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Bhikkhu Kusalaguṇa
(Le Xuan Do)

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This very first chapter is to introduce some significances of the fourfold analytical knowledge (catupaṭisambhidā) through a brief survey on the connection of the knowledge with the Buddha and his noble disciples, and on the authority of the knowledge in the Pāḷi Canon. Other significances, however, will be revealed collectively in the following chapters. But, first of all, it is important to etymologically examine and to set out the key term ‘paṭisambhidā’ from different points of view. 

1. 1.  Different Points of View on ‘Paṭisambhidā’

Disagreement on etymology is historically argumentative. It is not always necessary to base on etymological analysis to settle the sense of words, because the sense may not result from the formation of words or from a particular situation related to it. Alternatively, words sometimes do not meet actual implication through etymological formation, for instance, figurative speech or idiomatic expression. Apart from such exception, however, etymological explanation is generally considered indispensable to grasp the correct sense of words, particularly those in Pāḷi language.

Definition of ‘Paṭisambhidā

Paṭisambhidā’ is primarily a combination of four elements, namely ‘paṭi’, ‘saṃ’, ‘√bhid’ and ‘ā’. ‘Paṭi’ is a prefix meaning ‘separately, individually’ (visuṃ); ‘saṃ’ is also a prefix meaning ‘completely, thoroughly, well’ (sammā). The root ‘√bhid’ means ‘to break, to categorize, or to divide’, and ‘ā’ is a feminine noun-forming suffix. Thus, ‘paṭisambhidā’ literally means ‘thoroughly separate category’. The Vibhaṅga Aṭṭhakathā defines it as “paṭisambhidāti pabhedā”[1], “paṭisambhidā means category”. The definition is further verified: it is the ‘category of knowledge only, but not the category of anything else’ (na aññassa kassaci pabhedā, ñāṇasseva pabhedāti veditabbā)[2].

The Pācittyādiyojanapāḷi, on the other hand, defines ‘paṭisambhidā’ as “Atthādīsu pati visuṃ sambhijjatīti paṭisambhidā, paññā”[3] that means, ‘paṭisambhidā is the knowledge that is categorized separately into attha, etc’. The two definitions do not meet at the definitional style, but they do meet at the specific implication. The former belongs to the explanatory class of the meaning of prefix (upasaggaliṅgattha-saṃvaṇṇanā) and of the information (abhidheyyattha-saṃvaṇṇanā) respectively, whereas the latter to the explanatory class of the meaning of prefix, of the meaning of primary-noun suffix (dutiyapaccayattha-saṃvaṇṇanā) and of the information respectively. Despite the difference of the explanatory method, both of them indicate the sense of knowledge category that can be divided into four knowledge sub-categories, namely, result (attha), cause (dhamma), language (nirutti) and knowledge (paṭibhāna). We will go into details of the knowledge of these four sub-categories in the next chapters.

The term ‘paṭisambhidā’ yet needs more analysis to bring about its true identity, reasonable origin and correct meaning. Because it is an ‘isolated form’, it is perhaps one of the most ambiguous terms to explain satisfactorily in the Pāḷi literature. The following account is, therefore, intended to give an objective outlook to the term from different perspectives.

Critical Analysis on Formation of ‘Paṭisambhidā

Paṭisambhidā’ is a technical term to which, in many dictionaries, the meanings: ‘analysis, analytic insight, discriminating knowledge’[4], ‘discrimina­tion’[5], etc., are given. Again, in the Pāḷi Canon, ‘paṭisambhidā’ is explained as an equivalent to ‘ñāṇa’ (knowledge), for instance, ‘atthe ñāṇaṃ atthapaṭisam­bhidā, dhamme ñāṇaṃ dhammapaṭisambhidā[6] viz. ‘the knowledge of result is the analytical knowledge of result, the knowledge of cause is the analytical knowledge of cause’. However, as mentioned above, the meanings initially defined by ancient commentators are: ‘category or division’ (pabhedā) and ‘that which is divided separately’ (pati visuṃ sambhijjati). Moreover, the root √bhid that plays the most essential part of the word does not even hint at any sense of ‘to know, to comprehend or to understand’, but does mean ‘to divide, to break or to categorize’.

