About Visuddhimagga, Patisambhidamagga

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    • #38301

      I realized (only recently) how many meditation techniques have been influenced by the Visuddhimagga. It would be helpful (for my communication and explanation skills, not out of personal interest) if I would understand (in particular) the component of the Visuddhimagga which seems to be the foundation for a popular meditation technique that is practiced by many people I know.

      I’m referring to the sixteen stages of insight

      1. I haven’t been able to figure out where this is based upon. Does it come from Buddhagosa’s Vedic background?

      2. In addition, in that Wikipedia link they name Patisambhidamagga, the Vimuttimagga and the Visuddhimagga in the same sentence. I’m not aware of the content of Patisambhidamagga, but I know it’s one of the three original commentaries.
      Did Buddhagosa use anything from Patisambhidamagga for his Visuddhimagga? If so, then I assume he did so without fully comprehending it.

      Maybe someone else could shed some light on the matter?

    • #38310

      1. Visuddhimagga and the Wikipedia article you cited, can lead to confusion.
      – That is why I say that most of the English translations out there are very difficult to “sort out”.
      – Visuddhiagga mixed up Buddha’s teachings with Vedic teachings. That is clearly evident in his adaptation of “breath meditation” as Anapanasati and the use of kasina objects.

      2. Patisambhidamagga is the only reliable source in that article. Both Vimuttimagga and Visuddhimagga include non-Buddhist teachings.
      – Thus I would not trust that Wikipedia article. It takes too much effort even to try to sort things out.

    • #38321

      Thanks, Lal.
      Yes, that article is indeed confusing. I was mostly interested in the stages of insight because meditation techniques where sensations are observed are — as far as I understand from my research — based upon these 16 stages.
      Besides breath and kasina, these 16 stages are then perhaps also a mixture of Buddha’s teachings and Vedic teachings, I conclude.

      EDIT: I just stumbled across this:
      “…the sixteen stages of knowledge are found in the Patisambhidamagga. – yuttadhammo”

      So are these 16 stages in the Patisambhidamagga then?

    • #38329

      Paṭisambhidāmagga has a longer list that seems to include those 16:

      1.0 Mātikā

    • #38352

      Thank you very much for the link.
      I count about 79 nañas, but I copied and listed only the first 14. Then, I highlighted the 16 nañas corresponding with the ones in the Visuddhimagga.
      Interestingly, some lines in the Patisambhidamagga (each ending with a full stop, and representing 1 naña as far as I can see) seem to contain multiple nañas (or mentions thereof) listed in the Visuddhimagga.

      Three nañas listed in Visuddhimagga, #1 (Namarupa pariccheda ñana), #8 (Nibbida ñana), and #12 (Anuloma ñana) I can’t seem to locate anywhere.

      Based on the number of ñanas, missing ñanas, and the order presented in the Visuddhimagga, the statement that the 16 stages of insight are found in the Patisambhidamagga, seems a bit misleading or, at least, inconsistent. If somebody can correct me, please do. I don’t simply want to critique for the sake of critiquing.

      I just think it would be helpful to understand how this part of the Visuddhimagga came to be since it is so widely used. If there are inconsistencies, they should be pointed out similar to kasina and breath-related meditations.

      Here are the first 14 (out of 79 or so) ñanas as listed in the link Lal provided from Patisambhidamagga of which the ñanas in the Visuddhimagga are bolded:

      1. Sotāvadhāne paññā sutamaye ñāṇaṁ.
      2. Sutvāna saṁvare paññā sīlamaye ñāṇaṁ.
      3. Saṁvaritvā samādahane paññā samādhibhāvanāmaye ñāṇaṁ.
      4. Paccayapariggahe paññā dhammaṭṭhitiñāṇaṁ.
      5. Atītānāgatapaccuppannānaṁ dhammānaṁ saṅkhipitvā vavatthāne
      paññā sammasane ñāṇaṁ.
      6. Paccuppannānaṁ dhammānaṁ vipariṇāmānupassane paññā
      udayabbayānupassane ñāṇaṁ.
      7. Ārammaṇaṁ paṭisaṅkhā bhaṅgānupassane paññā vipassane ñāṇaṁ.
      8. Bhayatupaṭṭhāne paññā ādīnave ñāṇaṁ.
      9. Muñcitukamyatā paṭisaṅkhāsan tiṭṭhanā paññā saṅkhārupekkhāsu ñāṇaṁ.
      10. Bahiddhā vuṭṭhānavivaṭṭane paññā gotrabhuñāṇaṁ.
      11. Dubhato vuṭṭhānavivaṭṭane paññā magge ñāṇaṁ.
      12. Payogappaṭippassaddhi paññā phale ñāṇaṁ.
      13. Chinnavaṭumānupassane paññā vimuttiñāṇaṁ.
      14. Tadā samudāgate dhamme passane paññā paccavekkhaṇe ñāṇaṁ.

    • #38380

      I shouldn’t use words such as “misleading” since that might imply intentionality. I’m sure everyone has/had good intentions with this, just like I’m sure Buddhagosa had at the time.

    • #38399

      1. It is a waste of time to try to sort out these issues. Buddhaghosa was a Vedic Brahmin in yellow robes (just like many bhikkhus today; they teach wrong concepts quite possibly unknowingly). He may have had “good intentions”. But most of the problems we have today, especially regarding meditations, are due to his Visuddhimagga.

      2. It is better to spend time learning SOME of those ñañas than learning how to categorize them.
      – Some are only accessible to a Buddha. We cannot cultivate them.

      3. At some point, I may write a post on that categorization. But there are more urgent issues to address first. These include Paticca Samuppada, Tilakkhana, Anapanasati/Satipatthana, etc (that have become “distorted” due partly to Visuddhimagga.) Those are issues that I will be tackling in the new “Elephants in the Room” series.
      – However, if someone knowledgeable can describe those nañas, that would be great.

      Elephants in the Room

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