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ABHIÑÑĀ

([towards] transcendent knowledge)

All the suttas" extracts cited below have parallels in Chinese, Sanskrit or Tibetan.

 

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अभि abhi, (a prefix to verbs and nouns , expressing) to , towards , into , over , upon.

(As a prefix to verbs of motion) it expresses the notion or going towards , approaching. 

(As a prefix to nouns not derived from verbs) it expresses superiority , intensity. 

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.So too, bhikkhus, the things I have transcendentally known but have not taught you are numerous, while the things I have taught you are few. And why, bhikkhus, have I not taught those many things? Because they are unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and do not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, towards transcendent knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. Therefore I have not taught them.

And what, bhikkhus, have I taught? I have taught: ‘This is suffering’; I have taught: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; I have taught: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; I have taught: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ And why, bhikkhus, have I taught this? Because this is beneficial, relevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and leads to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, towards transcendent knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. Therefore I have taught this.
Evameva kho, bhikkhave, etadeva bahutaraṃ yaṃ vo mayā abhiññāya anakkhātaṃ. Kasmā cetaṃ, bhikkhave, mayā anakkhātaṃ? Na hetaṃ, bhikkhave, atthasaṃhitaṃ nādibrahmacariyakaṃ na nibbidāya na virāgāya na nirodhāya na upasamāya na abhiññāya na sambodhāya na nibbānāya saṃvattati; tasmā taṃ mayā anakkhātaṃ.
Kiñca, bhikkhave, mayā akkhātaṃ? ‘Idaṃ dukkhan’ti, bhikkhave, mayā akkhātaṃ, ‘ayaṃ dukkhasamudayo’ti mayā akkhātaṃ, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodho’ti mayā akkhātaṃ, ‘ayaṃ dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā’ti mayā akkhātaṃ.
Kasmā cetaṃ, bhikkhave, mayā akkhātaṃ? Etañhi, bhikkhave, atthasaṃhitaṃ etaṃ ādibrahmacariyakaṃ etaṃ nibbidāya virāgāya nirodhāya upasamāya abhiññāya sambodhāya nibbānāya saṃvattati; tasmā taṃ mayā akkhātaṃ.

SN 56.31
See also SN 56.41 - SN 56.7/8/9 (they all have good parallels; and tell what to avoid [e.g. evil thoughts- thinking that the world is eternal, etc.], and instead, think like the above).

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I followed that path and by doing so I have transcendentally known aging-and-death, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation. I have transcendentally known birth ... existence ... appropriating ... .craving ... feeling ... contact ... the six fields of sensory experience .... name-and-form ... consciousness ... co-actions, their origin, their cessation, and the way leading to their cessation. Having transcendentally known them, I have explained them to the bhikkhus, the bhikkhunīs, the male lay followers, and the female lay followers.
Ayaṃ kho so, bhikkhave, purāṇamaggo purāṇañjaso pubbakehi sammāsambuddhehi anuyāto, tamanugacchiṃ; tamanugacchanto jarāmaraṇaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ; jarāmaraṇasamudayaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ; jarāmaraṇanirodhaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ; jarāmaraṇanirodhagā­miniṃ paṭipadaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ. Tamanugacchiṃ; tamanu­gacchanto jātiṃ abbhaññāsiṃ … pe … bhavaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ … upādānaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ … taṇhaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ … vedanaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ … phassaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ … saḷāyatanaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ … nāmarūpaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ … viññāṇaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ. Tamanugacchiṃ; tamanu­gacchanto saṅkhāre abbhaññāsiṃ; saṅkhārasamudayaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ; saṅkhāranirodhaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ; saṅkhāranirodhagāminiṃ paṭipadaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ. Tadabhiññāya ācikkhiṃ bhikkhūnaṃ bhikkhunīnaṃ upāsakānaṃ upāsikānaṃ. Tayidaṃ, bhikkhave, brahmacariyaṃ iddhañceva phītañca vitthārikaṃ bāhujaññaṃ puthubhūtaṃ yāva devamanussehi suppakāsitan”ti.
SN 12.65 (many parallels)

Note that if SN 12.65 and the SF 154 parallel speaks about abhiññā (abhijñā), it is not the case with the SA 296 parallel, that adresses a "correct thinking" (正思惟), that corresponds to yoniso manasikara. The two possibilities being complemental in that instance. 

