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Bhikkhu Kusalaguṇa
(Le Xuan Do)

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As described in the Pāḷi Texts, the analytical knowledge of result (attha­paṭisambhidā) is, in a sequential order, the first knowledge of the fourfold analytical knowledge. It is the knowledge, in brief, that comprehends ‘result’ (attha) analytically. This is one of salient characteristics of atthapaṭisambhidā. Before going into salient characteristics of the subject-matter, it is relatively important to propound what is attha and attha in the scope of attha­paṭisambhidā.

2. 1. Meanings of ‘Attha

Generally, ‘attha’ is a multi-meaning term; it is formed from different roots bearing different meanings. ‘Attha’ can be a noun, an adjective, a verb or an indeclinable word (nipāta). Accordingly, ‘attha’ embraces a wide range of implication used diversely in different contexts of the Pāḷi literature.

Attha’ as a Noun

As a noun, ‘attha’ is formed from four roots, namely, √ara (Sk: √ṛ) meaning ‘to go’ (gatiyaṃ)[1], √asa (Sk: √asa) meaning ‘to go, to shine and to take’ (gatiyaṃ dity-ādānesu ca)[2], √attha (Sk: √artha) meaning ‘to beg’ (yācanāyaṃ), and √asu (Sk: √asu) meaning ‘to throw’ (khepe). As a verb and indeclinable, ‘attha’ is formed from the root √asa (Sk: √asa) meaning ‘to be, to exist’ (bhuvi).

With the root √ara, ‘attha’ is formed by a combination of √ara and the noun-forming suffix ‘tha’.[3] According to modern method of assimilation, when ‘tha’ is added to the root √ara, the last vowel ‘a’ of √ara must be elided and the consonant ‘r’ of √ara is assimilated to ‘th’ because it is weaker than ‘th’ of ‘tha’. Then the double consonant ‘thth’ is changed into ‘tth’ since there is no such double consonant in Pāḷi. Hence, there comes the word ‘attha’.

Though ‘attha’ is formed with the single root √ara and the only suffix ‘tha’, it has several meanings.  The following meanings are compiled with reference to The Tipiṭaka Pāḷi-Myanmar Dictionary, and described together with the examples taken from the original Pāḷi Texts.

(1) ‘Meaning or connotation’ (abhidheyya), as in “Saṅkhittena bhāsitassa evaṃ vitthārena atthaṃ ājānāmi.” [D. II. 224; S. I. 11] (I understand the meaning of what is said in brief as well as in detail).

(2) ‘Explanation or commentary’ (aṭṭhakathā), as in “Attho ca dunnīto[4] [A. I. 60] (The explanation is wrongly applied).

(3) Something advantageous or need (payojana), as in “Attho me gahapati hiraññasuvaṇṇena.” [D. II. 144] (Oh Householder, I am in need of golden coin).

(4) Prosperity (vuḍḍhi or vaḍḍhi), as in “Hoti sīlavataṃ attho...”[5] [J. I. 3] (There is prosperity to the virtuous), or “...Atho atthe anatthe ca, ubhayassa hoti kovido.”[6] [A. I. 355] (...Then, he is expert in both prosperity and non-prosperity).

(5) Wealth or property (dhana), as in “Atthañca disvā parivārayanti...” [Pv. 181] (Having seen the wealth, they surround it...).

(6) Benefit or welfare (hita), as in “Ubhinnamatthaṃ carati...” [S. I. 224] (He practises welfare for both...).

(7) Practical reason, fact and purpose (kāraṇa), as in “...Atthe jāte ca paṇḍitanti” [J. I. 22] (When a practical reason arises, (they need) a wise man); “Devatā Bhagavato etaṃ atthaṃ ārocesuṃ” [D. III. 11] (The deities told the fact to the Blessed One); “Kenatthena idhāgato[7] [J. I. 132] (For what purpose, did you come here?).

(8) Effect or result (phala), as in “Hetuphale ñāṇaṃ atthapaṭisambhidā” [Vbh. 037] (Knowledge of result of cause is the analytical knowledge of attha).

(9) Effect and cause, as in “Tesaṃ dhammānaṃ paññāya atthaṃ[8] na upaparikkhanti” [M. I. 24] (They do not see with wisdom effect and cause of those things).

(10) ‘Business or what to be done’ (kicca) and ‘accomplishment of what to be done’ (nipphatti), as in “Tameva atthaṃ[9] sādhukaṃ manasi kareyyātha” [D. I. 199] (You should observe well this business only).

(11) ‘Accomplishment of what to be done’ (nipphatti), as in “Atthāya me bhavissati[10] [Khp. 9] (There is an accomplishment to me).

