's seeing the man who resembled the enemy in the village he had left, and their unwillingness to look owing to fear and anxiety.

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  And here the similes of the dog attacked by a boar, and that of the pisaca goblin and the timid man {1} should be understood too.

5. So when he has thus become disgusted with (dispassionate towards) the kasina materiality, the object of the fourth jhana, and wants to get away from it, he achieves mastery in the five ways. Then on emerging from the now familiar fourth jhana of the fine-material sphere, he sees the danger in that jhana in this way `This makes its object the materiality with which I have become disgusted', and `It has joy as its near enemy', and `It is grosser than the Peaceful Liberations'. There is, however, no [comparative] grossness of factors here [as in the case of the four fine-material jhanas]; for the immaterial states have the same two factors as this fine-material [[[jhana]]].

6. When he has seen the danger in that [fine-material fourth jhana] in this way and has ended his attachment to it, he gives his attention to the Base Consisting of Boundless Space as peaceful. Then, when he has spread out the kasina to the limit of the world-sphere, or as far as he likes, he removes the kasina [[[materiality]]] by giving his attention to the space touched by it, [regarding that] as `space' or `boundless-space'.

7. When he is removing it, he neither folds it up like a mat nor withdraws it like a cake from a tin. It is simply that he does not advert to it or give attention to it or review it; it is when he neither adverts to it nor gives attention to it nor reviews it but gives his attention exclusively to the space touched by it [regarding that] as `Space, space', that he is said to `remove the kasina'.

8. And when the kasina is being removed, it does not roll up or roll away. It is simply that it is called `removed' on account of his non-attention to it, his attention being given to `space, space,'. This is conceptualized as the mere space left by the removal of the kasina [[[materiality]]]. Whether it is called `space left by the removal of the kasina' or `space touched by the kasina' or `space secluded from the kasina', it is all the same.

9. He adverts again and again to the sign of the space left by the removal of the kasina [328] as `Space, space', and he strikes at it with thought and applied thought. As he adverts to it again and again and strikes at it with thought and applied thought the hindrances are suppressed, mindfulness is established and his mind becomes concentrated in access. He cultivates that sign again and again, develops and repeatedly practises it.

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10. As he again and again adverts to it and gives attention to it in this way consciousness belonging to the Base Consisting of Boundless Space arises in absorption with the space [as its object], as the consciousness belonging to the fine-material sphere did in the case of the earth kasina, and so on. And here too in the prior stage there are either three or four sensual-sphere impulsions associated with equanimous feeling, while the fourth or the fifth is of the immaterial sphere. The rest is the same as in the case of the earth kasina (Ch. IV,74).

11. There is however, this difference. When the immaterial- sphere consciousness has arisen in this way, the bhikkhu, who has been formerly looking at the kasina disk with the jhana eye, finds himself looking at only space after that sign has been abruptly removed by the attention given in the preliminary work thus `Space, space'. He is like a man who has plugged an opening in a [covered] vehicle, a sack or a pot {2} with a piece of blue rag or with a piece of rag of some such colour as yellow, red or white and is looking at that, and then when the rag is removed by the force of the wind or by some other agency, he finds himself looking at space.

Text and Commentary

12. And at this point it is said: With the complete surmounting (samatikkama) of perceptions of matter, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, with non-attention to per- ceptions of variety, [[[Wikipedia:aware|aware]] of] . " Unbounded space ", he enters upon and dwells in the base consisting of boundless space' (Vbh.245).

13. Herein, "complete" is in all aspects or of all [[[perceptions]]]; without exception, is the meaning. Of perceptions of matter: both (a) of the fine-material jhanas mentioned [here] under the headihg of `perception' and (b) of those things that are their object. For (a) the jhana of the fine-material sphere is called `matter' in such passages as `Possessed of visible matter he sees instances of matter' (D.ii,70 ;M.ii,12), and (b) it is its object too [that is called `matter'] in such passages as `He sees instances of visible matter externally, . . . fair and ugly' (.D.ii,l 10; M.ii,13). {3} Consequently here the words `perceptions of matter (r–pa-sa¤¤ƒ---lit. matter-perceptions)', in the sense of `perceptions about matter', are used (a) for fine-material jhana stated thus under the heading of `perceptions'. [Also] (b) it has the label (sa¤¤ƒ) `matter (r–pa)', thus it (the jhana's object) is `labelled matter (r–pa-sa¤¤ƒm)'; what is meant is that `matter' is its name. So it should be understood that this is also a term for (b) what is classed as the earth kasina, etc., which is the object of that [[[jhana]]]. {4} [329]

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14. With the surmounting: with the fading away and with the cessation. What is meant? With the fading away and with the cessation, both because of the fading away and because of the cessation, either in all aspects or without exception, of these perceptions of matter, reckoned as jhana, which number fifteen with the [five each of the] profitable, resultant and functional, {5} and also of these things labeled matter, reckoned as objects [of those perceptions], which number nine with the earth kasina, etc. ( 1), he enters upon and dwells in the base consisting of boundless space. For he cannot enter upon and dwell in that without completely surmounting perceptions of matter.

