A Manual of Abhidhamma

by Nārada Thera | 80,494 words | ISBN-13: 9789380336510

In the Abhidhammattha Sangaha there is a brief exposition of the Law of Dependent Origination, followed by a descriptive account of the Causal Relations that finds no parallel in any other philosophy. Edited in the original Pali Text with English Translation and Explanatory Notes by Narada Maha Thera....

Signs of Mental Culture


§ 5. Nimittesu pana parikammanimittam uggahanimittain ca sabbatthā' piyathāraham pariyāyena labbhant' eva. Patibhāganimittam pana kasināsubhakotthāsānāpānesveva labbhati. Tattha hi patibhāganimittamārabbha upacārasamādhi appanāsamādhi ca pavattanti. Katham? ādikammikassa hi pathavimandalādisu nimittam ugganhantassa tam' ālambanam parikammanimitta pavuccati. Sā ca bhāvanā parikammabhāvanā nāma.

Yada pana tam nimittam cittena samuggahitam hoti, cakkhunā passantass'eva manodvārassa āpāthamāgatam tadā tam' evālambanam uggahanimittam nāma. Sā ca bhāvanā samādhiyati

Tathā samāhitassa pana tassa tato param tasmim uggahanimitte parikammasamādhinā bhāvanamanuyuñjantassa yadā tappatibhāgam vatthudhammavimuccitam paññattisankhātam bhāvanāmayam ālambanam citte sannisinnam samappitam hoti. Tadā tam patibbhāganimittam samuppannā'ti pavuccati. Tato patthāya paribandha vippahīnā kāmāvacarasamādhisankhātā upacārabhāvanā nipphannā nāma hoti. Tato param tam eva patibhāganimittam upacāra samādhinā samāsevantassa rūpāvacarapathamajjhānam appeti. Tato param tam eva pathamaijjhānam āvajjanam, samāpajjanam, adhitthānam, vutthānam, paccavekkhanā c'āti imāhi pañcahi vasitāhi vasībhūtam katvā vitakkādikam olārikangam pahānāya vicārādi sukhumanguppattiyā padahanto yathākkamam dutivajjhānādayo yathāraham' appeti.

Icc'evam pathavikasinādisu dvāvisatikammatthanesu patibhāganimittam' upalabbhati. Avasesu pana appamaññā sattapaññattiyam pavattanti.

ākāsavajjitakasinesu pana yam kiñci kasinam ugghātetvā laddhamākāsam anantavasena parikammam karontassa pathamāruppam appeti. Tameva pathamāruppaviññānam anantavasena parikammam karontassa dutiyāruppam appeti. Tam'eva pathamāruppaviññānabhāvam pana natthi kiñcī'ti parikammam karontassa tatiyāruppam appeti.Tatiyāruppam santam etam panītam etanti parikammam karontassa catutthāruppam appeti.

Avasesesu ca dasasu kammatthānesu Buddhagunā- dikamālambanam ārabbha parikammam katvā tasmim nimitte sādhukam uggahite tatth'eva parikammañ ca samādhiyati, upacāro ca sampajjati.

Abhiññāvasena pavattamānam pana rūpāvacarapañcamajjhānam abhiññāpādaka pañcamajjhāna vutthahitvā adhittheyyādikam āvajjitvā parikammam karontassa rūpādisu ālambanesu yathāraham appeti.

Abhiññā ca nāma:

Iddhividham dibbasotam paracittavijānanā

Pubbenivāsānussati dibbacakkhū'ti pañcadhā.

Ayam' ettha gocarabhedo.

Nitthito ca samathakammatthānanayo



§ 5.

Of the three signs, the preliminary sign and the abstract sign are generally obtained in every case according to the object. But the conceptualized image is obtained in the 'Kasinas', 'Impurities', 'Parts of the body', and 'Breathing'.

It is by means of the conceptualized image that the proximate on pointedness and the ecstatic one-pointedness are developed.


Whatever object amongst the earth kasinas and so forth, a beginner takes to practice meditation, is called a preliminary sign and that meditation is preliminary mental culture. When that sign is perceived by the mind and enters the mind-door as if seen by the very (physical) eye then it is called the abstract sign. That meditation becomes well established.

