Eight Emancipations

One can become aware of their physical self here in the world. One can understand that they have form here in the world. One can pick up an object, look around and begin to interact with the world.

One could notice other forms existing here in the world, other forms possesed with souls, animals and people, trees, grass, hills and fields.

Some forms in the world might appear particularly interesting or beautiful. One could enjoy a beautiful sunset, another ones face, one could see and be attracted by many forms of amusement in the world.

Spending the time and effort, one could look beyond the immediate forms around them and notice the size of the world, contemplate the number of grains of sand by the ocean, drops of water in the ocean, let alone the infinitude particles of dust in space, galaxies, stars and debris. Infinite complexity of the microscopic as well as the infinite complexity of the telescopic.

One might then think about how they could comprehend all of this. If one understands the concept of infinite space, and can imagine this infinite nature, could their own consciousness and cognitive capacity be in fact infinite? Say one imagines in their mind all of the sands in the ocean. Then one could imagine a duplicate set of all of the sands in the ocean; where all of the sand is now purple. Now more duplicate sets of all of the sand in the ocean in every other variation of possible colour. Now an entire universe where everything is upside down.

More difficult to contemplate than the concept of infinity; is the concept of nothing. With so much to see, so much to do, so much to think about, so many amusements, so many distractions,…quieting the mind is difficult. One might imagine themselves in an empty room, or a quiet place, perhaps with a blank blackboard, white board, empty screen, or blank piece of paper and a pen. One could write whatever they like. With a view to  work towards focussing on nothingness, nothing should be written. But one could write what ever they like. ‘ABC 123’, a poem, a story, a technical writing, whatever they want. But here the focus is to write nothing. One should be able to hold at this point writing nothing. One should be careful of any thoughts that rise up here, thoughts that are not deliberate. Very careful about those. One might draw a picture of several random playing cards, and this is fine so long as one has actively, decided to draw these; mindfully, if the suggestion is not their own one could be under the influence of the evil one.

Having mastered nothingness one could begin to comprehend that all of these activities are a part of the temporal world. We have not yet comprehended the spiritual at this point; simply worked towards freeing ourselves from the world and the evil one so we can begin to awaken and become born again. This is just the beginning.

  • – “Possessed of form, one sees forms. This is the first emancipation.
  • – “Not percipient of form internally, one sees forms externally. This is the second emancipation.
  • – “One is intent only on the beautiful. This is the third emancipation.
  • – “With the complete transcending of perceptions of (physical) form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of multiplicity, (perceiving,) ‘Infinite space,’ one enters and remains in the dimension of the infinitude of space. This is the fourth emancipation.
  • – “With the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, (perceiving,) ‘Infinite consciousness,’ one enters and remains in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. This is the fifth emancipation.
  • – “With the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, (perceiving,) ‘There is nothing,’ one enters and remains in the dimension of nothingness. This is the sixth emancipation.
  • – With the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, one enters and remains in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. This is the seventh emancipation.
  • – “With the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, one enters and remains in the cessation of perception and feeling. This is the eighth emancipation.

“Now, when a monk attains these eight emancipations in forward order, in reverse order, in forward and reverse order, when he attains them and emerges from them wherever he wants, however he wants, and for as long as he wants, when through the ending of effluents he enters and remains in the effluent-free release of awareness and release of discernment, having directly known it and realized it for himself in the here and now, he is said to be a monk released in both ways. And as for another release in both ways, higher or more sublime than this, there is none.”

The Great Causes Discourse
Mahā Nidāna Sutta (DN 15)

“Monks, there are these seven properties. Which seven? The property of light, the property of beauty,1 the property of the dimension of the infinitude of space, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the property of the dimension of nothingness, the property of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, the property of the cessation of feeling & perception. These are the seven properties.”

“Monk, the property of light is discerned in dependence on darkness.

The property of beauty is discerned in dependence on the unattractive

The property of the dimension of the infinitude of space is discerned in dependence on form.

The property of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness is discerned in dependence on the dimension of the infinitude of space.

The property of the dimension of nothingness is discerned in dependence on the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness.

The property of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception is discerned in dependence on the dimension of nothingness.

The property of the cessation of feeling & perception is discerned in dependence on cessation.”