(12) Affair, as in “Ucchaṅge maṃ nisādetvā, pitā atthānusāsati” [J. II. 152], (Having caused me to sit on the lap, father advises the affair).

(13) Position or rank (Ṭhānantara), as in “So me attho[11] anuppatto” [Ap. I. 44] (I have reached that position).

(14) Incident, as in “Bhagavato etamatthaṃ ārocesi” [V. I. 7, 23] (He informed the Blessed One the incident).

(15) Principle, as in “Atha kho Bhagavā etamatthaṃ viditvā tāyaṃ velāyaṃ imaṃ udānaṃ udānesi” [Ud. 77] (Having understood the principle, the Blessed One ‘breathed forth this solemn utterance among the multitude).

(16) Practice, as in “Karaṇīyamatthakusalena...” [Khp. 9] (By one who is skilled in the practice of three trainings).

(17) Nibbāna, as in “Parinibbuto puggalo atthatthamhi[12] natthatthamhīti?” [Kv. 54] (A person who has attained the final release is in the state of Nibbāna or not in the state of Nibbāna?)

Of these meanings and illustrations, there are some which may be ambiguous and require a little more clarification. The meaning number (3) ‘payojana’ is explained as ‘phala[13] which, here, certainly does not mean ‘result or effect’ as in elsewhere. If ‘phala’ here means ‘result or effect’, the dictionary’s compilers would not repeat it in the meaning number (8) ‘phala’. According to the Petavatthu Aṭṭhakathā,phala’ is also synonymous with ‘anisaṃsa[14], ‘something advantageous’. This meaning then turns to express direct application of ‘attha’ in the example. With direct translation, the example can be translated as “To me there is something advantageous to do with golden coins”. This is perhaps why the Suttanipāta Aṭṭhakathā quotes the very example to explain ‘attha’ in the sense of ‘something (advantageous) to do’ (kiccatthe)[15]. Thus, ‘attha’, in the sense of ‘payojana’, can mean both ‘need’ and ‘something advantageous’—the former is taken by indirect meaning, while the latter by direct meaning.

In number (4) by the meaning of ‘prosperity’, two Pāḷi terms are expressed: one is ‘vuḍḍhi’ and the other ‘vaḍḍhi’. As a matter of fact, they are synony­mous. The Jātaka Aṭṭhakathā uses ‘vuḍḍhi’ as the meaning of ‘attha’, while the Khuddakapātha Aṭṭhakathā prefers ‘vaḍḍhi’.

In number (7), ‘kāraṇa’ is a multi-meaning term known as ‘practical reason’, ‘fact’, and ‘purpose’. Therefore, getting a precise meaning for ‘attha’ in the sense of ‘kāraṇa’ virtually depends on the Pāḷi contexts as those seen above.

With the root √asa, ‘attha’ is formed by adding the noun-forming suffix ‘ta’ to the root. When the vowel ‘a’ of √asa is dropped and the consonant ‘s’ of √asa and ‘t’ of ‘ta’ come together, the two consonants are changed into ‘tth’, hence the word ‘attha’. This is also a rule of assimilation.

Similar to the previous one, the present ‘attha’ has various meanings, the representation of which is shown below.

(1) Destruction (vināsa), as in “Tepi corassa Aṅgulimālassa hatthatthaṃ gacchanti[16]” [M. II. 301], (They indeed destroy the hand of Aṅgulimāla, the thief).

(2) Disappearance, as in “Sasisse nibbute Nāthe, atthamentamhi Sāsane” [Ap. II. 123, 126], (When the Protector together with his disciple no longer exist, when the Dispensation comes to disappearance).

(3) Extinction (natthibhāva), as in “Atthaṃ gacchanti[17] āsavā” [Dhp. 46, 55; Th. 312], (The cankers go to extinction).

(4) Western mountain (pacchimapabbata), as in “Sūriye atthaṃ upa­gacchante” [DA. I. 58], (Literally means ‘when the sun approaches the western mountain’ i.e. when the sun sets). According to T.W. Rhys Davids, ‘attha’ here means ‘home, primarily as place of rest and shelter’[18]; however, the meaning thus given can not be found in any traditional explanation. Probably, he, after some consideration, prefers the meaning ‘home’ to many other meanings such as ‘setting (as of the sun or of luminaries), end, death, the western mountain (behind which the sun is supposed to set)’[19] given by M. Monier-Williams.

With the root √asu, ‘attha’ is formed by combination of the root and the noun-forming suffix ‘tha’. ‘Attha’ here means ‘weapon’.[20]

With the root √attha, attha’ is formed by adding the noun-forming suffix ‘a[21] to the root. The last vowel ‘a’ √attha is dropped. ‘Attha’ here means ‘court of justice’ as in “Vijayo ca Sumāno ca, senāpati Alātako; ete atthe[22] nisīdantu, vohārakusalā tayo” [J. II. 262] (Those three—Vijaya, Sumāna and general Alātaka—who are skilful in vocabulary, may they sit in the court of justice).