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Friend, Sāriputta (says Channa,) seeing the cessation of the eye, eye-consciousness, and things cognizable by eye-consciousness I had the transcendental knowledge that `eye, eye-consciousness, and things cognizable by eye consciousness are not me, I'm not in them, and they are not self. 'Friend Sāriputta, seeing the cessation of ear, ... nose, ... taste, ... body, ... mano, mano-consciousness, and things cognizable by mano-consciousness I had the transcendental knowledge that, mano, mano-consciousness, and things cognizable by mano-consciousness are not me, I'm not in them and they are not self.”
Cakkhusmiṃ, āvuso sāriputta, cakkhuviññāṇe cakkhuviññāṇaviññātabbesu dhammesu nirodhaṃ disvā nirodhaṃ abhiññāya cakkhuṃ cakkhuviññāṇaṃ cakkhuviññāṇaviññātabbe dhamme ‘netaṃ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti samanupassāmi. Sotasmiṃ, āvuso sāriputta, sotaviññāṇe … ghānasmiṃ, āvuso sāriputta, ghānaviññāṇe … jivhāya, āvuso sāriputta, jivhāviññāṇe … kāyasmiṃ, āvuso sāriputta, kāyaviññāṇe … manasmiṃ, āvuso sāriputta, manoviññāṇe manoviññāṇaviññātabbesu dhammesu nirodhaṃ disvā nirodhaṃ abhiññāya manaṃ manoviññāṇaṃ manoviññāṇaviññātabbe dhamme ‘netaṃ mama, nesohamasmi, na meso attā’ti samanupassāmī”ti.

Note that in the SA 1266 parallel, abhiññāya is translated as 知滅故: (I had the) "knowlege of the reason of the ceasing" (that). 


When this was said, the venerable Mahā Cunda said this to the venerable Channa:
“Therefore, friend Channa, this teaching of the Blessed One is to be constantly turned to, with the mano:
"For one who is clinging, there is the wish to act; for one who is not clinging, there is no wish to act. When there is no wish to act, there is tranquility (confidence); when there is tranquility, there is turning away; when there is turning away, there is no obtaining & non-obtaining (striving to); when there is no obtaining & non-obtaining, there is no coming forth from (namarūpa), and arising (in satta); when there is no coming forth from (namarūpa), and arising (in satta) [viz. leaving one world  (rūpa) and coming to another (loka)], there is neither here, nor there, nor in between the two."

This is the end of suffering.”
Evaṃ vutte, āyasmā mahācundo āyasmantaṃ channaṃ etadavoca: “tasmātiha, āvuso channa, idampi tassa bhagavato sāsanaṃ, niccakappaṃ manasi kātabbaṃ: ‘nissitassa calitaṃ, anissitassa calitaṃ natthi. Calite asati passaddhi, passaddhiyā sati nati na hoti. Natiyā asati āgatigati na hoti. Āgatigatiyā asati cutūpapāto [cutūpapāta: cuti-upapāta]- Cuti > cp. Sk. च्युत् cyuti = coming forth (also falling from,) & Upapāta > cp. SK. उत्पत्ति utpatti = arising, birth, production (MBh)- Note: cutūpapāta is related to a birthing process,] na hoti. Cutūpapāte asati nevidha na huraṃ na ubhayamantarena.
Esevanto dukkhassā’”ti.
MN 144
See also SN 35.87

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Friends, the ascetic Gotama teaches the Dhamma to his disciples in such a way as this: ‘Come, bhikkhus, directly have the transcendental knowledge of all phenomena. Dwell having the transcendental knowledge of all phenomena.’ We too teach the Dhamma to our disciples in such a way as this: ‘Come, friends, have the transcendental knowledge of  all phenomena.
Samaṇo, āvuso, gotamo sāvakānaṃ evaṃ dhammaṃ deseti: ‘etha tumhe, bhikkhave, sabbaṃ dhammaṃ abhijānātha, sabbaṃ dhammaṃ abhiññāya viharathā’ti; mayampi kho, āvuso, sāvakānaṃ evaṃ dhammaṃ desema: ‘etha tumhe, āvuso, sabbaṃ dhammaṃ abhijānātha, sabbaṃ dhammaṃ abhiññāya viharathā’ti.
AN 10.27

Note: Instead of abhiññā, the Chinese parallel EA 46.8 speaks about cutting (切) all dhammas into pieces (諸法). This might have been interpreted as to "desankharize" the dhammas' khandhas.