15. Herein, there is no surmounting of these perceptions in one whose greed for the object [of those perceptions] has not faded away; and when the perceptions have been surmounted, their objects have been surmounted as well. That is why in the Vibha¤ga only the surmounting of the perceptions and not that of the objects is mentioned as follows: `Herein, what are perceptions of matter? They are the perception, perceiving, perceivedness, in one who has attained a fine-material-sphere attainment or in one who has been reborn there or in one who is abiding in bliss there in this present life. These are what are called perceptions of matter. These perceptions of matter are passed, surpassed, surmounted. Hence, "With the complete surmounting of perceptions of matter" is said' (Vbh. 261). But this commentary should be understood to deal also with the surmounting of the object because these attainments have to be reached by surmounting the object; they are not reached by retaining the same object as in the first and subsequent jhanas.

16. "With the disappearance of perceptions of resistance": perceptions of resistance are perceptions arisen through the impact of the physical base consisting of the eye, etc., and the respective objects consisting of visible objects, etc.; and this is a term for perceptions of visible objects (r–pa) and so on, according as it is said: `Here, what are perceptions of resistance? Perceptions of visible objects, perceptions of sounds, perceptions of odours, perceptions of flavours, perceptions of tangible objects--these are called "perceptions of resistance" ' (Vbh. 261); with the complete disappearance the abandoning, the non-arising, of these ten kinds of perceptions of resistance, that is to say, of the five profitable-resultant and five unprofitab1e-resultant; {6} causing their non-occurrence, is what is meant.

17. Of course, these are not to be found in one who has entered upon the first jhana, etc., either; for consciousness at that time does not occur by way of the five doers. Still [330] the mention of them here should be understood as a recommendation of this jhana for the purpose of arousing interest in it, just as in the case of the fourth jhana there is mention of `the pleasure and pain already abandoned elsewhere, and in the case of the third path there is mention of the [false] view of personality, etc., already abandoned earlier.

18. Or alternatively, though these are also not to be found in one who has attained the fine-material sphere, still their not being there is not due to their having been abandoned; for development of the fine-material sphere does not lead to fading of greed for materiality, and the occurrence of those [fine-material jhanas] is actually dependent on materiality. But this development [of the immaterial] does lead to the fading of greed for materiality. Therefore it is allowable to say that they are actually abandoned here; and not only to say it, but to maintain it absolutely.

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19. In fact it is because they have not been abandoned already before this that it was said by the Blessed One that sound is a thorn to one who has the first jhana (A. v, 135). And it is precisely because they are abandoned here that the imperturbability (see Vbh. 135) of the immaterial attainments and their state of peaceful liberation are mentioned (M.i,33), and that lara Kƒlƒma neither saw the five hundred carts that passed close by him nor heard the sound of them while he was in an immaterial attainment (D.ii,1 30).

20. "With non-attention to perceptions of variety": either to perceptions occurring with variety as their domain or to perceptions themselves various. For `Perceptions of variety' are so called [for two reasons:] firstly, because the kinds of perception included along with the mind element and mind- consciousness element in one who has not attained--which kinds are intended here as described in the Vibha¤ga thus: `Herein, what are perceptions of variety. The perception, perceiving, perceivedness, in one who has not attained and possesses either mind element or mind-consciousness element: these are called "perceptions of variety" ' (Vbh.26 1)-- occur with respect to a domain that is varied in individual essence with the variety classed as visible-object, sound, etc.; and secondly, because the forty-four kinds of perception-- that is to say, eight kinds of sense-sphere profitable perception, twelve kinds of unprofitable perception, eleven kinds of sense- sphere profitable resultant perception, two kinds of un- profitable-resultant perception, and eleven kinds of sense- sphere functional perception--themselves have variety, have various individual essences, and are dissimiliar from each other. With the complete non-attention to, non-adverting to, non- reaction to, non-reviewing of, these perceptions of variety; what is meant is that because he does not advert to them, give them attention or review them, therefore...

21. And [two things] should be understood: firstly, that their absence is stated here in the two ways as `surmounting' and `disappearance' because the earlier perceptions of matter and perceptions of resistance do not exist even in the kind of existence produced by this jhana on rebirth, let alone when this jhana is entered upon and dwelt in that existence; [331] and secondly, in the case of perceptions of variety, `non-attention' to them is said because twenty-seven kinds of perception-- that is to say, eight kinds of sense-sphere profitable perception, nine kinds of functional perception, and ten kinds of unprofitable perception--still exist in the kind of existence produced by this jhana; For when he enters upon and dwells in this jhana there too, he does so by non-attention to them also, but he is not attained when he does give attention to them.

22. And here briefly it should be understood that the abandoning of all fine-material-sphere states is signified by the words "with the surmounting of perceptions of matter", and the abandoning of and non-attention to all sense-sphere consciousness and its concomitants is signified by the words "with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance with non-attention to perceptions ef variety".

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23. "Unbounded space": here it is called `unbounded (ananta-- lit. endless)' because neither its end as its arising nor its end as its fall are made known.{7} It is the space left by the removal of the kasina that is called `space'. And here unboundedness (endlessness) should be understood as [referring to] the attention also, which is why it is said in the Vibha¤ga: `He places, settles, his consciousness in that space, he pervades unboundedly (anantain), hence "Unbounded (ananto) space-- is said' (Vbh. 262).