Likewise when a counter-image born of mediation, freed from original defects (20) reckoned as a concept, is well established and fixed in the mind of one who is well composed and who thereafter, practices meditation on the abstract sign by means of preliminary concentration then it is said that the conceptualized image has arisen.

Rūpa Jhāna

Thereafter 'proximate concentration', free from obstacles, pertaining to the kāma-Sphere, arises. Then he who develops the conceptualized image by means of 'proximate concentration' attains to the first jhāna of the rūpa-Sphere.

Thenceforth by bringing that very first jhāna under one's sway by means of these five kinds of mastery (21) - namely, reflection, attainment, resolution, emergence, and revision - the striving person, by inhibiting the coarse factors like 'initial application' and so forth, and by developing the subtle factors like 'sustained application and so forth attains, by degrees, according to circumstances, to the second jhāna and so forth.

Thus with respect to twenty-two subjects of mental culture such as the earth kasina, etc., the conceptualized image is obtained. But in the remaining (eighteen) subjects of mental culture the 'Illimitables' relate to the concept of beings.

Arūpa Jhāna (22)

Now, to one who practices concentration on space abstracted from any kasina excluding the ākāsa kasina, thinking - 'this is infinite' - there arises the first arūpajhāna. To one who practices concentration on that very first arūpa jhāna, thinking that 'it is infinite', there arises the second arūpa jhāna. To one who practices concentration on the non-existence of the first arūpa-consciousness, the thinking 'there is naught whatever' - there arises the third arūpa jhāna. To him who practices concentration on the third arūpa consciousness, thinking 'it is calm, it is sublime', there arises the fourth arūpa jhāna.

In the remaining ten subjects of mental culture when concentration is practiced on an object like the attributes of the Buddha and so forth and when the sign is well grasped 'preliminary meditation' becomes steadfast therein and 'proximate meditation' is also accomplished.

Supernormal Knowledge (23)

Emerging from the fifth jhāna (serving as a) basis for supernormal knowledge, and reflecting on the 'resolution' and so forth, when one practices concentration on physical objects, etc., there arises according to circumstances, the fifth rūpa-jhāna induced in the way of developing supernormal knowledge.

The five kinds of supernormal knowledge are: Various Psychic Powers, Celestial Ear, Discerning other' thoughts, Reminiscence of past births, and Celestial Eye.

Herein this is the section mental culture.

The method of meditation on Calm is ended.



20. Vatthudhammato
i.e., from the defects found in the original kasina-mandala.

21. Āvajjana
reflection on the different constituents of jhāna.

  1. Samāpajjana - the ability to attain to different jhānas quickly
  2. Adhitthāna - the ability to remain in the jhānas as long as one likes
  3. Vutthāna - the ability to emerge from the jhānas as quickly as possible

Paccavekkhana is similar to āvajjana.

22. See Ch. 1.

23. Abhiññā
Only one who has gained the fifth jhāna can develop the following five kinds of supernormal knowledge or vision:

  1. Iddhividha - Flying through the air, walking on water, diving into the earth, creation of forms, etc., belong to this category
  2. Dibbasota is the Celestial Ear, also called clairaudience, which enables one to hear subtle or coarse sounds far or near
  3. Paracittavijānana is the power to discern the thoughts of others
  4. Pubbenivāsānussati is the power to remember the past lives of oneself and others. This is the first supernormal vision the Buddha developed during the first watch on the night. He attained Enlightenment. With regard to this knowledge the Buddha's power is limitless, while in the case of others it is limited
  5. Dibbacakkhu is the Celestial or Divine Eye, also called clairvoyance, which enables one to see heavenly or earthly things, far or near, which are imperceptible to the physical eye. This as the second knowledge the Buddha developed during the second watch on the night of His Enlightenment.

Cutūpapātañāna knowledge with regard to the dying and reappearing of beings, is identical with this Celestial Eye. Anāgatamsañāna, knowledge with regard to the future, and yathākammūpagañāna, knowledge with regard to the faring of beings according to their own good and bad actions, are two other kinds of knowledge belonging to the same category. These come within the range of Buddha's Omniscience.

These five kinds of supernormal vision are worldly. To these should be added the sixth supernormal knowledge - āsavakkhayañāna - knowledge with regard to the extinction of passions which is supramundane. The first five kinds may be developed at any period; but the last, only during a Buddha-cycle.

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: