Abhinna, Abhiñña, Abhiññā: 13 definitions

Introduction

Abhinna means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist TermsIntuitive powers that come from the practice of concentration: the ability to display psychic powers, clairvoyance, clairaudience, the ability to know the thoughts of others, recollection of past lifetimes, and the knowledge that does away with mental effluentsSource: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

F (Extraordinary knowledge). Capacity of the mind to develop some specific visions and psychical powers.

The abhinnas do take place into the shape of remembrance of former rebirths, penetration of others thoughts, the capacity to travel underground or in the air, or to proceed (by means of the mind) to other worlds, such as the ones of the devas or hells. This set of six forms of knowledge can only be developed after the fourth jhana has been reached, and only by an arahanta.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

The 6 'higher powers', or supernormal knowledge's, consist of 5 mundane (lokiya) powers attainable through the utmost perfection in mental concentration (samādhi, q.v.) and one supermundane (lokuttara) power attainable through penetrating insight (vipassanā), i.e. extinction of all cankers (āsavakkhaya; s. āsava), in other words, realization of Arahatship or Holiness. 

They are: 

  1. magical powers (iddhi-vidha),
  2. divine ear (dibba-sota), 
  3. penetration of the minds of others (ceto-pariya-ñāna), 
  4. remembrance of former existences (pubbe-nivāsānussati), 
  5. divine eye (dibba-cakkhu), 
  6. extinction of all cankers (āsavakkhaya). 

The stereotype text met with in all the 4 Sutta-collections (e.g. D.34; M.4, M.6, M.77; A.III.99; A.V.23; S.15.9 and Pug.271, Pug.239) is as follows:

  1. "Now, O Bhikkhus, the monk enjoys the various magical powers (iddhi-vidha), such as being one he becomes manifold, and having become manifold he again becomes one. He appears and disappears. Without being obstructed he passes through walls and mountains, just as if through the air. In the earth he dives and rises up again, just as if in the water. He walks on water without sinking, just as if on the earth. Cross-legged he floats through the air, just like a winged bird. With his hand he touches the sun and moon, these so mighty ones, so powerful ones. Even up to the Brahma-world he has mastery over his body.
  2. "With the divine ear (dibba-sota) he hears sounds both heavenly and human, far and near.
  3. "He knows the minds of other beings (parassa ceto-pariya-ñāna), of other persons, by penetrating them with his own mind. He knows the greedy mind as greedy and the not-greedy one as not greedy; knows the hating mind as hating and the not-hating one as not hating; knows the deluded mind as deluded and the not-deluded one as not deluded; knows the shrunken mind and the distracted one, the developed mind and the undeveloped one, the surpassable mind and the unsurpassable one, the concentrated mind and the unconcentrated one, the freed mind and the unfreed one.
  4. "He remembers manifold former existences (pubbe-nivāsānussati), such as one birth, two, three, four and five births .... hundred thousand births; remembers many formations and dissolutions of worlds: 'There I was, such name I had .... and vanishing from there I entered into existence somewhere else .... and vanishing from there I again reappeared here.' Thus he remembers, always together with the marks and peculiarities, many a former existence .
  5. ''With the divine eye (dibba-cakkhu = yathā-kammūpaga-ñāna or cutūpapāta-ñāna), the pure one, he sees beings vanishing and reappearing, low and noble ones, beautiful and ugly ones, sees how beings are reappearing according to their deeds (s. karma): 'These beings, indeed, followed evil ways in bodily actions, words and thoughts, insulted the noble ones, held evil views, and according to their evil views they acted. At the dissolution of their body, after death, they have appeared in lower worlds, in painful states of existence, in the world of suffering, in hell. Those other beings, however, are endowed with good action .... have appeared in happy state of existence, in a heavenly world.
  6. "Through the extinction of all cankers (āsavakkhaya) even in this very life he enters into the possession of deliverance of mind, deliverance through wisdom, after having himself understood and realized it.''

4-6 appear frequently under the name of the 'threefold (higher) knowledge' (te-vijjā). They are, however, not a necessary condition for the attainment of sainthood (arahatta), i.e. of the sixth abhiññā.

Vis.M. XI-XIII gives a detailed explanation of the 5 mundane higher powers, together with the method of attaining them.

In connection with the 4 kinds of progress (s. patipadā), abhiññā means the 'comprehension' achieved on attainment of the paths and fruitions.

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Abhiññā (अभिञ्ञा) (or Abhijñā in Sanskrit) refers to the “six superknowledges”, according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra chapter XLIII.—The superknowledges (Sanskrit, abhijñā; Pāli, abhiññā; Chinese, t’ong or chen-t’ong; Tibetan, mṅon par śes pa) are six in number.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous (A) next»] — Abhinna in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

abhiñña : (adj.) knowing; possessed of knowledge. || abhiññā (abs. of abhijānāti), having understood well. (f.), special knowledge; supernormal power.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

1) Abhiññā, 2 ger. of abhijānāti. (Page 64)

