The Vipassanā Dipani

Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw


The Manual of Insight

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 fact that a reliable compilation of the materials which one who enters upon the practice of meditation ought to be in possession of before commencing the Practice of Exercises of Insight (vipassana- kammatthana) is much needed by the Buddhists of the West, has been duly taken into consideration by the Venerable Ledi Sayadaw, Aggamahapandita. To supply supply such a need he has written the Vipassana-Dipani (Exposition of Insight), first in Pali and afterwards in Burmese, (the latter only being sent to me for translation; the former, I am told, not being yet revised), treating of the following subjects: --the Vipallasa, the Mannana, the Abhinivesa, the Bhumi, the Gati, the Sacca, the causes of phenomena, the Abhinna, and the Parinna. Each of these subjects is fully expounded and furnished with brief illustrations, some of which are drawn from the Pali Text, while others are the product of the Mahathera's own mind and pen.

The purpose of Vipassana or the Exercise of Insight is to resolve into the three salient characteristics of Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta the illusory "Soul" (Atta) or imaginary "Self-principle" which from time out of mind has been held to exist in living beings by all Puthujjanas (ordinary unenlightened people) both Buddhist and non-Buddhist, the idea of "Soul" arising from simple ignorance, or unconsciously or through direct error.

Before the meditator begins his task, it is necessary that he should know how and through what this Soul-theory is formed and maintained; and why and in what it is so deeply rooted, as not to be eradicated or even disturbed no matter what may be done to try to correct it; and what is the destiny of those who take their stand upon this platform of Soul- belief.

The first five sections are intended to serve this purpose, for it will be seen that the belief in Soul is formed by the Vipallasa; that self-esteem is maintained by the Mannana, and that it is not firmly rooted in the soil of the Puthujjana-bhumi because of the Abhinevasa; and that the Putthujjana-gati, the "dispersion of life" is the destiny of all those who take their stand on the platform of Soul-belief.

Under the heading of Sacca and Cause, it will be shown that Atta in the sense of "self" or personal identity, may or may not exist according as we treat of the matter from the standpoint of ordinary every-day speech, or from that of actual truth or fact, and that from a genuinely philosophical point of view, a living being is no more than a collocation of phenomena, mental and material, produced by causes, the classifications of which under categories, are methodically and fully given in detail. The meditator, then, keeping these facts in view, should begin his exercises bearing in mind that phenomena never abide even for a moment, but are continually arising and again disappearing.

To see things thus is what we call "seeing things as they are", namely, in accordance with their three inherent characteristics of impermanency, infelicity, and non-substantiality.

Under the headings of Abhinna and Parinna, the classification of knowledge pertaining to Insight is dealt with, the specific meaning of each being adequately explained; and how each is developed, when each arrives at perfection, and how the final goal is won, also are shown.

In concluding, the Mahathera, faithful to the Master's words: "viriya-vato bhikkhave kim nama na sijjhati" "Brethren, a man of energetic perseverance, why should he not succeed in anything at all." Sums up with the encouraging counsel that a meditator ought never give up the exercises, but continue to practise them until he gains the Paths; for while it is true that some are more highly virtuous than others and are naturally endowed with the power of penetrating into the nature of things in respect to their impermanence, infelicity and unsubstantiality, while others are otherwise; nevertheless the faithful and persistent practiser is sure to gain the Paths either in this life or in the one immediately following; and the Insight of the Dhamma, moreover, cannot be acquired in any perfection save by long and continuous practice.

Turning to the details of the actual translation, the expositions being a blend of metaphysics and ethics, I have ventured to confine every word to its main or original import, and to steer a mean course between the dangers of being too literal on the one hand and too free on the other.

Repetitions of words and small groups of nearly synonymous words have a tendency to spread themselves, as it were, in the obligation I am under to follow the peculiar style adopted by the Mahathera.

Notwithstanding all the pains I have bestowed on this translation, I am well aware of its falling far short of the degree of excellence that might be attained; and therefore in a rendering of this kind, where perfection lies at so great a distance, I have thought it best to limit my ambition to that moderate share of merit which it may claim in its present form, trusting to the indulgence of those for whose benefit it is intended.


The terms are explained in the body of the work. Meantime, the following brief definitions may be helpful.

  • vipallasa - hallucinations.
  • mannana - fantasies, consciously feigning things to be that which they are not .
  • abhinivesa - firmly rooted beliefs, basic stages of consciousness from which other states develop.
  • gati - stage of going, re-newing, faring on.
  • sacca - truth, relative and absolute.
  • abhinna - supernormal knowledge.
  • parinna - profound insight.

Aggamahapandita is a title of honour, meaning "Chief Great Pundit".

The Vipassana Dipani Or The Exposition Of Insight

Honour to the Buddha

The Three Vipallasa

Vipallasa means hallucination, delusion, erroneous observation, or, taking that which is true as being false, and that which is false as true.

There are three kinds of Vipallasa, to wit:

  1. Sanna-vipallasa: hallucination of perception;
  2. Citta-vipallasa: hallucination of thought;
  3. Ditthi-vipallasa: hallucination of views.

Of these three, hallucination of perception is fourfold, thus:

  1. It erroneously perceives impermanence as permanence;
  2. Impurity as purity;
  3. Ill as good; and
  4. No-soul as soul.

The same holds good with regard to the remaining two vipallasa, i.e. those of thinking and viewing.

All these classifications come under the category of "This is mine! This is my Self or living Soul!" and will be made clear later.

The three Vipallasa may be illustrated respectively by the similies of the wild deer, the magician, and a man who has lost his way.

This is the simile of the wild deer to illustrate the hallucination of perception.

In the middle of a great forest a certain husbandman cultivated a piece of paddy land. While the cultivator was away, wild deer were in the habit of coming to the field and eating the young spikes of growing grain. So the cultivator put some straw together into the shape of a man and set it up in the middle of the field in order to frighten the deer away. He tied the straws together with fibres into the resemblance of a body, with head, hands and legs; and with white lime painting on a pot the lineaments of a human face, he set it on the top of the body. He also covered the artificial man with some old clothes such as coat, and so forth, and put a bow and arrow into his hands. Now the deer came as usual to eat the young paddy; but approaching it and catching sight of the artificial man, they took it for a real one, were frightened and ran away.

In this illustration, the wild deer had seen men before and retained in their memory the perception of the shape and form of men. In accordance with their present perception, they took the straw man for a real man. Thus their perception of it was an erroneous perception. The hallucination of perception is as here shown in this allegory of the wild deer. It is very clear and easy to understand. This particular hallucination is also illustrated in the case of a bewildered man who has lost his way and cannot make out the cardinal points, East and West, in the locality in which he is, although the rising and setting of the sun may be distinctly perceived by any one with open eyes. If the error has once been made, it establishes itself very firmly, and is only with great difficulty to be removed. There are many things within ourselves which we are always apprehending erroneously and in a sense the reverse of the truth as regards Impermanence and No-soul. Thus through the hallucination of perception we apprehend things erroneously in exactly the same way that the wild deer take the straw man to be a real man even with their eyes wide open.

Now for the simile of the magician to illustrate the hallucination of thought.

There is a pretended art called magic by means of which when lumps of earth are exhibited in the presence of a crowd, all who look at them think they are lumps of gold and silver. The power of the magical art is such as to take from men their ordinary power of seeing and in its place put an extra-ordinary kind of sight. It can thus for a time, turn the mind upside down, so to speak. When persons are in command of themselves they see lumps of earth as they are. But under the influence of this magical art, they see the lumps of earth as lumps of gold and silver with all their qualities of brightness, yellowness, whiteness, and so forth. Thus, their beliefs, observations, or ideas, become erroneous. In the same way our thoughts and ideas are in the habit of wrongly taking false things as true and thus we delude ourselves. For instance, at night, we are often deceived into thinking we see a man when it is really the stump of a tree that we are looking at. Or, on seeing a bush, we imagine we are looking at a wild elephant; or, seeing a wild elephant take it to be a bush.

In this world all our mistaken ideas as to what comes within the field of our observation, are due to the action of the hallucination of thought which is deeper and more unfathomable than that of the perception, since it deludes us by making false things seem true. However, as it is not so firmly rooted as the latter, it can easily be removed by investigation or by searching into the causes and conditions of things.

Now for the simile of the man who has lost his way, to illustrate the hallucination of views.

There was a large forest haunted by evil spirits, demons, who lived there building towns and villages. There came some travellers who were not acquainted with the roads through the forest. The demons created their towns and villages as splendidly as those of Devas, or celestial beings and themselves assumed the forms of male and female Devas. They also made the roads as pleasant and delightful as those of the Devas. When the travellers saw these, they believed that these pleasant roads would lead them to large towns and villages, and so, turning aside from the right roads, they went astray following the wrong and misleading ones, arriving at the towns of the demons and suffering accordingly.

In this allegory, the large forest stands for the three world of Kama-loka, Rupa-loka and Arupa-loka. The travellers are all those who inhabit these worlds. The Right Road is Right Views; and the misleading road is Wrong Views. The Right Views here spoken of are of two kinds, namely, those that pertain to the world, and those pertaining to Enlightenment. Of these two, the former is meant to connote this right view; "All beings are the owners of their deeds; and every deed, both moral and immoral, committed by oneself is one's own property and follows one throughout the whole long course of life" while the latter is meant to connote the knowledge of the Doctrine of Causal Genesis, of the Aggregates, of the Ayatana (Bases), and No-Soul. Of these two views, the former is as the right road to the round of existences. The worlds of the Fortunate (i.e., the abodes of human beings, Devas, and Brahmas), are like the towns of good people. The erroneous views that deny moral and immoral deeds and their results or effects, and come under the names of Natthikaditthi, Ahetuka-ditthi, and Akiriya-ditthi, are like the wrong, misleadfing roads. The worlds of the Unfortunate which are the abodes of the tortured, of Animals, Petas, and Asuras, are like the towns of the demons.

The right view of knowledge which is one of the factors of Enlightenment, is like the right road that leads out of the round of existence. Nibbana is like the town of good people.

The views "My Body!" and "My Soul!" are also like the wrong and misleading roads. The world comprising the abodes of human beings, Devas, and Brahmas, or the ceasless renewing of existences, is like the towns of the demons.

The aforesaid erroneous views are known as the hallucinations, such being deeper and more firmly established than that of thought.


Mannana means fantasy, egotistic estimation, high imagination, or feigning to oneself that one is what one is not. Through nescience hallucination arises and through hallucination fantasy arises.

Fantasy is of three kinds, to wit:

  1. tanha-mannana: fantasy by lust(desire of the sense);
  2. mana-mannana: fantasy by conceit;
  3. ditthi-mannana: fantasy by error (in beliefs).

of these, "fantasy by lust" means the high imagination: "This is Mine!" "This is my Own!" in clinging to what in reality is not "Mine" and "My Own". In strict truth, there is no "I"; and as there is no "I", there can be no "Mine" or "My Own". Though indeed, it is the case that both personal and impersonal (external) objects are highly imagined and discriminated as "This is Mine, that other thing is not mine," and "This is My Own; that other thing is not my own". Such a state of imagination and fanciful discrimination is called "fantasy by lust".

Personal objects mean one's own body and organs. Impersonal or external objects means one's own relations, such as father, mother, and so forth: and one's own possessions.

"Fantasy by conceit" means high imagination of personal objects expressed as "I", "I am". When it is supported or encouraged, so to speak, by personal attributes and impersonal objects, it becomes aggressively haughty and fantastically conceited.

Here, personal attributes means vigour or plentitude of eyes, ears, hands, legs, virtue, intuition, knowledge, power and so forth. Impersonal objects means plentitude of families, relations, surroundings, dwellings possessions and so forth.