24. "He enters upon and dwells in the base consisting of boundless space": it has no bound (anta), thus it is unbounded (ananta). What is spacially unbounded (ƒkƒsam anantam) is unbounded space (ƒkƒsƒnantam). Unbounded space is the same as boundless space (ƒkƒsƒna¤cam-- lit. space-boundlessness). That `boundless space' is a `base (ƒyatana)' in the sense of habitat for the jhana whose nature it is to be associated with it, as the `deities' base' is for deities, thus it is the `base consisting of boundless space (ƒkƒsƒna¤cƒyatana)'. "He enters upon and dwells in": having reached that base consisting of boundless space, having caused it to be produced, he dwells (viharati) with an abiding (vihƒra) consisting in postures that are in conformity with it.

  This is. the detailed explanation of the base consisting of boundless space as a meditation subject.
[(2) THE BASE CONSISTING OF BOUNDLESS CONSCIOUSNESS] {[Cf. Culasunnata, para. 7]}

25. When he wants to develop the base consisting of boundless consciousness, he must first achieve mastery in the five ways in the attainment of the base consisting of boundless space. Then he should see the danger in the base consisting of boundless space in this way: `This attainment has fine-material jhana as its near enemy, and it is not as peaceful as the base consisting of boundless consciousness'. So having ended his attachment to that, he should give his attention to the base consisting of boundless consciousness as peaceful, adverting again and again as `Consciousness, consciousness' to the consciousness that occurred pervading that space [as its object]; He should give it attention, review it, and strike at it with applied and sustained thought; [332] but he should not give attention [simply] in this way `Boundless, boundless'.{8}

26. As he directs his mind again and again on to that sign in this way, the hindrances are suppressed, mindfulness is established, and his mind becomes concentrated in access. He cultivates that sign again and again, develops and repeatedly practises it. As he does so, consciousness belonging to the base consisting of boundless consciousness arises in absorption with the [[[Wikipedia:past|past]]] consciousness that pervaded the space [as its object], just as that belonging to the base consisting of boundless space did with the space [as its object]. But the method of explaining the process of absorption here should be understood in the way already described.
Text and Commentary

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27. And at this point it is said: `By completely surmounting (samatikamma) the base consisting of boundless space, [[[Wikipedia:aware|aware]] of] "unbounded consciousness , he enters upon and dwells in the base consisting of boundless consciousness' (Vbh.245).

28. Herein, "completely" is as already explained. "By... surmounting the base consisting of boundless space": the jhana is called. the `base consisting of boundless space' in the way already stated (24), and its object is so called too. For the object, too, is `boundless space (ƒkƒsƒna¤cam)' in the way already stated (24), and then, because it is the object of the first immaterial jhana, it is its `base' in the sense of habitat, as the `deities' base' is for deities, thus it is the `base consisting of boundless. space'. Likewise: it is `boundless space', and then, because it is the cause of the jhana's being of that species, it is its `base' in the sense of locality of the species, as Kamboja is the `base' of horses, thus it is the `base consisting of boundless space `in this way also. So it should be understood that the words `By... surmounting the base consisting of boundless space' include both [the jhana and its object] together, since this base consisting of boundless consciousness is to be entered upon and dwelt in precisely by surmounting, by causing the non-occurrence of, and by not giving attention to, both the jhana and its object.

29. "Unbounded consciousness": What is meant is that he gives his attention thus `Unbounded consciousness' to that same consciousness that occurred in pervading [as its object the space] as Unbounded space'. Or `unbounded' refers to the attention. For when he gives attention without reserve to the consciousness that had the space as its object, then the attention he gives to it is `unbounded'.

30. For it is said in the Vibha¤ga: '"Unbounded consciousness": he gives attention to that same space pervaded by consciousness, he pervades boundlessly, hence "Unbounded consciousness" is said' (Vbh. 262). But in that passage (tam yeva ƒkƒsam vi¤¤ƒnena phutam) the instrumental case 'by consciousness' must be understood in the sense of accusative; for the teachers of the Commentary explain its meaning in that way. What is meant by 'He prevades boundlessly' is that 'he gives attention to that same consciousness which had pervaded that space (tam yeva ƒkƒsam phutam vi¤¤anam)'.

31. "He enters upon and dwells in the base consisting of boundless consciousness": [333] it has no bound (anta lit, end), thus it is unbounded (ananta). What is unbounded is boundless (ƒna¤ca lit. unboundedness), and unbounded consciousness is called 'boundless consciousness' that is, 'vi¤¤ƒna¤cam' [in the contracted form] instead of 'vi¤¤ƒnƒnacam' [which is the full number of syllables]. This is an idiomatic form. That boundless consciousness (vi¤¤ƒ¤a¤ca) is the base (ƒyatana) in the sense of foundation for the jhana whose nature it is to be associated with it, as the 'deities' base is for deities, thus it is the 'base consisting of boundless conscious- ness (vi¤¤ƒ¤cƒyatana)'. The rest is the same as before.

