The pali Line

Part IV
The 10th Question,
Part 1

The Powers



The Fourth Knowing is, in effect, the highest point in the World in the Buddhist view.

There are two stages that follow that are better than this: The Burning known as "The Ending of Sensation-Perception" which is the knowing associated with the actual process of letting go of the World, and Nibbāna itself, which is the condition left after the World has been let go completely.

Certain other conditions are attainable which are certainly extraordinary.

These are the attainment of skills of "small magic",
attainment of the four immaterial knowings,
knowledge of former "habitations",
knowledge of the outcome of deeds,
and knowledge of the destruction of the āsavas [corruptions] which is attained by the Arahat.

As with numerous other end-points in the system, an individual with the requisite vision could go directly from the fourth knowing to utter detachment, complete freedom, living outside time, upekkha, vimutti, akalika.

In SN 5.51.2 it is pointed out that whoever neglects the method for attaining magic powers also neglects the way to the end of pain. So while powers like levitating and walking on water need not be attained, one must at least have developed the methods for attaining them: they amount to the same thing as the method for attaining the goal.

Further, knowledge of former habitations, knowledge of the outcome of deeds, and knowledge that the corruptions have ended are things that are aspects of the state of Arahantship. They are part of the deal.

Initiated Beggars are not allowed to demonstrate skills in "small magic" to lay persons, nor are they allowed to state or suggest that they are able to use these powers. The polite thing in these matters is, therefore, not to ask. There is no rule against laymen using such powers. Those laymen who are tempted however should reflect on the number of people that have ended up tied to a stake with a fire burning under them because they were just suspected of being capable of such things. Sometimes it is better to just keep your mouth shut.

There is considerable scorn heaped upon practitioners of "small magic" by the Buddha. This is based on the fact that it is essentially, from the point of view of someone who sees things as they really are, just trickery — in a world made up of illusions, creating illusions that astound the ignorant because of their unconventionality is seen to almost always originate from a desire for gain. To put the enormous effort it takes to achieve such powers to a use such as this rather than to the elimination of pain is seen as foolish.

One should approach the learning of these skills as a matter of understanding the world: learn how to do them to the degree that produces penetrating knowledge and release and then let them go.

The Four Little Itty-Biddy Power Paths

Skills in small magic, and knowledge of former habitations and knowledge of the outcome of deeds are all things which are influenced by the position from which they are attained. As a consequence the method in the Pāḷi is to attain these skills from the Fourth Knowing. This insures that the development of the skill begins from Consummate View and ends in Consummate Detachment.

With that end in mind, the assumption in the instructions is that the practitioner is familiar with and able to enter and exit the Four Knowings in forward and reverse order more or less at will, and, having entered the Fourth Knowing, has attained the all-round, clean clear through, bright shinny radiance of detachment. At that point the one who would use powers 'bends down' his mind to the task. This is not the same thing as exiting the jhāna's in descending order, it is taking the power of the jhāna and directing it to a goal.

Readers who are unfamiliar with personal experience in the actual practice of the techniques described in this Course may look at some of the "instructions" as to how to attain these magic powers and think that they are not instructions at all. This is a trick we have played: Actually, all the "work" that is usually associated with learning magic powers has already been done by those who have mastered the techniques of the Course to this point: the 'work' is the mastery of the Gradual Training. From the Fourth Knowing, it is sufficient to describe what is to be done in precise terms.

Using devices such as crystal balls, rodent entrails, magic wands, magic carpets, the earth device, the water device, the wind device, and so forth is completely unnecessary, it's all controlled by mind; just do it.

This is what it means when the Buddha speaks of presenting the Dhamma 'stripped of swaddling'. For example: Don Juan describes 'commanding intent' or the spirit [attempting a work of magic power] as only being possible when the sorcerer: "speaks in gestures. And gestures do not mean signs or body movements, but acts of true abandon, acts of largesse, of humor."

But here, in the Buddha's system, the key is letting go which examination will show is the active ingredient in true abandon, acts of largesse and humor.

What follows concisely states the prerequisite skills for Power:


The Cattari Iddhi Pada

The Pāḷi:

Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu chanda-samādhi-padhāna-saṅkhāra-samannāgataṃ iddhipādaṃ bhāveti|| ||

viriya-samādhi-padhāna-saṅkhāra-samannāgataṃ iddhipādaṃ bhāveti|| ||

cittasamādhi padhānasaṅkhārasamannāgataṃ iddhipādaṃ bhāveti|| ||

vīmaṃsā-samādhi-padhāna-saṅkhāra-samannāgataṃ iddhipādaṃ bhāveti.|| ||


Here beggars, a beggar develops the power-path
that is wish-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is energy-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is heart-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making,

develops the power-path
that is investigation-serenity-connected-exertion-own-making.

SN 5.51.1



San = co, con, one, same, with, together with; khara = make, found. Con-struct, co-found, con-fect, con-join, con-jure, own-make... The meaning is that one makes a world identified as one's own by co-founding it (I + That).
"Sankhārā" is identification with the intent to create experience for the self by way of thought, word, or deed and it is the identified-with consequence of the action.

Stated in general terms, the kamma rebounding from blind sankaraming (so to speak) is consciousness (self-consciousness, or consciousness as an individuality).

Translators of this term tend to use only one side or the other in their translations, limiting the understanding they convey only to the 'activities' involved or relating only to the 'fabrications' that are the result. The idea that this is 'personalization' is almost completely overlooked.

Chanda: Wish, desire, intent, will > chando: metric recitation, chant, enchant, canto, cantor, incantation.

Per Castaneda's Don Juan, 'intent' or the 'spirit' is the bridge between the individual and the cosmic force that makes things happen which he leaves as a mystery — Buddhists understand this to be kamma or in it's personal aspect 'sankhārā' — consequently it is a combined force made up of willing or wishing and the verbal skills for forming the wish.

The first Incantation:

There comes a time, Beggars,
after a long long time,
when Maha Brahma,
while contemplating the world,
thinks to himself:

"O, O, O, If only there were light at night,
in the same way as the sun lights up the day!"