"Fantasy by error" means over-estimation of personal objects as "My Frame-work; My Principle; My Pith; My Substance; My Soul; My Quintessence." In the expressions: "earthern pots" and earthern bowls", it is understood that earth is the substance of which these pots and bowls are made, and the very earth so made, so shaped, is again called pots and bowls. In the expressions "Iron pots" and "iron bowls", and so forth, it is also understood that iron is the substance from which iron pots and bowls are made, and the very iron, so made, so shaped is again called pots and bowls. In exactly the same way that in these instances earth or iron is the substance from which the vessels are made, so, assuming the Element of Extension, the earth-element which pertains to the personality or the substance of living beings, of the "I" this fanciful estimation of the facts of the case arises:

"The Element of Extension is the living being: the Element of Extension is the "I". What is here said in connection with the Element of Extension is in like manner to be understood in connection with the Element of Cohesion, the liquid element, and all other elements found in a corporeal existence. This over-estimation or fantastic imagination will be expounded at greater length further on.

These three kinds of fantasy are also called the three Gahas, or three Holds, to indicate their power of holding tightly and firmly. Since also they multiply erroneous, mistaken actions which tend gradually but continuously to increase past all limits and never incline to cease, they are also called three Papancas or Three Multipliers.

The Two Abhinivesa

Abhivinesa means strong belief set in the mind as firmly and immovably as door-posts, stone pillars, and monuments, so that it cannot be moved by any means or expenditure of effort. It is of two different kinds to wit:

  1. Tanhabhinivesa: Firm belief induced by lust.
  2. Ditthibhinivesa: Firm belief induced by error.

Of these, tanhabhinivesa means the firm and unshakable belief in what is not my own body, head, hands, legs, eyes, nose and so forth, as being my own body, my own head and so forth, throughout a long succession of existences.

Ditthibhinivesa means the firm and unshakable belief in the existence of the Soul or Self or Separate Life in a person or creature, which is held, in accordance with this belief, to be an unchanging supreme thing that governs the body. These two kinds of belief are so called tanhanissaya and ditthinissaya respectively. They may also be called the Two Great Reposers upon the Five Aggregates, and on Body-and -Mind; or as the Two Great Resting-places of puthujjanas or ordinary men of the world.


Bhumi means the stage where all creatures find their footing, generate and grow. It is of two kinds, to wit:

  1. Puthujjana-bhumi
  2. Ariyabhumi.

Puthujjana-bhumi is the stage of a puthujjana, an ordinary, or normal being, and speaking in the sense of ultimate truth, it is nothing but the hallucination of views. All creatures of the ordinary worldly kind live in the world making this Ditthi-vipallasa or erroneous view their resting place, their main support, their standing ground: "There is in me or in my body something that is permanent, good and essential."

The Ditthi-mannana or fantasy through error, the Ditthigaha or erroneous hold, the Ditthi-papanca or multiplier of error, and the Ditthi-abhinivesa or strong belief induced by error, are also the landing stages, the supports, the resting places, and the standing grounds of all puthujjanas. Hence they will never be released from the state or existence of a puthujjana, so long as they take their firm stand on the ground of the said many-titled error.

As to the Ariya-bhumi, it is a state of an Ariya, a noble and sanctified being, in whom hallucination is eradicated. It is, speaking in the ultimate sense, nothing but this Right View, this Right Apprehension, the Right Understanding: "There is in me or in my body nothing permanent, good, and essential". As an Ariya lives making Right View his main footing, this Right View may be called the stage of the Ariya. Upon the attainment of this Right View, a being is said to have transcended the Puthujjana-bhumi, and to have set foot on the Ariyan stage.

Among the innumerable ordinary beings (Puthujjanas) who have been treading the ground of Puthujjanaship during countless existences that have no known beginning; if a certain person trying to eradicate the hallucination of error to implant the Right View within himself, on a certain day succeeds in his attempts, he is said to have set foot that self-same day upon the ground of the Ariya, and to have become an Ariya, that is a sanctified being. Even if there should remain the hallucinations of mind and perception in some of the Ariyas, they would not commit such evil deeds as would produce for them evil effects in the worlds of misfortune, for they have eradicated the weighty hallucination of error. The two remaining hallucinations would merely enable them to enjoy such worldly pleasures as they have lawfully earned.


Gati means transmigration. (Here it does not mean that "Transmigration of Soul", so called, which is current in non-Buddhist philosophies. I have adopted the word "transmigration" for Gati which literally means "going", merely in order to indicate the idea while dealing with it from the standpoint of Buddhist philosophy). It is the change of existences. It is of two kinds:

  1. Puthujjana-gati.
  2. Ariya-gati.

Of these two, the former is the transmigration of the ordinary person which is Vinipatana or dispersive. That is to say: one cannot transmigrate into whatever kind of existence one might wish, but is liable to fall into any one of the 31 kinds of abode or existence, according as one is thrown by one's past kamma. Just as, in the case of the fall of a coconut or of a palm-fruit from a tree, it cannot be ascertained beforehand where it will rest; so also in the case of the new existence of a Puthujjana after his death, it cannot be ascertained beforehand whereunto he will transmigrate. Every creature that comes into life is inevitably laid in wait for by the evil of death; and after his death he is also sure to fall by "dispersion" into any existence. Thus two great evils of death and dispersion are inseparably linked to every being born.

Of these two, "dispersion of life" after death is worse than death, for the four realms of misery down to the great Avici Hell, stand wide open to a Puthujjana who departs from the abode of men, like space without any obstruction. As soon as the term of life expires, he may fall into any of the Nirayas or realms of misery. Whether far or near, there is no intervening period of time. He may be reborn as an animal; as a Peta, a wretched shade; or as an Asura or Titan, an enemy of Sakka the king of the gods, in the wink of an eyelid. The like holds good if he dies out of any of the upper six realms of the Kamavacara Devas. But when he expires from the worlds of Rupa-loka and Arupa-loka, there is no direct fall into the four realms of misery, but there is a halt of one existence either in the abode of men or in those of Devas, wherefrom he may fall into the four worlds of misery.

Why do we say that every being fears death? Because death is followed by dispersion to any sphere of existence. If there were no "dispersion" as regards existence after death, and one could take rebirth in any existence at one's choice, no one would fear death so much, although, to be sure, sometimes there may be thirst for death when a being after living a considerable length of time in one existence, desires removal to a new one.

By way of showing how great is the dispersion of existence which is called Puthujjana-gati--the Nakhasikha and Kanakacchapa Suttas may be cited. However only an outline of each will here be produced.

Nakhasikha Sutta

"At one time the Buddha, showing them some dust which he had taken upon the tip of his finger-nail, addressed the disciples thus: 'If, O Bhikkhus, these few grains of dust upon my finger-nail and all the dust in the universe were compared in quantity, which would you say was less, and which more?' The disciples replied: 'Lord, the dust on your finger- nail is less, and that of the universe is more. Surely, Lord, the dust on your finger-nail is not worthy of mention in comparison with the dust of the universe.' Then the Buddha continued; 'Even so, Bhikkhus, those who are reborn in the abodes of men and Devas whence they have expired, are very few even as the few grains of dust on my finger-nail; and those who are reborn in the four realms of misery are exceedingly many, even as the dust of the great universe. Again, those who have expired from the four miserable worlds and are reborn in the abodes of men and Devas are few even as the grains of dust on my finger-nail; and those who are repeatedly reborn in the four miserable worlds are innumerable, even as the grains of dust of the great universe."

What has just been said is the substance of the Nakhasikha Sutta. But, to say nothing of the beings of all the four realms of misery, the creatures that inhabit the four great oceans alone will suffice to make evident how great is the evil of Vinipatana-gati, that is, the dispersion, the variety of possible kinds of existence after death.


"At one time, the Buddha addressed the disciples thus: 'There is, O Bhikkhus, in the ocean a turtle, both of whose eyes are blind. He plunges into the water of the unfathomable ocean and swims about incessantly in any direction wherever his head may lead. There is also in the ocean the yoke of a cart which is ceaselessly floating about on the surface of the water, and is carried away in all directions by tide, current and wind. Thus these two go on throughout an incalculable space of time: perchance it happens that in the course of time the yoke arrives at the precise place and time where and when the turtle puts up his head, and yokes on to it. Now, O Bhikkhus, is it possible that such a time might come as is said?' 'In ordinary truth, O Lord,' replied the Bhikkhus 'it is impossible; but time being so spacious, and an aeon lasting so long, it may be admitted that perhaps at some time or other it might be possible for the two to yoke together, as said; if the blind tortoise lives long enough, and the yoke does not tend to rot and break up before such a coincidence comes to pass.'

Then the Buddha said, 'O Bhikkhus, the occurence of such a strange thing is not to be counted a difficult one; for there is still a greater, a harder, a hundred times, a thousand times more difficult than this lying hidden from your knowledge. And what is this? It is, O Bhikkhus, the obtaining of the opportunity of becoming a man again by a man who has expired and is reborn once in any of the four realms of misery. The occurrence of the yoking of the blind tortoise is not worth thinking of as a difficult occurrence in comparison therewith. Because those who perform good deeds and abstain from doing bad alone can obtain the existence of men and Devas. The beings in the four miserable worlds cannot discern what is virtuous and what vicious, what good and what bad, what moral and what immoral, what meritorious and what demeritorious, and consequently they live a life of immorality and demerit, tormenting one another with all their power. Those creatures of the Niraya and Peta abode in particular, live a very miserable life on account of punishments and torments which they experience with sorrow, pain and distress. Therefore, O Bhikkhus, the opportunity of being reborn in the abode of men is a hundred times, a thousand times harder to obtain than the encountering of the blind turtle with the yoke."

According to this Sutta, why those creatures who are born in the miserable planes are far from human existence is because they never look up but always look down. And what is meant by looking down? The ignorance in them by degrees becomes greater and stronger from one existence to another; and as the water of a river always flows down to the lower plains, so also they are always tending towards the lower existences; for the ways towards the higher existences are closed to them, while those towards the lower existences are freely open. This is the meaning of "looking down". Hence, from this story of the blind turtle, the wise apprehend how great, how fearful, how terribly perilous are the evils of the -- Puthujjana-gati, i.e. "the dispersion of existence."

What has been said is concerning the Puthujjana-gati. Now what is Ariya-gati? It is deliverance from the dispersion of existence after death. Or it is the disappearance of that "dispersion of existence" which is conjoined with the destiny of inevitable death in every existence". It is also the potentiality of being reborn in higher existences or in existences according to one's choice. It is also not like the fall of coconuts from trees; but it is to be compared to birds which fly through the air to whatsoever place or tree on which they may wish to perch. Those men, Devas and Brahmas who have attained the Ariyan state, can get to whatever better existence, i.e., as men, Devas, Brahmas, they may wish to be reborn into, when they expire from the particular existence in which they have attained such Ariyan state. Though they expire unexpectedly without aiming to be reborn in any particular existence, they are destined to be reborn in a better or higher existence, and at the same time are entirely free from rebirth into lower and miserable existences. Moreover, if they are reborn again in the abode of men, they never become of the lower or poorer classes, nor are they fools or heretics, but become quite otherwise. It is the same in the abodes of Devas and Brahmas. They are entirely set free from the Puthujjana-gati.

