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INSIGHT MEDITATION

Written by: Somdet Phra Vannarat (Buddhasiri Thera)


Transtated: Phra Rajavisuddhikavi (Thitavanno Thera)
Somanas Monastery, Bangkok, Thailand.

CONTENT

Preface

Wat Somanas Vihara

1. Concise Account of Insight Meditation

2. Explanation of Insight

3. Objects of Insight and How to Develop Insight According to the Pali Canon

4. How to Develop Insight Mention in the Commentaries of the Pali Canon

5. The First Insight (Purity of View)

6. The Second Insight (Purity of Overcoming Doubt)

7. Ten Defilements of Vipassana

8. The Third Insight (Purity of Knowledge and Insight into the Right and Wrong
Paths)

9. The Nine Knowledges of Insight

10. The Fourth Insight (Purity of Knowledge and Insight into Progress)

11. The Fifth Insight (Purity of Knowledge and Insight)

12. The Advantages of Developing Insight

**

PALI SPELLING:

double vowels = that vowel with a bar on it (long vowel sound).

m. = 'm' with a dot on it.

n. = 'n' with a dot on it.

n.. = 'n' with a dot under it.

t.. = 't' with a dot under it.


**

PREFACE

At present, it is remarkable that more people in the world are interested in


meditation practice, especially Buddhist Meditation. This is because they have
appreciated mind development and realized the danger of material progress only. In
fact, real peace is the state of mind, it does not come from money and property.
Buddhist Meditation is the direct way of mind development bringing peace to
mankind.

There are, in Buddhism,


two kinds of meditation, that is,
Samathabhaavanaa or
Tranquillity Meditation and
Vipassanaabhaavanaa or
Insight Meditation. This book
deals with the latter.

The “Insight
Meditation” is one part of
Buddhist Meditations compiled
by Somdet Phra Vanarat
(Buddhasiri Thera) who was
well versed in Tripitaka and
was also “a well known
meditation master” (Buddhist
Era 2349-2434 / cf AD 1806-
1891). He was a senior monk
in the reign of King Rama IV
(King Mongkut) and King
Rama V (King Chulalongkorn)
of Chakri dynasty; he wrote
many kinds of books on
Buddhism, especially on
meditation practice. This work
was taken from the Pali Canon
and its Commentaries,
summarising them for the
purpose of the study and practice of Buddhist Meditation.

This book is used as a handbook for the 4th year undergraduates of Mahamakut
Buddhist University (M.B.U.). As it was written in Thai, foreigners generally could
not make use of it. On the other hand, the rule of this University requires the 4th year
undergraduates to answer their examination papers in English; so I, being assigned to
give lectures on Insight Meditation in this class, take it to be necessary to translate this
book into English in order to make it beneficial to readers on a wide scale.
I feel deep gratitude to Mr. Geoffrey Bell and Mr. Siri Buddhasukh, lecturers in
English at Mahamakut Buddhist University, who have seen my work in English
helping in its completion.

I hope this book can help those who are interested in Buddhist Meditation
practice to find the Path leading to real peace.

Phra Rajavisuddhikavi
(Pichitr Thitavanno)
Academic Deputy Secretary-General
Mahamakut Buddhist University
Wat Somanas Vihara
Bangkok, Thailand
Octber B.E. 2533 / 1990.

WAT SOMANAS VIHARA

Wat Somanas Vihara is a second-grade royal temple established by King Rama


IV (King Mongkut) in B.E. 2396 (AD 1853) for remembrance of Her Royal Highness
Princess Somanas Vatanavadee, His first Queen. Nowadays, it is one of the beautiful
and splendid temples in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.

The sanctuary precinct of monastery (Buddhaavaasa) and the monastic precincts


(Sanghaavaasa) are clearly classified. The former, which is in the middle, comprises
the Uposatha Hall (Church), the pagoda, the cloister and the consecrated assembly
hall. The latter, which are the areas along sides of the sanctuary precincts of the
monastery, are the dwelling places for monks and novices.

INSIGHT MEDITATION

May those who develop this Vipassanaaphaavanaa – thedevelopment of insight --


progress and succeed in their own practice.

1. CONCISE ACCOUNT OF INSIGHT MEDITATION

One who wants to practise the Vipassanaabhaavanaa , first of all, should know
the meaning or the definition of it: “The Vipassanaabhaavanaa is
mind development realized by a meditator.”

Concerning this kind of meditation in Buddhism, the three kinds of doctrine


(dhamma) that should be studied by meditator are: 1. The grounds or objects of
insight, 2. The cause of insight and 3. The insight itself.

What are the grounds of Insight ?


The grounds of insight are all compounds (Sankhaara ) both animate organisms
and inanimate objects in the universe of name and form taught by the Buddha and his
disciples, which are composed of (1) five groups or aggregates (Khandhas ), (2)
twelve spheres (aayatana ), (3) twenty-two faculties (indriya ), (4) eighteen elements
(dhaatus), (5) the Four Noble Truths and (6) the twelve Nidaanas (cause) of
dependent orgination (pat..iccasamuppaada).

One who wants to develop Insight Meditation has to study the above mentioned
doctrines that are the grounds of insight, together with asking what he does not
understand until he has clear understanding, and then remembers and recites them.
Such a person can practise Insight Meditation.

What is the cause of insight?

Two kinds of purification, that is, purity of morals (siilavisuddhi) and purity of
mind (cittavisuddhi) are the causes of insight.

It is very necessary for a meditator who wants to practise insight meditation to


have purified morality before he can proceed to insight. Without purified precepts
(Siila) and concentration (Samaadhi) it is fruitless and unsuitable for a meditator to
develop insight because morality and concentration are the most important causes of
insight.

What is insight itself?

The following five kinds of purity are the insight itself. They are:

1. Purity of view (Dit ..t ..hivisuddhi),

2. Purity of overcoming doubts (Kan .khaavitaran ..avisuddhi),

3. Purity of knowledge and insight into the right and wrong paths
(Maggaamagga n~aan adassan ..avisuddhi),

4. Purity of knowledge and insight into progress (Patipadaa


n~aanadassan ..avisuddhi),

5. Purity of knowledge and insight into the Noble Path.


(N~aan ..adassanavisuddhi).