And the moon appears. Canda, The Moon. (Incandescent, candle).

Today [Friday, March 18, 2005 6:41 AM] (or rather in my father's day) we have the expression 'He moons for her' (today we have the expression "he mooned her", which is something else altogether.)

This is an important example of a well made incantation or "wish." What is wanted is clearly stated, it is heartfelt, there is a simile which is a memory device. As an example of a good incantation after the fact, the play on chando and chanda is useful in fascinating the mind; another trick often helpful is to use rhyme.

Viriya: Energy, vitality, vigor. We have already seen energy in the Seventh Lesson.

Energy begets energy. The reverse is also true, a slack attitude towards what one wishes to accomplish will manifest itself in the thing dragging on forever and likely coming to nothing. Sometimes making something 'work' takes tremendous effort and one needs to be able to walk away from the task when at last put to rest with the idea that one threw into it 100% effort.

Citta: Heart. We have already seen Heart in the MasterpastyourSatisfactionPastures Sutta. Emotion, a mental/emotional effort we usually term: "Put your heart into it." Nobody can achieve magic power without the will to do it.

Vimaɱsa: vi = 2, re; mam > man = mind; mamsa = member (as in the male member, or arm, or leg); sa = one. Pāḷi English Dictionary [PED]: consideration, examination, test, investigation > vimansati: "to try to think" to consider, examine, find out, investigate, test, trace, think over. The lack of connection the obvious "re-member" is, I believe, consequent on the evolution of the idea of thinking, which was, in the beginning, simply remembering things. Today, taking memory for granted, we 'piece together ideas' 'find the missing link'.

One of the best examples I have come across demonstrating what is required here is a story Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan tells Carlos [Carlos is speaking; the 'assemblage point' referred to is Don Juan's construction for the mechanism of perception; suffice it to say that this is a matter of memory in that to use the movement he suggests requires lengthy training in shifting perceptions from one 'world' to another]:

"He [Don Juan] said that for a seer human beings were either oblong or spherical luminous masses of countless, static, yet vibrant fields of energy, and that only sorcerers were capable of injecting movement into those spheres of static luminosity. In a millisecond they could move their assemblage points to any place in their luminous mass. That movement and the speed with which it was performed entailed an instantaneous shift into the perception of another totally different universe. Or they could move their assemblage points, without stopping, across their entire fields of luminous energy. The force created by such movement was so intense that it instantly consumed their whole luminous mass.

He said that if a rockslide were to come crashing down on us at that precise moment, he would be able to cancel the normal effect of an accidental death. By using the speed with which his assemblage point would move, he could make himself change universes or make himself burn from within in a fraction of a second. I, on the other hand, would die a normal death, crushed by the rocks, because my assemblage point lacked the speed to pull me out."

The idea is again based on the fact that at a certain point "reality" is simply what we imagine it to be, and what we imagine is what we remember.

If we compromise this view a tad to accommodate usual translation and the PED, we could say that 'vimamsa' is 'looking into things' where the things being looked into will always be things remembered. The difference, is the fact that the seer, seeing something in memory is also able to manipulate it, or rather, to manipulate around it, even to the degree of completely transferring his 'being' to another situation.

The Buddha describes this this way: "As easily as a strong man might bend his outstretched arm or fold back his stretched out arm, he is able to disappear from here and re-appear there."

Samādhi, serenity or high-getting fits into the picture by way of three of it's attributes: calm, insight, and letting go. The single most important aspect in a work of magic power is letting go. A wish can never come to fruition as long as it is still under formation which is another way of saying it is being held on to. And it is from the position of serenity that what one is about is most clearly seen. 'The wishes of the virtuous, beggars, come to fruition because of their clarity.'

Putting it all together, the point to be emphasized here is that each of the four paths is a compound. However translated they must be made into single, multi-faceted terms. My translation is saying that the term is describing a type of own-making where the exertion to create experience for the self (own-make saṅkhāra) is connected to 'wish-samādhi' etc. It is 'own-making' that is the mechanism of action. The other terms are modifiers.


Length of Life

What does "Length of life" mean to a beggar? In the case of this case, if a beggar practices the Four Power Paths: he may if he so desire, live out the remainder of the kappa. This is what "Length of life" means to a beggar.


The Mind-Made Body

With the settled-down heart pure all round, clean all round, unspotted, shut off from the stench, grown soft and workable, steadfast, unshakably fixed, he bends down his mind to the conjuration of, the making for his own experience of a mind-made body.

He, from this body, conjures another body, material, mind-made, totally complete of limb, endowed with higher powers.

In the same way as a man pulling a reed from it's sheath would know, "This is the reed, this is the sheath," or,

In the same way as a man pulling a sword from it's scabbard would know, "This is the sword, this is the scabbard," or

In the same way as a snake sluffing off it's slough might know, "This is the slough, this is the snake."

With your settled-down heart pure all round, clean all round, unspotted, shut off from the stench, grown soft and workable, steadfast, unshakably fixed, bend down the mind to the conjuration of a mind-made body. From this body, conjure another body, material, mind-made, totally complete of limb, endowed with higher powers.

For those familiar with Castaneda, this is analogous to the dream body only with the difference being that this is conjured from a deep meditative but awakened state rather than from within a dream.


Exercise: Remember the meditation on the double ended skin bag? Ok, then, pick up on that meditation where you left off. This time focus, in stead of on the foulness of the hair, and so forth, on retaining a picture of the thing in your mind. Concentrate. And Picture. Bit by bit, put the thing together.

Remember: This body is made up from solids, liquids, heat and motion.

In which of the postures is this body placed or disposed?

What is it doing? Remember: Whatsoever it does, Beggars, let it do it in a Satisfying Way.

Make it generous, endowed with ethical culture, self discipline, wanting little; well tamed, well trained, well educated in the Dhamma of the Aristocrats.

And, above all, remember that it too will come to an end.