What has been said is concerning the course of Ariyas. Now we will explain the two Gatis side by side. When a man falls from a tree he falls like a coconut because he has no wings with which to fly in the air. In precisely the same way when men, Devas and Brahmas who are Putthujjana, riveted to the hallucination of wrong views and having no wings of the Noble Eightfold Path to make the sky their resting-place, transmigrate after the dissolution of their present bodies into new ones, they fall tumbling into the bonds of the evils of dispersion. In this world ordinary men who climb up very high trees fall tumbling to the ground when the branches which they clutch or try to make their resting place break down. They suffer much pain from the fall, and sometimes death ensues because they have no other resting-places but the branches, neither have they wings to fly in the air. It is the same with men, Devas and Brahmas who have their hallucination of Wrong Views, when their resting-place of Wrong Views as regards self is broken down, they fall tumbling into the dispersion existence. For their resting- places are only their bodies; and they have neither such a resting place as Nibbana, nor such strong wings as the Noble Eightfold Path to support them. As for the birds, though the branches they rest on may break, they never fall, but easily fly through the air to any other tree. For the branches are not their permanent resting places but only temporary ones. They entirely rely on their wings and the air. In the same way, men, Devas and Brahmas who have become Ariya and are freed from the hallucination of Wrong Views, neither regard their bodies as their Atta or Self, nor rely upon them. They have in their possession permanent resting places, such as Nibbana which is the entire cessation of all tumbling existence. They also possess the very mighty wings of the Noble Eightfold Path which are able to bear them to better existences.

What has been said is concerning the distinction between the two Gatis, i.e., the Putthujjana-gati and the Ariya-gati.


Sacca or Truth is the constant faithfulness or concordance of the term which names a thing, to or with that thing's intrincic nature.

It is of two kinds, to wit:

  1. Sammuti-sacca, conventional or relative truth.
  2. Paramattha-sacca, or ultimate Truth.

Of the two, conventional truth is the truthfulness of the customary terms used by the great majority of people, such as "Self exists", "a living soul exists" "men exist", "Devas exist", "Sakkas exist", "elephants exist", "head exists" and so on. This conventional truth is the opposite of untruth, and so can overcome it. It is not a lie or an untruth when people say:

"There probably exists an immutable, permanent, one continuous self or living soul which is neither momentarily rising nor passing away throughout one existence," for this is the customary manner of speech of the great majority of people who have no intention whatever of deceiving others. But according to ultimate truth, it is reckond a Vippallasa or hallucination which erroneously regards impermanent as permanent and non-self as self. So long as this erroneous view remains undestroyed, one can never escape from the evils of Samsara, the wheel of life. All of the foregoing alike holds good when people say "a person exists" and so on.

Ultimate truth is the absolute truthfulness of assertion or negative in full and complete accordance with what is actual, the elementary, fundamental qualities of phenomena. Here stating such truth in affirmative form, one may say:"The element of solidity exists", "the element of extension exists", "the element of cohesion exists", "the element of kinetic energy exists", "mind exists" "consciousness exists", "contact, feeling and perception exist", "material aggregates exist" and so on. And expressing such truth in a negative form, it can be said: "No self exists", "no living soul exists", no person exists", "no being exists", "neither does an elephant exist", "nor do hands, nor legs, nor any members of the body exist", "neither does a man exist nor a Deva" and so on. In saying here "No self exists" "no living soul exists" we mean that there is no such ultimate entity as a self or living soul which persists unchanged during the whole term of life, without momentarily coming to be and passing away. In the expression: "No being exists" and so forth, what is meant is that nothing actually exists but material and mental elements. These elements are neither persons nor beings, nor men, nor Devas etc. Therefore there is seperate being or person apart from the elements. The ultimate truth is the diametrical opposite of the hallucination, and so can confute it. One who is thus able to confute or reject the hallucination can escape from the evils of Samsara, the evolution of life.

According to conventional truth, a person exists, a being exists; a person or a being continually transmigrates from one existence to another in the ocean of life. But to ultimate truth, neither a person nor a being exists, and there is no one who transmigrates from one existence to another. Here, it may be asked: "Do not these two truths seem to be as poles asunder?" Of course they seem to be so. Nevertheless we may bring them together. Have we not said: "According to conventional truth" and "according to ultimate truth"? Each kind of truth accordingly is truthful as regards its own mode of expression. Hence if one man should say that there exists a person or a being according to conventional truth, the other to whom he speaks ought not to contradict him, for these conventional terms describe what apparently exists. And likewise, if the other says there exists neither a person nor a being, according to ultimate truth, the former ought not to deny this, for in the ultimate sense, material and mental phenomena alone truly exist and in strict reality they know no person or being. For example: Men dig up lumps of earth from certain places, pound them into dust, knead this dust with water into clay, and from this clay make various kinds of useful pots, jars and cups. Thus there exist various kinds of pots, jars and cups in the world. Now when discussion takes place on this subject, if it were asked: "Are there earthen pots and cups in this world?" The answer, according to the conventional truth should be given in the affirmative, and according to the ultimate truth, in the negative, since this kind of truth admits only the positive existence of earth out of which the pots and so forth were made. Of these two answers the former requires no explanation in as much as it is an answer according to the established usage; but as regards the latter, some explanation is needed. In the objects that we called "earthen pots" and "earthen cups", what really exists is only earth; not pots nor cups, in the sense of ultimate truth: because the term "earth" applies properly not to pots and cups but to actual substantial earth. There are also pots and cups made of iron brass, silver, and gold. These cannot be called earthen pots and cups, since they are not made of earth. The term "pots" and "cups" also are not terms descriptive of earth but of ideas derived from the appearance of pots and cups, such as their circular or sperical shape and so on. This is obvious, because the terms "pots" and "cups" are not applied to the mere lumps of earth which have no shape or form of pots and cups. Hence it follows that the term "earth" is not a term descriptive of pots and cups, but of real earth; and also the terms "pots" and "cups" are not terms descrptive of earth but of pictorial ideas (santhana-pannati) which have no separate elementary substance other than the dust of clay, but are mere conceptions presented to the mind by the particular appearance, form, and shape of the worked-up clay. Hence the negative statement according to the ultimate truth, namely, that "no earthen pots and cups exist" ought to be accepted without question.

Now we come to the analysis of things in the ultimate sense. Of the two kinds of ultimate phenomena, material and mental, as mentioned above, the former is of twenty-eight kinds:

  • (I) The four great essential elements, viz:
    • 1. The element of solidity.
    • 2. The element of cohesion, or the holding, the fluid.
    • 3. The element of kinetic energy.
    • 4. The element of motion.
  • (II) The six bases, viz:
    • 5. The eye basis
    • 6. The ear basis
    • 7. The nose basis
    • 8. The tongue basis
    • 9. The body basis
    • 10. The heart basis
  • (III) The two sexes, viz:
    • 11. The male sex
    • 12. The female sex
  • (IV) One species of material quality of life, viz:
    • 13. The vital force
  • (V) One species of material quality of nutrition, viz:
    • 14. Edible food
  • (VI) The four sense fields, viz:
    • 15. Visible form
    • 16. Sound
    • 17. Odour
    • 18. Savour

These eighteen species are called Jatarupani or genetic material qualities, as they possess the power of production.

  • (VII) One species of material quality of limitation, viz:
    • 19. The element of space
  • (VIII) The two communications, viz:
    • 20. Intimation through the body
    • 21. Intimation through speech
  • (IX) The three plasticities, viz:
    • 22. Lightness
    • 23. Pliancy
    • 24. Adaptability
  • (X) The four salient features, viz:
    • 25. Integration
    • 26. Continuance
    • 27. Decay
    • 28. Impermanence or death.

These last ten species are called Ajatarupani or non-genetic material qualities, as they do not possess the power of production.


There are 54 kinds of mental phenomena.

Citta: mind or consciousness;
Cetasika: mental properties or concomitants, fifty-two in number and
Nibbana: Getting out of the circle of existences;

(Nibbana is here reckoned as a mental phenomenon, not from the subjective, but from the objective point of view.) Citta means the the faculty of investigating an object (aramana) or the faculty of taking possession of an object, or the faculty of knowing an object, or the faculty of being conscious of an object.

Cetasikas are characters of consciousness, or mental properties born of mind, or concomitants of mind.

Nibbana means freedom from every kind of infelicity.

  • (I) CONSCIOUSNESS is divided into six classes:
    1. Consciousness of sight
    2. Consciousness of sound
    3. Consciousness of smell
    4. Consciousness of taste
    5. Consciousness of touch
    6. Consciousness of mind.
    1. The Consciousness arising at the eye-basis is called the consciousness of sight, and has the function of seeing.
    2. The Consciousness arising at the ear-basis is called the consciousness of sound, and has the function of hearing.
    3. The Consciousness arising at the nose-basis is called the consciousness of smell, and has the function of smelling.
    4. The Consciousness arising at the tongue-basis is called the consciousness of taste, and has the function of tasting.
    5. The Consciousness arising at the body-basis is called the consciousness of touch, and has the function of touching.
    6. The Consciousness arising at the heart-basis is called consciousness of mind. In the Arupa-loka, however, mind-consciousness arises without any basis. The mind-consciousness is again subdivided into four kinds.
    • a) Kama-consciousness
    • b) Rupa-consciousness
    • c) Arupa-consciousness
    • d) Lokuttara-consciousness
    • a) Of these, Kama-consciousness is that which lies within the jurisdiction of desire prevailing in Kama-loka (Kama-tanha) and is fourfold, thus: Moral (kusala), Immoral (akusala), Resultant (vipaka), and Ineffective (kriya).
    • b) Rupa-consciousness is the jhanic or estatic mind which has become free from Kama-desire but still remains within the jurisdiction of the desire prevailing in Rupa loka (Rupa-tanha) and it is threefold, thus:
      • Moral,
      • Resultant,
      • Ineffective.
    • c) Arupa consciousness is also the jhanic or estatic mind which has become free from Rupa-desire, but still remains within the jurisdiction of the desire prevailing in the Arupa-loka (Arupa-tanha), and it also is threefold, thus:
      • Moral,
      • Resultant,
      • Ineffective.
    • d) Lokuttara, or transcendental consciousness is the noble mind (Ariya-citta) which has become free from the threefold desire, and has transcended the three planes, Kama, Rupa and Arupa. It is of two kinds, thus: Noble consciousness in the Path, and Noble consciousness in the fruition.
  • II) FIFTY-TWO KINDS OF CETASIKA Mental properties are of 52 kinds.
    • a) The Seven Common Properties (Sabba cittaka), so called on account of being common to all classes of consciousness, viz:
      1. phassa (contact)
      2. vedana (feeling)
      3. sanna (perception)
      4. cetana (volition)
      5. ekaggata (concentration of mind)
      6. jivita (psychic life)
      7. manasikara (attention)
    • b) The six Particulars (pakinnaka) so called because they invariably enter into composition with consciousness, viz:
      1. vitakka (initial application)
      2. vicara (sustained application)
      3. viriya (effort)
      4. piti (pleasurable interest)
      5. chanda (desire-to-do)
      6. adhimokkha (deciding).

      The above thirteen kinds (a) and (b) are called Mixtures (vimissaka), or better, as rendered by Shwe Zan Aung "Un-morals", as they are common to both moral and immoral consciousness in composition.