“Monk, the property of light, the property of beauty, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of space, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the property of the dimension of nothingness: These properties are to be reached as perception attainments [2. This means that these levels of concentration depend on holding a particular perception (mental label) in mind]

The property of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception is to be reached as a remnant-of-fabrications attainment. The property of the cessation of feeling & perception is to be reached as a cessation attainment.”

Seven Properties
Sattadhātu Sutta (SN 14:11)

Not Self

“For a monk practicing the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma, what accords with the Dhamma is this: that he keep focused on not-self with regard to form, that he keep focused on not-self with regard to feeling, that he keep focused on not-self with regard to perception, that he keep focused on not-self with regard to fabrications, that he keep focused on not-self with regard to consciousness. As he keeps focusing on not-self with regard to form… feeling… perception… fabrications… consciousness, he comprehends form… feeling… perception… fabrications… consciousness. As he comprehends form… feeling… perception… fabrications… consciousness, he is totally released from form… feeling… perception… fabrications… consciousness. He is totally released from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is totally released, I tell you, from suffering & stress.”

In Accordance with the Dhamma (4)
Anudhamma Sutta (SN 22:42)

“Form, monks, is not self. If form were the self, this form would not lend itself to dis-ease. It would be possible (to say) with regard to form, ‘Let my form be thus. Let my form not be thus.’

“Feeling is not self.…
“Perception is not self.…
“Fabrications are not self.…

Notes: This discourse is also known as the Anatta-lakkhaṇa Sutta, the Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic. According to Mv I, this was the first of the Buddha’s discourses during which his listeners became arahants.

“Consciousness is not self. If consciousness were the self, this consciousness would not lend itself to dis-ease. It would be possible (to say) with regard to consciousness, ‘Let my consciousness be thus. Let my consciousness not be thus.’

“What do you think, monks? Is form constant or inconstant?”

“Inconstant, lord.”

“And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?”

“Stressful, lord.”

“And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: ‘This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am’?”

“No, lord.”

“… Is feeling constant or inconstant?” — “Inconstant, lord.” …

“… Is perception constant or inconstant?” — “Inconstant, lord.” …

“… Are fabrications constant or inconstant?” — “Inconstant, lord.” …

“What do you think, monks? Is consciousness constant or inconstant?”

“Inconstant, lord.”

“And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?”

“Stressful, lord.”

“And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: ‘This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am’?”

“Thus, monks, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: Every1 form is to be seen with right discernment as it has come to be: ‘This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.’

“Any feeling whatsoever.…

“Any perception whatsoever.…

“Any fabrications whatsoever.…

“Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: Every1 consciousness is to be seen with right discernment as it has come to be: ‘This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.’

“Seeing thus, the instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is released. With release, there is the knowledge, ‘Released.’ He discerns that ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’”

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the group of five monks delighted in the Blessed One’s words. And while this explanation was being given, the minds of the group of five monks, through lack of clinging/sustenance, were released from effluents.

The Five (Brethren)
Pañca Sutta (SN 22:59)

Agggregates with Verbs.

Forms can be cold, hot, hunger and thirst.

Feeling can be pleasure, pain or neither.

Perceptions can be red, green or blue.

Fabrications can be fabricated forms, feelings and perceptions Fabricated Consciousness.

Consciousness cognizes sour, bitter, salty

“Monks, any contemplatives or brahmans who recollect their manifold past lives all recollect the five clinging-aggregates, or one among them. Which five? When recollecting, ‘I was one with such a form in the past,’ one is recollecting just form. Or when recollecting, ‘I was one with such a feeling in the past,’ one is recollecting just feeling. Or when recollecting, ‘I was one with such a perception in the past,’ one is recollecting just perception. Or when recollecting, ‘I was one with such fabrications in the past,’ one is recollecting just fabrications. Or when recollecting, ‘I was one with such a consciousness in the past,’ one is recollecting just consciousness.

Form

“And why do you call it ‘form’ [rūpa]? ‘It is afflicted [ruppati],’ thus it is called ‘form.’ Afflicted with what? With cold & heat & hunger & thirst, with the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, & reptiles. ‘It is afflicted,’ thus it is called ‘form.’

Feeling

“And why do you call it ‘feeling’? ‘It feels,’ thus it is called ‘feeling.’ What does it feel? It feels pleasure, it feels pain, it feels neither-pleasure-nor-pain. ‘It feels, it is called ‘feeling.’