Attha’ as an Adjective, an Indeclinable and a Verb

As an adjective, ‘attha’ is formed from the root √attha, which is also used to form a noun as seen above. ‘As an adjective it means ‘beneficial’ as in “Atthe kicce samuppanne[23] [Khp. 9] (When a beneficial business arises).

Attha’ is sometimes used as an indeclinable particle (nipāta) meaning ‘here’, ‘at this place’ as in ‘attha paṭhamapañhe[24], ‘here, in the first question’. In this sense, ‘attha’ is synonymous with ‘iha, idha, atra and ettha[25].

Attha’ is also a verb conjugated in present tense, second person and plural. It is a plural form of ‘asi’, and is formed with the root √asa meaning ‘to be’. Accordingly, ‘attha’ here means ‘(ye) are’.

The above survey of ‘attha’ is generally portrayed to create a relatively clear picture about the meaning of ‘attha’ in general. The following account is to depict the specific implication of ‘attha’ confined in the range of attha­paṭisambhidā. And we will see how ‘attha’, in the scope of atthapaṭisambhidā, is related to the meanings described above.

2. 2. ‘Attha’ in the Scope of Atthapaṭisambhidā

As we have come across, the fourfold analytical knowledge is extensively explained in the two important treatises, namely, the Vibhaṅga and the Paṭisambhidāmagga. Because the two treatises bear some more or less diversity in dealing with the subject-matter concerned, ‘attha’ will be defined by two approaches: one is from the Vibhaṅga and the other from the Paṭisambhidāmagga.

Attha’ from the Vibhaṅga Perspective

Attha’ in the Vibhaṅga is again elucidated by two methods: one is Suttanta (Suttantabhājanīya) and the other is Abhidhamma (Abhidhamma­bhājanīya). The first method explains ‘attha’ in conformity with five sections: (i) truth (sacca), (ii) cause (hetu), (iii) phenomena (dhamma), (iv) dependent origination (paṭiccasamuppāda) and (v) doctrine (pariyatti); whereas the latter explicates ‘attha’ in terms of ultimate reality such as consciousness (citta), mental concomitant (cetasika), etc., as usually seen in the Abhidhamma Texts.

According to the Suttantabhājanīya, ‘attha’, in the first section, refers to the noble truth of suffering (dukkha) and the noble truth of cessation of suffering (dukkha-nirodha). In the second section, ‘attha’ signifies the result produced by cause (hetuphala); and in the third section, it infers to the phenomena which are ‘born, become, begotten, existent, fully existent and apparent’[26] (ye dhammā jātā bhūtā sañjātā nibbattā abhinibbattā, pātubhūtā). In the fourth section, ‘attha’ stands for the aging-and-death (jarāmaraṇa) and the cessation of aging-and-death (jarāmaraṇa-nirodha), the birth (jāti) and the cessation of birth (jāti-nirodha) and so on, up to the formation (saṅkhāra) and the cessation of formation (saṅkhāra-nirodha). And in the last section, ‘attha’ means the meaning of the Buddha’s Word (bhāsitassa atthaṃ), which is divided into Sutta (discourse in prose), Geyya (discourse in prose and verse), and so on.[27] All these significances will be simplified later on.

According to the Abhidhamma method, ‘attha’ signifies the thirty-six or fifty-two types of resultant consciousness (vipāka-citta) and the twenty types of inoperative consciousness (kiriya-citta), together with their respectively associated mental concomitants.[28] The former types of consciousness range from the sense-sphere (kāmāvacara-bhūmi) to the supra-­mundane sphere (lokuttara-bhūmi), while the latter types from the sense-sphere to the immaterial sphere (arūpāvacara-bhūmi). The following account will give a general enumeration of the above-mentioned types of consciousness to detailing some more information about ‘attha’.

The thirty-six or fifty-two types of resultant consciousness are: twenty-three sense-sphere resultants composed of seven unwholesome resultants (akusala-vipāka-citta), eight rootless wholesome resultants (ahetuka-kusala-citta), and eight great wholesome resultants (mahā­vipāka-citta); five fine-material-sphere resultants (rūpāvacara-vipāka-citta); four immaterial-sphere resultants; and four or twenty supra-­mundane resultants (lokuttara-vipāka-citta).