    • c) The fourteen Immorals (papa-jati), viz:
      1. lobha (greed)
      2. dosa (hate)
      3. moha (dullness)
      4. ditthi (error)
      5. mana (conceit)
      6. issa (envy)
      7. macchariya (selfishness)
      8. kukkucca (worry)
      9. ahirika (shamelessness)
      10. anottappa (recklessness)
      11. uddhacca (distraction)
      12. thina (sloth)
      13. middha (torpor)
      14. vicikiccha (perplexity).
    • d) The twenty-five Morals (kalayana-jatika), viz:
      1. alobha (disinterestedness)
      2. adosa (amity)
      3. amoha (reason)
      4. saddha (faith)
      5. sati (mindfulness)
      6. . hiri (modesty)
      7. ottappa (discretion)
      8. tatramajjhattata (balance of mind)
      9. kayapassaddhi (composure of mental properties)
      10. cittapassadhi (composure of mind)
      11. kayalahuta (buoyancy of mental properties)
      12. cittalahuta (buoyancy of mind)
      13. Kayamuduta (pliancy of mental properties)
      14. citta muduta (pliancy of mind)
      15. kayakammannata (adaptability of mental properties)
      16. cittakammannata (adaptability of mind)
      17. kayapagunnata (proficiency of mental properties)
      18. cittapagunnata (proficiency of mind)
      19. kayujkata (rectitude of mental properties)
      20. cittujukata (rectitude of mind)
      21. sammavaca (right speech)
      22. sammakammanta (right action)
      23. sammaajiva (right livelihood)
        (the immediately preceding three are called the Three Abstinences)
      24. karuna (pity)
      25. mudita (appreciation)
        (the last two are called the two Illimitables or Appamanna).
    1. Phassa means contact, and contact means the faculty of pressing the object (arammana), so as to cause the agreeable or disagreeable sap (so to speak) to come out. So it is the main principle or prime mover of the mental properties in the uprising. If the sap cannot be squeezed out, then all objects (arammana) will be of no use.
    2. Vedana means feeling, or the faculty of tasting the sapid flavour thus squeezed out by the phassa. All creatures are sunk in this vedana.
    3. Sanna means perception, or the act of perceiving. All creatures become wise through this perception, if they perceive things with sufficient clearness in accordance with their own ways, custom, creed, and so forth.
    4. Cetana means volition or the faculty of determining the activities of the mental concomitants so as to bring them into harmony. In the common speech of the world we are accustomed to say of one who supervises a piece of work that he is the performer or author of the work. We usually say: "Oh, this work was done by So-and-so", or "This is such and such a person's great work". It is somewhat the same in connection with the ethical aspects of things. The volition (cetana) is called the doer (kamma), as it determines the activities of the mental concomitants, or supervises all the actions of body, of speech, and of mind. As every kind of prosperity in this life is the outcome of the exertions put forth in work performed with body, with speech and with mind, so also the issues of new life or existence are the results of the volition (asynchronous volition is the name given to it in the Patthana, and it is known by the name of Kamma in the actions of body, speech and mind) performed in previous existences. Earth, water, mountains, trees, grass and so forth, are all born of Utu, the element of warmth and they may quite properly be called the children or the issue of the warmth- element. So also living creatures may be called the children or the issue of volition, or what is called Kamma-dhatu, as they are all born through Kamma.
    5. Ekaggata means concentration of mind. It is also called Right Concentration (samadhi). It becomes prominent in the Jhanasampatti the attainment of the supernormal modes of mind called Jhana.
    6. Jivita means the life of mental phenomena. It is pre-eminent in preserving the continuance of mental phenomena.
    7. Manasikara means attention. Its function is to bring the desired object into view of consciousness.

      These seven factors are called Sabba-cittika, Universal Properties, as they always enter into the composition of all consciousness.

    8. Vitakka means the initial application of mind. Its function is to direct the mind towards the object of research. It is also called Sankappa (aspiration), which is of two kinds, viz., Sammasankappa or Right Aspiration, Micchasankappa or Wrong Aspiration.
    9. Vicara means sustained application. Its function is to concentrate upon objects.
    10. Viriya means effort of mind in actions. It is of two kinds, right effort and wrong effort.
    11. Piti means pleasurable interest of mind, or buoyancy of mind or the bulkiness of mind.
    12. Chanda means desire-to-do, such as desire-to-go, desire-to-say, desire-to-speak, and so forth.
    13. Adhimokkha means decisions, or literally, apartness of mind for the object; that is, it is intended to connote the freedom of mind from the wavering state between the two courses; "Is it?" or "Is it not?"

      These last six mental properties are not common to all classes of consciousness, but severally enter into their composition. Hence they are called Pakinnaka or Particulars. They make thirteen if they are added to the Common Properties; and both, taken together are called Vimissaka (mixtures) as they enter into composition both with moral and immoral consciousness.

    14. Lobha ethically means greed, but psychically it means agglutination of mind with objects. It is sometimes called Tanha (craving), sometimes Abhijjha (covetousness), sometimes Kama (lust) and sometimes Raga (sensual passion).
    15. Dosa in its ethical sense is hate, but psychically it means the violent striking of mind at the object. It has two other names i.e. Patigha (repugnance), and Byapada (ill-will).
    16. Moha means dullness or lack of understanding in philosophical matters. It is also called Avijjha (nescience), Annana (not knowing) and Adassana (not-seeing).

      The above three just mentioned are called the three Akusalamula, or the three main immoral roots, as they are the sources of all immoralities.

    17. Ditthi means error or wrong seeing in matters of philosophy. It takes impermanence for permanence, and non-soul for soul, and moral activities for immoral ones; or it denies that there are any results of action, and so forth.
    18. Mana means conceit or wrong estimation. It wrongly imagines the name-and-form (nama-rupa) to be an "I", and estimates it as noble or ignoble according to the caste, creed, or family, and so on, to which the person belongs.
    19. Issa means envy, or disapprobation, or lack of appreciation, or absence of inclination to congratulate others upon their success in life. It also means a disposition to find fault with others.
    20. Macchariya means selfishness, illiberality, or unwillingness to share with others.
    21. Kukkucca means worry, anxiety, or undue anxiousness for what has been done wrongly, or for right actions that have been left undone. There are two wrongs in the world, namely, doing sinful deeds and failing to do meritorious deeds. There are also two ways of representing thus "I have done sinful acts", or "I have left undone meritorious acts, such as charity, virtue, and so forth." "A fool always invents plans after all is over", runs the saying. So worry is of two kinds, with regard to viciousness, to sins of ommissions and sins of commission.
    22. Ahirika means shamelessness. When a sinful act is about to be committed, no feeling of shame such as "I will be corrupted if I do this", or "Some people and Devas may know this of me", arise in him who is shameless.
    23. Anottapa means utter recklessness as regards such consequences, as Attanuvad-abhaya (fear of self-accusations like: "I have been foolish; I have done wrong", and so forth), Paranuvadabhaya (fear of accusations by others); Dandabhaya (fear of punishments in the present life inflicted by the rulers); Apayabhaya (fear of punishments to be suffered in the realms of misery).
    24. Uddhacca means distraction as regards an object.
    25. Thina means slothfulness of mind; that is, the dimness of the mind's consciousness of an object.
    26. Middha means slothfulness of mental properties that is, the dimness of the faculties of each of the mental properties, such as contact, feeling and so forth.
    27. Vicikiccha means perplexity, that is, not believing what ought to be believed.

      The above fourteen kinds are called Papajati or Akusala-dhamma, in fact, they are real immoralities.

    28. Alobha means disinterestedness of mind as regards an object. It is also called Nekkhama-dhatu (element of abnegation or renunciation), and Anabhijha (liberality).
    29. Adosa, or amity in its ethical sense means inclination of mind in the direction of its object, or purity of mind. It is also called Abyapada (peace of mind), and Metta (loving-kindness).
    30. Amoha means knowing things as they are. It is also called Nana (wisdom), Panna (insight), Vijjha (knowledge), Samma-ditthi (right view).

      These three are called the three Kalayana-mulas or the three Main Moral Roots as they are the sources of all moralities.

    31. Saddha means faith in what ought to be believed. This is also called Pasada (transparence).
    32. Sati means constant mindfulness in good things so as not to forget them. It is also called Dharana (Retention), and Utthana (readiness).
    33. Hiri means modesty which connotes hesitation in doing sinful acts through shame of being known to do them.
    34. Ottappa means discretion which connotes hesitation in doing sinful deeds through fear of self-accusation, of accusation by others, or of punishments in spheres of misery (apayabhaya).
    35. Tatramajjhattata is balance of mind, that is to say, that mode of mind which neither cleaves to an object nor repulses it. This is called Upekkha-brahmavihara (equanimity of the Sublime Abode) in the category of Brahmavihara; and Upekkhasambojjhanga (equanimity that pertains to the factors of Enlightenment) in the Bojjhanga.
    36. Kayapassaddhi means composure of mental properties.
    37. Cittapassaddhi means composure of mind. By composure it is meant that the mental properties are set at rest and become cool, as they are free from the three Immoral (Papa-dhamma) which cause annoyance in doing good deeds.
    38. Kaya-lahuta means buoyancy of mental properties.
    39. Citta-lahuta means buoyancy of mind. By buoyancy it is meant that the mental properties become light, as they are free from the Immorals which weigh against them in the doing of good deeds. It should be explained in the same manner as the rest.
    40. Kaya-muduta means pliancy of mental properties.
    41. Citta-muduta means pliancy of mind.
    42. Kaya-kammannata means fitness of work of mental properties.
    43. Citta-kammannata means the fitness of the mind for work.
    44. Kaya-pagunnata means proficiency of mental properties.
    45. Citta-pagunnata means proficiency of mind. Proficiency here means skilfulness.
    46. Kayujukata means rectitude of mental properties.
    47. Cittajukata means rectitude of mind.
    48. Samma-vaca means Right Speech, that is abstinence from the fourfold sinful modes of speech i.e. lying, slandering, abusive language and idle talk.
    49. Sammakammanta means Right Action, that is abstinence from the threefold sinful acts, i.e. killing, stealing, and unchastity.
    50. Samma-ajiva means Right Livelihood. These three Samma-vaca, Samma-kammanta and Samma-ajiva are called the Triple Abstinences.
    51. Karuna means pity, sympathy, compassion or wishing to help those who are in distress.
    52. Mudita means appreciation of, or congratulation upon or delight in the success of others.
    53. These two are respectively called Karuna-brahmavihara and mudita-brahma-vihara. They are also called Appamanna (illimitables) according to the definition "Appamanesu sattesu bhava ti Appamanna", that is: "Appamanna is so called because it exists without limit among living beings."

Nibbana may be classified into three kinds, viz: First Nibbana, Second Nibbana and Third Nibbana.

Freeing or deliverance from the plane of misery is the First Nibbana.

Freeing or deliverance from the plane of Kama-loka is the Second Nibbana.

Freeing or deliverance from the planes of Rupa-loka and Arupa-loka is the Third Nibbana.

Consciousness one, Mental Properties fifty-two, Nibbana one, altogether make up fifty-four Mental Phenomena. Thus the twenty eight material phenomena and 54 mental phenomena make up 82 ultimate things which are called Ultimate Facts. On the other hand, Self, Soul, Creature, Person and so forth, are Conventional Facts.

The Four Mahabhutas or the Four Great Essentials

Mahabhuta means to develop greatly:

  1. The element of extension is the element of earth; that is the fundamental principle or foundation of matter. It exists in gradations of many kinds, such as, hardness, more hardness, stiffness, more stiffness, softness, more softness, pliability, more pliability, and so on.
  2. The element of cohesion is the element of water, that is, the cohesive power of material qualities whereby they form into mass or bulk or lump. There are apparently many kinds of cohesion.
  3. The element of heat is the element of fire, that is, the power to burn, to inflame, and to mature the material qualities, This maturative quality is of two kinds, namely, the maturative quality of heat and the maturative quality of cold.
  4. The element of motion is the element of wind, that is, the power of supporting or resisting. It is of many kinds, such as supportive, resistive, conveying, vibratory, diffusive, and so on. From these four great Elements all other forms of matter are derived or are born. Or, expressed in another way: All matter is a combination, in one proportion or another, of these four elementary properties.

    The Six Bases

    Basis is that where consciousness generates, arises, develops, or that whereupon it depends.

  5. The eye-basis is the element of the sensorium within the eye- ball where consciousness of sight is generated; and the consciousness of sight connotes the power of seeing various kinds of colours, appearances, forms and shapes.
  6. The ear-basis is the element of the sensorium within the organ of the ear where consciousness of sound is generated, and the consciousness of sound connotes the power of hearing various kinds of sound.
  7. The nose-basis is the element of the sensorium within the nose organ where consciousness of smell is generated, and the consciousness of smell connotes the power of smelling different kinds of odours.
  8. The tongue-basis is the element of the sensorium upon the surface of the tongue where consciousness of taste is generated, and the consciousness of taste connotes the power of tasting many kinds such as sweet, sour, and so forth.
  9. The body-basis is the element of the sensorium locating itself by pervading the whole body within and without from head to foot, where consciousness of touch is generated, and the consciousness of touch connotes the power of feeling or sensing physical contacts.
  10. The heart-basis a kind of very fine, bright, subtle matter within the organ of heart where mind consciousness, comprising sixty- nine classes of the same in number is generated.