With your settled-down heart pure all round, clean all round, unspotted, shut off from the stench, grown soft and workable, steadfast, unshakably fixed, bend down the mind to the conjuration of a variety of powers.


Being one also become many,
being many also become one

The meaning is:
appearing in one way as one individuality,
also appear in a multiplicity of ways
as a multiplicity of individuals.

This practice builds on the first one, of forming a mind made body from this body: from forming one mind-made body from this body, form a multiplicity of mind-made forms from this body.

This includes:
appearing in more than one place at the same time (polypresence);
assuming the appearance of real and "imaginary" creatures
(a snake, a panther, an elephant, a bird, a half human/half animal creature, and so forth);
assuming the shape of a mountain or a tree
or an army on the march,
(that latter including assuming the appearance
of a collective of individuals).

For an example of this last is one story that is told of Angulimalla (Garland of Thumbs), who was able to single-handedly terrify an entire army by taking on the appearance of standing on the back of an elephant with sword uplifted, backed up by fierce demonic warriors.

The greater the power of the individual,
the greater the number of "forms" he is able to assume
(both sequentially and simultaneously).

Buddhaghosa (Path of Purity, pp 439) would have you discard your original form when assuming a different form. I think this is describing only one of many varieties of ways this power is manifested and the idea should not be 'discard'.

There is a case where one goes from the original personality to another personality in a completely different state. There is, also, the situation where without losing consciousness of any of them one produces multiple bodies and is aware through each as appropriate.

I believe Castaneda's Don Juan is describing the first case accurately when he speaks about the individuality of one mental state as being 'irrelevant' when in another. Not 'discarded' but just simply not the subject of awareness.

In the second case focus splits and goes from one being to another or multiple others but without completely losing awareness of any of them.

In any case Buddhaghosa is in error on the one count where we definitely have examples of where what we are told is happening is that a multiple number of secondary individualities has been produced simultaneously with (and sometimes identical to) the original ... all visible together.

Then there is the second half of this power: from being multiple, becoming one. It is important in the exercise of psychic power that one be swiftly able to give up what one has done (i.e., go back to the previous form).


Manifest here, transported beyond notice, transported through walls, transported through fortifications unsticking, go whithersoever as if in space.

Literal: "Become here, become beyond, beyond walls, beyond fortifications, not stuck he goes just wherever like space.

This means, being visible or perceptible through sight or hearing, becoming hidden from perception while one's self able to perceive from a given location, being able to go through walls without getting caught in the middle, essentially to be able to go wherever one wants as if passing through space.

This power is relative to the power of the individual and the observer. The more powerful individual is able to remain unseen by the less powerful; the less powerful individual is visible to the more powerful. Power is relative to detachment.


Jump into and out of the earth [paṭhavī solid objects] as though in water; go on water without parting it as though on solid ground.


Go through space cross legged like a bird on the wing.


Touch and feel with the hand the Moon and Sun, as great and powerful as they are.


Turn up in the body even in the Brahma heaven.

In the same way as The Potter, Beggars,
or his skillful apprentice,
could make any shape of pot that he wished to
from a well prepared lump of clay
or the ivory carver out of ivory ...
or the goldsmith out of gold,
so a Beggar, Beggars,
with his settled-down heart pure all round,
clean all round,
shut off from the stench,
grown soft and workable,
unshakably fixed,
bends down the mind
to the conjuration of a variety of powers:
being one he also becomes many,
being many he also becomes one;
manifest here,
transported beyond notice,
transported through walls,
transported through fortifications unsticking,
he goes whithersoever
as if in space;
he jumps into and out of solid objects
as though in water;
he goes on water
without parting it
as though on solid ground;
he goes through space
cross legged like a bird on the wing;
and touches and feels with his hand
the Moon and Sun,
as great and powerful as they are;
and he turns up in the body
even in the Brahma heaven.


Higher Powers

The Divine Ear

With your settled-down heart pure all round, clean all round, unspotted, shut off from the stench, grown soft and workable, steadfast, unshakably fixed, bend down the mind to the conjuration of The divine Ear.

With purified godlike hearing, beyond that of ordinary men, hear both sounds: godly and man-made, far or near.

In the same way as if a man, traveling along the highway were to hear the sound of a big drum or a little drum or cymbals or little bells, he would be able to say: "That is the sound of a big drum." "That is the sound of a little drum." "That is the sound of cymbals." "That is the sound of little bells."

This entails being able to distinguish between individual sounds and between the same sound made by different sources and between the same sound made nearby and at a distance, by the same and different sources.

Don't look for this 'out there', look for it 'right here'. Once one has shed the need to identify individuals as always themselves, for example, it is possible to hear coming from one and the same person voices from a variety of sources. Sounds usually identified with this world are heard as coming from other worlds, and so forth. The reverse of this being the basis for the belief in "possession" and the "madness" of some who "hear voices" and for 'channels' when they are not fakes — they have maintained a continuing sense of identity with the body at the same time their perception is of a different reality. Far and near can mean at a distance in time as well as space and "loka" or station of consciousness. I hear big drum is the Buddha etc., little drum is such as such as later followers, etc. — things said of greater and less relevance to the goal are heard thundering (as it were) through time. ... or not.


Encompassing a Heart with the Heart

Here again is an example of a Dhamma used in one place for one purpose (The Satipaṭṭhana Sutta, to set up Satisfaction with mental states — remember, the purpose of that is detachment, and that detachment is the basis for clarity) and turning up in another place for another purpose (as the power of reading other's emotions and mental states.) The training of the former is the training for the latter.