2) Abhiññā, 1 (f.) (fr. abhi + jñā, see jānāti). Rare in the older texts. It appears in two contexts. Firstly, certain conditions are said to conduce (inter alia) to serenity, to special knowledge (abhiññā), to special wisdom, and to Nibbāna. These conditions precedent are the Path (S.V, 421 = Vin.I, 10 = S.IV, 331), the Path + best knowledge and full emancipation (A.V, 238), the Four Applications of Mindfulness (S.V, 179) and the Four Steps to Iddhi (S.V, 255). The contrary is three times stated; wrong-doing, priestly superstitions, and vain speculation do not conduce to abhiññā and the rest (D.III, 131; A.III, 325 sq. andV, 216). Secondly, we find a list of what might now be called psychic powers. It gives us 1, Iddhi (cp. levitation); 2, the Heavenly Ear (cp. clairaudience); 3, knowing others’thoughts (cp. thought-reading); 4, recollecting one’s previous births; 5, knowing other people’s rebirths; 6, certainty of emancipation already attained (cp. final assurance). This list occurs only at D.III, 281 as a list of abhiññās. It stands there in a sort of index of principal subjects appended at the end of the Dīgha, and belongs therefore to the very close of the Nikāya period. But it is based on older material. Descriptions of each of the six, not called abhiññā’s, and interspersed by expository sentences or paragraphs, are found at D.I, 89 sq. (trsl. Dial. I.89 sq.); M.I, 34 (see Buddh. Suttas, 210 sq.); A.I, 255, 258 = III, 17, 280 = IV.421. At S.I, 191; Vin.II, 16; Pug.14, we have the adj. chaḷabhiññā (“endowed with the 6 Apperceptions”). At S.II, 216 we have five, and at S.V, 282, 290 six abhiññā’s mentioned in glosses to the text. And at S.II, 217, 222 a bhikkhu claims the 6 powers. See also M.II, 11; III, 96. It is from these passages that the list at D.III, has been made up, and called abhiññā’s.

Afterwards the use of the word becomes stereotyped. In the Old Commentaries (in the Canon), in the later ones (of the 5th cent. A.D.), and in medieval and modern Pāli, abhiññā, nine times out ten, means just the powers given in this list. Here and there we find glimpses of the older, wider meaning of special, supernormal power of apperception and knowledge to be acquired by long training in life aud thought. See Nd1 108, 328 (expln. of ñāṇa); Nd2 s. v. and N0. 466; Ps.I, 35; II, 156, 189; Vbh.228, 334; Pug.14; Nett 19, 20; Miln.342; Vism.373; Mhvs XIX.20; DA.I, 175; DhA.II, 49; IV, 30; Sdhp.228, 470, 482. See also the discussion in the Cpd. 60 sp., 224 sq. For the phrase sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā and abhiññā-vosita see abhijānāti. The late phrase yath’abhiññaṃ means “as you please, according to liking, as you like” , J.V, 365 (= yathādhippāyaṃ yathāruciṃ C.). For abhiññā in the use of an adj. (°abhiñña) see abhiñña. (Page 64)

— or —

Abhiñña, (adj.) (usually —°) (Sk. abhijña) knowing, possessed of knowledge, esp. higher or supernormal knowledge (abhiññā), intelligent; thus in chalabhiñña one who possesses the 6 abhiññās Vin.III, 88; dandh° of sluggish intellect D.III, 106; A.II, 149; V, 63 (opp. khipp°); mah° of great insight S.II, 139. — Compar. abhiññatara S.V, 159 (read bhiyyo °bhiññataro). (Page 63)

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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Marathi-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

abhinna (अभिन्न).—a (S) Not different, identical, similar, like. 2 In arithmetic. Unfractional. It is compounded with saṅkalana-vyavakalana-guṇana-bhājana &c. as bhinna q. v. Addition &c. of integers.

--- OR ---

abhinna (अभिन्न).—. Add:--3 Become one with brahma, having lost personality and individuality. Ex. taiśāca parī bhaktajana || svarūpīṃ miḷālē abhinna ||.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English

abhinna (अभिन्न).—a Not different, identical, similar, like.

context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Abhinna (अभिन्न).—a.

1) Not broken or cut, unbroken; not split; अभिन्नपुटोत्तरान् (abhinnapuṭottarān) R.17.12.

2) Unaffected; क्लेशलेशैर- भिन्नम् (kleśaleśaira- bhinnam) Ś.2.4.

3) Not changed or altered, unchanged; °गतयः (gatayaḥ) Ś.1.14 with their gait unchanged.

4) Not different from, the same, identical (with abl.); जगन्मिथोभिन्नमभिन्नमीश्वरात् (jaganmithobhinnamabhinnamīśvarāt) Prab.

5) Undivided, whole, one (as number).

6) Holding together, continuous.

7) Uninterrupted; अभिन्ने खिल्ये निदधाति देवयुम् (abhinne khilye nidadhāti devayum) Rv.6.28.2.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Abhinna (अभिन्न).—(a-bhinna), adj. (compare [Boehtlingk and Roth] bhid, 8), not seduced, not won (amorously, of a woman, by a man): Mahāvastu ii.105.9 (verse) kā tuhyam abhinna (so mss.; Senart em. abhukta, which is right in sense) varteyā, what woman could you not seduce?

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Abhinna (अभिन्न).—mfn.

(-nnaḥ-nnā-nnaṃ) 1. Same, identical. 2. One, undivided. 3. Unchanged, unaltered. 4. Uncut, unbroken. m.

(-nnaḥ) An integer, a whole number. E. a neg. bhinna other.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Abhinna (अभिन्न).—[adjective] uncleft, unpierced, unbroken, uninterrupted, whole, entire, continual, undivided, one, the same as, not different from ([ablative] or —°).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Abhinna (अभिन्न):—[=a-bhinna] mfn. (√bhid), uncut, unbroken, [Śatapatha-brāhmaṇa] etc.

2) [v.s. ...] uninterrupted, [Ṛg-veda vi, 28, 2]

3) [v.s. ...] (a-bhinna), [Atharva-veda]

4) [v.s. ...] (in [arithmetic]) ‘undivided’, integer, whole (as numbers)

5) [v.s. ...] unchanged, unaltered, not different from ([ablative] or in [compound])

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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