    From these six bases all classes of consciousness are generated and arise.

    The Two Bhavas or Sexes

    Bhava means production or productive principle.

  11. The Itthi-bhava or the female sex is a certain productive principle of matter which produces several different kinds of female appearances and feminine characters.
  12. The Pum-bhava or the male sex is a certain productive principle of matter which produces several different kinds of male appearances and masculine characters.

    The two sexes respectively locate themselves in the bodies of male and female, like the body-basis pervading the entire frame, from the sole of the foot to the top of the head within and without. Owing to their predominant features the distinction between masculinity and feminity is readily discerned.

    Jivita-Rupa or Material Quality of Life

  13. Jivita means life, that is, the vital force which controls the material qualities produced by Kamma and keeps them fresh in the same way that the water of a pond preserves the lotus plant therein from decay and so informs them as to prevent from withering. The common expressions of ordinary speech, "a being lives" or "a being dies" are descriptive merely of the presence or absence of this material quality of life. When it ceases forever with reference to a particular form, we say "a being dies" and we say "a being is living" so long as it continues to act in any particular form. This also locates itself by permeating the whole body.

    Ahara-Rupa or the Material Quality of Nutrition

  14. Ahara-Rupa means element of essential nutriment that chiefly nourishes or promotes the growth of material qualities. Just as the element of water that resides in earth or that falls from the sky, nourishes trees or plants or mainly promotes their growth or helps them to fecundate, develop and last long; so also this material quality of nutrition nourishes or mainly helps the four kinds of bodies or matter produced by the four causes namely, kamma, mind, temperature and food, to fecundate and grow. It is the main supporter of the material quality of life, so that undertaking various kinds of work in the world for the sake of getting one's daily food, is called a man's living or livelihood.

    Gocara-Rupas or the Four Sense-Fields

    Gocara means sense-field or object of the five senses.

  15. The object "visible form", is the quality of colour or of shape of various objects.
  16. The object "sound" is the quality of sound itself.
  17. The object "odour" is the quality of scent or smell.
  18. The object "savour" is the quality of savour or taste. Mention is not made here of touch or the tangible, as it consists in the Great Essentials or Elements. It is of three kinds, Viz., Pathavi-potthabba or extension tangible, Tejo-potthabba or temperature tangible. Vayo- potthabba or movement tangible. Counting in the tangible also we thus get five sense-fields in all. Of these, visible form is the object of eye; sound, of ear; odour, of nose; savour, of tongue; and the tangible, of body.

    Akasa-Dhatu or Material Quality of Limitation

  19. Akasa-dhatu means the element of space. In a heap of sand there is a space between each particle of sand. Hence we may say that there are as many spaces as there are particles of sand in the heap; and we can also distinguish the particles of sand from one another. When the heap is destroyed the particles of sand are scattered about, and the space enclosed between them disappears also. Similarly, in very hard lumps of stone, marble, iron, and metal, there are innumerable atoms and particles of atoms which are called kalapas or groups. Into every finest, smallest particle of an atom there enters at least these following eight qualities of matter, i.e., the Four Essentials and colour, odour, savour, and nutritive essence. And each group is seperated by the element of space which locates itself between them. Therefore there is at least as much of space as there is of the matter of the lump. It is owing to the existence of this space that lumps of stone and iron can be broken up, or cut into pieces, or pounded into dust, or melted.

    The Two Vinnati-Rupa or Modes of Communications

    Vinnatti-rupa means mode of communication or sign employed to communicate the willingness, intention, or purpose, of one person to the understanding of another.

  20. Kaya-vinnatti is that peculiar movement of body by which one's purpose is made known to others.
  21. Vaci-vinnatti is that peculiar movement of sounds in speech by which one's purpose is made known to others.

    Those who cannot see the minds of others know the purpose, the intention, the willingness, of others through the use of these two modesof communication or Vinnatti-rupas. These two are employed not only in communicating one's purpose or intention to the understanding of another, but also in moving the parts of the body while walking, and so forth, according to one's own will; as also in learning by heart, reading to one-self, and so forth.

    The Three Vikara-Rupas or the Three Plasticities

    Vikara means the peculiar expression or distinctive condition of the Jata-rupas, the genetic material qualities.

  22. Lahuta is the lightness of the material quality.
  23. Muduta is the pliancy of the material quality.
  24. Kammannata is the adaptability of the two media of communication. When one of the Four Great Essentials falls out of order and becomes disproportionate to the rest in any parts of the body, these parts are not light as usual in applying themselves to some work, but tend to become heavy and awkward; they are not pliable as usual, but tend to become hard, coarse and rigid; they are not as adaptable as usual in their movements in accord with one's will, but tend to become difficult and strained. Likewise when the Essentials are out of order, the tongue, the lips, are not adaptable according to the wish in speaking, but become firm and stiff. When the Four Great Essentials are in good order and the parts of the body are in sound health, the matter of the body (rupa) is said to be in possession of these qualities, i.e. lightness, pliancy, and adaptability, which are called the three plasticities (vikara-rupas).

    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.

  25. 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).
  26. 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.
  27. Jarata is the state of growing old, of decline, of maturity, ripeness (in the sense of being ready to fall), decayedness, caducity, rottenness, or corruption.
  28. 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 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


period; the gradual growth or development, the


period; and their standing in their fully developed state, the


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.

The Four Producers or Generators of Material Phenomena

There are four kinds of producers which produce material phenomena:

  1. Kamma
  2. citta
  3. utu
  4. ahara

Kamma means moral and immoral actions committed in previous existences.

Citta means mind and mental concomitants existing in the present life.

Utu means the two states of Tejo-dhatu, the fire-element, i.e., heat (unha-tejo) and cold (sita-tejo).

Ahara means the two kinds of nutritive essence, internal nutriment that obtains from the time of conception and external nutriment that exists in edible food.

Out of the twenty-eight species of material qualities, the nine species, i.e., the six bases, two sexes, and life, are produced only by Kamma. The two media of communications are produced only by Citta.

Sound is produced by Citta and Utu. The three plasticities are produced by Citta, Utu, and Ahara. Of the remaining thirteen, excluding Jarata (decay) and Aniccata (impermanence), the eleven--comprising the Four Great Essentials, nutriment, visible form, odour, savour, the element of space, integration, and continuance are produced by the four causes. These eleven always appertain severally to the four classes of phenomena produced by the four causes. There are no phenomena that enter into composition without these. Material phenomena enter into composition with these, forming groups of eight, nine, and so forth, and each group is called Rupa-Kalapa.

As to the two salient features, decay and impermanence, they exclude themselves from the material qualities born of the four causes as they disorganise what has been produced.


Of these eighty-two ultimate things


, inasmuch as it lies outside the scope of birth (Jati), does not not need any originator for its arising; neither does it need any cause for its maintenance since it also does not come within the range of decay and death (Jara-Marana). Hence


is unconditioned and unorganized. But, with the exception of


, the eighty-one phenomena, both mental and material, being within the spheres of birth, decay and death, are conditioned and organized things.

Among the four causes already dealt with in connection with the material qualities, Kamma is merely an originator and Citta (mind) is simply a stimulus. The physical body develops, stands, and is maintained by the power of the warmth element called Utu and by the power of the essence of nutriment. If the forces of the latter two come to an end, the forces of the former two also can no longer operate but cease simultaneously.

In the case of trees, for example, the seeds are only their origins. They grow, develop, and are maintained by means of the elements of earth and water. If these two principles fail them, the power of the seed also fails along with them. Here the physical body is like the tree; Kamma is like the seed; the warmth-element, or what is called Utu is like the earth; the nutritive essence is like the rain-water, which falls regularly at proper seasons; and mind is like the atmosphere and the heat of the sun, both of which give support from outside.

With regard to the causes of mind and mental properties, three things are needed for the arising of Resultants; a past kamma, a basis to depend upon, and an object. The first is like the seed of the tree, the basis is like the earth, and the object is like the rain- water.

Two things are necessary for the arising of each of the mental phenomena of the Morals, the Immorals and the Ineffectives,: a basis to depend upon, and an object. However, to be more detailed, full rational exercise of mind (yonisomanasikara) is needed for the Morals, and defective irrational exercise of mind (ayoniso-manasikara) for the Immorals. The Ineffectiveness which have apperceptional functions have the same causes as the Morals. As for the two classes of consciousness called "Turning towards", if they precede the Morals, they have the same causes as the Morals and if they precede the Immorals they have the same causes as the Immorals. Here yoniso-manasikara means proper exercise of reason, and ayoniso-manasikara means improper exercise of reason. These are the functions of the two classes of consciousness called Avajjana, "Turning towards." On seeing a man, if the manasikara be rationally utilized, moral consciousness arises; and if the manasikara be irrationally utilized, immoral consciousness arises. There is no particular object which purely of itself will cause to arise only a moral consciousness, or only an immoral consciousness. The process of the mind may be compared to a boat of which the Avajjana-citta or "Turning-towards-thought" is the helmsman, so also the occurrence of the moral and the immoral consciousness lies entirely in the hands of Avajana.

What the seed is to the tree, that the Manasikara is to the Morals and the Immorals. What the earth is to a tree, that their "Basis" is to the Morals and Immorals. While what the rain-water is to a tree, that their "object" is to the Morals and Immorals.

We will now set forth the causes in another way.

Each of the six classes of consciousness has four causes. For the arising of the consciousness of sight there is needed Cakkhu-vatthu, Ruparammana, Aloka and Manasikara. Of these, Manasikara is the name of the Avajjana-citta which turns the process of mind in the direction of the object of sight. Aloka means light. Unless there is light, the function of seeing will not take place, nor the process of cognition. Cakkhu-vatthu means eye-basis; and Ruparammana means object of sight, literally, form-object.

For the arising of the consciousness of Sound, there is needed Sota-vatthu (ear-basis) Sadda-rammana (object of sound), Akasa and Manasikara. Here Akasa means the space through which sound is communicated to the ear. The function of hearing can take place only when it is present; the process of ear-door cognitions also occurs only when hearing takes place.

For the arising of the consciousness of smell, there is needed Ghana-vatthu (nose basis), Gandharammana (object of smell), Vata and Manasikara. Here Vata means the air in the nose or the inhaled air. If this is not present, odours cannot come into contact with the nose-basis, and consequently the function of smelling and the nose-door cognitions cannot take place.

For the arising of the consciousness of taste, there is needed Jivha-vatthu (tongue-basis), Rasarammana (object of taste), Apa and Manasakira. Here Apa means wetness of the tongue. If the tongue is dry, the savour or sapidity cannot come into contact with the tongue-basis, and consequently the function of tasting and the tongue-door cognitions cannot take place.

For the arising of the consciousness of touch, there is needed Kaya-vatthu (body basis), Photthabbarammana (object of touch), Thaddha and Manasikara. Here Thaddha means the quality of the object of touch, i.e., the degree of coarseness of it. Only a some- what coarse touch can make an impression upon the body-basis. If the object of touch is too subtle, it cannot impinge upon the body-basis. And unless there is impingement, neither consciousness of touch nor the body-door, cognitions can arise.

