In reviewing the foregoing process of representation, we would have in view the following:
The key word ‘paṭisambhidā’ has a dual connotation. On the one hand, it signifies the analytical nature of the knowledge; and on the other hand, it refers to the knowledge that knows different categories of phenomena, such as the categories of resultant phenomena, categories of causative phenomena, and so on.
Concerning the analytical knowledge of result (atthapaṭisambhidā), it is the knowledge that comprehends analytically the five categories of resultant phenomena, namely, ‘whatever conditionally produced’ (yaṃkiñci paccayasamuppanna), ‘unconditioned state’ (Nibbāna), ‘meaning of the Buddha’s Word’ (bhāsitattha), ‘resultant’ (vipāka) and ‘inoperative’ (kiriya) phenomena. Alternatively, the analytical knowledge of result is the knowledge that comprehends the three categories of resultant phenomena, namely, ‘result being born’ (nibbattetabbo attho), ‘result being attained’ (pattabbo attho) and ‘result being known’ (ñāpetabbo attho).
Similarly, the analytical knowledge of cause (dhammapaṭisambhidā) is the knowledge that comprehends analytically the five categories of causative phenomena, namely, ‘whatever cause that produces result’ (yo koci phalanibbattako hetu) ‘Noble Path’ (Ariyamagga), ‘the Buddha’s Word’ (bhāsita), ‘wholesome phenomena’ (kusala) and ‘unwholesome phenomena’ (akusala). Alternatively, the analytical knowledge of cause is the knowledge that analytically comprehends the three categories of causative phenomena, namely, ‘cause that produces’ (nibbattako hetu), ‘cause that makes known’ (ñāpako hetu) and ‘cause that leads to’ (sampāpako hetu).
Thus, the Commentaries and Sub-commentaries classify those phenomena such as the four noble truths, the dependent origination and so on, which are described in the Canonical Texts, and which are comprehended by the analytical knowledge of result and the analytical knowledge of cause, into different categories belonging to result and cause respectively. Accordingly, there are various kinds of analytical knowledge of result, so are there various kinds of analytical knowledge of cause. Each of them in the same kind may not be the same from the aspect of object, purity and person in whom it arises. For example, the analytical knowledge of cause, which arises taking the Path as object in a Stream-Enterer (Sotāpanna) is not the same as the analytical knowledge of cause, which arises taking the Path as object in a Once-Returner (Sakadāgāmi). This is because the Path in the Stream-Enterer and that in the Once-Returner are diverse. For another example, the analytical knowledge of cause, which arises taking wholesome phenomena in one Non-Returner and the analytical knowledge, which arises taking the same wholesome phenomena in another Non-Returner is not the same. This is because the two kinds of knowledge are different from the aspect of purity or analyticity in different persons.
With respect to the analytical knowledge of language (niruttipaṭisambhidā), it is perhaps the most intricate to explain. The ambiguity lies in the technical term ‘dhammanirutti’, especially ‘dhamma’. The Commentaries and Sub-commentaries comment on this term in an evolutional process. At first, ‘dhammanirutti’ is commented as ‘sabhāvanirutti’ literally translated as ‘natural terminology’, next as ‘aviparītanirutti’ ‘terminology which is not changed’, then as ‘abyabhicārī vohāro’ ‘actual vocabulary’, which is always connected with the understanding of such and such meaning, and then as ‘Māgadhabhāsā’ ‘Māgadha dialect or Pāḷi language’.
Nevertheless, the final generalization of the study has revealed two dimensions of ‘dhammanirutti’. On the one hand, it refers to ‘grammatically correct terminology’; on the other hand, to ‘terminology related to ultimate realities’ in Māgadha dialect. Thus, the analytical knowledge of language has the function to understand the grammatically correct terminology of ultimate realities in Māgadha language, the stereotype of Pāḷi language nowadays. The ultimate realities are nothing but those atthas and dhammas comprehended by the foregoing analytical knowledge of attha and of dhamma respectively. In other words, the analytical knowledge of language knows the grammatically correct terminology of consciousness (citta), mental concomitants (cetasika), material qualities (rūpa) and Nibbāna as the four types of ultimate realities in Buddhism, in Pāḷi language.
