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 Three Parinnas

Parinna means profound knowledge. It is of three kinds, viz:-

  1. Nata-parinna, Autological knowledge.
  2. Tirana-parinna, Analytical knowledge.
  3. Pahana-parinna, Dispelling knowledge.

Nata-parinna means a profound and accurate discernment of mental and material phenomena with all their proximate causes, and also of Nibbána, as shown in the previous sections on the Truths and the Causes. It discerns things deeply by means of Dhamma-abhinnana (philosophical knowledge) in their ultimate aspects, dispelling all merely pictorial ideas or representations (santhana-pannatti) such as hair, hair of the body, and so forth. Even if all of these are not discerned, if only the Four Great Essentials out of twenty-eight material phenomena are discerned accurately in the aforesaid manner, it may be said that the function of Nata-parinna as regards Rupa (form), is accomplished. As regards Nama, the mental side, if only four of the mental things, i.e., mind, feeling, perception, and volition, are thoroughly discerned in the aforesaid manner, it may also be said that the function of Nataparinna as regards Nama is fulfilled. If Nibbána can also be discerned as shown above the function of Nata-parinna would be fully realized.

Tirana-parinna means a profound and accurate discernment of momentary phenomena (both mental and material) with insight into waxing and waning, by skillfully dissecting the continuity of mentals and materials (Nama and Rupa) into momentary ultimate’s. It is of three kinds:-

  1. Anicca-parinna
  2. Dukkha-parinna
  3. Anattá-parinna.

Of these three, Anicca-parinna means either a perfect or a qualified knowledge of the law of death (marana). Here by death is meant the two kinds of the same, conventional death (sammutimarana) and the ultimate death (paramatthamarana). Of these two terms, by conventional death we mean that kind of death concerning which we are accustomed to say, according to the conventional truth that "to die some time is unavoidable for every living person or every living creature". By ultimate death we mean the momentary death of mental and material phenomena which occurs innumerable times even in one day. The former neither possesses the real salient feature of Impermanence, nor does it lie properly within the domain of anicca-parinna, but only of the recollection of death (marananussati). In fact, it is only the latter, ultimate death, which exhibits the salient feature of Impermanence, and lies within the domain of Anicca-parinna.

Dukkha-parinna means either a perfect or a qualified knowledge of the intrinsic characteristic Ill or infelicity. Here Ill is of two kinds:

  1. Vedayita-dukkha (Pain-feeling ill).
  2. Bhayattha-dukkha (Fear producing ill).

Of these two, by Vedayita-dukkha, bodily and mental pains are meant; and by bodily pain is meant the unbearable, unpleasant pain that comes to the various parts of the body; while mental pain means such pains as Soka (sorrow), Parideva (lamentation), Domanassa (grief), Upayasa (despair), which are experienced by mind. Bhayattha-dukkhas are those pains, which fall within the sphere of Bhaya-nana (knowledge of things as fearful), and of the Adinavanana (knowledge of things as dangerous): Jati-dukkha (ill of birth), Jara-dukkha (ill of decay), Marana-dukkha (ill of death). Sankhárá-dukkha (ill of conditionality), and Viparinama-dukkha (ill of changeability), which will be explained afterwards.

Here is an illustration to show the difference between the vedayita-dukkha and bhayattha-dukkha. A man has a dangerous disease. He has to live on a simple diet, such as vegetables and fruit, so as to keep himself healthy and the disease in a subdued condition. If he takes rich diet, such as poultry, fish, meat, and confectionery, even though a sense of comfort and enjoyment may accompany such a dainty meal, after partaking of it he will suffer almost deadly pain for the whole of that day or maybe for many days from indigestion, which will cause to arise again in full force the disease that was subsiding. The more dainty the meal was, the longer will he suffer. Now suppose that a friend of his, with a view to acquiring merit, brings him some nicely cooked, buttered rice, fowl, fish, and meat. The man, fearing the agony of pain which he will undergo if he should eat of the meal so well prepared, though only for a few moments, has to thank his friend but decline it, telling him that the meal is too rich for him, and that should he partake of it he would be sure to suffer. In this instance, the richly prepared food is, of course, the pleasurable object (vedayitasukha-vatthu), for it will probably furnish a nice savor to the palate while it is being eaten, which feeling of pleasure is called Vedayitasukha. But to him who foresees that it will cause him such pain as may break down his health, this same food is really an un-pleasurable object. He shrinks from and fears it, for he knows that the better the savor the longer he must suffer; hence the pleasure his palate will derive from the food is to him a real fear-producing ill.