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  This is the detailed explanation of the base consisting of boundless consciousness as a meditation subject.
[(3) THE BASE CONSISTING OF NOTHINGNESS] {[Cf. Culasunnata, para. 8]}

32. When he wants to develop the base consisting of nothingness, he must first achieve mastery in the five ways in the attainment of the base consisting of boundless consciousness. Then he should see the danger in the base consisting of boundless consciousness in this way: `This attainment has the base consisting of boundless space as its near enemy, and it is not as peaceful as the base consisting of nothingness`. So having ended his attachment to that, he should give his attention to the base consisting of nothingness as peaceful. He should give attention to the [[[Wikipedia:present|present]]] non-existence, voidness, secluded aspect, of that same [[[Wikipedia:past|past]]] consciousness belonging to the base consisting of boundless space which became the object of [the consciousness belonging to] the base consisting of boundless consciousness. How does he do this?

33. Without giving [further] attention to that consciousness, he should [now] advert again and again in this way `There is not, there is not' or `Void, void' or `Secluded, secluded', and give his attention to it, review it, and strike at it with thought and applied thought.

34. As he directs his mind on to that sign thus, the hindrances are suppressed, mindfulness is established, and his mind becomes concentrated in access. He cultivates that sign again and again, develops and repeatedly practises it. As he does so, consciousness belonging to the base consisting of nothingness arises in absorption, making its object the void, secluded, non-existent state of that same [[[Wikipedia:past|past]]] exalted consciousness that, occurred in pervading the space, just as the [[[consciousness]] belonging to the] base consisting of boundless consciousness did the [then past] exalted consciousness that had pervaded the space. And here too the method of explaining the absorption should be understood in the way already described.

35. But there is this difference. Suppose a man sees a community of bhikkhus gathered together in a meeting hall or some such place and then goes elsewhere; then after the bhikkhus have risen at the conclusion of the business for which they had met and have departed, the man comes back, and as he stands in the doorway looking at that place again, he sees it only as void, he sees it only as secluded, he does not think `So many bhikkhus have died, so many have left the district', but rather [334] he sees only the non-existence thus, `This is void, secluded'--so too, having formerly dwelt seeing with the jhana eye belonging to the base consisting of boundless consciousness the [earlier] consciousness that had occurred making the space its object, [now] when that consciousness has disappeared owing to his giving attention to the preliminary work in the way beginning `There is not, there is not', he dwells seeing only its non-existence, in other words its departedness when this consciousness has arisen in absorption..

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Text and Commentary

36. And at this point it is said: `By completely surmounting the base consisting of boundless consciousness, [[[Wikipedia:aware|aware]] that] "There is nothing", he enters upon and dwells in the base consisting of nothingness' (Vbh.245).

37. Herein, "completely" is as already explained. By "... surmounting the base consisting of boundless consciousness:" here too the jhana is called the `base consisting of boundless consciousness' in the way already stated, and its object is so-called too. For the object too is `boundless consciousness (vi¤¤ana¤cam)' in the way already stated, and then, because it is the object of the second immaterial jhana, it is its `base' in the sense of habitat, as the `deities' base' is for deities, thus it is the `base consisting of boundless consciousness'. Likewise it is `boundless consciousness', and then because it is the cause of the jhana's being of that species, it is its `base' in the sense of locality of the species, as Kamboja is the `base' of horses, thus it is the `base consisting of boundless consciousness' in this way also. So it should be understood that the words `By ... surmounting the base consisting of boundless consciousness" include both [the jhana and its object] together, since this base consisting of nothingness is to be entered upon and dwelt in precisely by surmounting, by causing the non- occurrence of, not by giving attention to, both jhana and its object.

38. "There is nothing (natthi ki¤ci)" : what is meant is that he gives his attention thus `There is not, there is not' or `void, void' or `secluded, secluded'. It is said in the Vibha¤ga `"There is nothing": he makes that same consciousness non-existent, makes it absent, makes it disappear, sees that "there is nothing", hence "There is nothing" is said' (Vbh.262), which is expressed in a way that resembles comprehension [by insight] of liability to destruction, nevertheless the meaning should be understood in the way described above. For the words `He makes that same consciousness non-existent, makes it absent, makes it disappear' are said of one who does not advert to it or give attention to it or review it, and only gives attention to its non-existence, its voidness, its secludedness; they are not meant in the other way (cf.Ch.XXI. 17).

39. "He enters upon and dwells in the base consisting of nothingness:" it has no owning (ki¤cana) {9} thus it is non-owning (aki¤cana); what is meant is that it has not even the mere act of its dissolution remaining. The state (essence) of non-owning is nothingness (aki¤ca¤¤a). This is a term for the disappearance of the consciousness belonging to the base consisting of boundless space. [335] That nothingness is the `base' in the sense of foundation for that jhana, as the `deities' base' is for deities, thus it is the `base consisting of nothingness'. The rest is as before.

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  This is the detailed explanation of the base consisting of nothingness as a meditation subject.

