Tranquility and Insight (2)
- Dear Friends,
AN 2.3 Baala vagga, 32.
Translated by Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Source: An Anthology of Suttas from the A"nguttara Nikaaya.
32. "Dve me, bhikkhave, dhammaa vijjaabhaagiyaa.
Katame dve? Samatho ca vipassanaa ca.
Two things, O monks, partake of supreme knowledge. [Note 3]
What two? Tranquility and Insight. [Note 4]
[Note 3] Vijjaabhaagiyaa; that is, they are constituents of supreme knowledge (vijjaa). This may refer either to the three true knowledge (tevijjaa), often mentioned in the discourses: (1) the knowledge of recollection of former births; (2) the knowledge of the passing away and rebirth of beings; and (3) the knowledge of the destruction of the taints, i.e. the attainment of arahantship; or it may refer to an eightfold divisions: (1) insight knowledge (vipassanaa-~naa.na), (2) the power of creating a mind-made body (manomayaa iddhi); (3)-(8) the six direct knowledge (abhi~n~naa).
[Note 4] Tranquility (samatha) is concentration culminating in the jhaanas, being supremely tranquil and peaceful states; insight (vipassanaa), according to AA, is "the knowledge comprehending the formations" (sa"nkhaara-pariggaahaka-~naa.na) as impermanent, suffering and non-self.
Samatho, bhikkhave, bhaavito kamattha manubhoti? Citta.m bhaaviiyati. Citta.m bhaavita.m kamatthamanubhoti? Yo raago so pahiiyati.
If tranquility is developed, what benefits does it bring? The mind becomes developed. And what is the benefit of a developed mind? All lust are abandoned. [Note 5]
[Note 5] When tranquility is developed independently of insight, it brings about the suppression of the five hindrances, the first of which is sensual lust, and issues in the "higher mind" of the jhaanas, characterized by the absence of lust. But it is only when tranquility is developed in conjunction with insight that it can give rise to the noble path, which eradicates the underlying tendency to sensual lust (by the path of non-returning)and attachment to becoming (by the path of arahantship). AA interprets tranquility here in this second sense -- presumably on account of the last sentence of the sutta -- and explains: "The mind becomes developed into the path-consciousness (magga-citta). Lust (raaga) becomes abandoned because it is opposed to (incompatible with) path-consciousness, and the path is incompatible with lust. At a moment of lust there is no path-consciousness; and at the path-moment there is no lust. When lust arises, it obstructs the
arising of the path-moment, cutting off its basis; but when the path arises it uproots and eradicates lust."
Vipassanaa, bhikkhave, bhaavitaa kamatthamanubhoti? Pa~n~naa bhaaviiyati. Pa~n~naa bhaavitaa kamatthamanubhoti? Yaa avijjaa saa pahiiyati.
If insight is developed, what benefits does it bring? Wisdom becomes developed. And what is the benefit of developed wisdom? All ignorance is abandoned. [Note 6]
[Note 6] AA: "It is the path-wisdom (magga-pa~n~naa) that becomes developed, i.e. it is expanded and augmented. The "ignorance abandoned" is the great ignorance at the root of the cycle of existence. Ignorance is incompatible with path-wisdom, and path-wisdom is incompatible with ignorance. At a moment of ignorance there is no path-wisdom, and at a moment of path-wisdom there cannot be ignorance. When ignorance arises, it obstructs the arising of path-wisdom and cuts off its basis; but when path-wisdom arises it uproots and eradicates ignorance. In this way, two coexistent phenomena have been dealt with here: path-consciousness (magga-citta) and path-wisdom (magga-pa~n~naa)."
Raagupakkili.t.tha.m vaa, bhikkhave, citta.m na vimuccati, avijjupakkili.t.thaa vaa pa~n~naa bhaaviiyati. Iti kho, bhikkhave, raagaviraagaa cetovimutti, avijjaaviraagaa pa~n~naavimuttii"ti.
A mind defiled by lust is not free; and wisdom defiled by ignorance cannot develop. Thus, monks, through the fading away of lust there is liberation of mind; and through the fading away of ignorance there is liberation by wisdom. [Note 7]
[Note 7] Arahantship is often described as "taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom" (anaasava-cetovimutti-pa~n~naavimutti). AA explains "liberation of mind" as the concentration connected with the fruit (of arahantship; phala-samaadhi), "liberation by wisdom" (pa~n~naavimutti) as the wisdom connected with the fruit.