Likewise, the twenty types of inoperative consciousness are: three rootless inoperative consciousnesses (ahetuka-kiriyacitta), eight sense-sphere inope­rative consciousnesses (kāmāvacara-kiriyacitta), five fine-material sphere inoperative consciousnesses (rūpāvacara-kiriyacitta), and four immaterial-sphere inoperative consciousnesses (arūpāvacara-kiriyacitta). Except for two consciousnesses—sense-door adverting (pañcadvāra­vajjana) and mind-door adverting (manodvāravajjana)—of the first three consciousnesses, the smile-producing consciousness (hasituppādacitta) and the rest arise only in Arahant,[29] because worldlings (puthujjana) and trainers (sekkha) do not have such types of consciousness.

All these types of consciousness are pointed out briefly to show just one aspect of the meaning of ‘attha’. The detailed account that describes them can be referred to the Abhidhamma treatises.

Commenting on the above-mentioned description—both Suttanta and Abhidhamma methods—the Vibhaṅga Aṭṭhakathā[30] summarises ‘attha’ as ‘the result of cause’ (hetuphala). ‘Attha’ is so-called because it is “to be served, to be arrived at, to be reached”[31] by cause (Tañhi hetuvasena araṇīyaṃ gantabbaṃ pattabbaṃ, tasmā atthoti vuccati)[32].

The Vibhaṅga Aṭṭhakathā again classifies those resultant phenomena into five categories. “Divisively” (pabhedato), says the treatise, “attha should be understood as five things, namely, ‘whatever conditionally produced’ (yaṃ­kiñci paccayasamuppanna), ‘the uncondi­tioned’ (Nibbāna), ‘the meaning of the Buddha’s Word’ (bhāsitattha), ‘the resultant phenomena’ (vipāka) and ‘the inoperative phenomena’ (kiriya)”. Unlike what is assumed by U. K. in the Encyclopaedia of Buddhism[33], these five things all are summed up in conformity with the original Pāḷi Text, but not newly introduced by later commentaries.

To make clear a little bit, ‘whatever conditionally produced’ here refers to ‘the noble truth of suffering’, ‘the result produced by cause’ (hetuphala), ‘the phenomena born, become, begotten, existent, full existent and apparent’, and ‘the aging-and-death, birth, etc.’ as mentioned respectively in the sacca, hetu, dhamma and paṭiccasamuppāda sections of the Suttanta method. Similarly, ‘the unconditioned’ (Nibbāna) stands for ‘the cessation of the noble truth of suffering’ and ‘the cessation of jarāmaraṇa, jāti and so on’ as pointed out in the sacca section and paṭiccasamuppāda section one after another. Likewise, ‘the meaning of the Buddha’s Word’ is obviously stated in the pariyatti section of the same method. The last two things—the resultant (vipāka) and inoperative phenomena (kiriya)—are shown correspondingly in the vipāka and kiriya sections of the Abhidhamma method.

Though this fivefold meaning of ‘attha’ is collectively called ‘result of cause’, they differ in the way of manifestation. ‘Whatever conditionally produced’ and ‘resultant phenomena’ are sprung from causes. In other words, they come into existence due to causes or they are produced by causes. ‘Inoperative phenomena’ (kiriya) also occur on account of causative conditions, for they are said to be conditionally arisen (paccayuppanna­bhāvato)[34]. Therefore, these three things—‘whatever conditionally produced’, ‘resultant phenomena’ and ‘inoperative phenomena’—are termed ‘nibbatte­tabbo attho[35], ‘the result being born or arisen’.

On the other hand, Nibbāna is considered as ‘result’ in the sense of being realized through the attainment of Path knowledge, but not in the sense of being conditionally born of or produced by the Path knowledge, because it is said to be unconditioned (asaṅkhata). Consequently, it is called ‘pattabbo attho[36], ‘the result being attained’. ‘The meaning of the Buddha’s Word’ (bhāsitattha), however, emerges from what is said (bhāsita). In other words, the meaning of words is understood or known through attentively listening to those words. Accordingly, ‘the meaning of the Buddha’s Word’ is described as ‘ñāpetabbo attho[37], ‘the result being known’. Thus, ‘result’ (attha) is classified into threefold by way of manifestation, namely, ‘the result being produced’, ‘the result being attained’ and ‘the result being known’.

Looking back the aforesaid description, we can put ‘attha’ into the threefold category of connotation—brief, divisive and manifest—found in the Vibhaṅga and later commentaries. By ‘brief’, ‘attha’ means ‘the result of cause’ (hetuphala). By ‘divisive’, it refers to five things: ‘whatever conditionally produced’, ‘Nibbāna’, ‘the meaning of the Buddha’s Word’, ‘the resultant phenomena’ and ‘the inoperative phenomena’. By ‘manifest’, ‘attha’ is sized up into threefold meaning, namely, ‘the result being born’, ‘the result being attained’, and ‘the result being known’. 