Purity of views is the clear comprehension of name and form (naamaruupa) with
their respective characteristics, essence, manifestation and proximate cause, realizing
that there is no being, no person apart from the mere name and form.

Purity of overcoming doubts is the comprehension of the causal relation of mind


and body, putting away all doubts belonging to the three phrases of time viz. past,
present and future, for example, “From what did I come? What am I? Where shall I
be born in the future? Is there a deva (god) or not? etc.”

Purity of knowledge and insight into right and wrong paths is the knowledge in
the purity consisting of knowing--“This is the insight which is the Path and its
Fruition (Maggaphala), this is the defilement of insight, which is not the Path.”

The nine parts of knowledge of insight beginning with Udayavayan~aan ..a and
lasting with Anuloman~aan ..a are called “Purity of knowledge and insight into
progress.”

The knowledge of the Four Noble Paths and Four Noble Fruits is called “Purity
of knowledge and insight.”

The last five kinds of purity mentioned above are insight itself.

Again, three characteristic marks are realized by knowledge as impermanent,


suffering and non-self of all compounded things as mentioned in Buddhist Scripture,
“What is impermanent (yam . aniccam .) that is suffering (tam . dukkham); what is
suffering (yam . dukkham .), that is non-self (tam . anattaa .); what is non-self (ya .m
anattaa), that is not “mine”, not “I am”, not “my self”; thus it is to be realized as it is
(yathaa bhuutam .) by right understanding.” Such right understanding is so strong that
a meditator feels disgust, does not take delight in the five aggregates, nor is he
attached to them, he is thus freed from all kinds of defilements. This kind of full
knowledge is also called “Insight”.

A meditator who has developed the above mentioned insight perfectly is said
to have practised insight in the right way and he can attain the highest goal of
the Insight Meditation in Buddhism.

This is the insight in brief.

2. EXPLANATION OF INSIGHT

The following is the full explanation of insight:

First of all, it is necessary for a meditator to have pure precepts and the mind
being free from mental hindrances through the practice of concentration. He also
has to get rid of wrong views by realizing that those wrong views (the defilements of
insight) are useless and that they are not the path of insight.

Furthermore, it is necessary for a meditator to know the characteristics, essence,


manifestation and proximate cause of insight and its six divisions (vibhaagas).

The Characteristics etc. of Insight


What are the characteristics of insight? To realize the real nature of
compounded things as impermanent, suffering and non-self as they really are, are the
characteristics of insight. Apart from realizing the real nature of compounds as
mentioned above others are not insight at all.

What is the essence of insight? The essence of insight is dispelling the darkness
of ignorance in compounds as permanent, happy and self, realizing that they are
impermanent, unhappy and non-self and impure or ugly.

What is manifestation of insight? Its manifestation is realizing the compounds


as impermanent, suffering and non-self: getting rid of the darkness of delusion which
conceals the full knowledge (pan~n~aa); being not deluded in the compounded things
as permanent, happy, self and beauty.

What is the proximate cause of insight? Concentration is its proximate cause.

Morality and Concentration is the Basis of Insight.

It is because of concentration that insight can be developed and exist. Without


concentration it is impossible for a meditator to practise insight because concentration
is the cause of insight.

So it should not be believed at all in a person who has impure precepts and
distracted mind, claiming that he has achieved any stage of his insight development.
Because the pure moral conduct is the cause of concentration; concentration is the
cause of insight; insight is the cause of the Noble Paths and the Noble Paths are the
causes of the Noble Fruits. The nature of Dhamma thus appears, not in another way.

So the meditator of Insight Meditation should know the characteristics, essence,


manifestation and proximate cause of insight as described above.

Division of Insight

here are 6 divisions of insight as follows:

1. Aniccam . , impermanence.

2. Aniccalakkhn ..am . , the fundamental characteristics of impermanence.

3. Dukkham . , suffering.

4. Dukkhalakkhanam . , the fundamental characteristics of suffering.

5. Anattaa, non-self.

6. Anattalakkhan ..am . , the fundamental characteristics of non-self.


Of these; all compounds,both animate organisms and inanimate objects in the
universe or name and form,were divided by the Buddha and his disciples into
aggregates (khandhas), spheres (aayatanas), elements (thaatus) etc. which are the
grounds of insight, these all are designated in Buddhist doctrine as aniccam,
(impermanent) because they appear (rising), and then disappear (ceasing), and in
those which exist they undergo change.

The state of rising (uppaada), ceasing (vaya) and undergoing change


(an~n~athatta) is aniccalakkhan ..a, the fundamental characteristics of impermanence.

All compounds including name and form which are impermanent, are dukkha
(suffering) because they are subject to rising, ceasing and to change under the
influence of the fire of suffering, that is, decay or old age, sickness and death that
always oppress, crush and burn the name and form.

The stage of rising, ceasing and undergoing change under the influence of the
fire of suffering as mentioned above is dukkhalakkhan ..a, the fundamental
characteristics of suffering.

All compounds and non-compound (Nirvaan ..a) are non-self (anattaa) because
they are null, void, empty, ownerless and masterless.

The state of being null, void, empty, ownerless and masterless is


anattalakkhan ..a, the fundamental characteristics of non-self.

The meditator of Insight Meditation should know the six divisions of


insight as mentioned above.

The meditator who is endowed with the purity of morality and the purity
of mind as thus explained is said to be proper in his insight development; he can
indeed achieve his insight practice.

3. OBJECTS OF INSIGHT AND HOW TO DEVELOP INSIGHT


ACCORDING TO THE PALI CANON.

The following is the explanation of the Dhammas which are the objects of
grounds (Bhuumi) of insight, and the way to develop insight as described in the Pali
Canon:
“All compounds, both animate organisms and inanimate objects, are the
objects of insight contemplation.” And the insight having all compounds as its
objects can be found in both aniccalakhan ..a and dukkhalakkhan ..a which are
mentioned in Pali: “Sabbe san .khaaraa anicca – All compounds are impermanent.”,
“Sabbe san .khaaraa dukkhaa – All compounds are suffering or painful.”