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Again, with the destruction of the taints, the Tathāgata fetches distinctively, having attained by himself and manifestly, the transcendental knowledge of the phenomena (that are) seen exactly so (diṭṭheva*), (and having attained) the taintless liberation from ceto, the liberation by discernment". 

Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, tathāgato āsavānaṃ khayā anāsavaṃ cetovimuttiṃ paññāvimuttiṃ diṭṭheva dhamme sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharati.
AN 10.21 (SA 684)

Sacchikatvā:[abs.of sacchikaroti] Sk.sākṣāt kṛ सख्याकख्याति sākṣāt - before one's eyes , evidently , clearly , openly , manifestly (AV.)

*Diṭṭheva = diṭṭha + एव eva (exactly so - see एवम्  evam). 

Diṭṭheva dhamme =  phenomena seen exactly so. 

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"Having conquered the army of the pleasant and agreeable, meditating alone, I discovered the supreme knowledge of the citta-like pleasure of mankind, the attainment of the goal, the peace of the heart.
Therefore I don't form intimate ties with people, nor does intimacy with anyone get a chance with me."
Atthassa pattiṃ hadayassa santiṃ, jetvāna senaṃ piyasātarūpaṃ; ekohaṃ jhāyaṃ sukhamanubodhiṃ,
Tasmā janena na karomi sakkhiṃ; sakkhī na sampajjati kenaci me’ti.

Only this first part has a parallel in SA 549. 

Not what follows. 
...
"Some ascetics and brahmins, sister, for whom the attainment of:
the earth kasiṇa ...
the fire kasiṇa ...
the water kasiṇa ...
the air kasiṇa ...
the blue kasiṇa ...
the yellow kasiṇa ...
the red kasiṇa ...
the white kasiṇa ...
the space kasiṇa ...
the consciousness kasiṇa
is supreme, generated it as their goal.
The Blessed One transcendentally
new to what extent the attainment of the consciousness kasiṇa is supreme.

Having transcendentally known this, he saw the beginning, the danger, and the escape, and he saw the knowledge and vision of the path and the non-path.
By seeing the beginning, the danger, and the escape, and by seeing the knowledge and vision of the path and the non-path, he knew the attainment of the goal, the peace of the heart.
Āpokasiṇasamāpattiparamā kho, bhagini … pe … tejokasiṇasamāpattiparamā kho, bhagini … vāyokasiṇasamāpattiparamā kho, bhagini … nīlakasiṇasamāpattiparamā kho, bhagini … pītakasiṇasamāpattiparamā kho, bhagini … lohitakasiṇasamāpattiparamā kho, bhagini … odātakasiṇasamāpattiparamā kho, bhagini … ākāsakasiṇasamāpattiparamā kho, bhagini … viññāṇakasiṇasamāpattiparamā kho, bhagini, eke samaṇabrāhmaṇā ‘attho’ti abhinibbattesuṃ
Yāvatā kho, bhagini, viññāṇakasiṇasamāpattiparamatā, tadabhiññāsi bhagavā. Tadabhiññāya bhagavā assādamaddasa … ādīnavamaddasa … nissaraṇamaddasa … maggāmaggañāṇadassanamaddasa … tassa assādadassanahetu ādīnavadassanahetu nissaraṇadassanahetu maggāmaggañāṇadassanahetu atthassa patti hadayassa santi viditā hoti.
AN 10.26

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These seven factors of enlightenment, venerable sir, have been rightly expounded by the Blessed One; when developed and cultivated, they lead towards transcendental knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
Sattime, bhante, bojjhaṅgā bhagavatā sammadakkhātā bhāvitā bahulīkatā abhiññāya sambodhāya nibbānāya saṃvattanti.
SN 46.16 (SF 245.30.10) 

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Thus is the Noble Truth of Suffering, a dharma that has never been heard before, and which is to be contemplated. When doing so, it gives birth to vision, wisdom, understanding, and Bodhi. [2] Thus are the noble truths of the accumulation of suffering, [3] the cessation of suffering, and [4] the path that leads to the cessation of suffering: dharmas that have never been heard before, and which are to be contemplated. When doing so, they give birth to vision (眼), wisdom (智) understanding (明), and enlightenment (覺). (SN 56.11 says: to peace, to transcendental knowledge (abhiññā), to enlightenment, to Nibbāna). 