Facing this dilemma, at first it is important to analyze the formation of ‘paṭisambhidā’ from etymological perspective. The term ‘paṭisambhidā’ can be formed by two ways—one is, as described above, from the prefixes ‘pati’ and ‘saṃ’, the root √bhid and the noun-forming suffix ‘ā’, the other is from the primary noun ‘paṭisambhidā’ and the secondary noun-forming suffix ‘a’. In other words, ‘paṭisambhidā’ is both a primary noun (kita-nāma) and a secondary noun (taddhita-nāma).

As a primary noun, ‘paṭisambhidā’ does not mean ‘analytic insight or discriminating knowledge’, but ‘category or division’ (pabhedā). As described earlier, ‘paṭisambhidā’ is a combination of paṭi (separately), saṃ (thoroughly), √bhid (to break, to divide) and the feminine noun-forming suffix ‘ā’; we do not see any element of the term contains any sense of ‘knowledge or insight’.

It is important not to confuse the Pāḷi term ‘paṭisambhidā’ with its Sanskrit counterpart ‘pratisaṃvid’. Both of them are feminine nouns; however, the former is formed with the root √bhid meaning ‘to break’, while the later √vid ‘to know’. Many scholars likely assume that Pāḷi is a later adaptation of Sanskrit, so Pāḷi terms should have their origin from Sanskrit. Therefore, the term ‘paṭisambhidā’ is said to be derived from its Sanskrit equivalent, ‘pratisaṃvid’, and the root ‘√bhid’ of ‘paṭisambhidā’ from the root ‘√vid’ of ‘pratisaṃvid’.

Nevertheless, when we have a closer investigation, that assumption seems groundless. To explain any relationship between ‘paṭisambhidā’ and ‘pratisaṃvid’, and to pinpoint which one has come earlier and which one later, we should firstly be clear about various forms of Sanskrit. Sanskrit in general is not unique; it comprises Vedic Sanskrit (Vaidikabhāṣā), classical Sanskrit (Laukikabhāṣā) and Buddhist Sanskrit or Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit. Of them, the Vedic Sanskrit is said to be the oldest form preserved only in the Veda, and the other two forms come into existence even later than the language we call Pāḷi today.[7]

Pratisaṃvid’ is a Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit term. According to Rhys Davids, the author of the Pali-English Dictionary, it is ‘a new formation resting on confusion between √bhid & √vid, favoured by use & meaning of latter root in P. paṭisaṃvidita[8]. R. C. Childers, in A Dictionary of the Pāḷi Language, certainly presupposes that the so-called Buddhist Sanskrit texts are ‘founded on older Pāḷi texts’, and that Buddhist Sanskrit translators, ‘being fully familiar with’ the Pāḷi texts, ‘and meeting with the isolated form paṭisambhidā used in a sense which implied discriminate knowledge, jumped to the conclusion that it was also traceable to pratisaṃVID, and coined, to represent it, a fem. noun pratisaṃvid’.[9]

Moreover, from the aspect of Pāḷi philology, there is ‘only one instance of a Sanskrit ṃv passing into (not mbh but) mb[10], that is saṃvāhana = sambāhana (rubbing). Again, there is another instance that ‘bh’ in Pāḷi interchanges with ‘v’ in Sanskrit, viz. niṭṭhubhati = nishṭhīv[11] (expectorates). However, the example, according to Childers, in no way affects the present case related to ‘paṭisambhidā’ and ‘pratisaṃvid’ because ‘onomatopoetic roots like shṭhī are very unstable forms’.

In Pāḷi, there is also the root ‘√vid’, and it also means ‘to know’ (ñāṇe or jñaṇe)[12] as its equivalent root ‘√vid’ in Sanskrit. Even so, it is important not to baffle ‘√vid’ with ‘√bhid’. In Pāḷi, ‘√vid’ together with ‘paṭi’ and ‘saṃ’ form the present simple singular verb such as ‘paṭisaṃvedeti[13] that means ‘feels or experiences’. They also form the past tense verb such as ‘paṭisaṃvedi[14] (s/he experienced) and other types of verb as well. On the contrary, the verbs formed with ‘paṭi’, ‘saṃ’ and ‘√bhid’ do not exist; rather verbs such as ‘sambhindati[15], ‘sambhijjati[16], which are formed only from ‘saṃ’ and ‘√bhid’ are found in Pāḷi literature, but not so frequently, in the sense of ‘breaks’ and ‘is broken’ respectively. In other words, the root √bhid is one and √vid is another, and the verbs formed by the root √vid in the Pāḷi literature are not related to ‘paṭisambhidā’ from etymological aspect as well as connotation.