Again, all Dhammas, both compounds and non-compound (Nirvaan ..a) are the
objects of insight contemplation. And the insight, having all kinds of Dhamma as its
object, can be found in only anattalakkhana which is mentioned in Pali: “Sabbe
dhammaa anattaa – All states (Dhamma) are non-self.”

Or when developing Insight Meditation having all compounds and non-


compound as its objects, a meditator can develop it as mentioned in Pali: “Sabbe
sankhaaraa aniccaa. Sabbe sankhaaraa dukkhaa. Sabbe dhamma anattaa.--All
compounds are impermanent. All compounds are suffering. All states are non-self.”

Vipassanaa Development having Five Aggregates as Its Objects

Again, there are five groups or aggregates: (1) ruupa-- body, (2) vedanaa --
feeling, (3) san~n~aa--perception, (4) sankhaara--mental activities and (5)
vin~n~aan .a--consciousness.

Of these, body (ruupa) is so called in the sense of “ruppati ”-- “to change” or
“todecay” under the influence of opposite physical conditions such as heat and cold. It
consists of its own characteristics, that is, the four elements: (1) earth, (2) water, (3)
fire and (4) wind and of twenty-four dependent forms (upaadaayaruupas) derived
from the four elements. All kinds of ruupa are called “The aggregates of body
(ruupakhandha).”

Vedanaa is so called in the sense of feeling or sensation comprises the


subjective states whether pleasant, painful or neutral that are produced by contact
between the sense and the sense objects. All these are called “ A group of feeling
(vedanaakhandha).

San~n~aa is so called in the sense of perception, including everything that has


the characteristics of perceiving. It is related to the senses and is of six kinds: the five
sense perception, and the perception of mental objects. All these perceptions are
called “ A group of perception (san~n~aakhandha).”

Mental activity (sankhaara) is applied to vedanaa--volition, will or the mental


faculty of action and all other mental concomitants (cetasikas) except feeling and
perception. All kinds of these mental activities are called “ A group of
sankhaaraa (sankhaarakhandha).”

Consciousness (vin~n~aana) is applied to all that has characteristics of cognizing.


It refers to all states of consciousness in the sense of awareness of various objects, that
is, the consciousness arising through six sense organs (eye, ear, nose, tongue, touch
and mind); it is either wholesome (good) or unwholesome (bad); karmic effect of
neutral. The sum total of all these states of consciousness is called a group of
consciousness (vin~n~aan .akhandha).”

These five aggregates as described above are the objects of insight. And such
insight can be found in both aniccalakkhan ..a and anattalakkhan ..a as mentioned
in Pali: “ruupam .aniccam .– form (body) is impermanent.”, “vedanaa aniccaa –
Feeling is impermanent.”, “san~n~aanaiccaa – perception is impermanent.”,
“san .khaaraa aniccaa – mental activities are impermanent.”,
“vin~n~aanam .aniccam .– consciousness is impermanent.”

“Rupam .anattaa – Form is non-self.”, “vedanaa anattaa – feeling is non-self.”,


“san~n~aa anattaa – perception is non-self.”, “san .khaaraa anattaa – mental
activities are non-self.”

“Sabbe san .khaaraa aniccaa – All compounds are impermanent.”, “sabbe


dhammaa anattaa – all states are non-self.”

Insight has the five aggregates as its objects thus mentioned.

Herein aniccalakkhan ..a and anattalakkhan ..a are mentioned, not


dukkhalakkhan ..a. Since dukkhalakkhan .a is applied in aniccalakkhan ..a because
what is impermanent, that is suffering. Having realized aniccalakkhan ..a, one also
realizes dukkhalakkhan ..a. So only two, aniccalakkhan ..a and anattalakkhan ..a,
are given in Pali.

The meditator should develop insight using five aggregates as its objects as
thus mentioned in Pali.

Three Characteristic Marks of Five Aggregates

Again, the insight having the five aggregates as its objects can be found in the
three characteristic marks, that is in aniccalakkhan ..a, dukkhalakkhan ..a and
anattalakkhn ..a as mentioned in Pali:

“Ruupa is impermanent. What is impermanent, that is suffering; what is


suffering, that is soulless; whatever is soulless, that is not “mine”, not “I am”, not “my
self”; thus it is to be realized as it is (yathaabhuutam .) by right understanding.”

“Vedanaa is impermanent. What is impermanent, that is suffering; what is


suffering, that is soulless; what is soulless, that is not “mine”; not “I am”, not “my
self”; thus it is to be realized as it is by right understanding.”

“San~n~aa is impermanent. What is,that impermanent is suffering; what is


suffering, that is soulless; what is soulless, that is not “mine”, not “I am”, not “my
self”; thus it is to be realized as it is by right understanding.”

“Sankhaaras are impermanent. What is impermanent, that is suffering; what is


suffering, that is soulless; whatever is soulless is not “mine”, not “I am”, not “my
self”; thus it is to be realized as it is by right understanding.”

“Vin~n~aan ..a is impermanent. What is impermanent, that is suffering; what is


suffering, that is soulless; what is soulless, that is no “mine”, not “I am” , not “my
self”; thus it is to be realized as it is by right understanding.”

Insight having the Five Aggregates along with their Cause as its Objects
Again, insight having the five aggregates along with their cause as its objects can
be seen in the three characteristic marks as mentioned in Pali:

“Ruupa (body) is impermanent. Whatever is the cause of the body is also


impermanent. How can the body originating from the impermanent cause be
permanent ?”

“Vedanaa (feeling) is impermanent. Whatever is the cause of feeling is also


impermanent. How can the feeling originating from the impermanent cause be
permanent ?”

“San~n~aa (perception) is impermanent. Whatever is the cause of perception is


also impermanent. How can the perception originating from the impermanent cause
be permanent ?”

“Sankhaaras (mental activities) are impermanent. Whatever is the cause of


mental activities is also impermanent. How can the mental activities originating from
the impermanent cause be permanent ?”

“Vin~n~aana (consciousness) is impermanent. Whatever is the cause of


consciousness is also impermanent. How can the consciousness originating from the
impermanent cause be permanent ?”

“Ruupa is suffering. Whatever is the cause of the body is also suffering. How
can the body originating from the suffering cause be happy ?”