Attha’ from the Paṭisambhidāmagga Perspective

Unlike the Vibhaṅga, the Paṭisambhidāmagga[38] likely describes ‘attha’ in less variety, but in more functional way. Accordingly, ‘attha’ means ‘functions’ (kicca)[39] of faculties (indriyāni), of powers (balāni), of enlightenment factors (sambhojjaṅgā), and of noble path (ariyo maggo). Elsewhere, it is described as ‘objective meaning’[40].

Thus, ‘attha’ here refers to the five corresponding functions of the five faculties, the five corresponding functions of the five powers, the seven corresponding functions of the seven enlightenment factors, and the eight corresponding functions of the eightfold noble path.

The five corresponding functions of the five faculties are: ‘determi­nation’ (adh­imokkhaṭṭha), ‘exertion’ (paggahaṭṭha), ‘establishment’ (upaṭṭhā­naṭṭha), ‘non-distraction’ (avikkhepaṭṭha) and ‘intuition’ (dassanaṭṭha).

The five corresponding functions of the five powers are: ‘unshakeability against non-confidence’ (assaddhiye akampiyaṭṭha), ‘unshakeability against idleness’ (kosajje akampiyaṭṭha), ‘unshakeability against negligence’ (pamāde akampiyaṭṭha), ‘unshakeability against restlessness’ (uddhacce akampi­yaṭṭha) and ‘unshakeability against ignorance’ (avijjāya akampiyaṭṭha).

The seven corresponding functions of the seven enlightenment factors are: ‘establishment’ (upaṭṭhānaṭṭha), ‘inquiry’ (pavicayaṭṭha), ‘exertion’ (pagga­haṭṭha), ‘suffusion’ (pharaṇaṭṭha), ‘calmness’ (upasamaṭṭha), ‘non-distrac­tion’ (avikkhepaṭṭha) and ‘carefulness’ (paṭisaṅkhāna)

The eight corresponding functions of the eightfold noble path are: ‘intuition’ (dassanaṭṭha), ‘application’ (abhi­niropanaṭṭha), ‘taking up’ (pariggahaṭṭha), ‘origination’ (samuṭṭhānaṭṭha), ‘purity’ (vodānaṭṭha), ‘exertion’ (pagga­haṭṭha), ‘establishment’ (upaṭṭhānaṭṭha) and ‘non-distraction’ (avikkhepaṭṭha).

In another place[41] of the same treatise, ‘attha’ is explained as the five respective functions of five aspects of realisation[42]. The five aspects of realisation are: ‘intuitive eye’ (cakkhu), ‘knowledge’ (ñāṇa), ‘wisdom’ (paññā), ‘vision’ (vijjā) and ‘light’ (āloka), which penetrate different phenomena such as ‘the four noble truths’ (cattāri ariyasaccāni), ‘the four foundations of mindfulness’ (cattāro satipaṭṭhānā), ‘the four bases of psychic power’ (cattāro iddhipādā), ‘the arising’ (samudaya) and ‘the ceasing’ (nirodha). These five aspects of realisation also penetrate the all-knowing knowledge (sabbaññutañāṇa) that completely knows: the direct knowledge (abhiññā), the four respective significances of the four noble truths,[43] the aggregates-elements-bases (khandha-dhātu-āyatana), and the Buddha’s fourteen types of knowledge (cuddasa Buddhañāṇāni)[44]. This mode of penetration into the all-knowing know­ledge, however, is ascribed to the Buddha only, but not to his noble disciples. Thus, the five respective functions, which stand for ‘attha, of these five aspects of realisation, are as follows: ‘intuition’ (dassanaṭṭha), ‘knowing’ (ñātaṭṭha), ‘understanding’ (pajāna­naṭṭha), ‘penetra­tion’ (paṭivedhaṭṭha) and ‘shining’ (obhāsaṭṭha).

In brief, ‘attha’ found in the Paṭisambhidāmagga is note­worthy. It denotes different functions of different factors such as the five faculties, the five powers, etc. At first glance, one may assume that ‘attha’ explained here is totally diverse from the Vibhaṅga explanation. Yet, from the aspect of the dependent arising, all these functions are the causal results arisen from their respective originating sources viz. the five faculties, the five powers and so forth. More specifically, these functions are conditionally produced or emerged (paccayasamuppanna)[45]. Therefore, they are clearly included in the first of the fivefold meaning viz. ‘yaṃkiñci paccayasamuppanna’, as summarized in the Vibhaṅga Aṭṭhakathā.

