by Sujin Boriharnwanaket | 129,875 words
A Survey of Paramattha Dhammas is a guide to the development of the Buddha's path of wisdom, covering all aspects of human life and human behaviour, good and bad. This study explains that right understanding is indispensable for mental development, the development of calm as well as the development of insight The author describes in detail all ment...
Paññā developed in satipaṭṭhāna becomes keener and purer as successive stages of vipassanā are reached. In the development of satipaṭṭhāna there are different kinds of purity, visuddhi, and these can be classified as nine fold.
The first purity is purity of sīla, sīla visuddhi. Sīla arising together with satipaṭṭhāna which is aware of the characteristics of nama and rupa, is sīla visuddhi. At that moment there is purification from ignorance about the characteristics of paramattha Dhammas which are non-self. When satipaṭṭhāna does not arise, one is bound to take sīla for self, and thus, sīla is not sīla visuddhi.
The second purity is purity of citta, citta visuddhi. This is actually different degrees of samādhi, concentration, arising while sati is aware of the characteristics of nama and rupa. Or, when jhānacitta is the object of satipaṭṭhāna, jhānacitta is citta visuddhi. At that moment one does not take jhānacitta for self.
The third purity is purity of view, ditthi visuddhi. This is the stage of insight which is nama-rupa-pariccheda-ñāṇa, the paññā which clearly discerns the difference between the characteristics of nama and rupa. At that moment one does not take any reality, including the insight knowledge, for self. There is purity of view, diṭṭhi visuddhi, because there was never before such clear realization of the different characteristics of nama and rupa as non-self.
The fourth purity is purity by overcoming doubt, kaṅkhāvitaraṇa visuddhi .
When purity of view has arisen, paññā developed through satipaṭṭhāna sees the characteristics of Dhammas as they really are. Paññā sees realities as they are while sati is aware of the characteristics of realities as they appear through the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body-sense and the mind-door. In that way paññā becomes accomplished to the degree that the second stage of insight can arise: knowledge of discerning conditions of nama and rupa, paccaya-pariggaha-ñāṇa. When one directly understands that realities arise because of their appropriate conditions, doubt about their conditional arising is eliminated. Then there is the purity by overcoming doubt.
The fifth purity is purity by knowledge and vision of what is the path and what is not the path, maggāmagga-ñāṇadassana visuddhi.
When purity by overcoming doubt has arisen, paññā becomes more accomplished through satipaṭṭhāna which is aware of the characteristics of nama and rupa. Paññā becomes more familiar with their characteristics and comes to know them more clearly. Paññā realizes that realities are equal in the sense that all of them are only conditioned Dhammas, and thus there is more equanimity with regard to them. This means that there is more detachment, less inclination to cling to any particular nama or rupa. Paññā is more inclined to investigate the arising and falling away of the nama and rupa which appear, their characteristics of impermanence, dukkha and anattā. Thus, paññā can realize the arising and falling away of Dhammas in succession, at the stage of insight which is comprehension by groups, sammasana ñāṇa. After that stage there can be the fourth stage of insight which is knowledge of the arising and falling away of realities, udayabbaya ñāṇa. This is a more precise knowledge of the arising and falling away of one kind of nama and one kind of rupa at a time.
A person who is a beginner in insight can have "imperfections of insight". After the fourth stage of insight has fallen away, defilements can arise. Since they have not been eradicated they can condition the arising of one or more "imperfections of insight", vipassanūpakkilesas (Visuddhimagga Ch XX, 105-129). There are ten imperfections of insight, arising on account of the following factors:
- illumination, obhāsa
- insight knowledge, vipassanā ñāṇa
- rapture, pīti
- tranquillity, passaddhi
- happiness, sukha
- resolution, adhimokkha
- exertion, paggāha
- assurance, upaṭṭhāna
- equanimity, upekkhā
- delight, nikanti
As to the first imperfection arising on account of illumination, this can occur when the fourth stage of insight, knowledge of the arising and falling away of nama and rupa, has fallen away. The citta may have reached such degree of calm that it conditions the arising of illumination. When attachment to this arises it is an imperfection of insight. This imperfection causes the interruption of the development of insight. One does not investigate any more the arising and falling away of realities and does not attend to their characteristics of impermanence, dukkha and anattā.