SA 259 (SN 56.11)

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The series on:
Then there is the disciple of the noble ones — thus consummate in virtue, thus consummate in establishment (of citta), thus consummate in discernment — who, through the ending of the mental fermentations, enters & remains in the fermentation-free liberation from ceto & liberation by discernment;
having attained by himself and manifestly, the transcendental knowledge of the phenomena (that are) seen exactly so. 

Sa kho so, ariyasāvako evaṃ sīlasampanno evaṃ samādhisampanno evaṃ paññāsampanno āsavānaṃ khayā anāsavaṃ cetovimuttiṃ paññāvimuttiṃ diṭṭheva dhamme sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharati.
AN 3.73 (SA 934) - AN 4.159 (SA 564)

SA 934 & SA 564 speak about 自知作證 (personally experience [作證] and know for oneself [自知]). 

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These I consider to be ascetics among ascetics and brahmins among brahmins, and these venerable ones, those who have attained by themselves and manifestly, the transcendental knowledge of the phenomena (that are) seen exactly so; and enter and dwell in the goal of asceticism and the goal of brahminhood.”

Te kho me, bhikkhave, samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā samaṇesu ceva samaṇasammatā, brāhmaṇesu ca brāhmaṇasammatā. Te ca panāyasmanto sāmaññatthañca brahmaññatthañca diṭṭheva dhamme sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharantī”ti.
SN 12.13/4 - SN 12.71

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Then the brahmin of the Bhāradvāja clan received the going forth under the Blessed One, he received the higher ordination. And soon, not long after his higher ordination, dwelling alone, withdrawn, diligent, ardent, and resolute, the Venerable Bhāradvāja, by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life entered and dwelt in that unsurpassed goal of the holy life for the sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness. He transcendentally k
new: “Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more for this state of being.” And the Venerable Bhāradvāja became one of the arahants.

Alattha kho bhārad­vāja­gotto brāhmaṇo bhagavato santike pabbajjaṃ, alattha upasampadaṃ. Acirū­pasam­panno kho panāyasmā bhāradvājo eko vūpakaṭṭho appamatto ātāpī pahitatto viharanto nacirasseva—yassatthāya kulaputtā sammadeva agārasmā anagāriyaṃ pabbajanti tadanuttaraṃ—brahma­cari­ya­pari­yosānaṃ diṭṭheva dhamme sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja vihāsi. “Khīṇā jāti, vusitaṃ brahmacariyaṃ, kataṃ karaṇīyaṃ, nāparaṃ itthattāyā”ti abbhaññāsi. Aññataro ca panāyasmā bhāradvājo arahataṃ ahosīti.

SN 7.1 

Important note: this pericope appears often in the Nikayas. But abhiññā only appears to be meaning "transcendental knowlege" in the few perfect Chinese parallels for such extracts as the above, when it is especially translated (for instance in the SA 1158 parallel) as 心善解脫 (excellent liberation of the citta). This 心善解脫 corresponds to suvimuttacitto in AN 10.20/EA 46.2 - Please check those two). Which seems to show that abhiññā is a kowledge that fits between the liberation from ceto  (the "polluted" citta); and the total liberation of the citta. 

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So after that, Ven. Sona determined the right pitch for his persistence, attuned the pitch of the [five] faculties/powers [to that], and there picked up his (own) expression. Dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute, he in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, having attained by himself and manifestly, the transcendental knowledge of the phenomena (that are) seen exactly so.
Atha kho āyasmā soṇo aparena samayena vīriyasamathaṃ adhiṭṭhāsi, indriyānañca samataṃ paṭivijjhi, tattha ca nimittaṃ aggahesi. Atha kho āyasmā soṇo eko vūpakaṭṭho appamatto ātāpī pahitatto viharanto nacirassevayassatthāya kulaputtā sammadeva agārasmā anāgāriyaṃ pabbajanti, tadanuttaraṃ brahma­cariyapariyosānaṃ diṭṭheva dhamme sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja vihāsi.
AN 6.55 

Note: As SN 7.1 above, there is no such thing as abhiññā = transcendental knowledge in the SA 254 parallel; but instead, 善心解脫 = good liberation of citta. 