2. 3. Salient Features of Atthapaṭisambhidā

Atthapaṭisambhidā or the analytical knowledge of result, like other kinds of knowledge, bears certain characteristics of its own. One of its most apparent characteristics, as the term ‘paṭisambhidā’ itself reveals, is the analytical or discriminating nature. Before making known these distin­guished qualities, it is quite necessary, at first, to draw a clear image of the knowledge to our focus.

Knowing Various Categories of Resultant Phenomena

As we have come across, ‘attha’ in general is manifold viz. ‘dukkha’, ‘dukkhanirodha’ etc. Besides, it is fivefold by category (pabhedato), namely, ‘yaṃkiñci paccayasamuppanna’, ‘Nibbāna’, ‘bhāsitattha’, ‘vipāka’ and ‘kiri­ya’; and threefold according to the mode of manifestation, that is ‘nibbattetabbo attho’, ‘ñāpetabbo attho’, and ‘pattabbo attho’. In brief, it is single fold that is ‘hetuphala’. Collectively, the knowledge of these different folds of result is the analytical knowledge of result.

Canonically, ‘the noble truth of suffering’ is ‘result’ (attha), so the knowledge of ‘the noble truth of suffering’ is the analytical knowledge of result (dukkhe ñāṇaṃ atthapaṭisambhidā). In the same way, ‘the noble truth of the cessation of suffering’ is ‘result’; therefore, the knowledge of ‘the noble truth of the cessation of suffering’ is the analytical knowledge of result (dukkhanirodhe ñāṇaṃ atthapaṭisambhidā). Similarly, ‘the cause-produced result’ (hetuphala) is ‘result’; hence, the knowledge of the cause-produced result is the analytical knowledge of result (hetuphale ñāṇaṃ atthapaṭisambhidā), and so on, up to ‘bhāsitattha’ (the meaning of the Buddha’s Word) as described one after another above. In the same manner, each kind of resultant consciousness and of inoperative consciousness together with their respectively associated mental concomitants is ‘result’; accordingly, the knowledge of each kind of consciousness together with its associated mental concomitants is the analytical knowledge of result.[46]

On the other hand, the Paṭisambhidāmagga explanation, as seen previously, describes ‘attha’ as the functions of the five faculties, five powers, etc. The functions are again included in ‘yaṃkiñci paccayasamuppanna’ (whatever conditionally arisen) which briefly means ‘result’. Therefore, the knowledge of these functions and the difference of each function in each group is the analytical knowledge of result. For instance, it is said:

Adhimokkhaṭṭho attho, paggahaṭṭho attho, upaṭṭhānaṭṭho attho, avikkhepaṭṭho attho, dassanaṭṭho attho. Añño adhimokkhaṭṭho attho, añño paggahaṭṭho attho, añño upaṭṭhānaṭṭho attho, añño avikkhe­paṭṭho attho, añño dassanaṭṭho attho. Yena ñāṇena ime nānā atthā jātā, teneva ñāṇena ime nānā atthā paṭividitāti. Tena vuccati ‘atthanānatte paññā atthapaṭisambhide ñāṇaṃ’.”[47]

“‘Determination’ is ‘function’, ‘exertion’ is ‘function’, ‘establishment’ is ‘function’, ‘non-distraction’ is ‘function’, and ‘intuition’ is ‘func­tion’. ‘Determination’ is one, ‘exertion’ is another, and ‘establishment’ is another, ‘non-distraction’ is another and ‘intuition’ is still another. The knowledge that knows these different functions knows them analytically, hence it is said: ‘the understanding of different functions is the analytical knowledge of result’.”

Capable of Effecting the Comprehension of Attha Categories

In the specific way, the Vibhaṅga Aṭṭhakathā elaborates the knowledge as ‘the intuitive reviewing’, it states: “When One (Noble One) reviews those results, ‘the knowledge that falls into the category’[48] of those results is the analytical knowledge of result” (Taṃ atthaṃ paccavekkhantassa tasmiṃ atthe pabhedagataṃ ñāṇaṃ attha­paṭisambhidā)[49].

Besides, to differentiate the analytical knowledge of result from any other types of knowledge, which comprehends the same phenomena, the Vibhaṅga Aṭṭhakathā applies the special modes of comprehension to the former, commenting that “it is the knowledge that falls into the category of result, and is ‘capable of effecting the discerning, the explaining, the definition’[50] of the result categories” (Atthapabhedassa hi sallakkhaṇavibhāvanāvavatthāna­karaṇasamatthaṃ atthe pabhedagataṃ ñāṇaṃ atthapaṭisambhidā nāma).[51] These modes of comprehen­sion, however, are not traceable in the Vibhaṅga; they undoubtedly come from the Paṭisambhidāmagga.