The second imperfection is attachment to paññā which clearly realizes the characteristics of nama and rupa as they arise and fall away very rapidly. One is attached to the knowledge which is keen and arises in himself like a lightning flash. Due to this imperfection one does not continue to investigate the arising and falling away of realities and to develop understanding of the three general characteristics.
The third imperfection is attachment to rapture and satisfaction about the direct understanding of the arising and falling away of Dhammas.
The fourth imperfection is attachment to tranquility, to freedom from rest-less-ness, heaviness, rigidity, crookedness or unwieldiness.
The fifth imperfection is attachment to the happy feeling which is very intense and which arises due to insight.
The sixth imperfection is clinging to the resolution, steadfastness and strong confidence which arise due to insight.
The seventh imperfection is clinging to well-exerted energy which is neither too strained nor too lax, and which arises due to insight.
The eighth imperfection is clinging to well established mindfulness and assurance which arises in association with insight.
The ninth imperfection is clinging to equanimity and impartiality towards all conditioned Dhammas, which occurs in association with insight. One may cling when paññā is as keen and fast as a flash of lightning while it realizes the arising and falling away of the objects which appear.
The tenth imperfection of insight occurs when someone delights in insight which clearly realizes as they are the characteristics of nama and rupa.
When paññā has become keener it realizes the intricacy and subtlety of the imperfections of vipassanā and it knows that these must be eliminated. Paññā realizes that so long as they arise the right Path is not developed which leads to elimination of even the more subtle attachment to realities. That is purity by knowledge and vision of what is the path and what is not the path, maggāmagga-ñāṇadassana-visuddhi. Then there can be insight knowledge of the fourth stage, knowledge of the arising and falling away of nama and rupa, while the person who develops insight is now free from the imperfections of insight.
The sixth purity is purity by knowledge and vision of the path, paṭipadā-ñāṇadassana-visuddhi.
When the imperfections of insight have been overcome, paññā becomes more accomplished as the development of satipaṭṭhāna continues, and then there is purity by knowledge and vision of the path. While the person who develops insight is now free from the imperfections of insight, there is this purity from the fourth stage of insight on, which is knowledge of the arising and falling away of realities, and it continues up to adaptation knowledge, anuloma ñāṇa. Adaptation knowledge are the three moments of citta arising in the magga-vīthi: parikamma or preparatory citta, upacāra or access and anuloma or adaptation.
The seventh purity is purity by knowledge and vision, ñāṇadassana-visuddhi.
When the three moments of adaptation knowledge have fallen away, change-of-lineage knowledge, gotrabhū ñāṇa, arises. It has the characteristic of adverting to lokuttara citta, and thus it neither belongs to the sixth purity, purity by knowledge and vision of the path, nor to the seventh purity, purity by knowledge and vision; it is intermediate between these two kinds of purities. Still, it is reckoned as insight knowledge, because it follows the course of insight (Vis. XXII, 1). When change-of-lineage has fallen away, magga-citta arises and then there is purity by knowledge and vision. Thus, there are seven purities in all.
Footnotes and references:
Kaṅkhā means doubt and vitaraṇa means overcoming.
There is knowledge and vision in conformity with the truth, in Pali: yathābhūta ñāṇa dassana. Yathābhūta means: as it really is, ñāṇa means knowledge and dassana means seeing or vision.
See Visuddhimagga Ch XXII. Amagga means: not the path, "a" being a negation.
Brightness, emanating from one’s body, Vis. XXII, 107, footnote 34. The Visuddhimagga states that this imperfection usually arises in someone who has developed calm and insight.
The Visuddhimagga Ch XXI, 2, explains why the knowledge of arising and falling away of realities should be pursued again. The person who develops insight could not realize clearly the three general characteristics of realities so long as he was disabled by the imperfections. When the imperfections have been overcome, he should pursue the knowledge of arising and falling away of realities again in order to realize the three characteristics more clearly.
See Visuddhimagga Ch XXI.
See Visuddhimagga Ch XXII.