In fact, as a primary noun, ‘paṭisambhidā’ does not bear the meanings such as ‘analysis’, ‘analytic insight’, etc. Only when it is a secondary noun, it signifies something which is able to analyze or discriminate something else by ‘wisdom’ or ‘insight’, that is to say ‘analytical or discriminating knowledge’.

So far, we have discussed the term ‘paṭisambhidā’ as a primary noun that bears the meaning of ‘category or division’. The following will discuss the term ‘paṭisambhidā’ as a secondary noun, which bears the meaning of ‘analytical insight’ or ‘discriminating knowledge’.

As seen earlier, ‘paṭisambhidā’ as a secondary noun is formed from the primary noun ‘paṭisambhidā’ and the secondary noun-forming suffix ‘a’. At first glance, the two nouns are identical, though the secondary noun has been undergone through a grammatical evolution with an addition of the suffix ‘a’. In other words, there is no philological change for the secondary noun ‘paṭisambhidā’ when the suffix ‘a’ is added to the primary noun ‘paṭi­sambhidā’.

According to generally grammatical rule, when a primary noun is used to form a secondary noun by adding a suffix to it, guṇa (strengthening) usually takes place in its first vowel syllable. In the present case, the rule does not make any difference, yet Mahānāma Thera in the Paṭisambhidā­magga Aṭṭha­kathā makes known that some also read (paṭisambhidā) by making the letter ‘pa’ long, viz. pāṭisambhidā (pa-kāraṃ dīghaṃ katvā ca paṭhanti)[17].

The other issue involved is the meaning of the secondary noun ‘paṭi­sambhidā’. According to the Pāḷi grammatical rule related to the formation of a secondary noun, when the secondary noun-forming suffix ‘a’ is added to a primary noun, the formed word signifies a branch of ‘study, knowledge of, knowing’[18]. Under the present circumstance, since the primary noun ‘paṭi­sambhidā’ means ‘category or division’ (pabhedā), the secondary noun should be understood as ‘knowledge capable of categorizing, dividing, breaking or even analyzing phenomena separately and thoroughly’.

The investigations portrayed above have somehow revealed the true identity of ‘paṭisambhidā’. The term ‘paṭisambhidā’ is not only distinctly independent of Sanskrit influence, but it is also an original terminology from which the so-called Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit term ‘pratisaṃvid’ is derived. Besides, from the aspect of etymology, ‘paṭisambhidā’ is either a primary or a secondary noun—the former means ‘category or division’, while the latter ‘knowledge capable of analyzing i.e. the analytical knowledge’. Thus, the Canonical Texts take ‘paṭisambhidā’ as a secondary noun to mean a kind of distinctive knowledge, whereas commentaries etymologically define the term with respect to a primary noun to show the separate category or division of the knowledge.

Despite its nominal variety, ‘paṭisambhidā’ found in the Canonical Texts is usually a secondary noun; it can be rendered as ‘discrimination’, ‘analytical knowledge’ or ‘analytic insight’. Thus, ‘catupaṭisambhidā’ or ‘catasso paṭi­sambhidā’ signifies four categories of knowledge or ‘four branches of knowledge’[19] or even ‘the fourfold analytical knowledge’, namely, the analytical knowledge of result[20] (atthapaṭisambhidā), the analytical knowledge of cause[21] (dhammapaṭisambhidā), the analytical knowledge of language (niruttipaṭisambhidā), and analytical knowledge of knowledge (paṭibhāna­paṭisambhidā).   

1. 2. Catupaṭisambhidā and Noble Ones

The fourfold analytical knowledge, though included in the fourteen kinds of knowledge of the Buddha (cuddasa Buddhañāṇāni)[22], is not unique to him. In fact, they are common to his disciples as well. Moreover, the fourfold analytical knowledge occurs to both Sekkha and Asekkha.[23]

It has been observed that the Canonical Texts do not show how a Fully-Enlightened One gains the fourfold analytical knowledge, but the Visuddhi­magga does. According to its author, Sammāsambuddhas or Fully Enlightened Ones attain catupaṭisambhidā just after their attainment of Arahant Fruition (Arahattaphala), like the way they reach the ten powers[24] of the Blessed Ones (dasa Tathāgatabalāni).[25]

To our Lord Buddha, the fourfold analytical knowledge is found in connection with him on several occasions, during forty-five years of his teaching career. In the Aṅguttara Nikāya, the Buddha once claims his birth as the birth of glorious qualities—the realization of the fourfold analytical knowledge is one of them.[26] On other occasions, the Buddha describes the fourfold analytical knowledge with reference to his disciples such as the venerable Sāriputta, the venerable Mahākoṭṭhita and others, the detail of which is described in the following headings. 