In the world, he who has not got rid of the error of Ego and become safe against the danger of the dispersion of life (vinipatanabhaya), and its passage to realms of misery, is like the aforesaid man who has the dangerous disease. The existences of men, Devas and Brahmas, and the pleasures experienced therein, are like the richly prepared food and the feeling of pleasure derived from it. The state of being reborn in different existences after death is like the agony, which the man has to suffer after the enjoyment of the food.

Here Vedayita-dukkha is synonymous with Dukkha-vedana, which is present in the Vedana Triad of Sukhaya-vedanaya-sampayutta- Dhamma, Dukkhaya - vedanaya-sampayutta-dhamma, and Adukkhamasukhaya-vedanaya-sampayutta-dhamma. Bhayattha-dukkha is synonymous with Dukkha-saccam and with Dukkham, which is present in the three salient features, Anicca, Dukkha, and Anattá.

Hence, the perfect as well as the qualified knowledge of the intrinsic nature of the ill of the existences of men, Devas and Brahmas, as of the pleasures experienced therein, is called the Dukkha-parinna.

Anattá-parinna means the perfect or the qualified knowledge of things mental and material as possessing the characteristic of No-soul." By this knowledge of things as no soul, the Anatta-nanna, all the mental and material phenomena that belong to the ultimate truths are discerned as having no soul. By it also is discerned the non-personality of the "person" of conventional truth. Neither are persons and creatures discerned as the soul or personality of mental and material phenomena; nor is it discerned that there exists, apart from these, a soul or personality which never dies but transmigrates from one existence to another. If this knowledge attains to its highest degree, it is called Anattá-parinna. The triple Parinna (of' Anicca, Dukkha, and Anattá), is called Tirana-parinina.

Pahana-parinna means the perfect or the qualified knowledge that dispels hallucinations. It dispels the three Nicca-vippallasas by means of the insight acquired through the contemplation of Impermanence, the three Sukha-vipallasas and the three Subha-vippallasas, by means of the insight acquired through the contemplation of Ill, and the three Atta-vippallasas by means of the insight acquired through the contemplation of No-soul.

(Start Note by Translator)

Here the three Nicca-vippallasas are :-

  1. Anicce niccanti sannavippallaso,
  2. Anicce niccanti cittavippallaso
  3. Anicce niccanti dihttivippallaso

That is to say: Impermanence is erroneously perceived, thought and viewed as permanence.

The three Sukha-vippallasas are:

  1. Dukkhe sukhanti sannavippallaso,
  2. Dukkhe sukhanti cittavippallaso,
  3. Dukkhe sukhanti ditthivippallaso.

That is to say: Ill is erroneously perceived, thought, and viewed as pleasure.

The three Subha-vippallasas are:

  1. Asubhe subhanti sannavippallaso,
  2. Asubhe subhanti cittavippallaso,
  3. Asubhe subhanti ditthivippallaso.

That is to say : Impurity is erroneously perceived, thought, and viewed as purity.

The three Atta-vippallasas are:

  1. Anattani attati sannavippallaso,
  2. Anattani attati cittavippallaso,
  3. Anattani attati ditthivippallaso.

That is to say : No-soul is erroneously perceived, thought, and viewed as soul.

(End of Note By Translator.)

Here Attá or- soul is the supposed underlying essence of a pictorial idea (santhana-pannatti), and Jiva or life is the supposed underlying essence of an aggregate-idea (santati-pannatti).

Of these two delusions, the former may be got rid of by a knowledge of the two kinds of truth, the ultimate and the conventional; but the latter can be got rid of only when the Anicca-parinna reaches its summit.

Here, by Santati is meant the continuum of aggregates of the same kind, and by Nana-santati is meant the continua of aggregates of different kinds.