Perception

“And why do you call it ‘perception’? ‘It perceives,’ thus it is called ‘perception.’ What does it perceive? It perceives blue, it perceives yellow, it perceives red, & it perceives white. ‘It perceives,’ it is called ‘perception.’

Fabrications

“And why do you call them ‘fabrications’? ‘They fabricate fabricated things,’ thus they are called ‘fabrications.’ What do they fabricate as a fabricated thing? For the sake of form-ness, they fabricate form as a fabricated thing. For the sake of feeling-ness, they fabricate feeling as a fabricated thing. For the sake of perception-hood… For the sake of fabrication-hood… For the sake of consciousness-hood, they fabricate consciousness as a fabricated thing. ‘They fabricate fabricated things,’ thus they are called ‘fabrications.’

Consciousness

“And why do you call it ‘consciousness’? ‘It cognizes,’ thus it is called ‘consciousness.’ What does it cognize? It cognizes sour, it cognizes bitter, it cognizes pungent, it cognizes sweet, it cognizes alkaline, it cognizes non-alkaline, it cognizes salty, & it cognizes unsalty. ‘It cognizes,’ thus it is called ‘consciousness.’

“Thus an instructed disciple of the noble ones reflects in this way: ‘I am now being chewed up by form. But in the past I was also chewed up by form in the same way I am now being chewed up by present form. And if I delight in future form, then in the future I will be chewed up by form in the same way I am now being chewed up by present form.’ Having reflected in this way, he becomes indifferent to past form, does not delight in future form, and is practicing for the sake of disenchantment, dispassion, and cessation with regard to present form.

“(He reflects:) ‘I am now being chewed up by feeling… perception… fabrications… consciousness. But in the past I was also chewed up by consciousness in the same way I am now being chewed up by present consciousness. And if I delight in future consciousness, then in the future I will be chewed up by consciousness in the same way I am now being chewed up by present consciousness.’ Having reflected in this way, he becomes indifferent to past consciousness, does not delight in future consciousness, and is practicing for the sake of disenchantment, dispassion, and cessation with regard to present consciousness.

“This, monks, is called a disciple of the noble ones who tears down and does not build up; who abandons and does not cling; who discards and does not pull in; who scatters and does not pile up.

“And what does he tear down and not build up? He tears down form and does not build it up. He tears down feeling… perception… fabrications… consciousness and does not build it up.

“And what does he abandon and not cling to? He abandons form and does not cling to it. He abandons feeling… perception… fabrications… consciousness and does not cling to it.

“And what does he discard and not pull in? He discards form and does not pull it in. He discards feeling… perception… fabrications… consciousness and does not pull it in.

“And what does he scatter and not pile up? He scatters form and does not pile it up. He scatters feeling… perception… fabrications… consciousness and does not pile it up.

“Seeing thus, the instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is released. With release, there is the knowledge, ‘Released.’ He discerns that ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’

“And what is it that he neither piles up nor scatters, but stands having scattered it? He neither piles up nor scatters form, but stands having scattered it. He neither piles up nor scatters feeling… perception… fabrications… consciousness, but stands having scattered it.

‘Homage to you, O thoroughbred man.
Homage to you, O superlative man—
you of whom we don’t know even what
dependent on which
you’re absorbed.’”

Chewed Up
Khajjanīya Sutta (SN 22:79)

All forms are not real
This is not your self
This is not your home
You belong somewhere else
You are different there
You belong somewhere else
This is a fake matrix world.

As I understand the Teaching explained by the Blessed One, a monk with no more effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death.”

“Don’t say that, friend Yamaka. Don’t misrepresent the Blessed One. It’s not good to misrepresent the Blessed One, for the Blessed One would not say, ‘A monk with no more effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death.’”

how would you answer if you are thus asked: ‘A monk, a worthy one, with no more effluents: What is he on the break-up of the body, after death?’”

“Thus asked, I would answer, ‘Form is inconstant… Feeling… Perception… Fabrications… Consciousness is inconstant. That which is inconstant is stressful. That which is stressful has ceased and gone to its end.”

“Very good, friend Yamaka. Very good. In that case I will give you an analogy for the sake of making your understanding of this point even greater.