With your settled-down heart pure all round, clean all round, unspotted, shut off from the stench, grown soft and workable, steadfast, unshakably fixed, bend down the mind to the conjuration of the ability to read other's hearts with your own heart and know:

of a heart with lust:
'This is a heart with lust;'

of a heart without lust:
'This is a heart without lust;'

of a heart with anger:
'This is a heart with anger;'

of a heart without anger:
'This is a heart without anger;'

of a deluded heart:
'This is a deluded heart;'

of a heart without delusion:
'This is a heart without delusion;'

of a narrow heart:
'This is a narrow heart;'

of a broad heart:
'This is a broad heart;'

of a closed heart:
'This is a closed heart;'

of an open heart:
'This is an open heart;'

of a heart that is less than superior:
'This heart is less than superior;'

of a heart that is nothing less than superior:
'This heart is nothing less than superior;'

of an unbalanced heart:
'This is an unbalanced heart;'

of a balanced heart:
'This is a balanced heart;'

of a heart that is not free:
'This is a heart that is not free;'

of a heart that is free:
'This is a heart that is free.'


The Chalangas, aka The Vedangas

The Six-Dimensions, aka The Dimensions of Thrilling Experience

With your settled-down heart pure all round, clean all round, unspotted, shut off from the stench, grown soft and workable, steadfast, unshakably fixed, bend down the mind to the conjuration of mastery of the Chalangas.

Kappa (see also sankappa: Consummate Principles, lesson 8):

PED: 1. Fitting, suitable, proper; 2. A fitting, harness, trapping, or the smudge placed on a new set of robes so as to make it "fitting" for use by a Beggar (other similar applications are the ruining of a fancy bed, or the denting of an iron bowl or cracking of an earthenware bowl) II. Applied Meanings: 1. An ordinance, precept, rule; practice, manner; 2. A "fixed" time, time with reference to individual and cosmic life, a measure of time (an age of the world — one evolution, resting, devolution, and resting).

As a "Power" it consists of knowing the right time to do, or not do, certain things, knowing what is fit and proper, knowing how to change the unfit into the fitting, knowing how to get rid of the unfitting, and knowing Time. This includes the ability to determine the amount of time an event occupied.


Vyakarana: 1. Answer, explanation, exposition; 2. Grammar; 3. Prediction

As a "Power" it consists of knowing the proper grammatical construction of "charms" [The "subject," "verb" "object" relationship of our Language, for example, carries deep deep deep meaning with regard to how we view the world.]; this relates to the other two meanings in the understanding of the order of the development of things past and future.


Nirutti PED: explanation of words, grammatical analysis, etymological interpretation; pronunciation, dialect, way of speaking, expression.

This is not theoretical (book learned) etymology as we understand it today, it is an "intuitive" hearing of the meaning and history of words and their uses. (For an exercise in the development of this power, see: Adam's Apple: Exercise)

> Ni = down; Ruh = to the source of its growth (mula, m > r, Root)


Sikkha PED: 1. Study, training, discipline; 2. phonology or phonetics.

There is a proper way to make the sounds of speech so that they will be correctly heard and produce the most meaningful resonance in the listener (not quite utterly totally irredeemably lost and gone forever in our English).


The Eti-mula-logi of Mula:

(Begins with a mouth full of delicious food, A HAR A; each sound should imitate the sound of the animal indicated and blend smoothly into the next sound).

mmm 'mmm
ou ou
mmm ou
mmm ou
Me You Me You
Mew Mew
Moo Moo
Ool ool
Oou oou
Ou la la

'mmm 'mmm, ooh, ooh, me, you, me, you, the mew of a cat, the moo of a cow, the hoot of an owl, the howl of a wolf, (The sound of a man making mula; or, the sound of a man mak'n Um Ooo La La!; or, the sound of a man mak'n m'u'la[ugh]).

Mula: PED: 1. Root; 2. Foot, bottom; 3. Ground for, reason, cause, condition; 4. Origin, source, foundation, root; 5. Beginning, base, first, initial; 6. "substance," foundation, i.e. worth, money, capital, price, remuneration.

I have written the Oxford English Dictionary several times pointing out the obvious origin of the term they spell "moolah" and state is of "unknown" origins.


Jotisattha: starmaster; astrology from when astrology was a science, astronomy from when astronomy still had some of it's magic.

Chando-Viciti: metric recitation, incantation, as a "power" it is the ability to hit on a phraseology that will "hook" the mind, the ability to come up with "catchy" phraseology; mantric recitation the ability to discern and recite a Manta conveying all it's meanings. You should be able to say the word as one word with all the implicated sounds and meanings.

Unappreciated masters of this art today are to be found on Madison Avenue; their art on display approximately 20 minutes of every hour of broadcast television.

OK. Some of the works produced on Madison Avenue are masterpieces. Most are not. Today the problem with really proper metric recitation is the fact that nobody has the patience to listen. With an impatient audience it is next to impossible to do this properly.


Remembering appamāda, Pathavi, Apo, Tejo, Vayo.

The Path of Eve's Apple
will Teach you the Way Out.

After Adam ada apple,
he passed matter
passed water
passed ... "um" ... had a little heart burn,
an'e pass-a vayo.

Sorta geevs ya a lumpini throa...*

*ats-a "throw-away" gag line.

The Adam's Apple. The appature tru whitcha utta soun.

Think of Johnny Cochran (one of the great sorcerers of our time) in his closing arguments in the OJ Simpson trial: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit!"


Recommended Side Trip to the Excerpts on Prophesying of The Brahma Gala Sutta.


The Best of Signs

Not listening to fools, is the best of signs;
listening to the wise is the best of signs;
having made good kamma in the past is the best of signs;
being well tamed, well trained and well educated in learning and craft is the best of signs;
speaking the well spoken is the best of signs;
care for mother and father is the best of signs;
a harmless mode of living is the best of signs;
generosity is the best of signs;
avoiding intentional harm, lies, and theft is the best of signs;
contentment with little is the best of signs;
coming into the presence of the teacher is the best of signs;
being well learned in this doctrine and discipline is the best of signs;
living this doctrine and discipline is the best of signs;
mastering this doctrine and discipline is the best of signs;
freedom and the knowledge and vision of freedom is the best of signs;
and better signs that that I do not see.

— Illustrator V: The Good-omen Discourse


The Modes of Knowing through Signs

With your settled-down heart pure all round, clean all round, unspotted, shut off from the stench, grown soft and workable, steadfast, unshakably fixed, bend down the mind to the conjuration of mastery of seeing (diṭṭha), hearing (suta), sensing (muta), and knowing (viññāta).