“Vedanaa is suffering. Whatever is the cause of feeling is also suffering. How


can the feeling originating from the suffering cause be happy ?”

“San~n~aa is suffering. Whatever is the cause of perception is also suffering.


How can the perception originating from the suffering cause be happy ?”

“Sankhaaraas are suffering. Whatever is the cause of mental activities is also


suffering. How can the mental activities originating from the suffering cause be
happy ?”

“Vin~n~aan ..a is suffering. Whatever is the cause of consciousness is also


suffering. How can the consciousness originating from the suffering cause be
happy ?”

“Ruupa is soulless. Whatever is the cause of the body is also soulless. How can
the body originating from the soulless cause be self ?”

“Vedanaa is soulless. Whatever is the cause of feeling is also soulless. How can
the feeling originating from the soulless cause be self ?”

“San~n~aa is soulless. Whatever is the cause of perception is also soulless.


How can the perception originating from the soulless cause be self ?”
“Sankhaaras are soulless. Whatever is the cause of mental activities is also
soulless. How can the mental activities originating from the soulless cause be self ?”

“Vin~n~aan ..a is soulless. Whatever is the cause of consciousness is also


soulless. How can the consciousness originating from the soulless cause be self ?”

Insight having five aggregates along with their causes as its objects is thus
mentioned in Pali.

So, the meditator should develop the insight which has the five aggregates as its
objects or that which has the five aggregates along with their cause as its objects as
mentioned above.

4. HOW TO DEVELOP INSIGHT MENTIONED IN THE COMMENTARIES


OF THE PALI CANON.

The following is the way to develop insight mentioned in the commentaries of


the Pali Canon:

Insight Development of One Who has First Attained to the Jhaana State.

If a meditator has attained Jhaana states (absorption), he is called


“Samathayaanika.” He makes or uses his Jhaana states as a foundation (paada) of
insight, that is, he should rise from any of them and consider the Jhaana factor, i.e.
vitakka – reasoning, vicaara – investigation, piiti – rapture, suka – happiness and
ekaggataa – one pointedness together with their concomitants in the light of their
intrinsic nature. He should fully comprehend them and distinguish them as “naama –
name” in the sense of bending towards the objects. Then he should regards the
thought centres, that is, the heart with their basis which is the material body, as
“Ruupa – form” in the sense of change or decay under the influence of opposite
physical conditions such as heat and cold.

The meditator who has attained the Jhaana states should fully comprehend
and distinguish the name and form as thus described.

Insight Development of One Who has not First Attained the Jhaana States.

The meditator of pure Vipassanaa (Vipassanaan~aanika) who has not first


attained the Jhaana states, should contemplate the compounds by comprehending
them as name and form (Naamaruupa).

Again, he should contemplate the body and the name together with mental
concomitants (cetasikas) by dividing into five aggregates:

1. Ruupakhandha – A group of the body.

2. Vedanaakhandha – A group of feeling.


3. San~n~aakhandha – A group of perception.

4. San .khaarakhandha -- A group of mental activities.

5. Vin~n~aan ..akhandha – A group of consciousness.

After he has fully comprehended the five aggregates with their individual
characteristics, he should summarize them into name and form.

Ruupakhandha is called “ruupa” in the sense of change or decay but the four
kinds of aruupakhandha: feeling, perception, mental activities and consciousness, are
called “name” in the sense of bending towards the objects.

Having contemplated the compounds in the three worlds of existence by


summarizing them into name and form as described above, the meditator comes to the
conclusion that there is no being or no person, no self, no Deva, or no Brahma apart
from the mere name and form in the three planes of existence.

If we are speaking of the final truth, then there is no being, nor person, nor self,
nor Deva, nor Brahma beyond the combination of mind and matter called that being,
person, self, Deva or Brahma; it is as if there is no “boat” apart from the combination
of its parts such as a gunwale, an uncompleted dug-out etc.

These, both name and form that depend on each other, wander or sail in the
ocean of the planes of rebirth.

5. THE FIRST INSIGHT (PURITY OF VIEW)

When a meditator determines the name and form realizing them as they really
are, he rejects erroneous conceptions of individuality; he becomes free from
attachment to his personality as being person, self, Deva or Brahma. The acquisition
of this real vision of mind and body and their relation is summarized as purity of view
which is the first kind of insight.

The Explanation of the First Insight

Having accomplished purity of view a meditator should continue his insight


development by setting forth in search of that which are conditions and causes of the
combination of mind and body. Just as a clever physician seeks to diagnose the origin
of sickness after he ahs known disease, so a meditator should seek for the cause and
condition of mind and body after he has realized name and form.

As he thus discerns the causes and conditions of name and form, he overcomes
the doubt in the three phases of time: past, present and future.
The Cause and Condition of Name and Form

What are the cause and condition of mind and body (name and form)? What are
the cause and condition of existence of mind and body? Kamma is the cause and
condition of mind and body. The mind and body are the effects of Kamma, that is,
they originate from kamma.

Kamma is of two kinds, that is, good action (Kusalakamma) and bad action
(Akusalakamma).

Mind and body which arise from bad action, are gross, ugly, bad or low, whereas
mind and body which arise from good action, are subtle, good or eminent. Thus
kamma is said to be the cause and condition of mind and body.

Not only kamma is the cause and condition of mind and body, but also
attachment (upaadaana) is. Even attachment has its own cause and condition, that is,
it arises from craving (tanhaa); and craving arises from ignorance (avijjaa). Ignorance,
therefore, is the real condition of craving; craving is the condition of attachment;
attachment is the condition of becoming (bhavakamma); becoming of birth, that is,
mind and body.

Herein it can be discerned that these four: ignorance, craving, attachment and
karma are the causes and conditions of mind and body; from these four kinds of
Dhamma mind and body arise.