Suppose there were a householder or householder’s son—rich, wealthy, with many possessions—who was thoroughly well-guarded. Then suppose there came along a certain man, desiring what was not his benefit, desiring what was not his welfare, desiring his loss of security, desiring to kill him. The thought would occur to this man: ‘It would not be easy to kill this person by force. What if I were to sneak in and then kill him?’

“So he would go to the householder or householder’s son and say, ‘May you take me on as a servant, lord.’ With that, the householder or householder’s son would take the man on as a servant.

“Having been taken on as a servant, the man would rise in the morning before his master, go to bed in the evening only after his master, doing whatever his master ordered, always acting to please him, speaking politely to him. Then the householder or householder’s son would come to regard him as a friend & companion, and would fall into his trust. When the man realizes, ‘This householder or householder’s son trusts me,’ then encountering him in a solitary place, he would kill him with a sharp knife.

“Now what do you think, friend Yamaka? When that man went to the householder or householder’s son and said, ‘May you take me on as a servant, lord’: wasn’t he even then a murderer? And yet although he was a murderer, the householder or householder’s son did not know him as ‘my murderer.’ And when, taken on as a servant, he would rise in the morning before his master, go to bed in the evening only after his master, doing whatever his master ordered, always acting to please him, speaking politely to him: wasn’t he even then a murderer? And yet although he was a murderer, the householder or householder’s son did not know him as ‘my murderer.’ And when he encountered him in a solitary place and killed him with a sharp knife: wasn’t he even then a murderer? And yet although he was a murderer, the householder or householder’s son did not know him as ‘my murderer.’”

“Yes, my friend.”

“In the same way, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person—who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for people of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma—assumes form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

“He assumes feeling to be the self.…

“He assumes perception to be the self.…

“He assumes fabrications to be the self.…

“He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness.

“He does not discern inconstant form, as it has come to be, as ‘inconstant form.’ He does not discern inconstant feeling, as it has come to be, as ‘inconstant feeling.’ He does not discern inconstant perception.… He does not discern inconstant fabrications.… He does not discern inconstant consciousness, as it has come to be, as ‘inconstant consciousness.’

“He does not discern stressful form, as it has come to be, as ‘stressful form.’ He does not discern stressful feeling.… He does not discern stressful perception.… He does not discern stressful fabrications.… He does not discern stressful consciousness, as it has come to be, as ‘stressful consciousness.’

“He does not discern not-self form, as it has come to be, as ‘not-self form.’ He does not discern not-self feeling.… He does not discern not-self perception.… He does not discern not-self fabrications.… He does not discern not-self consciousness, as it has come to be, as ‘not-self consciousness.’

“He does not discern fabricated form, as it has come to be, as ‘fabricated form.’ He does not discern fabricated feeling.… He does not discern fabricated perception.… He does not discern fabricated fabrications.… He does not discern fabricated consciousness, as it has come to be, as ‘fabricated consciousness.’

“He does not discern murderous form, as it has come to be, as ‘murderous form.’ He does not discern murderous feeling.… He does not discern murderous perception.… He does not discern murderous fabrications.… He does not discern murderous consciousness, as it has come to be, as ‘murderous consciousness.’

“He gets attached to form, clings to form, & determines it to be ‘my self.’ He gets attached to feeling.… He gets attached to perception.… He gets attached to fabrications.… He gets attached to consciousness, clings to consciousness, & determines it to be ‘my self.’ These five clinging-aggregates—attached to, clung to—lead to his long-term loss & suffering.

“Now, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones—who has regard for noble ones, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma; who has regard for people of integrity, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma—doesn’t assume form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

“He doesn’t assume feeling to be the self.…

“He doesn’t assume perception to be the self.…

“He doesn’t assume fabrications to be the self.…

“He doesn’t assume consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness.

“He discerns inconstant form, as it has come to be, as ‘inconstant form.’ He discerns inconstant feeling.… He discerns inconstant perception.… He discerns inconstant fabrications.… He discerns inconstant consciousness, as it has come to be, as ‘inconstant consciousness.’

“He discerns stressful form, as it has come to be, as ‘stressful form.’ He discerns stressful feeling.… He discerns stressful perception.… He discerns stressful fabrications.… He discerns stressful consciousness, as it has come to be, as ‘stressful consciousness.’