[(4) THE BASE CONSISTING OF NEITHER PERCEPTION NOR NON-PERCEPTION] {[Cf. Culasunnata, para. 9]}

40. When, however, he wants to develop the base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception, he must first achieve mastery in the five ways in the attainment of the base consisting of nothingness. Then he should see the danger in the base consisting of nothingness and the advantage in what is superior to it in this way, `This attainment has the base consisting of boundless consciousness as its near enemy, and it is not as peaceful as the base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception' or in this way `Perception is a disease, `perception is a boil, perception is a dart,.., this is peaceful, this is sublime, that is to say, neither perception nor non- perception' (M.ii,23 1); So having ended his attachment to the base consisting of nothingness, he should give attention to the base consisting of neither perception nor non-percep- tion as peaceful. He should advert again and again to that attainment of the base consisting of nothingness that has occurred making non-existence its object, adverting to it as `Peaceful, peaceful', and he should give his attention to it, review it and strike at it with thought and applied thought.

41. As he directs his mind again and again on to that sign in this way the hindrances are suppressed, mindfulness is established, and his mind becomes concentrated in access. He cultivates that sign again and again, develops and repeatedly practises it. As he does so, consciousness belonging to the base consisting of neither perception nor non- perception arises in absorption, making its object the four [[[mental]]] aggregates that constitute the attainment of the base consisting of nothingness, just as the [[[consciousness]] belonging to the] base consisting of nothingness did the disappearance of the [previous] consciousness. And here too the method of explaining the absorption should be understood in the way already described.

Text and Commentary

42. And at this point it is said: `By completely surmounting the base consisting of nothingness he enters upon and dwells in the base consisting of neither perception nor non- perception' (Vbh. 245).

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43. Herein, "completely" is as already explained. By "... surmounting the base consisting of nothingness:" here too the jhana is called the `base consisting of nothingness' in the way already stated, and its object is so called too. For the object too is nothingness (ƒki¤ca¤¤am)' in the way already stated, and then, because it is the object of the third immaterial jhana, it is its `base' in the sense of habitat, as the `deities' base' is for deities, thus it is the `base consisting of nothingness'. Likewise: it is `nothingness', and then, because it is the cause of the jhana's being of that species, it is its `base' in the sense of locality of the species, as Kamboja is the `base' of horses, thus it is, the base consisting of nothingness' in this way also. [336] So it should be understood that the words `By... surmounting the base consisting of nothingness' include both [the jhana and its object] together; since the base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception is to be entered upon and dwelt in precisely by surmounting, by causing the non- occurrence of, by not giving attention to, both the jhana and its object.

44. "Base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception:" then there is he who so practises that there is in him the perception on account of the presence of which this [attain- ment] is called the `Base Consisting of Neither Perception Nor Non-perception', and in the Vibha¤ga, in order to point out that [[[person]]] firstly one specified as `Neither-percipient-nor- non-percipient', it is said, `gives attention to that same base consisting of nothingness as peaceful, he develops the attainment with residual formations, hence "neither-percipient nor non-percipient" is said' (Vbh.263).

45. Herein, "he gives attention... as peaceful," means that he gives attention to it as `peaceful' because of the peacefulness of the object thus: How peaceful this attainment is; for it can make even non-existence its object and still subsist!

  If he brings it to mind as `peaceful' then how does there come to be surmounting? Because there is no actual desire to attain `it. For although he gives his attention to it as `peaceful', yet there is no concern in him or reaction or attention such as `I shall advert to this' or `I shall attain this' or `I shall resolve upon [the duration of] this' or `I shall emerge from this' or `I shall review this'. Why not? Because the base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception is more peaceful and better than the base consisting of nothingness.

46. Suppose a king is proceeding along a city street with the great pomp of royalty, {10} splendidly mounted on the back of an elephant, and he sees craftsmen wearing one cloth tightly as a loin-cloth and another tied round their heads, working at the various crafts such as ivory carving, etc., their limbs covered with ivory dust, etc.; now while he is pleased with their skill, thinking `How skilled these craft-masters are, and what crafts they practise!', he does not, however, think `Oh that I might abandon royalty and become a craftsman like that!'; why not? because of the great benefits in the majesty of kings; he leaves the craftsmen behind and proceeds on his way--so too, though this [[[meditator]]] gives attention to that attainment as `peaceful', yet there is no concern in him or reaction or attention such as `I shall advert to this attainment' or `I shall attain this' or `I shall resolve upon [the duration of] it' or `I shall emerge from it' or `I shall review it'.

Eb1709.jpg

47. As he gives attention to it as `peaceful' in the way already described, [337] he reaches the ultra-subtle absorbed perception in virtue of which he is called `neither percipient nor non-percipient' and it is said of him that `He develops the attainment with residual formations'.

  "The attainment with residual formations" is the fourth immaterial attainment whose formations have reached a state of extreme subtlety.

48. Now in order to show the meaning of the kind of perception that has been reached, on account of which [this jhana] is called the `base consisting of neither perception nor non- perception', it is said: `"base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception": states of consciousness or its concomitants in one who has attained the base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception or in one who has been reborn there or in one who is abiding in bliss there in this present life' (Vbh.263). Of these, what is intended here is the states of consciousness and its concomitants in one who has attained.

49. The word meaning here is this: that jhana with its associated states neither has perception nor has no perception because of the absence of gross perception and presence of subtle perception, thus it is `neither-perception-nor-non- perception (n'eva-sa¤¤ƒ-nasa¤¤ƒm)'. It is `neither-perception- nor-non-perception' and it is a base (ƒyatana) because it is included in the mind base (manƒyatana) and the mental- object base (dhammƒyatana), thus it is the `base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception (nevasa¤¤ƒnasa¤¤ƒya-tana)'.