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So long as I did not transcendentally know as they have come to be the five aggregates subject to clinging in four phases, I did not claim to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with its devas, Mara, and Brahma, in this generation with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans.
Yāvakīvañcāhaṃ, bhikkhave, ime pañcu­pādā­nak­khan­dhe catuparivaṭṭaṃ yathābhūtaṃ nābbhaññāsiṃ, neva tāvāhaṃ, bhikkhave, sadevake loke samārake sabrahmake ­sassama­ṇab­rāhma­ṇiyā pajāya sade­va­manus­sāya anuttaraṃ sammāsambodhiṃ abhisam­buddhoti paccaññāsiṃ.
...
And how, bhikkhus, are there four phases? I transcendentally knew form, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation. I transcendentally knew feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness, its origin, its cessation, and the way leading to its cessation.
Kathañca catuparivaṭṭaṃ? Rūpaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ, rūpasamudayaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ, rūpanirodhaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ, rūpanirodhagāminiṃ paṭipadaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ; vedanaṃ … saññaṃ … saṅkhāre … viññāṇaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ, viñ­ñāṇasamudayaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ, viñ­ñā­ṇa­nirodhaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ, viññāṇanirodhagāminiṃ paṭipadaṃ abbhaññāsiṃ.
SN 22.56

Note that the parallel SA 41 translates "knowing transcendentally, as they have come to be" as  實知 (true knowing). 

 

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Having known the origin of nothingness, and that enjoyment is called a fetter,

knowing transcendentally that it is so, and then having insight (serene distinction) into this:
this is real knowedge for him, for the brahmin who is accomplished.”
Ākiñcaññasambhavaṃ ñatvā, Nandī saṃyojanaṃ iti;
Evametaṃ abhiññāya, Tato tattha vipassati;
Etaṃ ñāṇaṃ tathaṃ tassa, Brāhmaṇassa vusīmato”ti.
Snp 5.15

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But there comes a time when his citta grows steady inwardly, settles down, transcends & get established.
 His establishment is calm & refined, has become serene & transcended; having restrained & having come to prevent the co-actions (saṅkāra) [Sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato]. 

"And then whichever of the transcendental knowledges he turns his citta to know & realize, he can witness them for himself whenever there is an opening.
Hoti so, bhikkhave, samayo yaṃ taṃ cittaṃ ajjhattaṃyeva santiṭṭhati sannisīdati ekodi hoti samādhiyati. So hoti samādhi santo paṇīto paṭippassaddhiladdho ekodibhāvādhigato na sasaṅkhāraniggayhavāritagato. Yassa yassa ca abhiññā sacchikaraṇīyassa dhammassa cittaṃ abhininnāmeti abhiññā sacchikiriyāya tatra tatreva sakkhibhabbataṃ pāpuṇāti sati satiāyatane.
AN 3.101 (SA 1256)

SA 1256 speaks about 於彼彼入處,欲求作證悉能得證 (whatever fields he desires to enter, he is able to realize (personally experince) them all). 

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Both this world and the world beyond
Have been revealed by him who knows:
What's within the reach of Mara,
And also what's beyond his reach.

Transcendentally knowing all of the world,
The wise one, by awakening,
Has opened the door to non-death,
Which safely reaches nibbana.

Ayaṃ loko paro loko,
jānatā suppakāsito;
Yañca mārena sampattaṃ,
appattaṃ yañca maccunā.

Sabbaṃ lokaṃ abhiññāya,
sambuddhena pajānatā;
Vivaṭaṃ amatadvāraṃ,
khemaṃ nibbānapattiyā.
MN 34

Note: EA 43.6 speaks about:

善察今 世、後世 : Examine well this world & the other world. 

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Because, bhikkhus, this reflection is unbeneficial, irrelevant to the fundamentals of the holy life, and does not lead to revulsion, to dispassion, to cessation, to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna.
Nesā, bhikkhave, cintā atthasaṃhitā nādib­rahma­cari­yakā na nibbidāya na virāgāya na nirodhāya na upasamāya na abhiññāya na sambodhāya na nibbānāya saṃvattati.
SN 56.41 (SA 407)

SA 407 just uses 智 (cognition - ज्ञान  jñāna). 

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What’s to be known is known;
What’s to be developed is developed;
I’ve abandoned what’s to be abandoned;
Therefore, brahmin, I am a Buddha.
Abhiññeyyaṃ abhiññātaṃ,
bhāvetabbañca bhāvitaṃ;
Pahātabbaṃ pahīnaṃ me,
tasmā buddhosmi brāhmaṇa.
Thag 16.6

 

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Created: 02/01/2016
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