Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 940,961 words

This page describes “the four trances (dhyana) according to the abhidharma” as written by Nagarjuna in his Maha-prajnaparamita-sastra (lit. “the treatise on the great virtue of wisdom”) in the 2nd century. This book, written in five volumes, represents an encyclopedia on Buddhism as well as a commentary on the Pancavimsatisahasrika Prajnaparamita.

I. The four trances (dhyāna) according to the Abhidharma

The four dhyānas are of two types: i) śuddhaka, pure in the mundane order of purity; ii) anāsrava, pure in the supramundane order of purity.[1]

What is called dhyāna śuddhaka? The five impure but good aggregates (sāsravakuśala).[2]

What is called dhyāna anāsrava? The five pure aggregates (anāsrava).[3]

The bodily and vocal actions (kāyavakkarman) contained in the four dhyānas are material dharmas (rūpa); the rest are non-material (arūpa). All of them are invisible (anidarśana), without resistance (apratigha), sometimes sāsrava, sometimes anāsrava. Those that are sāsrava are the five kuśala-sāsrava skandhas; those that are anāsrava are the five anāsrava skandhas. The sāsrava belong to the desire realm (kāmadhātuvacara); the anāsrava do not belong to any realm.

The dhyānas include bodily actions (kāyakarman), vocal actions (vākkarman) and formations dissociated from the mind (cittaviprayuktasaṃskāra) that are neither mind (citta) nor mental events (caitasika dharma), nor associated with the mind (cittasaṃprayukta).

The dhyānas also contain the feeling aggregate (vedanāskandha), the discrimination aggregate (saṃjñāskandha) and the volition aggregate (saṃskāraskandha) associated with it. The mental events (caitasika dharma) also are associated with the mind (cittasaṃprayukta).

The dhyānas include mind (citta and manas), and consciousness (vijñāna): this is only mind.

In the dhyānas, there are:

  1. things accompanying the mind (cittānuparivartin) and non-associated with feeling (na vedanāsaṃprayukta).
  2. things associated with feeling (vedanāsaṃprayukta) and not accompanying mind (na cittaparivartin).
  3. things accompanying mind (cittānuparivartin) and associated with feeling (vedanāsaṃprayukta).
  4. things not accompanying mind (na cittānuparivartin) and non-associated with feeling (na vedanāsaṃprayukta).

There are things accompanying mind and non-associated with feeling. Actually, the four dhyānas contain:

  1. bodily actions (kāyakarman) and vocal actions (vākkarman).
  2. formations dissociated from the mind (cittaviprayuktasaṃskāra) but accompanying mind (cittānuparivartin).
  3. feelings (vedanā).

There are things associated with feeling and not accompanying mind. As a result, the four dhyānas contain mind (citta and manas) and consciousness (vijñāna).

There are things accompanying mind and associated with feeling. Actually, the four dhyānas contain:

  1. the aggregate of discrimination (saṃjñāsaṃskāra)
  2. the ‘associated’ aggregate of volition (saṃprayukta saṃskāraskandha)

There are things not accompanying the mind and non-associated with feeling. Actually, with the exception of the formations dissociated from the mind (cittaviprayuktasaṃskāra) but accompanying the mind (cittānuparivartin) – formations contained in the four dhyānas –, these are all the other formations dissociated from the mind (cittaprayuktasaṃskāra) and associated with the discrimination aggregate (saṃjñāskandhasaṃprayukta).

Of the four dhyānas, the [last] three are not endowed with investigation (na vitārkaÌuparivartin) and are not associated with analysis (na vicārasaṃprayukta).

In the first dhyāna, there are:

  1. things accompanying investigation (vitarkānuparivartin) but non-associated with analysis (na vicārasaṃprayukta)
  2. things associated with analysis (vicārasaṃprayukta) but not accompanying investigation (na virtarkānuparivartin)
  3. things accompanying investigation (vitarkānuparivartin) and associated with analysis (vicārasaṃprayukta)
  4. things not accompanying investigation (na vitarkānuparivartin) and non-associated with analysis (na vicārasaṃprayukta).