50. Or alternatively: the perception here is neither perception, since it is incapable of performing the decisive function of perception, nor yet non-perception, since it is present in a subtle state as a residual formation, thus it is `neither-perception-nor-non-perception'. It is `neither-per- ception-nor-non-perception' and it is a `base' in the sense of a foundation for the other states, thus it is the `base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception'.

  And here it is not only perception that is like this, but feeling as well is neither-feeling-nor-non-feeling, consciousness is neither-consciousness-nor-non-consciousness, and contact is neither-contact-nor-non-contact, and the same description applies to the rest of the associated states; but it should be understood that this presentation is given in terms of percep- tion.

Elephant-bal.jpg

51. And the meaning should be illustrated by the similes beginning with the smearing of oil on the bowl. A novice smeared a bowl with oil, it seems, and laid it aside. When it was time to drink gruel, an Elder told him to bring the bowl. He said `Venerable sir, there is oil in the bowl'. But then when he was told `Bring the oil, novice, I shall fill the oil tube', he replied `There is no oil, venerable Sir'. Herein, just as `There is oil' is in the sense of incompatibility with the gruel because it has been poured into [the bowl] and just as `There is no oil' is in the sense of filling the oil tube, etc., so too this perception is `Neither perception' since it is incapable of performing the decisive function of perception and it is `Nor non-perception' because it is present in a subtle form as a residual formation. [338]

52. But in this context what is perception's function? It is the perceiving of the object, and it is the production of dispassion if [that attainment and its object are] made the objective- field of insight. But it is not able to make the function of perceiving decisive, as the heat element in tepid {11} water is not able to make the function of burning decisive; and it is not able to produce dispassion by treatment of its objective field with insight in the way that perception is in the case of the other attainments.

53. There is in fact no bhikkhu capable of reaching dispassion by comprehension of aggregates connected with the base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception unless he has already done his interpreting with other aggregates (see Ch. XX, 2f. and XXI, 23). And furthermore, when the venerable Sariputta, or someone very wise and naturally gifted with insight as he was, is able to do so, even he has to do it by means of comprehension by groups (Ch.XX, 2) in this way, `So it seems, these states, not having been, come to be; having come to be, they vanish' (M. iii; 28) and not by means of [actual direct] insight into states one by one as they arise, such is the subtlety that this attainment reaches.

54. And this meaning should be illustrated by the simile of the water on the road, as it was by the simile of the oil-smearing on the bowl. A novice was walking in front of an elder, it seems, who had set out on a journey. He saw a little water and said `There is water, venerable sir, remove your sandals'. Then the elder said `If there is water, bring me the bathing cloth and let us bathe', but the novice said `There is none, venerable sir'. Herein, just as `There is water' is in the sense of mere wetting of the sandals, and `There is none' is in the sense of bathing. So too, this perception is `neither perception' since it is incapable of performing the decisive function of perception, and it is `nor non-perception' because it is present in a subtle form as a residual formation. And this meaning should be illustrated not only by these similes but by other appropriate ones as well.

Energ.jpg

55. "Enters upon and dwells in" is as already explained.

  This is the `detailed explanation of the base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception as a meditation subject.


GENERAL

56.

    Thus has the Peerless Helper told
    The fourfold Immaterial State;
    To know these general matters too
    Will not be inappropriate.

57.

    For these immaterial states,
    While reckoned by surmounting of
    The object they are four, the Wise
    Do not admit surmounting of
    Factors that one can recognize.

58. Of these [four], the first is due to surmounting signs of materiality, the second is due to surmounting space, the third is due to surmounting the consciousness that occurred with that space as its object, and the fourth is due to surmounting the disappearance of the Consciousness that occurred with that space as its object. So they should be understood, as four in number with the surmounting of the object in each case. [339] But the wise do not admit any surmounting of [[[jhana]]] factors; for there is no surmounting of factors in them as there is in the case of the fine-material-sphere attainments. Each one has just the two factors, namely, equanimity and unification of mind.

EssenceofAmrita.jpg

59. That being so,

    They progress in refinement; each
    Is finer than the one before.
    Two figures help to make them known
    The cloth lengths, and each palace floor.

60. Suppose there were a four-storied palace: on its first floor the five objects of sense pleasure were provided in a very fine form as divine dancing, singing and music, and perfumes, scents, garlands, food, couches, clothing, etc., and on the second they were finer than that, and on the third finer still, and on the fourth they were finest of all; yet they are still only palace floors, and there is no difference between them in the matter of their state (essence) as palace floors; it is with the progressive refinement of the five objects of sense pleasure that each one is finer than the one below;--again suppose there were lengths of cloth of quadruple, treble, double and single thickness, and [made] of thick, thin, thinner, and very thin, thread spun by one woman, all of the same measure in width and breadth; now although these lengths of cloth are four in number, yet they measure the same in width and breadth, there is no difference in their measurement; but in softness to the touch, fineness, and costliness each is finer than the one before;--so too, although there are only the two factors in all four [[[Wikipedia:immaterial|immaterial]] states]; that is to say, equanimity and unification of mind, still each one should be understood as finer than the one before with the progressive refinement of the factors due to successful development.