This santati is of two kinds mental and material. And the continuum of the material variety of aggregate is again sub-divided into four classes, namely, into those produced by Kamma, by mind, by temperature, by food. Each of these four kinds of continua is liable to change if the respective causes of each changes. When changes take place, the change of the continuum, of the Kamma-produced class is not apparent but that of the mind-produced class is very apparent. In the one single act of sitting down only, many movements of the different parts of the body are to be observed. These movements and actions are nothing but the changes in the continua of aggregates. In each aggregate there are three periods: birth, growth-and-decay, and death. Birth is called Jati, growth-and-decay is called Jara, and death is called Marana. In each step taken in the act of walking posture, there are beginning, middle, and end. These are respectively birth, growth-and-decay, and death. Though we say "a step," this connotes the whole body; that is to say, the whole body undergoes change; the aggregates of the whole body undergo new births, new growth-and-decays, and new deaths. If a hundred steps or a thousand steps are taken in the course of a walk, then, a hundred or a thousand new births, new growth- and-decays, and new deaths take place in the whole body. A step may also be divided into two, as, the lifting-up aggregate and the laying- down aggregate of the foot. And in each single step, birth, growth-and- decay, and death must be noted. The same holds good with regard to all the postures of the body, such as standing, sitting, sleeping, stretching out, drawing in. Only, what is to be understood here is that all tired, wearied, inflammatory, irritative, inflictive, painful states are changes in the continua of aggregates produced by temperature. Both in exhaling and inhaling, beginnings, middles and ends are all discernible. The phase of continuance, of stability in the existence of the aggregates, is immediately followed by decay, which, in connection with such matter, is called exhaustion or weariness. It is produced by inflammatory and irritative matter, and through it unbearably painful feelings arise. Then, through these painful feelings, people become aware that exhaustion is present; but they do not apprehend the perpetual growths-and-decays of the continua. Weariness is indeed the name applied to the growth-and-decay of the continua of aggregates, which at first spring up strongly and cheerfully; while the end of each of these aggregates is the death of the continuum (santati-marana). In the same manner it is to be understood that there are beginnings, middles, and ends in every aggregate produced by laughter, smiling, gladness, joy, grief, sorrow, lamentation, groans, sobs, greed, hate, faith, love, and so forth. In speaking also it is obvious that every word has its beginning, its middle, and its end, which are respectively the momentary birth, growth-and-decay, and death of speech.

With regard to matter produced by temperature, aggregates arise and cease at every stroke of our fan when, in hot weather, we fan ourselves. In exactly the same way, while we are bathing there arise and cease cool aggregates each time we pour water over ourselves. Tired, fatigued, ailing aggregates, generally speaking, are changes in the temperature- produced continua. Through hot and cold foods we observe different changes in the body, which are sometimes due to temperature (utu). The arising, the increasing, and the curing of diseases by unsuitable or suitable food and medicines, are also due to temperature. Even in the mind-produced aggregates, there may also be many changes, which are due to temperature. With regard to the aggregates produced by nutritive essence, poverty or abundance of flesh, vigorousness or defect of vital force must be taken into account. By vigorousness of vital force, we mean that as soon as the food taken has entered the stomach, the vital force, which pervades the whole body, becomes vigorous and is strengthened. Therefore, the most necessary thing for all creatures is to prevent the vital force from failing, and to promote it. What we call getting a living in the world is nothing else but getting regular supplies of food for the maintenance of the vital forces. If people hold that it is of great importance to remain in life, it will be, obvious to them that a sufficient supply of suitable food is also a matter of great importance. It is more necessary to supply food than to increase the blood; for if the supply of food to the stomach is reduced, all blood and flesh in the body will gradually decrease. The life of the Kamma-produced material qualities, such as the eye, the ear, and so forth, is the javita-rupa, or the vital force, which depends upon the supply of food. If the supply of food fails, the whole body, together with the vital force, fails. If the supply of fresh food is suspended for six or seven days, the vital force and all the Kamma produced materials, come to their ends. Then it is said that a being dies. Now it is not necessary to indicate the changes (i.e., the birth, the growth,-and-decay, the death) of the aggregates of the food-produced materials, for they are apparent to every one of themselves.

What has been shown is the growth-and-decay and the death of the continua of material aggregates.

Now come the continua of mental phenomena. They are also very numerous. Every one knows his own mind. There are continua of various kinds of greed, of various kinds of hate, of various kinds of dullness, of various kinds of faith, of various kinds of love. In the single act of sitting only, the arising of various kinds of countless thoughts is recognized by everyone. Each process of thought has its birth, decay, and death. Everyone knows oneself thus: "Greed is rising in me now," or "Hate is rising in me now',; or "Greed has ceased in me"; or "Hate has ceased in me." But it cannot be said that it has ceased forever or that it has come to its final end, for this is only the temporary cessation or death of the process or continuum of thoughts. If circumstances are favorable, they will rise again instantly. What has just been said is in exposition of the decay and death of the mental continuum.

Nata-parianna is relevant to Tirana-parinna, which in turn is relevant to Pahana-irapanna the one sole necessary thing.

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