As described above, the fourfold analytical knowledge occurs to Sekkha (Trainers) as well as Asekkha (Non-Trainers). In other words, the fourfold analytical knowledge is classified into two spheres: the sphere of Sekkha (Sekkhabhūmi) and the sphere of Asekkha (Asekkhabhūmi). Thus, the fourfold analytical knowledge of the Buddha belongs to the sphere of Asekkha, whereas those of the Buddha’s disciples either to the sphere of Sekkha or to that of Asekkha. The Vibhaṅga Aṭṭhakathā make known to us that the fourfold analytical knowledge of Sāriputta Thera, Mahāmoggallāna Thera, Mahākassapa Thera, Mahākaccāyana Thera, Mahākoṭṭhita Thera and other great noble disciples (mahāsāvaka)[27], fall into the sphere of Asekkha. On the other hand, the fourfold analytical knowledge of Ānanda Thera, the householder Citta, the layman Dhammika, the laywoman Khujjuttarā and so on, pertain to the sphere of Sekkha.[28] Of the Asekkha disciples who attain the fourfold analytical knowledge, Sāriputta Thera and Mahākoṭṭhita Thera (also Mahākoṭṭhika) were formally declared by the Buddha amidst the Saṃgha for their attainment of the fourfold analytical knowledge.

The venerable Sāriputta, the General of Dhamma (Dhammasenāpati), was approved by the Buddha of being possessed of the fourfold analytical knowledge. ‘Endowed with seven factors[29], bhikkhus’, the Buddha said, ‘Sāri­putta, having penetrated, having realized and having entered the fourfold analytical knowledge with direct knowledge, abides therein’ (Sattahi bhikkha­ve, dhammehi samannāgato Sāriputto catasso paṭisambhidā sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharati)[30].

Another important figure who deserves such declaration, even more admirable, from the Buddha, is the venerable Mahākoṭṭhita. Amidst the Saṃgha, he was once declared by the Buddha to be foremost among bhikkhu noble disciples who attain the fourfold analytical knowledge. Here is the Buddha’s Word: ‘Etadaggaṃ, bhikkhave, mama sāvakānaṃ bhikkhūnaṃ paṭi­sambhidā­pattānaṃ yadidaṃ Mahākoṭṭhito[31], that means, “O monks, of my bhikkhu noble disciples who attain the analytical knowledge, Mahākoṭṭhita is foremost”.

It is said that ‘owing to the skill showed by him in the Mahā Veddha Sutta, the Buddha declared him foremost among those skilled in the Paṭisambhidā[32]. That is yet the event happening in the present lifetime. There is still another story, which had occurred in the past. As we are told, he was born in the time of Padumuttara Buddha to a rich householder. One day he heard the Buddha praised a monk as foremost among those skilled in the fourfold analytical knowledge, he aspired to the same position for himself in the future; and in the present he obtained what he longed for.

It has been also observed that all Theras and Therīs mentioned in the Apadāna possess the fourfold analytical knowledge. They declare at the end of their utterance the analytical knowledge together with the eight attainments and the sixfold direct knowledge: “Paṭisambhidā catasso, vimokkhāpi aṭṭhime; chaḷabhiññā sacchikatā, katā Buddhassa sāsanaṃ” viz. “the fourfold analytical knowledge, the eight types of deliverance and the sixfold direct knowledge have been realized; the Buddha’s teaching has been accomplished”.

Moreover, when we read the stories related to many Theras during the Buddha’s lifetime, and of the later period described in commentaries, particularly the Dhammapada commentary, we often see the passage “saha paṭisambhidāhi arahattaṃ pāpuṇāti”, “he attains the Arahatship together with the analytical knowledge”.

1. 3. Authority of Catupaṭisambhidā in the Pāḷi Canon

According to the Pāḷi Tipiṭakaṃ Concordance[33] and the author’s observance, the fourfold analytical knowledge (catupaṭisambhidā or briefly paṭisambhidā) is found with numerous times in the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka. The review of the subject-matter will be described with reference to the Vinaya Piṭaka first, then to the Suttanta and Abhidhamma Piṭakas.