The signs perceived through these faculties are related to but distinct from the signs which provoked the exposition of the best of signs above. The distinction is that here there is no set meaning to any given sign. A sight perceived as a sign through the eye is understood in a manner similar to what we call free-association. The meaning is unique to each case.

Diṭṭha: PED: 1. Seen; 2. Known, understood; 3. Visible, determined by sight, in connection with Dhamma meaning the visible order of things, the world of sensation, this world.

In the system as a whole, 'diṭṭhi' is the hypothetical Consummate View. 'Diṭṭha' is seeing that view as it really is. Here, in its function as a category of signs it means knowing through sight.

In the morning, upon rising up, the eye is "caught" by a color or a shape, and the meaning is "understood."

The thing "seen" stands as a symbol of something because of it's shape, or color, position, and so forth.

Or, placing an object, or finishing a task it immediately "looks" as though the "scene" had always been that way, and he knows and sees, to the extent of his ability, events of the past and future possibilities. "Déjà vu," without the doubt.

Suta: PED: 1. Heard; in special sense "received through inspiration or revelation"; learned; taught.

A small taste of this is "heard" in the popular expression "I hear ya" when by a gesture or unrelated expression a thing is understood that was not directly said. Artists and writers and religious mystics experience this in times of inspiration. Automatic writing, painting where the painting seems to be coming of its own, sustained periods of insight.

This also encompasses understanding or intuitive knowledge attained through sounds, as described for Dittha and the Divine Ear.

Muta: PED: thought, supposed, imagined (i.e. received by other vaguer sense impressions than by sight and hearing).

Sensing: Knowing and Seeing through the senses of taste, touch and smell.

Anyone read Proust? where the taste of a Madeleine cookie (like cookie-sized angel-food cake, always shaped like a sea-shell) produced the insight that resulted in Remembrance of Things Past, (In Search of Lost Time, or Times Past)? One of the really great works of fiction in the world. Like that.

Very often related to recollection of aspects of past lives, and a door to the future.

Viññāta: [say: veen nya ta] PED: apperceived, (re)cognized, understood, cogitated, learned.

Knowing that one knows something (related to, but not exactly the same as Viññāṇā, re-knowing-knowledge, consciousness; knowing awareness), female intuition, directly knowing. Viññāta is the knowing; Viññāṇā is knowing that you know.


Knowledge of Former Habitations

And again, with your settled-down heart pure all round, clean all round, unspotted, shut off from the stench, grown soft and workable, steadfast, unshakably fixed, bend down the mind to the conjuration of the knowledge of former habitations.

So aneka-vihitaṃ pubbe-nivāsaṃ anussarati seyyathīdaṃ ekam pi jātim ...

Aneka: an = not; eka = one; not just one, numberless, many, numerous, countless.

Pubbe: former, earlier, prior.

Nivasam: stopping place, dwelling, resting place, abode, living, sheltering > the putting on of, (ni), dress, costume, clothing, vestment.

He, overviews his witnessing
of not just one birth,
but manifold prior habitations this way:

Now one birth,
now two births,
now three births,
now four births,
now five births,
now ten births,
now twenty births,
now thirty births,
now forty births,
now fifty births,
now one hundred births,
now a thousand births,
now ten thousand births,
now a hundred thousand births,
now many an age in the rolling out of the world,
now many an age in the rolling back of the world,
now many a rolling out and rolling back of the world.

In that there place such was the name,
such was the town,
such was the skin color,
such was the food,
such was the pleasure and pain experienced,
and such was the way life came to an end.

Shifting from that he reappeared there.

In this place such was the name,
such was the family,
such was the color,
such was the food,
such was the pleasure and pain experienced,
and such was way life came to an end.

Shifting from that he reappeared here.

Thus with it's characteristics and signs
he overviews his witnessing
of not just one birth
but manifold prior habitations.

In the same way, beggars,
as if a man were to go
from his own village
to another village
and from that village
were to go to another village
and from that village
were to go back again
to his own village,
he might think:
"I went from my own village
to another village;
there I stood in such a way,
sat in such a way,
spoke in such a way,
became silent in such a way;
from that village
I went to another village
and there I stood in such a way,
sat in such a way,
spoke in such a way,
became silent in such a way;
and from that village
I went back again
to my own village."

Note that this is the ability to see not only one's own past habitations, but also those of others.

There are two basic ways of remembering past lives:

The first way is through phenomena. One sees, or hears, or senses, or understands something (this can happen accidentally or by focusing the mind) and then becomes aware of the experience called Déjà vu "Didn't this happen before?" At that point if the mind can be taken off the doubt, all the past existences that have intersected at this same experience are visible in the memory. With a lot of practice one can take that moment and expand it to explore the whole of one or another of the existences that crossed that point.

The other method is to piece together the past in chronological order. The practice starts with recollecting present time and working back through the morning to the previous day back to the time of birth to the time of conception, through the previous death, to the previous existence and so forth. The training for this is in the orderly progression suggested in the section called "Whatever a Beggar does, he does in a Satisfactory fashion. (You can see that if you have not neutralized your past experiences in this life, you will have a difficult, unlikely, impossible time recollecting past lives this way.)

The advantage of the latter method is that a specific time and place can be located and examined, whereas the former route is by chance. The need and ability to use either method depends upon the power of the individual.

It must be remembered that some births are extremely difficult to remember because of their nature: some in hell are extraordinarily unsettling to watch, some don't make sense because they lasted millions upon millions of years, others are difficult to separate out from thousands upon thousands of almost exactly similar habitations. Again, animal birth and other lower births are very difficult to recall as the mental processes of those lives are quite different than those of humans.

One more point. One of the words used to describe the totally liberated Beggar is 'akalika' (a = no; ka; li = line; ka; from the practice of the hunter in identifying how close he is to his prey by tracking the trail of scat — "this one is a week old, this one is three days old, this one is from today, after leaving town ...) living outside Time. The awareness of this begins at the first stages of advancement in the system when one has understood intellectually that "this" (body etc) is not the self. That insight frees one from a chronological framework tied to "this" body.