For the arising of the consciousness of mind, there is needed Hadaya-vatthu (heart-basis), Dhammarammana (object of thought) Manodvara (mind-door), and Manasikara. Of these, Dhammarammana means all objects comprising all material qualities other than the five-fold objects, all mental qualities, all ideas, and Nibbana. As a matter of fact, the five-fold objects (form, sound, smell, taste and touch) are also the objects of consciousness of mind, but in order to set forth what is not related to the five doors, or five senses, only thought-objects are mentioned here. Mano-dvara or mind-door means the continuum of sub-consciousness. Though the heart- basis is the place where consciousness of mind arises, since it does not possess the appropriate kind of sensuous organs, the impressions of objects cannot appear in it, hence they have to appear in the mind-door only.



means super-knowledge, or the faculty of knowing pre-eminently beyond that of ordinary mankind. It is of two kinds,






means super-knowledge acquired through the carrying out of the exercises in Calm (Samatha). It is of five different kinds:

  1. Iddhividha-abhinnana
  2. Dibbasota-abhinnana
  3. Cetopariya-abhinnana
  4. Pubbenivasa-abhinnana
  5. Yathakammupaga-abhinnana

The first is the supernormal powers of passing through the air, sinking into the earth, by oneself creating wonderful things, transforming oneself into different personalities.

The second is extreme sensitiveness of hearing such as is possessed by Celestial beings.

The third is the supernormal knowledge of others' thought.

The fourth is the supernormal knowledge of previous existences.

The fifth is the supernormal knowledge of living beings and of the kammas in accordance with which they are thrown down into the various spheres of existence; it resembles such supernormal vision as is possessed by Celestial beings.

Dhamma-abhinnana means the insight by which are discerned all the things of ultimate truth mentioned in the section on the Truths, together with their respective characteristics beyond the range of conventional truth. It is divided into three kinds:

  1. 1. Sutamaya-nana, knowledge acquired by learning.
  2. 2. Cintamaya-nana, knowledge acquired by reasoning.
  3. 3. Bhavanamaya-nana, knowledge acquired by contemplation.

The last of the three is again subdivided into two:

  1. 1. Anubodha-nana
  2. 2. Pativeda-nana

Of these last two, the former is the triple insight into Impermanence, Infelicity, and No-soul, or it is the insight into things with all their characteristics as they truly are. The latter is the transcendental knowledge of the Four Paths. By this knowledge, which can dispel the darkness of the defilements (kilesa) such as error, perplexity, and so forth, those who have attained the Paths are brought into the light.

The Three Parinnas


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 Nibbana, 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 Nibbana 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 skilfully dissecting the continuity of mentals and materials (Nama and Rupa) into momentary ultimates. It is of three kinds:

  1. Anicca-parinna
  2. Dukkha-parinna
  3. Anatta-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, umpleasant 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). Sankhara-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 savour 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 unpleasurable object. He shrinks from and fears it, for he knows that the better the savour the longer he must sufffer; hence the pleasure his palate will derive from the food is to him a real fear-producing ill.

ln 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 Anatta.

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.

Anatta-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 Anatta-parinna. The triple Parinna (of' Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta), is called Tirana-parinina.

Pahana-parinna means the perfect or the qualified knowledge which 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.

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

That is to say: No-soul is erroneously perceived, thought, and viewed as soul.-End of Note By Translator.)

Here Atta 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 recognised 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 favourable, 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.

Exposition of Tirana-parinna.

The three salient marks or features are:

  1. Anicca-lakkhana: The Mark of Impermanence.
  2. Dukkha-lakkhana: The Mark of Ill.
  3. Anatta-lakkhana: The Mark of No-soul.

Anicca-lakkhana or the Mark of Impermanence, is the characteristic of the sphere of Vaparinama and of Annahabhava.

Viparinama means metastasis, that is, a radical change in nature; a change from the present state into that which is not the present state. Annathabhava means subsequent change of mode. If the spheres of Viparinama and Annathabhava are exposed to the view of the mind's eye, it will be distinctly discerned that the mental and material phenomena which are within the spheres of these two, Viparinama and Annathabhava, are really impermanent things. Therefore we have said: "The anicca-lakkhana or the mark of impermanence, is the characteristic of the sphere of Viparinama and of Annathabhava. When we closely observe and analyze in mind the flame of a lamp burning at night, we take note of the flame together with its five salient features, i.e. birth, growth, continuance, decay, and death. We note that the fire is momentarily arising. This is the birth of a material phenomenon; but it is not fire. We observe that the flame after arising, is constantly developing. This is the growth of the material phenomenon; but it is not fire. We observe that the flame is uninterruptedly continuing in its normal state. This is the continuance of the material phenomenon, but it is not fire. We observe that the flame is dying down. This is the decay of the material phenomenon; but it is'not fire. We observe that the flame is dying away. This is the death of the material phenomenon, but it is not fire. The property of hotness is, of course, fire. The flame quivers merely on account of the presence of these five salient features. Sometimes it may quiver when the lamp is removed, and in that case it may be said that the quivering is due to wind. These five salient features are therefore the subsequent changes (annathabhava) of the flame, called the Marks of Impermanence. By observing and taking note of these five salient features, it can be understood that the flame is an impermanent thing. Similarly it should be understood that all moving things are impermanent things.

The mobile appearances of the most delicate atoms of matter which are not discernible by the human eye, are discovered by the help of that clever revealer of nature's secrets, the microscope. Through the discovery of these moving appearances, it is believed nowadays by certain Western people -- Leibnitz and Fechner, for example -- that these material phenomena are living creatures. But in truth they are not living creatures, and the moving appearances are due only to the reproduction of the material phenomena through the function of the physical change (utu). By reproduction we here mean the Acaya-rupa. In some organisms, of course, there may be living creatures in existence.

When we look at the flowing water of a river or a stream, or at the boiling water in the kettle, we discern moving appearances. These are the reproductions of material phenomena produced by physical change. And in water which seems still or quiet to the naked eye, moving appearances will also be seen with the help of a miscroscope. These two are reproductions of material phenomena produced by physical change. Here, "reproductions" mean the constant integrations of new phenomena which are called acaya-rupas. By discerning the integrations of new phenomena, the subsequent deaths or disappearances of the old phenomena which are called the Aniccata-rupas,are also discernible. When the integration of new matter and the death of the old matter take place side by side, the Santati-rupa is discernible. When the reproduction is excessive, the Apacaya-rupa is discernible. When the death of old matter is excessive, the Jarata-rupa is discernible. We have shown above that in every tree, root, branch, leaf, sprout, flower, and fruit there are these five salient marks. So, when we look at them with the aid of a microscope, we see that they are full of very infinitesimal organisms moving about as if they were living creatures; but in fact these are mere reproductions of matter produced by physical change.

As regards the bodies of creatures or persons, these five salient marks are also discernible in every member of the body, such as, hair, hair of the body, finger-nails, toe-hails, teeth, the inner skin, the outer skin, muscles, nerves, veins big bones, small bones, marrow, kidney, heart, liver, membrane, lungs, intestines, entrails, undigested food, digested food, and the brain. So, when we look at them with the help of a microscope, moving organisms like very small creatures are seen. These are the reproductions of matter produced by Kamma, mind, food, and physical change. There may of course be microbes in some cases. Thus, if we look with the mind's eye, the mark of impermanence in all the matter of the whole body will clearly be discerned.

What has just been expounded is the mark of impermanence in the matter.

In mental phenomena, i.e., mind and its concomitants, the mark of impermanence which has two distinct features, the radical change (viparinama) and the subsequent change (annathabhava), is no less clearly to be seen. In the world, we all know that there are many different terms and expressions which are applied to the different modes and manners of the elements of mind and body which are incessantly rising and ceasing. For instance, there are two expressions, "seeing" and "not-seeing," which are used in describing the function of the eye. Seeing is the term assigned to the element of sight-consciousness; or, when we say "one sees," this is the term applied in describing the arising of sight-consciousness from the conjuncture of four causes, namely, eye-basis, visual-form, light, and attention. And when we say, "one does not see," this is the phrase we use in describing the non-existence of sight-consciousness. When, at night in the dark, no source of light is present, sight-consciousness does not arise upon the eye-basis; it is temporarily suspended. But it will arise when the light from a fire, for instance, is introduced. And when the light is put out, sight-consciousness also again will cease. As there are five salient marks present in the flame, if the light comes to be, seeing also comes to be, sight also arises. If the light develops, seeing also develops. If the light continues, seeing also continues. If the light decays, seeing also decays. And if the light ceases, then seeing also ceases. In the day-time also, these twin terms "seeing "not- seeing" may be made use of. If there is no obstruction, one sees; and if there is obstruction, one does not see. As regards eye-lids, if they are opened, one sees; and if they are shut, one does not see. What has just been expounded in the Viparinama and Annathabhava of sight- consciousness through the occasioning cause, light. In cases where the destruction of the eyebasis occurs after conception, sight consciousness also is lost for ever. If the visual form is taken away out of view, sight-consciousness also ceases. While sleeping, as there is no attention, so sight-consciousness subsides for some time. The genesis of all classes of consciousness that take part in the process of eye- door is to be understood by the term seeing"; and the subsidence of the same is to be understood by the term "not-seeing."

Similarly in each function of hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching, a pair of expressions (existing or otherwise) is obtainable, and these must be dealt with as to their impermanency, i.e., Viparinama and Annathabhava, in the same way as sight- consciousness. With regard to mind-cognition, it has many different modes, and each is apparent in its nature of Viparinima and Annathabhava through the changes of the different kinds of thought. Among the mental concomitants, taking feeling for example, the changes of pleasure, pain, joy, grief, and hedonic indifference, are very evident. So also, the changes of perception, initial application, sustained application, from good to bad and vice versa, are very obvious. It may be easily noticed by anyone that in the single posture of sitting alone, greed, disinterestedness, hate, and amity, are each rising by turns.

What has just been expounded is the impermanence of mental phenomena. So much for the Mark of lmpermanence.

Of The Mark Of Ill

Briefly speaking, the marks of impermanence in




may also be called the Mark of Ill, for they are to be feared by the wise in


the evolution of life. Why are they to be feared by the wise? Because, in the world, the dangers of decay and death are the dangers, most to be feared.


is nothing but momentary decay and death; it is the road to death, and to


(the dispersion of life into different spheres). All creatures remain alive without removing to another existence only because they are sustained by various methods of preservation.


is also to be feared on account of the disadvantages which may fall on ourselves.

Acaya, Upacaya



which are the features of


may also bring many disadvantages. They may establish in the physical body many kinds of disease and ailments. They may establish in the mental continuum many kinds of afflictions (Kilesa), many kinds of hallucination, and many other disadvantages. Every material phenomenon possesses these two marks of impermanence; and also every mental phenomenon pertaining to

Kama-loka Rupa-loka



has the same two marks of Impermanence. Therefore the existences, or the bodies (comprising the mentals and materials) of men, Devas, and Brahmas are all subject to Ill. The two marks of impermanence being always present there are approximately three different marks of Ill, to wit:

Dukkhadukkhata, Sankharadukkhata,



Dukkhadukkhata means both bodily (kayika) and mental (cetasika) pains. Sankhara-dukkhata is the state of things (i.e. material and mental phenomena) which exists only if they are always determined, conditioned, and maintained with a great deal of exertion in every existence. The existences or the bodies (khandas or the sum total of a being) of Brahmas have a great amount of Sankharadukkha. Hardly one out of a hundred, who has abandoned all sensual pleasures, renounced the world, and practised the "Stations" without regard to his own life, hereafter attains the existence of a Brahma. Though people know that such existence is a very good thing, they do not venture to practise them, for they take them to be very hard, difficult and paingiving. When Jhanadhammas and supernormal intellections are attained, they must be maintained with great care and trouble, for if not, they are liable to recession in a moment upon the most trifling occasion.

Viparinamadukkhata is the state of destruction, or the state of death after conception, if circumstances are favourable to the same at any time, day or hour. The existences, or the bodies, of men, Devas and Brahmas are the real Ills, since they are severally subject to the said three marks of Ill.