In addition, the latter treatise gives other modes of comprehension beside those mentioned above. They are: seeing of different natures (nānatta = ane­kabhāva*), keen seeing (upalakkhaṇa = bhusaṃdassana*), fragment-breaking (pabheda = nānābheda*), setting forth by making clear (pabhāvana = pākaṭīkaraṇena uppādana*), illustrating (jotana = dīpana*), illustrating in various ways (virocana = vividhā dīpana*) and shining forth (pa­kāsana = pabhāsana*).

Thus, the analytical knowledge of result or atthapaṭisambhidā is not like other kinds of knowledge that may comprehend phenomena in a superficial way, rather it is the discriminating insight that thoroughly penetrates the phenomena belonging to the categories of result, with various dimensions of comprehen­sion.

Other Salient Facts Related to Atthapaṭisambhidā

Another aspect of the analytical knowledge of result is also noteworthy. The analytical knowledge of result arises in the four types of sense-sphere wholesome consciousness associated with knowledge (kāmāvacarakusalato catūsu ñāṇasampayuttesu cittuppādesu), in the four types of sense-sphere inoperative consciousness associated with knowledge (kāmāvacarakiriyato catūsu ñāṇasampayuttesu cittuppā­desu), and in the four Paths and four Fruitions (catūsu maggesu catūsu phalesu ca).[52] In other words, it is mundane as well as supra-mundane (lokiyalokuttara)[53].

Alternatively, atthapaṭisambhidā arises in both trainers (sekkha) and non-trainers (asekkha). To the sphere of trainers, it occurs in the four types of sense-sphere wholesome consciousness associated with knowledge, in the four Paths and in the first three Fruitions. When a trainer reviews the result (attha­paccavekkhaṇa­kāle) taking the above-mentioned results as object, attha­paṭisambhidā appears in the four types of sense-sphere wholesome consciousness.  On the other hand, at the time of the Paths and Fruitions (maggaphalakāle), atthapaṭisambhidā arises in those respective Paths and Fruitions taking Nibbāna as an object.[54]

To the sphere of non-trainers, however, the analytical knowledge of result occurs in the four types of sense-sphere inoperative consciousness associated with knowledge and in the last Fruition of recluse (uparima sāmaññaphala) i.e. Arahattaphala or Arahatta Fruition. Like the trainer, when a non-trainer reviews the result making the above-mentioned results as object, attha­paṭisambhidā takes place in the four types of sense-sphere inoperative consciousness associated with knowledge. On the contrary, at the time of Arahatta Fruition, it arises in the Arahatta Fruition taking Nibbāna as an object.[55]

With respect to conditional relations, atthapaṭisambhidā sometimes has Path as root condition (maggahetukā) by way of conascent root condition (sahajātahetuvasena). It is because when the Path is developed with effort foremost (vīriyajeṭṭhikāya maggabhāvanāya), it sometimes has Path as predominance condition (maggādhipati). When the Path is developed with aspiration or consciousness foremost (chandacittajeṭṭhikā­ya maggabhāvanā­ya), though, it is not said to have Path as root condition or Path as predominance condition. At the time of Fruition, too, it is not said to have Path as root condition or Path as predominance condition.[56]

Concerning the quality of object, atthapaṭisambhidā takes inferior object (parittārammaṇa) when one reviews twenty-three types of resultant consciousness and eleven types of inoperative consciousness together with their respective associated mental concomitants, and what­ever conditionally arisen, that pertain to sense-sphere. Similarly, it takes lofty object (mahaggatārammaṇa) when one reviews nine resultant and nine inoperative consciousnesses together with their respectively associated mental conco­mitants pertaining to fine-material and immaterial spheres. In the same way, it takes boundless object (appamāṇārammaṇa) when one reviews the four supra-mundane Fruitions and Nibbāna.[57]

With reference to the time of object, when one reviews the resultant phenomena, the inoperative phenomena and whatever conditionally arisen, belonging to the past, future and present, atthapaṭisambhidā is said to take past, future and present objects respectively. But, when one reviews the supra-mundane Nibbāna, it is not said to have such an object whether past, present or future.[58]

In connection with the locality of object, when one reviews internal resultant and inoperative phenomena and whatever conditionally arisen, atthapaṭ­isambhidā is said to have internal object (ajjhattārammaṇa). However, when one reviews those phenomena externally and internally-and-externally, it is said to have external (bahiddhārammaṇa) and internal-and-external objects (ajjhattabahiddhā­rammaṇa) respectively.[59]


[1] Venerable U Sīlānandābhivaṃsa, Pāḷi Roots in Saddanīti, p. 20; “Gati-nāsanesu” (to go and to destroy) [Dhtp. 19]

[2] Ibid.

