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Aṅguttara Nikāya - The Numerical Discourses

4: The Book of the Fours

41. Concentration

1"Bhikkhus, there are these four developments of concentration. What four?

(1) There is a development of concentration that leads to dwelling happily in this very life.[n.716] The Pāli reads atthi bhikkhave samādhibhāvanā bhāvitā bahulīkatā diṭṭhadhammasukhavihārāya saṁvattati, lit., "there is, bhikkhus, a development of concentration that, when developed and cultivated, leads to dwelling happily in this very life." Since in English "when developed and cultivated" would be redundant, I have omitted it in favor of more natural English diction. The same applies to each of the other three developments of concentration. (2) There is a development of concentration that leads to obtaining knowledge and vision. (3) There is a development of concentration that leads to mindfulness and clear comprehension. (4) There is a development of concentration that leads to the destruction of the taints.

2(1) "And what, bhikkhus, is the development of concentration that leads to dwelling happily in this very life? Here, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhāna, which consists of rapture and pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by thought and examination. With the subsiding of thought and examination, he enters and dwells in the second jhāna, which has internal placidity and unification of mind and consists of rapture and pleasure born of concentration, without thought and examination. With the fading away as well of rapture, he dwells equanimous and, mindful and clearly comprehending, he experiences pleasure with the body; he enters and dwells in the third jhāna of which the noble ones declare: ‘He is equanimous, mindful, one who dwells happily.’ With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and dejection, he enters and dwells in the fourth jhāna, neither painful nor pleasant, which has purification of mindfulness by equanimity. This is called the development of concentration that leads to dwelling happily in this very life.[n.717] Evidently, this refers to the attainment of the jhānas either by one who does not use them to develop insight, or by an arahant, who enters the jhānas simply to dwell at ease. Elsewhere the jhānas are shown to lead to the destruction of the taints. Ce has vuccati in this section but not in the parallel sentences of the next three sections. Ee is just the opposite, omitting vuccati here but including it in the next three sections. Be omits vuccati in all four sections.


3(2) "And what is the development of concentration that leads to obtaining knowledge and vision?[n.718] Mp explains "knowledge and vision" in this context as the divine eye (dibbacakkhuñāṇadassanassa paṭilābhāya). Elsewhere it is used to mean insight knowledge or even full enlightenment. Here, a bhikkhu attends to the perception of light; he focuses on the perception of day thus: ‘As by day, so at night; as at night, so by day.’[n.719] Yathā divā tathā rattiṁ, yathā rattiṁ tathā divā. Mp: "As he attends to the perception of light by day, so he attends to it at night; and so in reverse." Thus, with a mind that is open and uncovered, he develops a mind imbued with luminosity. This is the development of concentration that leads to obtaining knowledge and vision.

4(3) "And what is the development of concentration that leads to mindfulness and clear comprehension? Here, a bhikkhu knows feelings as they arise, as they remain present, as they disappear; he knows perceptions as they arise, as they remain present, as they disappear; he knows thoughts as they arise, as they remain present, as they disappear.[n.720] Mp: "How are feelings known as they arise, etc.? Here, a bhikkhu comprehends the base (vatthu, the sense organ) and the object (ārammaṇa). By comprehending the base and the object, he knows: ‘Thus those feelings have arisen; thus they stand; thus they cease.’ The same method applies to perceptions and thoughts." This is the development of concentration that leads to mindfulness and clear comprehension.


5(4) "And what is the development of concentration that leads to the destruction of the taints? Here, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating arising and vanishing in the five aggregates subject to clinging: ‘Such is form, such its origin, such its passing away; such is feeling … such is perception … such are volitional activities … such is consciousness, such its origin, such its passing away.’ This is the development of concentration that leads to the destruction of the taints.


"These are the four developments of concentration. And it was with reference to this that I said in the Pārāyana, in ‘The Questions of Puṇṇaka’:

6"Having comprehended the world's highs and lows,
he is not perturbed by anything in the world.
Peaceful, fumeless, untroubled, wishless,
he has, I say, crossed over birth and old age."[n.721] Sn 1048, also cited at AN3.33.

1"Catasso imā, bhikkhave, samādhibhāvanā. Katamā catasso.

Atthi, bhikkhave, samādhibhāvanā bhāvitā bahulīkatā diṭṭhadhammasukhavihārāya saṁvattati; atthi, bhikkhave, samādhibhāvanā bhāvitā bahulīkatā ñāṇadassanappaṭilābhāya saṁvattati; atthi, bhikkhave, samādhibhāvanā bhāvitā bahulīkatā satisampajaññāya saṁvattati; atthi, bhikkhave, samādhibhāvanā bhāvitā bahulīkatā āsavānaṁ khayāya saṁvattati.

2Katamā ca, bhikkhave, samādhibhāvanā bhāvitā bahulīkatā diṭṭhadhammasukhavihārāya saṁvattati? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi … pe … catutthaṁ jhānaṁ upasampajja viharati. Ayaṁ, bhikkhave, samādhibhāvanā bhāvitā bahulīkatā diṭṭhadhammasukhavihārāya saṁvattati.


3Katamā ca, bhikkhave, samādhibhāvanā bhāvitā bahulīkatā ñāṇadassanappaṭilābhāya saṁvattati? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu ālokasaññaṁ manasi karoti, divāsaññaṁ adhiṭṭhāti – yathā divā tathā rattiṁ, yathā rattiṁ tathā divā. Iti vivaṭena cetasā apariyonaddhena sappabhāsaṁ cittaṁ bhāveti. Ayaṁ, bhikkhave, samādhibhāvanā bhāvitā bahulīkatā ñāṇadassanappaṭilābhāya saṁvattati.

4Katamā ca, bhikkhave, samādhibhāvanā bhāvitā bahulīkatā satisampajaññāya saṁvattati? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno viditā vedanā uppajjanti, viditā upaṭṭhahanti, viditā abbhatthaṁ gacchanti; viditā saññā … pe … viditā vitakkā uppajjanti, viditā upaṭṭhahanti, viditā abbhatthaṁ gacchanti. Ayaṁ, bhikkhave, samādhibhāvanā bhāvitā bahulīkatā satisampajaññāya saṁvattati.


5Katamā ca, bhikkhave, samādhibhāvanā bhāvitā bahulīkatā āsavānaṁ khayāya saṁvattati? Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu pañcasu upādānakkhandhesu udayabbayānupassī viharati:  ‘iti rūpaṁ, iti rūpassa samudayo, iti rūpassa atthaṅgamo; iti vedanā, iti vedanāya samudayo, iti vedanāya atthaṅgamo; iti saññā, iti saññāya samudayo, iti saññāya atthaṅgamo; iti saṅkhārā, iti saṅkhārānaṁ samudayo, iti saṅkhārānaṁ atthaṅgamo; iti viññāṇaṁ, iti viññāṇassa samudayo, iti viññāṇassa atthaṅgamo’ti. Ayaṁ, bhikkhave, samādhibhāvanā bhāvitā bahulīkatā āsavānaṁ khayāya saṁvattati.


Imā kho, bhikkhave, catasso samādhibhāvanā. Idañca pana metaṁ, bhikkhave, sandhāya bhāsitaṁ pārāyane puṇṇakapañhe: 

6‘Sankhāya lokasmiṁ paroparāni,
Yassiñjitaṁ natthi kuhiñci loke;
Santo vidhūmo anīgho nirāso,
Atāri so jātijaranti brūmī’"ti.

Paṭhamaṁ.