“He discerns not-self form, as it has come to be, as ‘not-self form.’ He discerns not-self feeling.… He discerns not-self perception.… He discerns not-self fabrications.… He discerns not-self consciousness, as it has come to be, as ‘not-self consciousness.’

“He discerns fabricated form, as it has come to be, as ‘fabricated form.’ He discerns fabricated feeling.… He discerns fabricated perception.… He discerns fabricated fabrications.… He discerns fabricated consciousness, as it has come to be, as ‘fabricated consciousness.’

“He discerns murderous form, as it has come to be, as ‘murderous form.’ He discerns murderous feeling.… He discerns murderous perception.… He discerns murderous fabrications.… He discerns murderous consciousness, as it has come to be, as ‘murderous consciousness.’

“He does not get attached to form, does not cling to form, does not determine it to be ‘my self.’ He does not get attached to feeling.… He does not get attached to perception.… He does not get attached to fabrications.… He does not get attached to consciousness, does not cling to consciousness, does not determine it to be ‘my self.’ These five clinging-aggregates—not attached to, not clung to—lead to his long-term happiness & well-being.”

“Even so, friend Sāriputta, are those who have people like you as their companions in the holy life, teaching them, admonishing them out of sympathy, desiring their welfare. For now that I have heard this explanation of the Dhamma from you, my mind—through lack of clinging/sustenance—has been released from effluents.”

To Yamaka
Yamaka Sutta (SN 22:85)

“Monks, from an inconceivable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, although beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on

“There comes a time when the great ocean evaporates, dries up, & does not exist. But for beings—as long as they are hindered by ignorance, fettered by craving, transmigrating & wandering on—I don’t say that there is an end of suffering & stress.

“Just as a dog, tied by a leash to a post or stake, keeps running around and circling around that very post or stake; in the same way, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person—who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for people of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma—assumes form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

“He assumes feeling to be the self.…

“He assumes perception to be the self.…

“He assumes fabrications to be the self.…

“He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness.

“But a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones—who has regard for noble ones, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma; who has regard for people of integrity, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma—doesn’t assume form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

“He doesn’t assume feeling to be the self.…

“He doesn’t assume perception to be the self.…

“He doesn’t assume fabrications to be the self.…

“He doesn’t assume consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness.

“He doesn’t run around or circle around that very form… that very feeling… that very perception… those very fabrications… that very consciousness. He is set loose from form, set loose from feeling… from perception… from fabrications… set loose from consciousness. He is set loose from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is set loose, I tell you, from suffering & stress.”

The Leash (1)
Gaddūla Sutta (SN 22:99)

Thus one should reflect on one’s mind with every moment: ‘For a long time has this mind been defiled by passion, aversion, & delusion.’ From the defilement of the mind are beings defiled. From the purification of the mind are beings purified.
“Monks, have you ever seen a moving-picture show?”

“Yes, lord.”

“That moving-picture show was created by the mind. And this mind is even more variegated than a moving-picture show. Thus one should reflect on one’s mind with every moment: ‘For a long time has this mind been defiled by passion, aversion, & delusion.’ From the defilement of the mind are beings defiled. From the purification of the mind are beings purified.

“It’s just as when—there being dye, lac, yellow orpiment, indigo, or crimson—a dyer or painter would paint the picture of a woman or a man, complete in all its parts, on a well-polished panel or wall, or on a piece of cloth; in the same way, an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person, when creating, creates nothing but form… feeling… perception… fabrications… consciousness.

“Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with the body, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is released. With release, there is the knowledge, ‘Released.’ He discerns that ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’”

The Leash (2)
Gaddūla Sutta (SN 22:100)

Clinging

“Monks, I will teach you clingable phenomena & clinging. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak.”

“And what, monks, are clingable phenomena? What is clinging?

“Form is a clingable phenomenon. Any desire-passion related to it, is clinging related to it.

“Feeling is a clingable phenomenon. Any desire-passion related to it, is clinging related to it.

“Perception is a clingable phenomenon. Any desire-passion related to it, is clinging related to it.

“Fabrications are clingable phenomena. Any desire-passion related to them, is clinging related to them.

“Consciousness is a clingable phenomenon. Any desire-passion related to it, is clinging related to it.

“These are called clingable phenomena. This is clinging.”

Clinging
Upādāna Sutta (SN 22:121)