The four elements: earth, water, fire and wind together with food are
compounded to be the body because they support the body. The three kinds of name
(naama), that is, feeling, perception and mental activities, arise from contact (phassa).
The name i.e., consciousness, arises from name-and-form because from the cause of
the eye and visible object there arises visual cognition (cakkhuvin~n~aan ..a); from
the cause of ear and sound there arises auditory cognition (sotavin~n~aan ..a); from
the cause of nose and smell there arises the cognition of smell (ghaanavin~n~aan ..a);
from the cause of tongue and taste there arises the cognition of taste
(jivhaavin~n~aan ..a); from the cause of the body and the touchable object there
arises bodily cognition (kaayavin~n~aan ..a); from the cause of mind and the mental
object there arises mental cognition (manovin~n~aan ..a). In this way,
cakkhuvin~n~aan ..a, sotavin~n~aan ..a, ghaanavin~n~aan ..a ,
jivhaavin~n~aan ..a and kaayavin~n~aan ..a arise from the body only, whereas
manovin~n~aan ..a arises from both mind and body.

So mind and body spring from name (naama – consciousness), that is,
consciousness arises from mind and body.

It, therefore, may be concluded that the five factors, namely ignorance, craving,
attachment, kamma and food are causes and conditions of the body, that is, from these
five factors there arises the body; ignorance, craving, attachment, kamma and contact
are the causes and conditions of name, namely feeling, perception and mental
activities, that is, from these five factors there arise feeling, perception and mental
activities; ignorance, craving, attachment, kamma, name and form which are the
caused and conditions of name, namely consciousness, that is, from these factors there
arises consciousness.

Comprehending the causes and conditions of name and form as described above
a meditator realizes that just as mind and body in the present arise from their causes
and conditions, so even name and form (mind and body) in the past or in the future
arise from their causes and conditions.

Having thus considered the causes and conditions of the existence of name
and form and realized them, he transcends all doubts in the three phases of time.

Sixteen Kinds of Doubt in the Three Phases of Time.

Sixteenfold doubt in three phases of time is: five concerning the past, five
concerning the future and six concerning the present. They are then 16 in number in
three phases of time.

Five concerning the past: “Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I
then ? How was I then ? From what did I pass to what?”

Five concerning the future: “Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future ?
What shall I be in the future ? How shall I be in the future ? What having been what
shall I be in the future ?”

Six concerning the present: “Am I ? Am I not ? What am I ? How am I? Where


have I come ? Where shall I go ?”

6. THE SECOND INSIGHT (PURITY OF OVERCOMING DOUBT)

Comprehending and realizing the causes and conditions of name and form, the
meditator also puts away all doubts belonging to the three phases of time viz. past,
present and future. His knowledge is called “purity of overcoming doubt,” which is
the second insight.

(He who is endowed with this knowledge is said to have gained insight, realized
success, and secured a foothold in the doctrine of the Buddha. He is assured of
emancipation, and is known as “Culla-Sotaapanna – the junior Stream-winner.”)

Exposition of Purity of Knowledge of Insight into Right and Wrong Paths.

Having contemplated the causes and conditions of name and form and realized
them until he can transcend all doubts in the three phases of time, the meditator
should contemplate name and form together with their conditions, past, future or
present, internal or external, gross of subtle, low or eminent, near or far, by realizing
that name and form together with their causes and conditions are impermanent
because when they have risen, then again they cease in the time in which they rise.

All Kinds of Name and Form are under the Influence of the Three Characteristic
Marks

Name and form which were born in the past ceased even there; there is nothing
that has come over to this existence from the past.

Name and form which will be born in the future will cease even here. There is
nothing that will have come over to this existence.

Name and form which were born in the present cease there. There is nothing that
will come over to the future from the present.

Name and form which are internal cease even there; there is nothing that has
come over to be external. Name and form which are external cease even there; there is
nothing that has come over to be internal.

Name and form which are gross cease even there; there is nothing that has come
to be subtle. Name and form which are subtle cease even there; there is nothing that
has come over to be gross.

Name and form which are low cease even there; there is nothing that has come to
be eminent. Name and form which are eminent cease even there; there is nothing that
has come over to be low.

Name and form which are near cease even there; there is nothing that has come
over to be far. Name and from which are far cease even there; there is nothing that has
come over to be near.

So all kinds of name and form are impermanent because they have risen,
then they cease there, do not keep in existence beyond there.

Name and form which are impermanent, are full of suffering because they are
oppressed and crushed by arising and ceasing again and again without stopping.

Name and form which are full of suffering, are non-self, ownerless; they are only
name and form; they are not ‘mine,’ not ‘I am,’ not ‘my self.’

7. TEN DEFILEMENTS OF VIPASSANAA

As the meditator advances in contemplation with this budding state of insight,


there arises in him a regular sequence of states which consists of:
1. illumination or light (obhaasa),

2. rapture or zest (piiti),

3. transquility or calmness (passaddhi),

4. confidence or faith (adhimokkha),

5. great energy (paggaha),

6. happiness (sukha),

7. knowledge (n~aan ..a)

8. well established mindfulness (upat ..t ..haana),

9. balance of mind (upekkhaa) and

10. desire (nikanti).

Of these, illumination means lights or rays emitted from the body on the inward
illumination of insight.

Rapture means the pleasurable interest of insight.

Calmness means the insight-response which tranquilizes the body and mind.

Confidence means faith, resolute and strong, associated with insight exceedingly
serene to the mind and its concomitants.

Great energy means the energy associated with insight, being not laxed, not
tight, strenuous, but upright and well established.

Happiness means happiness rising from insight; it diffuses the whole body of
the meditator with ease and comfort of a higher degree.

Knowledge means the insight-knowledge which arises in him who scrutinizes


the states of mental and material qualities; it is said to be exceedingly clear and sharp,
firm and swift in its penetration.

Well established mindfulness means the awareness associated with insight,


being well fixed, well established like divine vision presenting objects to the mind
with their full value.

Balance of mind means equanimity of insight which is neutral towards all sorts
and conditions of phenomena, and indifferent to mental activities; it is absence of
pleasure or pain during reflection.

Desire means insight desire which arises with love of knowledge of insight. It is
so subtle and so refine that it cannot be distinguished as defilement of insight.
These ten factors are termed “Vipassanuupakilesa – Defilements of insight”,
because they may cause the meditator of insight to be deluded into thinking that he
has attained the final Path of its Fruition. He may stop his effort in developing insight,
not continue his practice towards insight. And his mind may be seized by spiritual
excitement, causing desire, pride or wrong view “mine”, “I”, “my self”. So these ten
factors are called “Defilements of Insight”.

