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The Four Jhanas of the Sublime Abodes may be developed in Sixteen Combinations.


The Jhana of Foul Things (a subha-jhanam.)]

[263] Which are the states that are good?

When, that he may attain to the heavens of Form, he cultivates the way thereto, and so, aloof from sensuous appetites, aloof from evil ideas, enters into and abides in the First Jhana, wherein, etc. . . . and which is accompanied by the idea of a bloated corpse1

[or] [264] of a discoloured corpse [or] of a festering corpse.

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[or] of a corpse with cracked skin. . .
[or] of a corpse gnawn and mangled
[or] of a corpse cut to pieces...

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[or] of a corpse mutilated and cut in pieces
[or] of a bloody corpse. . .

[or] of a corpse infested with worms
[or] of a skeleton

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then the contact . . . the balance which arises-these are states that are good.2

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1 The formula of the First Jhana is understood to be repeated in the case of each of the ten Asubhas, but of the First only. For, in the words of the Cy. (p. 199), 'just as on a swiftly-flowing river a boat can only be steadied by the power of the rudder, so from the weakness (dubbalatta) of the idea (in this case) the mind can only be steadied in its abstraction by the power of conceptual activity (vitakko).' And this activity is dispensed with after the First Jhana.

For a more detailed account of this peculiar form of moral discipline, the reader is again referred to the Visuddhi Magga (chap. vi.). Hardy (East. Mon.'), who quotes largely from the Sinhalese commentary on the Visuddhi Magga, may also be consulted (p. 247 et seq.). In the Satipatthana Sutta (D. 22. C. Warren, Buddhism in Transla

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The Jhana of Foul Things may be developed in Sixteen Combinations.

[Here ends the Chapter on] Good in relation to the Universe of Form.

tion,' p. 353 et seq.; and M.I. 58) a system of nine Asubhameditations is set out in terms somewhat different. In S. v. (pp. 129-131) five of the Asubhas, beginning with the skeleton' meditation, are prescribed in connexion with the sambhojjhangas of mindfulness and disinterestedness. And the same five are given in the Jhana Vagga of A. i. 42 (cf. A. iii. 323). The ten here given are said in the Cy. (pp. 197-199) to be prescribed for such as were proved to be passionately affected by the beauty of the body-of the figure, skin, odour, firmness or continuity, plumpness, limbs and extremities, symmetry, adornment, identifying self with the body, or complacency in the possession of it (?kaye mamattam; cf. S. N. 951), and teeth respectively. A dead body is not essential to this kind of mind-culture, the Cy. citing the cases of those Theras who obtained the requisite Jhana by the glimpse of a person's teeth, or by the sight of a rajah on his elephant. The essential procedure lay in getting a clear and courageous grasp of the transience of any living organism.


Good in relation to the Universe of the Formless (arupavacara-kusalam).

The Four Jhanas connected with Formless Existence (cattari arupajjhānāni).1

1. The Sphere of Unbounded Space (ā kā sānaǹcāyatanam).]

[265] Which are the states that are good?

1 These often appear in the Nikayas as the fourth to the seventh of the Eight Vimokhas or Deliverances (cf. §§ 248250; Mahā Par. Sutta, p. 30; A. iv. 306). Though treated of in the Visuddhi Magga (chap. iii.), Buddhaghosa only makes comparison with the account of them given in the Vibhanga. In S. iii. 237, and frequently in the Majjhima, they occur in immediate sequence to the four Jhanas without any collective title, and not as concomitants of the Fourth Jhana. There, too, the formulæ also have this slight variation from those in the present work, that the conscious attainment of each stage of abstraction is expressed by a brief proposition of identification, e.g., ananto akaso ti .. n'atthi kinci ti (It is boundless space! . . . There is nothing whatever!). The Cy. explains this by a curious. quibble which is incidentally of interest (p. 204). It was the wish of the Buddha to carry out, as in previous procedure so in this, the study of the Four Objects of Thought arammaṇāni; see above, passim, under (d)]. And the first of these is that one's object is limited.' But if the student, in attaining to an undifferentiated consciousness of unbounded space, realize its nature by the, so to speak, exclamatory thought, It is boundless! he cannot logically proceed to consider it as limited. If I interpret Buddha

