PTS, T.W and C.A.F. Rhys Davids, trans., Dialogs of the Buddha III #33 pp 228:
WP, Walshe, trans, The Long Discourses of the Buddha, The Chanting Together #33.6.17, pp491
BD: DN #33: The Compilation: 4.16;
6:16 (Links to the Pali and to the Rhys Davids translation)
PTS: Middle Length Sayings I, #1: Discourse on the Synopsis of Fundamentals, Horner, trans., pp 3.
WP: Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: The Root of All Things, Bhikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans., pp 83
Examining the Mulapariyaya -- Analysis
The Root Sequence, Bhikkhu Thanissaro, translation of the Mulapariyaya
|Pali||MO||Hare||Horner||Punnaji||Bodhi||Rhys Davids||(Mrs)Rhys Davids||Thanissaro||Walshe||Woodward|
|Ākāsā nañcāyatana||space, the realm of endless space||space, infinite, spheres||ether, the plane of infinite ether||Space||space, the base of infinite space||space, the infinity of space||space, the sphere of the infinitude of space||space, the sphere of infinite space|
Pali Text Society
Pali English Dictionary
Edited by T. W. Rhys Davids and William Stede
Ākāsā: [Sk. ākā.sa fr. ā+kā.s, lit shining forth, the illuminated space] air, sky, atmosphere; space.
+ānañcā(=the un-limited) the infinity of
&+ayatana(= the sphere, or Realm or area of) the sphere or plane of the infinity of space, the "space-infinity-plane", the sphere forms the first one of the 4 (or 6) higher attainments or recognitions of the mind, standing beyond the fourth jhāna viz. 1. ākāsā 2. viññāṇā 3. ākiñcaññā 4. n'eva saññānānāsaññ 5. nirodha 6. phala D I.34, 183; II.70, 112, 156; III 224, 262; M I 41, 159; III 27, 44; S V.119.s
... having passed past all perception of materiality, by the ending of perception of limit, by the settling down of perception of diversity, thinking 'Space is endless!", arises in the Sphere of Unending Space.
—BD: DN 1, The Brahma Net Spell, §90 Olds, trans.
The place just above the place
Imagine flying high above New York City at night (you are in a "plane" but it is one without seats and walls and flight attendants), with it's millions of lights. You know there are millions of beings there but you see none of them. Then you withdraw your awareness from the lights of the city and make yourself aware only of the limitless blackness of the night. Something like that.
"shining forth" need not be thought of as with "light", but should be thought of as by clear perceptability.
This is a location, not the jhana itself. The location is arrived at by way of the jhana, and this is the state of "living in, making a habitat of" this jhana.
Bodhi/Nanamoli describe entering the sphere this way: "not attending to the perception of forest, not attending to the perception of earth — [he] attends to the singleness dependent on the perception of the base of infinite space" [The Shorter Discourse on Emptiness
From this one can see that describing this as a state necessarily beyond the Fourth Jhana is going too far. Usually one finds the formula for entering this state as: "Not paying attention to any material thing..." or "...to resistance" or "...to comparisons between this and that."