The fourfold analytical knowledge is not mentioned in the first four volumes of the Vinaya Piṭaka; they are mentioned only in the last volume, the Parivāra. The conversation between the Buddha and Upāli Thera stated therein describes that a monk should not converse with a nun if he is not endowed with the fourfold analytical knowledge, and if he does not entertain the mind that leads to emancipation. Following the conversation is the statement pointing out that a monk who is skilled neither in the result (attha), nor in the cause (dhamma), nor in language (nirutti) and expression (byañjana), and nor in what precedes and what follows them (pubbāpara­kusalo)[34] should not be selected to the Saṃgha referendum.[35]

Similarly, the fourfold analytical knowledge is not mentioned in the first three—Dīgha, Majjhima and Saṃyutta—of the five Nikāyas, but does occur several times in the Aṅguttara and Khuddaka Nikāya.

It is in the first Nipāta of the Aṅguttara Nikāya that the Buddha declares the venerable Mahākoṭṭhita, as seen above, the most eminent among those who possess the fourfold analytical knowledge. Elsewhere, the Buddha, on the other hand, declares his birth as the unique birth of humankind, the birth of supreme qualities such as the fourfold analytical knowledge, etc. He said:

“O bhikkhus, the birth of one personage is the birth of great eye, the birth of great light, the birth of great illumination and the birth of six supremacies. That is the realization of the fourfold analytical knowledge, the penetration of many elements, the penetration of different elements and the realization of the fruition produced by emancipation and wisdom...”[36]

Many Suttas in the Aṅguttara Nikāya also describe the fourfold analytical knowledge. The Vādīsutta[37] makes known to us that he who is endowed with the fourfold analytical knowledge never gets exhausted from the aspect of expression (byañjanato) and explanation (atthato). Another Sutta, the Paṭi­sambhidāpattasutta[38] by name, also makes known to us that a monk is loved and respected by his fellows in the holy life if he possesses the fourfold analytical knowledge, and if he is diligent and skilful in works.

The fourfold analytical knowledge is then seen in the Paṭhamapaṭisam­bhidāsutta[39]. In this Sutta, the Master makes sure to his disciples that the fourfold analytical knowledge can be soon achieved if a bhikkhu is possessed of the seven factors[40] of comprehension. Following this Sutta is the Dutiyapaṭisam­bhidāsutta[41] where the fourfold analytical knowledge is found in connection with the venerable Sāriputta, the General of Dhamma. The venerable Sāriputta is declared by the Buddha there as the one who is endowed with the seven necessary factors for the attainment of the fourfold analytical knowledge, and as the one who, having realized, penetrated and entered upon the fourfold analytical knowledge, abides therein.

The fourfold analytical knowledge is again found in connection with the venerable Sāriputta in the Vibhattisutta. There, the venerable Sāriputta tells his companions about his penetration of the fourfold analytical knowledge and his ability to expound the Dhamma for clearing doubt in the mind of questioner. He reveals that he attains the fourfold analytical knowledge by way of cause (odhiso) and by way of letter (byañjanaso) on the fifteenth day after his higher ordination, and could speak of them, expound them, make them known, make them arise, explain them, analyze them and make them occur with various methods.[42]   

Another Sutta by name of Akuppasutta[43] describes the fourfold analytical knowledge as an indispensable condition for the attainment of Arahatship. The Buddha therein says that the monk who possesses the fourfold analytical knowledge, and reflects on the mind in accordance with liberation, not before long, penetrates the imperturbable state, the Arahatship.

Concerning the Khuddaka Nikāya, several treatises therein describe the fourfold analytical knowledge, some in brief, the other in detail. The following treatises are found in connection with the fourfold analytical knowledge: Khuddakapāṭha[44], Buddhavaṃsa[45], Mahāniddesa, Paṭisam­bhidāmagga[46] and Milinda­pañhā.

In the Khuddakapātha, the fourfold analytical knowledge is illustrated in terms of ‘paṭisambhidā’ in the following verse: “Paṭisambhidā vimokkhā ca, yā ca sāvakapāramī; paccekabodhi buddhabhūmi sabbam­etena, labbhati.”