Therefore, this apparently obvious bit of information:

The Past is the Past and not the Present or the Future.
The Future is the Future and not the Past or the Present.
The Present is the Present and not the Past or the Future.
— SN 3.22.62

Factoid: The sequence in the Pāḷi is always: Past, Future, Present. The mind is in many ways similar to a web search tool, give it a concept and it will roll on forever gathering information about that concept. One does not want to get stuck by that in dwelling on the past or in planning for the future, so the last instruction in any sequence is usually constructed as the one on which to focus.


The Ninth Lesson

Nava Nāma Kim? What is nine?

What nine concepts, when used to see things to their root with penetrating knowledge, and to understand them in their broadest limits, such that their disgusting nature is seen as it really is and one has released them in their entirety, can bring one to the uttermost freedom of detachment?

Nava Sattavasa

The Nine Habits of Beings

Satta: a living being; vasa: PED has: house, home, habitation; but I believe > vasana: clothing, habit, vestment, as the intent here is not so much where beings live, but how they appear and use mind; the fundamental differences between types of being as well as the place they abide. This is, again, a study which is intended to be all encompassing. Directing the attention to these categories as places would ignore the fact that beings are born in other places than those suggested here if they are seen only as locations. As categories of types of being, their precise location is not important. (Anuruddha, for example, speaks of himself and his companions as: "... we have divers bodies, but assuredly only one mind" MN 31, Horner; #2 just below.)

The Nine Habits of Beings

— AN 9.24

1. There are beings out there that inhabit separately appearing bodies and are differentiated in mind, such as human beings, certain gods and beings in the Lower Realms (animals, ghosts, demons, and creatures in the hells).

2. There are beings out there that inhabit separately appearing bodies but are of one mind, such as the beings of Brahma's Retinue.

3. There are beings out there that inhabit bodies that appear identical, but whose minds differ, such as the beings of the Abhassara Realm, who Radiate light.

4. There are beings out there that inhabit bodies that appear identical and who are of one mind, such as the beings of the Subhakinna Realm, who are Luminescent.

5. There are beings out there utterly without perception. These meditated on the idea that it was perception that was the cause of Dukkha, and aspired to non-percipience. Reborn in the Asaññā (nonpercipient) realm, they abide there for as long as the power of the wish that brought them there lasts, and then a thought occurs to them at which time they are reborn with the belief that they spontaneously appeared from nothing.

6. There are beings out there who, by rising above the perception of form, by eliminating the perception of limit (resistance, the sign of materiality), by not paying any attention to perceptions of difference, thinking "Space is limitless," inhabit the Sphere of Ākasa — Space. This sphere is reached using the arupa-jhāna — being without visible form, immaterial knowing high getting — of the same name, which is reached by the technique described here. This knowing can be reached from the fourth knowing with ease, or with struggle from anyplace. Reentry is through what we call the collective unconscious, or collective memory. This is the place people "reach into" to materialize objects, and find things. "The place just above the place where allashi'tzah.").

7. There are beings out there who, by rising above the perception of the Sphere of Ākasa, thinking "Consciousness is limitless" inhabit the realm of consciousnessviññāṇa. This is the second arūpa-jhāna, which is higher and more refined than the ākasa arupa-jhāna.

8. There are beings out there who, by rising above the perception of the Sphere of viññāṇa, thinking, "There is nothing to be had there" inhabit the realm of Nothing to be Had Thereakincana. This is the third arūpa-jhāna, which is higher and more refined than the viññāṇa arupa-jhāna.

9. There are beings out there who, by passing completely beyond perceptions of akincana, being completely unaware of any sphere where they are aware of being aware that they are there inhabit the realm named "N'eva-saññā-na-saññā" The Realm of Neither-Perceiving-Nor-Non-Perceiving. This is the fourth arūpa-jhāna, which is higher and more refined than the akincana arūpa-jhāna. This, prior to the appearance of Gotama, was considered the highest achievement in personal evolution possible. Gotama pointed out that existence in the "N'eva-saññā-na-saññā" sphere was subject to ending, and that the jhāna that was the Ending-of-Sensation-Perception which was the door to Nibbāna was higher and more refined than that.


The Realms of the Imagination,
A Map of the Mind

At one point it was widely believed in the West that Buddhism was atheistic, that Buddhists did not believe in God. This is not the case at all. At it's most fundamental, the Pāḷi holds that the world is the work of the imagination or mind, and consequently, in a subjective sense, anything that a being can believe is possible.

Holding that it is all an illusion, however, does not mean that some illusions are not stronger than others. We hold the "ordinary" world together by our collective illusion. We do not permit certain things to "exist" until "science" has proven they are able to exist. I, personally, have enjoyed immensely watching the evolution of physics in just my lifetime. It has made remarkable strides towards a physics that was accepted by Buddhists 2600 years ago. Not there yet, but Stephen Hawking, with his wormholes, was rubbing up against the magical trick of disappearing from one place and reappearing in another.

The Buddhist cosmology is essentially that of the pre-Hindu culture into which Gotama was born, with some reorganization and some additions. As Westerners, we should be aware that in all likelihood this is the same set of beliefs in slightly changed form that was the basis of the Greek and Roman cosmologies.

There is, in this system, a creator god, a "Brahma" named Pajapati. If we allow that we may not know the nature of what is called here an angel and a demon, or if we think of the lesser Greek and Roman gods, much of the Hindu system from Pajapati down could fit seamlessly (well, there might have to be some trimming and tucking) into western beliefs. A greater difference is in the fact that in the Hindu hierarchy there are gods above Pajapati. Essentially we might say that they point to Pajapati and say: "He did it!"

There is one more major difference: Many of the Hindu gods, including Pajapati, reflect a deep underlying belief in the duality of Nature: Pajapati is "The Creator of the Created," therefore he is also "The One Who Brings Death," "Mara," "The Evil One."

