The Vipassana Dipani

The Manual of Insight

by Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw | 1915 | 21,831 words

The Vipassana-Dipani The Manual of Insight Or The Exposition Of Insight Honor to the Buddha By Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw, Aggamahapandita, D.Litt. Translated into English by Sayadaw U Nyana, Patamagyaw of Masoeyein Monastery Mandalay. Edited by The English Editorial Board...

The Four Lakkhana-rupas

Or The Four Salient Features

Lakkhana means salient feature or mark by means of which it is decisively known that all material and mental qualities are subject to impermanence.

Upacaya-rupa means both integration and continuance of integration, of which the former may be called Acaya (initial integration) and the latter Upacaya (sequent integration).

Santati-rupa means continuance. From the cessation of sequent integration to the commencement of decay the phenomenon continues without any increase or decrease. And such a continuous state of material phenomenon is called Santati or Pavatti (Prolongation). The production (jati) of the groups of material qualities alone, is described by the three names of Acaya, Upacaya and Santati.

Jarata is the state of growing old, of decline, of maturity, ripeness (in the sense of being ready to fall), decayed-ness, caducity, rottenness, or corruption.

Aniccata means impermanence, death, termination, cessation, brokenness or the state of disappearing. (It is our Ledi Sayadaw's style in writing to express an idea by means of as many synonymous terms as he can collect and a translator, such as I, who has not fully attained the mastery of the language in which the treasures of Burmese literature are to be deposited, can with difficulty furnish the translation with a sufficient number of appropriate terms).

A plant has five periods, the Acaya period, the Upacaya period, the Santati period, the Jarata period, and the Aniccata period. It is first generated then grows up gradually or develops day by day and after the cessation of growth it stands for sometime in the fully developed state. After that it begins to decay and at last it does and disappears leaving nothing behind. Here the primary generation of the material qualities is called acaya period; the gradual growth or development, the upacaya period; and their standing in their fully developed state, the santati period. However, during these three periods there are momentary decays (khanika jarata) and momentary decays (khanika jarata) and momentary deaths (khanika-aniccata), but they are not conspicuous.

The declining of the plant is called jarata period. During the period of decline there are momentary births (khanikajati) and momentary deaths (khanikamarana), but they are also inconspicuous.

(The Commentator of the "Dhammasangani" in his Athasalini, explains this by an illustration of a well dug out on the bank of a river. The first gushing out of water in the well, he says, is like the Acaya of the material phenomenon; the flushing up or the gradual increasing or the rising up of water to the full, is like the Upacaya; and the flooding is like the Santati. Tr.)

The death of the plant and the final disappearance of all its constituent is called the aniccata period. During what we call death there are also momentary births and decays but they are invisible. The five periods allotted to what is apparent to the view are shown here only in order to help one to grasp the idea of Lakkhana rupas.

In a similar manner we may divide, in the life of a fruit tree, the branches, the leaves, the buds, the flowers, and the fruits into five periods each. A fruit can be divided into five periods thus: the first period of appearance, the second period of growth or development, the third period of standing, the fourth period of ripening and decaying, and the fifth period of falling from the stem or total destruction or final disappearance.

Just as we get five periods in the life of plants so is it with all creatures and also with all their bodily parts, with their movements or bodily actions such as going, coming, standing, sitting, with their speech and with their thought. The beginning, the middle, and the end are all to be found in the existence of every material thing.