When, that he may attain to the Formless heavens, he cultivates the way thereto, and so, by passing wholly beyond all consciousness of form, by the dying out of the consciousness of sensory reaction,' by turning the attention from any consciousness of the manifold, he enters into and abides in that rapt meditation which is accompanied by the consciousness of a sphere of unbounded space

ghosa aright, an interesting significance is hereby added to these parenthetical exclamations, which are not unfrequent in Buddhist philosophy. They seem to imply an act of conscious recognition.

The student is to withdraw all interest in and attention to the world of rupa, to cease so entirely to differentiate the plenum of external phenomena (including his own form) which impinge on his senses, that sensations cease, or resolve themselves into a homogeneous sense of extended vacuum. Patigho, rendered by sensory reaction, is explained to be sight-perception, sound-perception, smell, taste, and touch-perception. Thought is (here) not sustained by way of the five doors' (Asl. 201, 202). Hardest of all was it to abstract all attention from sounds. Aļara Kālāma, one of Gotama's teachers, and proficient in these rapt states, at least so far as the sixth Vimokha (M. i. 164), was credited with the power of becoming so absorbed that he failed to see or hear hundreds of carts passing near him (Asl. 202). On the psycho-physiological use of patigho, see the theory of sense in the book on form, infra, § 597 et seq.

2 Nanattasaññānam amanasikara. On the latter term, see above, p. 5, n. 1. Nanattam is of rare occurrence in the Nikayas; but see M. i. 3, where, in a series of concepts, it follows unity' and precedes the whole Neumann renders by Vielheit); also S. iv. 113, 114, where it is explained to refer to the various kinds of sensation, the corresponding vinñana, and the resulting feeling. In the Vibhanga, quoted by Buddhaghosa (p. 202), it is explained to mean cognition of the mutual diversity or dissimilarity (aññamaññam asadisa) of nature in the eight kinds of good thoughts, the twelve bad thoughts (below, § 365), as well as in those ideas of good and bad results which are taken next to these. For cittani, however, sauna is substituted, possibly limiting the application of the discernment of diversity to the sensuous basis

even the Fourth Jhana, to gain which all sense of ease must have been put away, and all sense of ill must have been put away, and there must have been a dying out of the happiness and misery he was wont to feel-(the rapt meditation) which is imbued with disinterestedness, and where no case is felt nor any ill, but only the perfect purity that comes of mindfulness and disinterestednessthen the contact, etc. [cf. § 165] the balance that arises, these... are states that are good.

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[2. The Sphere of Infinite Intellection (viññāṇañсāyatanam).2]

[266] Which are the states that are good?

When, that he may attain to the Formless heavens, he cultivates the way thereto, and, having passed3 wholly beyond the sphere of boundless space, enters into and abides in that rapt meditation which is accompanied by the

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of all those thoughts.' The context, nevertheless, seems to point to a certain general, abstract, 're-representative import in saññà as here applied. It is said to be the consciousness of one who is occupied with manodhātu or with manoviññāṇadhātu-with, let us say, representative or with re-representative cognition-with ideas or with cognition of those ideas. The ideation in this case is about sensuous phenomena as manifold, and the abstract nature of it lies, of course, in considering their diversity as such.

1 In the text the formula of the Fourth Jhana remains unaltered (cf. § 165). But it is sandwiched between the cumbrous adjectival compounds referring to space and to disinterestedness. Hence some modification was necessary to avoid uncouthness of diction.


Strictly viññāṇānaǹcayatanam. The usually elided syllable (rulhi-saddo) is noticed in the Cy. (205).

3 K., here and in the two following replies, has the gerund samatikkamma, following the usage in the Nikayas (see, e.g., D., M. P. S., 30; M. i. 174, 209; S. iii. 237, 238; A. iv. 306). Buddhaghosa apparently reads samatikkama (205), as is the unvarying case in the first only of these four arupajjhānas.

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