Similarly, in the Buddhavaṃsa, the fourfold analytical knowledge is found, again in terms of ‘paṭisambhidā’, with reference to the chronicle of Dīpaṅkara Buddha in the verse: “Kassaci deti sāmaññaṃ, caturo phalamuttame; kassaci asame dhamme, deti so paṭisambhidā”, and then with reference to the chronicle of Sumana Buddha in the verse: “Phale cattāri sāmaññe, catasso paṭisam­bhidā; chaḷabhiññāṭṭhasamāpattī, pasāresi tattha vīthiyaṃ.”

In the Mahāniddesa, however, the fourfold analytical knowledge is described with regard to one who is possessed of intelligence by the spiritual attainment (adhigama-paṭibhānavā). It is said that only the possessor of the fourfold analytical knowledge is truly the possessor of intelligence.[47]

In the Paṭisambhidāmagga, the fourfold analytical knowledge is mentioned many times in different chapters. The chapter on Paṭisambhidā­ñāṇaniddesa explains that the knowledge of five faculties (indriya), five powers (bala), seven enlightenment factors (bojjhaṅga) and eight path factors is the analytical knowledge of cause (dhammapaṭisambhidā); the knowledge of functions of those causes is the analytical knowledge of result (atthapaṭisambhidā); the knowledge of language indicating those phenomena and functions, is the analytical knowledge of language (niruttipaṭisambhidā); and the knowledge of the previous knowledge is the analytical knowledge of knowledge (paṭibhāna­paṭisambhidā). The chapter on Suddhikapaṭisambhidā and Paṭisambhidākathā also explains the fourfold analytical knowledge at length.[48]

In the Milindapañhā, the fourfold analytical knowledge appears under the name of ‘paṭisambhidāratanaṃ’, the jewel of the fourfold analytical knowledge. The passage mentioned there appears to be similar in meaning but different in letter with the Vibhattisutta seen above. Nāgasena Thera also makes clear that the monk possessing the fourfold analytical knowledge can resolve the questioner’s doubts, dispel his perplexity and delight him with clear explanation, as the hero warrior who can attack his enemy from far and near with five weapons.[49]

As to the Abhidhamma Piṭaka, the fourfold analytical knowledge is visible in the Vibhaṅga, Kathāvatthu and Paṭṭhāna. In the Vibhaṅga[50], the entire chapter on the ‘analysis of analytical knowledge’ (paṭisambhidā­vibhaṅga) unfolds in detail the fourfold analytical knowledge from two aspects—Suttanta and Abhidhamma. The detail account of the fourfold analytical knowledge discussed in the next chapters is chiefly based on this treatise together with its commentary and sub-commentaries.

In the Kathāvatthu, Andhaka monks assert that all kinds of knowledge in an Ariya are supra-mundane and hence they are all analytical. Theravādin monks refute the opinion and assume that the supra-mundane knowledge is one and the analytical knowledge is another.[51] In the Paṭṭhāna, it is said that the Path (magga) is a condition for the fourfold analytical knowledge by way of decisive support condition (upanissayapaccayena).[52]

The above-mentioned account is just a general survey of the fourfold analytical knowledge; however, it obviously depicts a significant presence of the subject-matter in Buddhism. That means the fourfold analytical knowledge is found closely linked with the Buddha and his noble disciples, and is mentioned and explained in several important treatises of the Canonical Texts.

The following chapters will deal with the fourfold analytical knowledge one after another in their conventional sequence—attha, dhamma, nirutti and paṭibhāna—found in the Pāḷi Texts. Both the Vibhaṅga and Paṭisambhidā­magga keep the sequence consistent in contents as well as in exposition, though attha and dhamma exchange their position in the analysis on hetu and pariyatti sections of the Vibhaṅga.

According to the Paṭisambhidāmagga Aṭṭhakathā[53], attha being condi­tionally arisen (paccayasamuppanna) (in wider sense, being result of cause), like the noble truth of dukkha, is obvious (pākaṭa) and easy to comprehend (suviññeyya), so atthapaṭisambhidā is explained first. After that comes dhammapaṭisambhidā because its object is dhamma, cause conducive to result. Then follow nirutti- and paṭibhāna-paṭisambhidā, for they take as objects the language (nirutti) indicating those attha-dhammas and the first three kinds of knowledge respectively.