Speaking broadly, there are eleven marks of Ill:

  1. Jati-dukkha: Ill of birth.
  2. Jara-dukkha: Ill of decay.
  3. Marana-dukkha: Ill of death.
  4. Soka-dukkha: Ill of sorrow.
  5. Parideva-dukkha: Ill of lamentation.
  6. Kayika-dukkha: Bodily ill.
  7. Cetasika-dukkha: Mental ill.
  8. Upayasa-dukkha: Ill of despair.
  9. Apiyasampayoga-dukkha: Ill due to association with enemies.
  10. Piyavippayoga-dukkha: Ill due to separation from loved ones.
  11. Icchavighata-dukkha: Ill due to nonfulfilment of wishes.

Of these, Jati means birth or reproduction. It is of three kinds, to wit: Kilesajati: birth of defilements, Kammajati: birth of actions, and Vipakajati: birth of effects.

Of these three, Kilesajati is the birth or the reproduction of defilements such as, greed, hate, dullness, error, conceit, and so forth.

Vipakajati is the birth or reproduction of different kinds of diseases, different kinds of ailments, and different kinds of painful feelings in the body, or the reproduction of mean and low existence such as those of birds and animals, and so forth. Among the Kilesajatis, greed is very fierce and violent. It will rise at any time it finds favourable circumstance, like fire fed with gunpowder. When it rises it can with difficulty be suppressed by any means whatever; it will develop in volumes in an instant. Hence, it is a real "Ill," since it is very much to be feared by all Ariyas. The like should be understood in connection with hate, dullness, and so forth, which ethically are one thousand and five hundred in number. Just as a hill which is the abode of very poisonous serpents is feared and no one dares to approach it, so also the existences of men, Devas and Brahmas are feared; and no Arjya dare approach them with the views: "Myself" and "My body," for they are the birth-places of the said defilements. Therefore they are real "Ills" that are to be feared.

Of the Kammajati, immoral actions of body, speech, and thought are the developments of the defilements. Therefore they are equally as fierce as the defilements. Hence this Kammajati is also a real "Ill" to be feared by all Ariyas. Just as the villages where thieves and robbers take up their quarters are feared, and good people do not venture to approach them, so also the existences of men, Devas and Brahmas are feared, and no Ariya dare approach them with such views as "Myself" and "My body," for they are the birth-places of the said Kammajati.

Of the Vipakajati, owing to the dreadfulness of Kilesajati and Kammajati, Vipakajati the rebirth into the planes of misery is likewise always a terrible thing in the revolution of existences.

Therefore the existences of men, and so forth, to which the Vipakajati together with the Kilesajati and the Kamajati are joined, are real "Ill." The moral actions and the fortunate realms furnish food for the defilements, fuel for the flames of the defilements, so that the birth of moral actions and the birth of results therefrom, are all obtainable in the Kilesajati. So much for the Jatidukkha.

Concerning the Jaradukkha and Maranadukkha: these are the momentary decays and deaths which follow a being from the moment of conception, and are at all times ready to cause him to fall in decay, death, or unfortunate realms whenever opportunities for the same occur. They also obtain in connection with Viparinamadukkha; and since they dog the steps of all living beings in every existence from the moment of conception, the existences of men, Devas and Brahmas are real "Ill". So much for the Jaradukkha and Maranadukkha.

Sokadukkha, Paridevadukkha, Kayikadukkha, Cetasikadukkha, and Upayasadukkha, always follow the existences of men and Devas, ready to arise whenever an opportunity occurs. The realms of the Niraya and the Peta worlds are the realms of sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair.

So much for the five kinds of Dukkha.

To come into union with persons, creatures, things, objects with which one does not wish to unite or does not wish even to see, is Apiyasampayoga Dukkha.

Separation from persons, creatures, things and objects which one always wishes to meet or be united with, from which one never wishes to be parted in life or by death -- this is Piyavippayogadukkha.

To strive hard, but all in vain, to obtain anything is Icchavighatadukkha.

These "Ills" or Dukkhas are very numerous and very evident, and are also frequently met with in the world. Hence the existences, or the bodies of men, Devas and Brahmas are real "Ills." Of these eleven varieties of Dukkha, birth, decay and death, are the most important. So much for the Mark of "Ill."


The mark by which mental and material phenomena are to be understood as No-soul is called the


or the Mark of No-soul. In considering the word


the meaning of


ought first to be understood.


in ordinary sense means essence, or substantiality. By essence or substantiality is meant, as we have already explained in connection with Ultimate Truth, the earth which is the essence or the substantiality of pot. The word "pot" is merely the name by which is indicated a certain pictorial idea (santhanapannati); it is not a name for earth. And a pictorial idea possesses no essence or substantiality as an ultimate thing; here earth alone is ultimate thing and possesses essence or substantiality. If the question is asked:"Does such a thing as pot exist in the world?" those who are unable to differentiate between the two kinds of truth, ultimate and conventional, would answer that the pot exists. These should then be asked to point out the pot. They will now point to an earthen pot near at hand, saying: "Is not that a pot?" But it is not correct of them thus to allege that earth is pot; it is a false allegation. Why is it a false allegation? Simply because earth is an ultimate thing and has essence or substantiality; while pot is a mere conception having no essence or substantiality, and thus, like space, is void. To allege of earth that it is pot, is in effect to try to make out that essential earth constitutes the essence or substantiality of pot, which is actual fact, seeing that pot as a mere representation of the mind, possesses no substantial essence whatever. Here, what actually is non-existent pot becomes existent pot, and earth also becomes


of the earth, so that earth and pot become one and the same thing, the identity of the one is confused with the identity of the other. For this reason it is that we call this a false allegation. In this illustration, "earth" corresponds with the Five Aggregates or their constituents, material and mental phenomena, while "pot" corresponds with persons and living creatures. Just as earth becomes the essence of pot in the statement that the earth is the pot; so also the Five Aggregates or their constituents become the


or the essence of persons and creatures, when it is said that the Aggregates are persons and creatures. This is the meaning of


Now for Anatta. In the expression "earthern pot"; if one is able to discern that earth is one thing, and pot another, and that earth is an ultimate thing and pot a mere conception of the mind; and again, that earth is not pot, and pot is not earth, and also that it is false to call earth a pot, and to call pot, earth; then the earth becomes not the essence or Atta of the pot, but becomes Anatta: while at the same time also, pot is seen to be void like space, since it is a mere conception of form. A like result is obtained if one is able to discern the Five Aggregates and the material and mental phenomena thus: The Fivefold set of Aggregates are ultimate things; persons and creatures are ideas derived from the forms and the continua; hence the phenomena are not persons and creatures; and persons and creatures are not the phenomena. If the phenomena are called persons and creatures, this is a false naming of them; and if persons and creatures are called the phenomena, this is false too. Accordingly the phenomena become, not the essence of persons and creatures, but become Anatta, or the reverse of substantial essence. And also, persons and creatures become quite evidently void and empty, inasmuch as they are mere ideas derived from the forms and continua of the phenomena.

What has just been said is in exposition of the meaning of Anatta.

The marks of Impermanence and Ill expounded in the foregoing pages are also the marks of No-soul (Anatta). How ? It is supposed that the ideas (pannatti) of persons and creatures are eternal and immortal both in this existence and in those that follow, and it has been explained that the phenomena are not eternal since they are subject to momentary decays and deaths which are the marks of impermanence; and also because they are constantly ceasing and being reproduced many times beyond possibility of beeing numbered, even in one day, the which is the mark of that kind of impermanence known as Annathabhava.

In Buddhist philosophy there are three things which are "eternal and immortal", in the sense in which that phrase is here used in the text. These three things are called in the Pali, pannatti (plural, pannattiyo), akasa, and nibbana, that is: Concepts (or ideas), Space and that which supervenes when Craving, Hate and Delusion are completely wiped out. Of these three things it is held that their existence is something which has nothing whatever to do with time, never enters time, is never limited by time. The law of Rise-and-fall, of arising and ceasing, which applies to all things else, does not apply to them. They exist independent of whether any particular being thinks them or not. In other words: they are eternal and immortal and independent of time, not in any sense of being unbrokenly continuous in time. Nibbana is distinguished from the two other "eternal and immortal" things in that it has Santilakkhana or it is Santibhava, a word which may be rendered quite accurately in English (if not literally, at least in accord with its spirit) as "The Great Peace" and all that this implies. (Trb,) But in the ideas (pannatti) of persons and creatures no marks of Viparinama and Annathabhava are to be seen. lf such marks were to be found in the ideas (pannatti) of persons and creatures, then, of course, the ideas of Pannattiyo would also be subject to births, decays, and deaths, and would be reborn and decay and die many times even in one day. But these marks are not to be found in the Pannatti or ideas; we discern these marks only in the mental and material phenomena. Therefore it comes to this, that the mental and material phenomena, that is, Nama-rupa- dhamma are not to be regarded as the essence or substantiality of persons and creatures. It is in this way that the mark of "No-soul" becomes the mark of impermanence, in accordance with the Text: "Asarakatthena anatta," or, "On account of being without a core, the word Anatta is used."

How does the mark of Ill become the mark of Impermanence? The marks of Ill are very evil, very disadvantageous, and very unsatisfactory; and all creatures desire to be in good states, to be prosperous, and to be satisfied. If mental and material phenomena are the true essence of persons and creatures the phenomena and the person must be one and the same. And if this be so, their desires must also be one and the same; that is, the person's desire must also be that of the phenomena, and vice-versa. But if this is not so, then each must be a thing separate from the other. Here by "person's desire" we mean Greed (lobha) and Desire-to-do (chanda) and by "the desire of phenomena," the happening of things in accordance with their cause. A main characteristic of persons and creatures is the craving for happiness of mind and body; and an outstanding feature of phenomena is their uniformity with their causes or conditioning things: that is, the arising and the ceasing of phenomena are subject to causes, and never entirely in accordance with the desires of persons in defiance of causes. For example: if warmness is wanted the cause that produces warmness must be sought out; or if coldness is wanted, the cause that produces coldness must be sought out. If long life is wanted, the conditioning cause, a supply of suitable food daily, must be sought out; for no man can live long merely by wishing to live long. And if rebirth in the worlds of the Fortunate is wanted, then the cause of this, moral or virtuous deeds, must be sought out; for no one can get to the worlds of the Fortunate merely by wishing to be reborn there. It is sometimes erroneously thought or believed that one can be whatever one wishes to be, upon occasions when something one has wished for is later on fulfilled, although the actual fact is that it has come about only in accordance with a cause that has previously been sought out and brought into play. It is falsely thought or believed by many people that one can maintain oneself according to one's wish when in sound health or at ease in any of the four bodily postures, ignoring the fact that the cause, the partaking of food on previous days, was sought out by them and brought into play. They also mistakenly think that their wishes are always fulfilled, when they find themselves living happily in buildings previously in existence. But in truth, if one looks about him in this world and sees how great and how numerous are the businesses affairs, occupations and so forth, of men in all their extent and variety, he will soon discern with the mind's eye that the Sankharadukkha, the Dukkha associated with the Sankharas, is great and manifold in precisely the same measure as men's activities. And this Dukkha is due to the begetting or the establishing of the causes necessary to the acquiring of the effects desired; for the phenomena can never become exactly all that beings may wish them to be, or may give orders that they are to be. Thus simply in beholding the marks of Sankharadukkhata all about us, it becomes evident that phenomena do not conform themselves to the desires of persons and creatures, and hence they are not their essence or substance.

In addition to this it is also to be noted well how conspicuous is non-substantiality with regard to Dukkhadukkhata, Viparinamadukkhata, Jatidukkha, Jaradukkha, Maranadukkha, and so forth.

So much for the mark of Anatta from the standpoint of Dukkha.

The three knowledges, pertaining to the Insight which fully grasps the meaning of the Three Marks, are called Tirana-parinna.

These three knowledges pertaining to the Insight are:

  1. Aniccavipassananana: Insight-knowledge in contemplating
  2. "Impermanence"
  3. Dukkhavipassananana: Insight-knowledge in contemplating
  4. "Ill."
  5. Anattavipassananana: Insight-knowledge in contemplating
  6. "No-soul."