There are things accompanying analysis but non-associated with investigation. Actually, the first dhyāna contains:

  1. bodily actions (kāyakarman) and vocal actions (vākkarman)
  2. formations dissociated from the mind (cittaviprayuktasaṃskāra) and accompanying investigation (vitarkānuparivartin)
  3. analysis (vicāra).

There are things associated with analysis, but not accompanying investigation, namely, investigation (vitarka)

There are things accompanying investigation and associated with analysis, namely, the mind (citta) and mental events (caitasika dharma) associated with investigation (vitarka) and analysis (vicāra).

There are things not accompanying investigation and non-associated with analysis. Actually, with the exception of the formations dissociated from the mind (cittaviprayuktasaṃskāra) that accompany investigation (vitarkānuparivartin), they are all the other formations dissociated from mind.

The four dhyānas are all causes and conditions (hetupratyaya) and constitute all the causes and conditions.

In the first of the four dhyānas, there are:

  1. things that follow upon an antecedent (samanantara) and constitute an antecedent condition (samanantarapratyaya),
  2. things that follow upon an antecedent and constitute an antecedent condition,
  3. things that do not follow upon an antecedent and do not constitute an antecedent condition.

There are things that follow upon an antecedent, but do not constitute [208b] an antecedent condition. This is the mind (citta) and mental events (caitasika dharma) called ‘to arise in a future existence’.

There are things that follow upon an antecedent and constitute an antecedent condition. This is the past (atīta) and present (pratyutpanna) mind.

There are things that do not follow upon an antecedent and that do not constitute an antecedent condition. Actually, with the exception of mind and mental events that will arise in a future existence, these are the other minds and mental events of the future, physical and mental actions dissociated from the mind.

It is the same for the second and third dhyānas.

In the fourth dhyāna, there are:

1) Things that follow an antecedent but that do not constitute an antecedent condition. These are:

a. The mind and mental events called ‘to arise in a future existence’

b. The absorption of non-discrimination (asaṃjñisamāpatti), arisen or to arise

2) Things that follow upon an antecedent and that constitute an antecedent condition. This is the past and present mind and mental events.

3) Things that do not follow upon an antecedent and that do not constitute an antecedent condition. These are:

a. With the exception of the mind and mental events called ‘to arise in a future existence’, all the other minds and mental events of the future.

b. With the exception of the formations dissociated from the mind (cittaviprayuktasaṃskāra) and following upon an antecedent, all the other formations dissociated from the mind.

c. Bodily and vocal actions.

The four dhyānas include bodily actions (kāyakarman), vocal actions (vākkarman) and formations dissociated from the mind (cittaviprayuktasaṃskāra); some constitute conditions (pratyaya) and do not have conditions. Others both have conditions and constitute conditions.[4]

These four dhyānas are also dominating conditions (adhipatipratyaya) and constitute dominating conditions.[5] All this is fully explained in the Abhidharmavibhāga.

Footnotes and references:

1.

See above, p.1027F and n. 3; 1038F; 1042F and n. 4. Cf. Kośa, VIII, p. 144–146.

2.

Whoever enters into dhyāna, i.e., possesses the concentration called dhyāna, necessarily possesses, in addition to mind and mental events (four skandhas), the discipline (saṃvara) of dhyāna which is rūpa: cf. Kośa, VIII, p. 128 and n. 4.

3.

The five anāsravaskandha, also called dharmaskandha or lokottaraskandha: morality (śīla), concentration (samādhi), wisdom (prajñā), liberation (vimukti), wisdom and vision of liberation (vimuktijñānadarśana): cf. Dīgha, III, p. 279; Majjhima, I, p. 145, 214, 217; Saṃyutta, I, p. 99–100, 139; V, p. 162; Anguttara, I, p. 162; III, p. 134, 271; V, p. 16; Itivuttaka, p. 107–108; Kośa, VI, p. 297 n.; Kośavyākhyā, p. 607.

4.

This subject is treated in detail above, p. 1038–1040F.

5.

See above, p. 1040F.