However, in the hetu section of the Vibhaṅga, dhamma­paṭisambhidā is elucidated before atthapaṭisambhidā. This is because of, according to Buddhaghosa Thera, being in conformity with the sequence ‘cause, result’ (hetuphalakkamavasena). Similarly, in the pariyatti section, dhammapaṭisam­bhidā is explicated first, because the knowing of what is said (bhāsita, standing for dhamma), comes first, then follows that of the meaning of what is said (bhāsitattha, standing for attha).[54]  Despite these cases, the fourfold analytical knowledge will be represented in the next chapters according to the conventional sequence usually adopted by the Pāḷi Texts, that is to say, atthapaṭisambhidā, dhammapaṭisambhidā and so on.


[1] VbhA. 370

[2] Ibid.

[3] PctY. 620

[4] T. W. Rhys Davids & William Stede, Pali-English Dictionary, p. 400

[5] Robert Cæsar Childers, A Dictionary of the Pali Language, p. 366

[6] Vbh. 307f

[7] Walpola Rahula, Humour in Pāli Literature and Other Essays, p. 12

[8] T. W. Rhys Davids & William Stede, op. cit.

[9] Robert Cæsar Childers, op. cit., p. 367

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Venerable U Sīlānanda, Pāḷi Roots in Saddanīti, p. 155

[13] ‘…sukhañca kāyena paṭisaṃvedeti…, he feels/experiences happiness in the body’ [D. I. 34]

[14] ‘…vimuttisukhaṃ paṭisaṃvedi…, he experienced the happiness of emancipation’ [M. II. 307]

[15] V. V. 381; VA. I. 279

[16] SṬ. II. 123; VsmṬ. I. 374

[17] PsmA. I. 33

[18] Charles Duroiselle, A Practical Grammar of the Pāli Language, p. 285

[19] T. W. Rhys Davids & William Stede, op. cit., p. 400

[20]Attha’ is rendered as ‘consequence’ in Ashin Thiṭṭila, the Book of Analysis (trans. of Vbh.), pp. 387f; and as ‘meaning’ in Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, the Dispeller of Delusion (trans. of VbhA.), Part II. pp. 126f

[21]Dhamma’ is rendered as ‘law’ in the Dispeller of Delusion, Part II, pp. 126f

[22] The fourteen kinds of knowledge of Buddhas: the fourfold knowledge of the four Noble Truths, the fourfold analytical knowledge, and the six kinds of knowledge belonging to Self-Fully-Enlightened Ones only. [Psm. 127]

[23] VbhA. 376–377

[24] Refer to M. I. 98f (Mahāsīhanādasutta); A. I. 282f (Sīhanādasutta); Vbh. 328f

[25] Vsm. II. 72

[26] A. I. 22

[27] See the eighty great disciples (asīti mahāsāvakā) of the Buddha in ThA. II. 541; AṬ. II. 132

[28] VbhA. 372

[29] Comprehension of sluggishness (1), of the internally constricted mind (2), of the externally distracted mind (3), comprehending the arising, existing and passing away of feeling (4), of perception (5), and of thoughts (6), and comprehension of the sign of what is proper and improper, inferior and superior, and defiled and purified (7). [A. II. 423]

[30] A. II. 423

[31] A. I. 25

[32] G. P. Malalasekera, Dictionary of Pāli Proper Names, Vol. II,  p. 486

[33] Refer to A.K. Warder, Introduction, In Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli (trans.), The Path of Discrimination, p. vii

[34]Pubbāparakusaloti atthapubbāparaṃ dhammapubbāparaṃ akkharapubbāparaṃ byañjana­pubbāparaṃ anusandhipubbāparanti imasmiṃ pañcavidhe pubbāpare cheko” [AA. III. 60]

[35] V. V. 342

[36] A. I. 22

[37] A. I. 455–456

[38] A. II. 99

[39] A. II. 422

[40] Refer to the note 29

[41] A. II. 422–423

[42] A. I. 479

[43] A. II. 105

[44] See Nidikaṇḍasutta, p. 10

[45] See Dīpaṅkarabuddhavaṃsa, p. 321; Sumanabuddhavaṃsa, p. 329

[46] See Psm. 85f, 115f and 329f

[47] MNd. 180f

[48] Psm. 85f, 115f, 329f

[49] Miln. 322f

[50] Vbh. 307f

[51] Kv. 233

[52] Pṭṭh. I. 146–147, 417; IV, 137

[53] PsmA. I. 33

[54] VbhA. 374


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