61. And for the fact that each of them is finer than the last [there is this figure:]

    One hangs upon a tent that stands
    On filth; on him another leans.
    Outside a third not leaning stands,
    Against the last another leans
    Between the four men and these states
    The correspondence then is shown,
    And so how each to each relates
    Can by a man of wit be known.

Eyes.jpg

62. This is how the meaning should be construed. There was a tent in a dirty place, it seems. Then a man arrived, and being disgusted with the dirt, he rested himself on the tent with his hands and remained as if hung or hanging on to it. Then another man came and leant upon the man hanging on to the tent. Then another man came and thought `The one who is hanging on to the tent and the one who is leaning upon him are both badly off and if the tent falls they will certainly fall. I think I shall stand outside'. [340] So instead of leaning upon the one leaning upon the first, he remained outside. Then another arrived, and taking account of the insecurity of the one hanging onto the tent and the one leaning upon him, and fancying that the one standing outside was well placed, he stood leaning upon him.

63. Herein, this is how it should be regarded. The space from which the kasina kas been removed is like the tent in the dirty place. The [[[consciousness]] of the] base consisting of boundless space, which makes space its object owing to disgust with the sign of the fine-material, is like the man who hangs on to the tent owing to disgust with the dirt. The [[[consciousness]] of the] base consisting of boundless consciousness, the occurrence of which is contingent upon [the consciousness of] the base consisting of boundless space whose object is space, is like the man who leans upon the man who hangs on to the tent. The [[[consciousness]] of the] base consisting of nothingness, which instead of making the [[[consciousness]] of the] base consisting of boundless space its object has the non-existence of that as its object, is like the man who, after considering the insecurity of those two, does not lean upon the one hanging on to the tent, but stands outside. The [[[consciousness]] of the] base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception, the occurrence of which is contingent upon [the consciousness of] the base consisting of nothingness, which stands in a place outside, in other words, in the non-existence of [the past] consciousness, is like the man who stands leaning upon the last-named, having considered the insecurity of the one hanging on to the tent and the one leaning upon him, and fancying that the one standing outside is well placed.

64.

    And while occurring in this way,
    It takes this for its object since
    There is no other one as good;
    As men depend upon a king,
    Whose fault they see, for livelihood.

Fi uddha.jpg

65. For although this [[[consciousness]] of the] base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception has seen the flaw in the base consisting of nothingness in this way `This attainment has the base consisting of boundless consciousness as its near enemy', notwithstanding that fact it takes it as its object in the absence of any other. Like what? As men for the sake of livelihood depend on kings whose faults they see. For just as, for the sake of livelihood and because they cannot get a livelihood elsewhere, people put up with some king, ruler of all quarters, who is unrestrained, and harsh in bodily, verbal and mental behaviour, though they see his faults thus `He is harshly behaved', so too the [[[consciousness]] of the] base consisting of neither perception nor non-perception takes that base consisting of nothingness as its object in spite of seeing its faults in this way, and it does so since it cannot find another [better] object.

66.

    As one who mounts a lofty stair
    Leans on its railing for a prop,
    As one who climbs an airy peak
    Leans on the mountain's very top,
    As one who stands on a crag's ledge
    Leans for support on his own knees--
    Each jhana rests on that below;
    For so it is with each of these.

  The Tenth Chapter called `The Description of the Immaterial States' in the Treatise on the Development of Concentration in the Path of Purification composed for the purpose of gladdening good people.

NOTES

{1} 'A dog, it seems, was attacked in the forest by a boar and fled. When it was dusk - he saw in the distance a cauldron for boiling rice, and perceiving it as a boar, he fled in fear and terror. Again, a man who was afraid of pisaca goblins saw a decapitated palm stump at night in a place that was unfamiliar to him,. and perceiving it as a pisaca goblin, he fell down in his fear, horror and confusion' (Pm. 320).

Forty m.jpg

{2}. P. T. S. Dict., this ref. reads yƒnaputosƒ for yƒnapattoli, taking it as one compound (see under yƒna and mutolŒ) but this does not fit the context happily. Pm. (p. 321) has "` yƒnappatolikumbhimukhƒdŒnan" ti agunthana-sivikƒdi-yƒnam mukhƒm=yƒna-mukhƒm; patoliyƒ kudda-kadvƒrassa mukhƒm=patoli-mukhƒm; kumbhi-mukhƒm ti paccekam mukha-saddo sambandhitabbo'. This necessitates taking yƒna separately.

{3}. These two quotations refer respectively to the first of the Eight Liberations and the first of the Eight Bases of Mastery (See MA. iii, 255ff.)

{4}. This explanation depends on a play on the word sa¤¤ƒ as the (subjective) perception and as the (objective) sign, signal or label perceived.

{5}. See Ch. XIV, 129, description of perception aggregate, which is classified in the same way as the consciousness aggregate. Those referred to here are the fifteen fine-material kinds, corresponding to nos. (9)-(13), (57)-(61) and (81)-(85) in Table II.

{6}. Sec Ch. XIV, 96f. nos. (34)-(38) and (50)-(54) in Table II.