Relating to the analytical knowledge of knowledge (paṭibhānapaṭisambhidā), it is the knowledge of the foregoing threefold analytical knowledge—the analytical knowledge of result, of cause and of language. It takes them as objects; and at the same time, it also understands their respective functions.
In conclusion of this thesis, there are three points noteworthy to highlight. Firstly, the fourfold analytical knowledge is distinctive, profound, yet attainable by practising the correct method shown by the Buddha and his distinguished disciples. The Buddha himself and his noble disciples, as recorded in the most authentic Pāḷi Canon, are clearly an embodiment of these kinds of knowledge.
Secondly, the fourfold analytical knowledge, though endowed with various categories, forms an inseparable set of knowledge as the whole. The Buddha and his noble disciples who attain these kinds of knowledge attain them altogether. In other words, the analytical knowledge of cause is related to the analytical knowledge of result and vice versa just like cause to result and word to meaning; likewise, the analytical knowledge of language is related to those of result and cause by means of terminology, expression, explanation and interpretation. The analytical knowledge of knowledge may then be compared to a wise overseer of its preceding ones; it clearly knows them and their functions by the state of non-delusion. Thus, of the fourfold analytical knowledge, it is the analytical knowledge of knowledge that depicts the liberated and enlightened characteristics of Buddhism—non-attachment and non-delusion.
Finally, the path to attaining the fourfold analytical knowledge had been revealed by the Buddha and his Noble Disciples; the rest is on our side. It is our own choice to tread the path, for the Buddha is just the path discoverer. Once, the Master said in the Dhammapada:
"Tumhehi kiccamātappaṃ, akkhātāro Tathāgatā..." [Dhp. 276]
"You yourself should strive to practise;
Aṅguttara-nikāya Pāḷi (Vols. I, II, III)
Aṅguttara-nikāya Aṭṭhakathā (Vols. I, II, III)
Aṅguttara Ṭīkā (Vol. II)
Apadāna Pāḷi (Vol. I, II)
Apadāna Aṭṭhakathā (Vol. I)
Dhammapada Aṭṭhakathā (Vol. I, II)
Dhammasaṅganī Aṭṭhakathā (Aṭṭhasālinī)
Dīgha-nikāya Pāḷi (Vols. I, II, III)
Dīgha-nikāya Aṭṭhakathā (Vols. I, II, III)
Dīgha-nikāya Ṭīkā (Vol. II)
Jātaka Pāḷi (Vol. I, II)
Jātaka Aṭṭhakathā (Vols. I, II, III, IV, VI, VII)
Majjhima-nikāya Pāḷi (Vols. I, II, III)
Majjhima-nikāya Aṭṭhakathā (Vols. I, II, III)
Majjhima-nikāya Ṭīkā (Vol. I)
Paṭisambhidāmagga Aṭṭhakathā (2 Vols.)
Paṭṭhāna Pāḷi (Vols. I, IV)
Saṃyutta-nikāya Pāḷi (Vols. I, II, III)
Saṃyutta-nikāya Ṭīkā (Vol. II)
Suttanipāta Aṭṭhakathā (Vol. I)
Theragāthā Aṭṭhakathā (Vol. II)
Vibhaṅga Aṭṭhakathā (Sammohavinodanī-aṭṭhakathā)
Vinaya Piṭaka (Vols. I, II, III, IV, V)
Vinaya Aṭṭhakathā (Vol. I, III, IV)
Visuddhimagga (2 Vols.)
Visuddhimagga-Mahāṭīkā (Paramatthamañjūsā) (2 Vols.)
Remark: All Canonical, Commentarial and Sub-commentarial Texts referred here are from the Chaṭṭhasaṅgāyana CD-ROM, Version 3, by Vipassanā Research Institute. The page number referred is by Myanmar page.
English & Myanmar Sources
Sincere thanks to Bhikkhu Kusalagunna for making this digital version available (Binh Anson, December 2005)
last updated: 303-12-2005