8. THE THIRD INSIGHT (PURITY OF KNOWLEDGE AND INSIGHT INTO


THE RIGHT AND WRONG PATHS)

The meditator has thus advanced in contemplation with his budding states of
insight. If anyone of these ten factors of defilements of insight arises in him, he is not
deluded in it thinking, “This is not the final path of its Fruition, the path of insight
is other than this.”

Knowing them thus and understanding their true nature, he proceeds until he
reaches the final goal, the Noble Path and its Fruition. So his knowledge is
established in knowing “This is the Path, and this is not the Path.” This is the Purity
of Knowledge and insight into the right and wrong Paths, which is the third insight.

9. THE NINE KNOWLEDGES OF INSIGHT

Exposition of Purity of Knowledge and Insight into Progress

The disciple who is free from the inimical influence of the ten insight
defilements, and has gained the purity of knowledge of the insight and the wrong
paths in the previous state, develops his insight to its culmination through the
systematic and steady progress of deeper understanding, that is, he should apply
himself to the nine knowledges of insight (vipassanaan~aan ..a) to attain the final
goal of the Noble Path and its Fruition in the following order:

1. Udayabbayan~aan ..a

2. Bhan .gan~aan ..a

3. Bhayatuupat ..t ..haanan~aan ..a

4. A adiinavan~aan ..a

5. Nibbidaan~aan ..a

6. Mun~citukaamyataan~aan ..a

7. Patisan .khaan~aan ..a


8. San .khaarupekkhaan~aan ..a

9. Saccaanulomikan~aan ..a

(1) Udayabbayan~aan ..a

Of these, the knowledge gained by reflection upon the rise and fall of name and
form is called “Udayabbayan~aan ..a ”. This is mentioned in brief.

Speaking in detail, the meditator should contemplate the five kinds of


Nibbattilakkhan ..a (the characteristic of rising) and the five kinds of
Parin ..aamalakkhan ..a (the characteristic of falling) of the five aggregates,
consequently there are ten characteristics of the rise and fall in each one; they all are
50 in number.

Five Characteristics of the Rise

In the Ruupakhandha (a group of the body) he should contemplate the five


characteristics of the rise as follows:

1. the body arises from ignorance,

2. the body arises from desire,

3. the body arises from kamma,

4. the body arises from food and

5. the rise of the body (without considering its cause and condition).

Five Characteristics of the Fall

In the Ruupakhandha he should contemplate the five characteristics of the fall as


follows:

1. the body ceases with the extinction of ignorance,

2. the body ceases with the extinction of desire,

3. the body ceases with the extinction of kamma,

4. the body ceases with the extinction of food and

5. the fall of the body (without considering its cause and condition).

He should ponder upon the five characteristics of the rise and five characteristics
of the fall of Vedanaakhandha, san~n~aakhandha, san ..khaarakhandha and
vin~n~aan ..akhandha in the same way as he does in the ruupakhandha, but in
vedanaakhandha, san~n~aakhandha and san ..khaarakhandha contact (phassa) is put
in the place of food by considering them that feeling arises because of the rise of
contact; feeling ceases with the extinction of contact. Perception arises because of the
rise of contact; perception ceases with the extinction of contact. Mental activities arise
because of the rise of contact; mental activities cease with the extinction of contact.

In the case of vin~n~aan ..akhanda name and form are put in the place of food
by considering that consciousness arises because of the rise of name and form;
consciousness ceases with the extinction of name and form.

The difference of Nibbattilakkhan ..a and Parinaamalakkhan ..a can be found


between only the body and the four kinds of name, that is, feeling, perception, mental
activities and consciousness.

The knowledge gained by reflecting upon the characteristics of rising and those
of falling of the five aggregates is called “Udayabbayan~aan ..a ”.

The purpose of this knowledge is to realize compounds or name and form as


impermanent.

(2) Bhan .gan~aan ..a

The knowledge gained by reflecting on perishable nature of compounded things


is called
“Bhan .gan~aan ..a.” In this connection the disciple sees, “Thus arises that which
goes under the name of compounds, and it thus ceases like the breaking up of a
bubble,” while he thus contemplates, attending one theme, that is, seeing only the
cessation of the compounds, there arises in him the insight knowledge which reflects
upon the breaking up.

Consciousness arises with matter (ruupa) as its object, and ceases. Having
reflected upon that object he sees the breaking up of that consciousness. How does he
see? He sees it as impermanent and not permanent, as suffering and not happy, as
non-self and not “self”.

Seeing that, he feels disgusted at it and disliked, dispassionate and not passionate,
he causes it to cease and not to rise, he relinquishes it and does not cling to it. Seeing
it as impermanent he rejects the idea of permanence; seeing it as suffering he rejects
the idea of happiness; seeing it as non-self he rejects the idea of self. Relinquishing it
he rejects clinging.

Consciousness arises with feeling…perception…mental activities…cognition…


Relinquishing it he rejects clinging. Hence it is said that the understanding which
analyzes the object in contemplating its decay is full of knowledge in insight.

(3) Bhayatuupat ..t ..haanan~aan ..a

To him who thus resorts to the contemplation of the perishable nature of


compounds, all forms of existence appear as if he sees a wild beast or a burning house.
As he sees that all compounds in the past have ceased, that the present ones are
ceasing, and also those that are coming to birth in the future will cease, there arises in
this stage what is called “Bhayatuupat ..t ..haanan~a an ..a—The knowledge of
presence of fear or the insight knowledge thus gained by comprehending the
compounds as fearful.”

(4) Aadiinavan~aana

To him who develops that knowledge of the presence of fear in all forms of
becoming there appears no protection, no shelter, no refuge. Everything that is to be
obtained in all planes of existence is perilous and full of dangers. He feels disgusted at
all compounds, being not delighted at them at all. As a man who loves his life,
knowing food mixed with poison sees danger and does not want to take it, or as a man
knowing there is a big crocodile in the river, does not want to go into it in order to
take a bath. So this meditator having seen all compounds as fearful sees them as
danger and perils on all sides. As he thus sees there arises what is called
“Aadiinavan~aan ..a—The knowledge that reflects upon the danger of
wretchedness of compounds.”