I believe a certain element of this does in fact exist in Christianity in the belief that God created the Devil. The difference is that in the Hindu belief system God does not dissociate himself from his responsibility.

That is a very rough delineation of the difference between the Judeo-Christian cosmology and the Hindu Cosmology.

The difference between both of these and the Pāḷi is that the Pāḷi holds that while there is no argument about the existence or non-existence of these various sorts of beings and their positions, none of them has overcome death or ending; and all of them are in the same boat in terms of being unable to point to anything there that is the self of them: and all are, as a consequence, subject to rebirth. If it has come into being, it is subject to Time; it has a beginning, a middle, and an End. That goes for God the Creator as well as for the humble beggar.

Here, then, is the Pāḷi cosmology, or map of the mind. The names of spheres of consciousness where beings tend to be reborn. Again in the Pāḷi system the world is like the imagination, anything is possible, but there are certain predictable tendencies — for example, in the imaginations of nearly all peoples, "bad" persons are reborn in some variation or another of Hell.

Beings living in the kama lokas.

Beings that reside in Niraya Hells.

There are thousands of varieties of Hell in this system. Birth in none of them is permanent. Some deeds are so powerfully "bad" that they result in birth in what is called The White Lotus Hell, which lasts as long as an evolution and devolution of the world — a "kappa": a kappa is made up of countless aeons; a simile for the length of an aeon is: imagine a huge cart full of sesame seeds, and once every hundred years a man were to come along and remove one of them; well the cart would be empty before the aeon was over; or, imagine Mount Everest, and once every hundred years a man were to come along and rub it with a cloth; well, Mount Everest would be warn away more quickly than an aeon — which is long enough for most people, but even beings born there are not irredeemable. Such a deed is the killing of Mother or Father or of an Arahat or Silent Buddha or drawing the blood of a Buddha (it is not possible to murder a SammāsamBuddha). The White Lotus hell takes consciousness and breaks it up into hundreds of thousands of separate parts (each being an existence which is living and dying in accordance with the effects of his kamma) and scatters them across the cosmos so that the "individual" is in an endless agony over what, exactly is the Him of Him (of course he is unable to reach the conclusion that none of them are).

Beings that reside in animal bodies.

I am constantly amazed, when, during discussions of reincarnation (a non Buddhist concept in which the soul or true self hops from incarnation to incarnation — the Pāḷi concept being likened to what occurs when one match lights another, it is not the same flame, but the one depends on the other and both depend on conditions, there being no "one thing" there that is the "flame of flame") people say "When I am reborn, I want to be such and such an animal."

You can look at animals that lead even the most luxurious of lives ... pet cats and dogs and horses ... and if you see what you are seeing you can see the misery! How would you like to eat with your face? Never be able to wipe your ass after you take a dump? Walk around naked. Eat tasteless garbage food? Most likely have your reproductive organs removed? And those are the ones living in luxury. Life in the wild is an unbroken spell of fear of being eaten.

"Beings of unskillful mental deeds, deeds of word-thought and speech, and deeds of body, who once enjoyed delicious tastes here, beggars, are reborn as grass eaters, dung eaters, scrap-heap eaters, beings that prey on each other or on the weak and helpless."

And the list of the disagreeable facts of life for animals goes on and on.

Beings that reside in ghostly realms.

Beings with sometimes enormous bodies (as big as a football field and even larger) and minute mouths, that are always hungry. Most beings in these realms are immensely unhappy.

"I saw a man, his robes were in flames, his bowl was in flames, as he passed through the air, uttering cries of pain ... this man was a deceitful Beggar.

"I saw a man, reduced to a lump of meat, being pecked at by vultures, and ravens, and crows as he passed through the air, uttering cries of pain ... this man was a cattle butcher.

"I saw a man, swords passed through his skull and came out his eyes, they passed through his eyes and came out his mouth, they passed through his mouth and came out his neck, they passed through his neck and came out his chest, as he passed through the air, uttering cries of pain ... this man was an assassin.

"I saw a man, his testicles were so swollen he had to throw them over his shoulder to walk, when he sat he sat on them, as he passed through the air, uttering cries of pain ... this man was an adulterer."

Beings that reside in demonic forms

(let's put it this way: Freddy Kruger has nothing on these guys)

Beings that reside as men (manusa)


This is the advantage of being born as Man: Here we suffer both pain and pleasure but neither exclusively. In most of the rebirths in lower realms, the pain is unremitting or the wits are lacking to allow for reflection sufficient to mend one's ways; in most of the realms above, the pleasure is unremitting and does not allow for reflection or motivation sufficient to mend one's ways. Just here is there sufficient opportunity and motivation for reflection on the various states of existence and the wits to work your way out of all this dukkha.

This is the simile describing the rarity of birth as a man:

Imagine a yoke with one hole cast out onto the sea;
the current causes it to drift to the East,
the current causes it to drift to the West,
the current causes it to drift to the North,
the current causes it to drift to the South;
the Wind causes it to drift to the East,
the Wind causes it to drift to the West,
the Wind causes it to drift to the North,
the Wind causes it to drift to the South;
then imagine a blind sea turtle.
He swims to the East,
he swims to the West,
he swims to the North,
he swims to the South;
once every hundred years
he pokes his head up to the surface.

As often as that sea turtle
poking his head up to the surface
pokes his head up
into that yoke with one hole,
rarer than that is birth as a human being.

Lifespan: A day in the life of man is considered to be the time between one setting of the sun and the next;
a year is the time it takes to complete one revolution of the earth around the sun,
i.e., @365 of those days.

Today, if a man lives long,
he lives but 77 of those years
or but a little longer.

Hare, PTS, Book of the Sevens:

"Short is the life of man,
insignificant and trifling,
fraught with ill and trouble ...
For the born there is no immortality.

For today, monks,
he who lives long
lives but a hundred years or a little more ...
And though he live six and thirty thousand days,
he eats but two and seventy thousand meals ...
and this includes mother's milk
and foodless times.