{7}. `A [formed] dhamma with an individual essence is delimited by rise and fall because it is produced after having not been, and because after having been it vanishes. But space is called boundless since it has neither rise nor fall because it is a dhamma without individual essence' (Pm. 323).

{8}. `He should not give attention to it only as "Boundless, boundless"; instead of developing it thus, he should give attention to it as "Boundless consciousness, boundless consciousness" or as "Consciousness, consciousness" ' (Pm. 324).

{9}. There is a play on the words `natthi ki¤ci (there is nothing) and `aki¤cana (non-owning)'. At M. i, 298 there occurs the expression `Rƒgo kho ƒvuso ki¤cano (greed, friend is an owning)', which is used in connexion with this attainment. The commentary (MA. ii, 354) says `Rƒgo uppajjitvƒ puggalam ki¤cati, maddati, palibujjhati, tasma ki¤cano ti vutto (greed having arisen owns, presses, impedes, a person, that is why it is called an owning)' (Cf.. MA. i, 27; also Ch. XXI, 53 and note l9.) Pm. (p. 327) here says `Ki¤canan ti ki¤ci pi'. The word ki¤cati is not in P. T. S. Dict.

Freefall.jpg

{10}. Mahacca (see D. i. 49 and DA. i, 148); the form is not given in P.T.S. Dict,; probably a form of mahatjya.

{11}. `Sukhodaka--tepid water': see Monier Williams Skr. Dict,; this meaning of sukha not given in P. T. S. Dict.

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS USED

All editions Pali Text Society unless otherwise stated

A.
    Anguttara Nikƒya
AA.
    Anguttara Nikƒya Atthakathƒ (Commentary)=Manorathapurani
Cp.
    Cariyƒpitaka
Dh.
    Dhammapada
DhA.
    Dhammapáda Atthakathƒ (Commentary)
Dhs.
    Dhammasa¤gani
DhsA.
    Dhammasa¤gani Atthakatha (Commentary)=Atthasƒlini
DhsAA.
    Dhammasa¤gani Tikƒ (Sub-commentary)=Mula Tikƒ (pt. I)
Dhk.
    Dhƒtukathƒ
D.
    Digha Nikƒya
DA.

Guru 147.jpg
Digha Nikaya Atthakathƒ (Commentary)=Suma¤galavilasinŒ

Iti.
    Itivuttaka
Jƒ.
    Jƒtaka (Fausboll's ed.)
Kv.
    Kathƒvatthu
Mv.
    Mahƒvamsa
M.
    Majjhima Nikƒya
MA.
    Majjhima Nikƒya Atthakathƒ (Commentary)=Papa¤casudani
Miln.
    Milinda-pa¤hƒ
Netti.
    Netti-pakarana
Ndl.
    Mahƒ Niddesa
Nd2.
    Cula Niddesa (Siamese ed.)
Ps.
    Patisambhidƒmagga
PsA.
    Patisambhidamagga Atthakatha (Commentary)=Saddhammappakƒsini (Sinhalese Hewavitarne ed.).
Ptnl.
    Patthƒna, Tika Patthƒna
Ptn2.
    Patthƒna, Duka Patthƒna (Siamese and Burmese eds.)
Pm.
    Paramattha-ma¤jusƒ, Visuddhimagga Atthakathƒ (Commentary) =Mahƒ Tikƒ (Vis. Chs. I to XVII Sinhalese Vidyodaya ed.; Chs. XVIII to XXIII Burmese ed.)
Pe.
    Petakopadesa
Pv.
    Petavatthu
S.
    Samyutta Nikƒya
SA.
    Samyutta Nikƒya Atthakathƒ (Commentary)=Sƒratthappakƒsini
Sn.
    Sutta-nipƒta
SnA.
    Sutta-nipƒta Atthakathƒ (Commentary)=Paramatthajotikƒ
Thag.
    Thera-gƒthƒ
Ud.
    Udƒna
Vbh.
    Vibha¤ga
VbhA.
    Vibha¤ga Atthakathƒ (Commentary)=Sammohavinodani
VbhAA.
    Vibha¤ga Tikƒ (Sub-commentary)=Mula-Tikƒ (pt. 2)
Vv.
    Vimƒna-vatthu
Vin. i.
    Vinaya Pitaka (3)--Mahavagga (
Vin. ii.
    Vinaya Pitaka (4)--Culavagga (
Vin. iii.
    Vinaya Pitaka (l)--Suttavibha¤ga 1 (Oldenberg's ed.)
Vin. iv.
    Vinaya Pitaka (2)--Suttavibha¤ga 2 (
Vin. v.
    Vinaya Pitaka (5)--Parivƒra (
Vis.
    Visuddhimagga (P.T.S. ed. and Harvard Oriental Series ed.)

  Numbers in square brackets in the text thus [333] refer to the page numbers of the Pali Text Society's edition of the Pali.

  Paragraph numbers on the left correspond to the paragraph numbers of the Harvard ed. of the Pali.

  Chapter and section headings and other numberings have been inserted for clarity.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

PRINTED EDITIONS OF THE VISUDDHIMAGGA PALl TEXT

TRANSLATIONS OF THE VISUDDHIMAGGA

OTHER WORKS

Source

www.well.com/~gilesgal/