Of these three Knowledges the last-mentioned must be acquired first, as it must also be acquired in fullness, in order to dispel the error of soul doctrine. And in order to obtain full acquisition of this last- mentioned Knowledge, the first must primarily be introduced for, if the first is well discerned, the last is easily acquired. As for the second, it does not culminate through the acquisition of the first. It is owing to imperfection in obtaining the second Knowledge that the transcendental Path has four grades, and that lust and conceit are left undispelled. Hence the most important thing for Buddhists to do is to free themselves entirely from the Apayadukkha, the Ills of the Realms of misery. There is no way of escaping from the Apayadukkha open to men when the Teaching of the Buddha vanish from the world. And to escape Apayadukkha means to put away all immoral actions and erroneous views. And to put away all erroneous views means to put away utterly the view of "Soul." Therefore in that life in which we are so fortunate as to encounter the Religion of the Buddha, we should strive so to contemplate or meditate upon the impermanence of things, as to bring to fullness the Insight-knowledge of No-soul. In confirmation of this, here is a quotation from the Text:

"Aniccasannino Meghiya annattasanna santhati anattasannino samugghatam papunati ditthe'va dhamma Nibbanam." "To him, 0 Meghiya, who comprehends Impermanence, the comprehension of No-soul manifests itself. And to him who comprehends No-soul, the fantasy of an 'I' presiding over the Five Aggregates is brought to destruction; and even in this present life he attains Nibbana." There is no need for us to expatiate upon the truth of this text for we have already shown how the mark of Impermanence can become the mark also of No-soul.

The Insight exercises can be practised not only in solitude as is necessary in the case of the exercise of Calm or Samatha, but they can be practised everywhere. Maturity of knowledge is the main, the one thing required. For, if knowledge is ripe, the Insight of Impermanence may easily be accomplished while listening to a discourse, or while living a householder's ordinary life. To those whose knowledge is developed, everything within and without oneself, within and without one's house, within and without one's village or town, is an object at the sight of which the Insight of lmpermanence may spring up and develop. But those whose knowledge is yet, so to speak, in its infancy, can accomplish this only if they practise assiduously the exercise in Calm.

The consideration of the momentary deaths which occur innumerable times even during the wink of an eye, are only required in discussion upon Abhidhamma. But in meditating or practising the exercises in Insight, all that is needed is consideration of the Santativiparinama and the Santatiannathabhava, that is, of the radical change and of the sequent change of the continua, things which are visibly evident to, and personally experienced, by, every man alive.

The exercises in Insight that ought to he taken up are first, the Four Great Elements from among the material qualities, and the six classes of cognition from among the mental qualities. If one can discern the arisings, and ceasings of the Four Elements innumerable times in one day alone, the changes, or the risings and ceasings of the rest (i.e., upadarupas: the derivative material qualities) are also discerned. Of the mental qualities also, if the changes of consciousness are discerned, those of the mental concomitants are simultaneously discerned. In particular, feelings, perceptions, volitions, and so forth, from among the mental qualities, and forms, odours, and so forth from, among the material qualities, which are extraordinary may be taken as objects for the exercise, as they will quickly enable a meditator to acquire with ease the Insight of Impermanence.

However, from the philosphical point of view, the Insight is acquired in order to dispel such notions as "creatures," "persons," "soul," "life," "permanence," "pleasures," and to get rid of hallucinations. The acquisition of Insight also mainly depends on a sound grasp of the Triple Marks, which have been sufficiently dealt with already.

So much for the exposition of Tiranaparinna.


In Buddhist philosophy there are five kinds of Pahana which it is necessary to deal with:

  1. Tadangapahana,
  2. Vikkhamabhanapahana,
  3. Samucchedapahana,
  4. Patipassadhipahana,
  5. Nissaranapahana.

In order to make them clear, the three periods of the Defilements which are called Bhumi must here be mentioned.

They are:

  1. Anusayabhumi,
  2. Pariyutthanabhumi,
  3. Vittikkamabhumi.

Of these three, Anusayabhumi means the period during which the Defilements do not come into existence as mental properties representing themselves in the three phases of time, i. e., nascent, static, and arrested, but lie latent surrounding the life-continuum.

Pariyutthanabhumi means the period at which the Defilements come into existence from the latent state as mental properties at the mind-door when any object which has power to wake them up produces perturbance at one of the six doors.

Vitikkamabhumi means the period at which the Defilements become so fierce and ungovernable that they produce sinful actions in deed and word, Thus, in the revolution of existences that have no known beginning, every Greed that follows a creature's life contiuum has three bhumis. Similarly, the rest of the Defilements, error, dullness, conceit, and so forth, have three periods each.

In Buddhist ethics, there are three Sikkhas, namely, Silasikkha, the training of morality; Samadhi-sikkha the training of ecstatic thought; and Panna-sikkha, the training of lnsight. Of these three, the first training, that is the training of morality, is able to dispel or put away only the third (Vitikkamabhumi) of the Defilements. As there remain two Bhumis undispelled, the Defilements which are got rid of by Sila would again arise and soon fill up till they reached the Vitikkamabhumi. Therefore, the putting away by Sila is called the Tadangapahana, which means the temporary putting away.

The second training, that is, the training of ecstatic thought in the first Jhana, the second Jhana, and so forth, is able to dispel or put away only the second, the Pariyutthana-bhumi of the Defilements which have been left undispelled by Sila. As there still remains the Anusaya-bhumi undispelled, the Defilements which were put away by Jhana would soon arise and fill up till they reach the Vitikkamabhumi if obstacles to the Jhana were encountered. Therefore the putting away by Samadhi is called Vikkhamphana-pahana, which means the putting away to a distance. Here Jhana can dispose of the Defilements for a considerable time so that they do arise again soon, for it is ecstatic moral culture and more powerful than the sila.

The third training, that is, the training in the Knowledge that belongs to Insight and in the Knowledge that pertains to the Transcendental Path, is able to dispel or put away the first Anusaya-bhumi of the Defilements that have been left undispelled by Sila and Samadhi. The Defilements that are entirely got rid of through the said knowledge, leaving nothing behind, will never rise again. Therefore the putting away by Panna is called the Samucchedapahana, which means, literally, the "Cutting-off, Putting-away." The knowledge that pertains to Transcendental Fruition puts the Defilements away by tranquillizing the same Defilements that have been put away by the knowledge that pertains to the Transcendental Path, and this putting away is called the Patipassaddhi-pahana. The putting away by entering Nibbana is called the Nissarana-pahana, which means the utter relinquishment of an escaping from, the ties of existences for ever and ever. Now we have seen that knowledge is of three kinds. Knowledge of Insight, Knowledge pertaining to the Transcendental Path and Knowledge pertaining to Transcendental Fruition. Of these, though the Knowledge of Insight is able to put away the Anusaya-bhumi, it is not able to put it away completely. Only the knowledges pertaining to the Paths are able to put away all the defilements that respectively belong to each Path. The knowledge pertaining to the Sotapattimagga, the First Path, dispels utterly and eradicates all erroneous views and perplexities. It also dispels all immoral actions which would result in life in the realms of misery, so that they do not rise again. The knowledge that pertains to Sakadagamimagga, the second path, dispels all coarse lust and hate. The knowledge pertaining to Anagamimagga, the Third Path, dispels all subtle lust and ill-will which have been left undispelled by the Second Path. To him (the Anagami-puggalo, Never-Returner) the link of kinship with the world is broken, and the Brahma-loka is the only sphere where he may take rebirth. The knowledge pertaining to the Arahatta-magga, the Fourth Path, dispels the Defilements which are left undispelled by the lower paths. And he (the Arahatta-puggalo, one who kills all Defilements), becomes the Arahant, and escapes from the three Lokas or worlds. In our Buddhist Religion this Samuccheda-pahana is the chief thing to be accomplished.

So much for the Pahana-parinna.

Now I will indicate the main points necessary to those who practise the exercises of Insight. Of the three knowledges of Insight, the knowledge of Impermanence must first and foremost be acquired. How ? If we carefully watch the cinematograph show, we will see how quick are the changes of the numerous series of photographs representing the wonderful scene, all in a moment of time. We will also see that a hundred or more photographs are required to represent the scene of a moving body. These are, in fact, the functions of Viparinama and Annathabhava, or the representation of Impermanence or Death, or cessation of movements. If we carefully examine the movements in a scene, such as the walking, standing, sitting, sleeping, bending, stretching, and so forth, of the parts of the body during a moment of time, we will see that these are full of changes, or full of Impermanence. Even in a moment of walking, in a single step taken with the foot, there are numerous changes of pictures which may be called Impermanence or death. It is also the same with the rest of the movements. Now we must apply this to ourselves. The Impermanence and the death of mental and material phenomena are to be found to the full in our bodies, our heads, and in every part of the body. If we are able to discern clearly those functions of impermanence and death which are always operating in our bodies, we shall acquire the Insight of the Destruction, the breaking-up, falling-off, cessation, and changes of the various parts of the body in each second, in each fraction of a second. That is to say, we will discern the changes of every part of the body small and great, of head, of legs, of hands and so forth and so on. If this be thus discerned, then it may be said that the exercise on the contemplation of impermanence is well accomplished. And if the exercise on the contemplation of impermanence is well accomplished, then that of the contemplation of Non-soul is also accomplished. If this is thus discerned, then it may be said that the exercise on the contemplation of Impermanence is well accomplished. By the word "accomplished," it is meant that the exercise has been properly worked out so as to continue a permanent possession, during the whole term of life, but it is not meant that the knowledge of the Path and of Fruition, has been attained. The attainment of the knowledge of the Path and Fruition, however is quick or slow, according to opportunity or lack of opportunity, in the practice of higher virtues. It is also very difficult correctly to become aware of the attainment of the Path and of the Fruits. In fact, even the Ariyan who has attained the First Path hardly knows that he has become an attainer of the Path-of-the-Stream. Why? Because of the unfathomableness of the latent period of the Defilements. Those Yogis or meditators who do not know the unfathomableness of the latent period of the Defilements, sometimes think themselves to be attainers of Path-of- the-Stream, while as yet, their erroneous views and perplexity are only partially, but not completely, put away. If error and perplexity with all their latent states, are eradicated by the Samuccheda-pahana, they would become the real attainers of the Path-of-the-Stream. The meditators or practisers of Insight, however, for the whole term of life, must gladly continue in the exercise on the contemplation of Impermanence until the exercise is systematically worked out. Even the Arahants do not give up these exercises for the securing of tranquillity of mind. If meditators practise these exercises for the whole term of life, their knowledge will be developed till they passed beyond the Puthujjana-bhumi and arrive at the Ariya-bhumi either before death or at the time of death, either in this life or in the life following, in which latter they will be reborn as Devas.

Here the concise Vipassana-dipani, or the Outline of the Exercises of Insight for the Buddhists of Europe, comes to a close. It was written in Mandalay, while I was sojourning in the Ratanasiri Monastery, where the annual meeting of the Society for Propagating Buddhism in Foreign countries took place; and it was finished on the 14th waxing of Taboung in the year 2458 B.E., corresponding to the 26th February, 1915 C. E.


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Note to the electronic version:
This electronic version is reproduced directly from the printed version The text is an English translation from the original Burmese. No attempt has been made to to change any of the English phraseology. The reason for putting this book into electronic media is that the book is out of print and the text has been found very a valuable source of inspiration to those practising Vipassana meditation, despite using English language which is somewhat archaic.

Union Buddha Sasana Council Kaba-Aye, Rangoon, Burma, 1965.
Reprinted from from The Light of The Dhamma, Vol. I, No.4, (pp.16-21), Vol. II, No.1 (pp. 7-14), Vol. II, No 2, (pp. 14-18), Vol. II, No. 3, (pp. 19-31)

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