Anidassana Vinnana

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    • #13554

      Thanks Lal for your explanation.

      It seems that DN11§85 (translation Walshe) says that with this anidassanam vinnanam, the four great elements cease without any remainder. They do not find there any footing. That seems to be the characteristic of this kind of vinnana.

      The relevant text (copied from the translation of Walse):

      ‘Where do earth, water, fire and air no footing find? Where are long and short, small and great, fair and foul –
      Where are “name-and-form” wholly destroyed?’

      And the answer is:

      ‘Where consciousness is signless, boundless, all-luminous, (refering to anidassanam vinnana, Siebe)
      That’s where earth, water, fire and air find no footing”.

      What does this mean? Does it mean this kind of vinnana does not sense anything because any rupa consist of the four great elements? Is it because this lack of any object that it is called invisible or non-manifesting?
      But it still is?

      kind regards,

    • #13563

      Good question, Siebe.

      These verses have been totally and utterly incorrectly translated in many places: on the internet, in discussion boards, in books, etc. I have not seen a correct translation in print anywhere.

      This question was asked by a bhikkhu, and the Buddha re-phrased his question as follows (Kevaṭṭa Sutta; DN 11):

      Kattha āpo ca pathavī, tejo vāyo na gādhati;
      Kattha dīghañca rassañca, aṇuṃ thūlaṃ subhāsubhaṃ;
      Kattha nāmañca rūpañca, asesaṃ uparujjhatī’ti

      Translated: “where would patavi, apo, jejo, vayo, not take hold? Where would anything made of them – whether spread out or condensed together, whether small or large, whether good (subha) or bad (asubha) – would not take hold? Where would nama and rupa be totally uprooted?”

      Buddha’s answer was:
      “Viññāṇaṃ anidassanaṃ, anantaṃ sabbatopabhaṃ.
      Ettha āpo ca pathavī, tejo vāyo na gādhati;
      Ettha dīghañca rassañca, aṇuṃ thūlaṃ subhāsubhaṃ;
      Ettha nāmañca rūpañca, asesaṃ uparujjhati;
      Viññāṇassa nirodhena, etthetaṃ uparujjhatī’”ti

      Translated:viññāna is unseen, infinite, and leads to the rebirth process for all”. (This is explained in: Pabhassara Citta, Radiant Mind, and Bhavanga).
      The rest of the verse is:
      “With the vinnana stopped from arising, patavi, apo, tejo, vayo, and anything spread out or condensed, small or large, good or bad, and also nama and rupa will be totally uprooted (do not get a chance to take hold)”.

      In other words, when vinnana is stopped from arising (at the death of an Arahant), nama and rupa (pancakkhandha), which includes patavi, apo, tejo, vayo, and other rupa made of them, will not take hold anywhere in the 31 realms.

      Vinnana is discussed in detail in: “Viññāna Aggregate“.

      • #13570

        Hi Lal,

        Another question came to mind. why is this vinnana called infinite? It cannot be infinite in time right, because it can end. Is it infinite in space? But cakkhu vinnana is arising locally, or not? Why is vinnana called infinite?


    • #13569

      Thanks Lal, yes, every translation i have seen in English and also the Dutch one (the translaters translate from the Pali text into Dutch) translate something different then you do. They all translate (in some way or the other) that there is a vinnana, called anidassanam vinnana, that is invisible, boundless and all-luminous. There the great element etc find no footing.

      They all seem to suggest that this is a special kind of vinnana.

      No translation i know does even mention…’leads to the rebirth proces for all’. No author seems to see this in the text.

      Your translation seems deviating and all other more or less alike, but i do not say you are wrong. Again i cannot Judge this. The message of your translation seems to be consistent with the teachings.


      Is it not possible that this vinnana anidassanam experiences the cessation of perception and feeling? If not, what does experience that state?

      kind regards,

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