(5) Nibbidaan~aana

Seeing all compounds as dangerhe is repelled by his knowledge, he does not take
delight in all forms of existence. He takes no delight in perishable, fearful, dangerous
worldly things, and sees detachment from them as safety and happiness. He, therefore,
applies his mind the tranquil path of peace. In this stage there arises in him
“Nibbidaan~aana—The knowledge of reflecting upon detachment from, or feeling
disgust at compounds.”

(6) Mun~citukaamyataan~aana

As the meditator develops this knowledge of detachment, his mind has no


clinging to any form of worldly existence. His whole desire is to be released to escape
from all compounds. As a fish in the net desires to escape from the net, as a fish in the
mouth of a snake desires to escape from it, so the mind of a meditator desires to
escape, to be released from the whole world of change. Then to him who is thus
desirous of release there arises “Mun~citukaamyataan~aan ..a—The knowledge of
desire for release.”

(7) Pat ..isan .khaan~aan ..a

Desiring the escape from all conditions of existence, he sees all compounds as
impermanent, suffering and non-self, that is, he reflects upon them as impermanent, as
lasting for a time, limited by the rise and fall, crumbling, shaky, breaking up,
uncertain, liable to change, lacking essence, unprofitable, conditioned, and liable to
decay.
He reflects upon them as suffering because they are repeatedly repressive,
unbearable, the basis of ill, disease, sickness, calamity, misfortune, non-protection,
non-shelter, non-refuge, because they are burnt with the fire of lust, anger and
delusion, and with that of birth, old age and death.

He reflects upon them as non-self, because they are null, void, empty, ownerless,
and masterless.

Then one sees compounds as having the three characteristic marks, as mentioned
above, in order to achieve the means of escape from all compounds. As a certain man
thinking, “I will catch fish” took a fish basket and sank it in the water, he put his hand
into the basket mouth and, catching in the water a snake by the neck, was glad
thinking, “t a fish”. He thinking, “Great is the fish I have got” raised it up and looking
at it knew by seeing three stripes on its neck that it was a dangerous snake. He was
frightened and seeing the danger, was repelled by his catch and wanted to release it.
So he loosened his hand beginning from the tip of the tail and raised his arm and
twirled the snake two or three times above his head, making it weak, and got rid of it
saying, “Go vile snake!” He ascended the bank of the lake with speed and, saying,
“Ho! From the mouth of a great snake I am free.”, stood looking at the way he had
come; so seeing the compounds thus with their salient features, he comprehends their
true nature in order to achieve the means of escape. In this contemplation there arises,
“Pat ..isan .khaan~aan ..a—The knowledge which reflects upon the analysis of
compounds,” as a means of release there from.

In this story, the time when that man, catching the snake by the neck with the
thought that it was a fish, rejoiced, is like the time when this meditator, after first
obtaining his individuality, rejoices.

The seeing of the three stripes after extracting its head from the basket mouth is
like discernment of the three characteristics in compounds after making differentiation
of density (ghana).

The time of that man’s fright is like this man’s knowledge of presence of fear.
The seeing of danger is like the knowledge of reflecting upon the danger of the
wretchedness of compounds. The time when he is repelled by his catch is like the
knowledge of reflecting upon detachment. His desire of reflecting the snake is like the
knowledge of desire for release. The making of the means of release is like the
contemplation of the three characteristics of the compounds by the knowledge of
reflecting upon the analysis of compounds.

As indeed that man twirled the snake and, making it weak and unable to strike
back, released it altogether, so this meditator twirls the compounds by contemplating
their three characteristics; so he makes them weak and unable to appear again in the
modes of permanence, happiness and the self and releases them altogether. So it is
said that he grasps them in order to achieve the means of release. This kind of
knowledge is called “Pat ..isan .khaan~aan ..a.”

(8) San .khaarupekkhaan~aan ..a


Herein, he has grasped all compounds seeing that they are empty of self, of being,
of person and without essence of permanence, happiness and self. They are all
essenceless, being like bubbles, mirages or illusions which are essenceless.

Having thus grasped that all compounds are empty by means of knowledge of
indifference to compounds, he again grasps the two pointed emptiness that it is empty
of self or of anything connected with self.

Having thus grasped the four point emptiness of compounds, he again grasps the
three characteristic marks of them. When he develops this contemplation, his mind
becomes free from fear, delight and becomes indifferent and impartial to all
compounds. He regards nothing as “I” or “mine”, but is indifferent and impartial to
everything. He is like a man who has forsaken his wife. From that time, even if he
saw her with any man doing anything whatsoever, he would not be angry nor fall into
grief. In fact, he would be indifferent and impartial. His consciousness sees no “I” or
“mine” in anything that arises, clings to nothing, but turns away and withdraws from
everything. In this stage there arises in him,
“San .khaarupekkhaan~aan ..a—The knowledge of indifference of compounds.”

And this knowledge of indifference to compounds is one in meaning with the


foregoing pair of knowledge, that is, the knowledge of desire for release and the
knowledge reflecting upon the analysis of compounds; but these kinds of knowledge
are different only in letter. This San .khaarupekkhaan~aan ..a has reached the
summit of all vipassanaan~aan ..as—insight knowledges.

(9) Anuloman~aan ..a

Herein when the meditator develops the knowledge of indifference to


compounds, his faith becomes established, and his mind is concentrated. The
knowledge of indifference to compounds grows sharper. In the course of the
psychological development of this stage, it should be said, “Now to him the Path
arises.” So indifference to compounds (san .khaarupekkhaa) contemplates
compounds as impermanent or suffering or non-self and lapses into life-continuum
(bhavan .ga). Immediately after the life-continuum, mental door cognition which is
the door of the mind (manodvaaravajjanacitta) arises, making compounds the object
as impermanent or suffering or non-self and lapses into life-continuum.

