Patisambhida, aka: Paṭisambhidā; 5 Definition(s)


Patisambhida means something in Buddhism, Pali. 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)

F Analytical understanding. This understanding can take place only upon reaching the stage of arahanta, but it is not systematic.

(Source): Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

'analytical knowledge' or 'discrimination', is of 4 kinds:

  • analytical knowledge of the true meaning (attha-patisambhidā),
  • of the law (dhamma-patisambhidā),
  • of language (nirutti-patisambhidā),
  • of ready wit (patibhāna-patisambhidā).

As an alternative rendering of the fourth term (patibhāna), Bhikkhu Ñānamoli proposes: perspicuity (in expression and knowledge).


  • 1. The analytical knowledge of the meaning (attha-p.) is the knowledge with regard to the sense.
  • 2. The analytical knowledge of the law (dhamma-p.) is the knowledge with regard to the law.
  • 3. The analytical knowledge of language (nirutti-p.) is the knowledge of the language with regard to those former 2 things.
  • 4. The analytical knowledge of ready-wit (patibhāna-p.) is the knowledge about the (former 3) kinds of knowledge" (Vibh. XV).


"(1) attha (Sanskrit artha, Ö ar, to reach; result, meaning, purpose, true substance) designates, in short, the fruit (phala) of a cause (hetu); for since the fruit of a cause results from adhering to the cause, and is reached and effected thereby, therefore it is called result (attha). In particular, however, 5 things are considered as attha, namely: everything dependent on conditions, Nibbāna, the meaning of words, karma-result, and functional consciousness. When anyone reflects on that meaning any knowledge of his, falling within the category concerned with meaning (or result), is the 'analytical knowledge' of meaning.

"(2) dhamma (Sanskrit dharma, Ö dhar, to bear; bearer, condition, law, phenomenon, thing) is, in short, a name for condition (paccaya).... In particular, however, 5 things are considered as dhamma, namely: every cause (hetu) producing a result, the noble path, the spoken word, the karmically wholesome, the karmically unwholesome. When anyone reflects on that law, any knowledge of his, falling within the category concerned with law (or cause), is the 'analytical knowledge' of the law.

In Vibh. it is further said: 'The knowledge of suffering is the 'analytical knowledge' of the true meaning (attha-patisambhidā), the knowledge of its origin is the 'analytical knowledge' of the law (dhamma-patisambhidā). The knowledge of the cause is the 'analytical knowledge' of the law (dhamma-patisambhidā), the knowledge of the result of the cause is the 'analytical knowledge' of the true meaning (attha-patisambhidā)... That the monk knows the law, the sunas etc. this is called the 'analytical knowledge' of the law (dhamma-patisambhidā); if however, he understands the meaning of this or that speech... it is called the 'analytical knowledge' of the true meaning (attha-patisambhidā).'

(3) " 'The knowledge of the language concerning those things' means: the language corresponding to reality, and the unfailing mode of expression concerning the true meaning and the law.

(4) " 'Knowledge about the kinds of knowledges' is that knowledge which has all knowledges as object and considers them. Or, the analytical knowledge of ready wit (patibhāna-patisambhidā) means the knowledge of the above mentioned 3 kinds of knowledge, in all their details, with their objects, functions, etc." (Vis.M. XIV).

On the 7 qualities leading to the attainment of the 4 'analytical knowledge' , s. A.VII.37 - See Vis.M. XIV, 21ff; Vibh. XV; Pts.M. Patisambhidā Kathā.

(Source): Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
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).


Pali for 'analytical knowledge';

(Source): Pali Kanon: A manual of Abhidhamma
Abhidhamma book cover
context information

Abhidhamma (अभिधम्म) usually refers to the last section (piṭaka) of the Pali canon and includes schematic classifications of scholastic literature dealing with Theravāda Buddhism. Primary topics include psychology, philosophy, methodology and metaphysics which are rendered into exhaustive enumerations and commentaries.


paṭisambhidā : (f.) analytic insight; discriminating knowledge.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

Paṭisambhidā, (f.) (paṭi+saṃ+bhid; the BSk. pratisaṃvid is a new formation resting on confusion between bhid & vid, favoured by use & meaning of latter root in P. paṭisaṃvidita. In BSk. we find pratisaṃvid in same application as in P. , viz. as fourfold artha° dharma° nirukti° pratibhāna° (?). MVastu III, 321) lit. “resolving continuous breaking up, ” i.e. analysis, analytic insight, discriminating knowledge. See full discussion & expln of term at Kvu trsln 377—382. Always referred to as “the four branches of logical analysis” (catasso or catupaṭisambhidā), viz. attha° analysis of meanings “in extension”; dhamma° of reasons, conditions, or causal relations; nirutti° of (meanings “in intension” as given in) definitions paṭibhāna° or intellect to which things knowable by the foregoing processes are presented (after Kvu trsln). In detail at A. II, 160; III, 113. 120; Ps. I, 88, 119; II, 150, 157, 185, 193; Vbh. 293—305; VbhA. 386 sq. (cp. Vism. 440 sq.), 391 sq.—See further A. I, 22; IV, 31; Nd2 386 under paṭibhānavant; Ps. I, 84. 132, 134; II, 32, 56, 116, 189; Miln. 22 (attha-dh°nirutti-paṭibhāna-pāramippatta), 359; VvA. 2; DhA. IV, 70 (catūsu p-° āsu cheka). p°-patta one who has attained mastership in analysis A. I, 24; III, 120; Ps. II, 202.—Often included in the attainment of Arahant‹-› ship, in formula “saha paṭisambhidāhi arahattaṃ pāpunāti, ” viz. Miln. 18; DhA. II, 58, 78, 93. (Page 400)

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