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Vijjā, Tisso Vijjā

Vision, 'Seeing', Knowledge, The 3-fold Vision


The Eighth Lesson
The 10th Lesson
[AN 10.102]
PTS: Woodward, The Book of the Gradual Sayings, V, The Book of the Tens, XI, ii, pp148

Pali MO Hare Horner Punnaji Bodhi Nanamoli Rhys Davids (Mrs)Rhys Davids Thanissaro Walshe Woodward Soma Thera
vijjā Vision, 'Seeing' Knowledge knowledge consciousness true knowledge true knowledge The Higher Wisdom The Higher Wisdom Clear Knowing Knowledge knowledge Wisdom


Pali Text Society
Pali English Dictionary
Edited by T. W. Rhys Davids and William Stede


Vijjā: (f.) [cp. Vedic vidyā knowledge: vid both in meaning "to know" and "to find"; cp. Gr for "I saw" and "I know"; Sk. veda "Veda," Greek for "idol"; Vedic vindati to find, vetti to know, vidyā knowledge; Gothic, witan to observe (MO: wit?) and know = German wissen; Gothic weis = English wise, etc, for which see Walde, Latin, Wth. s.v. video] one of the dogmatic terms of Buddhist teaching, varying in meaning in diff. sections of the Canon. It is not always the positive to avijjā (which has quite a well defined meaning from its first appearance in Buddhist psych. ethics), but has been taken into the terminology of Buddhism from Brahmanic and popular philosophy. The opposite of avijjā is usually ñaṇa (but cp. S III.162 f., 171; V.429). Although certain vijjās pertain to the recognition of the "truth" and the destruction of avijjā, yet they are only secondary factors in achieving "vimutti" (cp. abhiññā, ñaṇa-dassana & paññā). That vijjā at M I.22 is contrasted with avijjā is to be expld as a word-play in a stereotype phrase.

-- A diff. side of "knowledge" again is given by "bodhi."

(a) Vijjā is a general, popular term for lore in the old sense, science, study, esp. study as a practice of some art (something like the secret science of the medicine man: cp. vejja!); hence appld in special, "dogmatic" sense as "secret science," revelation (put into a sort of magic formula), higher knowledge (of the learned man), knowledge which may be applied and used as an art (cp. magister artium!), practical knowledge; but also mysterious knowledge: "charm."

(b) vijjā, having a varying content in its connotation, is applied to a series of diff. achievements. A rather old tabulation of the stages leading by degrees to the attainment of the highest knowledge is given in the Sāmañña-phala-sutta (D I.63-86), repeated in nearly every Suttanta of D 1. It is composed of the 3 sampadās, viz. sīla-, citta- & paññā-. Under the first group belong sīla(-kkhandha), indriya-saṅvara, sati-sampajañña, santuṭṭhi; the second is composed (1) of the overcoming of the nivaraṇas, (2) of the 4 jhānas; the third consists of 8 items, viz. (1) ñaṇa-dassana, (2) manomaya-kāya, (3) iddhi, (4) dibba-sota, (5) ceto-pariyañaṇa, (6) pubbe-nivās' ¢nussatiñaṇa, (7) cut' ûpāpatti-ñaṇa, (8) āsavanaṅ khaya-ñaṇa...- In the enumn of 3 vijjās at M I.22 sq. only Nos. 6-8 of the 3rd sampadā (said to have been attained by the Buddha in the 3 night watches) with the verbs anussārati (No. 6), pajānati (7), abhijānati (8), each signifying a higher stage of ("saving") knowledge, yet all called "vijjā." Quoted at Vism 202, where all 8 stages are given as "aṭṭha vijjā," and caraṇa with 15 qualities (sīla-saṅvara, indriyesu guttadvāra etc.). The same 3 vijjās (No. 6, 7, 8) are given at D III.220, 275, and poetically at A II.165 as the characteristics of a proper (ariya, Buddhist) monk (or brāhmaṇa)...-- Tevijjā (adj.) in same meaning at S I.146 (where it refers to Nos. 3, 5, 8 of above enumn), 192, 194....It is doubtful whether the defn of ñaṇa as " vijjā" at Vin III.91 is genuine. On vijjā-caraṇa see also D III.97, 98, 237; S I.153, 166; II.284; V.197; A II.163; IV.238; V.327;...-- On vijjā in the doctrinal appln see: D III.156, 214, 274; S II.7 sq. (cakkhu, ñaṇa, paññā, vijjā, aloka); III.47; 163; 171; IV.31, 49 sq. A I.83; II.247;...(c) popular meanings & usage of vijjā: science, craft, art, charm, spell D I.213 (Gandhārī nama v., also mentioned at J IV.498 as practised by physicians), 214 (Maṇika n. v.); J III.504 (Cintāmaṇi v.); IV.323 (vatthu-: see under vatthu), 498 (ghora-); V.458 (anga- palmistry);...
-gata having attained wisdom...
-caraṇa (-sampanna) (endowed with) special craft (wisdom) & virtue...
-ṭṭhāna branch of study; there are 18 vijjā--ṭṭhānani or "arts & sciences," subjects of study, referred to at J I.259.
-dhārā a knower of charms, a sorcerer J III.303, 529; IV.496; V.94;...
-bhāgiyā (dhammā) (states) conducive to wisdom (6 kinds of sañña) A III.334; cp. D III.243; S V.395; A IV.52 sq.
-mayā (iddhi) (potency) accomplished by art or knowledge...
-vimutti wisdom (higher knowledge) as salvation S V.28, 335 sq.;...


PTS: Woodward, The Book of the Gradual Sayings, V, The Book of the Tens, XI, ii, pp148: "Monks, these seven limbs of wisdom, if made to grow, if made much of, complete the threefold knowledge."

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