Then immediately after that inoperative consciousness (kiriyaacitta) which has


arisen setting life-continuum in motion, there arises the first apperceptional
consciousness (pat .hamajavanacitta) which is called preparative (parikamma)
closely following the gapless continuity of consciousness and making compounds the
object in the same way. Next arises the second apperceptional consciousness which is
called the access (upacaara) making compounds the object in the same way. Next
arises the third apperceptional consciousness which is called the adaptation (anuloma)
similarly making compounds the object. And this adaptation itself is
anuloman~aan ..a—Adaptive knowledge. For it is adaptive to the three functions of
the first eight parts of insight knowledge and to those of thirty-seven constituents of
Enlightenment (Bodhipakkhiyadhamma) in the higher Path-moment. Hence it is called
“Saccaanulomikan~aan ..a—The truth adaptive knowledge.”
10. THE FOURTH INSIGHT (PURITY OF KNOWLEDGE AND INSIGHT
INTO PROGRESS)

The nine stages of the development of insight knowledge, from the knowledge of
the rise and fall of compounds up to the adaptive knowledge, constitute the whole
system of vipassanaa progress. (The whole process is the development of knowledge
rising from insight.) So it is called “knowledge and Insight--n~aan ..adassana.” It
progresses towards the Noble Path, hence it is progress (Pat ..ipadaa). Taken as a
whole it is called “Pat ..ipadaan~aan ..adassanavisuddhi—The purity of knowledge
and insight into progress” which is the fourth insight.

11. THE FIFTH INSIGHT (PURITY OF KNOWLEDGE AND INSIGHT)

Immediately after anuloman~aan ..a there arises the mental moment called
“Gotrabhuu”, litterally, the knowledge which transcends or overcomes the ordinary
rank (puthujanagotra) and the lower position at each stage, and visualizes
Nirvaan ..a as its object. The psychological value of gotrabhuu is that it stands at the
point of turning to the Path, being the borderline between the world and Nirvaan ..a .
Hence it is neither a part of the insight knowledge, nor does it apperative to of the
knowledge of the Path (Maggan~aan ..a). However, it is associated with the insight
progress as a psychic action, pointing out Nirvaan ..a as the object to the mind; it
should therefore be regarded as a stream of insight.

These three stages of the development of insight knowledge of the rise and fall of
compounds up to this adaptive knowledge are still the parts of
Bhaavanaamayakaamaavacarakusala—Wholesome or merit belonging to the realm
of kaama arising from mind development.

Immediately after gotrabhuu there arises the knowledge of the Path (Magga),
and immediately after the knowledge of the first Path there arises, as its result, two or
three mental moments called “Fruitions (Phala)” in which the bliss of Nirvaan ..a is
expressed.

Concerning the consciousness of the Noble Path (Maggacitta) while it arises


beholding Nirvaana as its object, it does its functions in the Four Noble Truths: it
comprehends the truth of suffering by comprehending it, the truth of its cause by
eliminating it, the truth of cessation of suffering by realizing it, and the truth of the
path by developing it. And as it arises it breaks the first three bonds or fetters of lower
existence, namely, erroneous views concerning self (sakkaayadit ..t ..hi ), doubt
(vicikicchaa) concerning efficacy of religious life, and the adherence to rituals and
ceremonies (siilabbattaparaamaasa) according to its power by arising for one
moment and ceasing. Immediately after the first Path there arises the Fruition. And
this consciousness of Fruition arises in the next two or three mental moments and
lapses into life-continuum.

In the Path process (Maggajavanavithii ) there are only seven kinds of javana as
follows:
If the state of mind of a disciple who is of sluggish intuition (Dandhaabhin~n~aa)
at the attainment of the first Path, the first javana (mental process) is called
“Parikamma ”, the second is called “Upacaara ”, the third is called “Anuloma ”, the
fourth is called “Gotrabhuu ” and the fifth is called the Path, whereas the two last
javanas, that is, the sixth and the seventh are Fruitions.

In the mental process of the meditator who is of quick intuition


(Khippaabhin~n~aa) there arise three moments of Fruitions, that is to say, the first
javana is called “Upacaara ”, the second is called “Anuloma ”, the third is called
“Gotrabhuu ”, the fourth is the Path, whereas the fifth, the sixth and the seventh are
the Fruitions.

In this connection, it is said that immediately after the knowledge of the first
Path there arise, as its results, two or three mental moments called “Fruitions”, and
then they lapse into the life-continuum.

The Knowledge of Retrospection of the Four Noble-disciples

Immediately after that life-continuum there arises mental door cognition


(manodvaaravajanacitta) cutting off the bhavan ..ga stream; and then there arises the
knowledge of retrospection (Paccavekkhana n~aan ..a) to survey the Path, the Fruit,
the defilements eliminated, the defilements remaining and Nirvaan ..a.

In this way the Noble-disciple who is a Stream-winner (Sotaapanna) reflects on


the five things mentioned above, and with the Once-returner (Sakadaagaamii) and the
Non-returner (Anaagaamii) they are the same. But for the Arahat there is no reflection
on the remaining defilements, as he is free from them all.

Therefore the Stream-winner (Sotaapanna) is said to dry up the ocean of


suffering in the round of existence, shuts all the gates of evil doom (Apaayabhuumi),
proceeds to the seven Noble Treasures (Ariyadhana), rejects the eight wrong paths
and quietens all dangers and fears. He has reached the stages which is called “The
Buddha’s son.”

The knowledge of the Four Paths: The Path of Stream-winning, the Path of
Once-returning, the Path of Non-returning and the Path of Arahatship is known as
N~aan ..adassanavisuddhi—The purity of knowledge and insight which is the fifth
knowledge of insight.

12. THE ADVANTAGES OF DEVELOPING INSIGHT

In fact, the development of insight can verily bring a great number of


advantages more than that of charity (dhana), morality (siila) and divine state
(Brahmavihaara), it causes the meditator to die with his mind free from confusion
and go to be reborn in the happy plane, that is, the world of human beings or
heaven. Besides, it can be the potentiality of the Path and the Fruit in the future life.
This is meant for him who has not attained Nirvaan ..a in this life. But for him who
has potentiality to reach Nirvaan ..a, he can indeed realize Nirvaan ..a in this life.
We, therefore, should not be careless in our mind development, but develop
this Insight Meditation. With insight developing, our life is said to be not useless
when we were born as human beings meeting Buddhism.