[3] Sayadaw U Ñāṇuttara & Sayadaw U Sīlānandābhivaṃsa, Tipiṭaka Pāḷi-Myanmar Dictionary, Vol. I, p. 465

[4]Attho dunnītoti parivattetvā uppaṭipāṭitvā gahita aṭṭhakathā” [AA. II. 24]

[5]Atthoti vuḍḍhi” [JA. I. 161]

[6]Atthe anatthe cāti vaḍḍhiyañca avaḍḍhiyañca...” [AA. II. 304]

[7]Kena kāraṇena idha āgato” [JA. III. 193]

[8]Atthatthaṃ kāraṇatthaṃ” [MA. II. 13] = “Atthatthanti atthabhūtaṃ yathābhūtaṃ atthaṃ...; Kāraṇatthanti kāraṇabhūtaṃ atthaṃ” [MṬ. I. 31]

[9]Tameva kiccaṃ...” [DA. I. 228]

[10]Tassa me kiccassa nipphattiyā bhavissati” [KhpA. 184]

[11]Etadaggaṭṭhānantarasaṅkhāto attho...” [ApA. I. 313]

[12]Atthatthamhīti atthaṃ vuccati Nibbānaṃ” [AbhA. III. 137]

[13] AbhpṬ. 504

[14] Tattha me kiṃ phalaṃ siyāti tasmiṃ mayhaṃ bhātu maraṇanimitte rodane kiṃ nāma phalaṃ, ko ānisaṃso bhaveyya?” [PvA. 60]

[15] SnA. I. 230

[16]Hatthatthaṃ gacchantīti hatthe atthaṃ vināsaṃ gacchanti” [MA. III. 229]

[17]Atthaṃ gacchantīti evarūpanaṃ sabbepi āsavā atthaṃ vināsaṃ natthibhāvaṃ gacchantīti attho” [DhpA. II. 208]

[18] T. W. Rhys Davids & William Stede, Pali-English Dictionary, p. 24

[19] M. Monier-Williams, Sanskrit English Dictionary, p. 122

[20] Sayadaw U Kumāra, Dhātvattha Pankone, p. 27

[21] Sayadaw U Ñāṇuttara & Sayadaw U Sīlānandābhivaṃsa, op. cit., p. 468

[22]Attheti atthakaraṇe vinicchayaṭṭhāne” [ JA. VII. 118]

[23]Atthe kicce samuppanneti atthā anapetanti atthaṃ, atthāvahaṃ hitāvahanti vuttaṃ hoti” [KhpA. 184]

[24] ApA. I. 128

[25] AbhpṬ. 604

[26] Paṭhamakyaw Ashin Thiṭṭila (trans), The Book of Analysis, p. 388

[27] Vbh. 307–308

[28] Vbh. 312–317

[29] Bhikkhu Bodhi, A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, pp. 45, 50, 54, 62

[30] VbhA. 370

[31] Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli, The Dispeller of Delusion, Part II, p. 127

[32]Hetuphalaṃ hi yasmā hetu-anusārena ariyati adhigamiyati sampāpuṇiyati, tasmā atthoti vuccati” [Vsm. II. 70]. “Tañhi yasmā hetu-anusārena arīyati adhigamīyati pāpuṇīyati, tasmā atthoti vuccati” [MNdA. 297]

[33] U. K. said that ‘bhāsitattha, meaning of the things signified by the word of the Buddha’ is added to the Vibhaṅga by Buddhaghosa Thera. [EB. II. 364]

[34] VsmṬ. II. 81

[35] AbhpaṬ. II. 300

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Psm. 85–88

[39] PsmA. I. 277

[40] G. P. Malalakesera, Encyclopaedia of Buddhism, Vol. II, p. 364

[41] Psm. 333

[42] G. P. Malalakesera, Encyclopaedia of Buddhism, Vol II, p. 364

[43] Being comprehended (pariññaṭṭha), being eradicated (pahānaṭṭha), being developed (bhāvanaṭṭha) and being realized (sacchikiriyaṭṭha)

[44] The fourfold knowledge of Noble Truth, fourfold analytical knowledge, and six-fold knowledge particularly pertaining to the Buddha [Psm. 127f]

[45] PsmA. I. 33

[46] Vbh. 307

[47] Psm. 85

[48] Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli (trans.), The Dispeller of Delusion, Part II, p. 127

[49] VbhA. 370

[50] Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli (trans), op. cit., p. 126

[51] VbhA. 370, * PsmA. I. 344

[52] Vbh. 318–319

[53] VbhA. 378

[54] VbhA. 376

[55] VbhA. 377

[56] Ibid.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid.

[59] VbhA. 378


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