Beings that reside with the Four Kings of the Four Directions:

Gods very similar to the Greek and Roman gods, with all their powers and faults.

Beings that reside with the Gods of the Chamber of the Three and Thirty:

The high council; headed by Sakka, aka Indra, aka Zeus, aka Jupiter > possibly Thor.
The Ruler of the Gods.
The Rain God.
God of Thunder.
God of War.

Beings that reside in Yama's Paradise:

Yama is another dual character, he also serves as the Lord of Judgement, Lord of the Underworld. It's him what casts ya inta Niriaya. A most fearsome looking fellow with a necklace of skulls, a big black stick and a big black dog. You remember? "Din'ja Gedda ma message?" atsa Yama!

Beings that reside with The Gods of the Heaven of Delight (Tusita):

The realm where future Buddhas wait. At this time, so I hear, the Buddha's mother resides there.

Beings that reside with The Gods of Creation (Nimmanarati):

From the human point of view we might call them the Gods of Inspiration. Fantastical inventions just drip from their fingers.

Beings that reside with The Gods of Manipulation (Paranimmita-vasavatti):

Gods with the power to dispense success or failure. (Note: This may appear to be in contradiction to the laws of kamma. What is at work here, as it is, even, in the case of Pajapati and the creation of the world, is that beings are identifying with impersonal processes, they think they have the power, and others think they have the power.)

Beings living in the Rūpa Lokas

They still have forms, but sense pleasure is not their identifying focus.

Up Passed Here, all beings are reborn as Males.

Beings that reside in the Brahma-parisaBrahma's Party, Retinue:

Comparable to the Christian "heaven" but somewhat at a distance from Brahma (God).

Beings that reside in the Paradise of Māha Brahma:

Also comparable to the Christian "heaven" but in the presence of Brahma. Brahma is a being very close in qualities to the Christian "God." There is, however, more than one Brahma, and Brahma is not immortal, although his lifespan is enormous.

Beings that reside in the Abhassara Realm:

The Ambassadors of the Heart. They live on friendly vibrations and excitement and traverse space uttering cries of joy. They are radiant beings; they radiate light. As described above, they differ in outward appearance, but are of one mind. In most cases when the world comes to an end, beings are reborn in this location. Upon the beginning of the re-evolution of the World, one by one they drop from here, the first being reborn as Māha Brahma, the rest being reborn under him, believing he created them and the world.

Beings that reside in the Subhakinna Realm:

These beings also feed on friendly vibrations and excitement and traverse space uttering cries of joy ... "Oh the joy! Oh the joy!" They are luminescent in appearance, of uniform appearance and of one mind.

Beings that reside in the Vehapphala Realm:

"We Have the Fruit!"

Beings that reside in the Asaññā Realm:

This is the group that is non-percipient, their lifespan ends when a thought occurs to them.

The Overseer of this realm: Abhibhu.

Abhibhu be up above,
up above all is love,
Abhibhu be up above all is love.

Beings that reside in the Suddhavasa Realms: Aviha, Attappa, Sudassa, Sudassi, and Akanittha:

This is the one realm (or set of realms) one can be assured one has never previously revisited. These are special abodes where Non-Returners gather in an atmosphere highly conducive to attaining final Nibbāna. Rebirth here is the goal of Chinese Pure Land Buddhists (although I believe they have a different belief as to the nature of these places as inevitably leading the beings there to Nibbāna). "Suddhavasa" means pure abode or habit. Aviha = ?The Harmless Ones (but see Woodward, AN 3.125 n.5 where 'non-intelligential,' or 'without process of thinking,'); Attappa = ?The Cool Ones, no appetite, they already ate? (Atta Ata Appa?); Sudassa and Sudassi beats me...? Pleasant all round, pure all round?; Akanittha = No youngsters here. Life in these realms always ends in realizing Nibbāna.

III. Beings of the Arūpa Lokas.

Technically, these beings, having become, have form. Their form is immaterial, purely mental.

Beings that reside in the Ākāsānañcāyatana:

The Realm of Space. Technically beyond visible (material) form and differentiation between forms.

Beings that reside in the Viññāṇānañcāyatana:

The Realm of Consciousness

Beings that reside in the Ākiñcaññāyatana:

The Realm of No Thing Is To Be Had There. No form, no materiality, no consciousness belonging to an individuality.

Beings that reside in the N'eva-sanna-nasann'ayatana:

The Realm of Neither-Perceiving-Nor-Non-Perceiving

Nibbāna, Downbound Never No More, Out of the Woods; vimutti: free; akalika: outside time; upekkha: detached; unborn, undying, deathless, trackless, not any kind of an it at any place of atness, crossed over, beyond beyond, become Dhamma, mind-made-mind, invisible consciousness.


Recommended Side Trip to Friendly Vibrations, Third Expansion


The Powers of the Dibba Cakkhu

The Devine Eye

And again, with your settled-down heart pure all round, clean all round, unspotted, shut off from the stench, grown soft and workable, steadfast, unshakably fixed, bend down the mind to the conjuration of the knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings.

With the purified Devine Eye, deeper than the sight of men, see beings as they pass away or come to be. See how it is that beings are poor or rich, beautiful or ugly, happy or unhappy, dull or wise according to the consequences of their deeds, thinking: "So these good people, who practiced low deeds of Mind, word-thought-and-speech, and body, who belittled the good, who held on to low views, and who acted in accordance with their low views found consciousness again, at the breaking up of the elements at death, in an unhappy realm, in a bad rebirth, in the Abyss, in Niriaya Hell. But these good people, who practiced high deeds of mind, word-thought-and-speech, and body, who did not belittle the good, who took up Consummate View, and who acted in accordance with Consummate View, found consciousness again, at the breaking up of the elements at death in a happy realm, in a good rebirth, in a heavenly realm."

In the same way, Beggars, as if a man, sitting on the high terrace of his habitat at the crossroads were to look down and see two abodes with entries facing opposite each other, and he were to observe beings as they entered a habitat and left it and walked back and forth and crossed over.

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