Pali text, illustration and English translation of Dhammapada verse 384:
yadā dvayesu dhammesū pāragū hoti brāhmaṇo |
ath’assa sabbe saṃyogā atthaṃ gacchanti jānato || 384 ||
384. When by the twofold Dhamma a Brahmin’s gone beyond all the bonds of One-who-Knows have wholly disappeared.
The Story of Thirty Monks
While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this verse with reference to thirty monks.
For one day thirty monks who resided in foreign parts came and saluted the Buddha and sat down. Venerable Sāriputta, knowing that they possessed the faculties requisite for the attainment of arahatship, went to the Buddha and, without sitting down, asked him the following question, “Venerable, two states are frequently spoken of; now what are the two states?” The Buddha replied, “By the two states, Sāriputta, are meant tranquility and insight.”
Explanatory Translation (Verse 384)
brāhmaṇo yadā dvayesu dhammesu pāragū hoti
atha jānato assa sabbe saṃyogā atthaṃ gacchanti
Yadā: when; dvayesu dhammesu: in the ‘two states’; pāragū hoti: has become an adept; atha: then; jānato [jānata]: (in him) who knows; assa: his; sabbe saṃyogā: all fetters; atthaṃ gacchanti: disappear
When the brāhmaṇa–the seeker after truth–has understood the two states of concentration and insight through and through, then in that person who knows these, all the fetters wane, diminish and fade away.
Commentary and exegetical material (Verse 384)
dvayesu dhammesu: in the two states. The two states are concentration (samatha) and insight (vipassanā). These are the two systems of minddiscipline needed to take the truth-seeker to the other stage. The first of the two states is Samatha–concentration, tranquility, serenity. Cittekaggatā (one-pointedness of mind) and avikkhepa (undistractedness). It is one of the mental factors in wholesome consciousness.
The next is vipassanā–insight. Insight is the intuitive light flashing forth and exposing the truth of the impermanency, the suffering and the impersonal and unsubstantial nature of all corporeal and mental phenomena of existence. it is insight-wisdom that is the decisive liberating factor in Buddhism, though it has to be developed along with the two other trainings in morality and concentration. The culmination of insight-practice leads directly to the stage of holiness.
samādhi or samatha: concentration. Lit.: the (mental) state of being firmly fixed–is the fixing of the mind on a single object. One-pointedness of mind (cittassa ekaggatā) is called concentration. Concentration, though often very weak, is one of the seven mental concomitants inseparably associated with all consciousness. Right concentration (sammā–samādhi), as the last link of the eightfold path (magga), is defined as the four meditative Absorptions (jhāna). In a wider sense, comprising also much weaker states of concentration, it is associated with all karmically wholesome (kusala) consciousness. Wrong concentration (micchā–samādhi) is concentration associated with all karmically unwholesome (akusala) consciousness. Wherever in the texts this term is not differentiated by right or wrong, there right concentration is meant.
In concentration one distinguishes three grades of intensity:
(1) preparatory concentration (parikamma-samādhi) existing at the beginning of the mental exercise;
(2) neighbourhood concentration (upacāra-samādhi), such as concentration approaching but not yet attaining the first absorption (jhāna) which, in certain mental exercises is marked by the appearance of the so-called counter-image (paṭibhāga-nimitta), and
(3) attainment concentration (appaṇā-samādhi), such as that concentration which is present during the absorptions.
Concentration connected with the four noble path-moments (magga), and fruition-moments (phala), is called super-mundane (lokuttara), having Nibbāna as object. Any other concentration, even that of the sublime absorptions, is merely mundane (lokiya). The development of concentration (samādhi–bhāvanā) may procure a four-fold blessing: (i) present happiness through the four absorptions; (ii) Knowledge and Vision (ñāṇa–dassana)–here probably identical with the divine eye (abhiññā)–through perception
vipassanā: insight. Insight is the intuitive light flashing forth and exposing the truth of the impermanency, the suffering and the impersonal and unsubstantial nature of all corporeal and mental phenomena of existence. It is insight-wisdom (vipassanā–paññā) that is the decisive liberating factor in Buddhism, though it has to be developed along with the two other trainings in morality and concentration. The culmination of insight practice leads directly to the stages of holiness.
Insight is not the result of a mere intellectual understanding, but is won through direct meditative observation of one’s own bodily and mental processes. In the commentaries the sequence in developing insightmeditation is given as follows:
- discernment of the corporeal (rūpa);
- discernment of the mental (nāma);
- contemplation of both (nāmarūpa) such as their pairwise occurrence in actual events, and their interdependence);
- both viewed as conditioned (application of the dependent origination, (paṭiccasamuppāda);
- application of the three characteristics (impermanency, etc.) to mind-and-body-cum-conditions.
The stages of gradually growing insight are described in the nine insight-knowledge (vipassanā–ñāṇa), constituting the sixth states of purification: beginning with the knowledge of rise and fall and ending with adaptation to truth.
Eighteen chief kinds of insight-knowledge (or principal insights; (mahā–vipassanā) are listed and described:
- contemplation of impermanence (aniccānupassanā),
- contemplation of suffering (dukkhānupassanā),
- contemplation of notself (anattānupassanā),
- contemplation of aversion (nibbidānupassanā),
- contemplation of detachment (virāgānupassanā),
- contemplation of extinction (nirodhānupassanā),
- contemplation of abandoning (paṭinissaggānupassanā),
- contemplation of waning (khayānup),
- contemplation of vanishing (vayānup),
- contemplation of change (vipariṇāmānup),
- contemplation of the unconditioned (or signless) (animittānup),
- contemplation of desirelessness (appaṇihitānup),
- contemplation of emptiness (suññatānup),
- contemplation of insight into phenomena which is higher wisdom (adhipaññā–dhamma–vipassanā),
- knowledge and vision according to reality (yathā–bhūta–ñāṇadassanā),
- contemplation of misery (or danger) (ādinavānupassanā),
- reflecting contemplation (paṭisaṅkhānup),
- contemplation of turning away (vivaṭṭānupassanā).